The Good Ol’ Days

Right now I am in the middle of The Romance of Three Kingdoms, Book Two, a Chinese classics. Which should not be a surprise for my friends, since they know what I am into. I always have the affection towards old school stuff, be it movies, books, fashion style, especially music.

I love old school music.

What I listen in the car is varied from my Spotify playlist, but mostly is a daily mix consisting of old Mandopop hits or a playlist from 80’s band or sometimes musical scores. I don’t know why, but classic hits always hit my soft spot. I am not sure if it is the arrangement that’s easy to follow, though sometimes the lyrics can be corny as hell, or simply it gives out such a comfortable nostalgic feelings. My analysis is heavy towards the latter since I am not the one with the musical talent.

My analysis is heavy towards the latter since I am not the one with the musical talent. That’s why I believe I have some sort of nostalgic attachment towards it. The weird thing is, I wasn’t born when the hits were written and put on the chart. That thing aside, I believe that old memories do affect our decisions in the present days and a big reason why nostalgia marketing is very effective nowadays. Just like the remake of Power Rangers or live action version of Beauty and The Beast. They took the old fond memories of the customer to push the sales, which I thought a smart move. Instead of throwing things that completely new, we take an old stuff that hits and tweak it a bit and put the technology that was not possible back then.

I am not saying that this is the best way, innovation is always a good thing. It pushes people to learn more and more. But, sometimes we do need to chill a bit and reminiscing the good ol’ days, don’t we?

Meanwhile, enjoy this amazing music from 1987 Mannequin Movie, “Nothing Gonna Stop Us Now” by Starship.

The Power Rangers I love

 

power-rangers-2017-poster

from here

 

I still remember during my childhood, I, just like any other Asian kids in an Asian household, have to go through a home tutoring session, even on Sunday morning. I was unlucky because my session starts at the same time with the airing time of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. I remember I took a long drinking break from my dinner table to my living room for the sake of having a glance of that week episode. I feel that one hour of Mandarin lesson was a torture. Why I should learn these weird, strange, shaped character while five badass teenagers are kicking monsters out of the city of Angel Grove. I dreaded that hour (which now I regret why I wasn’t paying attention more to it), and kinda drive my tutor crazy and gave up teaching me, I was gladly accepting my precious time in savouring every episode of Power Ranger. Then comes the times where my favourite superhero got their first big screen appearance. The trip to the movie is already a fun activity and now I get to watch the badass power ranger out of my TV at home. It was a lot of fun!

Fast forward to 2017, the reboot of the movie is out, they cast a new member as the power ranger, give them superpower, and have them fight evil in the form of Rita Repulsa. As an homage to my childhood, I go and watch the movie. I was going to the movie with a low expectation because I have seen snippets about the zord and the armour on social media. To be honest, I hate it. Yes, they give out a new modern touch in it, but I feel it was too much. When I heard Power Ranger, I expecting to see five teenagers (with an attitude) in a bit tacky costume, not some armour from a cyborg or sci-fi movie. Same goes with the zords, it’s a bit too cool.

Storyline wise, it was not that bad. I was expecting to have a classic power ranger moment, rangers fight monsters, loses, got a new power, fight again, win. But, nope, they give out a bit of backstory for each ranger, which is cool! I do not love it very much, but it is a cool take on the story and it shows the differences and issues from the current community. Sick parents, LGBT, Autism, Sportsman gone wrong, and girls hierarchy. It is suited to a mature audience, whose the same person that went to watch the first movie back in 1995.

As I said I go with low expectations, to be frank, this movie maybe the first reboot movie that I watch both versions. I do not expect to go out from the movie with the same awe I had back then, but I must say this movie bring back the memories of the good old days. Because no matter how old are you right now, I am sure the moment you see the zords coming out with a back sound of ‘go go power ranger’ it will put a smile on your face. I recommend this movie for you, but do not expect for a highly rated cinematic movie like transformers or such. For me, this movie is pure for the nostalgic purpose.

Well, I think it is the time to say this.

It’s Morphin Time!

