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Fo cus Saturday December 11, 2010
He alt h
Living Taking on second jobs
Art s & Fashio n
B o o kshe lf because of passion
Fo o d
Pare nt ing St o rie s b y LEO N G SIO K HUI

Trave l & Ad ve nt ure
Mind Our English
Rather than being motivated by money, some individuals take on
second jobs because of passion.

Moonlighting is nothing new. In a troubled economy, the average
person f inds it hard to live on a single source of income. Branching
out helps provide f inancial security and perhaps a f uture job prospect.

However, not everybody does it f or the money. Some just love to
entertain or to cook, and being able to make money out of it is just an
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added bonus, Would they do it part-time if it became a viable business

“As soon as it becomes your only job or a career, you’d stop having
so much f un,” says f ull-time realtor cum part-time baker, Cheng Yi.

T he accidental baker
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“When you bake f or f riends, and they ooh and ahh with appreciation
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says Cheng, 44, a civil engineer by training. Interio r Designer (2 po sts) Data Entry Clerk
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But one evening, a f riend rang him and requested two “emergency” Officer (1 po st)
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Re alt or t urne d bake r Che ng Yi

“Mixing concrete isn’t much dif f erent f rom mixing batter,” claims Cheng
who worked as a civil engineer in the Malaysian Armed Forces and at a
construction company f or seven years bef ore venturing into real

“I f ind baking therapeutic especially when you are not rushing orders. I
enjoy experimenting with new recipes,” says the prolif ic blogger who
shares his recipes and restaurant reviews online.

His f amily and church group are usually his guinea pigs. “My f amily
likes lemony stuf f like lemon meringue pie, lemon tart and lemon
passion f ruitcake.”

Until his f irst sale, Cheng was a self -taught baker. He eventually
signed up f or classes on cake decoration and French desserts to
widen his baking repertoire and polish up his skills.
“I f ind cake decoration too ‘f lowery’ f or me,” the af f able baker
conf esses.

Cheng’s 10-year-old oven broke down f rom being overworked when
the orders started to pile up and his trusty hand-held mixer took a
beating too. Now he’s switched to a Kenwood Chef mixer and a
Magimix f ood processor. T hey have become “the two items I cannot
do without”.

Cheng’s most sought-af ter cakes are the durian cheesecake, Spencer
Four Seasons and Tim’s Nuts. T he Spencer and Tim’s are his own

“T hese two cakes were initially made f or two good f riends and were
named af ter them,” says Cheng.

Spencer came to be “accidentally” when Cheng ran out of ingredients
f or a specif ic cake, and cobbled together what he had on hand. It
became an instant hit. Tim’s is a divine medley made up of a chocolate
biscuit base layered with creamy peanut butter, mashed bananas,
f resh cream, chocolate cake and topped with chocolate ganache.
Tim’s Nuts is f eatured in the cookbook Think Out of The Shell , a
cookbook by NutriPlus f eaturing original recipes.

Cheng only puts on his baker’s hat af ter his nine-to-f ive job.

“I do everything, down to measuring the ingredients, although my wif e
does help out,” says Cheng. “It’s very satisf ying when you get text
messages f rom customers whom you don’t know telling you how much
they enjoyed the cakes.”

Cheng grew up in a generation where the only “acceptable”
prof essions were doctor, accountant, lawyer or engineer.

“For some of us who didn’t really get to pursue what we wanted, it’s
good to have a hobby and a passion. If you can’t give up your bread
and butter, it’s f ine. But that shouldn’t stop you f rom getting the icing.”

Check out Fatboybakes’ delectables at

Creating memories for kids

Most of us would heave a big sigh of relief when the weekend arrives
— time to kick back and de-stress f rom a crazy week. For husband-
and-wif e team, Terence Ooi and Deborah Chan, however, weekends
mean dealing with high-strung kids.

Chan, 28, and Ooi, 27, run a party-planning outf it called Splattered
Paint, specialising in children’s parties. Based on what their clients
want (usually the kids have the f inal say), the couple conduct any of
the f ollowing: f ace-painting, puppet-making, a baking class, party
games, sand art, magic show, clowning and ballooning.

