Loss Aversion and the Yong Tau Foo Team

As the year draws to a close, what are some of your thoughts?

Are you, like me, surprised that 2015 just passed by so quickly? Wasn’t it just yesterday we began the year with New Year resolutions? With a new resolve to do things?

What are some things you have done well this year? What can be better managed?

For me, it was a deliberate decision to update my accounts periodically and not wait until the day of tax is here!

Ever since we started OURF, doing accounts has been something I did not quite enjoy. Updating the various items in the income and expenses is a dreaded chore.

And when the day for submission for tax draws near, I just went into panic mode. The dreaded spreadsheet challenged me since 2008.

So in 2015, I thought it is high time I managed my compliance to a daily routine better. For a Fishball, being open and being kept “structures” free as much as possible are so important to me that the risk of “losing” this freedom sometimes causes a brain freeze for me.

So I decided to setup a simple structure to help me do my accounts regularly.

Instead finding it a dread, I told myself that I would be rewarded when tax day draws near. I will not need to go into panic mode. I can be confident.

If I were to be diligent enough to update the important details, I can even find out if I was overbuying something! (a very common fishball trait!)

I like to experiment and just yesterday as I was packing my cupboard, I found that I have so many different sizes of photo papers, empty cards, different sizes of plastic bags and other things that I have forgotten! The evidence was clearly staring at me in the face. I have simply forgotten that I have acquired them, so new ones are bought! Sometimes I bought something because they are too pretty. Sometimes, it is because they are cheap. And most times, it could just plain “I might need it someday!” and what a hassle to have to go down and buy again! Think of the petrol and time I can save:)

“In economics and decision theory, loss aversion refers to people’s tendency to strongly prefer avoiding losses to acquiring gains. Most studies suggest that losses are twice as powerful, psychologically, as gains” – wikipedia.

Loss Aversion is a Cognitive Bias that all humans have and for a Fishball, setting structures remain one of the most challenging tasks to me. The perceived “loss” of being “free from structures” seems to outweigh the gains from having some structures in my biasness!

All Fishballs fight with this tendency to be less impulsive and complete what they have started out with…so as the year draws to a close, I am happy to say that at times I lost the “battle” with putting some structures in my life, but well, my accounts statement is almost ready for the tax year and it is not as nightmarish and scary as I thought it will be. In fact, I do like knowing how much I spend on art stuff, how much I spend on buying paints and yes, what income do I get from teaching and team building or art!

Who knows as I gain more confidence, I may even get rid of my “loss aversion” to structures by doing a pie chart of my expenditure and income!

So what are your challenges as you strive to develop and train yourself to be a complete Yong Tau Foo team?

Have a merry Christmas and a blessed New Year!

Paintings were done at Palais Renaissance, Orchard Road, Singapore. The little red dot:)


Ink. Journey into Self@NP Staff Centre

20140523_120823 20140523_120914 20140523_120732 20140523_120342 20140523_121904 20140523_134158 20140523_123651 20140523_120143 20140523_120201 20140523_120215 20140523_121444 20140523_115928 20140523_103939 20140523_103731 20140523_102721 20140523_103350 20140523_115712 20140523_102438 20140523_100630 20140523_100609 20140523_092818 20140523_093034 20140523_100556“an interesting course that helps us to bring out understanding of personalities and ourselves”

“thank you pin lay for this fun filled session. Your candid and honest sharing helped us to understand how our personalities can conflict.”

“thank u! i have to say ti was a lot more fun than i had expected it to be!”

“entertaining, enjoyable, knowledgeable”

“very interesting short course which i have enjoyed. Definitely a good take away. having to learn calligraphy once again!”

“it would be nice if we can discuss among ourselves and give time to group ourselves into our departmental units in order to see clearly our personality. Thanks. V fun!”


Being a Happy Singaporean

The workshop was on 21st Century Competencies, held at the Career 2012 Suntec City and my topic for the PMETs was “Being a Happy Singaporean”. Enjoy the pix:)


What does it mean to be a happy Singaporean? We will take a broad sweep about what currently Singaporeans feel make them happy, and then onto making choices that taps into our innate strengths and motivators, the stuff we are made of. We will touch on what is the Yong Tau Foo Team© – being Chilli, Fishball, Bittergourd and BeeHoon and how the Yong Tau Foo Team© Scorecard can help you make better choices to make yourself happy in work and studies. It will also touch on VIP values in our career choices and finally useful tips on how to be a Happy Singaporean most of the time!

Making a great presentation for World Vision staff

A workshop was conducted for marketing department staff of World Vision on “Making a Great presentation” on 3 Feb 2012.

