Monthly Archives: March 2013

What is your thinking style?

I am reading a book entitled “The Thinking Person’s Guide to Happiness” by Ruth Searle. One of the chapters is “Discover your personal thinking style”. When we are referring to the thinking style, it is more often than not associated with whether you are a left- or right-brainer. From young up until now, I am fairly certain I am a left-brain thinker, i.e. my thinking process is more on “the logical, sequential, linear and rational, organised, verbal expression, writing, and reading” style. I always like to expand my right-brain as well, i.e. to become more creative, intuitive, abstract, random, feelings, etc, because I am dead certain I am not much of a right brainer person. But at least I know I have brain!

In the book, there is a test to help the readers to ascertain if you are a right- or left-brainer . 20 sets of words or statements are listed and all you have to do is to choose which best describe yourself. I chose based on what I thought I am and surprise, surprise! The test results actually indicated I am predominantly a right-brain thinker! How bizarre. Here is the 10 2 sets of words/ statements, and choose which one best describes you.

Q1: A) Studying/ Reading B) Warm

I chose (A) – Column 1

Q2 A) Imaginative B) Analytical

I chose (B) – Column 1

Q3 A) Sensitive B) Precise

I chose (A) – Column 2

Q4 A) Feeling B) Speaking

I chose (A) – Column 2

Q5 A) Science B) Intuition

I chose (B) – Column 2

Q6 A) Factual B) Arts

I chose (A) – Column 1

Q7 A) Untidy B) Organised

I chose (A) – Column 2

Q8 A) Numbers B) Thinking

I chose (B) – Column 2

Q9 A) Creative B) Cool

I chose (B) – Column 1

Q10 A) Competitive B) Spontaneous

I chose (B) – Column 2

I have 6 column 2 and 4 column 1. (There are only 2 columns, so if your answers differ from mine, then yours will be on the opposite column). With higher total in column 2, this indicates I am predominantly a right-brain thinker, random, creative, and intuitive. Although it is just by 60/40 mark, the result definitely gave me a big question of how much do I know myself. Before taking the test, I thought it would have been a 90/10 or 80/20 mark, which both would have indicated I am a predominantly left-brain thinker.

So maybe I should start working on my left-brain to make my brain more balance? Or should I continue to work on the right-brain to strengthen my skills? Ironically I thought I have been working in a profession which requires more of a left-brain than right-brain thinking.

I am so confused now! Is this why I always self-doubt my performance at work? Should that be the case, I have been working my left-brain for the last 10 years. I do hate numbers although ironically I study accounting. Again, it was a wrong decision to do that, and I definitely think the career choice back in my schooling days weren’t great. They always associate an accounting profession with mathematics or solving problems. Let me stress that it is not the case! In fact accounting has nothing to do with the fact that you can calculate well. You can add, subtract, multiply or divide. You just have to know how to punch the calculator or computer in order to get the equations. Interest in mathematics or statistics does not mean you have interest in accounts! And I don’t deal with numbers! Why I like math is because the logic, the equations, the fact that if I can solve a problem that gives me a hyper level satisfaction! Whereas accounting, you can only do so if you manage to balance the balance sheet or trial balance. Both does not require any problem solving skills, but you just have to be conscious what has gone into the debit or credit. It is a balancing act, and to a certain extent, creativity! Ok, creative accounting is not quite encouraged from auditing or perhaps legal point of view. So I wouldn’t go into details anymore and in fact, I have diverted the topic.

Back to the thinking style. In the book, there is another table to suggest how to develop left- or right brain once you have identified with the 10 of 2 sets of words or statements earlier. So for me, I should be developing my left-brain more by doing the following activities:

a) Keep a diary of my daily activities and organise my week 

Ok, I don’t really keep a diary of my daily activities and organise my week. Well I like to be a bit more free – (Ok, it is the first indication of me being a non-left brainer) 

b) Read newspaper and factual books

I do read factual books and newspaper. In fact I have lost interest on fiction novels now. – so that is one tick! 

c) Put together a speech or presentation on my favourite subject

Public speaking?? That makes me legs jelly! 

d) Organise your finances on a computer spreadsheet 

Ok, I am an accounting undergraduate, but I hate to manage finance. I have my own “finance manager” at home, so I wouldn’t need to do that myself!  

e) Make a list of items you need in order to redecorate a room, or a list of plants you would put in the garden

I may do this if I have my own house later. Would I make a list? Erm…maybe not. I think I would just see what decorative items are easy to clean but pretty at the same time. Why would I want to put a list of what I need to decorate the house? And plants?.. ermm… 

Right I should be doing these if I want to develop my left-brain! Keep that in mind. 

f) Make a “Mind Map” of your goals and plans and list ways you would achieve them 

Yup I was supposed to do that too after attended the career planning seminar. I started to scribble something, well, not quite finish yet. Mind mapping may be a good way to continue it. At least that is more fun than just answering the questions. Well those are thoughts provoking questions but I just haven’t had the quiet moment to do that yet. Quiet internally. 

g) Write a list of all the new experiences in life you want to try out 

I like this exercise. I could be listing all sorts of experiences that I like to try out. In fact, I have been doing that, well not quite writing it down but thinking about doing it. But whether I have done- or will do it or not, that is another set of questions! (Why can’t I commit??!!!) 

