Saturday, December 13, 2008


"If you break your neck, if you have nothing to eat, if your house is on fire, then you got a problem. Everything else is inconvenience."

~ Robert Fulghum, American author, primarily of short essays; famous for his first collection of essays, entitled 'All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten (1986);

Friday, December 12, 2008


"To me, good health is more than just exercise & diet. It's really a point of view & a mental attitude you have about yourself."

~ Angela Lansbury, English actress; better known for her role as mystery writer Jessica Fletcher on the American television series, 'Murder, She Wrote', in which she starred from 1984 until 1996;


How are my priorities changing at this time in my life?

What's most important for me to be doing and 'being'?

How much work do I want to engage in at this stage of life?

What sort of work would I find appealing?

Where do I want to live and in what sort of home?

If I constructed a list of the twenty most important things/events/places on my priority list for the next five years, what would show up?

How active do I want to be in my children's lives (and the grandchildren)

How do I want to ensure my health and wellness is at an optimal place

How do I also stay alert to the surprises, the 'e-shocks' that are likely to occur at this stage of life?

How much money is enough?

And in the words of Mary Oliver - how about the wild and crazy dreams of the past? Is there a place for some of these in my life now?

[Source: The Hudson Institute of Santa Barbara: The ThirdLaunch]

[My two most favourite books from the institute are:

- 'The Adult Years: Mastering the Art Of Self Renewal', by Frederic Hudson;
- 'LifeLaunch: Passionate Guide to the Rest of Your Life', by Frederic Hudson & Pamela McLean;

Together with the books from Richard Bolles & Richard Leider, they were pivotal in guiding & negotiating my mid-life transition during the early nineties.]

Thursday, December 11, 2008


"Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfils the same function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things."
~ Sir Winston Churchill, 1874-1965; British statesman known chiefly for his leadership of the United Kingdom during World War II; he served as Prime Minister from 1940 to 1945; again from 1951 to 1955;

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


"No matter how busy you may think you are, you must find time for reading, or surrender yourself to self-chosen ignorance."

~ Confucius, 551 BC - 479 BC, Chinese scholar & philosopher;


As I ponder to write this post on hugging, my mind somehow just retrogresses to the late seventies or so, during which I often made sure that I didn't miss watching my two favourite maverick cops, Starsky & Hutch, & their smooth-talking informant, nicknamed 'Huggy Bear', who go round busting criminals in their red & white-striped Ford Gran Tourino hardtop.

'Huggy Bear', what a cute name!

Naturally, when we think of a hug, we think of a bear. A bear hug, especially among good friends.

In an Asian society, hugging a stranger, especially among adults, is almost taboo. Even hugging between husband & wife is done strictly in private for that matter.

I recall, during the late eighties when I was attending one of my first so-called 'New Age' workshops in Singapore, each participant was asked by the principal facilitator to go round & hug at least 5 to 8 others in the class as a start. I was stunned for a while.

According to famed American family therapist Virginia Satir, whose pioneering work inspired the NLP (neuro-linguistic programming) technology, once said that:

"We need four hugs a day for survival; eight hugs a day for maintenance; twelve hugs a day for growth."

A fellow trainer who runs residential motivational camps for students often conducts brief hugging demos for participants' parents during the end of the last camp day, as part of the parents'/participants' closing ceremony.

According to the trainer, hugging helps to reinforce family bonding.

As for me, my wife likes me to give her a warm hug before bedtime. She says it helps her to sleep soundly. It's my nightly ritual.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008


"Am I talented? I am not really talented. Am I a genius? I'm not a genius. But I've put in a lot of hard work to be where I am now."
~ Jeremy Leung, Singapore master chef; in 2000, he became one of only four Asians & the only Singaporean then to recive the Five-Star Diamond Award from the American Academy of Hospitality Science;


This afternoon, I took the air-conditioned express bus service #502 from Jurong West to Stamford Road. It was a double-decker. I was on my way to Funan The IT Mall to pick up some new cartridges for my HP inkjet printer.

The journey took almost an hour.

I took this snapshot of an ad panel of another bus ahead while travelling along Bras Basah Road from the upper deck where I sat in front.

What an apt caption to greet me, 'Expand Your Horizons'.

With an almost panoramic view from the upper deck, I must say that the horizons in all directions certainly looked different, besides further, for a change.


