Category Archives: Good Health

Wearing Perfume to Work

I wonder whether there is any company or organization in Indonesia that prohibits the wearing of perfume at workplace?  I think wearing of perfume, cologne and scented lotion is an acceptable practice,  as I have seen many people wearing perfume in offices, banks, government offices and shopping malls in Jakarta. The sale of perfumes is a booming business in Indonesia and there are countless perfume counters and shops in almost all shopping malls in Jakarta. As people spend more money on grooming and personal appearance, I believe this would lead to more people wearing perfumes in Indonesia.

A friend of mine has a mild allergy to certain perfumes. He would sneeze or develop symptoms of  blocked nose if comes into contact with it. Fortunately for me, I do not have such problem. But sometimes my nose do feel irritated by the smell of certain perfumes – especially those which have strong musky smell or smelling too sweet. I think the problem is that some ladies and men tend to put lots of perfume on their body; so the smell of the perfume tend to be extra strong. You can in fact smell them even if they are a few cubicles away in the office. Now imagine having to put up with the smell 8 hours a day, five days a week with a co-worker who wears a perfume that irritates your nose. If the fragrance from the perfume affects the sensitivity of the co-workers, the employer should step in and educate the worker concerned. I think if a person wears a perfume lightly, there should not be a problem as the smell would not be overwhelming throughout the office.

Wearing Perfume to Work

I think it is difficult to implement a fragrance free policy in the office or workplace in Indonesia. Besides, it may not be practical to enforce such a policy especially in a workplace where you have visitors or the public have accessed to it – for example hotels and shopping malls. In such instance, the employer can reduce the smell by installing an air purifier machine and through better air ventilation system. Personally, I am not against the policy of people wearing of perfumes to workplace; neither am I for it. I think whether you choose to wear perfume or be fragrance free is a personal choice. However, it would be nice if people who wear perfumes understand that all they need to do is to put a little ( a few drops ) perfume to smell good.

Beautiful Perfume Bottle

Korean Red Ginseng Tea

All of us have our own favorite beverages that give us the boost in our daily life. Many people swear by the morning cup of coffee or tea; while there are others who loves their beer, energy drink, wine, milk, etc. For myself, I love to drink ginseng tea, in particular it is the Korean Red Ginseng Tea. I do drink Chinese tea daily namely Jasmine and Iron Buddha, which I consume about 3 times a day. I normally drink the Korean Red Ginseng tea in the night, about one hour before going to bed. I feel that it has the ability to make me feel relaxed and calm and also the taste is great.

Many people knows the benefits of consuming ginseng. Go to any health or pharmacy stores and you will be able to find many ginseng products. Personally, I feel that ginseng has the ability to keep my body fit, more relaxed and also increase the mental and physical energy each day. I have recommended ginseng to my friend who always feel tired and stressed out. He told me that his health has improved tremendously after drinking Korean Red Ginseng tea every day. There is no bad side effects from drinking ginseng tea every day which I have done for so many years. However I keep the consumption of ginseng tea to a maximum of 2 sachet a day and each sachet has a content of 3gm.


Korean Red Ginseng Tea
Korean Red Ginseng Tea


There are many types of ginseng tea being sold in the stores and what is the best ginseng tea to choose. My recommendation would be to buy Korean Red Ginseng tea. There are Korean Red Ginseng tea that are very expensive which cost more about US$100/- per box of 100 sachets. These are normally premium brands from Korea and if you can afford it – by all means buy them. And at the other far end, there are ginseng tea from Korea that are very cheap, you can get them for less US$20/- for a box of 100 sachets However, these are poor quality ginseng tea and definitely not the Red Ginseng tea. So if you are buying ginseng tea, make sure that it is Korean Red Ginseng tea. This is because Red Ginseng is organically grown in Korea and it has more ginsenosides than ordinary ginseng. The best test is to take an ordinary ginseng tea and Korean Red Ginseng tea and drink it separately for one week. I did this test myself and the result is this – I threw away the ordinary ginseng tea in the garbage can after one week – it does nothing positive for me and a complete waste of my money.


Korean Red Ginseng Tea
Korean Red Ginseng Tea


So for anyone who which to see an improvement in their health, buy a box of Korean Red Ginseng tea and try drinking it for a month. You can buy them in smaller box of 50 sachets per box. I am sure that you will be able to see and feel the benefits of drinking red ginseng tea after 2 weeks. Do keep them in a cool place and if possible you can put them in the fridge.