h) Go to the library and explore the internet to find out as much as you can about an interesting new hobby 

Surely I can do it at home? I have internet at home. Sorry, I think the key words are “new hobby” and not where I do the research. Ok, I will think of a new hobby later on. Then again, I did pick up a new hobby 2-3 years ago, i.e. photography and purchased 1 DLSR camera (well 2 actually as the first one was stolen). So how is that going to help with the left-brain activity? Where is the element that is going to help me to develop my left-brain? In fact when I started this hobby, I thought it is a good way for me to expand my right-brain as it requires creativity and artistic eyes to certain extent in order to capture that beautiful moment. In fact, I felt it is a powerful tool for me to express my creativity. It may not be to the professional standard, but I do feel satisfied with the results. And I insist on not “photoshop” them as it will not be “natural” anymore. I may do some colour adjustments to enhance it but will definitely not anything more than than. 

i) Write plans and lists of things to do every day 

I again have some vague idea of what I want to do every day especially this time of my life. Waking up clueless of what I am going to do for the day is suffering. So before I went to bed yesterday, I thought about what I want to do today. Which I did, just haven’t started yet. It is only mid-day and I should be doing it later. 

There you go the whole long list of to-do to develop my left-brain. My reactions to each of the activity did somehow indicate I am a right-brain thinker. How stupid am I?  So let’s look at what activities to develop the right-brain and whether I have the same reaction I had with the left-brain thinker activities.

1) Keep a diary of your feelings 

That is quite accurate. I would rather write about my feelings than what my daily activities are. 

2) Write a short story and read more fiction

I love writing short story, although not quite successful, as I don’t have good juicy stories or ways to play with words. I always think that will be a good read if my vocabulary is better. And I have been reading fictions since young although as I mentioned earlier, I prefer to read non-fiction now. How ignorant am I not to realise that this actually indicates I am a right-brainer?!! 

3) Learn to paint and draw

When I was young, I did take up art classes, although only lasted for a month or less. In fact, I hate art classes in school. I didn’t quite enjoy painting or drawing as I think I don’t have the talent. I would love to draw though. I remember when I was young and free, I would take a poster of my idol, Tony Leung and drew his portrait with pencil. I thought I did quite well. But I don’t know where that drawing is anymore. 

4) Make something with clay

Ok, I haven’t tried this one before. But then again, I did want to make something out of plasticine but it always left my hands with oil or sticky feeling. I guess plasticine in my era wasn’t as good as what it is now. I am quite amazed with the play doh nowadays. Very creative. 

5) Redesign a room in your house or your garden

Similar to (5) in right-brainer activities, I would do so when I have my own house. I do day-dream what kitchen I like to have. With an island in the middle of the kitchen and a big work top so that I can do whatever cooking there. What colour I like? Doesn’t matter as long as easy to clean. Which means I wouldn’t want my stove to be near the wall at all!

6) Make a “Mind Map” of your feelings  about your life and how you would feel if you changed things

Again this is something I always do although not necessarily “mind mapping”. Just thinking abstractly but never really put things in place. 

7) Write a story of yourself and your life and what you want to achieve

I have written a few postings here already!

8) Visualise yourself doing something new and exciting

I am always doing it. Again, I only visualise but never really got to doing it. 

9) Daydream more often

Right, day dreaming! I don’t know if I realise I do that or not. I do think that I don’t day dream too much. Maybe I should. Hmm… 

Right, after having done this last exercise, I think I am indeed a left-brain thinker than a right-brain thinker than I always thought I was. Very interesting exercise! (I wonder this exercise would help me to develop my right brain).

And I wonder if that could help me to steer my future direction, regardless in my current profession or in a completely different profession? I hope I can figure out very soon!

Categories: Career, Life, Thinking Style | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

Stuffed Chestnut Mushrooms with Minced Prawn


Yong tau foo is one of my favourite food. Whilst it is not easy to find delicious home made yong tau fu in Kuala Lumpur, thankfully there are still good yong tau fu in Ipoh.

I have been trying to recreate yong tau foo in my home in London and still searching for the best fishes to do so. However I didn’t stop at fishes only, I also tried prawns, which is just the right ingredient for yong tau foo too. I have tried to stuff with fried taufu, which is absolutely delicious. I bought some chestnut mushrooms the other day and when I saw the size, I thought I could also try to stuff with the paste. And voila! It is another to die for dish. The recipe is fairly easy and shouldn’t be too difficult to make. All you need is some love and patient! And this is a very versatile dish. You can stuff the paste with anything, such as aubergine, fried or non-fried taufu, bean curd sheet, bitter gourd, ladies fingers or okra, or just eat it on its own.



250g prawns, shells removed and deveined

2 carrots, diced

2 stalks of spring onion, diced

salt and white pepper to taste

1 tsp sesame oil


For the sauce:

garlic, finely diced

oyster sauce

chestnut mushroom stalks, finely diced

10 chestnut mushroom


1. Before you work on the minced meat, let’s focus on the diced carrots first. As prawns cooked fairly quickly, what I did was to blanch the diced carrots for about 15-20 mins in boiled water. Don’t boil the carrots as this may soften the carrots too much. By blanching, the carrots will be partially cooked and its crunchiness is retained. You need this texture in the paste to add another dimension to your dish.

