Saturday, December 12, 2009


If we could shrink the earth’s population to a village of precisely 100 people, with all the existing human ratios remaining the same, it would look something like the following:

There would be:

57 Asians
21 Europeans
14 from the Western Hemisphere, both north and south
8 Africans
52 would be female
48 would be male
70 would be non-white
30 would be white
70 would be non-Christian
30 would be Christian
89 would be heterosexual
11 would be homosexual
6 people would possess 59% of the entire world’s wealth and all 6 would be from the United States.
80 would live in substandard housing
70 would be unable to read
50 would suffer from malnutrition
1 would be near death; 1 would be near birth
1 would have a college education
1 would own a computer

When one considers our world from such a compressed perspective, the need for acceptance, understanding and education becomes glaringly apparent.

The following is also something to ponder...

If you woke up this morning with more health than illness... you are more blessed than the million who will not survive this week.

If you have never experienced the danger of battle, the loneliness of imprisonment, the agony of torture, or the pangs of starvation... you are ahead of 500 million people in the world.

If you can attend a church meeting without fear of harassment, arrest, torture, or death... you are more blessed than three billion people in the world.

If you have food in the refrigerator, clothes on your back, a roof overhead and a place to sleep... you are richer than 75% of this world.

If you have money in the bank, in your wallet, and spare change in a dish someplace ... you are among the top 8% of the world’s wealthy.

If your parents are still alive and still married ... you are very rare, even in the United States, UK and Canada.

If you can read this message you are more blessed than over two billion people in the world that cannot read at all.

Someone once said: What goes around comes around.

Work like you don’t need the money.
Love like you’ve never been hurt.
Dance like nobody’s watching.
Sing like nobody’s listening.
Live like it’s Heaven on Earth.

[Source: 'Reflections for PEOPLE with POWER to CHANGE their world']


Where do I have the edge?


It didn't actually strike me when I took this digital picture at the Bugis Junction shopping mall. I was initially attracted by the large vertical column fully plastered with many movie poster replicas as shown below.

I only realised the counterpoise of a weird guy in the poster assuming the same poise as I had originally taken to shoot his picture, so to speak, after I had zeroed in to take a close-up shot.

Well, I can only say 'what a coincidence!'


I have stumbled upon this fascinating blogpost entitled '21 Keys to Magnetic Likeability', which offers a valuable look at the characteristic traits that contribute to a person's likeability:

1. Be Attentive to Others and Never Stop Listening;

2. Compliment People Who Deserve It;

3. Make Yourself Available and Approachable;

4. Speak Clearly so People Can Understand You;

5. Never Try to Be Someone You’re Not;

6. Address People by Their Name;

7. Mirror the Person You’re Conversing With;

8. Always Ask to Help… and Help When Asked;

9. Never Get Caught Lying;

10. Say “Please” and “Thank You”;

11. Use Positive Language (Body and Verbal);

12. Smile;

13. Keep Unqualified Opinions to Yourself;

14. Provide Tangible Value;

15. Respect Elders, Respect Minors, Respect Everyone;

16. Make Frequent Eye Contact… but Don’t Stare;

17. Don’t Over-Promise… Instead, Over-Deliver;

18. Stand Up for Your Beliefs Without Promoting Them;

19. Make a Firm Handshake;

20. Keep Your Hands Away from Your Face;

21. Dress Clean;

Readers can go to this weblink ('Marc & Angel Hack Life: Practical Tips for Productive Living') to read the original blogpost in its entirety.


"Everyone thinks that the principal thing to the tree is the fruit, but in point of fact the principal thing to it, is the seed."

~ Friedrich Nietzsche, (1844-1900); German philosopher & poet;


The following are my take-aways from an expert advisory by futurist, trends & innovation strategist Jim Carroll, whose two wonderful books have been reviewed in my weblog as well as on

1) It’s incredibly fast, with collapsing product life cycles;

2) It involves a huge adaptability gap, due to accelerating change;

3) It has a huge instantaneity, as we live in a rapid idea cycle era;

4) It hits you most when you don’t expect it - understand hype cycles;

5) It's being defined by renegades & insurgents;

6) It involves partnership with customers, suppliers, facilitators & other stakeholders;

7) It involves intensity, like playing video-games;

8) It’s bigger than you think - there's danger in the comfort zone;

9) It involves innovation intensity from everyone in the organisation;

10) It comes from experiential capital - learning, unlearning & relearning;

[Jim Carroll wrote 'What I Learned from Frogs in Texas: Saving Your Skin with Forward-Thinking Innovation' & 'Ready, Set, Done: How to Innovate When Faster is the New Fast'.]

