Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Writing is tough job, even if you know what your message is

Recently, I've been given the opportunity to write some articles for the company I'm currently working for. Embarking on this journey as a starting writer, I began to realize how difficult it is to construct professional-grade writing as it is very different than writing a blog like this. I've always thought that writing is just about the way one feels about a certain matter and how one communicates it as if he or she was speaking to another person. But I've found that there are more aspects to consider besides just getting the message out i.e. how does my message reflect me as a writer, will the readers understand what I mean, are my facts factual enough, etc.

I can construct the skeleton-structure of the article within moments, given I have the idea on the core message to relay to others. This is the easy part, and I think any seasoned writer would agree on that. Then, it comes to consideration of factors like language, readability, simplicity, purposeful and call-to-action-after-reading, This is where it gets mighty tough. One sentence may some times take what seems like forever to produce because I'm thinking and perhaps reconsidering writing it differently as I go. So, I "spit" out words on the draft with bullet points or mind-maps, to connect them much later. After spending some time doing that, now I have a cluster of words that I need to assemble into a sentence which I intended on much earlier. I don't know if I'm doing it right, but it seems to be working gradually for me. In between, I'll need to take a break, step away from my work, and to resume them when I have "fresh" eyes.

After hours of doing that, I think I might have just gotten one paragraph sorted out. Thereafter, comes more troubles - doubting the paragraph I had just produced, and the continuation to the next one. Repeat these, and before I knew it, countless hours have passed by.

In order to have something to write, one doesn't just think of an idea and produces a wonderful article. I have to ensure what I want to "say" is valid, has some facts to it and not just purely made out of my opinion or assumption. Some information may be common knowledge (e.g. drinking water is good for health), while some could be unique to certain industries or practices (e.g. consumption of RO water in long term may lead to health issues). This calls for conducting due research on the respective areas, and boy, can they be a pain at times! There's just too much information available on the Internet, and not all of them are true or accurate. I have to be very careful when reading articles and be wary of the sources of information.

At the end, I was able to put together a piece of work which I believed was ready for reviewing. It was no easy job. I had shown my draft to a few close friends, to get the initial feedback before I hand in my work to a professional. They gave me different but valuable opinions and insights on areas to improve. I had to carefully digest and reflect on their feedback. Long story short, I repeated some of the things I mentioned earlier, and another few days have passed by before I actually submitted the work.

I used to think it was easy for those who write books, especially when they have a series or sequels or both! I thought as long as one has sufficient experience and knowledge, it would be easy to write them down. Clearly, my perception is inaccurate and immature. I will now appreciate more when I read other people's work! To all the authors out there, you guys are simply amazing and thank you for sharing your stories with the world!

Thursday, 6 April 2017

I Hate Funerals

I can't say enough how much I hate funerals. I know no one likes it. But I HATE it with a Passion!

So, why do I dislike it that much that I have to repeat the word 'hate' twice? Everyone knows funerals are to honor the passing of loved one(s) and pray that he/her may be at peace where ever the after-life is. However, it messes me up on the inside and because of that, I'll have another million questions running through my head!

Emotions are stirred up, tears slowly creep up and the body reacts to the solemn music and atmosphere. I'll try to hold it in as much as I can, but each time it gets tougher to keep them all in one place without 'exploding'. Then comes questions about my own life - purpose, meaning, legacy, etc, as I hear the life stories of the deceased and reflect on them.

Another reason for my loathe towards funeral is seeing a good person being taken away. We could use one more person like that, but instead of having one more, we lost one. Yes, some people have told me that I can stand in as a "replacement" of the good guy, until another one shows up. But, I'm no good-guy quality as the deceased was. It was natural for the departed ones, but it'll take me a lot more than just wanting it. And comes the debate of doing the right thing versus doing things right.

Long story short, I really despise funeral.

Sunday, 26 March 2017

I'm A Generalist; I want to be a Specialist!

For as long as I can remember, I've been able to do so many things that catches my attention. I've tried, tested and know how certain things work (whether it's sports, scholastic, professional work, or even niche hobbies). But I hadn't had a deep interest in any of them. Thus, I only do a good job, but nothing great beyond that.

