About Grace Tan

Grace owns the award-winning business and lifestyle blog, WorkingWithGrace.wordpress.com. She is also the author of the best-selling book 'Blogging For A Living'.

Book Review: Kevin Tsai’s Way Of Speaking (蔡康永的说话之道) Part 1.3

Kevin Tsai book

This is the final post regarding my review of Kevin Tsai’s book ‘说话之道’ (Book One). (Read Part 1.0 and Part 1.2). If you have yet to read his book, I highly recommend that you get your hands on a copy soon. I love the illustrations (actually short comic strips) within, and the anecdotes that Kevin shares. Each chapter makes one good point, and each chapter is short (possibly 3 to 4 pages only). Even if you’re not a fan of reading Chinese books, just one chapter a day before you go to bed should not be too difficult.

And no, I have yet to figure out the rationale for using an umbrella as a prop for the book’s cover shoot. Would you have any idea as to why he did that? (>_<)

Anyway, here are the rest of my learning points from Book One…

  1. Be involved and interested in conversation with your elders.
  2. Self-deprecating humor helps break down barriers. Don’t attack someone just to butter someone (else) up.
  3. Choose topics that everyone can participate in.
  4. Exit quietly.
  5. Don’t say “I understand” when you don’t / can’t.
  6. Go for win-win situations when asking for help.
  7. Be ready to apologize when you are in the wrong.
  8. Read between the lines.
  9. Return praise.
  10. Personalize messages.
  11. Look for clues regarding the person’s character.
  12. Learn to care for others.
  13. Make sure they can feel your ‘care’ for them.
  14. Avoid jargon. Have your own speaking style.
  15. Communication: more than words.

And I’m moving on to Book Two.😀 There’s just so much to learn from this man that I’m glad he found the motivation to write book two. He had previously shared (on TV) that he was most reluctant to write book one. He probably thought no one would want to buy his books. (Hurhur) But the illustrator (likely a friend) had told him that the money he would receive for the artwork was money he needed to pay for his studies abroad. And so, that ‘pushed’ Kevin to quickly get the manuscript done so his friend’s plans would not have to be shelved indefinitely. All’s well that ends well, I guess.:)

Book Review: Kevin Tsai’s Way Of Speaking (蔡康永的说话之道) Part 1.2

Kevin Tsai book

Perhaps you’ve read my earlier post about Kevin Tsai’s popular book ‘说话之道’, or perhaps you haven’t but that’s fine. Reading Chinese books is not exactly a hobby of mine so good luck to the Government in wanting to promote literature in our mother tongue languages when many in this country don’t even like reading to begin with. LOL!

This book is really good though, and I think there should be an English translation, if there isn’t such a version already.

Anyway, here are more of the learning points from Book One…

  1. Remove the ‘sharp edge’ in your questions.
  2. Ask questions that will elicit a variety of responses from your audience.
  3. Avoid the (many) landmines: finances, illness(es), relationships, kids’ grades, politics, sports, hated celebs, religion, vegetarians vs meat eaters, etc.
  4. Numbers are more memorable if you link them to events. DO NOT ask about how much a person makes when you’ve only just met him/her!
  5. Pauses are important. Let your voice be a mental massage for others, not a verbal lashing.
  6. Insert a ‘hook’ in your conversation so people follow.
  7. Don’t wait too long before revealing the ‘climax’ in your story.
  8. Avoid canned jokes. Good jokes should prompt conversation after.
  9. Ask questions which prompt the speaker to continue.
  10. Be outstanding without sabotaging yourself.
  11. Don’t be in a hurry to answer. Keep quiet if you’ve heard that joke before.
  12. Be the first to state your name.
  13. Give praise that is desired.
  14. Don’t answer your own question, and don’t set traps for people to fall into.
  15. When on stage, make a good point every 15 minutes.

I’m not done with the book yet. Yes, it’s frustrating because I usually do speed-reading for books written in English. Gah! So I’ll have to update this blog again later. But don’t hold your breath. It’ll take a while.😀

5 Surprising Facts About NTUC FairPrice Stores

Kallang Wave Mall

I visited Kallang Wave Mall recently (for the very first time!) and went on a learning journey at the FairPrice Xtra outlet where I got to meet some members of the Store Assurance Team from the Food Safety and Quality department, commonly known as FSQ. The team helps ensure all FairPrice stores are in compliance with the ISO 9001 and ISO 22000 international standards for quality and food safety.

