Hong Kong, 2014

After skipping the INTA conference at Dallas last year, I made a special appearance at International Trade Mark Association Conference (INTA) held in Hong Kong in May. It’s the first time INTA was held in Asia. Over 8500 people attended the event. This does not include those who did not register for the event including myself.

The conference was held at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre. I was here in 2009 to attend the Asian Patents Attorney Conference (APAA).

Those who did not register are not allowed into the conference area. Nevertheless, many fixed their meetings at hotel lobbies such as Renaissance and Grand Hyatt or the cafes in or around the conference area.

I did not fix many meetings. I only met people who I’ve worked with or know quite well. But I was fortunate to meet some friends who made impromptu outings to various receptions around Hong Kong.

I touched down Hong Kong on Thursday and headed straight to my hotel at Wanchai. It’s called the Wharney Guang Dong Hotel. It’s a hotel along the red light district of Wan Chai. There were plenty of Filipino girls and mama-sans by a row of pubs soliciting business.

I had only 4 meetings on my first day of conference. It was actually 5 meetings but I missed the first one cause I forgot to key it into my calender!

My first meeting was at Man Ho Chinese restaurant at JW Marriot. It was a luncheon meeting jointly organised by a Thai and Hong Kong law firm. I guess I got invited because they help me out with some of my trade mark applications. I sat between a Singaporean lady and a Chinese Canadian lady. The latter told me that she forgot to bring her clothes from Canada because she was rushing to the airport. She had to do her shopping upon touchdown!

I had dinner at a place called T Chu at Zen Too. Interesting food. I was invited by a Singapore patent attorney, Chong Yee and his wife. We had dinner with another friend of his and his wife. The former is a partner of Bird & BIrd, an international firm. His wife is a Malaysian. Small world!

Since Umeng is coming to visit me from Macau on Sunday, I set aside a day to meet him and roam around Hong Kong.

I met a friend of his whose mother owns a “Che Chai Mien (Little Cart noodles) restaurant. We took a train to Wong Tai Sin to visit this Little Cart Noodles shop.

It’s located in a residential area surrounded by old apartments. The shop is a few steps away from Sheung Fung Street Market

We had a peek of how the locals live.

The shop, like many other Hong Kong eateries, is small. One has the go through the tight lanes to get a table.

Umeng can’t wait for his food

To get food, one has to line up to choose his or her dishes. We didn’t need to line up. Our friend chose the dishes for us.

Little Cart Noodles is a mixture of all forms of animal “spare parts”. We had chicken feet, cow stomach, coagulated blood. It also has pomelo skin and radish.

It comes with a bowl of noodles.

The taste is interesting. Something I’ve never tried before. Pomelo skin tasted strange. Its texture look like cooked radish but it is soft and has a very distinct taste.

While having our meal, we overheard some people talking about taufufah (taufu) noodles. Although we were pretty full, we dropped by the takeaway eatery that sells this taufufah noodles. I was told that this new eatery is owned by some guys who won a reality TV contest. Those guys pitched the idea of this eatery and won some cash to fund their business.

The sweet gravy, however, overpowered the taste of taufafah. I don’t taste much of it. Noodles are a little bit tough for me.

Umeng and I dropped by Mong Kok to kill time.

We met my friend Erin at Central Station. Since it was Sunday, the place was packed with Filipino ladies and some Bangladeshi men. The ladies were hanging out by the curb and occupied every empty space. Even the stairs were occupied by them.

At one corner, there was a small stage. A small group of Filipino ladies was dancing and singing. Other ladies were cheering and screaming for them.

Erin brought us to Da Verm Climbing Club at Sai Ying Pun. We had to take the tram to get to this place. It rained halfway and all we had was Erin’s umbrella. I actually brought an umbrella all the way from Kuala Lumpur and of all days, I forgot to bring it when it rained heavily!

We had to brave through the rain to get to Da Verm. Da Verm is a small indoor climbing gym. It consists of mainly bouldering walls. The surface of the wall is painted and smooth. Most of the walls are reclined walls thus making it difficult for new climbers. Umeng had to struggle quite a bit. Erin on the other hand was steady because she had been climbing since I started (about 10 years ago!).


Free chalk!

There’s a small training room in the gym. It has a peg wall. I could only get to one peg! My locking power is still quite weak! It also has a sandbag. It was great punching it again.

