Zing It Up!


Lim Lay Hsuan


2 min read

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Photo credit (above): Adrian Korte | Flickr


Lemons. There’s always something unique about this bright yellow citrus fruit. Although I’m not sure if lemons actually became more famous after the catchy tune of Lemon Tree by Fool’s Garden.

What has lemon got to do with this week’s career guide (our first for the year 2015), you wonder?

The sour fruit

“But the fruit of the poor lemon is impossible to eat.” – excerpt from Lemon Tree song by Peter, Paul & Mary

It’s true, a lemon eaten on its own is very sour. It puckers your mouth and makes you wince. Lemons, however, are frequently used as an accompaniment to other ingredients to add flavour to many sweet desserts and savoury dishes.

With these, we have lemon chicken, lemon cheesecake, lemon meringue pie and lemon juice as salad dressing.

If you are still “sour” of certain things that didn’t pan out well at work last year, don’t dwell on it any longer.

In this new year of new beginnings, make it a point to work out any differences that exist and collaborate with others to achieve the impossible as a team in your organisation.

Zest vs pith

Lemon zest is the yellow portion of the peel. It is valued for the strong citrus flavour it imparts to food when cooking or baking, thanks to an abundance of aromatic oils in the rind.

Beneath the zest is the pith, the white part of the peel, which is bitter and unpleasant to taste. Whenever you see recipes using lemon zest, peel or rind, you would try to avoid the pith altogether.

To separate lemon zest and pith, you need zesting tools such as paring knife, vegetable peeler, grater or zester. If lemons could talk, I assure you that they would be cussing, screaming and writhing in pain.

Similarly, focus on the “zest” of life and remove the “pith” of bitterness. The process of grating and zesting would definitely be a painful one for most of us, but as the famous adage reminds us, “no pain, no gain”.

At the end of our learning process, what matters most is that we know that these pain points produce perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. And with hope, we can better overcome the stumbling blocks in front of us.

Tree of gold

Lemon tree, in its fullness of ripen fruits, is a sight to behold. From a distance, the fruits look like nuggets of gold growing from the tree.

It’s a reminder that all of us, like the individual fruit, is a part of something bigger than our own.

Where do you think the fruits get their daily dosage of nutrients and minerals if not from the plant’s vascular system, with its roots absorbing minerals and water before being transported to the shoots to allow plant growth?

What is your purpose in life? What motivates you at work? Are you driven by your own selfish goals or are you giving your all to leave an impact in others? I hope it is the latter.

In conclusion

For a start, be bright as yellow like the cheery lemon. Believe that the days ahead will be better (although not necessarily easier), and don’t give up.


Published in English daily The Star, Malaysia, 3 January 2015
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