Friday, December 11, 2009


"It may be hard for an egg to turn into a bird: it would be a jolly sight harder for it to learn to fly while remaining an egg. We are like eggs at present, & you cannot go on indefinitely being just an ordinary, decent agg. We must be hatched or go bad."

~ C S Lewis (1898–1963); Irish-born British novelist; famous works include 'The Chronicles of Narnia';


Is the quality of my life I lead a reflection of my deeds?

Thursday, December 10, 2009


I have my Google Alert on 'Successful Aging' with feedforward on a weekly basis. I just got one good one from them.

Dr. Bill Thomas, author of 'What Are Old People For?', has recently delivered his presentation, entitled “Beyond the Gero-sphere”, at a conference on positive aging in St Petersberg in Florida.

A quick snapshot on his presentation has been captured at this weblink.

What fascinates most is this revelation:

According to Dr. Thomas, the secret to successful aging is to walk, act, talk, & behave like a young person.

How about that?

I fully concur with Dr Thomas' exhortation, because I know that the brain can't tell the difference between a 'real' experience from an 'imagined' experience. This is based on the pioneering work in 'image of achievement' by Dr Karl Pribram.

Also, it works because of the powerful concept of 'modeling', as in neurolinguistic programming.


I have picked up the fascinating new term "active inertia" from Prof Donald Sull of the London Business School.

I have just started to read his latest book, 'The Upside of Turbulence: Seizing Opportunity in an Uncertain World'. The book has this great tag line on the inside front flap:

"A provocative user's guide to a world where the only thing that doesn't change is change itself."

In the book, he describes "active inertia" as the current preoccupation of today's executives when dealing with turbulence in the marketplace.

They respond to turbulence by accelerating activities that worked in the past.

According to him, drawing on relevant historical examples from the business world, executive saw changes in the market & responded, but hardened commitments channeled their actions into familiar grooves.

In the book, among others, he brings up the classic examples of US Steel & General Motors as well as dinosaurs like Digital, Wang & Data General.

Actually, come to think of it, the term "active inertia" is an oxymoron.

It somehow reminds me of the term "temporary insanity", often attributed to the iconic physicist Albert Einstein, who once commented as follows:

"... doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results."

As a matter of fact, Dilip Mukerkea has an interesting corollary:

Are you busy living or busy dying?

[In his book, Prof Donald Sull dedicates one whole chapter, Chapter IV, to the subject of "active inertia". Readers can go to this weblink of the author's weblog in Financial Times to read some excerpts from the book.]


Again, a good buddy of mine has recently sent me this multi-lingual sort of expert advisory:

1 歲時出場亮相
At one, YOU are the top priority

10 歲時功課至上
At ten, academic excellence is the top priority

20 歲時春心盪漾
At twenty, getting laid is the top priority

30 歲時職場對抗
At thirty, a good career is top priority

40 歲時身材發胖
At forty, keeping your body in shape is top priority

50 歲時打打麻將
At fifty, beating others at mahjong is top priority

60 歲時老當益壯
At sixty, keeping IT up is top priority

70 歲 時 常常 健忘
At seventy, remembering something is top priority

80 歲時搖搖晃晃
At eighty, moving around is top priority

90 歲時迷失方向
At ninety, knowing directions is top priority

100 歲時掛在牆上
At 100, having your portrait on the wall is top priority!

[Source: Unknown]


A good buddy of mine has sent me the following imaginal "story" not too long ago. It's just too cute & beautiful not to share with readers.

"Dear God, please send lots of clothes for all those poor ladies on my daddy's computer! Amen."


"You only have to do a very few things right in your life, so long as you don't do too many things wrong."