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Ginger or Jahe in Indonesia

Ginger is a tuber that is essential in Indonesia for cooking, as a spice and also for its medicinal value. In Indonesia, Ginger is known as Jahe and you can buy it in any supermarket or vegetable sellers in the street. A lot of ginger that are sold in Indonesia are grown locally. There are basically 3 types of ginger in Indonesia. There is the big ginger, the small ginger and lastly the red ginger Red ginger is the hottest and it is used if you want the food have the hot and spicy taste I used the big ginger often when I cook and it gives punch and flavor to the dish. If I am boiling chicken soup, besides adding mushrooms and vegetables, I will cut small slices of ginger and add it in as well. Chicken soup that are boiled with ginger can provide a good relief for common cold and flu; and it is also very easy and soothing on your stomach when taken.


Ginger Beverage sold in Indonesia
Ginger Beverage sold in Indonesia


When I buy ginger, I will put them in the fridge when I reached home. This help to keep the ginger fresh and enhance the shelf life. I have observed that the fresh big ginger which I bought can stay fresh for about a month when I put it in the fridge. If I want to prepare spices or used it for herbal medicine, then I would buy the small or red ginger. Most of the ginger that are exporter by Indonesia are the big ginger which is commonly used for cooking and beverages. To choose a fresh ginger, I will pick those that are firm in texture and without blemishes. Those ginger that have many blemishes, cracked and limp in texture are probably old and no longer fresh.

I do buy ginger tea in the form of sachet from the supermarket and there are plenty of brands you can choose in Indonesia. I prefer my ginger tea to be hot and with less sugar. However when I have the time, I also liked to make my own ginger beverage. It is very simple to do. Buy fresh large ginger and slice it thinly. The more ginger you used, the stronger is the taste; so normally I will buy one or two large ginger for making this beverage. Put the slice ginger in a pot, add water and boil it. I normally boil it for about 15 to 20 minutes and then it is ready to serve. You can add sugar, honey or a slice of lemon if you wish depending on your taste. For my case, I just add a sachet of sugar to my cup of ginger tea.


Big Ginger commonly sold in Indonesia
Big Ginger commonly sold in Indonesia


There are so many ginger products that you can buy in Indonesia, such as ginger candy, ginger bread, ginger tea, ginger oil and herbal products, ginger ale, etc. Ginger enhances your health if you consume it with moderation. I am not aware of any side effects of consuming ginger on the long term basis. Millions of Indonesians especially the elderly have consumed ginger all their life and remains healthy. In fact it is rather odd for a Indonesia dish to be cook without the use of ginger.

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Caterpillar Rash and Treatment

I was at the park in the late afternoon doing brisk walking exercise. I have been putting on a few kilos due to the good food that I have eating for the past few weeks. So I decided on a exercise regime to keep fit and shed my weight; and brisk walking is an exercise that I enjoy doing. After about 45 minutes of brisk walking, I saw a bench ahead of me and decided to take a break and drink some water. I always carry a bottle of water along with me about 500ml in size. The bench was shaded by a tall tree and I felt cool and relaxed. About 10 minutes later, I felt something on my skin and instinctively looked down on my left chest and saw a small caterpillar crawling on my upper chest. I brushed it off with my hand and did not give much thought to it.

The next day, I felt that my upper left chest was itching and there were patches of red spots on it. So I apply antiseptic cream on the affected skin and as it was still itching even after one hour, I apply calamine lotion as well. I carry on with my daily routine despite the discomfort. During the night after a shower, again I apply the antiseptic cream and calamine lotion before going to bed. The next morning I felt that the itch was getting more intense; and more red rashes appeared not only on my upper chest but also near the side of my chest. Apparently the antiseptic cream does not work and I took the time off to see a doctor. My fear was that the rashes could soon spread and the itch was getting more unbearable.

The doctor who saw me told me that it was eczema and started to ask me whether I took any medication or any food that could have caused it. I told him ‘no’. Then he continued with his question and asked me whether is there insect that could have drop on my chest for example – a caterpillar. Straight away I told him about the caterpillar experience in the Park. He diagnose it as a Caterpillar Rash and told me that the rashes on my chest was a allergic reaction to the caterpillar. However he reassured that this rash was not contagious and prescribe the necessary medicine to me.


