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Charlene Annabel

Born on the sunny island of Singapore, I’ve always been the kid who’s slightly more tanned than her peers, a goody-good student to her teachers, and a girl next door as my friends would come to describe me as.

A Travel Lover

Growing up, I’ve had my fair share of travelling to various parts of the world, particularly the South-East Asian region and down under. My parents made it a point to travel as a family once every year.

Even as a child during then, I was always amazed at how tiny my presence mattered in an enormous world. The culture, food, historical…

Photo by Luis Galvez on Unsplash

At 11:35 pm, my phone chimed, and a notification message popped up on my lock screen. I picked it up, and it read, “I feel like I’ve lost my best friend.”.

A second later, another chat bubble appeared that read, “I don’t know what to do without him,” and before I could reply, my phone vibrated with a third message saying, “He said he’s tired of me.”

Though we were communicating over our mobile phones, I could feel my friend in a state of melancholy on the other side of the screen.

If I could summarise her love story in…

Love is complicated, IKEA is simple.
Love is complicated, IKEA is simple.
Illustration by Soo Yeon Bae

If you asked which brands were coming out with a Valentine’s Day ad, the typical options would be any chocolate, flower, wine, or jewellery company.

A home furnishing brand wouldn’t come to your mind, right? Wrong.

IKEA, a home furnishing store, rode on the wave and made a Valentine’s Day advertisement in 2014.

Like the cover photo above, the ad showed a comical side to IKEA, unlike its previous marketing campaigns.

The company branded its products alongside comical characters and a cheeky punch line, delivering a clear message: couples need furniture too.

On an unconscious level, the company relates to…

Image by silviarita from Pixabay

Since childhood, Epictetus was lame in one leg. In some stories, his physical impediment was a result of harsh beatings from his slavemaster.

Early in life, he came to Rome as a slave, and when he was 34, Epictetus was banished from Rome by Emperor Domitian.

Fortunately, his study with a great philosopher during his years as a teenager paved the way to much of Epictetus's philosophical principles. He eventually left Rome but continued teaching philosophy in Western Greece until he died at about 80.

Like Epictetus, history had seen many great philosophers of their time too. Stoicism continued for…

Illustration by Mia Ditmanson on Dribble

In 2013, the new rounded Cadbury’s Dairy Milk chocolate bar had made some consumers irate because it’s sweeter than the original, more rectangular bar. In Cadbury’s defense, it announced that its formulation hasn’t changed.

Who’s right? What difference does a rounded and a rectangular chocolate bar make? Aren’t they just milk chocolate?

The answer to such a shift in perception lies in the fact that angularity is often matched with bitterness, carbonation, salt and vinegar chips, etc.

On the other hand, roundness is paired with sweetness which can be found in an array of food from yoghurt to fruit juices.

Photo by Matt Koffel on Unsplash

Over the years, I’ve met people in different social contexts.

When I meet people who’re great conversationalists, we will click right away, and our chemistry is off the charts — the kind of conversation where an hour feels like a minute.

Yet, on the other end of the spectrum, I’ve also been in conversations where it is based on mono-syllabic responses. These conversations would either fade off or turn into a monologue. At this juncture, I couldn’t help but reminisce about the moments I’ve had with great conversationalists.

Having experienced two very contrasting types of conversational settings, I thought to…

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

I’ve never considered myself a talented writer. I don’t have a degree in writing, nor am I an editor by profession for the New York Times.

Ever since I’ve taken my passion for writing to Medium, I’d like to think that I’m an experimentalist who embodies the philosophy of learning as I write.

Perhaps the most common writing mantra we’re familiar with is to write every day. While that advice keeps me disciplined in consistently producing content, my brain often gets to the point of oversaturation, resulting in my articles being variations of the same theme.

Instead, I turn to…

Here’s a thought experiment: It’s the year 0. You open your eyes and find yourself in a white, windowless room constructed with an abysmal ceiling and walls.

A metre across from you stands a silver metallic podium with a digital tablet attached to it. Guided by your curiosity, you walk towards it intending to uncover the reasons for your diminished circumstances.

“Welcome, player 1,” a robotic voice emits from the tablet after you tap the screen. …

Original sketch by Disney/Pixar

If you had to pick a favourite movie of yours — one that remains etched in your memory throughout the years— what would it be?

For me, Pixar’s Ratatouille is a film I hold dear to my heart even till this day. It not only teaches us that sky’s the limit, but it also has a great story structure that strikes a chord with almost anyone.

If we look at the list of movies Pixar produced, it’s an award-winning film one after the other. Finding Nemo, Toy Story, Monster Inc, Incredibles, and the like are no strangers to us. …

Photo by Connor Botts on Unsplash

It was a lazy Monday afternoon. My friend Amy, and I visited Starbucks to catch up on an assigned project that was due tomorrow. Two cups of lattes sat atop our table with our laptops opened in front of us.

“Oh my god. This is driving me nuts. He was supposed to do the first-half segment of the project, and yet not a single thing has been done!” ranted Amy about one of our teammates.

“Do you remember he volunteered to complete the part on financial analysis too? Yep, he copied and pasted data without giving further explanations about it…

Charlene Annabel

Freelance writer. I write about business and life. | Email:

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