Insist stubborn

sweet potato mobile stall
When I saw this van, the first picture came to my head was red heated charcoal all around those nice sweet potatoes, you could smell from very far away on the street corner, feel the warmth,  and you just couldn't wait to buy one for a big bite immediately, especially during Winter time.

I am not sure whether they are still using charcoal these days, I guess and I wish they insist, because the taste of sweet potato will be different, if it isn't.

Year 2010, my own career is still being affected by the financial crisis. People and friends keep on telling me that I shall stop working as a design consultant only, but working with build, too; i.e. a main contractor, to gain more client and money. I do struggle for a while, I even plan to see if it is feasible; but when I look at this photo, I take a break from my worries and remind myself something once again that I insisted in the past 20 years......

......to be a design consultant, because I am a designer not a contractor even people say there is no conflict in this two roles, but actually it does. I am stubborn, even I don't have much work to do while the market is changing and my client can't /don't want to afford a design professional any more; and I am sure for some days later, I may come to a financial difficulties as a result. But what is the point to have my own company if I can't insist to be myself?

Will the sweet potato seller earn more living if it was being modernize with electrical equipment? or computerized? Yes! but I am sure he won't...that is what people's thought of his (my) stubborn, we guess.


內地公幹101 Business Trip in China 101

很多人也會往內地公幹, 特別是香港回歸中國之後. 幾年前我也常在一兩天之內往返國內不同城市工作, 以一個不常出門的女子, 實在遇到不少問題. 但經過一段實戰之後, 也有少許心得想與你們分享.

1) 查明當地天氣, 因為中國城市日夜溫差很大, 有時可以相差10度, 絕對影響所需要準備的衣物.

2) 你所乘坐的航空公司決定你是否要先在上機前吃點東西. 經驗告訴我除港龍外(非中航 co-share freight), 如其他的航空公司, 還是預先吃一點點好. 特別如果你是一個愛咖啡的人.

3) 不要以為一個人坐在窗邊便不會被打擾, 其實坐在通道邊不但出入及進餐比較方便, 遇到旁邊的客有問題, 如嘔吐或鬧事, 閃避也容易一點.

4) 如國內航班, 請務必帶備濕紙巾, 薄荷膏, 口罩, 因為空調往往比較差.

5) 行李盡量輕便, 不用寄倉可避免遺失及漫長的等待時間, 特別往國內, 這種事情足以摧毀你整個行程, 切記!

6)  找換, 接送, 住宿等盡量在離境前安排妥當. 不要浪費時間在當地機場與當地人周旋; 除非你有大量時間, 金錢及冒險精神.

7) 如必要乘坐計程車, 不要把行李放在行李箱, 還是放在身邊坐位上好. 這樣不會被無良司機脅持行李講價.

8) 車時要行大路, 即使司機提議也不要貪快行捷徑.

9) 緊記抄下車牌, 並肯定收費錶已啓動.

10) 行車時不要睡覺, 留意路線及路標.

好, 暫且說到這裡, 下次再談.

Many of you will need to have business trip in China, especially when Hong Kong was returned, I used to have this short trips rapidly in some years ago. As a lady not had much experience from the beginning, I gained some lessons after those "on site training"and would like to share some tips with you.

1) Make sure you counter check the weather of your target cities, the temperature can varies more that 10 degree Celsius from day to night time, especially to the cities located in the North of China, like Beijing. Your luggage should have proper clothing 

2) According to my experience, if you are not fly with Dragon airline (the non co-share flight with China Airline), but all others from Hong Kong, you better eat something you like before boarding; especially for those who need coffee. 

3) If you are alone, take the seat near the aisle instead of next to window, it may be a lot more disturbance, but your great flexibility while going to washroom and dining, plus the emergency escape from trouble maker next to your seat are still worth. 

4) If you need to take the domestic flight of China, make sure you've got disinfectant wet towel, mint ointment and mask in your pocket, because the poor ventilation without these handy tool may "kill" you in a second. 

5) Hand carry luggage is the first rule, avoid disaster that happen always of luggage lost or keep on waiting at the delivery tracks till the last flight arrive to the airport. This will absolutely spoil your trip into a mess. 

6) Try to arrange all your exchange of currency, local transfer and accommodation before boarding in your own country; don't bother to make those deal in the airport when arrive China with local guys, unless you have a lot of time, money and would like to be a great explorer. 

7) If you really need to take local taxi, carry your luggage with you at the seat area and avoid putting into the storage at the back; then you will not have a chance for the bad guys to  blackmail you for more fee by locking your luggage / document. 

8) Take the usual driving path, never the short cut as suggested by the driver, even you are running out of time. 

9) Remember or mark down the taxi no at once, and make sure the driver did activate the charge meter. 

10) Don't sleep even if you are tired, try to remember the traffic route / time, especially to some landmark or road sign. It always help in case some driver wants to treat you by using a longer path to your destination.

O.K.! just up to here, may share more next time if you feel these are useful.


No risk no gain?

Restaurant city game screen shot
I am addicted to Facebook game after I discovered there is no point to continue invite or connect real friends, who you've actually will keep contact in your daily life. So I just concentrate to a game call "Restaurant City".

