One more reason to love Australia…

Australia has a day today called “R U OK DAY” (“ARE YOU OKAY DAY”), which was created to uplift people who have been suffering from depression, self-anxieties or simply for those who think it might not be okay for them to admit that they are not okay…

Sometimes, it’s okay to say you are not okay because some days are just harder than the others.

I am so not okay today. The world that I live in right now is a messy place. Not everyone of course but a group people have chosen a funny way to communicate that constantly upsets other people. I’ve found it fascinating how every topic, big or small can really become a major debate or a big argument and how much people like to shout at each other… And I have seen some people who became extremely quiet… This is not welcome anywhere, in any relationship and definitely not welcome in hospitality industry please so wake up!!!

Our world, your world and my world are not ideal. But it should not be a world of enemies either, unless you think that so then keep shouting. I don’t even think that I need to remind people that we are all human. We as human beings have a distinctive way to communicate. I know there are some jerks out there but many people are striving hard to make a life too… Everyone is fighting for their own battles!


Just because your ego is huge doesn’t mean that others’ egos will be any smaller.. I told someone that I was not happy today when I thought I was in a world of chaos. He said it was normal that things can get super messy in crowded places. Does that also mean that people should get used to bullying? Is bullying normal? Do you think it’s normal? I don’t… And if you don’t stand up for yourselves, your beloved, or your fellow colleagues then who will?




Self Leadership for Success


I believe success is how you define it, no matter what you do and what industry you are in. Some people are successful even with or without having a paid job. The reason I am saying this is because there are people who create jobs and pay other people, meanwhile others, like the mothers, for instance, who would never get paid no matter how they sacrificed for their family and children. Maybe they do get paid, from one way to another…

By being a member of Australian Chamber of Commerce, Vietnam (Auscham), I was fortunate to join a short discussion about Self Leadership for Success back in January 2016 hosted by Auscham, CPA and TDWCo. The training was excellent and the information provided was absolutely insightful. I must admit that I have learned a lot from being there even just for two hours. I loved how we were given very clear and straightforward instruction but inspiring enough for us to understand ourselves from knowing our strengths; weaknesses; our needs and fears; to analysing the solutions; stage of development and action to achieve desired outcome.

We know that each person has different needs in life. And while talking about how to minimise you weaknesses and maximise your strengths to achieve your desired outcome, I was urged to raise a question at the end of the event: “What if sometimes, my strength is not even considered my strength anymore? Will this method still be accurate? For example, I could be a very good presenter and I have the ability to attract a whole lot of attention as soon as I speak. But in front of my parents, all my skills seem to be gone, even if I went to study in a famous international institution which they did not. They sometimes think I am out of my mind and I am unable to talk to them… And there for, I think this might be accurate when we apply in a professional context, but when it comes to having to deal with somewhat less of a proffessional situation, all the formulas that we were given and have gone through might not be effective anymore…”

For the above reason and scenario, I have come to conclude my own elements for self leadership for success:


Luck? Really? Isn’t that so unfair? How could someone’s luck become the first element for success? Yes, what did Bill Gates say? Life is unfair so live with it. Some people are born rich, some are born in poverty, some are born pretty and with good parents and some are simply not, all of these you cannot get to choose. So if you are lucky enough to have born in peace, fully abled person and to have full support from your parents then you should be a thousand steps closer to success than those who are striving to make a life in a whole lot more complicated world of weapons, drugs, poverty or disability.

Education & Training

There is no single person who is perfect in this world and there is always room to grow. Now let’s just take the action to write down your top strengths that need to maximise then write down your main areas that needs improving, whichever they are: communications, writing, presentation, computer skills, singing or dancing. You first need to learn then follow necessary steps of training to master your skills, just like what we always say: Practice Makes Perfect! And if it is not perfect, it will get better. I promise.