I shop at FairPrice outlets at least once a week, so I was quite surprised that I could learn new things about how FairPrice continually improves its internal processes and productivity initiatives to benefit both customers and staff! Read on…

For a start, what do you think this is?

FairPrice fly traps

I’d honestly thought it was mood lighting of sorts. And I’d usually not even notice it, or give it a second look because it just looks like a mildly pretty lamp?

#1: Fly Traps Which Look Like Mood Lighting

These are fly traps which are very ‘low profile’ (you’ll hardly even notice them) but use ultraviolet light and a pheromone trap to attract fruit flies and other flying pests. Quite a pretty fly trap, no?:) And these devices have a decent working radius – one model I found online works over a 450 square foot area. I’ve been to many supermarkets in JB and I tend to encounter flies there, but not in Singapore’s FairPrice outlets! And I guess it’s because of these hardworking fly traps!

#2: Glass Doors Everywhere! For 20% Energy Savings!

NTUC FairPrice chillers

In some (older) FairPrice outlets, you’ll see more of those “open-air” chillers, which I suppose end up requiring more electricity than these ones in the newer hypermarts (i.e. FairPrice Xtra outlets). Apparently, having these doors result in 20% (or more) energy savings. When you’re shopping there, do decide on what you want to get before opening the doors and retrieving the items ok? I know the weather is hot, but do not open the chiller doors for a blast of “air-conditioning”, ya? *wink*

#3: Surprising Signs Warning Against Absolutely Surprising Behavior

NTUC FairPrice signs

No. I cannot understand why this sign has to be put up. You mean there are people who would OPEN ice cream tubs in FairPrice outlets?! I was told that, sadly, yes, just as there are people who would probe and poke seafood, fruits, vegetables, and other perishable foods, there are people who OPEN ice cream tubs to check what’s inside. Are they afraid there’ll be one missing scoop of their favorite chocolate ice cream? Or that the ice cream is not really frozen inside? I wouldn’t know. But if you are one of these not-easily-trusting customers, please don’t do this anymore ok? It’s not hygienic.😛

#4: Temperature Monitoring For Both Hot And Cold Foods

Fish Bed Temperature Checks

The FSQ Store Assurance Team conducts regular checks to ensure that guidelines are being adhered to. Meanwhile, the individual stores also do their own checks and even have Temperature Control Charts. At regular intervals throughout the day, staff will check on the temperature of the fish beds, standalone freezers, chillers, etc. Also, products in the freezers must not exceed the load lines so as to ensure that the temperature is kept at an optimum level.

Constant checks to ensure your cool treats are stored in good condition:

FairPrice standalone freezers

#5: Freshness Is Of The Utmost Importance!

I spotted these at a checkout counter one day:

NTUC FairPrice Abandoned Foodstuff

And I was told that certain items would not be returned to where they belong (e.g. chillers / freezers) if customers change their minds and do not want to buy them. FairPrice will just write these off. I find this very reassuring because some customers may have walked around the store with this White Snapper Steak for an hour, and finally decided not to buy it. If it’s returned to the chiller at that point, do you know how much bacteria would have multiplied already? Baskets abandoned by customers can easily cause a food safety issue such as if you return the milk cartons you took after walking around the store for an hour! (@_@)

So if you don’t want the items anymore, do not return them to the chiller or freezer for the next unsuspecting customer. Perhaps hand it over to staff instead or leave it with the cashiers. And if you’ve also noticed, the live seafood displayed in tanks are usually in clean tanks without overcrowding and with no dead seafood in them too. As a customer, I truly have peace of mind shopping at FairPrice.

~ Other Not-So-Surprising But Equally Cool Stuff ~

If you don’t already know, some outlets offer complimentary ice packs so do get some for your car/bus/train ride home. If I’m shopping for groceries, I’ll go select the non-chilled, non-frozen items (e.g. fruit, vegetables, etc) FIRST before picking up the meats and seafood and heading straight to the cashier, and then home. I take some ice with me for the seafood and meats whenever it is available.

