Globe-Trotters Rikki & Brian

December 17th, 2012 | Weddings

Rikki-Lee Schmitt is born, raised and now lives & works in the lovely south Australian city of Adelaide, the city known as the nation’s wine capital.

But Rikki hasn’t always been in Adelaide. She loves travelling. And as fate / luck / God would have it, she found someone who love travelling as much as she does!

They had met in a bar in Adelaide. Dashing Brian’s born in Ireland but the Donovans had moved to Melbourne when he was very little.

Now, they go see the world together – Dubai, South America…. Just a couple years ago, they were in Sri Lanka for two weeks. And it was at the end of this holiday that Brian brought out a ring he had been hiding in his backpack all this time and proposed…

In October this year, in the manicured gardens of the exclusive Ritz Carlton’s Phulay Bay in Krabi, Thailand, Rikki and Brian were married before their families and closest friends.

“The ceremony was just perfect,” said Rikki, who through the telephone interview, sounded truly touched by the love she had felt throughout the entire day.

In fact, everything about the wedding was perfect: the weather, the resort, her dress (she had designed her own wedding dress because “I couldn’t find one that I really liked”), her veil (“I used the very one my mom used on her wedding day”), her Christian Louboutin shoes (cue: gasps from fashionistas), their families who were able to be there to witness the marriage: his family from Ireland and Melbourne, hers from Adelaide, her best friends who were her maid of honour and bridesmaids, that impressive fire-dance that Brian had asked for to surprise her and “I wore great grandma’s watch that my mom gave me”.

And most important of all, she was marrying the man who “makes me laugh.” (cue: awwwws from all who believe in love)

Rikki & Brian's wedding portrait by Louis Pang Photography

Rikki & Brian's wedding portrait by Louis Pang Photography

Rikki & Brian's wedding portrait by Louis Pang Photography

Rikki & Brian's wedding portrait by Louis Pang Photography

Rikki & Brian's wedding portrait by Louis Pang Photography

Rikki & Brian's wedding portrait by Louis Pang Photography

Rikki & Brian's wedding portrait by Louis Pang Photography

(Below: The wedding had a travel theme to reflect the couple’s shared love. Even the night’s menu was made to look like a boarding pass!

Rikki & Brian's wedding portrait by Louis Pang Photography

Rikki & Brian's wedding portrait by Louis Pang Photography

Rikki & Brian's wedding portrait by Louis Pang Photography

Rikki & Brian's wedding portrait by Louis Pang Photography

Rikki & Brian's wedding portrait by Louis Pang Photography

Rikki & Brian's wedding portrait by Louis Pang Photography

Vanesa’s Sun Shiny Day!

December 11th, 2012 | Weddings

Vanesa, Chris Martin & I worry a lot.

We worry about lots of things: she wonders if everything’s going to go well at the wedding, he wonders if there’s a future for Coldplay, I wonder if I’ve turned off the stove.

But hey, everything DID go well – for Vanesa. She found the perfect dress at the right price from a magazine, she found the exact pair of shoes she’s been looking for just 2 weeks before the wedding, Kathy Foo got her stunning red cheongsam ready well ahead of time, her grandma’s gorgeous 100-year-old blue ring was polished & ready, she found a beautiful mantilla to wear as her veil to honour her Spanish roots, Mitchell’s grandparents were going to make it to Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia for the wedding. So were many of his family from Australia. Many of their close friends were headed this way to join the celebrations…

And on the wedding day, everyone was super-happy! Vanesa & Mitch were all smiles and laughs. Mitch and his entourage were great sports, they survived gruesome Chinese Wedding Door Games (click here for more info) – much to the amusement of the bridesmaids and Vanesa’s Chinese relatives. During the solemnization ceremony in a banquet hall at Shangri-La’s Tanjung Aru Resort & Spa, Vanesa punched the air & cheered as the resort’s general manager then, Andrew Steele, pronounced them Man & Wife. And later, at the dinner, Mitch walked in holding a mustache in one hand and Vanesa in the other.