Consistency / High Emotional Intelligence 

What I really mean is: Please, do not give up! Whether it is about achieving a professional goal or a personal pursue. Every so often, when it comes into wining a business or having to solve a problem, it is not for a person with the highest IQ (Intelligent Quotient) score that wins but the one with a consistent EQ (Emotional Quotient) does. Those with high EQ is not easy to be beaten down, no matter what happens to them.

To conclude, actually, I had thought of “Health” as the first and foremost element for success until I thought about “Luck”, then I asked myself this question: “Who could grand you a good health to start with?” Some people are still successful regardless of whether they are physically healthy or attractive. I would give Stephen Hawking from The Theory of Everything as a living example, although I am still a bit scared while looking and even dare to post his picture in the middle of the night like this. Well, while there is life, there is hope! (Stephen Hawking)

Fish or Factory?


It could not get more dramatic than this, people in my country, in the Socialist Republic of Vietnam have been given a closed question of getting to choose between objects: Fish and Factory?

Both are worth having of course, and while many of us still do not know what I’m talking about, then here are a few facts from Channel News Asia:

1) In recent weeks, tonnes of dead fish, including deep-sea species, have washed up on the shores of four provinces along Vietnam’s central coast – Ha Tinh, Quang Binh, Quang Tri and Thua Thien-Hue – affecting the livelihoods of fishermen and businesses dependent on the region’s seafood industry.

2) Local media reports had pointed to toxic discharge from a multi-billion dollar steel plant in Ha Tinh belonging to Taiwanese conglomerate Formosa Plastics Group, riling public anger against the foreign investor. Local authorities have also been blamed for being slow to respond.

3) Vietnamese authorities say they have found no conclusive link between Taiwan’s Formosa steel plant and mass fish deaths along Vietnam’s central coast. “Until now, after our investigation and evidence gathering, we have not found any proof to conclude that there is a link between Formosa, other factories, and the mass fish deaths,” he said in Vietnamese.

Anyway, the given question of fish or factory was merely raised by internet users then eventually went viral on social media. It has nothing to do with legality nor to give Vietnamese citizens the right to decide anything. The scientists and investigators will do their jobs, and the victor will write history after all. Until then, we shall keep this social media campaign going just to see who saves the factory and who protects the fish.

I never wanted to have to think that our lives are in danger so let’s be a little bit more positive on this. At least right now we still have the options to scale and to decide whether to prioritise the fish, fishery, the tourism industry or the steel industry or whatsoever… Because once we still have options then it might still not be end of the world.

More than ever, I am thinking of Karen Reid, in case she might be reading this, who was my lecturer when I was at my third year of university. 4 years after graduation, I still remember the question once she asked in our Event Facilities class: “What do you think is the best way to stop immigrants to a city?”

Whatever you are thinking of right now, I was thinking the same… Whether it is about visa restrictions, safety, weapon, education or things to do with money… Everything is correct, but there is one element that not so many of us could think of. She said one word: “Water”. If we stop supplying water in that one single city, everyone will start to leave. No water, no life!

Similarily, while talking about killing, many of us think of wars or weapons or diseases… just like what I have seen in one of the most recent Korean dramas on air: “Descendants of the Sun”, which my sister had successfully ‘trapped’ me to watch. But no, if toxic water which could kill tons of fish at once, no matter what the causes were, that would be as dangerous as the wars with guns. I wish we had another option to make it more of a multiple choice one rather than a closed question, it would rather be: 1) Water – 2) Fish – 3) Factory.

I don’t believe in a life that have either Fish or Factories or both but without Water…

Photo Credit: Pascal Campion


Hakuna Matata

For one and many reasons, April had never been the favourite month of the year for me and for many of us who live in the city of Hanoi. It is Spring here when we would rather expect to see beautiful flowers, but in this fast-paced developing city with full of ongoing construction projects, the sky could not look any sadder and greyer. Although the weather is not too hot, not too cold but you could easily feel the wet, dirty, smelly, sticky and humid air. By this time last year, I spent most of my time thinking of all the happenings with life, career, relationship and of course this damn weather too.