Erin, Umeng and I ended the night with a workout set by Erin. It was so tough that we almost gave up halfway!

We had dinner thereafter at Tsim Chai Kee. They are known for their wan tan mee. My three toppings noodles – fish balls, wanton and sliced beef – was tasty.

Umeng stayed over my hotel as he has a meeting in Hong Kong the next morning. Here he said, “I’ll be there in a while, Honey”.

I did not fix many meeting on Tuesday. In fact I had large gap after my 11am meeting. I thought of heading to the hotel for rest but I met Caroline, a Thai lawyer. We met many years ago in one of the many receptions. We had lunch and ended up meeting other lawyers from other countries for drinks and two other receptions. We even had the time to have Godiva ice cream at Queen’s Road East. I find it more enjoyable meeting people on randomly than having fixed meetings. The latter sometimes is too short.

I wanted to meet a Japanese friend, Takeshi, but his schedule was completely full. One thing about Japanese lawyers is that they always have packed schedules. They are extremely systemised. I met one Japanese firm that has a script on what to discuss during meetings.

I managed to squeeze in a meeting with Takeshi at a Korean law firm reception. We were hosted by a Korean lawyer who spoke impeccable nihon-go. She told us that she had studied Japanese in Korea. I was so impressed.

We had one reception at Tott and Roof at Exclesior Hotel overlooking the Victorian Harbour. It was organised by Awapatent, a Swedish intellectual property firm with offices in 13 regional offices. It was founded in 1897 and in 2013, they have EUR 63,2 million in turnover. I was there for a short while before rushing to another meeting.

I had to rush to Admirality train station to meet up with another friend in Conrad Hotel. He brought me up to a lounge on top of the hotel. Great view of Hong Kong as well.

Once again, Nitin, my friend from India, and I met up for dinner and drinks. We dubbed it the India and Malaysia reception. I probably had 3 pints of Guinness. We managed to gather a number of people and even Erin and her friend, Chris, came to join us. We had friends from Hong Kong, Thailand, Singapore and Malaysia. We’ll probably make this a yearly event! We lasted until 1:30-am before heading home.

This is a reception held by Kangxin, a Chinese firm held at The Hong Kong Jockey Club Happy Valley Racecourse. I visited some friends from Kangxin when I was in Beijing. I was put on a table with some lawyers from Korea and Israel. Interestingly, my Israeli friend was a tennis champion of Israel during his younger days.

Halfway through the dinner, the firm held a contest where each table had to guess the winning horses. They then showed a pre-recorded horse race and the winner is based on the result of the pre-recorded race. We didn’t win of course.

I left Hong Kong a day earlier. Getting to the airport was a breeze. I only need take a train to Central and then another train to the airport. I’m glad I made a trip to Hong Kong.

Next INTA, San Diego!

Washington D.C Food Guide

Busboys and Poets

My wife loves this place. We went this place couple of times. It’s a part bookstore, part bar, part lounge and part restaurant. Very nice decoration.

It is highly recommended by our host and plenty of reviews online. We had to do our touristy duty to eat at this place.

I had their French Toast breakfast. Toast was great but I find that the one at Norma’s better. Latte was mediocre.

There are a few branches in the city. I went to the one at 5th Street, not too far from our place.

Although heavily promoted by the locals, I don’t find this place as good as they claim it to be. But if you’re looking for a decent place, Busboys and Poets is a good choice.

1025 5th Street NW
Washington, DC 20001
PHONE: 202-789-2227
FAX: 202-789-0306
Sunday 9:00 AM – 12:00 Midnight
Monday – Thursday 8:00 AM – Midnight
Friday 8:00 AM – 1:00 AM
Saturday 9:00 AM – 1:00 AM

Website: http://www.busboysandpoets.com/


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Full Kee Chinese restaurant

One restaurant recommended by the local is Chinatown Express. They are reputed to be Washington D.C’s 5 star Chinese restaurant. I must say it didn’t taste like Chinese food at all!

Full Kee on the other hand was awesome. We ordered dishes and they were all awesome.

Fried rice was memorable. We ordered a plate and it came in a mountain. There was so much that we packed the remaining fried rice and gave it to a hobo on the street.