This is a game for operating a virtual restaurant or cafe, you can have bigger shop area with more staff by operating day after day to gain your virtual coins and level up. You will have to pay your staff by feeding them after working each 4 hours, you have to buy or exchange ingredients to cook your dishes; and the most attractive part is...you can shop and buy to decorate.

I am not surprise of how this game attracts so many people to play, that can fulfill their shopping wishes and cafe dream. Basically you will never lose and have no pressure to run this business, even if you do nothing and just online every day 24hours, you will gain your shop area and level up. In case you forget to feed your staff, they "died" but can "live" again whenever you feed them. So there is absolutely a risk free business. Will any of player gain an experience to open a cafe in the real world? I just wonder!

I won't play full day, as I do need to take a break from the virtual world and back to reality to face my real risk; but if you ask what do I gain? I can tell besides of layout practice and the pleasure, it will be patience and self control...I am sure you know what I mean.


One at a time

Vending machine of cold & hot drinks in Japan
Monday is always the most busy day of the week. I am a rush lady, when there are some tasks stuck up in my brain, I will get rush and want to finish them all at once. This is killing me, because my blood pressure will rise immediately follow with a quick heart beat, then I have to sit down and figure out what is really urgent that should come first in my schedule before I "died".

I have this bad habit since I had my career. The good side is I usually finish my task earlier than it should = rarely miss the deadline, which is very important to me as in the design field; but the truth is, actually I have enough time to finish one by one, rather then complete some of them simultaneously to increase my work load.

Worst of all, this bad habit affects my daily life,too. Say each Monday when I am back to my office, I will want to turn on all lights, copier, printer, air conditioner, server, computer, wash cups, boil water, charge mobile, check email, reading blogs, write blog, flip today's calendar, water the plants......all at once. I know it is insane and no need, but, I do have this feeling to push me through; now, I will take a break after turn on the light, take a big breath, act one after the other.

Although I have to force myself of having a more controllable work path, I do think this is a must, to learn acting one thing after the other. To gain a bit more time of thinking, a chance of changing to the matter which seems no hope; like standing in front of a soft drink vending machine, all sorts of drinks are there, even if you want more than one, you still need to purchase one by one. You may want to select another taste when the one just comes out from the machine, so why hurry to have two or three at the same time?



Another sharing channel

Hello all, you may find that I've add a widget of Amazon.com at my side bar this week. Well, one reason is hopefully to gain some coins by recommendation, but truly this is only a dream, I guess. The actual reason is add another channel for sharing.

I've read some blogger's blog who can write good articles to share what they've read, I suppose some of them they are writers. I don't have this ability, but I still want to share with you all when I come across some really good films, books or music, that touch my heart; so I finally choose using Amazon as a channel. Wish you can enjoy it, too. Good day!


Good morning Nanjing

Early morning in Nanjing airport with a big red lantern hanging above
It is not always a bad experience of having business trip to China, like the one I had in Nanjing.

October 2005, I had to go to Nanjing for a short business trip as usual, no big expectation. But when I arrived the airport, I met the first good sign; a local taxi driver who approached me and out of expectation, I agreed to take his car to my hotel. This was not my ordinary choice, because this kind of taxi would usually charge more than the usual fare and you would have a big trouble if the fee couldn't be settled while you were on your way or your luggage was still locked in his car's storage.  

May be it's because of his tone of promise, and the peaceful feeling that I felt. I arrived my hotel safely, the fee was fair charge as seen on the meter. So I agreed to take his cab again tomorrow when I left.

Second good sign was an upgrade to my hotel room, the view was so nice that I almost thought I was in Tokyo rather than in China, a comfortable hotel with good breakfast was the best reward for my work other than cash. 

My job went smooth without big obstacles, and the only bad thing was I had to wake up at five, forgot my deluxe hotel breakfast, replaced by an instant noodle and met Mr. Chan under the cold weather of 4-5 degree, in order to depart at eight.

At six, the street was still dark without much lighting, Mr. Chan had already waiting in front of my hotel, he turned on the heater a bit earlier so I could jump into the warm seat at once.
We had a good travel time within that 45 mins., watching the sky turned from totally dark into a shimmer of silver.Not much communication, but the trust and relaxation was hardly found ever since in China.

When we arrived, I gave him not only the reward he deserved but the sincerely thanks that was difficult to express. I went out from the cab, a cold chilled air hit onto my face, when Mr. Chan's taxi just vanishing, a touch of pink began to spread out from the silver blue sky, so beautiful......I wanted to light up the a cigarette, like those scene in the movies, but as a non-smoker,what I could do was, took a deep cold breath of air in and said : Good morning Nanjing.



I have just returned from busy days, worked for an ah hoc project from last Saturday until yesterday. This morning, besides of having my real breakfast, I take a break to enjoy my virtual breakfast, too.

It's always enjoyable to read blogs, especially for those I've followed, it seems we are connected through sharing of post. I usually started from a quick view in Google reader, then a detail read in specific post, if time allow, I will go to "The Coffee Shop" see what's happening around people, looking for some more new blogs to read.

Is this your daily pattern, too? I will miss if I can't have two "breakfast" each day, thank God this will not cost more or increase my weight, but only brings me more joy.