So in the end, Vanesa had a great wedding. Everyone genuinely enjoyed it – just take a look at these photos from the wedding.

And last I looked, Coldplay is still together. And I did turn off that kitchen stove – that time.

Vanesa & Mitchell's wedding portrait by Louis Pang Photography

Vanesa & Mitchell's wedding portrait by Louis Pang Photography

Vanesa & Mitchell's wedding portrait by Louis Pang Photography

Vanesa & Mitchell's wedding portrait by Louis Pang Photography

Vanesa & Mitchell's wedding portrait by Louis Pang Photography

Vanesa & Mitchell's wedding portrait by Louis Pang Photography

Vanesa & Mitchell's wedding portrait by Louis Pang Photography

Vanesa & Mitchell's wedding portrait by Louis Pang Photography

Vanesa & Mitchell's wedding portrait by Louis Pang Photography

Vanesa & Mitchell's wedding portrait by Louis Pang Photography

Vanesa & Mitchell's wedding portrait by Louis Pang Photography

Vanesa & Mitchell's wedding portrait by Louis Pang Photography

Vanesa & Mitchell's wedding portrait by Louis Pang Photography

Vanesa & Mitchell's wedding portrait by Louis Pang Photography

Vanesa & Mitchell's wedding portrait by Louis Pang Photography

Vanesa & Mitchell's wedding portrait by Louis Pang Photography

Vanesa & Mitchell's wedding portrait by Louis Pang Photography

Vanesa & Mitchell's wedding portrait by Louis Pang Photography

Vanesa & Mitchell's wedding portrait by Louis Pang Photography

Vanesa & Mitchell's wedding portrait by Louis Pang Photography

Vanesa & Mitchell's wedding portrait by Louis Pang Photography

Vanesa & Mitchell's wedding portrait by Louis Pang Photography

Vanesa & Mitchell's wedding portrait by Louis Pang Photography

Vanesa & Mitchell's wedding portrait by Louis Pang Photography

Vanesa & Mitchell's wedding portrait by Louis Pang Photography

Vanesa & Mitchell's wedding portrait by Louis Pang Photography

Vanesa & Mitchell's wedding portrait by Louis Pang Photography

Vanesa & Mitchell's wedding portrait by Louis Pang Photography

Vanesa & Mitchell's wedding portrait by Louis Pang Photography

Snail-Mail Loves

December 7th, 2012 | Portraits

Sometime in the 1960s, Kota Kinabalu-born Daniel and Perak-girl Suzy became pen-pals. This is back in those days where people used a pen to write letters on paper. When mailboxes were tangible red boxes by the side of the road. When letters took more than a second to get to the recipient.

One or both of them must be very poetic because love soon blossomed across the South China Sea. Soon after his graduation in Sydney, Daniel married Suzy in 1971 and they made their home in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah.

They had three boys: Jeffrey, Jason & Julian. (“They wanted a daughter but ended up with 3 boys,” Julian said) Raised the boys in a good ol’ fashioned way, “Mom was even more strict than dad because she was the one carrying the rotan! Maybe the traits of a former teacher?”

Daniel was the director of the State Department of Irrigation and Drainage before he retired. Suzy is and has always been the “Minister of Her Home Affairs”, she takes care of the family and their home and makes sure there is delicious food on the table everyday.

The boys are all grown now – they’ve got their own families and they’re all living in Kota Kinabalu. Although Julian will be relocating to Kuala Lumpur this weekend after a massive promotion at work. Daniel and Suzy finally did have the girl they wanted – five actually. Five granddaughters and three grandsons!

And although they were strict parents, Daniel and Suzy seem to be thoroughly enjoying their new roles as grandparents. “Being grandparents has totally changed them! Our kids get spoilt,” youngest son Julian claims.

“But our parents have always been supportive of us. My dad still takes care of our well-being even now when we encounter ‘road blocks’ or challenges along the way. My mom was the confinement lady for most of her grandchildren,” he said.

On a typical weekend, everyone is at Daniel & Suzy’s: the three boys, their wives and their kids.