Like a day dreamer, I walked along a rainy street and I decided that I need to see a good friend of mine. The appointment was set up in only 10 minutes later in a coffee shop nearby, I guess this is why he became such a good friend of mine.

“How are you?” I asked.

“Happy”  He immediately replied.

“Why? and How?”

“Oh you know, I’ve got to do what I like, I quit the job that feel so stuck at it after three years. Of course there was a time that I feel hopeless, I even spent a month reading an over 400 pages long book about history of Vietnam. You know I could be historian now”. “You?” – He laughed and asked me back.

“Miserable”. I answered then looked away through the window and sighed.

“What are you looking at?” – He asked.

“The weather. I am so out of this place…”. I replied.

“What are your problems?” – He started to look at me and ask…

“Many problems” – I replied and went on: “But I’d like to blame on this weather so neither me nor anyone else would have to take this blame.

“Then let’s talk about the weather… What do you hate about it?”. He asked.

“It is messy here, there are times of the year when it is either too hot or too cold, too humid or too dry. Now it’s been raining for the whole month and no one seems to work… What kind of place is this? People are going crazy and so am I”. I felt guilty that I called him all his way to see me then have to hear all this but I just could not help it.

“Did you think about the upsides of this weather?” He asked and laughed a little.

“Okay, tell me, what’s up?” I asked.

“It’s raining and humid right? So that they could sell more home appliances like dryers, like raincoats or umbrellas. They are produced for a reason you know… Think about the law of supply and demand… And now you’re complaining that we have too many seasons huh? Thought you would be happy that you will be able to wear change your outfits after each season. The fashion industry in a city of four seasons will mostly have more things to do and to talk about than an all year round sunny city don’t you think?”.

He shut me up since then because I simply could not agree more…

I was asked to give lots of advices today to a new colleague of mine, who is an expatriate, completely new to the city and having full of doubts about herself and her future. We spent 03 hours of talk about everything then as soon as she started talking about the weather, I gave her a quick smile, realising the story is getting a little old. I said: “April showers bring May flowers, have you heard this before? I learned this some time ago.

And “Hakuna Matata” – I brought this from Lion King, it means “No worries”. Things will work out for the best.


#From Work: Young & Innocent



To me, the worst thing about wearing a uniform and following the same dress code is the fact that you will not be able to tell who is who and you will not be able to tell if he/she’s got a style… Well, I am not going to have a uniform debate by the way, I am just making excuses for not knowing some of our junior colleagues’ names because they all look similar in their uniforms on a regular basis. But there’s one person that I am going to remember his name forever from today.

Where to start? I merely went for a general check up a V.I.P function at the hotel today to ensure the event was under control. Unfortunately, I got to know that it was actually not-so-under-control from the very first few seconds…

“Why?” – I asked the supervisor.

“One of our staff went unconscious for a few minutes in the V.I.P room and when the majority of guests had been seated”.

“Who? and Why?” – I asked while getting a little bit shocked.  I could not think of any suitable reason, did we make he/she work too hard? It was 12:00 and perhaps he/she skipped breakfast? “Was that a he or a she? Do I know him/her?”

“It’s a he”. She replied and continued: “I think you do know him. He had been with us for a long time but he worked as a casual staff. And today was actually the day that he has his officially contract signed with the hotel that makes him so nervous and then it happened… A bit unfortunate that there were so many V.I.Ps in the room but I hope they understood if we tell them the reason”.

“Where is he now? Is he okay?” – I continued.

“He’s right there, working like nothing has happened”. She answered.

“Oh”! I stopped for a second and looked to the right where the boy was standing to welcome the guests.

