Hi, I'm Fion! 안녕하세요 피연입니다!
Hi, welcome to Fionism.com. My name is Fion. You can call me Fi for short. In 2012, I started this blog because #1 I was bored and #2 I couldn't afford an external hard drive but I needed somewhere to keep my photos, so I registered a blog and started treating this like an online diary.
On The Blog
For the past few months, I was so immersed in the world of fantasy Chinese novels. I had been reading a few back-to-back, and that’s when I realized I needed to read some non-fiction to balance things out. As I stumbled upon Zygmunt Bauman's "Work, Consumerism and the New Poor" on Xiao Hong Shu, I thought I'd give it a try since it reminded me of my Economics assignment back then.

Bauman dives into how consumerism has overshadowed the old-school work ethic, with his historical and philosophical take on it. This book is not an easy read because it can feel a bit dry and like you're reading someone’s lengthy thesis.

Bauman begins by discussing how the work ethic became significant during industrialization. In the past, people valued their "workmanship" and preferred leisure over unnecessary labour. But industrial times demanded a different attitude. Factory owners wanted to make workers dependent on them, and with a little help from the government, they pushed for a complete societal shift. Artisans were left out in the cold as factory work became the new norm.

Fast forward to today, and we've shifted from a society of producers to a society of consumers. Satisfaction isn't the goal anymore; it's all about the thrill of wanting more, sugar-coated as a motivation to hustle harder. In the past, your class determined your identity, but now, you build it yourself through the choices you make in the marketplace. More choices mean more freedom, right? Well, not exactly. This so-called freedom is just another illusion created by market forces.

Living in a consumer society means we detest having our choices limited, so we gravitate towards deregulation and neoliberalism. Work, devoid of any real joy, loses its value; and come payday, you’d simply spend your hard-earned money on unnecessary expenditures. Does that imply that the time and effort invested in work are all in vain? To fill the jobs nobody wants, we recreate a survival scenario, but this time, there's no noble work ethic to cling to. Instead, the poor are viewed as inadequate consumers. Society no longer feels the need to uplift them but rather blames them for their situation, branding them as an irredeemable "underclass."

Bauman’s empathy for the poor shines through. They're often labelled as lazy, but he shows they're actually victims of a broken system. Work ethics, Bauman argues, were invented to force people into factory jobs and now serve to blame the unemployed for their plight. With globalization, local governments can't do much to help since capital moves freely across borders. Modern society deals with the poor by marginalizing, criminalizing, and segregating them. They're not seen as potential workers anymore but as failures in the consumer game.

One of Bauman’s more optimistic ideas is universal basic income, something C. Offe also talks about. This would shift our focus from employment to basic rights and protections. But even Bauman knows this solution is a bit too optimistic, given the power of global capital.

Reading "Work, Consumerism and the New Poor" is quite a rollercoaster. Bauman sometimes suggests that work ethics were a grand conspiracy, which seems like a stretch without solid proof. Personally, I'd prefer to see it as a collective societal belief disguised as the norm, rather than a brainwashing tactic used by capitalists. Perhaps to some extent it is, but ultimately, it comes down to whether individuals would simply accept and believe in this belief.

Given that this book was written almost 20 years ago, some parts feel dated, but its message still resonates strongly. Consumerism has only sunk its claws deeper into our lives. Consider this: from housing to healthcare to our daily routines, systems are designed to extract every last penny from us. We're essentially primed to compete for the top, leveraging our education and careers, yet often find ourselves ensnared by rising costs. Consequently, our lives become a ceaseless pursuit of better homes, better cars, and so forth. It's a cycle of chasing bigger, better, and higher price tags, often with more debts piled on.

This book makes it clear that our societal structures are choices, even when they feel like inescapable traps. So it comes full circle: when it's all about choices, what are you choosing for yourself? Because nobody is pointing a gun at your head. There is no black or white, good or wrong within this equation. It’s about where one’s personal values lie. Having previously worked in the retail banking industry for two years has definitely taught me a valuable lesson on this— one’s bank accounts and transactions often speak volumes more about them than the words that come out of their mouths.

