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Health & Wellness

Health & Wellness
Health & Wellness



Braised Chinese Arrowhead (Ngaku) with Minced Pork & Mushroom (Recipe)

Chinese Arrowhead, also known as Ngaku, is a type of tuberous plant that becomes readily available as Chinese New Year approaches. Ngaku Chips are a popular delicacy during the Chinese New Year season. However, I personally prefer to eat ngaku when it's cooked into a dish alongside other ingredients.
Braised Chinese Arrowhead is a delicious, savory dish that features the unique flavor and texture of arrowhead. Ngaku looks like water chestnuts and taste like potatoes when fully cooked.
Due to its mild flavor, ngaku pairs exceptionally well with robustly flavored sauces such as oyster sauce and dark soy sauce.

Here's a simple recipe for Braised Ngaku with Minced Pork & Mushroom that I cooked recently.



7 fresh ngaku, peeled and cut into chunks
100g minced pork
4 dried Chinese mushroom, soaked, rinsed, cut into slices
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon ginger, minced
2 tablespoons dark soy sauce
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups water

How to:

1. Rinse the ngaku chunks well. Coat minced pork with some cornstarch and mix well.
2. In a sauté pan, heat vegetable oil over medium heat. Add minced garlic and ginger, and sauté until fragrant.
3. Add in minced pork and stir-fry for about 2 minutes, until the meat changes color. Add in Chinese mushroom slices and ngaku chunks. Give everything a good stir for a few minutes.
4. Meanwhile, mix together dark soy sauce, oyster sauce, sugar, and salt in a small bowl. Pour the sauce over the ingredients in the pan and stir well to coat.
5. Pour in water to cover, add more water if necessary. Let everything boil for about 3 minutes, then reduce the heat to low, cover, and let it simmer for about 30 minutes, or until the arrowhead slices are easily pierced through with a fork.
6. Taste the dish, make sure the ngaku chunks are tender and not bitter (under-cooked ngaku is really bitter to the taste). Adjust the seasoning if necessary. Add more soy sauce, salt, or sugar according to your taste preferences.
7. You can garnish the dish with chopped spring onion if you like. I don't like raw spring onion, so I don't add it.

8. Serve piping hot with rice! Yummy!


Is Pursuing a Master’s Degree in One’s 40s Worth It?


Do I Need to Clearly Define My Reasons for Getting a Master's Degree in My 40s?

After going through numerous articles on the internet regarding pursuing a master's degree in one's 40s, I arrived at the following conclusion. While having a clear and specific reason for pursuing a master's degree can be beneficial, it's not always necessary to have a highly specific goal.

Common Reasons or Motivations for Getting a Master's Degree in the 40s


Personal Growth and Exploration

The decision to pursue higher education in the 40s is often rooted in profound desire for personal growth and intellectual enrichment. If you feel that pursuing a master's degree would contribute to your personal development or open new avenues for exploration, that can be a valid reason in itself.
It's absolutely valid to express a desire for change or personal growth as a reason for pursuing further education. Some may pursue the sense of personal fulfillment and accomplishment that comes with earning a master's degree.

Embracing the Passion for Lifelong Learning

If you have the passion and curiosity to delve deeper in a particular subject, that can be a compelling reason. Academic pursuits driven by genuine interest often lead to more fulfilling experiences.
Individuals in their 40s may find themselves seeking a deeper understanding of their field or venturing into entirely new domains. "Going back to school" may become an avenue not just for career advancement but for the sheer joy of learning.

Navigating Career Advancement or Transitions

It's totally understandable to have a general sense that further education can enhance your career prospects. Many individuals pursue master's degrees to gain a deeper understanding of their field and improve their overall skill set.
Pursuing a master's in one's 40s, for many, is a strategic move in their career journey. This shift may be prompted by the evolving demands of their industry or a personal aspiration to explore new professional avenues. This decision can reinvigorate one's career trajectory and provide an opportunity to stay relevant in a rapidly changing job market, thereby enhancing job security and opening avenues for upward mobility.