Yes, I do notice him, this tall and young male Sofitel ambassador who wears glasses, about 20 years old. He’s got a friendly smile with both politeness and shyness. At that very moment, I could not think of anything else – Who could be so mad at him now? And for taking his job too seriously? Hmmm I do not think so… Instead I thought it was cute and innocent of him – and I would say this frankly if and only if this did not make me any less of being a hospitality professional. I have not felt this way for a long time about someone I know. Perhaps it was just for a simple reason that I have met too many people, and yes including myself who often appear in the most ‘damn’ mysterious, confident and …fearless!

This ‘junior’ moment actually made me smile. I hope the boy is all okay now. But since he has taken this career so seriously and to the extent that he got so emotional like that, I hope he will end up being a good person and a good career advancement ahead.

And for me, it would be interesting to know what happened to Miss No-Longer-Afraid…!?


This is it…

This is a blog, this is not a diary. Yes this is a blog, this is not a diary.

Just like when we are at work, or at home, we often say: “Oh this is work, do not involve your personal issues” or vice versa…

But the thing is, I don’t know about you but I could never get to the extreme of anything, either it is work, or food or love. Yes when I work, I work. But when I work, I think about stuff, I think about me, I think about you and I think about everything: the society, my family, the news, my favourite book, my breakfast menus and what dress I should wear on my next working day. I am happy for some time and upset some other time. At the same time, I still work and I produce productivity. Why is that? I started to understand why…

No matter what happens, I need to know what my priorities are at times… And actions express priorities…

What if I am not happy with my job? I still need a job… So either I work for me or for some one else or someone else… I still need to work right? Money does not grow from trees. But luckily, I am fortunate enough to be in a good team right now and in a good position to decide what and how I want my future to be… But I guess I should not rush and I still need to work…

What if I am not happy with this society? Then choose the society that I am happy in it… But guess what? Nowhere is safe now and when you are in a complete safe place, you will miss the fun. Like whether you choose to live in Helsinki where all what you can see is snow; or in Japan where all you can see is old people and vending machines or in Ho Chi Minh City or in Bangkok, Jakarta and so on, where all you can see is people, young people with lots and lots of traffic! And I don’t know which one is worse🙂 If you’re talking about Brussels, Paris, London or Moscow… It’s pretty much like North Korea or Iraq – Very unsafe! And I am in Hanoi now, the capital city of Vietnam, pretty safe for now. What I do not want is that I am saying my city is safe today then something is going to happen tomorrow but I still hope this will remain for a long long long time… I still need to work…

I am not a big fan of Lady Gada, but I am a fan of her famous saying: “Some women choose to follow men, some choose to follow their dreams. If you’re wondering which way to go, remember that your career will never walk up and tell you that it doesn’t love you any more”… I don’t have any further comments onto this. I still need to work…

lady gaga.png

For many times I hesitated to give myself a break from things that only gives me sorrows, I found this quote and I thought, this is it… all what I needed. So keep calm and trust the process – Good things are in the works! #letitgo




Some of my favourite quotes at all times: After Monday and Tuesday, the rest of the week says W-T-F.

I firmly believe that your attitude decides how your day should be. But it does happens that some days are simply worse than the rest of other days, and we shall call it the terrible, horrible, no good and very bad day. I know someone has turned this into movie.

I have a terrible, horrible, no good and very bad week that I called a “W-T-F” week. Obviously, it stands for Wednesday – Thursday and Friday, in case you wondered.

Well I am a hotelier where getting feedback is a fundamental part. I am no longer surprised getting complaints from people so I am not here to talk behind my clients’ back. But I did meet some ugly clients over the past week: not so much about the ugly look (although there are some visually not-so-pretty ones) but mainly about the ugly manners and how they abused us as service providers and abused my colleagues.

Having said that, I don’t know how should I feel, I got angry for a second then I decided that I should not get angry anymore if we all know deep inside, everything happens for a reason: Many people lack of education no matter what age or what degrees that they have at hands; some people are treated the way they are normally treated and that they are too ordinary to know… And that is a terrible, horrible, no good and very very bad consequence…

hospitality quote