Work It Smart

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One thing that I remember clearly from the culinary school is the importance of Mise En Place. Mise En Place is a French term for put in place, it emphasising the importance of having all things that you will be needed during service time, such as your garnish, sauce bottles, and such. In general just preparing all the things that you going to use. For example, when you cooking a fried rice, then your mise en place including activity such as mincing garlic, chopping spring onion, dicing meat, cracking an egg, up to preparing the wok that is going to be used.

Mise en Place is being done to make sure that it will provide a smooth activity afterwards, whether it services or cooking stuff. Well, it might look cool when you do things a la minute, but it won’t be smart, isn’t it? If you can have it ahead of time it always betters that way. No one likes to go to war with a half assed prep anyway. That’s why, there is a saying that you can judge a chef by how they do their mise en place, chefs, whom able to do a great prep and keep things in check and neat is more likely to have a better career. Good mise en place also ensures that you will have things more organised and will safe a lot of time and energy.

to quote Anthony Bourdain;

“Mise-en-place is the religion of all good line cooks… As a cook, your station, and its condition, its state of readiness, is an extension of your nervous system… The universe is in order when your station is set.”

Once, my class was having a joint lineup with a junior batch that will go to the apprenticeship site, and the chef instructor asked us to give some tips for them, most of my friend said to just listen to the head chef’s instructions and work hard. Yes, I agree with it, but only partly. What I think the most important is to be able to work smart. How to plan what you have to do for the day. I was having a hard time during apprenticeship because I wasn’t fast enough, the first two weeks I felt like a slowpoke in a racing competition against ratata. But as time goes, I get a bit better. I tried to get a grasp of the pace in the kitchen and learn about things that have to be done, Including prioritising stuff.

It helps, a lot!

Working hard is good, a lot of places would love to have a hard working personnel. But I am sure a lot of places would love a smart worker even more. Let me remind you, working smart is not working lazy, cutting corners here and there. But, to do things that need to be done in the most effective and timely manner. By doing that not only you got things done, you should also be able to save your energy for another project. Like working out, doing some freelancing stuff, or even prepping your own big break.You might not get it right the first time, but while you keep adjusting you should be getting the right tunes that work for you.

Let’s us start to working smart!

I Woke Up Hungry

I just don’t get how people come up with the hashtag “woke up like this”. You know, that picture when you post the image of you just after you wake up in the morning. What even makes you think about it in the first place?

Hmm, okay how do I start my day? 
Oh, I know! 
Lets take a selfie!
I’m a geniuuuus!!

For me, as I am constantly hungry, I will never think to take a picture after I am wake up, the phone is lucky to not be eaten. The first thing in my mind after waking up is

what should I eat for breakfast today?
Porridge would be nice.
But wait, it wont hold long enough.
How about noodle?
 No, it will make me fat.
I guess I ended up with the nasi uduk again.

Yeah, avoiding noodle and having a rice dish cooked with coconut milk with fried as toppings for breakfast won’t make you fat.

Also, I am pretty sure the picture of me waking up won’t be pleasing at all. That droopy eyes and half awake look, I can’t seem to get a good angle of me at that time of the day. I will be busy covering up my stomach anyway. Because I don’t know what sorcery there were, but every time I lay on my bed it seems always try to get me naked. I don’t know why, I just laying down minding my own business, roll a bit to get the most comfortable position and the next thing I know, my shirt is up to my stomach. And if i fell asleep like that, I ended up taking tolak angin and burping all day long the next day.

So, if any of you guys are a practitioner of the hashtag “I Woke Up Like This” or have any idea what’s behind it, please do tell me! I’ll be here waiting in line for my noodle.

Self Labeling Individuals

In a professional world there is a thing called 10000 hours rules, it means that a person can be considered a pro in one industry after doing at least 10.000 hours of practice or basically hands on activity in the respective field.

Nowadays people easily stating that they are something. giving the own self some sort of title that should be earned, instead of stated. yes, i am not free of charge, I’ve been putting out freelance writer for so long in my LinkedIn account. not until recently that I just removed all the self-gifted title on my LinkedIn page and saying that I am a full time student., culinary student to be exact.