I've been a data entry clerk, waiter at a hotel, event management crew, break-dancer, rare stamps and coins collector, surveyor, sports "coach", champion school actor, runner-up rifle champion, team lead, 5-star Uber driver, volunteer at charity events, sales executive and many more. I've also slept on the streets, petrol stations and shopping malls. Why you may ask. That's a very good question actually. I guess I wanted to find out what is it that drives me to go on. Sometimes I even asked what inspires them to see if it could give me an idea.

I'm a Generalist. I had this mindset the very moment I realized that I can do anything that I set my mind to it. I developed my own methods, after much reading and learning of the current process of how things are done - applied them to my studies, work and personal life. They've been very helpful so far. However, comes the issue of my short span of interest after which I know how they work and when I find out that it's not what I want. This has been ongoing for years and years. While others are getting more focused into one (or a few areas) in work and in life, I think I'm too diversified. I believe that the reason I'm like that, may most likely be my fear of failing and that I'm doing all of this as a mere gesture of ensuring I have any general skills I need for survival purpose. Well, I think it's about time to let go of some stuff, make a decision and take a leap of faith - to be a Specialist!

On my journey to be specialist, since I'm been working as a consultant (fitting many roles, depending on the projects assigned), I'm still figuring which exact field I'd like to specialize in. I've recently completed a training with a certification (not participation ones) along with it. In addition to that, more questions have popped up in my head over the years, and it's being more specific too. I guess with more work and life experience, you'd get a better idea of the things you want or don't want. I need to also ask more experts about it, to make sure I'm on the right track as well. This transition isn't going to be an easy one! Wish me luck!

Keeping my fingers crossed!

End of Q1 2017

Man, time flies so fast, and I just realized that almost a full quarter of 2017 has just passed by! No kidding!

Looking back on things, a few things happened, and I'm glad at least I achieved a few good moments =) I've been pretty busy working on my career and at the same time ensuring that I enjoy life too. I even started a few side "quests" and can't wait to see the results of that by end of the year!

However, the question that still lies around is "Will I be able to identify my purpose in life, and what motivates me?" I know, I know, it's a 2-in-1 question but I'm greedy like that.

Well, all the best to me in finding the answer that! I'll keep "fighting" on, in any way that I can.

Sunday, 18 December 2016

17122016 Secret Garden Chinese Restaurant

Hello, hello, and this is coming from a very cozy and posh place, called the Secret Garden Chinese Restaurant PJ (家園私房菜). A group of us FoodInkers are called in to review their new and upcoming steamboat menu. They've been known for their Chinese cuisines with home-like environment, so it's a surprise to many that they'd infused steamboat into the upcoming menu.

I'll be honest and say here that I've not heard been here, let alone tried their food yet. So, I'm pretty excited to see what will be served! I like the name of their restaurant, and when I got to know the reason behind their concept, I was more thrilled to get a taste of their food!

Secret Garden is located in Sea Park, PJ, but it's not exactly very visible (hence like a secret garden) if you're just driving around the area. Also, Secret Garden is themed in such a way, that when you walk into the place, it feels like coming home ("HOME SWEET HOME!") and it gives you a soft sense of security when you're in the place. The interior of the place is by far one of the most amazing I've seen to date - there's live plants, wow-ing wall paintings, feng shui, lots of space (something you don't see often today), and it's not just the traditional round tables, but also the long ones (which are for large groups of 10 or so).


 The panoramic interior view of the restaurant


The unique long table


The live plants and charcoal walls


The Secret Garden mural
Isn't it gorgeous?!


A feng shui setup with lots of woods and water running around


The display of the seafood that you can have!


Their signature dish - Signature Taiwanese Style Braised "Dong Po" Pork Belly
RM38 small, RM66 large
I was immediately in love with this at first bite!
They melt in your mouth! (Yes, read it twice please!)


