“Be like water. Be quick to listen, slow to speak.” Letters to my younger self: Amanda Wan

If you could send a letter back through time to your younger self, what would the letter say? This International Women’s Day 2022, we will be featuring remarkable women of our craft, writing letters to the women they once were, filled with advice and inspiration. Their letters provide unique glimpses into the personal lives of incredible women in the F&B industry as well as great wisdom that we will all cherish.

Amanda Wan

An artist at heart, Amanda Wan discovered her passion for the industry during her first job as a Starbucks Barista. From coffee beans to spirits and liqueurs, bartending has brought her around the world to Hong Kong, Russia, UK, India and now, Singapore. Amanda is the first female bartender to go all the way to represent Malaysia at Diageo’s World Class Bartender of the Year Competition in Athens, and a finalist in the Peter F. Heering Sling Awards

Here, she writes to her younger self ten years ago when she was about to leave the comfort of her home in Malaysia to pursue her first job abroad in Singapore (and also, living on her own for the very first time)  

Dear Younger Self, 

The best thing we’ve done for us was to leave the nest. Not because it was “freedom from our parents”, but more “hard life lessons learnt”. You’d think without the cloud of judgement from the parents we’d make better decisions. Yeah, right. Well we didn’t but we lived and we learned (albeit from all the mistakes of our own brilliant doing). With no one to blame, we were able to take ownership of our life and march proudly ahead.

The next time we meet, you would be a woman who has seen and thrived in the face of love, loss, independence and resilience. *strong arm emoji*

I get it, you’re currently flying through life at 220kph doing 110 things at once because you can (and you will). But guess what? When we eventually crashed at this pace we were a complete and total wreck. If you could take the time to slow down, and take time to rest, that would be great. So I don’t have to be 36 years old and looking up “best massage chair” on Google and Amazon in the countryside of England right now. *praying emoji* 

(Older Self edit: it’s actually a “high five emoji”…)

Also, when you have a minute, get to know Jesus, will you? He is really pretty cool. And while you’re at it, give therapy a go as well. Our (budding) anxiety and internalised trauma from being a part of life and the universe will thank you for it. We’ve got a lot to unpack so the sooner you get started on these two points, the better for us in the future. Cool? Cool.

Listen. Life is not a test, ya? There is no definite right and wrong answers to every question/situation. We are learning new things every single day so stay hungry, stay curious, and allow us to change our minds.

Nothing is set in stone except stone itself, and even that can change with the rain. So be like water. Be quick to listen, slow to speak.

A lot more will be happening in the world so don’t feel compelled to say something about everything, immediately. Life is not a competition either, so go at your own pace. It will surprise you where it brings us. 

Last but not least, there is no such thing as “just one drink”. So count 2 for yourself and then GTFO. Ha!

 To infinity and beyond,

“Older” Amanda


We raise a glass to great talents, a tribute to their achievements this International Women’s Day. Amanda is also part of  Malaysian Bartenders Abroad (MBA) series that features promising Malaysian bartenders of our time. The women that grace this MBA Series are an exciting mix of stellar profiles of the craft. As it turns out, the woman bartender is a persevering breed, and her successes are prolific. If you live in Malaysia, why not buy a drink for the women in your life?

Order your MBA Kit from Coley Lumpur here.
at RM390/set (inclusive of 6% SST). Free Delivery nationwide (Malaysia) from 7th to 12th March 2022.
Malaysian Bartenders Abroad (MBA) series features promising Malaysian bartenders of our time.
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