2. In the meantime, you can move on to the prawns. Once the shells and vein of the prawns have been removed, you can either use a heavy knife to “mince” the prawn till it forms paste, which I like to use. Or you if you have a food processor, you can process the prawns in it. Just be careful not to process the meat too much till it becomes mousse. Not quite the right texture you want.

3. Season the prawn paste with salt, pepper, cornflour and water. Mix it evenly and then add a dash of sesame oil and mix again. Once you have done so, the fun part begins. Take a big enough bowl and by using a clean hand, scoop out the paste and raise it about 15-20 cm from the bowl, throw the minced prawn to the bowl. This is the secret to having bouncy meat balls. (I am still trying to find out the actual reason of how this will help the minced meat to become bouncy). Try it and you will love it. Again the texture will be different to normal minced meat balls. Repeat this for 10-20 times.  Once this is done, place the minced prawn in a bowl, wrap it with cling film and put in the fridge while proceeding on with the following steps.

4. I use chestnut mushroom because it has nutty flavour than normal white button mushroom. Shiitake mushroom can be used as well, but it may not have the right shape to stuff the paste. If there are black dirts on the mushrooms, remove it with clean cloth or tissue. Once all have been checked and removed, run the mushrooms quickly in cold running water. Wipe the mushrooms with a clean kitchen towel or kitchen tissue. Then remove the stalks so that you can stuff it with the paste. But don’t throw the stalks away as you need it for sauce later on. Or if you want to use it for other dishes, by all means. Just don’t waste food.

5. Now you can take out the paste from the fridge. Mix the paste with the blanched carrots and spring onion. If you like other types of vegetable, make sure it has the right crunchiness and flavour. If I were to do this dish in Malaysia, I’d add water chestnuts.

6. Once it is all evenly mixed, heat up the pan or wok and pour in a small dash of oil. What you are going to do next is to taste it. You just want to make sure that you have seasoned the paste enough. So drop in few bits of the mixed paste and wait till it cooks. Taste it and add salt or pepper if necessary.

7. Again, wash your hand and in a fairly large bowl, pour cold water in it. This is for you to dip your hand in if the paste is sticking to your hand or fingers. You will be using your hand to work with the paste  a lot.

8. Once you are ready, scoop a handful of paste in your hand and form a smooth ball while pushing some paste through your thumb and index fingers. Use a spoon with the other hand to scoop out the paste from the thumb and index fingers. Stuff this formed prawn ball paste into the mushroom. Repeat till all  mushrooms are stuffed. As the final touch, wet your index,  middle and ring fingers with water and smooth the top of the paste. It should have shiny effect. Also you can use this opportunity to press the paste down to ensure it is tightly stuffed.

9. Now you can start to pan fried the paste and mushroom. Turn on the heat and add a dash of oil to the pan. First put the stuffed mushroom with the minced prawn facing down to the pan first. Fried till it brown. And turn the stuffed mushrooms over so to brown or cook the mushrooms. Remember to pan fry these with medium heat as you don’t want to burn it. You may need to cover the pan at this juncture to ensure the prawn is cooked thoroughly. You can obviously take one out and cut to see if it is all cooked, but by covering the pan for 5-10 mins, the prawn should be cooked.

10. Plate the mushroom and don’t worry if the mushrooms start to water. With the same pan, saute the garlic, and diced mushroom and add oyster sauce to taste. Pour it over the stuffed mushroom and enjoy!

Categories: Life, Mushrooms, Prawn, Recipe | Leave a comment

Big 4 World Tour Concert in London! (The Hong Kong singers!)


I was lucky enough to win two tickets to watch Big 4 concert in The O2, London. It was the 3rd time I watched concert in London. Eason Chan’s,  the first ever Chinese concert held in the O2, thanks to Orientouch Entertainment, was the first concert I watched in London. This followed shortly by NKOTBSB’s concert, performed by New Kids On The Block and Backstreet Boys.

We  took our DSLR camera the first time we went for concert in the O2, but we almost risked our camera of being “confiscated” by the security at the entrance. They in the end gave it back to us with a condition that we won’t use the camera during the concert. So for the next concerts onwards, we decided not to bring the camera again.

However, the situation in Big 4 concert was slightly less rigid. There were a lot of people with DSLR camera and some with big lenses. How did they get pass the security line I have no idea. I just felt stupid for not bringing my DSLR.

Our seat. It was Block B, Row 112, entrance H. To our pleasant surprise, it was the 2nd row from the ground floor and very near to the stage. I just wonder how many more free tickets were given out.
The venue was half covered with cloth, which means that only half of the venue was filled with audiences. But our rough guess was there must be at least 5,000 audiences.


At 8 pm, the light was finally dimmed and the drums started to roll with the countdown from 10 to 4 only! The Big 4 kicked off the concert with high powered song entitled 大家利事 (I haven’t heard before this concert), with one by one emerged to the stage.  The following picture was taken after they have sung the first song.

