Yesterday on Singles Day, 11 November Alibaba broke their online sales record yet again. I also heard an interesting story about a Dutchman, who filed a lawsuit to lower his age by 20 years to improve job and dating prospects.

Photo: a sketch at my portraiture class last week.

A motivational speaker and life coach by profession, he had declared the act was not a publicity stunt. Not to judge his action, since I do not know him nor understand his real circumstances, I sought instead to reflect how I would advise him if he were my client.

If indeed, someone gave you a magic wand, what would you want? The GROW Model is very useful.

Goals. What are your goals? In his case, 20 more years. But really, what are his goals? Dating a young woman in her 30s? Getting a job?

Someone once said to me. The best dopamine high is to be learning something.

Think of your goals in life as consisting 3 buckets.

1. Creating goals
2. Learning goals
3. Connecting goals

If indeed he has the body of a 49 yr old, as his doctors tell him, what would a 49 yr old do?

🦁Climb Mt Kilimanjaro?
🦁Reach out to 69 people to give them free coaching sessions?

My 62 yr old friend immediately sent me photos of an 88yr old radiographer in Singapore who is still working. Donald Trump is 72 yrs old. Hillary Clinton, his contender at the elections is 71 yrs old. Neither seemed to think their age was an issue. If Tinder app does not allow you to have dating options with women half your age. What other options do you have?

What would I want to be, live and feel at 69? How will I live my life differently then?
How will I live my life differently?

1. My assets
If you feel down and out, what assets do you still have? Youth. Loved ones. A home. Why is this man so eager to change his age? What did he perceive to be the advantages of youth? If you have lost hope, do a stock take of what you still have. No regrets. Start today.

2. Establish boundaries for yourself
Dont take bullshit from others. In some societies, age = wisdom. Are we idolising youth? At the same time talking down to the young?

Be the best that I can be
Are there certain perceived injustice that I feel that people have against me? Age? Being female? My looks? My race? Am I comfortable in my own skin? If not, who am I blaming? Jimmy O Yang, Crazy Rich Asian Star was especially insightful when asked if he had experienced racism before getting his break as a standup comedian. He said, he realised it was more helpful to ask if he had done all he could to improve his skills. Be the best you can be.

3. Do no evil
Would I be willing to deceive others and myself. Lying about my age?

4. Being relevant
No doubt this man is feeling irrelevant. He is experiencing a gap between his target audience and himself. He should be applauded for taking action, except that his action is the wrong one. We crave the approval of our ideal customer. Perhaps his real intention is to raise a mirror at society at our preference to deceive ourselves and others. At our idolising youth. At youth’s ignorance on the wasting of our years. If so, he has indeed succeeded.

5. Be empathetic
The judge in this case has my admiration. He did not ridicule the man. Everyone is carrying on a perceived injustice in their head. Fighting an imaginary battle.

This morning I sensed a new spring in my steps. As if I had been given a new lease of life. Looking at each new experience as an opportunity than a chore.

How else would you use your time? I went for the Singapore Fintech Festival at the Singapore Expo.

How would you live your life differently today?
#Moment of change
#Moment of decision

Dutchman, 69, files lawsuit to lower his age by 20 years for better dating, job prospects, Europe News & Top Stories – The Straits Times


Are you up for a networking challenge?

15 suggestions for a 30 day challenge. Just pick ONE activity and do it consistently over a 30 day or 4 weeks period. Bite sized.

If you chose a weekly schedule, decide how many days you want to commit to the activity. Who is the organiser? Structure? Platform? Venue?

Move out of your habitual social comfort zone.
Fight your social filters of your usual cliques

1. Grab a coffee with a different colleague classmate everyday for next 30 days

2. Write a blog post 3 times a week for next 4 weeks

3. Share a Linkedin Post everyday for next 30 days

4. Coffee chat with a new person in a sector I want to pivot into, once a week for the next 4 weeks

5. Network for a social cause: start something. Use network to support a voice

6. Network around a problem: get a group of people who will help you solve a problem

7. Network to learn something: breakfast group that discuss “exchange rates” ( sthg for headlines).

8. Book club: discuss a book relevant to the industry of your choice

9. Network with your former colleagues

10. Network with your professional association

11. Network around a theme: eg visit the top attraction sites in Singapore

12. Around an idea: raise funds for …

13. IE-SMU Alumni group

14. Goal: Climb Mt Kinabalu in Malaysia, round a group to train together once a week

15: Goal: run a marathon – form a running group

Think aloud:
1. What is my Goal
2. Who is in my community? What are their challenges?
3. How do I structure my networking: schedule, platform
3. My Buddy: accountability and feedback
4. Reflections: what have I learnt about myself

Photo and quote done by my 10 yr old niece. Desert is of course spelled with one “t”.


