• Recommendations

    The Essentials: Books

    A few people told me their 2019 new year resolution is to read more books. When my youngest sister Shan said she wanted to pick up the habit, I almost teared up. Finally she wants to pick up a book and not Facebook! Here’s some of the books that I’d recommend you to read at least once in your lifetime. I choose these books because they are timeless and universal – you can learn something at every stage of your life. easy to read – nothing too technical or boring here. easy to find in bookstores or your friend’s bookshelf. sectional. You can read them by chapters without feeling overwhelmed.…

  • Photography

    Journey to the past

    Every Chinese New Year my sisters and I would wear qipao (旗袍). I think the form-fitting dress accentuates a woman’s femininity and grace, creating a beautiful silhouette that you don’t see when she wears T-shirts and jeans. The Mandarin collar and high slits on the thighs somehow bring out the elegance that we usually don’t have. In the past few years, I’ve been taking portraits of us in the outfit. Not only it is a good way to embrace our Chinese roots, I like to look back at photos and see how we have changed. (Above) 2013. One of my earliest portraits taken with the timer on a DSLR. That time…

  • Business

    Coffee, cakes and big dreams

    My friend Jason is earning big bucks as a sales manager, but his 5-figure salary doesn’t seem to satisfy him. He’s bored of the nonsensical sales target, constant boot-licking, entertaining customers’ wild requests and getting calls after working hour. He wanted a change for good. “So what are you going to do?” “I don’t know,” he pointed at the handsome barista over the counter, “maybe I’ll open a nice cafe and be my own boss.” I used to dream about owning a cafe too. I’d make it airy, spacious and bright, just like the cafes in Instagram. Lots of cool people will be working at the desk, drinking cappuccino and eating chocolate…

  • Travel

    Postcards from Penang and Langkawi

    My sister Ivy has a bubbly and feminine look but she’s probably the most workaholic person I know. As a data scientist, she’s coding all the time. So to pull her out of her work mode, we go for a vacation. My partner and I are also workaholics who think about our projects all the time. So for the same reason, sometimes we’re on the road. Most people think that travelling means spending lots of time and money. Well, not necessarily. (Above) Nope, this is not Ivy the workaholic. This is my youngest sister Shan. During the last week of December, we brought our parents to Penang for 3 days.…

  • Living

    I think you need to read this book…

    If you want to cut through crap in your life and don’t mind some rude words, read this book. “The subtle art of not giving a fuck” by Mark Mansion Just by reading the title, you might think, “Okay, so this guy is teaching us not to care about everything in life.” But in fact, what he’s talking is this – we all have limited amount of time and attention – use them wisely. Make the conscious decision to focus your time and attention on things that truly matter. The neighbour who sings loudly and affects your mood every morning? Not important. The random guy who cut queue in the…

  • Living

    #18: What ONE word or sentence will be your theme for 2019?

    Link: 18 questions for an incredible review of your 2018 In the last weeks of December, I’ll be answering 18 questions for an incredible review of your 2018 that I wrote in my previous post. I hope this series inspires you to look at your life, career, family and relationship, and to reflect and plan for an awesome 2019. Let’s go. Question 17: What are your top 10 goals for 2019? I divide life into ten categories and set a major goal for each one. You can use the template below as a guide. I’m quite unrealistic in dreaming big goals. Last year under the “Finance” category, I wrote that I…

  • Living

    #16: What are 5 powerful habits that you must develop in 2019?

    Link: 18 questions for an incredible review of your 2018 In the last weeks of December, I’ll be answering 18 questions for an incredible review of your 2018 that I wrote in my previous post. I hope this series inspires you to look at your life, career, family and relationship, and to reflect and plan for an awesome 2019. Let’s go. Question 16: What are 5 powerful habits that you must develop in 2019? 1. Daily planning Scheduling and planning is crucial for people who aren’t organized, like me. In the past years, I’d tried different systems such as the Google Calendar, Trello, or the Bullet Journal. There’re pros and…

  • Living

    #15: What are the 5 biggest necessary endings that must happen for 2019 to be spectacular?

    Link: 18 questions for an incredible review of your 2018 In these last weeks of December, I’ll be answering 18 questions for an incredible review of your 2018 that I wrote in my previous post. I hope this series inspires you to look at your life, career, family and relationship, and to reflect and plan for an awesome 2019. Let’s go. 15. What are the 5 biggest necessary endings that must happen for 2019 to be spectacular? 1. Got my PhD degree Anybody who has gone through a PhD will understand how everything can bug you day and night. We face technical challenges, but the real challenge is in our mind.…

  • Living

    #14: What one word sums up your entire 2018?

    Link: 18 questions for an incredible review of your 2018 In these last weeks of December, I’ll be answering 18 questions for an incredible review of your 2018 that I wrote in my previous post. I hope this series inspires you to look at your life, career, family and relationship, and to reflect and plan for an awesome 2019. Let’s go. 8. Name 3 people who have the greatest impact on you in 2018. My partner – to be more organised and money-savvy. A charity project leader – to be humble, forward-thinking and focus on the value you create for other people. My professor in China – commit to your work.…

  • Living

    #6-7: Which 3 important relationships improved the most? And how?

    Link: 18 questions for an incredible review of your 2018 In these last weeks of December, I’ll be answering 18 questions for an incredible review of your 2018 that I wrote in my previous post. I hope this series inspires you to look at your life, career, family and relationship, and to reflect and plan for an awesome 2019. Let’s go. 6. Which 3 important relationships improved the most? My relationships with my partner, my family and myself. 7. What were the things you did that improved those relationships? MY PARTNER and I are so similar in some ways – we are both strong-minded, independent and somewhat smart (or smart-ass-y, I…