One day, I was channel surfing on the TV until I find a program called Chef Vs Child. One thing that crossed my mind was, “Oh crap!” for some of you the show might be fun to see how a professional chef battling(?) a child that being claimed as a young chef. I know that it attract ratings and such but, as one of my instructor said, that show is somehow offensive to the people in the industry. Yes, it is cool to see a young child to be able to cook, to make a great steak. But to call them a chef. Whoa, things escalated very quickly here.

I think the word ‘Chef’ is being used to lightly nowadays. well, not only chef, a lot of words being used very lightly, ‘photographer’, ‘writer’, etc. its like it has so little meaning. “Look, I can make a fettucine alfredo, let’s post it up with a caption ‘Homemade Fettuccine Alfredo by Chef Dumbdumb’, posted on IG @dumbdumblovefood” Yes, we understand the urge for you to share your creation with us in the digital realm, but to call yourself a chef? whoa, chill dude. if you can called yourself a chef by making one fettuccine alfredo at home, then my mother and grandmother are a masterchef.

If by doing that you can be called a chef, then what is the point of me, flying abroad to learn culinary, busting my ass out in the kitchen, chopping onions and carrots to practice that julienne, brunoise, and all the cuts for exam; standing for a long hours in the hot kitchen next to the stove and being shouted for not able to cut the onion fine enough; all the hours we’ve been washing that huge kitchen after being shouted because of the onion. after we graduate, even we can’t call our self a chef yet. We will only start our journey as a commis or a helper out in the kitchen. bustling our ass off and being shouted as we struggle to staying alive and keeping up with the pace.

well, media also have role in it, with all the food programme about chef this and chef that, people star to think that being a chef is about do a little bit kitchen work and charmingly smiling in front of camera. Do a little chop chop here, sauté there, and voila magical scrumptious dish on the first try. If that is the case, i better pack my bag and going back home and start shouting I am a chef. As I said, I also guilty for did that kind of stuff, but luckily I’ve been ‘enlighten’ and I am willing to work my ass off to get to that point.

I am hoping that all those self proclaimed people can put more respect to not just using a word so lightly.

Oh, by the way, I am not aiming to be the world’s greatest masterchef, i am aiming to be the restaurateur with a nice kitchen skills.

Yours truly

A struggling culinary student.

Slow Quick Getaway

You know the feeling when you just want to have a quick getaway and decided to book a flight to nearby country for the weekend. 
Ah, I am not gonna bring anything, a cabin bag will be enough. 

Or not. 

When you pack, you start to pack more than what you actually need. I might need this, i might need that. Before you know it you have two cabin sized bag. 

You know what, a weekend getaway alone is not fun. How about ask some friends, there you ask two of your best friends to spend the weekend splurging the hard earned money for some self indulgence getaway. The two also being in need with a getaway or just to give you a support so you don’t overly sad that you go lonely. 

Boom, they also get two cabin sized bags. That’s already six bags between three people. 

As a normal human being, we will try to reassure ourselves that, it’s only a little extra, shouldn’t be a problem. 

As well as the other 100 passenger. Not to mention a local that going back to their hometown, bring some souvenirs that to risky to be checked and to bulky to be put together in their cabin bag. 

Not trying to be preaching, only a reminder to myself to pack what i need. If it looks like I need more spaces, just buy extra luggage space and checked the baggage in. 

Let’s make the quick getaway still quick. 

Two Sides of Marketing

There are several types of marketing, but in the big picture I think we can divide it into two big whole, which are Sales Marketing and Marketing Communication. Both has their own characteristic, even they are under the big coupe of Marketing. Just like chocolate, that has so many variant from milk, dark, white, etc. They characteristic also complimenting each other, just like chocolate and peanut butter, they give each other more stuff to offer when they are combined.

From what I think about, the sales part of marketing is not limited on selling stuff, it also include the after sales and customer service as well. For this department the person should be the people person, someone who love to be around people, socialising and making conversations. This person also need to be assertive since they are dealing with people and need to see what is the reaction from other in a snap, and be spontaneous yet still thoughtful about what others might think.

While on the marketing communication side, things are more analytical, conceptualise, and planning the strategy for the sales people to execute. For this part, I think it is not necessarily have to be a social person, since in this department will be more analytical thinking, this one is the part for people who love stay off from the spotlight. Providing resources that can be used for the sales as an ammunition to get the target. I think the person in here should be more analytical and have a wild imagination. They also need to be able to read what the market want. It can be through research or feedback from the sales person.