From left to right, Andy Hui (許志安), Edmond Leong (梁漢文), Dicky Cheung (張衛健) and William So (蘇永康).


They were busy debating whether Dicky would still be able to spring off the ground while lying on his back (i.e. by bending arms and put palms on the ground above head, bend knees and bring them to chest. Then thrust legs up and out while pushing off with hands. Back is arched as launch and snap upright when feet hit the ground), as he did in his younger days in a singing competition. To answer their challenge, Dicky volunteered to give £200 to a lucky audience should he failed to do so. ( I later found out that he paid HKD3,000, which is almost equivalent to £300!!).


So Dicky was getting ready to the act, (picture above) and the result??!! He managed to bounce up half way but fell back to his buttock! And so everyone in the concert was really ecstatic as a lucky person would not only able to go to the stage but to get his/ her hand on the £200. I didn’t let go of this chance too and kept on waving the light in my hand, attempting to attract their attention. But my light lost in thousands lights that night and my seat wasn’t exactly the convenient seat to go up to the stage.

Finally a chef by the name of Ah Lung won the price. However, he was also asked to perform the same movement, and he did! He managed to do it successfully!

Over the next few pictures were taken during their individual rendition of their own songs. First up was William So, who is better known for his fanciful glasses and fashion. I can’t recall the name of all songs he sang or the sequence that night, but my favourite were 那誰, 越吻越傷心,  來夜方長 and 男人不該讓女人流淚. Some of these songs were sang in a group, and by the other members.



Next up is Andy Hui’s pictures. He dressed up in pink, recounting his experience of learning piano 2 years ago. He started off by thanking Edmond Leong for encouraging him to take up piano lessons, and so he sang Edmond’s song as an appreciation. Then he continued on with William’s and was speechless when came to Dicky. He commented that Dicky didn’t encourage or add any value whatsoever in this case, but he played and sang Dicky’s infamous song, 哎呀哎呀親親你. He ended that session with his own song, 半天假. Other songs he sang that night, were 唯獨你是不可取替, 男人最痛, 世紀末煙花, etc.



Edmond Leung is probably the most low-profile person in the group. He has a quite a number of good songs which I like, such as 衣櫃裡的男人, 七友, and 纏綿遊戲. However,  he didn’t sing my favourite song, which he duets with Miriam Yeung, 滾, a powerful almost operatic performance from both singers.



Last but not least, Dicky. Unlike his other counterparts, Dicky didn’t release as many albums as. In fact, he is more well-known for his Monkey God character in TVB series, Wai Siu Bo and others Chinese series. However his talent as a stand-up comedian definitely filled in the gap of the night and cracked laughter from the floor. He also took the opportunity to express his love to his wife and dedicated a song to her. And perhaps he was the one who had the most outfits that night compared to the others. From outraging yellow outfit somewhat similar to a chick, to a modern twist of the renaissance European women costume. One of the most passionate topic he talked about that night was  Andy and Sammi Cheng’s relationship.

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Now, my favourite moment of the entire night was when these four old men sang one of  TVB series, 天與地, songs,  年少無知, originally sung by Bowie Lam (林保怡)、Moses Chan (陳豪) and Kenny Wong, (黃德斌) and composed by Paul Wong from Beyond. They also mimic the group in performing the song, i.e. a band, with Dicky as the drummer, William So and Andy Hui as the guitarists and Edmond the pianist.


The atmosphere of the night definitely heightened when two guests performed, especially for those who grew up with  Hong Kong music from the 80s till 2000s  era. Joey Tang, (鄧建明) a common face nowadays in most of Hong Kong artists’ concerts, one of the talented guitarists in Hong Kong music industry from a rock band  Tai Chi (太極)  and a 80s/ 90s singer, composer and actor, Eddie Ng (吳國敬), who may be a stranger to a lot of youngsters as he is working behind the scene more nowadays. They performed 2 of Tai Chi’s songs, one of which was performed together with Big 4, i.e. 紅色跑車.

I always thought guests are too expensive to be invited in any world tours. Later I realised they were  not only guests of the night, they were also part of the band, a guitarist and a backing vocalists for Big 4 in the concert.

Others more well-known artists who were there on the stage that were Mark Lui (雷頌德) as the musical director, Pal Si or better known as “Brother Panther” – 豹哥 (單立文 ) on bass and Dennie Wong (黃丹儀) on keyboards.

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Another big surprise for me was all of them came down from the stage. There was even a session whereby Big 4 shook hands with audiences. However I guess the seats that we got were cheaper than the ground and those on the left, so we didn’t have the chance to shake hands with them.

Like most of Chinese weddings receptions, one of the events is “growing up with the newly weds”, i.e. a series of slideshows of the bride and groom growing up process. So Big 4 adopted this concept, and featured their babies to youngster to adults and to more current photos. Just managed to snap two of the many photos they showed that night.

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With the most colourful and vibrant outfits, Big 4 ended the concert with 愛莫能助, a song composed by Mark Lui and lyrics by Wyman Wong 黃偉文.


Overall, I enjoyed the concert thoroughly. There was no dead air at any moment in time throughout the night. If I had  to fork out my money to buy the tickets, Big 4 concert is definitely worth it than Eason Chan.

