Saturday, September 30, 2017

TV in bed

I just found out that there are these beds upholstered with a television at the footboard, and I am here trying to stop myself from watching too much TV. 

I am fasting from TV for one month. Will I last?


Friday, September 29, 2017

Grand Imperial in Pavilion Elite

I was with my family for dinner today and we were at Grand Imperial Pavilion Elite. 

Here we are, my sister-in-law, niece, dad and mom:

We went there because I happen to have RM200 worth of vouchers that are about the expire. So we made it a trip there this evening. 

This Grand Imperial restaurant specializes in hot pot and barbecues. But we decided not to have either and settled for some appetizers, 拉面 lā miàn and dessert. 

The appetizers were fantastic: Jelly Fish with Wasabi and Preserved Radish and Chilled Sliced Drunken Chicken. 

We also ordered two servings of Baked Button Mushrooms with Truffles but with me being not very photograph centric, forgot to take pictures. All I did was salivate at the yummy looking mushrooms topped with truffles. 

We ordered several types of 拉面 lā miàn but the best was this: La Mian Soup with Peanut Paste

I have not eaten so much in a long, long time. I am feeling so stuffed I shall fast tomorrow. 


Thursday, September 28, 2017

Company Annual Dinner Themes

I spent the afternoon today meeting up with an employee engagement committee at work discussing about our coming annual dinner. 

So far we have had themes like Glitz and Glamour, Movies Night, and Rock It Out. 

What other interesting annual themes are there, other than the usual boring ones like masquerade, under the sea, and futuristic ones. 

Any ideas?


Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Seminar and conferences in Bangsar South

I seem to be having frequent meetings in Bangsar South lately and I find it a very nice and good venue for seminars and conferences. 

I attended a meeting today hosted by HRDF in this meeting room. 

Doesn't it look grand and impressive. Ok, maybe I'm a little bit conventional preferring things that are old fashioned. 

But of course more importantly, it was a good meeting and I met several very nice people. 


Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Selfish road users

I went to Ikea Cheras for lunch today and this is a rare thing as I usually don't drive out for lunch but have it at my place of work. 

I wish I hadn't. 

While entering the carpark, I took the parking ticket and before I could enter, a motorbike went ahead of me and with that the bar or the boom barrier hit my car twice while I was trying to drive in, denting it. 

I spent the whole afternoon and evening meeting more than 8 people from the carpark management and from Ikea as well as the police to get it all reported and documented. 

I wish I stayed in for lunch, like always. 


Monday, September 25, 2017

What time do you sleep every night?

I left my iPad in the office and with no entertainment, I went to sleep at 9:30! That is rare for one who usually sleeps at 12am. 


Sunday, September 24, 2017

I'm finding it so hard to read lately

I found that I have a very short attention span lately. I have tried to read but I could not stay with it. 

When I check my Goodreads record, the last time I finished a book was on 4 August: almost two months have passed and since then I wasn't able to read anymore. 

I did try to read two or three books but found them either uninteresting or hard to read. 

This is not good. 

Therefore, I made a decision today not to watch TV, which is also a reason why I am lagging behind in my reading, and read a book. 

But I need one that can hold my interest, especially now since I get bored much faster.

I decided on this one:

Sold on Language: How Advertisers Talk to You & What This Says About You
by Julie Sedivy and Greg Carlson

It is a good choice. When the day is done, I've already read a third of it and it does have some very interesting points, facts and hypotheses. 

I will blog a review of it when I finish it. There...I've committed myself to finish it, therefore I must. 


Friday, September 22, 2017

Would you like eggs in your coffee?

My colleague Jason invited us to his house for barbecue today and it was nice to meet up and catch up with one another casually. 

The food was great, especially his family's special roasted duck that they have been selling for many years. 

I also offered Jason to make egg coffee for anyone who is interested. 

I first had it when I was in Hanoi in 2012 and it was awesome. I had my first cup in Pho Co Cafe:

The next place I had it was in Giang Cafe...

...which looked better and tasted much better too. 

And I tried making it myself, which isn't too bad. 

Only Jason and a few of his friends tried it and they loved it. I guess the rest balked at the suggestion of having eggs in their coffee. 

Would you like a cup?


Thursday, September 21, 2017

Chinese Reading Material

I feel that in order to progress in my Mandarin, other than gathering the guts to just speak it, which I am still not doing, is to get some reading materials. 

