Wednesday, June 20, 2007

More than just Ice Cream. It's a Lifestyle.

Food, just like electronic goods, change from time to time. Some food can be very popular in one particular time and its popularity can decrease in other time (remember "Bubble tea syndrome" in Singapore?). However, if I can name three foods that will always get a comfortable place in society, I will put Coffee, Chocolate, and Ice Cream in my list. You may agree or not, that's only my simple observation.

Some people are smart. They turn food into a lifestyle. For coffee, we have Starbucks and The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf. They price their coffee insanely high, yet, they never lack of customers. They don't only sell excellent coffee, they sell experience. They sell lifestyle to their customers.

How about Ice Cream? When I heard the word "Ice Cream", no specific brand come out from my mind very fast, not like "Starbucks" when you mention coffee. After I thought about a few seconds, some ice cream brands started to pop-up, like Andersen's Ice Cream, Hagen Das, and Ben & Jerry's.

Ben & Jerry's is interesting. When I visited their shop last time, I was quite shocked with their price. It's $4.50 for a small cup! I couldn't believe it at the first time, but because I had entered their shop, so paiseh to go out and didn't buy anything. OK lah, the taste of the ice-cream is definitely above average (although I can say that it's not as nice as Hagen Das and Singapore's Swensen), but, I was very impressed with their management and their culture.

If you visit their website, you will find quite a lot of interesting facts there. I must give a standing ovation for their good practices and values, for example:
- They use natural ingredients, promote business practices that respect the Earth and the Environment.
- They use only dairy products that are produced by farmers who promise not to treat their cows with genetic treatment.
- They set aside specific percentage of their profit for charity.
- They support "world peace" and "social and environmental conservation"
- They even have Ben & Jerry's foundation.
- They create a culture. In their shop, their wall is full of comments from the customers e.g. "B & J you rocks!", or "Ben & Jerry's, I love you!" What a smart approach. You can tell the whole world that you have the best ice-cream, but having your customers saying it for you is definitely much more effective, and the best part is, it's free!

If you can sell a small cup of ice-cream for $4.50, you can sell almost anything!

Talking about ice-cream, I found a shop sells soya Ice Cream in Singapore, the shop's name is Mr Bean. I have tasted their ice-cream, and I felt that their ice-cream is superb. They price it $1.20 for a cone and $1.50 for a cup. They claim their ice-cream to be low fat, no cholesterol, and high protein. They even dare to put "Nutritional Information" of their ice cream. With only 140 kcal one serving and only about 4 grams of fat, you don't need to be afraid that you turn fat tommorow. Dieters out there, finally, an ice-cream that's very delicious and healthy, a combination made in heaven.

I think selling soya Ice Cream is an excellent business in a health-conscious country like Singapore. Subway always has a long queue during eating time, Foods with "healthier choice" symbol are in high demand, and health talks can always expect full-house. With medical fees increase so high, no wonder, many people are seeking for healthier lifestyle, including healthier foods.

And also, what's happier than receiving a question "Where do you study?" when you are in your 30s? Look at Andy Lau's photos and guys, dare you tell me that you don't envy him? Look like 30-year-old. I tell you, he is 45! So irritating, some people just never grow old!

JFK Speech, The Best Speech Ever.

Part 1

Part 2

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Food Review : Phad Thai

Taste : 3/5
Price : 3/5
Location : 4/5
Service : 4/5
Healthiness : 2/5

While waiting at City Hall area, I hunted for food for dinner. Finally I found a Thai cuisine stall at the basement level of Peninsula Plaza (just outside City Hall MRT, opposite a church, St Joseph if I am not mistaken).

The food's name is Phad Thai. It's a Thai version of Malay's Mee Goreng. The original taste is sweet, quite nice already, but, because I like to try out new things, I add some additional ingredients to it. And to my surprise, the food just tastes alright with 4 additional ingredients. There are not many food out there that taste okay with additional chili and salt, sugar, peanut, and chili powder. I mean, I experimented with those ingredients separately, not mixed them together. You can mix all of them in one spoon and let me know the taste :p

It's priced $3.8, the size is just nice.