Categories: Concert, Hong Kong Artists, Life | 2 Comments

What can you do with a 5-pence?

What can you do with a 5 pence? Not much I think. You can’t even buy anything with just a 10 pence nowadays. But Sharon Palazzo, a speaker of a seminar I attended yesterday, who is also the Managing Director of Managing My Career (, managed to find a good use of a 5 pence. The topic of the seminar was “Career Plan in Five Simple Steps”.
This is the first free seminar I attended “paid” by the speaker at the end of the talk. She gave each of us a 5 pence! Whilst the nominal value is somewhat low, the meaning behind her gesture is definitely priceless! It is the main point or gist of her talk that she wants us to imprint in us after we walked out from that room. In fact, it is a very powerful and impactful small gesture left a big print in me.
So what is the message that she wants us to remember? She is using the abbreviation of 5 pence, i.e. 5 Ps. Not the 5 Ps marketing theory, but 5 Ps in career planning.

“Perfect Planning Prevent Poor Performance!”

“Planning” is not a foreign theory to most of us, we may plan our journey on a daily basis, plan what we are going to do in our job, plan what we are going to eat, plan our wedding, plan our holiday, etc. But how many of us plan our career? I planned my career based on what I don’t want to do. I use the elimination method rather than selection. For example, when I did my internship as an external auditor with one of the accounting practices, Deloitte, more than 10 years ago, I ended the internship with a conclusion that I don’t want to be an external auditor. At that point, I was already doubting myself whether Accountancy is something I want to do for life. So after graduation, instead of planning what career I want to do, I followed the usual route most of accounting graduates would do. Apply Big 5, the top five accounting practices, i.e PwC, KPMG, E&Y, Arthur Andersen (prior to the collapse) and Deloitte. I managed to secure myself in PwC, but absolutely had no idea what I was going to do. It wasn’t external audit for sure, but somehow I was mesmerised by the job nature, in particular the investigation. So I joined without any clarity what exactly the job entails. But after 1.5 years, I started to doubt myself again whether this is really something I want to do. And so I left and since, I jumped from one company to another, but never far from what my I did in my first job. That is my comfort zone.

So I never really plan my career based on what I want to do. I discard what industries I don’t want to do. There are some points that I did choose what I want to, such as international travelling in my job. But I realised I didn’t enjoy the travelling as much as I thought I like to. Perhaps age is catching up, or my priority has changed. Or maybe because I have managed to achieve this dream of travelling even prior to landing myself with such a job.

The key messages that I carried away with me yesterday after the seminar are:

a) Career planning is not just about planning what I want to do, or where I want to see myself in 5 years time. It is a process of stock-taking of what skills I have, what experience I have, what I enjoy doing or what motivates and encourages me, and where my self-satisfaction comes from. She has given us some series of thought provoking questions. Some of the questions are asked during interviews, which I normally don’t take it too seriously and answered based on the standard answers or what the interviewers may be looking to hear. In another words, I didn’t answer the question from my own perspective.

b) Writing it down will not only remind me of what I enjoy doing, but also helps me to keep track where I am and what is my next step. It is useful to avoid waking up every day and wondering what I should do for that day. And day by day basis, I am sure I will be so demotivated to wake up clueless of what my plan for the day !

c) I am on the right track. For the last few weeks, I was doubting too about this decision. I almost want to go back to my comfort zone, i.e. what I have been doing for the last 10 years. And repeat the cycle again and resign every 2 years. As I mentioned in my last post, What’s Next! , I am ashamed of myself for jumping from one job to another. Every time I reach that peak and have the urge to resign, I’ll think about the interview cycle and have to explain myself why I moved from job to another for the last 10 years, I then dreaded the thought of resigning. Yet, I suffer internally wanting to get out of the job. Surely this is not healthy for me and I channel it incorrectly to people around me. Going back to comfort zone, means that I won’t feel motivated and definitely worthless. Sharon advised us to always stretch ourselves, i.e. move out of that comfort zone, take a baby step. Just stretch yourself 10% or 20% at most. Do not chew what you can take. Do not take an elephant step. Start small, and does not always have to think of that final destination. Enjoy the scenery on the way.

d) Finally, it is ok to change career! In fact, there is a survey that on an average, there are people who have 3-4 different careers in life. Obviously the question is whether you are willing to start from scratch again. Whether you are willing to drop from earning at the top or mid-tiered salary to the rock bottom again. If you can pass this psychologically, you may even have 10 careers in life! I attended another seminar about clinical psychology as a career the other day. Whilst I know that I won’t be in that field, but I am happy to learn that one of the speakers who is doing a doctorate in clinical psychology with NHS, has done all sorts of different jobs for the last 10 years. He is a psychology undergraduate but he never really got into this field until 15 years later. He has been to South America to teach English to less fortunate children, he has been a DJ, he has done some sales and marketing job, etc. But these experiences that he has had equipped him with all sorts of skills and life experience. In fact during that talk, most of the psychologists who delivered their speech are so uptight and to a certain extent, boring, but only this speaker with different life experience have managed to crack laughter from the floor. I don’t want to be that uptight bunch of psychologists and I definitely don’t see myself being a clinical psychologist. (Note, I am considering of taking psychology course based on my interest and one of the things that I want to study when I was younger back then. I am still assessing whether I still want to do psychology.)

