Belgium, Business & Creativity, Jibber Jabber

Grocery Shopping Loophole

Last Friday, I mentioned that I might brave the local warehouse-style grocery store to stock up on necessities. Well, D and I did that a few hours ago this afternoon. According to the employee guarding the entrance, only one of us are allowed to go in. But we took an extra shopping cart and promised the TSA disinfectant-spraying person that we shall pay separately. “Loopholes…”, said D quietly and triumphantly to me.

Schools are partially reopened since yesterday. This coming Thursday is the Ascension of the Lord – a feast day here. No doubt there shall be lines at the grocery stores. Maybe it was our good timing or maybe it was just pure luck, but there was no line when we arrived, but a relatively long one when we left. Phew!

Our freezer, fridge and pantry are now filled up with necessities and goodies. On top of that, D and I did not have to line up to enter the grocery store. It has been a good day.

Business & Creativity, Human Nature, Simplify

Delightfully Enough

In 2009, I read and re-posted a light hearted story about the business man and the fisherman. The message really struck a chord with me more than 10 years ago. I think I shall remember it for a long long time…

Moments like this, I thought of our baker Franky. He and his wife Maggie never expand, never bake enough bread for their demanding but loyal customers, and close shop as soon as their bake goods are sold off. The couple also go on these crazy lengthy vacations every year, probably drinking beers and enjoying the sun?!

And then, there is this friendly fruit seller Arne. He would cheerfully admit that the fruit issues (drought, too much rain, EU embargo on Russia) do not really affect him, because his is a humble enterprise.

That being said, I am thankful I have enough of the things that matters most; love, health, wealth, common sense, plus the bits and pieces that make life delightful.

Business & Creativity

In Sickness & In Health

Some interesting things are happening in the global world of finance.

In Malaysia, bank loans were automatically suspended for 6-month. That means no monthly loan repayments till October! On top of that, there were also the initiation of high-interest certificate of deposits (#stayathome, #dudukdirumah). This way, savers may still earn a healthy interest on their insured deposits.

In the United States, interest rates have been reduced significantly in the attempt to resuscitate the economy. What ass-brain thought that money spent on hoarding tons of toilet paper will sustain the American economy? Ass-brain…

Here in Europe, nothing is happening. You get the occasional emails notifying you of the banks’ opening hours, and that mobile banking is the best invention ever. The European banking system lose its heartbeat a long time ago. It’s dead, Jim.

Belgium, Business & Creativity, Food & Drinks

Local Efficiency

At five thirty yesterday afternoon, D and I went to the Lokaal at Deerlijk to pick up our order. Each online orders were well organized and placed on the tables at the vicinity. There were at least five people working. Three of them were in charge of picking up the grocery and setting them on a table where the customers may conveniently bag their purchases. There were two people at the cash register. They were also the first to greet you and ask for your order number. There was no crowd when we were there and people were respectfully distancing themselves from each other.

The system worked wonderfully. And I will continue buying from our local farmers and butchers as long as this last. I will not overbuy. I shall aim for consistent mindful consumption. Stability is something we all need in this time of hefty imbalances.

Business & Creativity, Events, Numbers

200th Lokaal

Today, Lokaal in Deerlijk is celebrating its 200th Friday market. But before D and I went there to join the celebration, I stopped by the bank to do some currency exchange via the ATM.

At Lokaal, we bought meat, about 800g of carrots and some mixed mushrooms. After some wine tasting, we sat down to have one drink each. D had a brown beer, whereas mine was a non-alcoholic apple-ginger juice. I am starting my bit of Tournée Minérale a few days earlier so that I may break my fast at the beer festival in Brugge tomorrow.

Today is also Brexit day. Great Britain leaving the European Union had half the people celebrating, while half are mourning. I personally do not have much feelings nor opinions about this. Ten years here in Belgium, I have yet to visit England…

Belgium, Business & Creativity, Events

Harari’s Insights

D and I left the house at 3.30pm this afternoon to attend a talk by Professor Yuval Noah Harari at the KULAK in Kortrijk. The talk will only begin at 4.45pm – there is no lack of enthusiasm here!

Even though I am still brain-chewing the information from the keynote speech, and an interview I watched on the computer, the following are issues that I personally find significant:

  • Learn to know and accept yourself. This will make you better at fending off outside manipulations.
  • Constantly learn new and diversified skills. Reinventing oneself is a necessary maneuver to avoid becoming a member of the useless class.
  • The three existential dangers our world is facing are nuclear arms races, ecological breakdowns and technological disruptions.
  • Our climate issues can be solved with 2% of the global GDP. This is what some countries pay for their national defense.
  • Humans are very good at amassing power, but have problem translating that into happiness.
Business & Creativity, Numbers

January Accounting

The first month of the year often means an extra load of accounting work for me. First, I need to close the books of the past year. Then, I need to bring the end balances forward to the new calendar year. Numbers and formulas need to be analyzed, double-checked and confirmed, especially those pertaining to taxation.

Business & Creativity, Food & Drinks

Ambitious Snack Making

I had it all planned out yesterday. I am going to make four of the Asian appetizers that are most popular among the friends and family.

By late Friday afternoon, I managed to have completed two out of the four. I then needed to pause to make dinner. After dinner, I continued on and finished making the mini spring rolls and wontons before ten o’clock. I probably was a tad too ambitious in my planning stage, but despite the tiring steps and processes, I did accomplished what I have set out to do. Yeah for me!

Business & Creativity, Food & Drinks, Numbers

36 Shrimp Toasts

I woke up this morning knowing that I will be spending most of today making yummy shrimp toasts to refill my inventory.

Knowing from experience that the process of making these appetizers can be rather time demanding and labour intensive, I have thus planned my day accordingly. After burying my kitchen scraps in the backyard, and spending about half an hour tidying up the attic, I proceed to work on the toasts by first cleaning the shrimps. These were then combined with minced pork, some vegetables, spices and then thoroughly mixed into a smooth paste. The paste was then spread onto crust-less white bread squares, sprinkled with sesame seeds and then sliced in three before being placed in the freezer.

By the end of the afternoon, I have used up two-third of the paste, twelve pieces of bread, thus producing thirty-six pieces of shrimp toasts.

I am proud of my achievements today. Nevertheless, I also have to admit that it has been less fun this time. It was rather annoying and uncomfortable having to work with a right hand that has two ‘buddy-tapped’ fingers.

Ah well…