~ billionaire investor Warren Buffet;

Wednesday, December 9, 2009


Here's the link to 'Eye Candy of the Day: 300 of the World's Hottest Poster Designs' on Fast Company.

Enjoy your exploration!


"If there is nothing very special about your work, no matter how hard you apply yourself, you won’t get noticed and that increasingly means you won’t get paid much, either."

~ Michael Goldhaber, author & scholar, writing in the 'Wired Magazine';

Tuesday, December 8, 2009


What follows is a fascinating story about 'imperturbability', which I have found while surfing the wild wild web.

According to, 'imperturbability' means "incapable of being upset or agitated". Synonyms include: "composed", "collected", "impassive", "cool", "unmoved".

Here's the great story to exemplify 'imperturbability':

I think Charles Allen said it first. "When faced with problems which threaten to steal your peace of mind, learn the meaning of the word 'imperturbability.'"

I heard of two artists who were asked to illustrate peace. Each was assigned the task of depicting a peaceful scene on canvas.

The first artist drew a beautiful picture of a countryside on a warm, spring day. A soft sun illumines green grass. A picturesque farm house and grazing cattle are bathed in its warmth. A farmer walks contentedly behind strong plow horses making his field ready for spring planting. The picture is one of beauty and quiet tranquility.

The other artist took a different approach. He drew a majestic, rugged cliff. Gnarled trees, twisted by years of violent winds, jut from the craggy mountainside. Dark clouds hang low and fierce while jagged streaks of lightening slash across an angry sky. The picture is one of violence, chaos and rage.

But as one looks closely, something else becomes visible. There in one of the crevices of the rocky mountain, tucked back just out of reach of the wind and rain - a nest with two small birds. Apparently unconcerned about the impending storm, they appear calm, cozy and peaceful as they patiently wait for the turbulence to pass.

And isn't that the way it so often is? We may want to be surrounded by peace, but storms rage. Problems and pressures without threaten to steal peace of mind within.

The answer is imperturbability: inner peace which doesn't leave when circumstances change. It's a peace which is greater than the problems of life, built on assurance that the tempest will finally pass, we will survive the storm, we may grow stronger because of it and, in the meantime, we will not endure it alone.

Imperturbability - it's the result of a peace which passes understanding. For serenity is not freedom from the storm, but peace amid the storm.

[Source: Inspirational Gifts by Steve Goodier]


Two nights ago, I had reluctantly sat down to watch a sci-fi thriller movie, entitled 'Alien Raiders', on StarHub cable television.

The movie director (Ben Rock?) & all the actors/actresses (Carlos Bernard? Mathew St Patrick? Rockmond Dunbar? to name just a few) were unknown, at least to me. Hence, the movie somehow triggered my initial lukewarm response, even though I was intrigued by the catchy title.

However, as the story progressed, I began to be drawn into the taut & gripping movie plot.

In a nut shell, the movie had centred on a bunch of masked gunmen who raided a small town supermarket, killing some employees &/or customers along the way. They then herded all the remaining clueless people who happened to be around - wrong place, wrong time, as they say - into one part of the supermarket, while the masked raiders seemed to be determined in hunting for something.

Police soon came, but couldn't really help the hostages as the lights in the supermarket were shut down, & also the masked gunmen didn't demand anything, except for scrawling two big words on the front glass panels, 'STAY BACK'.

Gradually, it was revealed that the masked gunmen were actually a group of scientists who had turned vigilantes, hunting for some mysterious alien bugs that had apparently infested humans, using the warm bodies as some sort of gestation process, & the supermarket was identified as a "hot spot".

Interestingly & amusingly, the rogue scientists seemed to have found an ingenious way to isolate humans who were infested. That gruesome process, coupled with the fast-paced action sequences, really made the movie thrilling to watch till the end.

Frankly, I didn't quite like the movie ending, where the evolved alien bug in human form eventually managed to escape the siege. I reckon that's how Hollywood producers often leave room to plan their sequels.

Nonetheless, I had really enjoyed watching the seemingly low-budget thriller movie till the end.

To me, the story plot was awesome, & also original in many ways, when compared to most other movies in the same genre.

