PowerPoint Basics For Those Who Give A Damn

I’ve been creating PowerPoint decks for decades – for everything from small workshops to big-scale event presentations to weekly marketing reports.

I’ve had plenty of practice and I think I do decent decks.

But it makes me aghast when people don’t do their decks well. So I figured, maybe they just don’t know what they don’t know.

Then again, I worked in Microsoft (the makers of PowerPoint) and found that many colleagues also didn’t really understand the true use of PowerPoint decks. All they did was to flood each slide with a boggling amount of numbers and charts. But they were really, really good with Excel and Word, and I learned the secrets of Pivot Tables from them.

So if you’re the type who wants to give a damn about the slides you make, I’ve created a quick PowerPoint (what else) guide on how to get it right. Just click the download link below, and I’ll keep adding stuff over time. Do give me feedback or requests in the comments section below.

PowerPoint download (V3, 7th Oct 2017)

Added content on choosing image formats and preventing chart abuse.


PDF download (V3, 7th Oct 2017)

Made just for you folks who use iOS (Macs, iPhones, etc), as you won’t be able to see the embedded fonts. Also useful if you don’t have PowerPoint installed (duh).


We need more good leaders

When I was in our school’s 24-man dragonboat team in 1994, I was seated on the first row out of 12 rows because I was one of the shorter guys.

My rowing partner Naveen and I were coached by the previous pair of front rowers (simply by paddling behind them for one entire year) on how to set the rowing pace of the boat according to different water conditions and how other rival boats were performing.

If the front two rowers couldn’t coordinate together, then the entire team would be unable to row in unison. The boat would simply slow down.

Continue reading “We need more good leaders”

Some thoughts on the diabetes issue in Singapore

We were discussing about food choices in the office and my colleague said to me “You’re lucky to have high metabolism.”

I said, “What? I don’t have a high metabolic rate. In fact, I gain weight easily.”

He looked surprised and I showed him a photo of what I used to look like five years ago.

It has been four and a half years since I cleaned up my diet, lost 10kg, and even wrote a simple e-book about how “Anyone Can Lose Weight“. I decided to lose weight largely out of vanity and frustration, but it was only later that I realized how beneficial it was to my health and preventing diabetes.

This month, our Singapore prime minister Lee Hsien Loong spoke about the diabetes epidemic in Singapore during the National Day Rally. Singapore has the second highest rate of diabetes in the developed world, and it is a big problem. And from Channelnewsasia:

Today, diabetes affects one in nine Singaporeans and among those over 60, three in 10 have diabetes. The onset of diabetes is also getting younger with each generation – overweight teenagers can now succumb to what was previously termed “adult-onset” or Type 2 diabetes, the most common form.

Last year when the spotlight began to focus on the diabetes problem, I dropped an email to the minister in charge and offered to provide feedback and suggestions. He routed me to another team in the health ministry and they sent me a thank you email to close the conversation without any further action.

Oh well, I’m not a “professional” expert on the topic, nor am I a doctor, so to our civil servants, what good would I be to the fight against this disease in Singapore?

Nevertheless, I’d like to share some thoughts on how the country is currently dealing with diabetes and offer some pragmatic suggestions.

Continue reading “Some thoughts on the diabetes issue in Singapore”

Sunday Times column – Kids and smartphone usage

Here’s my second parenting column for the Sunday Times, this time on managing smartphone usage with the kids.

As parents, we both love and hate the smartphone.

On the one hand, it is the stuff of science fiction that we could only dream about in our youth.

On the other, it is a deadly glowing drug that we all struggle to stop looking at. We are always afraid that it will destroy our lives, as well as that of our children’s.

The risks are real and deadly.

Will our children fail their exams if they keep playing games? Are they surfing porn in the toilet? What are they chatting about in their many WhatsApp groups? Are strangers baiting them online? What malware is about to trap them into financial blackmail? Are they taking questionable videos?

Putting a smartphone into the hands of children is not something to be sniffed at.

Sunday Times column – Telling Tales At Dinner Time

The Straits Times recently invited me to contribute columns on parenting to their Sunday Times newspaper. So here’s my first piece, of which I originally titled “Telling Tales At Dinner Time” but a copy editor thought otherwise. In any case, it’s pleasant to see my byline again after so many years after I left journalism.

Many parents worry all the time about their children’s future.

What jobs will they have in the future? How much will they earn? Whom will they marry? Which enrichment classes should they take?

That is why so many parents push their kids so hard for good grades, in the hope that they will fulfil the ideal scenario of coming into wealth and owning a nice condominium.

No, I do not worry about the future of my two kids – a Secondary 2 son and a Primary 6 daughter. I am more concerned about not being able to tell my kids my life stories that they need to hear before they enter the working world.

You can read it here.