Enjoy the pix

Making a great presentation
Making a great presentation
What's she doing to my nose?
What's she doing to my nose?

Some feedback:

“Thanks for your generosity to share your skills. Well done in presenting the topic in a very engaging manner. We should have more practices in the next workshop.” – E

“Hi Pin Lay, yours is truly a powerful presentation with many touchpoints to engage us the audience. The main takeaway is definitely the concept of the Yong Tau Foo team© – this is my first time learning about it and it differentiates your presentation from other presentations of the same subject. Thank you.” – D

“Dear Pin Lay, thank you so much for an awesome session. Really appreciate your time and effort in not just advocating for us but also training us! The session is definitely very engaging and useful and provides many practical points that we can use to share the word about World Vision. God bless you” – S

“Informative and entertaining. Can you also show us the software part of presentation?”

“Very fun and engaging session. Interactive, lots of laughs. Also thought provoking – helping me realise that I have to think about the different personality types in the audience and how to connect with each of them. Thanks for this most useful and entertaining training.” – M

“Authentic. Unique workshop that brings about the essential part of presentation for concise and impactful two hours. You do what you preach. Thank you for adding to our lives.” – N

“Engaging and fun. Clearly points out the key areas of presentation skills.”

“Fun.Personable.Learnt about useful presentation skills. Light-hearted. Perhaps could speaker slower. Thank you for offering your time and skills to us. God bless!”

“Thanks Pin Lay for taking time to do this presentation skills for us. Learnt a few pointers and hope to remember to practise them during pre-trip briefings. God bless” – SH

“Hi Pin Lay! Thanks for taking time to share your knowledge about public speaking. It was an enjoyable time.”

A brush with chinese ink@Kampung Temasek

It was the first time I combined chinese ink with a debriefing session using the “Knowing Me Knowing You” booklet and also Yong Tau Foo team scorecard. After a 2D1N stay at the rustic and scenic Kampung Temasek at Ulu Tiriam, JB where we did various activities like square foot gardening, outdoor cooking, building a raft and also pitching a busha, tying knots, it was my turn to wrap up the 2D1N session with the YTF tools with all the members.

The night before was the first time in many years I slept on a cold hard floor in the hut and windy as it is, the cacophony of bats, toads and other night creatures proved to be a different sort of experience for me. I realised that I am not such an outdoor person and as gunghu as some of my team members when a bat happily came into our hut.

Being a city folk, I went back to the safety of the attached bathroom and only came out after the bats left – when we accidentally discovered that switching off the lights made the bats exit! My two other hut mates were more adventurous and probably more at ease with these living creatures than me!

The de-brief was conducted in the cool shade of the big central shed and though all the members had never held a chinese ink brush before, they gamely joined in and tried to draw “Fu” or  “福” and also a picture of bamboo or “竹” despite just a brief lesson by me. As bamboo were used for building the shed and the make shift raft, I thought it make great sense to include how to draw them during the de-brief.

The de-brief was also a chance for the participants to give their input about what they think the rest of the members were – Chilli, Fishball, BeeHoon or Bittergourd, which traits stand out well during the 2D1N where they interacted!

Here are some pix of them during the activity:

Team building for Ai Tong Choir@HK

A session was held for the 37 students who were on a choir tour in Hong Kong from 6-10 Nov. They were on a school choir tour together with 4 of their teachers and 1 choir director. The itinerary included choir exchanges with renown choir like Hong Kong children’s choir as well as performing at the promenade@Avenue of the Stars. The team building session I conducted was to help the students to gel better and get to know one another’s strengths and motivators. It was held at the Harbour Plaza Resort City’s function room, a resort hotel that is in the New Territories, Hong Kong. Despite a full schedule in the day, they were enthusiastic and very engaged with the activities. Kudos to the Ai Tong students(P3-P6) who came across as well disciplined and keen to learn.

Click for more pix

Group sharing - the Chilli's
Group sharing - the Chilli's
What's your score? Scoring using Yong Tau Foo Team© scorecard
What's your score? Scoring using Yong Tau Foo Team© scorecard
Group pix - the Bittergourds
The puzzle

Team Building with Animation

A session was conducted for about 20 teachers at Victoria Sec to see how team building skills (as in Yong Tau Foo team@) can be applied in working together for an animation project – “To create a bookworm” by Animagine, a local animation company which also did the highly successful NE Mation series for schools.

Participants were given hands-on session on how team strategies can help them deliver better outcomes and what to avoid when working in teams. The final animation product, a bookworm that slurps up his book!…mmm delicious
Here’re the pix, enjoy:)