New post every Saturday!


This page tells about the origins of Ocean's 1/2. In conventional terms, it would have been the About page. Take a look.

Project 365 Grateful

This a project inspired by a friend to help myself have a brighter outlook on life and appreciate what I already have. Read all about it here!


Now if you ever have any private/personal questions or are just to shy to leave your name, contact me personally! I'll reply ASAP :)


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Saturday, 13 April 2013

3 Approaches

"Your Attitude, not your Aptitude will determine your Altitude" - Zig Ziglar

Hey guys!

Last week, during lecture, someone started asking a question that I already know the answer to, and honestly, it made me a bit anxious. Anxious to move on to the next topic. But nevertheless, I waited in my seat patiently and listened. hen it dawned upon me, the 3 Approaches, as how I'd like to call them.

What are the 3 Approaches?

1. How we approach issues we already know
2. How we approach issues we don't know
3. How we approach issues we have no interest to know

The first, as illustrated in the example above describes how anxious I was in approaching issues I already know. This happens ALL the time. people love to tell you what they know and what they think you should too, most of the time, with no regard of your prior knowledge whatsoever. However, I feel it is beneficial to let them speak their piece. Why you may ask? Simply to boost their egos! Most of the time, no one would listen, so when you do, they will feel like they have imparted their knowledge, and have made a difference, a very good feeling indeed. In return, when they are done, they are much more likely to listen to what YOU have to say, since YOU made them feel good about themselves!

Well, the second point about approaching issues we don't know reflects upon our own egos and hunger for knowledge. Put it this way, humans are egoistical creatures and we don't like to be told that our knowledge databank is lacking some crucial information. However, the wisdom of the ages always tells us to stay humble and stay hungry. (Probably Steve Jobs's quote). Therefore, I urge everyone to check in on our egos at times like this and we'll definitely learn more this way.

The last point ties in very tightly with the first point. However, there are situations where we have no interest whatsoever in caring for bonsai plants. In this situations, if the speaker does not realise our lack of interest and zip it up quickly, it's best to change the topic ASAP or find an exit strategy!

So, there you go. 3 approaches in 3 different situations. What would YOU do differently? Leave me a comment down below! :)

Sunday, 7 April 2013

Just Be Yourself. A Better Self.

Hey guys! How's the weekend coming along?

So I read this article a few days back and at the end of it, there was a comment that says the teens and 20s are the super entitled generation...and it got me thinking (I think watching Hell's Kitchen played a part too).

There have been a lot of new-age advice, or whatever you call it, that have been advising people to 'just be yourself', 'don't fake it', 'don't wear a mask', etc. I can see essence of this, and it's not a bad thing actually. It's just that like all advice, you've gotta give it to the right person, at the right time to achieve the right effect and impact.

For someone who have been trying to act like someone else to please their parents/spouse/etc (think Mulan), then yes, this advice is sound. But telling a spoilt, rebellious, ungrateful teen to keep up the good work is BS.

What I'm saying is that we should always see both sides of the coin. More importantly, we(I'm very much included) should very well learn to suck up our ego at times, and learn from criticisms, even harsh ones. Why?

Cause by doing that, we're admitting that we're not perfect. That there's always room for improvement, no matter how the lesson comes to us. Some people have this misconception that the world needs to be kind to them before they can learn anything, that teachers must be patient Zen masters, that the society will help lift them up when they fall. That is, of course the ideal world, but most of the time, we've gotta keep a look out for ourselves, we've gotta have our own backs.

Therefore, I urge everyone to be yourself. But recognise that we each have our own strengths and flaws, and that we continuously strive to improve and grow. When the lessons come easy, be grateful, when the lessons come hard, suck it up. That way, we can be ourselves. Our better selves.

Monday, 1 April 2013

3 Reasons Why I Joined Toastmasters and Why You Should Too!

Hey guys!

Sorry for the delayed post as I was travelling last weekend, and no, I haven't gotten around to scheduled post yet. Anyhow, let's dive in to today's topic on PickMyBrain.

I've recently joined Toastmasters, amid quite some reluctance on my part prior to this semester. And now, I'm so convinced that I've made the right decision, I'm going to share 3 reasons why I decided to join Toastmasters and why you should too! For those who's asking, what IS Toastmaster, click here.

