Sleepless Nights

I can’t recall when was the last time I enjoyed a restorative sleep. A solid 8 hours of sleep? Hardly never.

Guess it’s the way my body is wired. Sleep is something I crave for (during the day) but never attainable (at night).

Reading through my past entries in Day One, it struck me on this day 7 years ago, I was also experiencing insomnia. If there’s anything consistent about my life, it’s the recurring account of sleepless nights.

Not the greatest start to the year, but not the worst beginning either. Sleep-deprived I may be, but life goes on.

And a (very) belated new year from me to you.


McDonald’s Happy Meal Package and Toys Reimagined

Not just aesthetically pleasing with beautiful illustrations, the concept is also well explored and considered. I enjoyed every bit of it. They would make a good collectible item that introduces children to sustainability instead of most get-it-chuck-lose-it happy meal toys.


Mango Sticky Rice

Image courtesy of Monocle

Mango sticky rice is a dessert we will never miss if we’re having Thai food. The harmonious pairing between the savoury glutinous rice balances the sweet mango chunks. If you’re in Thailand, try them at the roadside stalls. Chances are, they will all be pretty good.

Though some may fine it too heavy as a dessert, especially when you ordered too much of the tanalising mains like pad thai and tom yum soup, this is a dish you’d want to save your tummy for. Sprinkle some sesame seeds on top and it’s chef kiss.

(Monocle has some of the best illustrators around. Man, I would buy a book if they compile their best illustrations.)

This is something I’d like to try making.

Serves 4

180g glutinous rice
200ml water
250ml coconut milk
65g cane sugar
½ tsp salt
2 mangoes
Toasted sesame seeds (optional)

Rinse the rice until the water runs clear, then cover the rice with fresh water and leave it to soak for about 30 minutes. Then drain again (it’s fiddly but will make the final product better).

Add fresh water and bring the rice to the boil before covering and simmering over medium heat for about 10 minutes. Turn off the heat and let the rice swell, covered, for about 20 minutes.

In a pan, dissolve the cane sugar in 200ml of the coconut milk with a pinch of salt. Heat gently until the sugar is dissolved, then combine the rice and liquid, and stir.

Add the remaining 50ml of coconut milk to the pan with a further pinch of salt and heat through. This is the topping.

To serve, peel mangoes, cut into pieces and divide them and the rice between four dishes. Drizzle a little sauce over them and top with sesame seeds.


Best Story Wins

The best argument in the world won’t change a single person’s mind. The only thing that can do that is a good story.

Novelist Richard Powers

John McPhee on Writing

Dear Jenny: The way to do a piece of writing is three or four times over, never once. For me, the hardest part comes first, getting something—anything—out in front of me. Sometimes in a nervous frenzy I just fling words as if I were flinging mud at a wall. Blurt out, heave out, babble out something—anything—as a first draft. With that, you have achieved a sort of nucleus. Then, as you work it over and alter it, you begin to shape sentences that score higher with the ear and eye. Edit it again—top to bottom. The chances are that about now you’ll be seeing something that you are sort of eager for others to see. And all that takes time. What I have left out is the interstitial time. You finish that first awful blurting, and then you put the thing aside. You get in your car and drive home. On the way, your mind is still knitting at the words. You think of a better way to say something, a good phrase to correct a certain problem. Without the drafted version—if it did not exist—you obviously would not be thinking of things that would improve it. In short, you may be actually writing only two or three hours a day, but your mind, in one way or another, is working on it twenty-four hours a day—yes, while you sleep—but only if some sort of draft or earlier version already exists. Until it exists, writing has not really begun.

From Draft No. 4 by John McPhee

Applies for universally everything in life. You just start and things will almost get better.


Ford vs Ferrari

What does Ferrari stands for?

They stand for winning. Year after year. They built cars without compromise to win. For speed and reliability.

Not Ford.

From the movie “Ford vs Ferrari”

Korean Style Spicy Noodle

There was this ramen joint at a corner of Orchard that sells terrific food. My usual order was cold soba. But good things don’t last – they folded some time back, allegedly due to gambling debt. Staff and suppliers were owed money they are never going to get back. It was a solemn end to my favourite restaurant.

I’m not the biggest fan of Korean food and culture, but this spicy Korean-style noodle looks appetizing. Slices of zucchini complement the texture of the cold noodle, perfect too for mitigating the spiciness of the menacing chili paste.

Here’s the recipe I lifted from Monocle’s weekend newsletter.

Serves 2

1 medium egg
Half a cucumber
6 cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
4 tbsps kimchee
200g thin wheat noodles (ideally 1.5mm), such as somen
1 tbsp toasted sesame seeds

For the sauce:
2½ tbsps light brown sugar
1 tbsp light soy sauce
1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
2 tbsps rice vinegar
2 tbsps gochujang


  1. Place the egg in boiling water and cook for 8 minutes. When it’s ready, drain and cool in cold water.
  2. While the egg is cooking, prepare the vegetables: slice the tomatoes in half and cut the cucumber into matchsticks.
  3. Mix all the sauce ingredients together in a large bowl until combined.
  4. Cook the noodles according to the packet instructions.
  5. Drain the noodles and rinse in cold running water to cool completely and wash off the excess starch. Drain again completely.
  6. Add the drained noodles to the bowl that you made the sauce in. Toss to dress the noodles.
  7. Peel the egg, cut it in half and place it on top.
  8. Divide noodles between 2 serving bowls. Arrange cucumber, tomatoes and kimchee in each bowl. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and enjoy.

Slave to the Smartphone

Our phone is an anxiety inducing device.

Always connected, always contactable.

We blur the boundaries. We lose the privacy.

A flicker of screen, a jolt of vibration.

It has become a round-the-clock job.

But phones are comforting.

It’s the first thing we reach for in most situation.

We could live without our wallet but not our phone.

It’s the single most important device for most people.

Are all phones inherently bad?

I believe not.

It’s striking a balance between getting enslaved by the phone, or getting an enriching experience out of it.


Jeff Bezos’ Final Letter to Shareholders as Amazon CEO

If you want to be successful in business (in life, actually), you have to create more than you consume. Your goal should be to create value for everyone you interact with. Any business that doesn’t create value for those it touches, even if it appears successful on the surface, isn’t long for this world. It’s on the way out.

Jeff Bezos

So, so true. Could be applicable to anything or anyone. It doesn’t cost anything to be kind. Render help whenever possible. Smile at the janitor. Hold the door for the next person. Saying a sincere thank you to the tired coffee maker who has been standing for 8 hours could mean the world to her.

In the context of the working world, everyone is dispensable. To be useful, you have to create value. Make yourself as unsackable as possible by putting in value.

Not always true pure numbers and figures. Could be refining the flow and processes so things could be better. Could be bettering existing relationship with vendors and customers. Could be mentoring fellow colleagues. The possibilities are infinite.

The bottom line is – create value.

(via Daring Fireball)


Best Case for Siri?

I wonder if there’s an opportunity for adapting some old-school bits of kit to make it less daunting. Instead of a sleek Homepod, for example, how about hiding the technology in something more familiar – say a cuckoo clock? You’d say, “Hey cuckoo, what’s the time?” and it would pop out and chirp the answer. Its eyes could be mini-cameras that spotted when you had forgotten to take your medication (“Cuckoo darling, time for the linctus”) and it would happily whistle any tune from the 1950s on request. Well, it’s as good as Voltswagen.

(via Monocle)