Friday, June 29, 2012

Tales My Mother Told Me...Tale 12: "Frog In The Well"

Illustration by Anthony Van Lam

Welcome to tales my mum told to me..

Tale 12 : "The frog in the well"

Also known as:

"Look up to the sky from the bottom of a well"

"The Frog in the Well" is one of the oldest Chinese idiom fables. It comes from a book called "Inquiry into Tao". It was written by Han Yu (768-824) a famous literati during the Tang Dynasty.

The very first time I learnt about this tale was when I was about 6 years old. I can still recall that time when I was young and ignorant. I did not want to learn anything new, I had "the I know syndrome".

So my mum decided to tell me this story, "The Frog in the Well". In fact the original title of the story was called "Look up at the sky from the bottom of a Well".

Here is the story...

Once upon a time, there lived a frog in an abandoned well. He had only seen the sky through the top of the well. Little Frog had never spent a moment of his life outside of the well.  Still he was quite satisfied with his life living inside the well.

One day, the frog saw a sea turtle pass by the well.  The old turtle was from the East Sea and the frog started to brag to the sea turtle with excitement.

The frog said proudly: "Look how comfortable my home is! I love it here! I am living with great ease and enjoying my life and happiness more than those crabs and bugs in the sea".

The frog also invited the sea turtle to come in and said: "Why don't you come into my well for a visit and find out for yourself".

The sea turtle was curious and wanted to check out the inside of the well.  However, the mouth of the well was too small and the turtle could not fit through.

The sea turtle took a few steps backwards and called out to the frog. "Have you ever seen the ocean? I love living in the ocean because I can see the boundless sky".

After hearing that, the frog at the bottom of the well was curious and astonished. He looked up at the sky and said to himself "Isn't the sky as big as the well?  Why did the sea turtle say the sky is boundless?

Albeit, the frog is happy and believed he was the best and smartest creature alive. According to him, the well was his kingdom. He knows only what he knows and assumes the sky is as big as his refuge.

Mum told me this  story because I was young  at the time and to show me that as a person I needed to keep my mind open, and never believe to believe I have learnt all that I needed to know.  Just like the frog in this story, he finally met an old turtle and began to discover more about himself and also a different way of thinking. As a human being some of us whose knowledge is so limited that we has no idea about anything aside from our own world. This idiom serves as a metaphor for proud people with narrow outlooks and limited experiences.

So how do we apply this idiom story to your life and business?
  • Hiding inside your surroundings (comfort zone) is one way from stopping you from learning and growing. It prevents you from experiencing anything different, fun, quirky, unique or challenging. Facing your fears can be tricky and if you are conquering your fear you will excel. Isn't this what our life is all about? Your business should not be any different.
  • Get yourself uncomfortable by stepping outside your comfort zone. Becoming uncomfortable means challenging your skills. Do activities outside your character or finding answers that question your beliefs! For example, the hottest topic at the moment is Social media. Instead of building up negative connotations about it, how about learning more about how it works and how you can leverage it and apply it to your business.
  • Get rid of the "I know" syndrome. All it does is limit your thinking and learning. People will not share their knowledge with you because you have sent out the "I know" signal. Also once you have made up your mind that you know it all, as a person you will not look for things or opportunities to learn and grow.
  • Have an open mind. Be a sponge and suck up all the knowledge you have learnt and apply it to your life and business.
So what is the benefit of breaking out of your comfort zone?
  • Your Growth- As a person we want to see ourselves advance and grow to the next level. You'll become a better person. Putting yourself on the chorus line will give you new experiences and to learn more about yourself and what you will and won’t do.
  • Competence and Confidence- Facing your fears and the unknown will take lots of learning and practicing. This is how you build your competency by training yourself with new experiences, new skills or systems and once you can  understand the whole process you will build up the confidence to apply it into your Business LifeStyle.
  • Pride in what you do- Just say you step out of your comfort zone and your experience was a letdown. Do you realise that this is how we learn in life… through experiences? You will feel great as you have now overcome your own fear factor. That is a good reason to celebrate.
  • Fun - get some fun and adventure into your life and business. By adding fun activities will spice up your Business LifeStyle so you can never be bored. It breaks up the monotony of your day to day too.
So I hope you enjoyed this last tale of Tales my mum told me volume 1. Each volume has 12 stories. Each story I share with you is from what  my mum told me as I was growing up and how I have applied each of them  in my Business LifeStyle. Now I would like to share these tales with you .

Once again, thanks for visiting our blog and please come back as we will be jammed pack full of business tips to help you move forward with your Business LifeStyle.

More Tales My Mother Told Me...