The FSQ Store Assurance Team also does checks on product expiry dates and weight checks on your fruits and vegetables, among other quality checks. Also, I was pleased to note that the less-pretty fruits are sold in a value pack at S$2 each. I bought one consisting of red apples, green apples, oranges and lemons. A very good deal indeed! There’s variety, and it’s great for juicing, really.:)

NTUC Fairprice Less Waste Packs

[ Gentle Reminder: Keep chiller and freezer doors closed please!:) ]

FairPrice chiller doors open

~ FSQ Store Assurance Team: A Cool Job Or A Tough One? ~

#1: Using technology to be more productive

Previously the team had to audit each store using the hard copy audit checklist then take time to transfer the audit results to a computer and generate reports back in their office before sending to the stores. (Just FYI, there are about 200-odd audits done in 1 year. And an audit of a hypermart can take up to 1 day).

FairPrice Xtra

Source

To improve staff productivity and help them do their jobs in a more efficient manner, the team now audits using tablets and an app which was developed in-house. The team can instantly take photographs of anything that needs to be improved upon.

With the use of technology, not only does the team save time per audit, the stores could receive the clear images taken during the audit process and rectify issues faster too.

#2: Ensuring everyone is on board for food safety

There are certain challenges the team has to handle such as with working with multiple departments to ensure standards are upheld. For instance, the team has to work with staff who do the store design and maintenance, and co-ordinate with those who work in the training department, operations, etc.

FairPrice also conceptualizes and provides food safety posters for customers to reference.

FairPrice food safety tips

Source

There’s a lot of knowledge to be gained on the job, such as how there are only LED lights near food areas ‘cos these lights will not shatter. (The older FairPrice stores still use their fluorescent lightbulbs but with plastic sleeves over them)

#3: Auditing everything from temperatures to store cleanliness

The team essentially works hand-in- hand with the individual stores to provide a safe shopping environment for customers, and provide them with quality products that meet international food safety standards.

With regard to temperature-sensitive products, for instance, the individual outlet’s staff will check the temperature when the products are received, ensure they are properly stored within the chiller or freezer in the ‘backyard’ and then replenish these items within the ‘selling area’ when stocks are low. The FSQ Store Assurance Team comes in and does their audits to ensure everything is running well.

FairPrice food safety

There are internal quality audits of the store, backyard, etc. They check on storefront cleanliness, expiry control and even send samples of some products to the labs for testing.

FairPrice outlets also receive their own performance scorecard which will incentivise stores with rewards, e.g. for the food safety champions, and provide improvement programs for those outlets which are not doing well.

#4: Focusing on staff learning and progression

There are a total of 6 teams: (1) Store, (2) Food (3) Non-food and BET (Bazaar, Electronics, Textiles), (4) Warehouse, (5) Regulatory, (6) Fresh foods in the Food Safety and Quality department. Staff can enjoy career progression in rank and there is also rotation among teams. Best of all, there is an 80% Singaporean core. *wink*

~

Whether you’ve noticed it or not, a lot of effort has gone into ensuring food safety standards at FairPrice. I’m definitely grateful that I can shop with peace of mind, thanks to the diligence of these hardworking men and women…

NTUC FairPrice Food Safety

SAFRA Punggol: Probably The Best SAFRA Club in Singapore

SAFRA Punggol

SAFRA Punggol had its soft launch on Sunday, 24th April 2016, and I was shocked at the huge turnout. From morning till evening, it seemed like the crowd never left. There were booths giving out all sorts of freebies – there were the usual suspects of popcorn and candy floss, but there were also truffle fries, churros, etc. I didn’t queue for any of them because I was more interested in the bike rental promotions (more on that in a bit). But first, here’s why I say Punggol SAFRA might be the best SAFRA club in Singapore. I love how pretty it looks at night. My pictures don’t do it justice, so do pop by after the sun has set…

[ The eve of the launch ]

SAFRA Punggol night view

[ Launch day itself. From across the Waterway, where we were cycling… ]

SAFRA Punggol at night

The dome in the middle is super pretty. And it looks it’s ringed by diamonds when it’s all lit up…

SAFRA Punggol pretty night view

What can you do at SAFRA Punggol? There’s yoga, cycling, bowling, darts, gym, karaoke, spa, more restaurants, and of course, enrichment classes for children! I do want to check out the Kidz Amaze indoor water playground, but I’ll wait till it’s less crowded. LOL!

