Put in the work

Recently our Prime Minister Tun Mahathir caused an uproar because he feared that the Malays and Bumis couldn’t compete with 3 million Chinese from China that were expected to come to Malaysia.

He said, “If we bring in another three million people from China, what will happen to us? They are strong, able, knowledgeable in business; they come not as labourers but as successful entrepreneurs…. Can we compete with them?”

Naturally the Malaysians aren’t happy with his statement. “Are you saying that we aren’t capable? Are you saying we will lose our competitive edge?!”

Honestly, I agree with him. We can’t compete.

Outside a wholesale mall in Guangzhou. These clothes will be delivered to other cities in China or abroad. People are hustling all day.

My one-month stay in China has completely opened my eyes on what it means to work hard.

When I was young, my grandma who was raised in China always taught us that the only way we can change our lives is through hard work. That strong commitment and dedication to hustle is deeply interwoven in their DNA.

I still see this work attitude in China today. The people I met here are extremely committed to their work.

The bread shop near my apartment is open daily from 7am to 12am with the same staffs. The cosmetic shop on the same row is constantly playing loud music and welcoming customers. The fruit store on the other street is open until midnight too.

Everyone is hustling to survive in a country crowded with 1.4 billion people.

Last train of the day. Need to snap a photo for memory because the train was NEVER empty.
Anyone who has read about Elon Musk would surely be fascinated by the Tesla cars in Guangzhou showroom.
Corridors of a students’ hostel was full of clothes waiting to be dried.

My professor is a Chinese man in his 50s. One day he was explaining a science theory to me in Mandarin. Although I can speak Chinese fluently (in Malaysian’s standard), I still struggled to understand what he meant. He knew I couldn’t grasp what he said.

On the next morning, he explained the whole idea to me again, this time in full English. I’m so impressed. He must have spent the night reading about the topic, in English. He didn’t have to do this, but he did it because he’s dedicated to his work.

“In a mega crowded place like China filled with people smarter than you, the only way you can stand out is to work hard,” his words stuck with me until now.

This is why they have TenCent, WeChat, Alibaba, Baidu, Huawei, Oppo, Vivo… a the cutting edge technologies and convenience that we have yet to see in Malaysia. This is why they develop so quickly in the past ten years.

This experience left a major impact on my life. I always thought that I have tried and given my best. Sometimes I gave up and got intimidated by a task too early.

Now instead of giving up, I always ask myself, “Is this really the best that I can do?” Sometimes this question makes me anxious, but it also pushes me to think and take action beyond my usual comfort zone.

We ordered drinking water from this dealer. He would carry it to our apartment in the 5th floor.

You might ask, but hey, what about work-life balance? Things like art, leisure, love and all the other things are equally important too!

I don’t have an answer for that question yet. I am also finding my own balance. But from what I observe from the people in China and here in my country, I think we Malaysians are pretty good in balancing between work and life. We certainly know how to enjoy life.

What we lack is the drive and ambition to take action and move forward.

The only distance between your dreams and reality is called action.

If anything that you want to achieve takes 10,000 hours, are you willing to put in the work?

If you feel inferior, jealous or even threatened by your competitors ask yourself – have you really put in the work?

Chamonix Mont-Blanc, France

A few months ago I was standing on a street in France and staring at Mont Blanc. It’s pure white under the moonlight. I turned to my boyfriend and said I couldn’t believe we made it.

My boyfriend is a go-getter. If he wants to do something, he does it with speed and affirmation. When he said he wanted to go Switzerland and France, I laughed at the idea because I’d never even dream of going there. The flight ticket is expensive, everything is expensive and I’m damn busy.  But when he said it for the third time, I know he’s not kidding. We made the crazy decision and started planning for the trip.

We flew from Singapore to Geneva, Switzerland followed by a 1-hour bus to Chamonix. The journey was magical and I just couldn’t stop wowing.

We saw marvelous stretches of snow-capped mountains along the way to France. It’s the end of spring turning summer. We saw flower fields, beautiful waterfall, old railways, stone bridges, and people paragliding from the mountains. The view was spectacular.

Our hotel Le Refuge des Aiglons (around RM 400 per night) was amazing. We could see Mont Blanc from afar. Mont Blanc – the highest mountain in the Alps, is a name I used to see on pens, wallets, and expensive watches that I couldn’t afford. Here I am, dipping in the pool and looking at the “White Mountain” itself, I’m sure no material things in this world could compete with her beauty. She is pure white and majestic.

We walked to Carrefour to buy food (and wine). Preparing your own meal is the wisest choice if you want to be a savvy traveler. My boyfriend’s favourite things to do is shopping in a grocery store and cooking.

We walked aisle by aisle, looked at the local produce while using our phones to translate the French terms. The French cashier lady was lovely.

We left Carrefour and walked on the streets of the peaceful village, with one hand holding our groceries and another hand holding each other. I kept smiling and saying, my gosh, is this real? IS THIS REAL? Am I dreaming? Am I really in France?

He laughed and thought I’m silly, “Yes, pig, I brought you here.”

Cook your signature dish at Signature Loft

A muscle man is hot, but a man who cooks is even hotter.

My old friend Kenneth and his brother-in-law Jason invited us to have brunch with them. The dishes and desserts they cooked were delicious – maybe anything cooked in this kitchen will be delicious. This is one of the best kitchens I’ve seen.

I like to cook and bake, but my mum doesn’t like me messing with her kitchen. I like to have potluck at home too, but not everyone’s house is big enough to host parties and gatherings. Dining out is convenient, but with a large group of people it can be expensive and uncomfortable.

Jason understands this struggle, so they came up with a great idea – the Signature Loft. This is a kitchen space that you can rent for a potluck session, private gathering, cooking classes or even, videography session! The idea is new, the space is wonderful.

Meeting people with interesting idea (who also cook for you) is always a good experience.

Signature Loft

Address: No.148-1, Jalan Dataran Cheras 9, Dataran Perniagaan Cheras, Batu 9
Cheras, Selangor 43200

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