"Work, Consumerism and the New Poor" peels back the layers of consumer society, exposing the harsh realities beneath. Bauman's insights into consumerism and the marginalization of the poor are still relevant, pushing us to rethink what we value and how we define success. "Work, Consumerism and the New Poor" peels back the layers of consumer society, exposing the harsh realities beneath. Bauman's insights into consumerism and the marginalization of the poor remain relevant, urging us to reconsider what we value and how we define success.

I wouldn’t recommend this book as a must-read for everyone because, as mentioned, getting through the entire book consumed a lot of focused energy from my end due to its lengthy narrations. Unless you are truly interested in the history of economics, I think a practical takeaway I could share with anyone (even those who are not that financially savvy) is to be conscious of why and where you are spending your money. Remember, there is no right or wrong judgment here; it’s all about your choices and how aware you are of your true intentions behind them. Simple and straightforward.

Saturday, June 8, 2024

My Dearest Pippy and Pipsy,

As I sit down to pen this heartfelt note, I find myself overwhelmed with a mixed bunch of feelings. Now that you both are no longer (physically) here, I can’t help but reminisce about the day when I brought you two tiny furballs back from the pet shop on the 7th of October 2021.

From the moment you both scampered into my life, a burst of cuteness and warmth enveloped my heart every single day, without fail, even during the moments when you drove me insane.

Since day one, I couldn't resist sharing the daily snippets of your adorable antics on social media. Little did I know that your charm would ripple out, influencing friends and followers to embark on their own journeys of hamster companionship.

Many have questioned my choice, wondering if the frequent heartbreaks accompanying the short lifespan of hamsters would deter me from welcoming another furry friend into our home. To them, I say this: the essence of life, be it for humans or hamsters, lies in the inevitable journey towards the final stage – death. It's a bittersweet reality illustrated beautifully in The Little Prince, where the process of "taming" transcends the fear of bidding goodbyes. Yes, tears may fall, and a few days of sadness may linger in the wake of farewells, but these are the small prices we pay for the immeasurable joy of giving a furry ball a home.

Although you girls might have had a short time with me, your little pawprints will always be on my heart, forever.

PS: Please stop fighting one another in heaven!

Tuesday, March 5, 2024










Wednesday, July 26, 2023




Monday, July 24, 2023



Saturday, July 22, 2023

I was just planning a hotpot party with my friends when I received this fun invitation to celebrate 小龙坎  Xiao Long Kan's 3rd anniversary at Sunrise Tower, Persiaran Gurney. 

In conjunction with their anniversary celebration, Xiao Long Kan has launched 3 promotional deals that any hotpot lover should not miss out on! 

I love mala soup during hotpot sessions though I'm not someone who is ultra tolerant when it comes to spicy food. So, having clear soup is an excellent way to neutralize things. 

All I could think about is "when can I eat this!"

Photo obtained with the consent of Jay Chha from https://pinkypigletland.blogspot.com/

If you are someone who enjoys the peace of eating alone, this mini hotpot is a good option. You no longer need a company for hotpot anymore! Plus, it's definitely budget-friendly. 

Photo obtained with the consent of Jay Chha from https://pinkypigletland.blogspot.com/

Those who know me will know that I'm not an alcohol drinker. Apple cider is the only member of the alcohol family that I genuinely like. 

Alternatively, try this non-alcoholic drink named "Tian Di 1 Hao" 天地壹号 which translates into the world's number 1. Its name is unnecessarily extra but it's actually an apple vinegar beverage. Add some ice and it's a perfect match for mala hotpot! 

Disclaimer: this drink is not included in the buy 5 free 5 deal. 

Let me take you to Xiao Long Kan virtually! 

Xiao Long Kan 小龙坎 

190-192 Sunrise Tower, Persiaran Gurney, 10250 Georgetown, Penang, Malaysia. 

Operating Hours: 12pm - 12am daily 

Contact number: +6012-4789982

*The aforementioned deals are available at all Xiao Long Kan outlets in Malaysia:
- Penang @ Sunrise Gurney 
- KL @ Farenheit88
- Johor @ Austin Heights 

Sunday, September 4, 2022

I met my high school classmate today.  It's been a while. Sad to say that we have grown up to become those adults who succumbed to the "hey, let's meet someday" wherein for some odd reasons, we just put it off until "someday" never happens.