Volume 1:

Tale 9:"Being Present"

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Bohemianism! -by Marie-Nicole

As artists and designers it is usually our willingness to embrace our individuality that makes us stand out in a crowd. But before we get to a point where we are truly comfortable with who we are as individuals we have to wade our way through the early stages of life trying to find ourselves, understand ourselves and learn to be ourselves. This can be difficult when the mainstream is telling us that to be considered ‘normal’ you must follow a set criteria through life, do certain things in a particular time frame, have certain material possessions, work in particular types of jobs etc. How can we be considered ‘normal’ when we waltz to a different tune to those around us, find ourselves spending our spare time creating with our hands rather than being entertained by a screen?

My personal experience with this is that there is no such thing as ‘normal.’ Everyone is individual but most people in our lives flow through life in the same current, ticking boxes as they go along to ensure they meet the expected criteria. Those of us on the edge of the current take a slightly more turbulent journey, testing our boundaries, exploring opportunities, trying, failing and succeeding all at the same time.

Throughout my life I have often been referred to as bohemian and although at first I was not sure I really liked being referred to in this way. As time has passed and I have become more aware of who I am and the value I give to society, I see it as a compliment. I still receive sideways looks from some mainstreamers when I tell them what I am working on, particularly with projects where I take items that they would consider to be rubbish and turn them into a functional statement piece. I know that they don’t get it… but that’s okay. One day they might! Eventually the mainstreams catches up with innovators and embraces what was once a ‘new idea’ meanwhile the innovators move onto the next stage in their development working on the next idea!

If bohemianism is about engaging in unconventional practices and those unconventional practices encourage innovation which then set a new direction for the mainstream, then I see a need for bohemians. If there were no innovators in society then who would challenge thinking and set new directions for the mainstream?

Next time you feel out of sync with the mainstreamers who surround you, stop to think about what you are doing and the fact that one day it could very well be considered mainstream!

by marie-nicole

Ps. Indulging in self-doubt can hold you back from expanding on your unconventional ideas, on the other hand though, arrogance can get in the way of self-improvement… there’s always room for improvement.

If you’d like to connect with other bohemians come on down to the Old Bus Depot Markets, Sunday July 8, 10am-4pm you’ll see me and my unconventional market stall there… along with many other bohemians who will be there to share their passion.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Tips On How to use Google Search more Effectively

While you are reading this post, there are millions of people right now using Google search  to find things they want to buy, research information to solve problems, or just search things to read like music, movies, hot celebrities gossips, and news. In fact, we use Google search everyday. Google is  one of the most  indispensable search tool on the internet.

So when was the last time you did a Google search? My last search was just 5 minutes ago.

How do you normally do your search?

What do you normally type to get the information you want?

Would you just type in a sentence and screen through page after page until you find what you are looking for?

This post is to give you some tips on how to use "Google Search" more effectively. There are useful ways to improve your search. Some of the tips may be obvious  to you however, some are not and you may even surprised the next time you apply these tips to your search. It may get you exactly what you are searching for,quicker and save lots of time too.
  • Use quotations " _  " around the words for an exact search.
  • Use a minus  --  next to the word you don't want to include in your search. For example [-ArtSHINE Inspirational Quotes] will return pages that contain "lnspirational" and "Quotes" but that don't contain "ArtSHINE".
  • Use dot, dot or Numrange  ".." to search for a period of time E.g "Best Pop music album 1980..1900"
  • Use the tilde ~  to search for related words. For example 
  • Use  asterisk *  as a wildcard to match a word. Like 
  • Use "OR" to find words that has one term or another.
  • Use +,-,* and / to calculate Google search
  • Use filetype: to search for a specific file type.
  • Use site: and the site name to search only inside a website
  • Use "Link" to find pages that link to a specific URL. You can use this not only for a main URL but even to a specific page. Not all links to an URL are listed.
  • Use "Vertical searchInstead of finding for a term across all pages on the web, search within a specialised field. Google has different type of searches which let you do specific search within blogs, news, books, and much more:
  • Advanced search You can always use Google's advanced search if you cant remember these tips.
So the next time you want to do a more accurate search, quick and save time, try using the above tips.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Inspirational Quote Of The Week

"Minds are like parachutes.
 They only function when they are open." 
- James Dewar

Friday, June 22, 2012

Furnitex Trade Show Melbourne Exhibition Centre 19-22 July 2012


FURNITEX returns 19 - 22 July 2012 to the Melbourne Exhibition Centre

In 2012 you will see all that is new in furniture, furnishings, PLUS, lighting & flooring designs from Australian and international exhibitors, all under one roof.
This event gives furniture and furnishing buying groups, retailers, interior designers, lighting specialists & retailers, decorators and architects the opportunity to see and buy the latest products, learn the latest industry developments and network with their peers both at the trade fair and in a full program of features and attractions including VIVID design competition, Design Futures, ARA Hot Half Hours Workshops, the International Industry Seminar Series and much more.
Visit over 500 industry leaders and exciting new players, all presenting their latest and best products with Australia’s most comprehensive range of contemporary furniture and furnishing items on display co-located with decorations and design, light source and hotel and hospitality furnishings.

