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.😀

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!😀

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.😀

Descendants Of The Sun Episode 16 Part 2

Descendants Of The Sun ep 16

[ Picture from Descendants Of The Sun facebook page ]

*Update* I decided to include the remaining bits at the end of this post instead of crafting a ‘Part 3’.😀

Truly busy day today. Such that I am not done watching Descendants Of The Sun episode 16 yet. But here’s Part Two of the synopsis for this episode, which I’m uploading while on the move. LOL. I hope I get to complete watching the episode and uploading the rest of the ep synopsis tonight!:)

Episode 16 Synopsis (Part Two) 

Dr Kang and Big Boss go fishing (remember the time he went alone? :D), they catch a fish and camp overnight. Later, he tells her that he’s going on a mission – something about “escorting a VIP”. It turns out that the VIPs are actually the girl group Red Velvet who put on a performance for the Special Forces. Big Boss waves a placard, Seo dances while holding a balloon, and the whole thing is recorded and televised(?) Dr Kang is furious, and she goes on TV and announces that she doesn’t have a boyfriend in what is surely a tit-for-tat measure. Big Boss is promoted – he becomes a Squadron Leader – while Dr Kang is the “most famous doctor in the hospital” (She walks into a seminar room asking “Do you all know who I am?” And this is kind of funny, especially with what happened to a Singaporean actress recently) Myeong Ju and Seo meet the Commander; Seo says he can’t leave the army. The Commander gives them both his blessings. Fatima sends Dr Kang a Christmas card, and meanwhile Dr Chi Hoon gets a video from the “Blackey” kid, and they fail once again to find out the kid’s real name. After Chi Hoon is done using Dr Song’s laptop, Nurse Ha takes over and finds the secret folder. Inside are her pictures from her teenage years to when she is in her thirties. Dr Song confesses his love, and the two will likely end up together after Nurse Ha is done repaying all the money she has loaned from him. Dr Kang names her car ‘Big Boss’ and at the car wash, she ends up spraying the real Big Boss with water accidentally. During a meal at the canteen, Myeong Ju and Seo end up kissing amongst all the soldiers. Dr Daniel and Ye Hwa are getting married in Vancouver, Canada, and have sent invites and plane tickets over. Dr Kang and Big Boss return to the beach with the shipwreck, and there’s (of course) more kissing. At Dr Daniel’s wedding reception, it appears that Seo has caught the bridal bouquet and he kept staring at it thereafter. (LOL) Just as Dr Chi Hoon is announcing that the show has come to an end, someone runs in to say hysterically that a volcano has just erupted. (In Canada?!) So the show comes to an end with everyone getting ready for some action – Myeong Ju rubs off her lipstick, Nurse Ha pins up her hair, Dr Kang prepares to ruin her heels again, etc.


There will be 3 more special episodes after this, so don’t get too upset that this is the end of the kdrama.:)

Descendants Of The Sun Episode 16 Part 1

Descendants Of The Sun episode 16

[ Picture from Descendants Of The Sun facebook page ]

Descendants Of The Sun is the only drama that I’ll watch even when there are no English subtitles and I cannot understand the language the actors are using. LOL! I watched episode 16 yesterday evening via YouTube where one kind soul was streaming it ‘live’. So I kind of followed the show and know how it ends. But nothing beats having English subtitles.:) Only done with half of ep 16 at the moment as I need to rush off to work but I’m including the synopsis for the first half of ep 16 below…

Episode 16 Synopsis (Part One) 