Fortunately, we made it today! 

As we slowly finished our food, we caught up with one another’s recent life updates. In our conversation, there was a part where she asked me, “do you think people are honest with themselves?”

That’s a very interesting question and I was taken aback because I often have similar thoughts but I’ve never asked it out loud in a conversation as bravely as she did. Afraid of being judged as a weirdo or also afraid that I might make people uncomfortable, I usually only read about such topics on Reddit or watch Youtube videos about them.

I replied, “No, I don’t think so”. 

Humans are fascinating creatures. I can’t help but wonder how God set his auto programming when designing humans. How complicated would His system or software be to create homo sapiens along with their individual emotions, psychology, and personality. Because I find it so darn fascinating that humans have this “talent” of lying to themselves, which whatever humans do actually stem from psychology – isn’t it?

Mind you, I’m not coming from a place of “holier-than-thou” but rather I’m a real-life example. 

The thing is though…we humans talk about other people/we talk about ourselves, but we seldom talk to ourselves. Even if we do, it’s more about finding excuses or coming up with seemingly rational rationales to protect ourselves from anything that our brain perceives as dangerous or discomfort. 

Self-awareness is the key here. Oftentimes, I feel this word has been thrown around too excessively that people don’t even take the time to reflect on themselves or even to figure out what this self-awareness deal is all about anyway. 

Or rather, people don’t even know who they are, let alone be honest with themselves. I mean…think about it, if you don’t know who you are, what are the things that you like/dislike, what are the things that you truly desire and would like to go after without fear, what are your strengths and weaknesses, etc, it is hard to be honest with yourself. 

For the sake of this blog post, I will use myself as an example because where’s a better place to air my dirty laundry without shame other than my blog xD 

Dirty laundry #1:

When I first stepped into the corporate world, I was so fixated on buying material items. Not just things per se but branded items. Thank god I wasn’t too reckless with my finances back then but looking back, I could’ve/should’ve/would’ve done a lot better. 

I had this rule, or should I say distorted mindset that “now that I am a working adult in the corporate world, I have to only wear and use branded things so people can take me seriously”. 

How pathetic I was back then (in hindsight)! However, when I was within that state, I had 1000 reasons to support my theory, such as:
- these are investments in myself
- life is about working hard and buying all things you like
- what is the use of saving money if you will never spend it on the things you like

There were many underlying issues for me to act this way, but I did not have the awareness to notice let alone admit them to myself.

 I was feeling lost in life, so I used “work hard, shop hard” as a form of motivation to have something to look forward to.

 I had low self-esteem, so I thought all these brand names could act as a shiny armor to protect me from my imaginary condemnation coming from everyone that I could be meeting.

If I could identify the root cause back then, I surely wouldn’t have bought so many bags and clothes that I ended up throwing and donating, as well as the time spent shopping. I could have been richer by a few grands by now if I could reverse those unwise spending. Because at the end of it all, it’s not about the physical objects themselves that I was chasing after, but a specific feeling that I associated upon purchasing those objects, such as feeling controlled, feeling the adrenaline rush even if it’s temporary, feeling great about myself when I wore it for the first time and so on.

Dirty laundry #2:   

Another way people lie to themselves might not be intentional as it is a form of self-protection that was stimulated by the brain. Because humans are programmed to avoid danger, risk, discomfort, and pain. I was a victim of this too most of the time – from small to big things. 

It might sound like procrastination for the “small” things, but the underlying theory is the same.

 I do not have the attention span and time to read routinely.
Puhleaseeee, you have time to scroll through Instagram reels watching cats and hamsters for 2 hours straight, you are saying you don’t have the time.

 I’m feeling tired today, so let’s just skip the workout.
I end up watching 3 movies in a row till midnight after telling myself that excuse.

(Believe me, I know I’m not the only one with this whole I-do-not-have-time bullshit. You could be guilty too in some areas of your lives. But hey, there’s no shame in this alright?)

 Oh, not forgetting my biggest one:
I am not ready to trade (forex) because I haven’t learnt enough – even though I spent so much time and effort making notes, watching videos, and learning from different mentors and friends. I’ve been trying to learn how to swim while keeping myself dry by reading a book. Good job Fion.