Why I rate the service to be 4/5? Because the auntie asked me in English! Period.

However, this food is highly unrecommended for MediaCorp Artists, gym instructors, models, or anyone who is on diet (or the one who claims so.) because it contains a lot of sugar and oil. However, if you want to take a break from your diet (or if diet is never exist in your life dictionary), you can try this food.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Simply a Passionate Life

It has been 17 months since my last visit to NTC (Nanyang Technopreneurship Center) speaker series. I have been very fortunate to study in NTU and took entrepreneurship minor beside pursuing my Engineering degree.

Actually I received some invitation to attend the talks organized by NTC, but somehow it didn't really catch my attention and I always got something to do. I came to today's talk because I wanted to listen to Merry Riana. However, the other speakers were also great and they gave me new perspective about entrepreneurship and about a subject that I want to go into today, passion.

I have encountered some definitions about passion, for example a definition by Merriam-Webster dictionary : a strong liking or desire for or devotion to some activity, object, or concept.

However, I think none of them is as powerful as two of these definitions:
1. Passion is something that you would LOVE to do... without being paid to do it.
2. Passion is something that you would LOVE to do fourteen hours a day, and spend the rest of the day thinking about that.

Btw, those definitions are not my invention, I just happened to read or listen somewhere. Although I agree that those definitions are a bit extreme, but come on... People want the extremes, and the opposite English word of extreme is boring.

I am not an expert in career management nor psychology. However, I know that If we wake up each day and get very excited about our work, and we can't wait for it... that may be a good indication that we are passionate about your work.

I observe that the top performers, the highest-paid, the top earners of every industry are people who have the passion of what they are doing. If you observe speakers like Anthony Robbins or Singapore's Adam Khoo speaking, you can sense the huge energy flowing from their body. Their smile, their body movement, their eyes, all parts of their bodies show passion. I heard Adam Khoo told us that actually he doesn't have to come to work if he choose not to, he has got enough money to live a more-than-okay life. However, he still give talks, seminars, trainings. Why? Because he love it! Imagine you do something you love, and you don't feel like you work. Does it make sense?

Passion is something that drives Merry Riana to work 14 hours a day, 7 days a week. For normal people, no need to talk about that kind of extreme. Even if they have to do over-time for 1 or 2 hours, they complain. I used to work in a company for my attachment, and a sentence that really destroy my day is when I heard a sentence "I think you need to work OT today." No need to talk about passion, I didn't even reach a level called "like".

Passion is something that drives Zig Ziglar. That 80-year-old wrote that he has never been so motivated before. What makes that grandpa so motivated? What makes him need to talk, teach the Sunday classes 50 times a year (btw, he is a very passionate Christian), wrote book, instead of retiring and enjoying what he has achieved? It's passion! Passion to help people, passion to glorify God.

Money alone can't buy passion. It can make us motivated, but not passionate. Don't get me wrong, working hard to get a lot of money is not wrong. Different people have their own definition of success, however for me, working only for the sake of money is the true definition of a failure in life.

I am not sure whether I have found my passion. However, after doing some soul searching, I know something about me. I love to talk, that's for sure. I have a recorder in my room. I like to talk and record my own voice and listen to it. And I fall in love with my own voice!! Sorry for being so narcistic, but I can't help =P

I also looovee to write. It's almost 3 in the morning, but I don't feel tired when I am writing my blog. You are fortunate to read a post by a very passionate writer =P
When I was 18 years old, I make a resolution that I am going to write a best-selling book by the age of 25. I am 21 now, and you just need to wait for at most another 4 years to read my book.