Dr Kang is at a loss – she cannot quite handle the reappearance of Big Boss. She alternates from pushing him away and weeping (“I don’t need you. I’m gonna be a nun”) and telling him she missed and loves him. It snows for the first time in 100 years in Urk, and Seo walks towards Myeong Ju in the snow. His arm is in a sling, and he tells her that he never wants to be separated from her again. They kiss. Ki Beom is not a Platoon Sergeant and even he weeps when he sees Seo. Myeong Ju returns Seo’s dog tags to him, and even helps him shave his face. It turns out that Big Boss and Seo were captured by the militia who locked them up in a prison cell for some 150 or 155 days. They were rescued by the North Korean Special Forces solder, Anh, whom Big Boss had helped previously. Dr Kang has fruit prepared for Big Boss’s (supposed) death anniversary memorial. And the fact that he reappears on this day gets her worried; she asks a passing medical officer whether he can see Big Boss. He replies in the affirmative. Then she receives a video call from her colleagues at the hospital in Korea. They see Big Boss eating the fruit at the ‘altar’ right behind Dr Kang and they get a fright, thinking they’ve seen Big Boss’ ghost back on his death anniversary. Dr Song hilariously falls off his seat, and stays on the ground. Seo and Big Boss are tasked to write reports “as thick as school textbooks” upon their return. As can be expected, Big Boss leaves this task to Seo, whom he once called the “Tolstoy” when it comes to writing reports.😀


I’ll put together Part 2 of the synopsis for episode 16 later. Stay tuned!:) Can’t believe I’m typing this in the back of a taxi, and the song that is being played right now over the radio is from this show too (“… you are my everything…”)😀😀

*Update* Read Part Two here.

Descendants Of The Sun Episode 15

Descendants Of The Sun Episode 15

[ Picture from Descendants Of The Sun facebook page ]

This is probably the most brutal episode in Descendants Of The Sun . First you’ll cry your eyes out, then you’ll realize at the end of the episode that you cried for nothing. Argh. I wish the producers of this drama would stop that he’s-dead-oops-no-he’s-not-hey-he’s-dead kind of storytelling. Just keep the character alive or kill him off completely ok? It’s not funny.😛 Haiz. I hope they get married in the final episode.😀

Episode 15 Synopsis:

Big Boss is listening to Dr Kang’s will again via headphones, and he’s seated in a hospital wheelchair. When Dr Kang finds out what he’s listening to, she (accidentally) lets go of the wheelchair, which rolls down a slope, and ‘crashes’ at the end.😀 Seo asks Myeong Ju out for a meal because she looks too thin. Both want to be the one to leave the army. Big Boss appears at Dr Kang’s home with beer, places candles everywhere so she’ll look pretty from every angle, and she later realizes he used the final card from Pres. Mubarat on the helicopter to save her from Argus. Gi Beom sits for his qualification exam. The whole Alpha Team shows up to support him. The team then goes on a combined operations mission for 3 months. The Commander tears up Seo’s application for discharge from the army; tells him to come back safely. Seo leaves his ‘dog tag’ at Myeong Ju’s door. Big Boss bids Dr Kang farewell and tells her that he’ll be off the grid. Even so, she sends him message after message just to talk about her day. While waiting for another chopper, Big Boss is shot from the back. Seo is shot too. Then a missile(?) causes an explosion. Alpha Team’s remaining 3 members report back to say that the bodies weren’t found. Big Boss’ dad collects his dog tag and is devastated. Dr Kang reads the will Big Boss left; Myeong Ju refuses to read the one from Seo. The army will announce that the duo were killed in a car accident during training; want Dr Kang to sign a Non Disclosure Agreement. Eun Ji pesters Dr Kang about switching to more expensive medication so her uncle can profit from the purchase. Myeong Ju returns to Urk while Dr Kang goes to the Albanian refugee camp; she continues to send messages to Big Boss. Daniel protests at the airport regarding patents for necessary vaccines. At the end of the episode, Big Boss reappears, looking a little worse for wear.


I have a message for the producers: stop toying with my heart! Oh man. Actually this time it was pretty expected. Since no bodies were found, viewers had reason to believe that the duo would survive. Hehe! So I guess we’ll find out in the next episode whether Seo lives as well.