Medicine for Caterpillar Rash
Medicine for Caterpillar Rash


I was given the following medicine. The first medicine is a cream called Elomet cream which I have to apply twice daily. There is no need to apply a lot of it, in fact I was told to apply sparingly on the affected skin. The second is in the form of a oral tablet which is Prednisolone 5mg per tablet each, 1 tablet to be taken 2 times daily. The third medicine was a oral tablet called Zyrtec which contains Cetirizine Hydrochloride 10mg per tablet, which I have to take 1 tablet 2 times a day. So I went back home and took my medication as prescribed. My reaction to the oral medication was that it make me feel very sleepy but the rashes is not so itchy anymore. The Elomet cream seems to stick on my skin even after a couple of hours. I thought it was supposed to be absorbed and then become dry. Anyway the rashes still appeared to be unchanged after the first day of medication though it was not longer itchy. It was only after the 3 day of continuous medication that the rashes finally disappeared. But to be fair, I took the 2 oral tablets for only 2 days and I discontinue it. The reason was because the itch was gone and I felt so sleepy that I could not focus on my work.

Now I still continued to go to the Park for exercise whenever I am free. But I am more observant whenever I sit on a bench or on the grass. My friend asked me whether I would kill a caterpillar if I see one near me. I told him definitely – No. Caterpillars and other insects have every right to be in this park. That is what nature is all about. However I would avoid caterpillar at all cost because of the itchy red rashes that they are capable of giving to anyone who cross their path. I still keep the medication in the fridge as it has a two year shelf life. And if there is another incident of caterpillar rash again ( hopefully not ) , I am now more knowledgeable on how to treat it.

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Cure for Dry Cough

Recently I had a bad flu which is a common ailment nowadays. However with the recent outbreak of H1N1, there seems to be a perception among people that the common flu has become something sinister and dangerous. Many health authorities around the world advised people to take a flu jab in order to prevent yourself from getting this deadly virus. How does a common flu being perceived to be so deadly nowadays? I am not afraid of getting flu or common cold, normally it will be gone in within one week without having to see a doctor. But the main problem that lingers on after the flu is over is the dry cough.
For my case, most of the time the cough that accompany the flu will contain phlegm which is greenish yellow in color. When I see a Chinese physician, he will tell me that I have too much heat in my body. And then he recommends certain herbs to boil and drink in order to cool down the body. But there are occasions that after the flu is gone, I may still continue to cough. However this time, there is no phlegm but it is a persistent dry cough. I try taking cough mixture and herbal candy but it does not work. After a couple of days, the dry cough gets worse and it becomes more frequent during the day and night. Dry persistent cough is a nuisance and it affects your ability to function and work. Worse, people around you tend to see you as someone who is sick and irresponsible – coughing and spreading the virus around.

I have found a way to cure dry cough using the natural way. It was recommended to me by a lady friend who is a firm believer in Chinese traditional medicine, natural fruits and herbs. She had recommended me to take Almond drink or beverage. So I took her advice and went to a few supermarkets to find natural almond powder. My suggestion is that the almond powder that you buy from the store should contain just pure almond and nothing else. Technically it means 100% almond powder. There are some almond beverages that contains sugar, milk, cereal and so on, which is not effective.


Pure Almond Powder


Take the almond powder and using a teaspoon, put about 3 to 4 teaspoons of almond powder into a cup. Add a sachet of sugar if you wish and then pour boiling hot water into the cup. Stir it well till you see that the almond powder has completely dissolved in the plain water. Then drink it while it is warm. Don’t wait for it to be cool or put it in the fridge. Drink it twice a day – once in the morning and another in the night. After 3 days, I notice that the dry cough has significantly being reduced.

Food to avoid during this period are fried, oily and spicy food. Do not drink icy cold drinks or beer. I did continue to drink my warm Chinese tea – which is the Iron Buddha tea. If you have red ginseng tea, that helps as well. After the 4th day, the dry persistent cough that I had was completely gone. I was so happy. This means that I could now do my jogging and cycling or any other activities without coughing. I recommend anyone who has dry persistent cough to drink pure almond beverage. It has done wonders for me and I have recommended this simple natural remedy to my friends as well.

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Stress & Pressures Living in Jakarta

A friend called me up for a casual chat on a Saturday evening. She was telling me about her work, family and the daily routine living. There seems to be so many things to do in the office as well as at home, with so little time to do it. Also, the family bills are piling up, cost of food and living is going up, teachers are asking for money from her children to buy books and uniform and many more problems. She find life stressful and feel that living in Jakarta is pressurizing, just like an oven. She missed the casual free and easy living in her hometown in West Java, where her mom is still staying.