I found out about these Mandarin Companion books but they cost about RM16-20 per copy. 

But before I start spending, I thought it'd be good if I could find some free online first, which I did here: Short Stories in Just Learn Chinese

Let me know if you know of any other online resources. 

I need to be disciplined (which I am not not!) to read often enough to improve my reading speed. I find myself reading too slowly. 

I need more time in a day, but who doesn't. 


Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Does psychological safety exist in your workplace?

I find this an interesting topic and something leaders of all organisations should look into and make it possible in the workplace. 

Google has apparently spent two years studying 180 teams and the most successful ones shared these five traits: dependability, structure and clarity, meaning, impact and psychological safety. 

I found this TedTalk that I think it a very good introduction to the topic. 

Psychological safety is defined as a belief that one will not be punished or humiliated for speaking up with ideas, questions, concerns, or mistakes. 

The speaker Amy Edmondson highlights that nobody wants to come to work to look ignorant, incompetent, intrusive or negative. 

And when you don't want to look ignorant, don't ask questions; don't want to look incompetent, don't admit weakness or mistakes; don't want to look intrusive, don't offer ideas; and don't want to look negative, don't critique the status quo. 

I remember the first day I turned up for work in a consultant firm. Being new, I had a lot of questions. I remembered this so clearly in my mind - I asked a question. I am not sure if I was given an answer but the look on the person's face was one of contempt. 

And from that moment on, I clamped up. I never spoke or ask anything without first thinking or checking first - thank God for the Internet and Google. 

The sad thing is in doing so, we rob ourselves and the people around us precious moments of learning. 

Psychological safety may not readily be a culture in your organization, but I feel that it should at least start with us, with the teams we are leading and working in. 

Make it safe. 


Sunday, September 17, 2017

Dinner out with colleagues

I was chatting with one of my Korean friends when she was so very surprised that I seldom go out for dinners with my colleagues. 

I find that quite interesting in the different work culture that we have, that it is such a norm for her and something rare for me. 

We went to Ijok today for seafood and it was a pleasant evening with lots of food and laughter. 

Only one thing missing - no liquor! LOL


Saturday, September 16, 2017

Miss Granny (2014) and 20 Once Again (2015) ★★★★★

I was recommended the Korean movie Miss Granny and since I'm in a movie mood today, I decided to watch it. 

And I loved it! Very, very much.

Miss Granny 수상한그녀 (2014)

The movie touches on the theme of getting old and how the older generation is being usually treated by family and people at large. 

The story is about a 74-year old woman who magically finds herself in her 20-year old self after having her picture taken in a mysterious photo studio. It is comical and amusing to watch a 20-year old woman with the behaviour of a 74-year old. The actress Shim Eun-kyung brings it out very well. 

I loved the movie so much that when I found out that they remade it in a Taiwanese version, I watched it too! I loved the feeling of watching the same thing with a different "original" language if you know what I mean. 

Miss Granny / 20 Once Again 重返20岁 (2015)

It was also interesting to watch the small variances in the movies because of the different cultures in the two countries, albeit both being Asian. 

For example firstly, it goes without saying that there were more drinking scenes in the Korean one. 

Secondly, the protagonist had to sleep in the street in Taiwan whilst in Korea, she had the convenience of a 찜질방 jjimjilbang or spa. 

Thirdly, there were more hugging, kissing (on the forehead for this one) and butt-smacking(!) in the Korean version. 

And I may be wrong but from these movies, I may be able to conclude that the Chinese are more sensitive to the subject of death than the Korean. The Korean granny dreamt of her own funeral with her family rejoicing thinking she was dead whilst the Chinese granny dreamt of them fighting over her bedroom now that she is gone. 

Small differences but noticeable ones. 

And I found the cinematography in the Taiwanese version a much grander one. 

This is the Korean version when the grandmother was waiting at the bus stop. 

And here is the Taiwanese one. Doesn't it look richer in tone?
Look at also how it pays tribute to the original movie in the backdrop of the bus stop - 수상한그녀 or Miss Granny. 

The inside of the supposedly mysterious photo studio wasn't that impressive here...

...but look at how grand it was in the Mandarin version. Reminds me of Hogwarts!

And one more thing, I also noticed that in the Taiwanese version, which I also just realized in other Mandarin movies, the sound is different. I find that they seem to use a lot of "space" in the sound when they are speaking to create something like a 3D effect when you listen as you watch. I am not so sure how else to describe it. What do you think?