e) Note that in (d) above, I am again using the elimination method to choose what I want to do. Interesting enough, Sharon pointed out yesterday to avoid using any negative connotation. I.e. what I DON’T WANT to see myself to be like, because our brain will then applies the reverse psychology method. What you don’t want to see yourself in will end up seeing yourself in. For example, I don’t want to be like that person, because he/ she is miserable. So more often than not, we will be acting like that person. True or false? I am not sure, but I think the idea is to channel some positive thinking in your mind rather than negative.

f) Finally talk about your plan. Like my younger brother’s advice on my Facebook, talk about your plan. Tell people about your plan. Let people question you and then only you can realise where your plan needs more tweaking or readjustment. Preferably find a mentor who has been through what you want to go through and give you the right direction and idea. Now where to find this mentor? I am still searching.

One last thing I learnt yesterday, in fact a very valuable lesson for me is, I have not thought thoroughly of my plan. Well I have a very vague idea of what I want to do, but I haven’t started to write it down, plan in detail and thought about how to sell it or myself. I may have found some business yesterday but I blew it away because I didn’t expect to “sell” myself in that manner. Opportunity may have slipped but I am going to re-think my objective of attending networking session in the future.

Until then I will continue to refine my plan, refine my strategy and soul searching!

Categories: Career, Life | 2 Comments

What’s next?

I have recently resigned from my decent paying job and I have been out of job for almost 2 months now. My husband also resigned and so both of us were out of job at the same time without any jobs lined up. The first reaction or question that we got was “shocked” followed by a “wow” or “how daring you two are!”. Over times, I will receive questions such as “so what is the plan? What are you going to do? Have you decided..?” questions.

I am overwhelmed with so many caring friends around me. I think being a typical Asian, we tend to think that we have to work in order to survive. We may be working in a similar profession and industry for the rest of our life and changing a career or profession, or even industry is something that we would like to do but normally would not do. 

I am blessed that I can survive without any income, well for a short period of time which I have no idea for how long. Though my husband is back to work.

I learnt that working is not just about earning monies, but also to keep our sanity in this social. I do spend a lot of time on my own these few weeks at home, but that doesn’t mean I only sit at home twiddling my fingers. I am taking this opportunity to do some searching, read books that I normally don’t have the energy or will to do so. I also have the opportunity to write, like I am now, writing blogs that I have always wanted to do, regardless of whether it is being read by many people or just one or two souls.

I also want to take this opportunity to find my directions, and most importantly get to know myself more. In the meantime, I try to connect the world outside of my professions and career. I have been in London for 5 years now, but my social network is limited to my ex colleagues and friends from Malaysia. We are one way or another have similar background and I am really keen to get to know someone outside of my circle. For example, we are mainly from employment background, and I don’t have any other friends in London who are self-employed or into business. This is something that I aim to explore and expose myself to.

Yes, monies will always be a question that I can’t avoid to think of. So I am trying to see how I can maintain balance between earning adequate money and at the same time opportunity to explore my second or even third lives. I have been to interview(s) for my own profession, readjusting my priorities in terms of the criteria of the jobs, to working a format that hopefully will suit my future pursuits.

One thing I realise in this period of time is I enjoy learning new things. I don’t need and don’t aspire to be on top of that career ladder. In fact I just can’t see myself sitting on top of that steps. That doesn’t give me any motivation or satisfaction. I do enjoy being an expert into something, and so I’ll work on to master in something. That something I am still exploring. I don’t think I will stop on that one thing. It will be few “things”.

When I decided to resign without any jobs, I am worried that I won’t be able to get another job. Yes I do worry. Not because I am doubting my ability or experience, but more of the fact that I can’t commit to one job. My longest history of employment was 3.5 years and that I consider way too long. And my shortest employment is 4 months! At one point, I felt ashamed of this and as a result, reluctant to explain why I changed job so frequently. But this is also the main reason I wanted to stop and do some soul searching as no matter how good or bad the job or the company is, I won’t stay for long. It is a personal issue or rather my personal trait.

I finally realised that I love to learn and once I think there is little personal development for me, I’ll want to stop and move on. Or rather, I like to stop, take a pause and do some reflection in order to think of what I have learnt in my last employment. So I wouldn’t mind to go back to the previous employer(s) as I know that I will learn something along the lines but at one point, I will leave again.

That is just me. And I do want to see myself change to another career, something completely different to what I  have done for the last 10 years. I don’t aspire to be a rich or successful measured by how much you earn per year or how high you are in that corporate ladder. I measure my success by how happy and satisfied I am in what I do in my life.

Thank you for those who concerned about my future or what I am going to do next. I will definitely update you once I have my decision. But it won’t be my finite decision as life is a journey and I am learning to enjoy the views and moments for every step I take.