509 H Street, N. W. Washington, D.C. 20001
Website: http://www.fullkeedc.com/


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Chinatown Coffee

It’s just a few shops away from Full Kee. It’s probably the best coffee place in the city. Latte has a nutty taste and is excellent.

They use an iPad as their cash register. Once you’re done ordering, you can email or text your receipt to yourself!

475 H Street Northwest
Washington, DC 20001, United States
(202) 559-7656
Website: chinatowncoffee.com‎


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New York City & Washington D.C

Since I got married in January, my wife and I haven’t had the time to go for our honeymoon. When I got the news that the International Trademarks Association (INTA) is having their annual conference at Washington D.C, I decided to head for the conference with my wife.

The journey, through Emirates Airlines, was fine. There were plenty of shows on their inflight entertainment services. But a kid in front of us kept disturbing us. He even took my wife’s shoes and hid it. -_-

Worst part of it is that, his mother did nothing to stop him. Speaking about his mother, she asked me whether the flight goes to New York City when we were about to board the flight at the boarding area. -_-

We stayed in YMCA hostel in New York City. It was terrible place. The room was dirty. I had allergy probably due to dust mites/beg bugs.

Lousy room for around US$100 per night.

I also accidentally cut myself on the forehead. The bunk bed in our room was low and it had metal spring poking out from top. I sat back and somehow bounced slightly. My forehead suffered a deep cut from one of the sharp edges of the metal spring.

The springs

We engaged a New York based photographer, Ulysses Photography, to take our pictures at Central Park. The husband and wife team consisting of Ulysses and Jenni were excellent. They charge by the hour and we only booked them for an hour. However, we were late. Fortunately, Ulysses and Jenni were kind enough to not charge us for being late an even extended our session without charge. I would highly recommend them.

Speaking about photography business in the United States, they have a different model than ours. Photographers charge extra for high resolution photograph and you don’t get all the photographs like Malaysia. One thing I like about Ulysses Photography (other than their awesome personality) is their style guide. They have a guide on how to dress for each theme or season.

Times Square

Freedom Tower! Notice the plane next to it?

My Internation Trademark Association (INTA) conference was held at Washington D.C. This year round, they had over 9000 participants. However, I only managed to meet less than 20 people -_-. I was told that if you attend the conference more, you will meet less people. But I must also blame myself for not going all out to meet people.

We took a bus to Washington D.C. The four hours ride felt short as they had a power plug and Wifi.

Using the online service Air B & B, we rented a room of Mr and Mrs Blinch. Their place was strategically located few minutes away from the conference area. The room was also a far cry from YMCA as we had a queen size bed, own bathroom, walk in closet, cable TV, complimentary drinks and even a bottle of red wine! No dust mites too!

Conference was held in the middle of the town but most meetings were held outside the conference hall. My meetings were held mostly in hotel lobbies. I managed to bump into many friends whom I didn’t fix any meetings.

I took the conference easy. I didn’t have many meetings fixed and even had one day where I spent the entire day sightseeing. Last time I used go for meetings and receptions from 9am to 1am – everyday!

My goal for this conference was quite simple. To tell my contacts that I’ve set up my own firm. Getting new business contacts was my secondary goal. Unfortunately, I was a little lazy and all I had was 4 new namecards. Uhm.

The house where Lincoln died.

Washington D.C has this service where you rent a bike and once you’re done, you can park it at any of their docking stations which are scattered around the city.

On our last day in Capital View hostel because our Air B&B room was pre-booked by someone else. Capital View was bare and the toilet is extremely dirty. I think I will never stay in hostels again!

We returned to New York City on our last day. We managed to meet up with Raymond whom I met with Timothy Tiah and fourfeetnine during our last New York City trip. He participated in the New York Bersih rally and he said it went really well with 300 over participants. Glad to know Malaysians living outside Malaysia still care about Malaysia.

I know its been a while since I wrote something here but I’ve been extremely busy.

Busy finding money thats it. Till the next blogpost!

San Francisco 2011 – Overview

After 10 days in the San Francisco, I’m finally back in Malaysia. Home sweet home!

Union Square

San Francisco is a beautiful city. It’s extremely hilly – even hillier than Sheffield. It has plenty of beautiful buildings with great architecture.

A shopping centre just for ladies!

The only complaint that I have is that there are many homeless people on the streets.