As for the acting, both the younger actresses brought out the character of an older lady quite well. 

The Taiwanese one is more refined in the older character, and so the younger version of her was quite normal in behaviour, except that I cannot accept how an older soul can pick up a modern tempo song so quickly, if you know how crazily syncopated modern songs are these days compared to older songs let alone golden oldies. 

The Korean older character was not as refined and it was certainly brought out very well by the younger actress where she does make you believe she is not 20 but 74 years old. I think Shim Eun-kyung portrayed it much better than Yang Zishan. As for singing modern songs, the same goes here except it's just the last song in this movie, it's so modern and syncopated it'd take an old soul forever to get into the groove. 

And maybe it's just me but I prefer the Korean song choices to the Mandarin ones. 


Friday, September 15, 2017

Every life is a pile of good things and bad things

I have a few favourite movies and TV episodes I go back to once in awhile like they are old friends.

This is one of them, one of my most favourite TV episodes ever. I have blogged about it before and I would like pay tribute to it again. 

Vincent and the Doctor (2010)
Starring Matt Smith, Karen Gillan, Tony Curran and Bill Nighy

I love the colours, the emotions, the warmth, the art and even the pain of the story, it's just so fantastic. Tony Curran gave a brilliant portrayal of Vincent Van Gogh and Bill Nighy was precious as an uppity art expert. 

Watching this makes me happy, and it makes me sad at the same time, very much like what life is about sometimes. 

And this is my all-time favourite TV lines: "Every life is a pile of good things and bad things. Good things don't always soften the bad things but vice versa the bad things don't necessarily spoil the good things and make them unimportant."

"We definitely added to his pile of good things."

Have you added to anyone's pile of good things lately?


Thursday, September 14, 2017

7 Habits Facilitator Enhancement Seminar

I was invited to attend a 7 Habits Facilitator Enhancement seminar today and I am glad I attended it. Even though the day was long, I had a lot of takeaways from the speakers. 

But the most important thing I have time and again being reminded of is this one thing: it all stems from the CEO. Whatever director or tune or culture of the company, the business, it's the CEO who is spearheading it. 

Is the message clear? Is it communicated? Is everyone going the same direction?


Wednesday, September 13, 2017

What to do when you reach a learning plateau?

I feel that I am reaching a plateau in my language learning and I found this article very useful: Reaching a Plateau in Language Learning – How to Get Out of It?

It says it is a common thing in whatever we set ourselves to learn, not only in languages, and it often becomes a dominant factor for one to decide to stop learning. 

And that is exactly what I am feeling at the moment and at the same time being firm with myself not to stop or else all the effort I have put in the past few months will be for nothing. 

But what can I do?

It suggests that I change the way I am learning. And so I decided to set a fixed time at night to go through the lessons with more focus. 

I tried it tonight. 

The results? It took me one and a half hours just to go through my flashcards and by the time I finished with them, I was totally exhausted. 

Maybe doing it at the end of the day may not be a good idea because when I am tired, I am not able to remember the words that should know. 

But what other time do I have? Sigh...


Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Why am I having such morbid dreams?

I think there is something wrong with me. 

I keep having vivid dreams about people dying. I had a dream a couple of nights ago about the genocide of the Rohingya people, that they were massacred and buried in a field. 

And then I had a dream about a murder crime case where the man murdered his wife drowning her in the bathroom and was about to murder his sons. 

I have not been watching news or crime dramas for the longest time but why am I having such vivid but morbid dreams?

Oh dear. 


Monday, September 11, 2017

Cantonese sentences with its 6 tones in sequence

As I moved on to the more difficult Chinese words, I find that I actually know them in Cantonese, which did surprise me. 

So I started to check them out in Cantonese as well to help learn and remember the words but I do not know how to differentiate or read the Cantonese Jyutping tones.

Time to learn!

I thought it'd be useful to have a Cantonese sentence with the 6 tones in sequence that I can use whenever I need any of the tones. I began searching for it but it was not easy to find. 

I finally found it here: Tones in Cantonese

The sentences with the tones in sequence as are follows and I'm going with the one with the meat! It is brilliant!

1. \san1 fan2 zing3 ng4 wui5 wun6\   
card does not need to be renewed 

2. \zu1 pa2 pui3 ngao4 nam5 faan6\   

Pork chop with beef belly rice

 3. \syu1 zo2 kui3 ng4 pa5 jing6\   

Defeated, he is not afraid to admit. 