The job market is dynamic, and having additional qualifications can make one more adaptable to changing career landscapes. Expressing a desire to remain versatile and equipped for evolving industries is a valid reason. Learning new technologies and tools can help future-proof your skill set.

Other Useful Resources

Is Getting a Master's Degree in Your 40s Right for You?

8 Advantages of Studying an Online Master's Degree

 Factors to Consider When Pursuing a Master's Degree in Your 40s

Balancing Priorities

The decision to go back to school later in life comes with its set of challenges, particularly in managing existing responsibilities. If you're in your 40s, you're likely to have an established career, a family, and financial commitments.
Balancing the demands of completing assignments and a thesis or research project with these existing responsibilities requires meticulous planning and strong time-management skills.

Work-Friendly, Online Programs

Look for universities that offer programs tailored for the needs of busy, working adults with a proven track record of helping them succeed. Depending on your preference, opting for a fully (100%) online program will enable you to have the flexibility of managing both full-time work and education.
To do so, you need to stay organized and manage your time effectively by setting aside dedicated time for your studies per week.

Financial Considerations

Financial commitments are a crucial aspect to consider. If you lack the means to fund the fees independently, explore potential solutions, keeping in mind the availability of options at the university (public - IPTA or private - IPTS) you are enrolling in.

The Employees Provident Fund (EPF) or Kumpulan Wang Simpanan Pekerja (KWSP) allows its members to withdraw funds from Account 2 to help finance education at approved institutions locally or abroad.
If you're doing your master's degree in one of the public universities (IPTA) in Malaysia, you can find out more about PTPTN Education Loan Scheme.

If you're considering taking an education loan from a bank for your master's degree, for e.g. Maybank's Education Financing/-i, you need to apply before you turn 45 years old. Same goes to AFFIN Education Financing-i. But Bank Rakyat's Education Financing-i is more forgiving. The maximum age is 70 years old at the end of the financing tenure. Please do contact the banks for more details.

Or else, if the university offers scholarship options, I believe you could go for it too if you fulfill the eligibility requirements.

Final Reflections

From what I have gathered so far, deciding to pursue a master's degree in one's 40s is a deeply personal choice. It involves introspection into one's goals, a realistic assessment of the challenges, and a commitment to the journey of continued learning.
Just ensure that you've thought through your decision and have a sense of how the master's program aligns with your broader aspirations and values.


My Weekly Roundup | Highlights

Here's a compilation of internet posts that I found informative and/or interesting throughout the past week.

5 Financial Resolutions for 2024

One thing to focus on in 2024: Upskilling

Dreaming About Going Back to School!

𝗠𝗥.𝗗𝗜𝗬 𝗖𝗡𝗬 𝟮𝟬𝟮𝟰 - 我爱你 𝗪𝗼 𝗔𝗜 𝗡𝗶

Seishin vs Maeda (Gyeongseong Creature)


Cervical Health Awareness Month (January)


What Is Cervical Health Awareness Month?

Cervical Health Awareness Month, observed in January, is a pivotal time to raise awareness about cervical health. It encourages women to prioritize scheduling regular check-ups, going for routine screenings, discussing vaccination options, and committing to a healthy lifestyle. These proactive steps aim to minimize the risk factors associated with cervical issues, promoting a culture of preventive healthcare.

What Is Cervical Cancer?

According to HPV Information Center, cervical cancer is the 4th most frequent cancers among Malaysian women and the 2nd most frequent cancer among women between 15 and 44 years of age.

Cervical cancer happens when the cells lining the cervix (the opening between the uterus and the vagina), behaves abnormally. The leading cause of cervical cancer is Human Papillomavirus (HPV), which can affect anyone who are sexually active. Most cervical cancer cases result from persistent HPV infections.

Despite its slow progression (cervical cancer often takes years, even decades, to develop after an individual gets HPV) and initial lack of symptoms, cervical cancer is both preventable and frequently curable when detected early through routine screening and vaccination.