The demographic of San Francisco is quite strange. On one street you have all the high end retail outlets but on the next street, you’ll find homeless or dodgy looking people roaming around.

Many of these homeless people harass passerby for spare change or even to make strange comments. Some were out of their mind – screaming incoherent words out of nowhere. I’ve learned that the best way to deal with them is to ignore them. It works!

There are many street buskers too. This one took a photo with Will Smith!

The weather wasn’t very kind. It was extremely cold and even rained at some days. I had to wear 3 to 4 layers of t-shirts before going out. One friend got sick and was slapped with a USD300 medical bill after seeing a local doctor. Fortunately for me, all I had was sore throat.

I spent 5 days attending the International Trade Mark Conference (INTA). This is my 3rd time attending this conference and it was good. Great networking sessions and met plenty of new (probably 60 over) and interesting contacts. I met some old contacts and spent great time with them. Networking is not the amount of people I meet but the amount of quality time I spent with them.

Conference area. Spent a lot of time here meeting people. When I have free time, I will chat with some random stranger.

We arrived a day early to accustom our body clock to US timing. Unfortunately, we took a nap at 2pm, with the intention of waking up an hour later, but woke up at 7pm instead. Gah.

With regret on our mind, we walked to Chinatown for dinner.

Took us almost 20 minutes – went through a tunnel

Was briefly entertained by a Chinese band

But was served terrible food. Uh.

During the conference, day time was spent on meetings and night time was spent on receptions or dinners.

Had meeting at an associates’ office. Great view!

Receptions were held at very nice places except for one reception where we lined up for 45 minutes under the rain. The bouncers were only allowing 2 to 3 people every 5 to 10 minutes. Some people gave up halfway and went away. When we were about to get in, the bouncer announced that the venue is full and they are no longer taking anyone in! Some chaps were so furious that they started swearing at the bouncers. We, on the other hand, adjourned to a cafe nearby with our Chinese associates.

I stayed in a boutique hotel called Hotel Abri. It was a nice hotel with excellent facilities and location. It’s just a few minutes away from Moscone Center, the conference venue.

After the conference, I moved to Globetrotters Inn Hostel, which was a far cry from Hotel Abri. My hostel has only a bed, a sink and a chair. No heater and table! I had to use the window ledge to put my laptop :s

The hostel is pretty much run down and not very clean. However, service was great. When I was waiting for my bus to take me to the airport, I bumped into a staff of the hostel. She was concerned that my bus was late and even called the bus operator for me. It was very kind of her.

I extended my stay for 2 nights to check out San Francisco. I went cycling, did some shopping and visited the gay center of San Francisco namely Castrol Street.

The journey back to KL took me around 20 hours. It was rather uneventful except for one occasion where a lady decided to disembark from our flight before flying. I thought she had some prediction that the flight will crash. At that point, I thought this flight will be the end of me :s

More details about the trip later!

Greetings from San Francisco!

For real this time. It’s my 4th day here and I am still fighting jet lag. The time difference between Malaysia and SF is 15 hours. While everyone is sleeping in Malaysia, I’ll be awake. Makes my afternoon meetings difficult.

It’s been cold here. Shivering cold sometimes. I didn’t bring a thick jacket.

The conference has been good so far. Plenty of meetings and met couple of new people. The name cards that I get now is less than what I used to get on my first INTA conference. Probably because I know more people now – people I see once a year and yet speaks like old time friends.

I’m staying in a boutique hotel called Abri Hotel. It’s small but it’s very near the convention centre.

Every morning there is a strange man shouting incoherent words holding a bible at the front doors of the convention centre. One street away there is a homeless man practicing his kungfu moves on random people walking pass him. Yesterday, there was a marathon and many people were in costumes. Some decided to ditch costumes and ran naked.

There are many strange people in SF.

Greetings from San Francisco!

Well, not yet. I’m still in the airport waiting for my flight. It’s going to be a gruelling 20 hours flight. First to HK and then straight to SF.

I’ll be attending the annual International Trade Mark Association (INTA) conference in SF. Last year, it was at Boston. It’s been a year! Time flies!

I will be turning off my Blackberry throughout the trip. Last year, I raked up a RM4000 bill for Blackberry charges. If anyone wishes to contact me, just email me or DM me at Twitter.