4. \gaau1 cin2 hoei3 hang4 zing5 bo6\   

Pay (money please) go to the administrative office  

A musical score is even provided!

But when I tried playing the tune/tones in my keyboard, they don't really match. It's close but I don't think the last note for the 6th tone is the right one. I tried to find the right note but it seems to be in between notes. 

What do you think?


Sunday, September 10, 2017

Korean Friend in KL

One of my Korean friends, Chris 감상호씨 came over from Seoul to Kuala Lumpur for a holiday with his dad and I met up with them this evening.

I make quite a number of connections with language partners via, but only few of them remain as friends. From the 40 over people whom I've connected with, I only have 4 of them I'm still connecting with on an almost daily basis as we text in the languages we want to learn, and Chris is one of them. 

First, he wanted to go visit the Blue Mosque in Shah Alam and so we were there. 

Then I brought them to Fatty Crab and the line was long, and it was only 5:45pm. 

A must-have wefie...

...and we were finally seated waiting for our crabs. 

Fatty Crab's popular sour spicy crabs, which was delicious but for me, it wasn't as good as before. 

The steam prawns were really fresh and good. 

We then finished off with a walk in the night market in the street just next to Fatty Crab. 

A nice and pleasant but warm evening indeed. 

And the queue at Fatty Crab got longer when we left the area at 8pm. 


Saturday, September 09, 2017

Learning a language in 90 days? How I wish!

My Korean friend, 김형래씨, shared this video with me and I don't know whether to feel discouraged or encouraged!

After spending 90 days learning Korean, this Canadian can converse so very easily in it. And he speaks excellent Mandarin too! He totally wowed me. 

I don't know whether to feel encouraged or discouraged because even though I've learnt it for a much longer time, I can't converse in it at all like him. 

But I console myself that he probably spent 90 full-time days learning it and with his 9 years immersed in Japan, he would have excelled in the language as well, which will contribute to his ease in the learning of the Korean language. 

But his four tips are useful:

1. Have fun - I've already noted this many times over from the other videos and articles about language learning and it is very true. If you don't find it fun, it means you had better look for some other languages or something else to learn. 

2. Believe you can do it - I need to always remind myself that I can do it. I used to think I will never ever learn to read and write Mandarin but with my progress over the last few months, I am very encouraged and I finally believe I can do it. But now I have to work on my speaking part: to just get out of my shell and speak it!

3. Invest your time - oh, don't I know this. This same Korean friend actually asked me what other languages I would like to learn. I told him I find Spanish really cool and would love to learn and speak it but I don't have the time! I am already trying to learn two languages right now. And tough ones to boot. 

4. Don't worry about making progress - this is useful for me. I think I have hit a plateau at the moment and I don't feel like I am progressing at all. I even feel that I am deteriorating. But I mustn't worry about progress but to just carry on learning. 

But no, not in 90 days.

From the moment I began in January this year, I have told myself I'd see where I'd be at the end of the year. And now that it's September, I would like to see where my progress is at the end of 2018 and then decide what I will do after. 

加油! 화이팅!


Friday, September 08, 2017

Working with Excel and PowerPoint - wish it was easier

I used to have fun using a lot of Excel in my consulting days but not anymore and so when I get the chance to do analysis and to come up with graphs and charts, I really have fun doing it. 

Only that I wished I had access to Think-Cell and come up with graphs and charts that looks great and make sense. 

Sometimes I really wish Microsoft would put a little more mind to it and make it its Excel and PowerPoint more connected and easier to work with together, rather than just a copy and paste from Excel to PowerPoint. 

That is what Think-Cell does, but sadly it's an expensive add-on. 


Thursday, September 07, 2017

Why can't I speak the Mandarin I'm learning

In my current effort to learn Mandarin, or Korean for that matter, I find that it's easier for me to read and text (I can't really write Chinese yet!) than to speak. 

When I previously took the Miracles of Human Language in Coursera, I found that speaking and writing uses different parts of the brain. 

In the recent weeks, I have been trying to engage with an elderly church member. She loves to hold my hand and smile at me and she tells me about her daughter who is always busy serving in the church. 

Last week, she went a little further and asked me a question desiring to start a dialogue with me, in Mandarin. 

I was stuck. 

I began cracking my brain looking for the words and grammar rules to form a sentence to reply her which I barely succeeded. 