1. Constructive Environment to Grow In
Toastmasters provide a very constructive environment to grow in, perhaps due to their pledge or something. But, this is more than a pledge; I felt it. The first time I entered a Toastmaster's meeting, I was warmly greeted by various strangers. I felt so at home right away,  I made tonnes of new friends.

Through the public speaking course, there's always the evaluation. I witnessed first hand, constructive criticism at its best! I'm not one who's very good at softening the blow, but after seeing how an evaluator evaluated a performance objectively, with good points I totally overlooked, I'm a changed man.

Of course there are many other supportive and constructive environments to grow in, but most of them are either religious or incomparable to Toastmasters. Here, you are allowed to grow at your own pace, with the people by your side always.

2. You Get What You Pay For
Cost was one of the reasons why I did not join Toastmasters earlier. I did not comprehend why anyone would pay RM240 (varies by club) to join as a member and RM120 every 6 months to keep your membership alive just to talk to a bunch of people who would later judge you.

Of course you get the coursebook and stuff like that, but I'm pretty sure I can get those online, for free! Youtube's a great source for starters. So, I was asking where does the money goes? Does it go to a new building fund perhaps? No, not really. So, why do members need to keep paying a fee for peer review (since everyone is benefiting from peer review, the money only serves to benefit the International body, right?) ?

Well, for one, Toastmasters is a non-profit organisation, meaning any extra income they have at the end of the year has to be reimbursed back to its members. Two, there ARE hidden cost to be paid for like food, servers maintenance, sometimes venue, and perhaps marketing? But it's there, like any other organisation. Three, after all is said and done, it's still worth it! Just google any public speaking course or leadership seminar and you'll see what I'm talking about. They go from a couple of hundreds right up to thousands! And most importantly, the people in your Toastmasters club remain somewhat the same, thus providing a strong support group, which everyone knows, is very crucial in a setting such as this.

So, really, you do get what you pay for, perhaps even more.

3. Grow Thy Network!
Regardless of your profession, meeting new people is unavoidable. What better place to practice than Toastmasters? Not just practice, you actually do meet lots of great, interesting, like-minded individuals who could very well land you your dream job, or recommend you to a multi-million dollar deal.

One of the reasons why Toastmasters work is because of point number 2, up above. You see, when people have to pay this much (and might I say, consistently) for something, they usually think twice and asks themselves, 'What's in it for me?' Most can't convince themselves. However, those who do, have already been filtered out to be positive thinking, wanting to improve, supportive individuals. This is where like-minded individuals come together and discuss ideas, proposals, forward-thinking concepts, etc.

Again, you get what you pay for, but this time, in immeasurable returns. A dream job, a real estate deal or even a close confidant. Who knows? :)

However, I did left out one point, which is extremely crucial in reaping these benefits. It's this:

Toastmasters, like anything in life, is what you make of it. 

There are those who solely attend their own club's meeting, completing the course in due time and perhaps become a better speaker. There are also those who make the most out of the course and in the mean time, also make the most out of every new encounter, every new club, every new experience. Which one are you, is entirely up to you.

See you guys next Saturday!

Saturday, 23 March 2013

Financial Literacy

Welcome back to PickMyBrain!

This week, we're gonna take a look at financial literacy. Recently, I've come to the realisation that I have little to no knowledge in how to manage my personal finance! Like, even if I have some extra money, I wouldn't know where or how to invest it to gain a higher return.

So, I started asking around. Most friends are either equally clueless, or never even thought about it. A few had some sort of idea. But the general picture is that, no one really knows how to earn more money! We're all on the fast track to be the middle class - most hardworking and least paid! In Robert Kiyosaki's terms, that would be the Rat Race!

If that's the case, how do we get out? The answer is obvious! Financial education of course. The public education system has literally zero emphasis on financial education. All they tell you is work hard, get a good job and retire at 55.

No one ever explained stocks, bonds, securities, etc. to me even up till now. Heck, i didn't even know how the banks work. I do now, fortunately. So, why aren't we teaching our kids what the Rich Dad teaches? Or at least basic financial measures? Why is it that our kids feel ashamed to say that they want to learn how to make more money? Does that makes us greedy?