I agree that living in Jakarta or other major cities in Indonesia is not easy, as the cost of living is much higher than in villages. But thousands of people flocked to the cities of Indonesia each year – to find a better life, to put their kids in good schools, to get better medical care and the list goes on. But there is definitely a price to pay if you want to stay in Jakarta. Better living, good school, quality medical care and life means a higher cost of living. It simply means that you must pay more for all these things. The cost of a condominium or a landed property is not cheap in Jakarta. In fact, I find that the prices of condominium homes are ridiculously high. Education is also expensive in Jakarta. I just don’t understand why the government and Jakarta administration are not able to make education more affordable, so that every kid in Jakarta can have an opportunity to go to school. Kids from the poor families simply cannot afford to pay the school fees, books and uniform. I am sure the government and Jakarta administration can work out a subsidy program to help these poor families; so that their young kids can get an opportunity to study.


Coming back to my friend, I told her that her problems are similar to many thousands of her fellow citizens living in Jakarta. She has to learn to take things slowly and resolve important problems first. In many instances, we cannot solve all problems, some can be resolved quickly, some problems need more time and others we just simply try our best to manage it. Though life is not a bed of roses, we still can find joy in living under stressful environment. I told her to be realistic in her expectations in work and towards to her husband and kids, learn to relax through meditation or exercise, cut down on unproductive activities – one of it was to stop going to the mall frequently; and look at life more positively. In many instances, problems are in fact opportunities –

“We are all faced with a series of great opportunities brilliantly disguised as impossible situations. – Charles R. Swindoll

We are not able to control the situations and things that comes to us every single day. That is beyond our control. But we can control how we respond to situations and problems. So long as we have put in our best effort and interest in the things that we do, we have respond it positively and that to me is good enough. Finally, I told my friend to slow down and smell the roses, admire pretty flowers and what nature can offer us – it does help to relieve stress and anxiety.

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Mushroom Soup | Bakso Jamur

In many Chinese families that I know, soup is an important part of their daily meal. Some of my friends told me that having a meal without soup is definitely an incomplete meal. Traditionally, Chinese families whether they are in Indonesia, Singapore or Malaysia will have a bowl of clear soup as part of their meal. Surprisingly, many of my Indonesian Muslim friends also love clear vegetable soup.


I love mushroom soup. The western menu of a mushroom soup normally refers to cream mushroom soup. Though I do enjoy cream mushroom soup, it is not my favorite soup. Personally, I prefer the Chinese style clear mushroom soup ( without any cream) where fish or chicken along with other vegetables are added to make this soup. Normally oyster or abalone mushroom are used to make this soup. It is a simple and yet delicious soup that you can cook for your family. All you need to do is to have a pot of water, add some chicken meal, carrots or other vegetables like lettuce or cabbage and oyster mushroom and let it boil. I normally do not add oil because the chicken meat itself has natural source of oil. Just add some light soya sauce and pepper and boil the soup for half an hour; and it is ready to serve.


As we all know, the benefits of eating mushroom is enormous. For thousand of years, Asian having been consuming mushrooms both as a food and as well for medicinal purposes. If you go to the pharmacy or health store today, you will see health pills that are made from mushrooms. But why consume expensive mushroom pills when you can actually eat it fresh on a daily basis. Mushrooms contains lots of minerals, antioxidant and vitamins. In Indonesia, mushroom is commonly called Jamur. If you want to order mushroom soup in Indonesia, it is called Bakso Jamur. Normally it is serve with vegetable and/or with fish. It is a clear soup ( without the curry and heavy spices) which is light on your stomach and easy to eat.


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Hot Weather in Jakarta – How To Keep Cool

There are basically 2 types of weather in Jakarta. First, is the hot and humid weather and second is the raining season. If you asked me which is my preference, then my answer is the hot and humid weather. I dislike raining season in Jakarta as flooding is common in this city. Floods can cause plently of inconveniences to you if you need to go out to work or urgently get things done. Raining season in Jakarta normally begins in October to February each year. Floods situation in Jakarta seems to get worse. It is due to the lack of infrastructure in drainage and waterways, deforestation, and the tonnes of rubbish that clogs up the rivers and drains.