Furnitex is a trade only event. 


Melbourne Exhibition Centre, 
2 Clarendon Street, Southbank,


Thursday        19 July         9am - 5pm    
Friday             20 July         9am - 5pm
Saturday         21 July       10am – 5pm
Sunday           22 July       10am – 4pm

Source & Images:

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Decoration + Design Melbourne Exhibition Centre 19-22 July 2012

Designed to Inspire

Decoration + Design will be a destination for discovering forecasted trends, unearth emerging talent and published insights from opinion-leaders in design from around the globe.
Established as the largest interiors event in Australia, Decoration + Design's strong visitor numbers and outstanding success of feature attractions and networking events substantiate the fair's position as the industry leader.  Thousands of qualified trade visitors attend the fair over 4 action-packed days.  Visitors to the fair are able to network, source products and suppliers from leading Australian and international companies, attend informative seminar sessions, witness the latest in design thinking in contemporary design competitions and much more.  Exhibitors too are well rewarded with unparalleled interest and exposure when they use the fair as a launching pad for their exciting new products and designs.
What's On Show
At Decoration + Design visitors will discover industry leaders and exciting new players, all presenting their very latest and best products including:
FabricSoft Furnishings
Rugs & Floor coverings                     Wall Decoration
Lights & LampsDecorative Accessories
Objets D'ArtWindow Dressing
Outdoor DecorationsFurniture
ManchesterPlus Much More
Keep up-to-date with who will be at the Fair by visiting Who's Exhibiting

Who Should Visit

Decoration + Design is not to be missed by:
Furniture Retailers                  Furnishing/Homewares Retailers
Interior DesignersArchitects
Interior DecoratorsLighting Specialists
Furnishing/Homewares Buyers      Furniture Buyers
Decoration + Design is a trade only event, therefore entry is restricted to qualified trade visitors.

Not To Be Missed

A attraction of Decoration + Design and it's co-located events is the opportunity to interact with industry experts as well as discovering the very latest trends and products from around the globe via the range of spectacular spotlight feature areas.
Visit Attractions to stay informed about these events as they develop closer to the Fair. Some of the highlights include:
Furnitex:  Catering to key industry decision makers and buyers Furnitex brings together the most exciting range of furniture from around Australia and the world. This offers visitors an unparalleled opportunity to preview the latest trends for the Australian and New Zealand markets.  Find out more.
International Industry Seminar Series:  Hosting an exceptional line up of international and Australian speakers, all leaders in their field, seminars cover a range topics relevant to the industry. Find out more

Dates & Venue
19 - 22 July 2012, 
Melbourne Exhibition Centre

Fair Hours:

Thursday     19 July    9am - 5pm
Friday          20 July    9am - 5pm
Saturday      21 July    10am - 5pm
Sunday        22 July    10am - 4pm

Source & Images :

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Are You Dreading Mondays?

Are You Dreading Mondays?

What would you prefer?

Dreading Mondays? Or would you prefer to be all geared up and full energy at the start of a new week?

I am sure you have heard of this phrase "I don't like Mondays"! There was a song written about it too!

In reality even for some of us who are passionate about our careers or businesses, we dread the start of a new week too. This is particularly true when we are so overwhelmed or snowed under with work for the coming week. We often stress ourselves out even before the week commences and our little head chatter starts telling us:

"How the hell will I get everything done this week?"
"Where do I get the time to get everything done?" and
"What do I start with first?"

Sound familiar?

So how do you turn the dreaded moment into an exciting one so you can move forward in achieving your goals for the coming week?

Below are some tips you might find helpful when you find yourself tangled in a rut:  

  1. Invest some time to plan your weekly activities. So many business owners neglect to do this because they are working “like a donkey" and ignoring the importance of time planning. Please give yourself this moment and do yourself a favour and PLAN! You and your business deserve this attention.
  2. Review the week just past. What have you achieved? What went well? What needed more attention and what have you learnt? What are your wins and gains for the week?
  3. Think and plan the tasks for the coming week and ensure it is in line with your 90 days planner.
  4. Decide what your main tasks are. Identify the urgent verses the important tasks.
  5. Diary management- place all tasks into week. Block and allocate the time that you need to get the tasks done. Highlight appointments and meeting and things to follow up. Set an alert to remind you to complete the tasks.
  6. Now look at those less important tasks and fit them around with the allocated tasks.  Last but not least, focus on your plan and be disciplined and stick to it.
I hope you can use the above tips and apply it to your Business LifeStyle.  I find that the weeks that I achieved to plan are the weeks that I was focused and stuck to my plan of action. I also felt less overwhelmed and enjoyed my weekly planned activities too.