 Another big one that cost me a fortune, literally:
As a short-term trader (not an investor) cutting losses quickly is the number one rule in this survival game. However, I often ended up trying to persuade myself to not do that with some seemingly logical reasons, such as:
 “This is a fundamentally good company, it’s fine to hold onto the stock until it comes back up.”
 “The overall trend is still healthy, I’ll remove the stop loss and see how it goes.”
Traders do not cling onto something for the long term, that’s an investment thing. I brought snorkeling equipment to scuba dive. That’s why I drowned in the sea.

Thankfully, I learnt my painful lesson last year. I have been disciplining myself this year after taking a hiatus – because those lies that told myself ruined me not just in trading but my self-confidence and self-esteem. The domino effect of not being honest with yourself is deadly. No pun intended. I could even use the word 'literally' at this point because it nearly ruined me. 

All in all, being dishonest with yourself often comes with a price. You either pay it right away or you pay it later. 

And let’s be honest about this: When you are trying to avoid the short-term discomfort, pain, loss, or anything that comes with a negative feeling, you aren’t really avoiding it entirely. It still bugs you somewhere within your head. For me, it was losing sleep, feeling lethargic every day, regular headaches, insomnia, and occasional panic attacks. 

Anything that costs you your health and sleep means it’s costing you too much. Sometimes, it also badly affects the people around you – people who you should be showering love and care for but because you are too blinded by your own bullshit, you aren’t giving them the best version of you. On the contrary, most people leave the worst of the worst version of themselves for their loved ones.

Bet you have heard things like these:
 I can’t change because that's how I always am. 
So, does that excuse automatically give you a right to speak in an inconsiderate manner, hurting people's feelings yet condemning people for being too sensitive? 

 I can't take care of my diet. It's just too hard. 
That statement translates into: I'm happy being fat and I will condemn whoever tells me I am fat (even if that person's a doctor) and tell people that this is self-love. 

In conjunction with this topic, I'll quote my friend @pohhuexp (on Instagram) who's a Precision Nutrition Certificed Coach:
Body positivity is loving yourself no matter what society thinks - you don't need abs to be sexy and healthy. The part I disagree with body positivity is when people use it as an excuse to be overweight and call it healthy. Being overweight isn't healthy. It's fine if you personally choose and prefer to be at a certain weight, but don't promote that as healthy scientifically, it's not. 

 I will do anything to get my ex back because I love him/her. Then, you proceed to do 'ugly' things like threatening, begging pathetically, harassing over the phone, stalking on social media everyday. 
I challenge you to look yourself in the mirror and ask yourself, "is this love? am I really acting out of love?" 

I read this quote somewhere that says:
Saying “this is who I always am” reflects a person’s EQ, stupidity, and selfishness. It leaves the other party in a state of “take it or leave it” because you are not mature enough to deal with your own shit. Address the elephant in the room by being honest with yourself, not by protecting your stupid ego at the expense of your loved ones, or even yourself! 

Carve a bit of time out daily, sit in silence alone and ask yourself:

"Am I truly fine with all these?" 

"Do I love this version of myself?"

"Am I genuinely happy?"

Dr. Joe Dispenza said that one thing humans don’t pay enough attention to is the skill to control one’s mind and thoughts. Like training a horse, you can’t let it run wildly – you’d get thrown off the horseback for sure. You gotta sit it down, tame it and then command it to listen to you. 

The way to do just that is to start by being honest with yourself. Only when you can be honest with yourself, then you can set up a comprehensive set of calls to action, if not you will just be going around in circles in pure vanity – like a hamster. 

At least hamsters are innocently adorable. But being dishonest with yourself is nowhere near cute. That is a hard pill that I am learning to swallow too on an everyday basis. When in doubt, I’ll look at them and think “I can do a lot better”.

Thursday, June 9, 2022

Since 2020, I started ditching physical books and went on to be a digital reader. I didn’t like the fact that I have to face a dilemma of whether to keep or throw a book after I had finished reading it, particularly a book that sits on the fence with my liking (side effect of Konmari). Not only does reading digitally saves me space and money, I also started appreciating the convenience of audiobooks that save me so much time - perfect for a multitasker like me.