Google Alert has led me to the following interesting news from Yahoo! Asia News, based on my take:

1) There is urgent need for Asian bosses to become more proactive & open to developing the next generation of leaders;

2) Bosses need to have a clear, strategic view of their current & future talent needs - up to at least 2 to 5 years out;

3) Strong people development skills are as being as important as strong strategic thinking, & more important than being able to work across cultures or drive change;

4) Bosses need to develop personal relationships with their staff at all levels to promote stability & loyalty, a far stronger retention device than money;

5) The top three strategies on talent development include identifying high-potential employees & tailoring fast-track development programs, bringing global high performers to Asia, & sending high-flyers on overseas assignments;

6) Managing a P&L is apparently seen as the most important experience essential to prepare an Asian manager for the role followed by creating human capital strategies, running a country operation, managing a crisis project, managing a global team & turning around a struggling part of the business;

7) Executive coaching is something to think about self-development for bosses;

[Based on a recent report released by Korn/Ferry International, a premier global provider of talent management solutions.]

Monday, December 8, 2008


"Life is not what it's supposed to be. It's what it is. The way you cope with it is what makes the difference."

~ Virginia Satir, 1916-1988, famed American family therapist, whose pioneering work in psychotherapy inspired the NLP technology;


A customer at Green's Gourmet Grocery marveled at the proprietor's quick wit and intelligence.

"Tell me, Green, what makes you so smart?"

"I wouldn't share my secret with just anyone," Green replies, lowering his voice so the other shoppers won't hear.

"But since you're a good and faithful customer, I'll let you in on it. Fish heads. You eat enough of them, you'll be positively brilliant."

"You sell them here?" the customer asks.

"Only $5 each," says Green.

The customer buys three. A week later, he's back in the store complaining that the fish heads were disgusting and he isn't any smarter.

"You didn't eat enough," says Green. The customer goes home with 20 more fish heads.

Two weeks later, he's back and this time he's really angry.

"Hey, Green," he says, "You're selling me fish heads for $5 apiece when I can buy the whole fish for $3. You're ripping me off!"

"You see?" says Green. "You're smarter already."

[Source: Rosy Cool weblog]

'WHAT OLD AGE TAUGHT ME', by Kirk Douglas

This is a link to a wonderful article by Kirk Douglas, 92, one of my favourite action movie stars of the sixties, in the 11th August 2008 issue of Newsweek. It's really worth reading.

His opening shot, "Now in my golden years, I've learned that you can't know how to live until you know how to give" continues to reverberate in my mind.

Sunday, December 7, 2008


"To live wisely, we must recognise that there are two fundamental truths of a human life. The first is that we have a limited & undefined amount of time - it may be 100 years, it may be 30. The second is that in that unlimited & undefined amount of time we have an almost unlimited number of choices of how to use our time - the things we choose to focus on & put our energy into - & these choices will ultimately define our lives."

~ from the book, 'The 5 Secrets You Must Discover Before You Die', by Dr John Izzo;

By the way, the 5 secrets are:

1) be true to yourself;

2) leave no regrets;

3) become love;

4) live the moment;

5) give more than you take;

The 5 secrets have been derived thematically by the author from his interviews with some 200 wisest people ranging from 60-106 (culled reportedly from some 15,000 nominees).


What would I do in a disaster?

How would I survive?

How would I think & behave?


This short course on innovation is essentially based on three of Peter Drucker's brilliant insights:

1) Without a customer, there is no business;

2) Customer needs are constantly changing;

3) Companies must organise themselves purposefully to look for innovation;

[Source: 'Inside Drucker's Brain', by Jeffrey Krames]

[Peter Drucker was the first management guru to talk & write about innovation as a key management practice. His classic, 'Innovation & Entrepreneurship', published in 1985, had devoted to this topic. In fact, he had taught his first course on innovation in 1958. His early graduates included Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette, the investment bank founded in 1959;]


"I would tell them to have determination & perseverance. You can't think it's impossible & you must be able to overcome the obstacles that may come your way. There will be a lot of challenges to face & it won't be a bed of roses. If you focus on just one thing, then you can overcome all difficulties."

~ George Quek, founder of BreadTalk bread boutique (with 200 shops worldwide, including 24 in Singapore) with his wife, Katherine Lee, a trained baker, who also owns the food court chain Food Republic, the cafe chain Toast Box & the franchised outlets of famed Taiwanese dumpling restaurant Din Tai Fung;

[Source: 'The Sunday Times', 7th December 2008]


I have enjoyed watching the three action movies that made up 'The Karate Kid' trilogy, starring the diminutive Pat Morita as the elderly unarmed combat strategist Miyagi-san from Okinawa, during the eighties.

Last night, for the first time, I had watched 'The Next Karate Kid' with the amusing tagline, "Who says the good guy has to be a guy?" on StarHub cable television.

This time, Miyagi-san had taken up a young troubled damsel, Julie (played by Hilary Swank), under his wing.

Also, this time the trouble maker was played menacingly by Michael Ironside as Col. Dugan, who got whacked by Miyagi-san in a street-corner confrontation.

I particularly like the ensuing seemingly philosophical dialogue between Miyagi-san & Julie:

Julie: "You really kicked some butt."

Miyagi-san: "Julie-san, fighting not good. But, if must fight . . . win!"