“Do nothing that is of no use.”

The famous duel between the swordmaster Miyamoto Musashi (left) and Sasaki Kojiro (Ganryu) at Ganryu-Jima island. Artist: Yoshifusa Utagawa (active ca. 1840–1860). Source: Wikimedia Commons

— Miyamoto Musashi, The Book of Five Rings

I’ve been writing about a samurai named Miyamoto Musashi a lot recently, but I can’t seem to help it. He was a remarkable man.

Musashi was a legendary 17th-century samurai who is renowned for being undefeated in 61 duels, many of them to the death. He wasn’t just a skilled swordsman, though. …


The ultimate guide to a successful life.

A statue of Guan Yu, the Chinese God of War. Location: Temple of Guan Yu (Xuchang), Henan, China. Source: Wikimedia Commons.

― Sun-Tzu, The Art of War

The Art of War was written 2,500 years ago by a legendary figure known as Sun Tzu.

Composed during the tumultuous Warring States period of China, it was the first book of its kind, a tome totally dedicated to the study of warfare. It found instantaneous success upon release and was even formalized during the Song Dynasty as a must-read classic.

However, what is most remarkable is that The Art of War has also become one of the…


Find peace in nothingness.

Lessons from Japan’s History — Tajima no kami Norimasa playing his biwa. Artist: Yōshū Chikanobu (1897) Source: Wikimedia Commons

In the West, feeling empty is viewed as a negative condition. Emptiness is often associated with dark terms like depression, apatheia, or nihilism. In Asia though, things are a little different.

The Chinese word for emptiness is kōng (空); devoid, the void, the space between breaths, between lines, between lives. In many Eastern religions, emptiness is associated with meditation instead of negativity. Śūnyatā, the teaching that all things are barren of intrinsic meaning, is a core tenet of Buddhism.

The Taoist sage Lao Tzu also waxed philosophical on the useful nature of nothing at all. He wrote,

“We join spokes…


Not all friends are created equal.

Alvin Ang Instagram

It’s a longstanding tradition among the Chinese to have steamboat for dinner on the first day of the Lunar New Year — and an even longer-standing tradition to trade stories, gossip, and bond over the simmering communal stew.

2020 was no different — except this was the first time in 24 years I actually had reunion dinner with my Dad.

My Dad was, is, a workaholic entrepreneur. Festivals and weekends equal prime business hours, so we never got to spend time together during the holidays.

Not that he was a bad father, far from it, but it was just the…


And the third — creating a library of content — is ultimately superior.

Source

“So, how do you actually make money off this writing thing?”

In my experience, this is the most common question an aspiring writer has. I know this because my mind was burning with the very same question when I first started my writing journey a little over a year ago.

I intend to make a good living from my craft, so over the past year, I’ve read hundreds of articles on the subject, subscribed to a paid newsletter or two — and even attended a writing retreat in Bali!

I’ve come out of these experiences wiser. After taking the leap…


How to succeed in the game of online writing.

Picture taken when I was a contestant on “The Apprentice.”

Top Writer Tags Don’t Matter

My first top writer tag was in Sports.

When Medium awarded me that tag, I thought I made it to the big-time, so I immediately changed my bio to include the term “Top Writer.” I then sat back and waited for the views to roll in.

None did.

It was then that I learned a very important lesson: your achievements don’t make you — you make your achievements.

This is true for writing and in life.

The Things That Surround Writing Don’t Matter

There’s a running joke that writers have. For the lack of a better name, I’ll call it the “Stephen King’s pen joke.”

As the…


Confessions of a former reality TV show star.

Alvin Ang Instagram

This picture was taken when I was a contestant on “The Apprentice.”

When I got accepted to the show, I thought I’d made it. For many millennials like me, fame is synonymous with success. Nowadays, it isn’t enough just to be rich; no, no, no.

In the Instagram generation, you have to be rich and famous.

It took a reality check from a reality tv show to show me that I don’t really want to be famous — I just wanted the feeling of acceptance and power I mistakenly thought fame would bring me.

Read that again.

In this article…


Number one — give yourself more time to write.

Alvin Ang Instagram

The photo above was taken when I got brutally knocked out in front of my friends and family.

Now, getting punched in the face hurt. Getting beat down into the bitter canvas hurt. Watching the sad, shocked faces of my supporters, most of whom paid good money to watch me lose, hurt.

But you know what?

The mistakes I made while writing my first novel hurt even more.

I’m not exaggerating.

There’s a saying that goes, “A smart man learns from his mistakes, but a wise man learns from other people’s mistakes.” Well in this article, we’re going to try…


By the year 2060, the human race will become a space-faring civilization. But is this a good thing — or a very bad thing?

Image by beate bachmann from Pixabay

The year is 2060, and I am on the moon.

This is not a figure of speech. I am literally on the moon, and beside me is Queen Padmé Amidala.

She looks exactly like how Portman depicted her in the prequels. Strong, independent, and ferociously beautiful, the Queen is dressed not in the red-gold of her regalia but in the drab green of her traveling clothes. Her auburn hair is coiffed, and above it was a hood, partially hiding her stern and pretty face.

There was a smile playing on the edge of her lips, and we walked, she and…


And allowed my true self to be born.

Alvin Ang Instagram

Chapter One

When I met Linda at the shophouse I was already drunk.

I was only twenty years old then, twenty and terrified of women. I had just got out of two terrible relationships and had no desire to get into another, so when Linda invited me to spend the night with her I almost refused — and I would have refused her, too, if she didn’t tempt me by offering me drugs.

See, I’ve always been a curious child, the kind of child who drove my teachers mad, mad with questions like:

“Why is the sun a star?”

“Why is a…

Alvin Ang

👑 Former contestant on “The Apprentice.” Current Top Writer on Medium. Reach me at 📧: sgbjjopen@gmail.com

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store