What Are the Screening Options for Cervical Cancer?

Pap Smear (Pap Test)

Pap Smear or Pap Test is a screening for cervical abnormalities that involves examining the cervix and sending samples to a lab to detect precancerous cells. This test is considered the primary screening tool for cervical cancer.

HPV Test

HPV Test checks for the Human Papillomavirus, which raises cervical cancer risk. It can be done concurrently with a Pap test.

Who Should Go for Cervical Cancer Screening?

How often and which tests you should undergo for cervical cancer screening depends on your age and medical history.

Women Below 30

Women below 30 should undergo Pap smear test every three years.

Women Over 30

Women over 30 have three testing options:
1. Undergo a Pap test and an HPV test (co-testing) every five years.
2. Undergo a Pap test every three years.
3. Undergo an HPV test every five years.

Who Should Get the HPV Vaccine?

In Malaysia, female students will receive their first shot of the HPV vaccine in school when they are in Form One (13 years old). A three-dose schedule is followed, with the second dose administered one month after the first, and the final dose given six months after the second dose. The aim is for the teenage girls to be fully protected years before they become sexually active and are exposed to HPV.

For further information about HPV vaccination for sexually active adults, please do check with your gynecologist for the latest information. Generally speaking, based on CDC's recommendations, adults older than 26 years old generally do not require HPV vaccination unless otherwise advised by a medical professional.

What Else Can You Do to Prevent Cervical Cancer?

Beyond screenings and vaccinations, certain lifestyle choices contribute to cervical health. Maintaining a balanced, healthy diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and antioxidants can support your immune system. A healthy immune system usually does its job to eliminate HPV from the body.
 Quit smoking if you do or better still, don't smoke at all.
Practicing safe sex is a straightforward preventive measure against cervical cancer. Limit the number of sexual partners and use protection such as condoms during sexual activities.



As an ongoing commitment to our well-being, all of us should follow the recommended guidelines for screenings, stay informed about HPV, and adopt a healthy lifestyle.


Let's make cervical wellness a priority on our health journey, working towards a future where cervical health is universally safeguarded and cervical cancer is a thing of the past.



  1. HPV Information Center
  2. CDC
  3. 7 health screening tests every woman should do
  4. Cervical Cancer: Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment
  5. Everything You Need to Know About HPV Vaccination in Malaysia


Embracing New Beginnings in 2024

As we step into the first chapter of 2024, I'm filled with excitement and anticipation for the adventures that lie ahead. Whether it's 2023A or 2024, I believe this year is a blank canvas waiting to be painted with moments of joy, inspiration, rejuvenation, growth, and discovery!

To New Beginnings: Growth & Learning

Let's kick off the year with a spirit of renewal and endless possibilities. Just like this quote by Rainer Maria Rilke: "And now we welcome the new year. Full of things that have never been."
So, what are your aspirations for 2024? If you haven't yet, you can get some inspiration from this poll - What Do You Want to Achieve in 2024?
My biggest aspiration is to upscale my skills and believe in myself. It's high time to believe in achieving what I've planned to do in 2024. I'm excited to embark on a journey of continuous learning and personal growth.
I've blogged a little bit about what I want to do in 2024 on this blog post. When the time is right, I shall blog more about it.

Reacting vs Responding: A New Year's Perspective

There is one thing that I want to challenge myself to do. In 2024, I want to respond more and react less when situations arise.
Reacting is instinctual, often influenced by emotions and immediate circumstances. It's like a reflex, quick and automatic, a knee-jerk response to situations.
Responding is thoughtful, measured, and considers the bigger picture. It's a conscious choice, more deliberate and involves a pause, a consideration of options, and a thoughtful choice.

The diagram above sums up the differences really well.

Here's to a year of mindful responses and more #RespondNotReact !

Cheers to 2024

Here's to new friendships, new challenges, and new victories! May this year be a tapestry of beautiful moments woven together. Have a fantastic year filled with positivity, growth, and unforgettable moments of joy and success!