I began to wonder why and remembered what I learnt in Coursera. It felt different when I want to speak and when I want to text. 

Yes, wanting to read or text and wanting to speak really felt different to me. Probably it is all because I'm trying to work different parts of my brain. 

Brenda Rapp, a professor in the Department of Cognitive Science in the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences said, "It's as though there were two quasi independent language system in the brain."

And only now do I understand my friends when they tell me they studied English in school and passed their exams with good results but they still can't speak it. 

I didn't understand them before but now I'm experiencing exactly the same thing. I'm learning Mandarin and Korean using flashcards and podcasts, but I don't speak Mandarin even though I have people to speak it with here and I don't speak Korean because I don't have anyone to speak it with. 

I find it easier to text in both Mandarin and Korean, with a little help from Google Translate of course, but when I want to speak, I'm always stuck. 

I need to start speaking and exercise that speaking part of my brain more, which at the moment is still swimming with the English language and a fair bit of Cantonese. 


Wednesday, September 06, 2017

Can sleep debt be repaid?

I slept very late two nights ago and with only 4 hours of sleep, I know I am going to regret it the next day. 

Which was exactly how I felt yesterday. The morning went by as usual and I was able to function as normal but come late afternoon, I was feeling horrible.

I was already getting a headache and the back of my neck was also aching badly. I had some work to complete and thankfully I did finish it but I did it all in a daze. 

When I was on my way back, I remember praying that I will have a safe drive home. I nearly got into an accident as I didn't realize the lights had turned red!

Now I am beginning to realize that it is really a bad idea and I need to put a firm rule for myself not to sleep late.

Thankfully I got home safely and dropped off to sleep at 9:30pm. What more, I had a training to do the next day. But did I pay back the so-called sleep debt?

I have read a bit here and there about it, whether it can be repaid but I think the science is not yet conclusive about it. 

But I think the current view is that you can't really repay sleep debt and that even though you've replenished the hours, your attention span does not return to baseline and it can become dangerous. 

Which was what happened this morning. I am usually quite attentive when I drive but I didn't notice the car in front of me stopping. Thankfully, it's a practice that I drive with a good distance between cars and I managed to brake in time without collision. 

Phew! Thank God. No more late nights for me. 

I found this article, though not a new one, quite informative: The Good and Bad New About Your Sleep Debt


Monday, September 04, 2017

AI will soon wipe out most jobs

Still on the subject of Artificial Intelligence, my hubby also sent me this article: AI is going to replace retail workers sooner than you think

He has been telling me over the year that AI will soon take over all jobs. I asked him how soon he thinks it will happen. He said no one is yet predicting the time but we see that it is already happening and when it does, it will grow exponentially and in no time at all, jobs will become extinct. 

I am sure you have seen this Amazon video published early this year on their Amazon Go store with the Just Walk Out Technology. 

I remember thinking how revolutionary and how almost impossible it is but with the AI talk I have been hearing for the past few months, it will soon become a norm. 

And then we will not be able to imagine how we will ever survive without AI the same way we can never imagine how life would be without the photostating marchine and how impossible it would be without our smartphones. 


Sunday, September 03, 2017

McDonald's Cafe Latte is pretty decent

I don't drink too much coffee but I have been taking a tad much lately with the recent Starbucks Monday and Tuesday deals, which sometimes can go as much as 50% off. 

I was waiting for my son to finish his youth session today and so my hubby and I killed time in McDonald's McCafe. Its coffee is pretty decent. 


Saturday, September 02, 2017

Jobs that are dying and growing

My hubby has been talking to me a lot about Artificial Intelligence since a year ago, and now it keeps coming up in the news and conversations as well. 

He sent me this interesting video about 6 jobs that are dying in Singapore. I couldn't find the video in YouTube and so I'm uploading here clips on the 6 jobs that are dying and 6 jobs that are growing. 

What do you think?

I think it all makes sense except for F&B. Maybe just in Singapore? If you google it, you will find that F&B will not die off. It's a tough business nonetheless, many of my friends who ventured into it most have suffered failures and financial loses, but it is still a thriving business. People are cooking less these days and what more, many now has the Michelin tastebuds to want to eat celebrity food. 

But with AI, many jobs will soon vanish and I just learnt from my hubby that the more developed countries are trying out probably only solution when jobs becomes a rarity - universal pay. 

I need to find out more about this.