The slow, steady and quiet tortoise

Looks can be deceiving. Despite appearing outgoing, deep inside, I am an introvert. I recharge through quiet activities like reading, writing, cooking, home spa, doodling and daydreaming. Though I enjoy being with people, I prefer their company through meaningful conversations instead of rowdy activities. This TED talk ‘QUIET: The power of introverts’ by Susan Cain, striked not just one but many chords:

It’s an irony that I choose to be in the media; an industry that shouts “Look at me!” through any means i.e annoying link baits and gossips. I didn’t expect this at all. I didn’t know that media is essentially a game of popularity. I just had an idea and I wanted the idea to be known.

As naive as it may sound, I believe if you have something important and truly useful to say,  people will naturally and gradually listen. Sure there are a lot of quick and easy ways to get clicks and coverage, but no thanks. I want to attract the kind of people who find value in my ideas and trust what I say.


Though it took much longer time than usual, sticking to my ideals is slowly working out. Google analytics showed that we have built a readership that is on par with popular print magazines. I plan to continue to grow the numbers through nothing but compelling content and positive messages.

Slow, steady and quiet win the race!


I get the most brilliant ideas and random thoughts in the pool…

“The most important coach in the world is yourself.”

Out of the blue, I blurted this line in the pool. He was puzzled. I insisted it wasn’t nonsense. It’s perhaps a paradox? Something that seemingly contradict itself but could be true.


In this pool, I learned how to swim. In this pool, I conquered my fear of deep end (after almost drowning in a hotel pool about 4 years ago). In this pool, I made up my mind to one day be able to swim so well I would swim and float in the middle of the South China Sea. And beside this pool, at the bar, I decided for sure I want to play the ukulele

No one forced me to. I didn’t go for classes. I just really wanted to do it. So I learn. I practice. I take baby steps. And one day, I can!

Next challenges (in order):

  1. Learn to float
  2. Stay underwater for 30 seconds
  3. Swim deep underwater (not near the surface)

Then, I’ll swim in the middle of the sea!


Thanks to the Internet, most things can be self-taught. Of course, having people to help you achieve something helps tremendously. But what is more important is your determination to learn. I believe that there is no better coach and/or cheerleader than your curious, determined and motivated self.


Learning the ukulele in 20 hours?

Since watching Josh Kaufman’s TED talk about how to learn anything in 20 hours, I was curious and inspired. Kaufman managed to play and sing hundreds of pop songs in 20 hours! The trick is to learn four versatile chords in this sequence: G, D Em and C.

I love to read, pick up new skills, experiment and…I have always wanted to learn to play a musical instrument. I don’t have much time, but 45 minutes a day for a month is feasible. Who needs 10,000 hours to be an expert? (a theory popularised by Malcolm Gladwell).

So I put this goal at the back of my mind and waited for the right time to execute it. I almost believe it would never happen since I’ve taken up a few important projects this year which slowly eat their way into my personal schedule.

20140514-192810.jpgLucky for me, Imran of Narmi Adventures came to Colin’s birthday party with his ukulele! I showed him the video and he taught me the said chords and more. He told me quite a lot of things I didn’t know before such as using a digital tuner to tune a guitar, the existence and use of a metronome, definition of beat/rhythm, criterias of a good song, etc.

Rubs, another good guitar player, dispensed some knowledge too. Though most are memorable, they are rather useless…

Me: What kind of ukulele should I get?
Rubs: A six strings one.

Rubs: You need to give more feelings.
Me: I’m more logical than emotional.
Rubs: You’re a girl. It’s good enough.



Anyway, after about 45 minutes of practice, I managed to

  • Identify, memorize and play the four chords (G, D, Em, C)
  • Change chords
  • Strum
  • Learn basics of ukulele e.g names of strings (GCEA), etc.

Though I do all the above quite badly…

If I didn’t watch Josh Kaufman speak, I would have given up, believing I am a music retard. Well, not really. Being a productive person who is sensitive with time, I need to know whether the amount of time I invest is worthy and would truly yield results. I can totally do 20 hours if it means I can play more than a few songs!


Can’t wait till Im and Rubs take me to the music shop to get my first ukulele!



Everybody needs reminders to slow-down

The last few weeks, I was in a trance-like state. I have been working like a robot, as soon as I wake-up and until I had no choice but to sleep. Eating is for survival and sleeping is to regain energy to work.

Then I remember how JewelPie started; I’m prone to overworking and needed a work-life balance. The worst part of it all? I’m super happy working and I don’t want to do anything else (?!)

It was madness. It was what JewelPie is not about. But it also made me understand that even the most discipline fails to eat well, exercise and stay calm in this fast-paced world. We all constantly need reminders to slow down.

Today I had a good swim, long lunch and now I’m giving myself some time to reflect. Can’t wait for a little escape at my favourite beach to celebrate the birthday of someone very special to me!



10 (outdoor) things I want to do before I die

Things to do before I die

1. Visit a Japanese communal bath again

2. Try Jimjilbang

3. Get into a private Finnish sauna then roll naked in the snow

4. Skinny-dipping

5. Scuba-diving

6. Panchakarma treatment

7. Do a perfect forward bend, pigeon pose and dancer pose with my toes on my head

8. Cook in the wild

9. Overnight in a tent beside a campfire

10. Fishing on a sampan