Transposed the movie experience - analogically - to a personal life application: What is your story?

More precisely, what is the story you tell yourself?

In other words, if you keep telling that story - your internal dialog, your self-talk - you will keep living that life.

You are the one in charge of your internal dialog, your self talk, & you are the one that can change it by making it exciting to talk in ways that encourage you & inspire you.

Are you loving your old story too much?

People don't just have ideas & self-images about themselves; they have stories.

The stories come up repeatedly in your internal dialog, your self-talk,

That's to say, the story you tell yourself is what determines your future outcome.

We are what we tell ourselves. This is the harsh reality.


Nowadays, it is very easy to lose your focus, especially with the ready availability of rapid technologies like Facbook & instant messaging, besides the prevalence of other distractions.

So, how does one get focused & stay focused?

Here are some quick suggestions:

- focus with the end in mind, & use the important goals or objectives in your life as guideposts in whatever you do;

- remove all physical distractions as much as possible from your immediate work area;

- alternatively, & if possible, change your physical environment to one that is more conducive to maintaining a resourceful mindstate;

- clean up your workplace clutter, if any, as a clean desk begets a clear mind, which in turn drives appropriate & efficient action;

- block out a fixed amount of time from your daily routines to do your most important work;

- use daily 'Things-to-do" Lists, with ABC prioritisation, as guideposts;

- prioritising your important tasks constantly to keep you on the ball;

- breaking down big tasks into small, bite-sized chunks, where possible;

- tracking your progress rigorously, by using say a simplified PERT Chart;

- detaching yourself from negative self-talk through declarative statements;

- use scratchpads on your work desk to capture any random thoughts that distract you by jotting them down;

- practise journaling to regulate your daily thought processes & goal planning;

- play soothing, relaxing music in the background e.g. Pachelbel Canon, while you work;

- using motivating posters as visual peripherals on the wall to help you stay focused;

- if feasible, use full spectrum lighting in your work area; if not, work in a physical area where there is natural light coming in;

[Note: flourescent lighting is bad, especially for the eyes, due to its pulsating strobe effects. In fact, adding a work or reading lamp that uses the old-fashioned tungsten bulb next to you is highly recommended.]


Here's the link to a fascinating article on '18 Most Powerful Things You Can Say to Yourself' by Tom Russell, author of 'SuperWisdom: Seven Vital Secrets for a Rich & Purpose-Filled Life'.

[More information about the author & his work can be found at this link.

I have yet to read his book, but using the Amazon online reading device, with which one can search inside the book, I have discovered that his 'The SuperWisdom Dictionary', containing 40 selected keywords for contemplation & transformation, is equally fascinating.]


"Money may be the husk of many things but not the kernel. It brings you food, but not appetite; medicine, but not health; acquaintance, but not friends; servants, but not loyalty; days of joy, but not peace or happiness."

~ Henrik Ibsen, (1828-1906); a major 19th-century Norwegian playwright, theatre director, & poet; often referred to as "the god father" of modern drama, & ranked as one of the truly great playwrights in the European tradition, alongside Shakespeare;


Monday, December 7, 2009


Do not burn yourself out. Be as I am - a reluctant enthusiast… a part time crusader, a half-hearted fanatic.

Save the other half of yourselves and your lives for pleasure and adventure. It is not enough to fight for the land; it is even more important to enjoy it. While you can. While it is still there.

So get out there and mess around with your friends, ramble out yonder and explore the forests, encounter the grizz, climb the mountains. Run the rivers, breathe deep of that yet sweet and lucid air, sit quietly for a while and contemplate the precious stillness, that lovely, mysterious and awesome space.

Enjoy yourselves, keep your brain in your head and your head firmly attached to your body, the body active and alive, and I promise you this much: I promise you this one sweet victory over our enemies, over those deskbound people with their hearts in a safe deposit box and their eyes hypnotized by desk calculators.

I promise you this: you will outlive the bastards.

~ Edward Abbey;

[Source: 'Favourite Mountaineering Quotes', Sierra Nevada Mountain News, Reports & Information]

Sunday, December 6, 2009


Singapore is one of the fastest ageing populations in the world.