Will try to blog when I’m in SF!

Boston – Part I

After spending 4 days in NYC, I finally arrived in Boston to do what I was supposed to do in the United States. I was there a day early hence I had a little time to roam around the place before my 5-day conference. I knew that I wouldn’t have chance to roam around Boston during my conference. A minute rest is a minute wasted in such conference. If my body could function non stop, I would love to be in the conference non stop!

I stayed in Hilton Hotel which is nearby the well known Quincy Market and Faneuil Hall. Almost every morning my colleagues and I will walk to the market for breakfast. These two buildings are now tourist attractions and primarily serve food and beverages.

In Quincy Market , there is a foyer where patrons can sit down to have their meal.

Clamp chowder is popular in Boston. However, Quincy Market only serves mediocre clam chowder.

There is also a Cheers pub. If you are born before the 90s, you will probably remember the US Sitcom Cheers. Quincy Market hosts a replica of the bar. The actual bar is located at Beacon Hill, not too far away from Quincy Market.

The Old State House Museum is a street away from Faneuil Hall. This is claimed to be the oldest surviving public building in Boston. Build in the 1700s, this building is surrounded by skyscrapers.

Just a few steps away, there is a small cobblestone ring to commemorate the Boston Massacre

To be continued..

Berlin, Germany – Taxi

[Note: I cant blog in KK, hence Im posting this entry which I prepared some time back :P]

On our first few days, we had to travel by taxi as we were not familiar with Berlin. Each journey costs us RM50 and after a while, we decided to save by walking or taking public transport. The train system is pretty efficient. However, no one monitors the train stations and one can take the train for free (illegally).

Mercedes cars are used as taxis in Berlin.

It’s quite comfortable and their meters are of state of the art. It’s embedded on their rear mirror!

I found this magazine “Taxi Aktuell” in one of the taxis I took. I wonder if it’s a magazine available only in taxis or it’s a magazine for an association of taxi drivers. It would be extremely cool if it’s a magazine for passengers.

Anyone wants to start one in Malaysia with me?

Berlin, Germany – Via Condotti @ Berlin

Our concierge recommended us one Italian restaurant nearby our hotel. It’s said that it serves authentic Italian food. Without any hesitation, we headed to Via Condotti.

We were greeted by a man wearing a red Ferrari cap. I think he’s the manager of the place cause he kept scolding a waiter. The waiters were all Italian, and they kept speaking Italian to us. -_-

The highlight of this restaurant, for me, must be their spaghetti with black truffles. The unique thing about this dish is the way that it was served. The manager brought an additional table with a huge slab of cheese on top. A box of black truffles is placed next to it.

Thereafter, the manager started scrubbing the top part of the cheese and set it on fire!

Spaghetti was thereafter thrown into the fire hence extinguishing it.

Seconds later, the spaghetti was served with sliced truffles on top. It tasted extremely goooddddd 😀

Anyone knows where I can get something like this in KL? (minus the truffles of course)

Fasanenstr, 73 – 10719 Berlin
Tel: (030) 88 67 78 97
Fax: (030) 88 67 78 99
Website: www.viacondotti-berlin.de
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Berlin, Germany – Kurfürstendamm and its surroundings

We stayed at Concorde Hotel which is a street away from Kurfürstendamm, a very long boulevard housing many famous designer brands like LV, Gucci and Bvlgari. Things are extremely expensive there. However, there are couple of souvenir shops that are worth looking at. The souvenirs all around Berlin are pretty much identical – fridge magnets, postcards and so called fragments of the Berlin wall.

Along the street of Kurfürstendamm, there were many impressive glass displays featuring all sorts of clothing and wares.

Mercedes Benz display in front of Mercedes Benz store

When I first saw them, I wondered why these glass displays were never vandalised. But soon I found one glass display with a cracked display. I guess someone tried to break into it.

We saw a number of people walking their dogs along Kurfürstendamm. Some responsible owner would pick up the dogs’ poo and disposed them. Some just leave them as it is. But some rich ones dispose them off at one of the ‘poo deposit machines’.

Check out the lookout point on top of the train station

Further down Kurfürstendamm, we can see…

Chinese restaurant

The Chinese restaurant looks like its being squashed by the building on top.

F*ckfashion anyone?? (see the word below the word “xes” in the watermark)