Categories: Life | 8 Comments

Shoryu Ramen – A Hakata Tonkotsu Ramen Specialist

I went out with my high school friend, Cathy, who is also my regular hangout mate in London, last Thurs to register as an election voter for our home country. She suggested after the registration we should go to a newly opened Japanese restaurant in London, which she found out on an article in a newspaper few days ago. What captured her attention was the broth. The broth is not only cooked with pork bones, but also with an added and to some, perhaps an unusual ingredient, pig heads with brains intact. Accordingly, brains will melt in the soup and hence thicken the broth further. I tried to look online for quotation of this claim, but failed to do so. So I think I’ll just keep it as pork bones broth.

When I first looked at the menu, everything seems to end with tonkatsu. However a second look at the menu, I realised that it is actually tonkotsu, with an “o” between k and t istead of an “a”. Tonkotsu is broth made with pork bones. On the menu, there is an introduction of where Hakata is and the main selling point of this restaurant and noodles.

Hakata is a district in Fukuoka City, and Japanese centre has purposely hired a chef from the region to bring authentic Hakata tonkotsu taste to London. Well I wouldn’t know if that is indeed the authentic taste of Fukuoka as the ingredients would be sourced locally if freshness is one of their top agenda.  However the fact that they bring in a chef who is borned and raised in Hakata would definitely be able to maintain the authenticity of the taste. So despite the fact that I haven’t been to Hakata, I can only use the ruler of my usual taste preference as an Ipoh girl and some knowledge from my passion for cooking.

The drink

Let’s start with the drink we ordered, i.e. soba cha tea or buckwheat tea. A decaffeinated tea, served in a pot with 2 small oriental tea cups. Just the way how I like my tea instead of teabag in a cup. The teapot is interesting, almost like chinese pot to boil chinees medicine or herbs.


I am also curious as to what exactly buckwheat tea looks like, and so here’s a picture of what is inside the tea pot. It is indeed a pot full of buckwheat instead of the normal tea leaves.

The first sip was almost like eating buckwheat, nutty and wheaty yet aromatic. It reminds me of brown rice tea, less the roasting taste. Overall I prefer buckwheat than brown rice tea.


The starter

We agreed to order Kimchi as our starter/ side dish, however I was speechless for few seconds when I ordered this. I didn’t expect to be asked wehther I would like to have just kimchi as topping or served with tofu. And Cathy has stepped away to the ladies. So, considering that Cathy is pregnant and requires calcium, so I took the liberty to order with tofu. Which I am glad I did so as I never thought of combining these two delightful dishes. The tofu is soft and full of soya taste , though bland in taste, it just goes perfectly well with the spicy kimchi. The kimchi is slightly skewered towards the salty radar rather than sour but again it marries well with the bland but aromatic tofu. Though I am quite happy to just eat the tofu.

On the menu, you can find this under side dishes/ starter as Kimchi Kinugoshi Tofu sold at £4.50 per serving. Kimchi as topping is sold at £2.50 per serving, which can be found under Extra Topping on the menu.


The mains

While we were happily tucking away in our starter, soon the first main dish was served (although the waiter did make a mistake by serving us two bowls of Dracula Tonkotsu). Cathy ordered Shoryu signature ramen, i.e. Shoryu Ganso Tonkotsu whilst I ordered its recommended Dracula Tonkotsu.


Shoryu Ganso Tonkotsu, as narrated on the menu, is ramen in tonkotsu and miso broth, with added spinach and garlic. From my experience of boiling pork bones soup, I roughly know what to expect, at least the colour of the broth. So the first look of the colour of broth didn’t surprise me, i.e. milky white. I couldn’t wait to taste the broth to determine whether is is boiled with a lot of pork bones or just enhanced with MSG. The colour test has passed, milky white to be concluded that it is boiled with a lot of bones and that other secret ingredients. The next test would be the taste. I was expecting heavy pork smell as I do find that porks in England has some smell that I don’t find it in Malaysia pork. I can’t quite describe how is that different to Malaysia pork but I supposed it lies in the food they eat.

The taste of this broth is totally different to the soup I made using just pork bones I bought from Chinese or local supermarkets. It doesn’t have that distinctive smell and taste I found in porks sold in England. And unlike pork noodles soup I had in Malaysia, this broth is sweeter and to be honest, I am more than happy to just drink the broth than eating the noodle. Most of Malaysian pork noodles soup are heavy handed with MSG and since I have lived in England, I can’t drink the soup of any soup-based noodle anymore. Otherwise, I find myself full by drinking water before I can finish my bowl of noodles. Or my tongue will be numb by too much MSG. That will also be the ultimate test of this tonkotsu ramen.

We have also unwillingly opted out the half boiled egg since I don’t take runny yolks and Cathy is not supposed to eat anything that is raw or half cooked. We tried to convince the waitress to hard-boil the eggs, but she refused to as the eggs are pre-cooked, and they can’t change it.

Now my order of Dracula Tonkotsu, it looks somewhat similar to the signature dish. From the first glance, the only difference seems to be the pickled ginger, the pinkish-purplish strips on top of the noodle. The colour of the broth is somewhat similar to Ganso tonkotsu, creamy white broth. The dish is further apart when we took the first taste of the broth.