More than love stories, I think the drama really drives home the message that more needs to be done in the medical field. Medicines are not being produced because there are patents involved. And those who need the medicines or vaccines most cannot get access to them because they are unavailable or priced out of reach. Even for the wealthy, there are medical professionals / businessmen who want to raise prices so they can earn (much) more. Remember the real-life example of the man who wanted to raise the price of HIV treatment drugs by 5000%? ‘Descendants Of The Sun’ isn’t kidding. There really are people who are like that. Hopefully, Karma gets them all in the end.

I wonder what’s left for episode 16. Will Big Boss and Dr Kang get married? Will Seo survive and get back together with Myeong Ju again? The lucky folks in Korea will find out tonight, while the rest of us will do so tomorrow.😀

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

Kevin Tsai book

I’ve enjoyed Kevin Tsai’s and Dee Hsu’s hosting of 康熙來了(Kang Xi Lai Le) – too bad the show has ended after more than a decade on television. As Dee has frequently referred to Kevin’s book, I decided to locate a copy and attempt to read all those traditional Chinese characters. If you know of the existence of a version in simplified Mandarin or better yet, a translated version in English, please let me know. My speed-reading skills have been severely hampered by the way the book is presented – just like Chinese comics, back to front, and read from right to left, the exact opposite of what I’m used to.

In this post, I’ll share some of the learning points I’ve acquired from (slowly) reading his book. I’m reading slowly not by choice, obviously. Haha! Do note that some phrases and thoughts just lose much of their original intended meaning when translated into English. Take the title of the book, for instance, <蔡康永的说话之道>, which can only loosely and inaccurately be translated into ‘Kevin Tsai’s Way Of Speaking’ (which I found on

Also, how does one explain what Kevin meant by “说话之道” versus “说话之術”, which he claims has very different connotations? In any case, I’ll do my best here. Apologies in advance if my interpretations of his work fall short. Mandarin’s not exactly my strong suit but I do love the language – it’s actually quite beautiful.:)

By the way, this (speaking skills) book has made Kevin one of the richest Chinese writers, and according to the website, helped him earn over US$700,000 in royalty income. Can you say “WOW”?😀 Not that he needs the money, obviously, because the talkshow already pays very well, and Kevin is from a rich (elite) family. I respect him a fair bit because he’s not just learned, but he’s also courageous. He has come out of the closet years ago and said he is gay. I think more gay people should follow in his footsteps. If you want society to accept who you are, and the lifestyle you lead, and not discriminate against gay people, then you’ll have to OWN this fact (that you are gay), and just proudly state it as a matter of fact and show you have nothing to hide. Step out and say “I’m gay. So?” and you’ll find that people (even the critics) will have to just start minding their own business.

And I might be wrong, but I think that Kevin’s sexuality allows him the freedom of understanding both ‘worlds’ – the male worldview, and the more feminine / emotional / sensitive ‘world’ that is usually associated with women. Thus, he seems to always know what are the right things to say. For instance, when a woman asks a man whether she is looking fatter these days, the man might have to pause and wonder if she’s asking him a trick question, what her response might be if he’s honest with her, and what he’ll have to say in order to get away with lying. For someone like Kevin, the answer is almost always very prompt and a straightforward denial “Of course not. You’re so slim! Why would you even ask that question?!” and the woman ends up feeling really happy. Yes, we’re superficial like that. Most of us just want to hear only the good things.😀

Here are some learning points from the book (It’s Book One. There’s a Book Two out as well)…

  1. Consider what the listener wants to hear, not what you wish to say.
  2. You are what you say.
  3. Dee Hsu: “There’s a fine line between being yourself and being rude. Give genuine praise, not unwelcome criticism”.
  4. Pass on praise from other people, instead of trying too hard yourself.
  5. Your words define you. For instance, would you rather be seen as a naggy housewife or a kawaii girlfriend?
  6. Likeability is more important than looks. For instance, what would you do if you are invited to a gathering with friends and dinner involves Japanese food which you do not enjoy? Remember: the reason for your friends’ existence is not to serve you.
  7. Music is better than forced conversation, and it also changes the mood.
  8. Know how to “lose” and hand unnecessary victories to others. It is better to lose an argument than to be hated for winning one. Don’t force an apology or admittance of defeat from someone. Maintain love between the couple; don’t make a fuss over winning or losing an argument.
  9. See people as equals.
  10. Maintain eye contact in moderation.
  11. Don’t obsess over the meal; have a good conversation.
  12. Get unstuck; change the topic.
  13. Concrete questions lead to effortless answers. Be specific in your questioning. Ask about a topic that you have something interesting to share about too.
  14. People want to find others who understand them.
  15. Everyone wants to talk about themselves. Be a good listener. See if you can avoid using “I” and “me” in your conversation. Indulge your friends – let them say all that they want to.