“We started Splattered Paint when we realised there was a demand f or
children’s event planners,” says Chan, a f ull-time programme manager
at a KL-based conservation group, and Ooi, a social media and digital
De borah Chan providing a hand- paint ing se rvice at a
kids’ part y

“And we know we have the skills and experience to create wonderf ul
parties and extraordinary experiences f or children.”

Chan and Ooi got their f irst taste of the creative arts through their
church. T hrough ministries like Sunday School or Royal Rangers (an
auxiliary church group that develops leadership skills), they trained in
drama, puppetry, mime, dance, clowning and more. T hey were able to
apply these skills at church events. Chan also had a stint as a speech
and drama teacher at a learning centre f or kids.
Te re nce O oi clowns around

Now they are putting these skills to good use. For harried parents who
are too busy to throw together a party, event planners like Chan and
Ooi are a godsend.

“Some parents who try to do everything would end up stressed and
exhausted and not enjoy the party,” says Chan. “So they would rather
pay and have everything put together and f ocus on entertaining
guests instead,” says Chan.

T hough the couple eased into their party planner roles naturally, they
still have to learn new skills, keep tabs on current trends and come up
with f resh ideas to meet the changing demands of kids and parents.

“T hematic parties based on cartoon characters are popular. For
instance, boys aged eight to 11 are crazy over Ben Ten,” says Chan.

Business is good and the couple is usually busy on most weekends.
T hough they are not parents yet, they have learned to handle testy
and screaming kids.
“We just have to be f irm and clear with our instructions bef ore each
activity,” shrugs Chan.

“We give screaming kids a privileged role (e.g. as a leader) or pacif y
them with goodies like sweets or small gif ts. We love children! We love
making their day and creating tangible memories f or them to remember
f or the rest of their lives,” gushes Chan.

“I had a wonderf ul childhood, thanks to my parents, and I realise how
important it is to create magical moments in people’s lives,” she adds.

Once, the couple planned a huge Christmas cum birthday party f or a
client’s son. At the eleventh hour, their client decided to invite another
100-plus kids f rom several shelter homes in the Klang Valley.

“T he children came in two busloads, turned the place upside down and
lef t with huge smiles and lots of hugs,” Chan recalls.

“Of tentimes, it’s not the money we get but the joy of making
someone’s day that motivates us.”

Find out more about Splattered Paint at http:// www.splattered-


Stuck in a rut at work? Find an outlet f or your creativity, f ire up your
imagination and bring in extra cash the way Prudy Wong a.k.a. Allyf eel

When her f irst child was born, Wong (pictured on cover) switched to a
nine-to-f ive-customer service job so she could spend more time with
her son. But she was bored at work. One day, at lunch, she noticed a
lady selling handmade costume jewellery at the of f ice caf eteria.
A blood st one ne cklace

“I thought to myself , ‘Hey, I think I might like doing this as a hobby’,”
recalls Wong, 37. She took up jewellery-making lessons and began
f ashioning bracelets, necklaces and rings f rom gemstones that struck
her f ancy. Wong’s co-workers liked her handiwork and asked if she
would sell her jewellery. T his kickstarted her side business.

Wong set up a blog, Chicsecret, to post photos of her one-of -a-kind
jewellery pieces. She sources f or gemstones like amethyst, red coral,
agate, turquoise and rose quartz f rom a wholesale f actory in Puchong
and a bead shop in Petaling Street. Lessons f rom a Taiwanese
jewellery-maker and DIY books helped brush up her skills.

Her clients range f rom of f ice ladies to housewives, to f ellow bloggers
and guys who are shopping f or unique and reasonably priced piece of
jewellery f or their partners. Wong’s watch straps, necklaces and
bracelets with rose quartz, aventurine and red coral are her

“Like me, many people want to make something with their hands, or
unwind f rom a stressf ul job or stave of f boredom by taking up a new
unwind f rom a stressf ul job or stave of f boredom by taking up a new
hobby,” says the mother of two f rom Klang who partnered a f riend
with a shop in Bandar Utama to of f er beading classes. She loves
teaching beading and would try to inspire her students to design and
sell their own handiwork.

“T he market f or DIY jewellery is very competitive, so I tell my students,
‘Find your niche and create designs in your own style’,” says Wong.

“I love it when my clients cherish my work. T hen I become more
motivated to create jewellery designs that ref lect my style.”

“Of course, the money is a bonus. T he extra really helps,” she admits.

Check out Chicsecret at http://

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