Whilst Ganso tonkotsu is sweet from the pork bones, Dracula Tonkotsu is slightly sourish. My best bet was because of the pickled ginger. A read of the menu again “deep roasted tones from caramelised black garlic mayu, balsamic vinegar and garlic chips”. So the sourish taste of the broth is more than just pickled ginger but also balsamic vinegar. It definitey suits my tastebud than Ganso tonkotsu as the sourish taste cut through the heavy milky broth and it makes me want to drink more and more of the broth. Again I am happy to just drink the soup than eating the noodles.

Another difference both Cathy and I noted was the cuts of the porks served in the noodles. In the Dracula tonkotsu, each slice of pork consists of 5 layers of meat and fat. I think it is pork belly. As for Ganso tonkotsu, we noted that only 10% of the pork is fat and the rest is meat. It must be either pork shoulder or loin to go with the dish. I will definitely validate this in my next visit to Shoryu Ramen. Accordingly those who knows how to eat will appreciate the 5 layers of meat and fat, however as I am conscious of my waste line, to certain extent, I only ate the meat layer, leaving the fat layers on a side plate. I can hear “tsk, tsk, tsk” upon reading the last sentence!

The ramen noodles – well I am not an expert in ramen noodles, however I was expecting someting more springy or al-dente. The noodles are rather soft and “doughier” than I would like my noodle to be. This makes me want to drink the soup only rather than eating the noodle.

Here’s a another snapshot of what have been served on our table:


The dessert

We ended our lunch with a slice of Cheese Soufle Cake. It is cheesecake ultimately and it is light and fluffy, just what you would have expected for a souffle texture. I however was quite full and conscious that I shouldn’t take too much dairy based food, so I let Cathy finished the cake. She on the other hand, needs a lot of calcium for herself and baby in her tummy. I have forgotten to take a picture of the cake as when it was served, I was on the phone and Cathy couldn’t wait for me and helped herself to it.

How to get there:

The restaurant is tucked in the heart of London strategically by the Piccadilly Circus Station, exit number 3, if my memory serves me right. It should be the exit opposite LilyWhite, the big digital advertisement boad, and you should be able to see a Pizza Hut upon exiting the underground station. There is also a Tesco along the way and it is actually located in between The Flight Centre and Ryman Stationery shop. The predecessor of this restaurant was a Spanish Tapas restaurant. There is also map on the website and it is quite accurate.  All you have to do is to look up for no 9!

The Final Test

Well, as mentioned, I am particular with food seasoned with MSG. A hint of it will leave my mouth taste funny wanting to drink water. So does Shoryu Ramen pass the test? I didn’t verify with the chefs or anyone who works in the restaurant but only relying on my tongue. After finishing my bowl of Dracula Tonkotsu, it first left my mouth with garlic taste, as it is with garlic chips. Brilliant! Then I did feel the urge wanting to drink water, probably about 10-15 mins after finished my bowl of noodle. It is the thirst due to MSG. So I think they do put MSG in the broth but not a lot.

Will I go back and eat again? I will but not for the same dish anymore. I am curious of the Fire and Ice Salmon Tsukemen and there are other questions as mentioned above, that I would like to ask the waitresses or waiters to validate my guesses.I just hope they wouldn’t mind to give me an answer!

Categories: Food, Japanese, London | Tags: , | 4 Comments

Chocolate Marble Cake


A friend gave me a bear silicone bake ware sometime last year and I didn’t have the chance to use it till today when I have this funny cake craving. Perhaps my deliberate weight loss diet has left me hanging without adequate sugar. And so with the remaining butter I have, I decided to bake marbled chocolate cake.

I somehow did something very awful to the bear by decorating it with few walnuts and some strawberry jam on the body, thinking it will add a bit of colour to it. Well I need to work a lot more on my artistry skill. Anyhow, the cake is moist and delicious! I hope substance will win over the form! I’ll try to decorate it better next time. In the meantime, enjoy the recipe, it is easy to bake!


200g butter

200g caster sugar

200g self raising flour

4 eggs

1 vanilla pod

1.5 tbsp chocolate powder (cooking or drinking)


1. Heat the oven to 180 degree celcius. I used a silicone bake ware given by a friend instead of the normal cake tin. It is easy to use and I didn’t have to line the baking or parchment paper.

2. Cream the butter and sugar together and mix well. Add one egg at a time and mix with the batter till smooth. Once all eggs are added, sift flour bit by bit to the batter and fold.

3. Divide the batter into 2 portions. Mix one portion with chocolate powder. I also added a drop of Irish Coffee Liquor. Add either vanilla seeds or vanilla essence to the other portion.

4. Scoop one spoon of the chocolate batter to the silicone bake ware and then followed by the vanilla portion and repeat this till batters in both portions are used up.

5. Tap the bottom of the bake ware to ensure all air bubbles are released and use a spoon or sticks to stir the batter a bit to create that marbled effect. But do not mix it, otherwise, the batter will become all chocolatey.

6. Finally bake the batter, for about 30-45 mins, or use a stick and insert to the centre of the cake. If it is cooked, the stick will come out without any sign of batter. Else, let it continue to bake till the same the stick comes out clean from the centre of the cake.

7. Turn off the oven once it is cooked and let it cool on a cooling rack.

Categories: Recipe | 4 Comments

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