However, reading off my laptop has not been the most convenient approach. It works and I love my Macbook with all my heart, just that (1) I can’t bring my Macbook everywhere with me without feeling the weight (2) the computer screen strains my eyes after reading several pages. 

A few Youtubers that I follow (like Jenn Im and Ali Abdaal) constantly rave about their Kindles, but it's such a challenge to find one in Malaysia, physically. I wanted to see and feel it with my own hands before deciding if it's my cup of tea (another side effect of Konmari: I wanted to make sure it will spark joy)

During the Lunar New Year at the start of February this year, my cousin showed up with a Kindle in her handbag. I finally got to try it out - and yes, I liked it right away. So when my mom asked me what I wanted for my birthday, which was on the 12th of February, I asked for a Kindle.

I chose the Kindle Basic (10th Generation, released in 2019) because I just don’t see a point in paying so much for a Kindle Paperwhite. I could basically get 2 Kindle Basics if I were to go with the Kindle Paperwhite, so nah

After comparing for a really long time, I eventually bought my Kindle from this seller. I bombarded them with a bunch of questions and they answered me patiently. Also, this seller offers 1 year of warranty at the most competitive price (MYR 359). They shipped out in 2 hours after the payment was completed. The delivery was shockingly fast too - less than 30 hours to arrive in Penang from KL.

* Due to the fact that Amazon doesn't ship to Malaysia, the majority of the sellers in Malaysia import their Kindles from Amazon Japan. The warranties are not provided by Amazon but by the sellers themselves. While browsing the Internet you can see sellers pricing the same model of Kindle at different prices depending on the length of warranty that you are comfortable with. 

Let's unbox with me! 

To my surprise, this Kindle Basic comes in a really small box. There’s a tab to be teared off to prove that it’s a brand new product.

In the box, there’s a plastic sleeve, that holds the Kindle, its cable, and a small instruction guide. 
I accidentally included my black kitty cable organizer in this photo xD

I bought my Kindle cover from this Shopee seller (link here) at approximately RM16 with free shipping from China. I recommend choosing something with a strap that makes holding your Kindle easier while reading.

This Kindle Basic weighs less than 200g and is 6 inches in size. Even my small handbags could fit it in. It has a lower screen resolution (800 x 600 pixels) in comparison with the other Kindles but it does not matter to me because I only read texts. If you are a fan of comic books, maybe you should consider something with a higher resolution and perhaps a bigger screen.

My favourite function is this:
If you’d like to look up a word, just press on it. A toolbox will pop up. 

There you have, a built-in dictionary. I can finally leave my phone aside while reading now. 

Swipe right for Wikipedia. 

Swipe right again to translate that specific word to another language of your choice.

Unfortunately, I have to sacrifice my love for colourful highlights.

Highlighting only comes in grey on my Kindle due to its e-ink display. 

Most would argue that spending money on a Kindle is kinda stupid when you could choose an almighty iPad. For me, the whole e-ink technology is the main reason behind my purchase. I spend a lot of time in front of computer screens. Therefore, when I get off work to chill, I prefer to find something that doesn't strain my eyes, which is the benefit of Kindle's e-ink display. 

That said, I don't recommend buying a Kindle right away if you are never a reader, to begin with. It's like buying a whole closet of Lululemon or Adidas thinking those gears will make you a fitness enthusiast overnight. If you are someone who reads on a regular basis and has no problem reading digitally, I really do recommend getting at least an entry-level Kindle like this. I enjoy it a lot myself. 

For Malaysians who are thinking to get a Kindle, the receipt of your Kindle purchase could be used to make an income tax claimant. Just talk to the seller and get a receipt issued under your name. Now your Kindle will be even more cost-effective than it originally is! 

Tuesday, March 22, 2022

I first added this book into my to-read list after Jenn Im recommended it on her Youtube channel. However, I just never got to it. Until Erin May Henry posted on her Instagram story captioning it as that one book she thinks everyone should read. So, without further a due, I knew I had to get to it immediately.

This book is written in seemingly simple English and broken down into short chapters. It has a lot of bullet points instead of long passages. Although it doesn’t consist of deep English vocabulary, it took me longer than usual to finish because it required some thinking and self-reflection in the reading process. Skip this book if you are not ready to face your internal bullshits and not willing to do some inner work - because it will just be a waste of effort and time to even sit through the book. 