If you can’t stand hot and humid weather, then do not come to Jakarta. Jakarta has one of the most humid and hot weather in the world. Added to this woes are dead slow traffic on the roads and lots of dust and garbage on the streets. In order to cope with such harsh weather condition, it is important to know how to keep cool. For me, keeping a bottle of mineral water in my bag is essential. There are times when I would also bring along a small bottle of isotonic drink such as Pocari in my bag. Isotonic drink replenishes not only body fluids, it also gives you back the necessary glucose and minerals that you have lost through sweating under the hot weather. There is also a cap (headgear) which I use for blocking the sun from my eyes. The most suitable clothes to wear here would be loose and light clothing. Personally, clothes that are made of cotton fabric are the best, as it absorbed sweat, cool and light. If you are staying in a hotel, make sure that you have a room with good air-conditioned. I always check to make sure that the air-conditoning is in good condition; otherwise I would have to endure a warm, warm night.


The local government of Jakarta should take the initiative to plant more trees. More trees should be planted along the walkaways, pavements and road dividers. More open space should be allocated for public parks. Larger bus stand with shades should be built not only for commuters, but also for people who just want a rest after walking along the pavements. If you are wondering why are there so many people in the malls during the weekends, it is mainly because it is cool there. Of course there is the shopping and entertainment; but for many people, it is to escape from the heat outside. If you are able to adapt yourself to the heat and take steps to keep cool, Jakarta is a wonderful city to visit.

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Staying Slim and Fit – My Formula

I have been asked this question so many times – ” How do you managed to be slim and fit for so many years. ” I do not go on any diet, nor pop any slimming pill. I have no time to go the the gym and I eat anything that I fancy. Yes, I have ssen so many of my friends becoming obese and unfit. Most of them tell me that they do not have time to exercise and they enjoy eating. I gues obesity is now a major problem for both the young and old, especially in developed countries.

Let me share some of my ‘secrets’ of keeping slim and fit. First of all, I eat more vegetables than meat whether it is chicken, beef or fish. Most of the time when I eat vegetables – it is either boiled or stir fry quickly. My favorite vegetable is broccoli, cabbage, carrots, lady-finger, cucumber and tomatoes. I do not eat meat ( be it red or white ) on a daily basis.


I eat mushrooms almost everyday. It does not matter what type of mushroom, so long it is fresh and of course it must be edible. Most of the time, I will boil, steam the mushroom or fry it with other vegetables. Mushroom soup is one of my favorite. My preference on the type of mushroom are shiitake and abalone mushroom. There are tremendous health benefits that you can get from consuming mushrooms. It has lots of minerals and antioxidants. In fact, many people around the world have regarded mushrooms as a beneficial health food.


As for fruits, I take bananas and oranges almost on a daily basis. There are times when I simply eat 2 bananas for breakfast and nothing else. There are also times when I just eat bananas for my dinner and nothing else. It is the easiest fruit to eat. You simply peel and chew, that’s it. Personally, I eat bananas when I do not have the time to eat anything else. Bananas gives us the energy that we need, it relieves constipation, it is high in fibre and almost fat free. It contains lots of minerals and vitamins too. As for oranges, I do not drink orange juice, but eat orange. My favorite brand is Sunkist orange, because it is sweet and juicy.

As for beverages, I drink Chinese tea every single day. It is a routine that has stay with me for so many years. I normally drink 4 mugs ( or 4 teabags) of chinese tea daily. The chinese tea I drink are – Jasmine and Iron Buddha tea. One is light ( Jasmine ) and the other is dark and heavy ( Iron Buddha). There are again many health benefits that you can derived from drinking chinese tea. Simply Google it and you will find the answers. By the way, I do not add any sugar on the Chinese tea that I am drinking. Some of my friends in Indonesia add sugar to the Jasmine tea, they say it taste better. I prefer to drink it as it is – the original taste.

” To Get What You’ve never had,

You must Do What You have never done.”

Finally on the topic of Exercise. There are many types of exercises that you can do. In this blog, you can watch a video of an Aerobic Exercise that was conducted in the business district – Raffles Place, Singapore. I do jog occasionally but I do make a point to walk at least 5 km daily. I find walking a very relaxing form of exercise. You just do it at your own pace and you have all the time in the world to appreciate the surroundings – especially when you do it in a park. Do remember to get a good pair of walking/jogging shoes, so that there wouln’t be so much stress on your knees and feet.

So that’s it. These are the things that I do to stay fit and slim.
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