Close up shot


Provided were some sauces and condiments to make our own style of sauces


We were shown some varieties, but I'm just sticking to soy sauce, lime and some chopped garlics


Then, we had the Steamed Free Range Duckweed Fed Chicken with Homemade Sauce
Have you tasted chicken which was raised for more than 120 days?
The meat is more tender and taste better than the normal ones.
Most importantly it's huge! =D

Note: This must be eaten when served warm, and if it is cooled down (no, it can't be reheated), the skin and meat will be chewy. For those that always "feed the camera" first, please pay attention to this, and don't say I didn't warn ya.


Pork slice! with some food decor 
(not the Santa and Snowman will not be part of your menu, LOL)


Some ingredients for the steamboat, brought to you by the fabulous mermaid
But the pork-slice-wrapped doll and this mermaid capture many people's attention!


Secret Garden Imperial Chicken Broth
(I'll put below the price and packages available for CNY menu)


Premium Wild Forest Truffle and Mushrooms Broth
(I'll put below the price and packages available for CNY menu)


We have tobiko squid balls, truffle balls, pork balls with mushrooms, fish slice, handmade fish paste, handmade prawn paste, seafood dumplings, chives pork dumplings


We were also enlightened by the Chef whom demonstrated to us how the handmade pork balls are made.


He made it look so easy, and everyone was like "I think I can do this too"


Video of Chef making the pork balls


And we were given a try to make our own pork balls!
Behold, my very own pork balls!!
(Don't cheekily smile there, I know what you're thinking!)


They also serve Yee Sang but of course, it's only available for the CNY package.


CNY STEAMBOAT Package 1

Price:
  • 6 pax = RM388
  • 10 pax = RM688 
Appetizers:
  • Yee Sang with Salmon
  • Taiwanese Deep-Fried Crispy Salted Chicken
Broth:
  • Secret Garden Imperial Chicken Broth
Hot Pot Ingredients:
  • Seafood Platter: Tiger Prawn, White Clam, Fish Maw, Scallop
  • Sliced Pork Neck
  • Sliced Beef / Sliced Lamb
  • Handmade Pork Balls with Mushroom
  • Handmade Tobiko Squid Balls
  • SG Seafood Dumpling “Kao Zi” and Chives Pork Dumpling “Kao Zi”
  • Handmade Fish Paste
  • Mix Vegetables and Mushrooms Platter
  • White Bean Curd
  • Fu Chuk Skin (Bean Curd Skin)
  • Udon Noodle
Dessert:
  • Herbal Jelly with Wild Honey

CNY STEAMBOAT Package 2

Price:
  • 6 pax = RM888
  • 10 pax = RM1688
Appetizers:
  • Yee Sang with Jelly Fish and Salmon
  • Taiwanese Deep-Fried Cripsy Salted Chicken and Fried Sotong
Broth:
  • Premium Wild Forest Truffle and Mushrooms Broth
Hot Pot Ingredients:
  • Seafood Platter: Abalone Clam, Tiger Prawn, Geoduck, Sliced Snapper, White Clam, Fish Maw, Sea Cucumber
  • Sliced Japan Sendai Beef
  • Sliced Iberico
  • Handmade Black Truffle Balls
  • Handmade Squid Balls
  • Handmade Pork Balls with Mushroom
  • SG Seafood Dumpling “Kao Zi” and Chives Pork Dumpling “Kao Zi”
  • Handmade Fish Paste
  • Handmade Prawn Paste
  • Mix Vegetables and Mushrooms Platter
  • Homemade Organic Black Bean Curd
  • Fu Chuk Skin (Bean Curd Skin)
  • Taiwanese Bamboo Charcoal Ramen and Taiwanese Spinach Ramen
Dessert:
  • Chinese New Year Special Dessert

Location:
7 & 9 Jalan SS 23/15,
47400, Petaling Jaya, Selangor

Operation Hours:
Mon - Sun :
11.30am-3.00pm
6.00pm-11.00pm

Contact:
03-7887 6999


Note: This place is mostly packed on normal days, so I'd reckon you quick reserve a table with them if you're thinking of having a CNY meal there.