Are you a prisoner of the past, or a pioneer of the future? – Deepak Chopra


1. Pink moss of Hokkaido

My tribute to the color pink:


2. Pink shrimp
3. Pink water lilies arising from mud
4. Pink Longevity birthday buns representing peaches

Photos all taken by me.


5.My melody, Sanrio Christmas at Changi
6.Pink Ginger flower used in rojak salad.


7.Pink maguro
8.Pink chinese new year money envelopes
9. Pink lily


10. Roseate Spoonbill at the Jurong Bird Park, looking sinister

Think out Loud
Does pink calm you down?
Whats your favourite de-stressor?

We overthink the color pink. Some say its a sign of weakness, others say its romance. Some say its for girls. Others say for boys.

We are products of our times, and we attach meaning to something so neutral and beautiful as color.

There is research that showed men who wore pink earned £1,000 more and likely to have an MBA than those who wore white. By the way, the late Minister Mentor’s favourite shirt color was pink. (When he was not not campaigning. Otherwise it was white.)

We overthink many things.

Note to self: Im getting my man some pink shirts just in case, the research is right.

Is there a color of success in your organisation? Blue shirts (IBM), white shirts, black turtle neck (Steve Jobs), grey Ts (Mark Z)?

This was forwarded to me via Whatsapp from my Chinese Toastmasters Club by 刘月梅。If you are the original author, please let me know via comments so that proper attribute can be returned to you for the hard work.

Personally Ive not tried any of these sites except Youtube. I like Quora for datascience topics. Vault and Wetfeet for careers related matters. Singapore National Library app remains my favourite for eBooks.


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There are days where I just can’t get started. One tip I learnt is to create a list of 10 things.  If you can’t think of how to start, just list down 10 random things on your head.

  1. Ten ways to cook egg
  2. Ten dream destinations for holiday
  3. Ten places for romantic breakfast
  4. Ten of my favourite books for career
  5. Ten best blogs for career change
  6. Ten of my favourite TEDX
  7. Ten short getaway holidays without leaving Singapore
  8. Ten rituals before I start work
  9. Ten things to accomplish before Christmas
  10. Ten new things I want to learn in 2019

What’s your favourite way to get out of the doldrums?


Picture created by my 10 yr old niece for my blog.


Picture I took at a coffee place in Naraijuku, and the forest walk from Torii Pass to Narai Oct 2018

Ichi-go ichi-e (Japanese: 一期一会, lit. “one time, one meeting”) [it͡ɕi̥.ɡo it͡ɕi̥.e] is a Japanese four-character idiom (yojijukugo) that describes a cultural concept of treasuring meetings with people.

The term is often translated as “for this time only,” “never again,” or “one chance in a lifetime.” The term is a reminder to cherish that many meetings in life are not repeated. Even when the same group gets together again, the essence and chemistry can never be replicated. Each moment then, is unique. Wikipedia

When we treasure the meeting with someone, networking does not need to be inauthentic. Instead of busy engaging in the digital world, we value the person in front of us.

The experience, the conversation, the connection.

As a host to ensure a level of experience possible as there is no guarantee one will have the chance to entertain the guest under the same circumstances again. 

Whether giving a routine presentation, or coaching someone, an ichigo ichie experience. Put down the digital devices and appreciate the moment.

What if I cannot stand my co-workers? Treasuring the moment is about mutual respect.

It is not about being emotional or romantic or best friends forever.

It is about leaving your baggage behind and enter the moment in harmony and boundaries.

Japanese bond with colleagues after work known as nomikai. Despite being introverts, collective cultures like Japan understand the importance of strong workplace relationships. (Often the bill is paid by the boss on company expense.) Although some companies are looking at other activities to improve bonding. This is lacking in most companies today which may be the reason for poor employee engagement – a detachment from your colleague. Bomding is done at an organisation level is not enough, and certainly not the same.

One who smiles rather than rages, is stronger. Japanese proverb

Ozawa: Self assertion is perfectly normal in Europe. Its the only way to survive. In Japan though, people think and think about things until they finally take action – or take no action at all. … I am not sure which mentality is better.

Murakami: Its true in just about any field in Japan. Maybe even in writer’s circles. People cant do anything until they’ve gauged the opinions of the other people present. They look around, they absorb the atmosphere and only then do they raise their hands and say something unobjectionable. That way there’s no progress where it matters, and the status quo is set in stone. #High Context#

Absolutely on Music, conversations with Seiji Ozawa by Haruki Murakami