However, nothing of those is as strong as this "passion". When I heard that people in Africa can't even eat, when I heard a lot of young people can't have proper education, when I heard that teens did suicide because they were under tremendous stress, when I heard war is everywhere, killing everyone including children, I was crying!! No matter where I was, tears just kept flowing from my eyes!! I strongly believe that everyone DESERVE a good education, Everyone deserve a peaceful, happy life with enough food and enough fun. I believe that NOONE has the right to rob the future of our children. Noone has the right to kill the hope of our people. Noone!!!

And that's most probably my passion! A passion to help people. That comes so naturally for me. Sorry for being arrogant, but please don't hate me because I have a kind heart.

For me, the true measure of success in my life is whether I make a difference in other people's lives, whether I can die and leave this world after making it a little bit friendlier, whether people will cry from their heart when I die. Sorry to sound like a Saint, but honestly, that motivates me more than anything else in this world. For me, life is about making a legacy. Something that people will remember even after you die. Something that people will associate very strongly with you for a long time. And no need to mention, that "something" must be good.

And for sure, I will pursue a career that makes me closer each day to my ultimate vision, to help people, to leave a legacy. Life is too precious to be wasted for something that we are not passionate about.

By the way, I got an autograph from Merry Riana after the talk..

If you can't read that autograph clearly, actually it's written there "Dear Benny, all the best to your future, Merry Riana."

I will post that autograph in my desk to remind me that if you have enough passion and enough dream, you can achieve anything. Thanks Merry for that autograph, and I am so excited about my future than ever before.

When you know that you've found your passion in life? When you come to work every single day and when people ask you, "how is your work?", you will answer, "It's fantastic. I can't have more fun than that!" (by Ben, yes really! This quotation is really my invention! :P)

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

A different me???

After receiving some comments in my friendster and some others in my message inbox , I decided to write something about how different I am from 2, 3, or maybe 4 years ago. I left all my photos that I took more than 4 years ago. When I go back to Indonesia, I will take it and update this post..

My photo 4 years ago (when I was only 17 years old, cute isn't it?)

August 2004 (18 years old)

September 2004 (I am the guy behind with cute green hat)

December 2005 (I began to lose weight)


Yes!!! That's me now, June 2007.

If "losing weight" is the first phrase you think of after seeing my photos, you are not alone. Tens of my friends have told me the same thing. Yes, I did lose weight, a lot of it. I used to be 94 kg (7 years ago), 85 kg (3 years ago), and now I am only 67 kg (which is 27 kilograms lighter than I was 7 years ago, with about 10 centimeters taller). I am now going to shed some fat again and aim for 65 kg by the end of this year. How? here is some losing weight tips, Ben's way.

OK, that's physical thing.

Emotionally, a 16-year-old teen who used to quarell with almost everyone whose opinions different with him now has grown to become a much-more-mature 21-year-old young man who, although is still quite stubborn, but has been more receptive and tolerant with other people. I am a better individual than ever before and I try to be a happier person each and everyday.
However, one thing for sure. Friends, I am still the same Benny whom you can always share your problems with, and a friend you might want to cry or laugh with. No matter how much I change, our friendship remains. Thanks so much for these beautiful years...

Happy Birthday Mom!!

Today is the 49th Birthday of the most important person in my life, my Mom...

My collection of vocabularies is simply not enough to describe how amazing my Mom is, and what she has done for me. She has taught me so much since I was born 21 years ago. She taught me the value of honesty, integrity, hard-work, faith in God and myself, kindness and respect to other people better than anyone else. She has encouraged me to be my best wherever I go. All my success that I've accomplished and thousands of other success that I am going to achieve in the future, I owe them to my Mom.


I am extremely proud to be your son and I want you to know, I love you so much. Wish you all the happy and healthy years ahead and God bless you forever...

Your proud son,


Sunday, June 10, 2007

Badminton Philosophy (part 2)

One of the greatest lessons I learnt from badminton is... until your opponent reach 15 points (or 21 points using the new system), you still stand a chance to win. I have watched hundreds of badminton matches, and some of the matches that I still remember until now are usually the ones which one player fought back until the very end of the match without giving up. He may end up losing gracefully, or winning dramatically. However, one thing common for those matches; after the match, the audiences will give that fighter a standing ovation, or at least a genuine hand-clapping. Noone will support a quitter, someone who does nothing but give up. Even if you play against world's number one, so what?! Fight!!! Don't give up...