From where I stand, I think people in general still look marketing as a sales only. They do not really aware about the communication side. As long as they get the targeted goals, then it is a successful marketing. Well, it is not wrong. But, i think it will be nice if we put more attention on the communication. Like, what is the brand want to say, what they want to deliver to the market. Some people says you have to go on the field to know how the market are. Again, it is not wrong, but there are new method to know that kind of things.

It is not always has to be done in the old way, there are people whom comfortable with people, and there are people who were more comfortable with analysing data. But, of course there are still some skills required to be a marketer, no matter either side you like. As a sales person you also have to be analytical and improvise if the current strategy doesn’t worked out. As a communicator, you also need to know how to dealt with people. Because if you can’t sell your method or concept to the sales people, they might not buy what you said.

So, this both side of marketing is complementing each other, and open for a different type of people, you don’t have to be a charming prince to be a marketer, you can stay behind the curtain and drive people opinion. In a simple explanation there can not be all Batman, Batman need Alfred to be able to kick some ass. Just like Tony Stark need Jarvis to help him.

and, the award for best patience goes to

If there were an award for person with the best patience, I think every front liner should get at least one when they able to serve for at least a year.

I just recently visited a newly open Auntie Anne’s at Mall Kelapa Gading, and just like an old saying, where the new store open, there goes the line. Well, the line is not as bad as bread talk or chatime when they recently open their stores *even until now I still refuse to get in line for a milk tea, I better go somewhere else*. When I was in line, in front of me is this old aunty, approximately in her late 50 with her friends. While in line and there are still people in front of her, she already walk in front of the display and start asking, when the cashier still helping the current customer. The other staff was busy preparing the dough and stuff, so the cashier has to take order from the current customer and answering to this aunty. Things kept going when she saw the sampler tray, she picked it up, and try one piece * yes,  I know it is what a sampler prepared for* the magic things are, after she took a bite of it, she saw the cheese dip, and dunk the bitten pretzel tester to the sauce.

Mind you, it was not the other end. It is the end when she bit the pretzel that she dipped to it.

After a nice amount of testing the sample, it was only 6 or 7 pcs left on the tray, and after her done with her tasting, it’s only 2 pcs left in the tray. Well played aunty, well played. She then order 2 cheese pretzel and still ask for taste another pretzel. Well, of course, there is no way she will let the cashier work in peace, she kept asking about the price, why it shows IDR 12,000 on the board but she has to pay IDR 19.000 for her, well, the price that she saw is for a plain pretzel and she ordered the premium one. I applaud the cashier for being such a darling for her, and prove why I am not the best cashier. I think I will be able to handle a nagging customer, but the quota might be valid for only 5 customers top.

It bring back memories when I was in Taiwan, and work part time as a customer service for a company that sells product for Indonesians in Taiwan, so they can have the product delivered to their home in Indonesia. It was such a great experiences I am not saying I am the best officer there, but I had some good things to say. I also happen to maintain a social media page for several brands in the past, so I can understand a bit how Indonesian customer act and ask. Sometimes you just want to smack them in the head and ask them to just get a decent education. But, one can only wish for things like that. What you have to do is answer them politely and use the smiling voice all the time. It is easier for me, because I am not faced with them in person, but through a media, whether on a phone or online. It is not a rare occasion when I replied to a comment nicely and curse them in the same time. Sometimes you need to have that kind of release in your job.

Based on my experience, I dare to say that, a front liner should be get more compensation and respect, than what they get today. I am not saying that all front liners are great all the time, there are some stupid customer service officer that should be scolded. But for the best one, it is no doubt they more likely excel because they got the experiences in handling various people with a funky personality.

a good friend

After my Taipei day, I become more open for Chinese songs. It used to be only for fun and laugh during karaoke sessions, right now I become more aware to listening it. Besides it keep me trained with listening Chinese language, sometimes the lyrics is just nice to hear. My current favourite is the song called 呼喚愛 translated into crying out love, the song was originated from the youth group of Malaysian Buddhist Temple. What I love is the lyrics that said like this.