As part of the opening celebrations, the bike rental shop at SAFRA Punggol, which is called Bikes @ Waterway, gave away one bottle of PLENISH isotonic drink and one ice cream cone with every bike rental!😀 ON TOP OF THAT, there was a 50% off promotion. So it was bike rentals at half-price PLUS freebies! If that’s not a good deal, I don’t know what is.

Bikes @ Waterway

Here are the usual bike rental rates:

Bikes @ Waterway

The free drink and ice cream I claimed after 2-hours of cycling:

Bikes @ Waterway freebies

~

SAFRA Punggol is located across the road from Sam Kee LRT station. You can also walk to SAFRA Punggol from Waterway Point (8 minutes or so, depending on your walking speed).😀

The French Table at Waterway Point: Awesome Roast Chicken!

The French Table Waterway Point

We didn’t quite know where to have lunch at today, because we’ve been to Waterway Point too many times already. He didn’t want to try the Vietnamese food, while I felt that the Japanese food in this mall ‘CMI’ so we decided to head back to The French Table, which we’ve dined at previously. The lunch set menus are updated regularly and this time round, it was a pleasant surprise which awaited us: the half-roasted chicken at just S$9.80 before tax and service charge!

Because they actually have a standee for this promotion, I’m guessing that it’s going to be ongoing for a while. These standees don’t exactly come cheap, so yes, that’s my guess. And I sure hope it goes on for a long time, because the chicken is DELICIOUS!

The French Table Half Roasted Chicken

When the roast chicken was served, the couple seated at the next table on my right looked over, and the guy in the green shirt asked the wait staff if they could change the order he’d placed, as he wanted to order this same dish that had just been served to me. Hehehe! #copycat And the chicken really tasted as good as it looked! I was a bit disappointed that there wasn’t any of the yummy potato mash that The French Table used to serve with their braised pork belly. But the sauce beneath this half-roasted chicken is SEDAP, OISHII, and YUMMY all rolled up into one. And the chicken was so tender and juicy! Even the chicken breast (which I do not eat, and do not like for being dry and tough) was so tender! Amazing! Totally worth the rather long wait for the food. *Bring a book or surf the Net using your phone, because The French Table doesn’t serve fast food. They serve good food.

What was actually served to us first, before the chicken came, was the pork bolognese baked rice with cheddar and mozzarella. It’s part of their set meal, which includes soup and a drink, for just S$9.90 before tax and service charge.

Waterway Point The French Table

It’s tasty, no doubt. But we would have LOVED if there were more ingredients within. It’s just a thin layer of cheesy goodness and minced pork on top (and perhaps a few other ingredients) and LOTS of rice beneath. If you’re ordering this on its own, you might not be able to finish eating all the rice.

But once the roast chicken was served, we mixed the yummy sauce with the rice, and it was delicious. You’ll end up scraping every grain from the claypot.😀

Here’s the lunch set menu that was available today. Do note that it might be different when you visit as the chef likes to surprise customers with something new each time:

The French Table Set Meal

This meal for two ended up costing just S$23.20 all-inclusive. *I like that the server (with the big eyes and spectacles) brought over a cup of iced water without my having to ask for it, since we’d only ordered one drink. Hehe! We’ll be back again, for sure.:)

The French Table is located at #01-31 of Waterway Point. Tel: 6385 8052.

~

Read more of my reviews about Waterway Point:

  1. 6 Reasons Why You Should Visit Waterway Point
  2. The FREE Indoor Playground At Waterway Point: Exact Location And Opening Hours
  3. Food Review: BurgerUP
  4. Food Review: Rong Hua Bak Kut Teh
  5. Waterway Point’s Shaw Cinema: 500 Free Tickets Per Day During Open House Period
  6. A Guide to Waterway Point’s East and West Wings
  7. Food Review: The French Table
  8. 5 Best Value-For-Money Restaurants and Eateries in Waterway Point
  9. Food Review: Miam Miam
  10. Food Review: Buddy Hoagies
  11. Food Review: The Coffee House
  12. Food Review: Zakka Modern Thai plus a second review here.
  13. FREE Pizza: Pizza Hut
  14. Food Review: London Fat Duck
  15. Food Review: Cedele
  16. Food Review: Social Square
  17. Food Review: Squeezed!