In everything I do, I always play to win. When I represented Indonesian students in my university to compete in inter-country game, I played against the second best player from Vietnam. I played for 3 sets for more almost 1 hour. I lose my first set to that player. I got a knee injury and I only slept 4 hours the night before. However, I decided not to give up. I continued to fight back and I won. In the semi-final, I played against the best player from Malaysia who used to represent my University in Singapore level. Was I afraid? No! I stepped into badminton court with only one thing in mind, which is, I am going to win. Finally, I lose. However, losing gracefully is almost as nice as winning. When you fight till the very end, you win... in your own terms.

Giving up is a vocabulary of a loser, and in my life, that word simply doesn't exist. Badminton teaches me that lesson more than anyone could eve teach me.

Winners never quit. Quitters never win.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Badminton Philosophy (part 1)

Today, my exam results come out (it's not too bad I guess, thank God). Although I know, out there, there are many people who get straight As or such, I don't really care about that. I have done my best and I am happy with my result. Of course, I did regret that I did some silly mistakes or not studying very hard for certain subjects, but I guess that's over. What I can do now is learn from the results, revise the strategy, and move on. That's the best I can do for now.

OK, that's all about exam I guess.

Now, it's time for something more relaxing, and more fun, badminton. Two badminton sessions in 3 days make me really fresh. I haven't visited gym for the past 2 weeks. OK, I need a break from that boring routine (Don't you agree with me that working out in the gym is the most boring sport ever invented by human? Followed by running in the second place maybe..). But for exchange, I played badminton, and tennis. Who says you can't play badminton and tennis well in the same time? OK lah, my tennis skill is still very far from acceptable level, but I am working on that.

I have been playing badminton since I was 10 years old, although between that time and now, there is 4 years time I didn't play at all. I think, badminton is one of the most complete sports in the world. You need to have superb stamina to play badminton (a good game usually last for about 30 minutes to 1 hour). You need to have speed, accuracy, strength, and most importantly, you need a smart brain to play badminton well. I give you an example why I said that brain got something to do with your badminton skill. When you are playing badminton, you need to think fast and place the ball very accurately. You can't just return the shuttlecock anywhere you want, or you will be very tired trying to catch the shuttlecock and your opponent is enjoying the scenery without even moving his body. That's the key. Unless you have a sound strategy how you are going to play, you will never win anything worth mentioned, even if you have a bull's strength or a cheetah's speed.

What I like most about sports (especially badminton) is that, you can learn something from it, and apply it to your life. I once played a terrible game. I kept smashing and my opponent kept returning it easily. I can learn 3 things from that game:
- I positioned the shuttlecock too easily so that my opponent can easily catch it.
- My smash is not strong enough.
- Maybe, just maybe, smashing is not really my strength.

After a bit of soul-searching, I found out that I very seldom received a compliment like "Benny, your smash is very powerful.". Compliments that I received are usually "OMG, Benny, how come you can always return my smash! So irritating!"

And I come to the conclusion that attacking is not really my style of play in badminton. I am more to defending type. I can defend and return a smash very well. And after my opponent become very tired after smashing 6 times, I do smash, just once or twice, and I win. Smart isn't it? First, I win a point. Second, I make my opponent feel down. He will feel so bad because he smashed many times and achieve nothing.

In life, if you can't win any argument, or you can't convince people very well by talking, let them talk. You shut up. You listen. At first, agree on their points. However, slowly, build up your points without their knowing about it. At the end of the day, you will win. And the best part is, you only voice up 1000 words and your "opponent" voice up 3000.

That's only one of so many lessons I learn from badminton. Now, who dare to say that badminton players are not smart?