I agree with Erin May Henry that this is hands-down one of the books that everyone should from time to time come back to. It is such a powerful pick-me-up and the author covered most aspects of our lives with brutally honest wake-up calls. I read it during the Lunar New Year holidays (including my birthday and Valentines' Day), and it got me 

Side track a little:
I decided to add a new section to my blog where I talk about books that I personally read. Recently, I heard a podcast that said, “creating an output of the things you learn will double the effect of the initial input”. Thus, here’s #FionReads where I will share my thoughts and some book excerpts/quotes that I picked out during the reading process. 

♠You needlessly create problems and crises in your life because you’re afraid of actually living it. The pattern of unnecessarily creating crises in your life is actually an avoidance technique. It distracts you from actually having to be vulnerable or held accountable for whatever it is you’re afraid of. You’re never upset for the reason you think you are.

♠ Fear means you’re trying to move toward something you love, but your old beliefs, or unhealed experiences, are getting in the way.

♠ Discomfort is what happens when we are on the precipice of change. Unfortunately, we often confuse it for unhappiness and cope with the latter while running from the former. It usually takes a bit of discomfort to break through to a new understanding, to release a limiting belief, to motivate ourselves to create real change.

♠ Nobody wants to believe happiness is a choice, because that puts responsibility in their hands. It’s the same reason people self-pity: to delay action, to make an outcry to the universe, as though the more they state how bad things are, the more likely it is that someone else will change them.

♠ Most common root of discomfort: the space between knowing and doing.

♠ Emotional intelligence is the ability to feel, express, and interpret your feelings productively; self-esteem is believing you’re worthy of loving and being loved despite not being supremely, completely “good” all of the time; happiness is a product of how you cope with your problems and whether or not you see them as the opportunities they are.

♠ The confidence people have in their beliefs is not a measure of the quality of evidence, but of the coherence of the story that the mind has managed to construct.

♠ “What do I want?” is a question you need to ask yourself every day.

♠ We make assumptions based on what our current circumstances “mean” about us, and then also begin to believe that things will always be the way they are—hence why tragedies feel so insurmountable, yet happiness feels so fleeting (in fearing that happiness won’t last forever, we lose it—in fearing that grief will last forever, we create it).

♠ Discomfort is in avoiding the pain, not the pain itself.

♠ Take an honest look at your life and evaluate how much you’ve constructed as a means to avoid pain, and decide whether or not those fears are even valid in the first place

♠ Choose to believe that everything is here to help us.

♠ You’re mentally lazy. You know you should be more present, but you won’t put in the effort to practice it.

♠ Losers wait to feel motivated.

♠ Everything in your life does one of three things: shows you to yourself, heals a part of yourself, or lets you enjoy a part of yourself.

♠ Ask yourself: “If the whole world were blind, how many people would I impress?”

♠ It may not be your fault, but it is still your problem.

♠ Trying to make sense of your life is what’s actually holding you back.

♠ Anxiety is usually bred out of inaction.

♠ What you most dislike in others is, in some variation, true of you: You just haven’t been able to acknowledge it yet. The more angrily and fiercely you respond “no” to that idea, the more intensely you are trying to avoid it. Anger = recognition. You don’t lash back at things you don’t, in some way, regard as being real. So figure out what you most need to heal within yourself by seeing what you most want to change in others. Doing so will free you in a way you can’t imagine. Doing so is a necessary piece of the life-you-want puzzle, because all the energy you’re using trying to avoid, deflect, delude your way into not acknowledging what you need to heal/change/deal is being wasted, at best, and is actually actively keeping you from the life you want, at worst.

♠ Whenever there is a problem in your life, there is a problem with how you are thinking, reacting, or responding.

♠ I decide. My circumstances don’t.

♠ All things are good, because all things serve us in the way of growth and development.

♠ Anything that exists in your life exists because you created it. Anything that persists does so because you are feeding it.

♠ You are not in the world; the world is in you.

♠ Being fearful of moving forward and more fearful of going back—is the only guaranteed way that it will ruin you.

Tuesday, March 15, 2022


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