Squeezed! Cold Pressed Juices at Waterway Point

Waterway Point Squeezed

The Squeezed! outlet at Waterway Point has been open for quite a while now, but I didn’t want to do a review till I’ve tried all their drinks. There are a total of 15 combinations for their cold-pressed juices, and having tried all of them, I can now tell you which are my favorites, and which caused me to cringe.

I’m not sure if the juice cleanse fad is over; there was a period of time when many companies were advertising their various juice cleanses at truly exorbitant prices. I guess this is why I’m attracted to Squeezed!’s offerings – not exactly dirt cheap, but you won’t have to break the bank for a good cup of juice either. Plus, there’s now a Groupon promotion going on.

~

Usual Pricing: S$6.20 (500ml), S$5.20 (350ml). Current Groupon promotion: 350ml juice and 1 squeezed bun = S$4.90, 4 cups of 500ml juice for S$14.80, etc.

~

Here are the 15 combinations for their cold-pressed juices, with my mini reviews regarding the taste (with my favorites in bold font)…

Natural Beauty: Tastes rather sour. I didn’t quite like it.

Beet It!: ABC-juice lovers will like this one even though it’s orange in place of carrot **

Aloha: Pineapple lovers will like this very much. Very refreshing and tasty ***

Pitch Perfect: Tastes very much like starfruit juice. Very mild. Nothing exciting here.

Citrus Circus: Taste the watermelon. Like healthy, tasty fruit punch ***

Guavitate: It actually tastes bitter. I’m not a fan of this one.

Granny’s Grammy: Tastes very much of celery. Great for people with high blood pressure.

Miss Spruce: Very sour.

Veggie Tales: Metallic taste of veggies. Not the most tasty combination.

Red Riding Hood: Your typical A-B-C juice, sweet, and with a little bit of pulp ***

Break of Dawn: I love the orange + pineapple combination! ***

Velvet Blend: If you don’t like papaya juice, you won’t like this. I didn’t.

Pink Lady: Really hard to guess what fruits went into this if you didn’t already know. Love the taste of strawberries.**

Peary Good: Though it’s made up of pear and apples, it tasted like grape juice to me. How queer.

Kiwini: Kiwi lovers will like this one. An interesting mix of sweet & sour. ***

So there you have it. My 5 favorites: Aloha, Citrus Circus, Red Riding Hood, Break of Dawn and Kiwini.😀

Bought 4 of them today, sans Red Riding Hood:

Squeezed cold press juices

If the Groupon promotion is over by the time you read this blogpost, there might still be the in-store promo with all 2nd items at 50% off.:)

Waterway Point Squeezed Menu

As you can see in the image above, there are 6 flavors for the buns. Tori Tori and Royal Rumble are apparently their bestsellers. The rest come with froyo, which I don’t really like. I really don’t think buns + froyo make a good combination, though other people may enjoy it.

Tori Tori comes with teriyaki chicken, bonito flakes and mayonnaise. It’s rather tasty, and best eaten when warm:

Waterway Point Squeezed Bun

Royal Rumble comes with melted nacho cheese and truffled macaroni (cannot taste any truffle, but mac and cheese is always a winner). It also has bacon bits.

When you’re at Waterway Point and want a quick bite, you might want to check out Squeezed! It has a small seating area, but is not usually crowded. Many people prefer takeaways. *They really should consider providing plastic carriers that can hold 2 drinks each instead of just 1. Getting 4 plastic carriers for 4 drinks seems a little wasteful.😀

Squeezed! is located at #B1-K8 of Waterway Point. 