To think – all this started from snail mail…

Julian Wong's family portrait by Louis Pang Photography

A Ukulele On The Beach

December 4th, 2012 | Portraits, Weddings

Some things just go together, you know?

Like cookies & milk. Blings on rings. Chocolate & me. Ukulele & the beach. Emily & Kai Wing.

The two love-birds have always liked the idea of getting married on a beach – the sun, the sea, a perfect sunset…

So after their big wedding back in Hong Kong where they were both born in; Emily, Kai Wing and about 50 of their friends & relatives escaped to Sabah, Malaysia and headed to Shangri-La’s Rasa Ria Resort where they had an intimate wedding ceremony.

“We chose to Rasa Ria because we wanted a place near Hong Kong and Singapore with convenient transportation and a gorgeous beach,” Emily explained.

And so, here on the beach one beautiful evening, Kai Wing played the ukulele & sang Jason’s Mraz’s “I’m Yours” while his beautiful bride walked down the fine-sand aisle in her father’s arm.

Teary-eyed and extremely happy, they exchanged their vows & rings before their guests. The weather was magically-perfect for a beach wedding that evening.

During dinner on the beach later that night, Kai Wing surprised Emily with a song that he was supposed to sing at the wedding in Hong Kong but “I got too emotional (then)”. She absolutely loved it!

To end a perfect evening on the beach, the newly-weds lit a huge bonfire together and watched the dancing flames hand-in-hand.

Thank you for making us a part of your wedding, Emily & Kai Wing. You’re both genuine wonderful people & we wish you a lifetime of discoveries & adventures together, at home in New York and wherever your travels will bring you.

Emily & Kai Wing's wedding portrait by Louis Pang Photography

Emily & Kaiwing's wedding portrait by Louis Pang Photography

Emily & Kaiwing's wedding portrait by Louis Pang Photography

Emily & Kaiwing's wedding portrait by Louis Pang Photography

Emily & Kaiwing's wedding portrait by Louis Pang Photography

Emily & Kaiwing's wedding portrait by Louis Pang Photography

Emily & Kaiwing's wedding portrait by Louis Pang Photography

Emily & Kaiwing's wedding portrait by Louis Pang Photography

Emily & Kaiwing's wedding portrait by Louis Pang Photography

Emily & Kaiwing's wedding portrait by Louis Pang Photography

The Super Grad

November 29th, 2012 | Portraits

Thara's family portrait by Louis Pang Photography

If you were at the recent University Malaysia Sabah convocation, you may have seen pretty Thara Zainal. She was the first one to receive her scroll that Monday afternoon, the one who won the Royal Education Award (in Malay, it’s “Anugerah Pelajaran DiRaja”) AND the one who made a speech during that 6th convocation session that weekend.

“I was excited and nervous at the same time – to be the first one entering the Chancellor Hall, and the first to go on stage!” Thara gushed.

You see, she was the first to enter the hall because she’s the outstanding one of her batch. Of the 4,336 receiving their scroll that weekend, just 49 graduated with first class honours and only 5 were from her faculty (including her).

The feisty business degree holder knew right from the start that she wanted to graduate with first class honours, “But it was quite tough because I have my own weaknesses. I didn’t even make it into the Dean’s List during my second semester.”

She was determined though and took it as a challenge to do better the next semester.

While Thara says that her family & her loved ones motivate her to do her best, she attributes her success to mum Tulip Noorazyze, who is the Director of Quality Improvement & Corporate Social Responsibility at Shangri-La’s Tanjung Aru Resort & Spa in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia, “I idolize her in every single way because she is my superwoman. And also my supermum!”

Thara’s doing her Masters in Business Administration in University Malaysia Sabah now. Peering into the looking glass, she sees herself working for about 10 years before pursuing her PhD, “I want to share my knowledge to the society, maybe be a lecturer.”

She’s such a happy & brilliant young woman. We’re certain she’s going to beat all odds & make all this happen because “…you have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who’ll decide where to go…” – Dr. Seuss in his book “Oh, the Places You’ll Go”,

Thara's family portrait by Louis Pang Photography