Our population is still relatively young today, but this will change significantly over the next 20 to 30 years. Today, 7.6 percent of the population is 65 years old and above. This will increase almost three-fold to about 18.9% by 2030.

That's to say, one in five Singaporeans will be at least 65 years old then.

Asia's four biggest economies - Australia, China, Japan, & South Korea - are all affected by the greying phenomenon.

According to the United Nations estimates, 30% of the populations of China & Australia will be older than 60 by 2050, while South Korea's figure is 36.9%.

Japan's aging phenomenon is the most serious, where 42.4% of its population is expected to be aged 60 or older by 2050.

By comparison, only 25.5% of the U.S. population will be over 60 years old by 2050.

Globally, the average of the elderly population ratio is estimated to rise from 7.3% to 11.8% in 2030 % 15.9% in 2050. That's to say, 1 in 5 of the world's population will be over 60. For the first time in history, there will be more of us over 60 than there will be children under 15.

No wonder, the 21st century has been termed the 'Century of Ageing'.

Nonetheless, my Polytechnic buddies from the mid-sixties & I, especially with all of us already into the early sixties, are not going "bananas" over these relatively shocking ageing statistics, whether globally or nationally.

To us, we just want to hang out together, once every two months. In some ways, besides touching base with each other, we also like to celebrate our ascent into the Third Age.

In fact, six of us -David, Mike, John, Hock Tin & King & yours truly; only David, King, & yours truly brought along our wives - met recently for lunch at the Crystal Jade Restaurant in the IMM Jurong East shopping mall on Wednesday.

After lunch, we even adjourned to the Kopitiam (coffee-shop) on the 2nd floor to continue our talk shop. Everything under the sun was fair game.

The last time, we - David, Mike, John, Hock Tin, & yours truly; only David & yours truly brought along our wives - had met in October, also over lunch.

It was Mike's earlier idea for each of us to serve on rotation as paymaster for the occasion. So, he paid for the last gathering in October. I was the paymaster for Wednesday. I reckon he wanted us to show personal commitment to the bi-monthly get-together initiative. In earlier years, we had met only once in a blue moon.

The next meeting is tentatively scheduled for the first week of March 2010. David has volunteered to be the next paymaster.

To me, keeping the socialisation process alive & active - or sustaining the fire of the Old Boys Network burning, so to speak - is imperative, as we continue to journey through the Third Age & all the way - gracefully - to the Fourth Age.


Students should master the following four interconnected knowledge, skills & expertise in order to "succeed in work & life in the 21st century:"

Core Subjects & 21st Century Themes:

- English, reading, foreign language, math, economics, science, geography, history & government & global awareness, civic literacy, health literacy, and financial, economic, business & entrepreneurial literacy.

Learning & Innovation Skills:

- Creativity & innovation, critical thinking & problem solving, & communication & collaboration.

Information, Media & Technology Skills:

- Information literacy, media literacy, & information, communications & technology literacy.

Life & Career Skills:

- Flexibility & adaptability, initiative & self-direction, social & cross-cultural skills, productivity and accountability, & leadership & responsibility

[Source: Partnership for 21st Century Skills]


The first question which you will ask and which I must try to answer is this, "What is the use of climbing Mount Everest?" and my answer must at once be, "It is no use."

There is not the slightest prospect of any gain whatsoever. Oh, we may learn a little about the behavior of the human body at high altitudes, and possibly medical men may turn our observation to some account for the purposes of aviation. But otherwise nothing will come of it.

We shall not bring back a single bit of gold or silver, not a gem, nor any coal or iron. We shall not find a single foot of earth that can be planted with crops to raise food. It's no use.

So, if you cannot understand that there is something in man which responds to the challenge of this mountain and goes out to meet it, that the struggle is the struggle of life itself upward and forever upward, then you won't see why we go. What we get from this adventure is just sheer joy.

And joy is, after all, the end of life. We do not live to eat and make money. We eat and make money to be able to enjoy life. That is what life means and what life is for.

~ George Leigh Mallory, 1922;

[Source: 'Favourite Mountaineering Quotes', Sierra Nevada Mountain News, Reports & Information]