~

Read more of my reviews about Waterway Point:

  1. 6 Reasons Why You Should Visit Waterway Point
  2. The FREE Indoor Playground At Waterway Point: Exact Location And Opening Hours
  3. Food Review: BurgerUP
  4. Food Review: Rong Hua Bak Kut Teh
  5. Waterway Point’s Shaw Cinema: 500 Free Tickets Per Day During Open House Period
  6. A Guide to Waterway Point’s East and West Wings
  7. Food Review: The French Table
  8. 5 Best Value-For-Money Restaurants and Eateries in Waterway Point
  9. Food Review: Miam Miam
  10. Food Review: Buddy Hoagies
  11. Food Review: The Coffee House
  12. Food Review: Zakka Modern Thai plus a second review here.
  13. FREE Pizza: Pizza Hut
  14. Food Review: London Fat Duck
  15. Food Review: Cedele
  16. Food Review: Social Square

Descendants Of The Sun: Special Episode 3

Descendants Of The Sun Special Episode 3

[ Picture from Descendants Of The Sun Facebook Page ]

In the Special Episode 3 of Descendants Of The Sun, we FINALLY get to see the bloopers, and behind-the-scenes takes, as well as some interviews with the cast. This kdrama has received over 3 billion views (online) in China and its stunning success makes the 258 days of filming seem well worth the time and effort.

 What’s really touching about this special episode:

  1. How the actors get hurt in the course of the filming but soldier on anyway: It wasn’t just Song Joong Ki who hurt himself. Jin Goo (who plays Seo) also hurt his knee(?) and it bled a little. The Director also shared that Big Boss, who hurt himself in the shootout scene in the carpark (when the bad guys were trying to gun down the North Korean soldier), returned to the set to film the hostage rescue scene after just 2 weeks. He put up a good performance though he apparently couldn’t even walk straight off-camera.
  2. The cast celebrated Jin Goo’s birthday. The camaraderie that’s clearly on display in the BTS footage is heartwarming. Song Joong Ki even calls it “bromance” (between him and Seo).
  3. So funny how the actor who plays the diamond-swallowing Jin Young Su has been given the label “national villain”. Indeed, his acting in Descendants Of The Sun is superb! I found his account on Instagram and was pleasantly surprised to note that he apparently is playing a member of the SWAT team in another show. LOL. The national villain has turned over a new leaf, it seems.😀
  4. How there was wind and rain which threatened to (seriously) affect the production schedule, but the actors put up their best effort anyway.
  5. The hardworking director, who was even happy to show Song Hye Kyo how he wanted her to kiss Big Boss.

Not sure if it’s a letdown or not, but there’s no epilogue! So what happens to Big Boss and Dr Kang? Will there be Descendants Of The Sun – Season 2? Let’s wait and see then.:)

~

If you’ve missed Descendants Of The Sun Special Episode 1 or Descendants Of The Sun Special Episode 2, click on their respective links.

Descendants Of The Sun Special Episode 2: That Deleted Scene :)

Descendants Of The Sun Special Episode 2

[ Pic from Descendants Of The Sun facebook page ]

I’m not quite sure why there are these special episodes of Descendants Of The Sun that mainly show highlights from the kdrama. The special episode 1 was kind of a letdown. Thankfully… in special episode 2, there is a scene which was cut from the show.😀

That particular scene was supposed to be right after the surgery in which the diamonds were extracted. Dr Kang hands the diamonds to Big Boss before he goes on his mission of recovering the stolen medicines that Myeong Ju sorely needs.

They hug in that scene, so the crew must have realized that it doesn’t quite make sense. If Dr Kang had ordered everyone to keep their hands off the operating table because the patient likely has a contagious virus, it is unlikely that she would go hug Big Boss when she knows she has been “contaminated’.

Well, I hope we get to see more of those deleted scenes, some behind-the-scenes action, and that much-anticipated epilogue. What really happens to Dr Kang and Big Boss in the end? We’ll find out next week, I guess.😀

Special Episode #2:

  • Dr Kang stitching up Big Boss’ wound after the earthquake
  • Her will is heard over the PA system
  • She speaks with Myeong Ju
  • The couple kiss on the back of the farmer’s truck
  • Parcel from Shin Ji Young
  • Saving the diamonds guy from Argus
  • The operation to extract the diamonds
  • Ice bath for Myeong Ju
  • Medicines stolen
  • *Before the 21-minute mark: Dr Kang hands the diamonds to Big Boss; he jokes that some diamonds are missing. They hug. 
  • Dr Kang kidnapped by Argus
  • Rescuing Dr Kang
  • Myeong Ju and the “dazzling” Seo
  • Dr Kang and Big Boss exchange “I love you’s” in the cafe
  • He’s leaving for a (long) mission
  • Big Boss gets injured
  • How Myeong Ju and Dr Kang cope with the “deaths” of the two men
  • They are alive!
  • The couple back at the beach again… KISS!😀