“朋友不需要明說”

Which roughly translated into

“Friends doesn’t need to be said”

Call me cheesy, but that is true. A friendship that flow just the way it is, is more likely to be the one that last long. During the period you might fight with each other, support each other, being dumb together, etc. But, it does not means that you always spend times together all the time. You might walk on different path, experiencing life on your own and share it with them in order to help both of you grow into a better person.

By giving space in the friendship, you give room for both of you to be more independent and grow on your own. Because there is no way that two people is the same from top to bottom, inside and out. As far as the similarities there will be a moment, when you enjoy your moment of solitude. A good friendship is not the one that when you always have to d things together. It is the one when you both knows when to support each other, and when to give space for each other.

Being friend does not mean all fun happy smiley time all day. You will have your differences, argument, fight, just like any other person. This thing is important because it will develop your friendship even more. Don’t it will be boring when all your ice cream are vanilla? You need a little chocolate to make things better. Just like the friendship with the differences you will able to talk out differences, have a great discussion and to be able to see things from different perspective.

Some says people won’t change unless they wanted to. It is true, but for us to have the willingness to change is not easy. It might come from within, but the trigger must be coming from somewhere. A best friends will be able to help you get the willingness. Because, when you are a friend you have built such a chemistry between both of you, and you can be brutally honest with each other. Other people might see what lacking from you and telling you stuff, but when you have no respect or chemistry towards them, what they said will only become a breeze that doesn’t matter.

Being brutally honest is not a sweet nice lane. It is a hard rocky road. It will get you bruises and stuff, to add that to the ego that everybody already had, it is most likely to put the friendship on jeopardy. You might not talk to each other for quite some times, but as you matured you will able to accept that it is not all about that sweet sugar coated shit. It is about each other that have the ‘click’ helping each other to develop into a better person.

And all that does not need an agreement or contract. It just doesn’t need to be said.

其是朋友不需要明說 

Moment of Joy

Hey, what is your moment of joy?

Is it partying all night long? Staying late with friends and talk until dawn? A Big Sale? The moment you bite that scrumptious martabak keju?

For me, since I am not a big party goers, also I am not so much a social person, so I don’t enjoy clubs or too much crowd. I usually said my moment of joy would be a nice cup of coffee over a book or private chat with friends, I do also enjoy walking around by myself and  finding some cool places that is less hipster and less crowded. To make it simple, my moment of joy is when I am in solitary, intimate situation, preferably with food as part of it.

As a human being, I think it is a normal behaviour to create a situation that is somewhat ideal for ourself. We want to accommodate ourself so we can enjoy our life. I am not saying that is bad, it is a great move, I think. Hopefully with an ideal surrounding, we can do more stuff and be more productive. But, it also can lead to a moment where, that moment of joy turns into something that have less joy. It turn into a daily routine and lost their mojo. Maybe, usually after enjoying your moment of joy, you can done 100 tasks, but as time goes by you can only done 75 tasks, 50 tasks, and so on.

In my perspective, a moment that can be called a moment of joy is when it happen occasionally. Some sort of a rewarding gesture for oneself, to boost ourself to do better and earn that moment again. Have you wonder, when you meet with your group of friends everyday all the time, it will leave a different feeling when you didi it, once a week? I think because the event is happen less often, we try to embrace it as much when it is actually happens, and we embrace it less when the frequency is higher. I think that can explain why we tend to reminiscing the good ol’ days. Because we knew that it less likely to happens again.

For now, when people ask me about what is my moment of joy. I am speechless. I do not know what is my moment of joy anymore. Things that used to bring such joy and happens became less joyful. Things that I am longing to get it actually doesn’t feel as good as I imagine it. I don’t know, maybe this is some sort of the quarter life crisis? Is is such things called that, or I just making excuses for this confusion I have? I honestly have no clue at all. Maybe as time goes, and been through plenty different situations, my perspective of joy is changed? Or, I let my problem outgrown my sense for feeling a joy and being constantly cautious about something? It will be ideal if I can manage the suspicious about things but still able to have my sense of joy. Or I might be living within myself for too much, that my social skill were left in rust?

It might be one of it, it might be everything I wrote. But, I am in a search to finding my moment of joy one more time.