Not necessarily. In this era, our purchasing power has become so small, that young adults are having trouble financing a car, a home, etc. But consumerism still teaches us to own this things, which are often times, way beyond our means. So, my personal motivation is to learn as much as I can about finance and investment to be financially independent ASAP.

In retrospect, the education system really have to do something about this. I figured someone must have seen this huge loophole besides me way before now. Therefore, the only explanation left is that we(the gov/big companies/banks) DO NOT want to teach our kids to be financially independent. A conspiracy? I think so.

What do you think? Drop a comment below!

Saturday, 16 March 2013

3 Reasons Why You Should Learn To Cook

Hey there!

How's it going? This week on PickMyBrain, I'd like to share one of my part time endeavors - cooking!
Eating has evolved from being a necessity to becoming a form of enjoyment, even pleasure. The expectations of the food we eat are only going higher by the day - taste, quantity, service, etc.

One of the main reasons why people in Malaysia eat out regularly is because we can still afford it! Imagine having a plate of fried rice for RM5 outside. 10-15 minutes, and you're already tucking in. But imagine if you have to prepare the same dish..at home. From cleaning to chopping to frying to cleaning again - it's all a chore!

But today, I'd like to challenge that mindset and give you 3 reasons to learn how to cook!

1. Save Cost
Imagine that same plate of friend rice 5-10 years from now. It's no longer RM5, but RM10, maybe more! And suddenly, cooking seems like the only way to go, cause well, let's face it, salaries aren't going up that fast!

You enter the kitchen, all pumped up to cook the best fried rice in the world, and then you realise that you have absolutely no idea how to peel a garlic or ginger. No matter, Mum to the rescue! You start the fire, and throw the garlic in and *babam!* *babam!* *babam!* Using the wok's cover as a shield, you try to turn the heat down, but your garlic is already smelling like charcoal. Now, don't you wish you'd have started cooking 5 years ago?

2. Knowing What Goes Into Your Food
Challenge! Can you name at least 3 of these culinary herbs?

I'll have to admit, that just half a year ago, I wouldn't have been able to name even ONE! But thanks Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution series which inspired my family to start growing some of these, I can now recognise 8! Dill, Sweet basil, Thyme, Pearsley, Coriander, Rosemary and Mint :)

If you think knowing what goes into your food isn't as important to how good it taste? Think about China's fake eggs, fake beef, fake bread, etc. And what about the horse meat scandal? How about some crunchy Pisang Goreng Plastic? Scared yet?

3. Controlling What Goes Into Your Food
Alright, so now that you're a worried about what goes into that plate of fried rice, what can you do about it? Do a kitchen check before eating? Watching the chef prepare right before your eyes? It's all not very practical suggestions.

The best answer? Cook Your Own Meals! It doesn't have to be as complicated as you think! Start small. Maybe 2 meals a week? Each meal with 4 ingredients or less? There's tonnes of resources out there like Jamie's 15-minute meals and there's also a 4-ingredient meals website here.

As with anything new, change is resisted. But persist anyway, and good luck! :)

Next week, we'll take a look at $$$ - personal budgeting! Till then, have a great weekend ahead!

Sunday, 10 March 2013

Last Final Goodbye

A friend once asked me, "Would you regret doing something, or not doing something?". It kinda caught me off guard at first, but it really got me thinking, even after 2 years.

You see, this is the last semester of my undergraduate course. And I really hate goodbyes. I suck at them! But final being final means I should make the most out of it. I've been prioritizing relationships from the start if the sem. Relationships with friends, with lecturers, random strangers.

It's like that feeling that if I don't do this now, the moment's gonna past, and I'm gonna regret this. So I guess, the answer to my friend's question would be regretting not doing it. Mark Twain said:

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”

So, I guess, yeap, I'm taking every opportunity to savour my last semester in uni. I'm thinking Toastmasters for one. I've always wanted to try rock climbing, but something about it being so public kinda scares me inside. And dancing! It seems like such a fundamental part of being human, and yet I've never tried it. I've also tried sitting in classes outside of my own, just for the fun of it :)

What about you? Would you regret doing something, or not doing something?

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

PickMyBrain Header!

Hi there!

You might have noticed the spanking new header up above ^^ Everything is done from scratch, well, except for the brain ;)