Book Review: Smarter Faster Better – The Secrets of Being Productive – by Charles Duhigg

Smarter Faster Better Charles Duhigg

The title of this book ‘Smarter Faster Better’ seems to be a slogan that one of our ministers in Singapore will be fond of (hehe). This book has a great layout which makes it easier and faster to read – the font size is pretty big, and one quarter of the book actually contains the appendix / notes (which I didn’t read). But this 266-page book is still full of interesting anecdotes, insightful analyses and illuminating ideas.:)

I love the author’s definition of productivity on pages 4 and 5: “Productivity, put simply, is the name we give our attempts to figure out the best uses of our energy, intellect, and time as we try to seize the most meaningful rewards with the least wasted effort.”

I’d highly recommend you purchase a copy of this book and read those interesting anecdotes. It’ll certainly help you think about Productivity differently. The notes that follow are little summaries for myself. They won’t necessarily make any sense to you if you haven’t already read the book, so go buy a copy, ok?😀

  1. Motivation: Can be learned. We prefer choice and control. Link something hard to a choice you care about.
  2. Teams: Manage the how of teams, not the who. Give everyone an equal voice, encourage social sensitivity among teammates.
  3. Focus: Especially important in this age of automation. Create mental models. Visualization. Force yourself to think.
  4. Goal setting: Commit to stretch goals. Pair stretch goals and SMART goals.
  5. Managing others: Take pride in your work. Commitment culture in companies is best. Empower staff.
  6. Decision making: Get trained in how to think “probabilistically”. Accurate forecasting requires exposing ourselves to as many successes and disappointments as possible”.
  7. Innovation: Take proven, conventional ideas from other settings and combine them in new ways. Use our lives as raw material, our emotions as creative material. Don’t get overly attached to your creation. Critique what we’ve already done.
  8. Absorbing data: Increase your understanding of data. Use a new word in a sentence, write it down. Use the scientific method to isolate and test variables. Framing is important. Write > type.

Descendants Of The Sun: Special Episode 1

Descendants Of The Sun Special Episode 1

[ Picture from Descendants Of The Sun facebook page ]

Just when you thought Descendants Of The Sun is over, there are three special episodes. Special episode #1 is not as exciting as we would have expected. I know some fans are hoping for a wedding (not between Dr Daniel and Ye Hwa, but between the two leads). Alas! It’s purely a compilation of the ‘best and most heartfelt scenes’ in this kdrama, as one netizen put it.

Here’s what you’ll watch if you view Special Episode #1:

  • Uruk airport chinook helicopter scene
  • Big Boss flipping handphone out of Dr Kang’s hand (#1)
  • Dr Kang treats his wound
  • Their first date when he flies off in a helicopter
  • He picks her up from work (before the hair-washing scene)
  • Movie
  • Meeting after her TV appearance, and ‘breaking up’
  • Sending volunteers to Urk
  • The chinook helicopter scene again
  • He ignores her
  • Candles and being backlit (#1)
  • Apology for his minefield joke
  • Beach
  • President Mubarat’s emergency surgery
  • Disciplinary action
  • Wine + kiss
  • Her car goes off the cliff + she records her ‘will’
  • Learning to use a walkie-talkie
  • Farewell party for Big Boss; Kiss – to apologize or to confess his love
  • He misses her
  • The earthquake – his return, he ties her shoelaces for her

~

I think fans are quick to praise the male and female leads for the success of this kdrama. However, after watching it multiple times, I think the post-production crew really deserve a lot of the credit too.

Also, I think Song Hye Kyo is an awesome actress. The vibes I get from her remind me of Gong Li. Like Song’s the Korean version of Gong Li. Her acting skills are superb. She truly managed to look youthful in Descendants Of The Sun, and she quickly switched back to more age-appropriate looks for the media appearances.

If only we had awesome actors like Song Joong Ki and Song Hye Kyo in Mediacorp. Then perhaps more people would watch TV in Singapore.😀