At the end of the day, if you want to run a successful creative business you need to have a plan, a process and a system. It’s important for you to come up with a system that works for you and empower you. And remember if somehow it no longer works for your business then change it and try something else.

Do you have some tips to share about how to organise your weekly business activities, or do you do something different? We'd love you to share it with us here at ArtSHINE.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Close Up Interview With Head Chef Pom Gongkam from Bai Tong Thai Tempe, Sydney

Head Chef- Pom Gongkam
Tell us a little about yourself ?
I was born in Chiang Mai, Thailand. My family had been involved with food for many generations, from chefs to street vendors. I am fortunate to have been living in Australia for 20 years now. Before coming to Australia, I studied and graduated as Bachelor of Business Admin from Chiang Mai University as well as Bachelor of Industrial Engineering from Sanno University in Japan. Currently I am the head chef at Bai Tong Thai in 703Princes Highway , Tempe.

Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Chiang Mai from Northern Thailand. Chiang Mai is one of the oldest city in Thailand and was the capital of Siam a long time ago. Today Chiang Mai is famous for preserving Thai culture and tradition, it cultivates many artists and is well known for fresh produces harvested in and around Chiang Mai.

When did you know you wanted to be a chef?
Since I was very little I always loved cooking.  My mum used to have a food store in the local street market. I loved watching and learning from her from a very young Age. After I graduated from universities, I followed my heart and decided to become a chef as I felt I want to spend my life creating beautiful food.

Chiang Mai City

What is your favourite food memory?
I come from a very large family. Whenever we have a family gathering, the whole family would get up very early to cook up a feast. We then pack some of the food to the temple to present to the Buddha and the monks before we would settle down at home and eat. One of our favourite must have dish is the Curry of ginger, pork belly and jackfruit. In Thai, Jackfruit means lucky.

Where were you trained, and how difficult was your training?
I was trained by some top chefs in Thailand.  The training was very difficult but I believe was most instrumental to learn about Thai cuisine.

BBQ Pork Strips

I was taught to learn about the taste first, I had to be able to tell all the ingredients from just tasting food. After that, I was taught the ancient techniques, using only traditional equipments and ingredients. I was not allowed to use any measuring equipments nor any electrical equipments such as a blender. I learnt how to control ingredients just by our senses – eyes, hand, smell, taste.

Where do you get your inspiration when you design a menu?
My inspiration comes from the different seasons and the fresh ingredients that are available. I also design menu depending on what I feel and memories of dishes passed down to me.

What is your favourite kitchen equipment?
Mortar and pastel, because it breaks down the ingredients and releases the best flavours but still retain it’s integrity.  In modern day cooking where electric blenders are used more often, it can not bring out the best in our food like mortar and pastel would.

Best piece of advice you would give a home enthusiast?
If it doesn’t work first time, keep trying until you get it right. Even the best chefs would need to try many times before they finally get it right.

Best cooking tip for a young apprentice just starting out?
Be inspired by the food around you and try everything as the same dish can taste and cook differently each time.

Funniest kitchen incident?
I tripped over the floor mat and ended up on all fours on the floor with food all over me, while at the same time trying to keep a straight face.

Chicken larp

Who in the food world do you most admire?
Charlie Amattayakul –celebrity chef and teacher born in a family that cooks for the Thai royal family.  He was passionate about passing all the ancient cooking to new generation in Thailand in order to keep the old traditions alive.

Charlie was also the first Thai to start a cooking school in Thailand ( in the Oriental Bangkok), One of his famous student was David Thompson.

Favourite foods to cook with?
Chilli, lemongrass, kaffir lime fruit and fermented fish paste.

Do you have a favourite cook book to recommend?
Charlie Amattayakul’s book Thai food (only available in Thailand) or David Thompson’s Thai Street Food.

What do you think is the most challenging ingredient to work with?
Fermented fish paste, if you don’t know how to cook it well, it will end up tasting very bad and ruin the whole dish

What do you like to eat when you’re at home?
I enjoy the different cakes and desserts from all different cuisines in the world.

What is going to be the next big thing in the food world?
I believe that ingredients from different cultures will merge together and create some new and unique cuisine.  We are being exposed to so much more different ingredients and cuisine in our modern world.

What do you do for fun?
I love eating out with friends when I am not working or testing new dishes.

Where is your favourite place in the world?
Paris because of the rich food culture

Scallops with Mango
What do you most love about your job?
My kitchen in Bai Tong Thai Tempe.  I love creating new dishes and see and hear satisfied customers.

If you had just one wish, what would it be?
I wish I have more time to travel and eat around the world. 

Where do we find you and your restaurant?
Bai Tong Thai Tempe
703 – 705 Princes Highway
NSW 2044
(02) 8668 4800

Pure Leverage

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