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!


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!



JewelPie In Swedish tabloid newspaper

Not many famous international sites contacted me and ask for permission before using JewelPie’s content/photos e.g Lifehacker. Even worst, 9gag stole my content, removed JewelPie’s logo and pass of as theirs. I have emailed them a take down notice but to no avail.


But Expressen, one of the two nationwide tabloid newspaper in Sweden politely asked. I’m impressed. (The Huffington Post too, to be fair).




I like Scandinavia already. Would love to visit Sweden or Finland one day!

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!



Five things I’ve learned in the past weeks

1. Often, you don’t expect to do what you need to do. Be prepared. Opportunities don’t wait.

2. Never put complete trust in anyone or anything. Double check it yourself.

3. Perfection can cause procrastination. While quality is important, it’s better to achieve 80% of what you aim to do than not do it at all.

4. Never let anyone think your time is worth less than theirs.

5. When possible, please everyone. When not, learn to be immune to those who cannot be pleased.

Beach holiday + national TV

Last week, Malaysia was plagued by horrible haze. Perhaps, to look at the positive side, we learned to appreciate what we took for granted i.e fresh air. The highlight of this week was celebrating a family’s 30th wedding anniversary by the beach and sharing JewelPie’s ideas on national TV.

JewelPie: sea

The haze blurred the distinction between the sea and the sky


JewelPie: Picking sea snails and clams

Sea snails and clams lived on a slab of rock by the beach of Teluk Chempedak…until we came.


JewelPie: sea snail

A friendly beach boy told us that they are best cooked with garlic and chilli, Malay-style.


JewelPie: Udang kering

Happily getting some udang kering (dried shrimp) at a dry seafood shop in Kuantan for some homemade belacan chill.


JewelPie: Ikan Bilis

Dried seafood like ikan bilis make the best souvenier from a beach town like Kuantan.


JewelPie: Mangosteen, lychee and tea

Mangosteen, lychees and a cup of hot chamomile tea with lemon slices on a reserved table by the beach.


JewelPie: Bella TV, ntv7

Behind the scene at the cosy ntv7 studio where we were introducing the content of instant smoothie


JewelPie: Vanessa and Sara on the set

We had great fun making quick food and organising things with Vanessa Chong of the Amazing Race Asia fame.



food, friends & fun

If I were to sum up last week in three words, it would be food, friends and parties. Thankfully due to prior planning, heaps of discipline and some sacrifices (sleep), I got a lot of work done in the midst of all that.

This week, I plan to slow down a little. The heat in Kuala Lumpur is replaced by haze. The latter is as debilitating as the former. So it’s of utmost importance to keep myself fit through sufficient rest and nutritious food.

JewelPie: Bubbles

A party for adults involved brandy and bubbles


JewelPie: Weekend

Behind the scenes photoshoot at Mediteca. JewelPie will be showing readers how to make dishes like a chef.


JewelPie: Julienne ZestFirst attempt at making julienne zest, one of the required ingredients in Mediteca’s iberico pork ribs.


JewelPie: Mediteca

Chef extraordinaire, Riccardo, slicing cured ham at Mediteca’s pork party.


JewelPie: PlateCulture

A few friends of mine (Rina and Ash) decided to do something different together. We signed up for a Mauritian dinner at PlateCulture, had home-cooked food and made some friends.