I’m not done with the book yet. So I’ll update this blog again later. It’s so much easier to blog in English than to read a book in Chinese. Muahaha!:)

*p/s: I’m not sure why Kevin uses an umbrella as a prop for his book cover shoot. Perhaps the answer will be revealed later in the book.😉

Descendants Of The Sun Episode 14: Big Boss Is Alive! Phew!

Descendants Of The Sun Episode 14

[ Photo from Descendants Of The Sun facebook page ]

You’ll find the synopsis for episode 14 of Descendants Of The Sun below (please don’t read it if you don’t want spoilers. Hehe) In this episode, we can all finally heave a big sigh of relief that the Captain is alive and well, and the funny scenes are truly hilarious. In episode 13 of Descendants Of The Sun, we were left wondering what the hell happened, and as it turned out, Big Boss was quickly revived and could walk about quite freely despite having been severely wounded and on the brink of death just a few seconds ago.

~ Episode 14 Synopsis ~

Senior Lieutenant Anh Jung Joon from North Korea comes looking for Big Boss, saying he wants to be sent back to North Korea. He claims that he doesn’t trust his own men. Anh ends up getting shot by masked men in a vehicle speeding by. Seo and Big Boss try to stop the vehicle and Big Boss is seriously wounded. At the hospital, Dr Kang manages to revive Big Boss, who had a cardiac arrest. Anh takes Nurse Ha hostage because he refuses treatment. Big Boss wants Dr Kang to operate on Anh. Dr Kang finds a microchip in Anh’s arm. Looking through Anh’s belongings, Dr Song almost licked Anh’s “pen”. Seo tells him it is actually a poisoned syringe. Apparently, Anh had murdered his comrade who had been hired as a hitman by the yakuza / mafia. He had wanted to eliminate traitors. Anh fails to kill Commander Choe, who is quite happy to let the North-South talks fail because he doesn’t care much about separated families. Anh’s microchip apparently has the evidence of Commander Choe’s profiting of a lot of money via betraying his own men. Anh is shot by a sniper, who turns out to be Big Boss. There is a funny scene in which Seo pretends to be gay, and when Dr Kang comes into the ward and they have to pretend that Big Boss was obediently in bed the entire time. Dr Kang and Big Boss manage to watch the movie that they failed to watch multiple times before. They fall asleep together on the same bed.

~ Thoughts ~

*Not sure why Big Boss wasn’t wearing a bulletproof vest when he was shot.

*”I hope reunification will happen soon” is uttered during a conversation between Chi Hoon’s wife and the doctor in the wheelchair. Is this what all South Korean folk think?

*”Do you think politics can work with morality?” Politics gets in the way of families being together. Haiz. This is probably something us Singaporeans will never be able to understand. But my heart goes out to the families which cannot meet and cannot be together because of this North-South divide.

*It appears that Big Boss can fire a gun using either hand – right hand injured? No problem, I’ll fire a gun with my left hand.😛


The writers and the director are BRUTAL, really. In episode 13, we were made to think that Big Boss got killed. In episode 14, he is revived. In the preview for episode 15, it seems that Big Boss went on yet another dangerous mission, and this time round, no ambulance arrives, but one member of Alpha Team (is it Snoopy?) comes to talk to Dr Kang, with seemingly bad news regarding Big Boss. Haiz. Why are they torturing us like this? This one week before the next episode airs will feel like a year.😦