My first paid article!

I’ve written essays at school which were submitted for competitions and well, just enjoy writing casually, which also includes some teen novels I’d written when I was younger and unpublished of course.

 

Now that I have some time (beyond household chores, reading and meeting potential business partners), I decided to sign up as a freelance ghostwriter. Things that I’ve learnt about writing for money:

I’m sure many of you would laugh at my experience as a first-time paid writer, but I’m just happy.

 

  • Deadlines, research and write within the deadlines makes one feel unsure of the quality and standard.
  • Choice of topics. You either take it on and turn it down but of course turning it down reduces some future opportunities.
  • Writing and rewriting.
  • I’m on my laptop almost the whole day and I’m half afraid that my laptop might ‘burnout’.
  • Upside: Happy to be paid a token for writing and spending time on my laptop surfing the internet.

I was ‘naively’ elated with my first paid article. What did I do? I went out and got some groceries with that at Marks & Spencer as a treat. Then I became ambitious and accepted translation jobs too. So I just translated lifestyle articles in Traditional Chinese to English. Well, I thank my lucky stars that I went through karaoke training with my mother when I was a kid. Pitch and tone aside, at least I still remember how to read some Traditional Chinese words. So thank you Mom (who is currently in Qinghai with my father for a monastery’s grand opening).

This is how I feel now. #roar Credit to Wiki Commons.
This is how I feel now. #roar
Credit to Wiki Commons.

Ok, now give me more writing projects which can fund our grocery needs. #feedme

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What I learnt from meeting with startups

I had a few good meetings with a couple of startups recently and it was like #siliconvalley, the HBO TV series. Many of these folks are out there to help make lives better. For most of them, they have identified an area which the industry lacks and they are trying to fill the gaps.

Of course, it may or may not work, depending on timing, maturity of the market, cycle, trends and other factors.

Nevertheless, I noticed some of their similar traits and I feel re-energised by listening to them talk about their products and services.

 

Courage

To put in capital for the projects and to make that first step takes a lot of courage. Some of the people I spoke with had proper day jobs which would have paid them well and they would have a steady income. Detracting from their usual career paths to create something for the market needs courage to accept failures and risks. Hopefully, these are calculated risks which are based on a lot of research.

 

Enthusiasm

All of them exuded enthusiasm when we spoke. They speak with purpose and their enthusiasm can be contagious. They have so much passion for what they believe in, even when they talked about their failures, it was with frankness and they openly admit to bugs or multitudes of rejections before trying another way. #bouncingback

 

Open to ideas

Their openness to exploring new ideas is different from an organisation or an small business enterprise. They readily jot down ideas we discussed and are open to alternatives. The ability to be flexible is something which all of us require in our lives too. Or keeping an open mind to ideas especially in mature brands or industries.

 

Humble

They openly admit to shortfalls they have and hence require the help in that area. Sometimes I feel we forget to ask for help or forget how to ask for help, for the fear of appearing inadequate.

 

Driven

With the numerous rejections and some failures, these individuals continue to focus on their product(s) and service(s). Their tenacity in those circumstances are admirable. Driven by their purpose, they don’t let roadblocks stop them in their journeys.

 

Innovative

Their products may seem like just another one in the market. However, they are continuously working on the offerings and improving them according to user feedback. Speaking with them helps me learn about new technology and how technology can be harnessed to create something which is useful for various groups of people.

 

Meeting them reminds me of purpose and that we should all rekindle with our own purpose.

#opportunitythinking #startup

Hidden gem: Strawberry Jam sponge cake

I was craving for some old fashioned bakery’s bread loaf today and I stumbled onto something else. They are hidden in the basement of Katong Shopping Centre (the orange and blue building on the corner of Haig Road and East Coast Road), #B1-93, Dona Manis. Manis is malay for ‘Sweet’ and boy will you find lots of sweet cakes here.

It is a small shop with a place where they bake and prepare the cakes. There isn’t a wide selection of buns but has lots of banana pies. They don’t sell the loaf of bread which I was looking for unfortunately.

I picked out a couple of items randomly – a butter bun for SGD1.30 and a box of strawberry jam sponge cake for SGD3. It is a small box of sponge cake and this may not be enough for a company of 2. One can easily gobble the four mini slices in there in one seating. They are easily melt-in-your-mouth. Each slice is about the length of a finger and can almost be described as ‘a finger of sponge cake’ instead of a slice. They aren’t too sweet and it has a lovely texture which would be a slippery gastronomic slope into weight gain if you aren’t careful with the quantity.

There has been raving reviews of the signature banana pie but since I’m not a big fan of bananas, I decided against the extra calories. I feel I made a good choice with the sponge cake. I decided on that as I noticed the lady boss making them on the spot and while preparing them, she was also putting some away into her mouth. So, do try the strawberry sponge cake when you visit and if sweets are your thing, try their signature banana pie and some of the buns.

The butter bun was a surprise, not in a bad way. I had expected that to be plain with buttery flavours. I got home, bit into it and a chunk of sugary butter oozed out. If you like Chin Mei Chin’s kaya butter toasts, this may be up your alley too. Well, apparently it is also the cat’s ‘lick of bun’. One of the cats sidled up next to me when I was eating it and while I was taking a picture of it, she could not stop putting her nose and mouth on it. It was a little hilarious but given this wouldn’t be healthy for the cat, sad to say, she didn’t have any except a couple of licks on the surface.

Glorious sponge cake!
Glorious sponge cake!

Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve – a lackluster experience

After reading some reviews on Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve in Singapore, we decided to jump on the bandwagon, following the footsteps of all these wildlife enthusiasts.

We embarked on a 2-hour bus ride from Katong. Bus 966 from opposite Parkway Parade and connecting to 925 or 925C from Opposite Blk 402, or for better use of landmark, Marsiling bus stop where folks get a public bus to Johor.

925 loops within the area and takes you right to the doorstep of Sungei Buloh Wetland Centre only on Sundays.

The reserve isn’t very large for walking trails. We saw lots of foreign couples around the observation decks, some birds, a mudskipper, a komodo lizard and some really aggressive fishes.

Our experience might have been marred by the fact that we aren’t big fans of birdwatching or gazing across mud, mangroves and breathing in the lovely aroma of something which died around the swamps.

If you are a self-proclaimed wildlife enthusiast with an appetite for that, this might be your cup of [swampy] tea. For us, we enjoy some wilderness, the experience of wildlife in our midst but I think we aren’t at the level to appreciate mangroves and swamps.