Saturday, February 20, 2010


"A good plan, violently executed now, is better than a perfect plan next week."

"Don't tell people how to do things, tell them what to do and let them surprise you with their results."

"If you tell people where to go, but not how to get there, you'll be amazed at the results."

"Success in war depends on the golden rules of war: speed, simplicity, and boldness."

~ General George Patton, in his memoirs, 'War as I Knew It'; considered one of the most effective Allied generals during WWII;

[Source: 'Business Agility: Sustainable Prosperity in a Relentlessly Competitive World', by Michael Hugos; the author argues:

"Business is certainly not war; business is about creation whereas war is about destruction. Business happens when we find constructive ways to meet our needs; war happens when we do not. Yet there are useful analogies and lessons to be learned about responsiveness and agility from military experience."]


What is my greatest challenge during these turbulent times in introducing new thinking and new ideas?


"The leader has to be practical and a realist, yet must talk the language of the visionary and the idealist."

- Eric Hoffer, philosopher;


I had visited Chinatown recently, together with a bunch of kids - actually they were my wife's nieces - plus her three married sisters - from Vietnam.

We had dropped into the People Park's Complex, after a sumptious meal of hot-pot frog legs with congee in the nearby foodcourt.

Traditionally during the Chinese New Year, at least for the last three decades or so, & located just outside the Chinese Emporium on the second floor, there was this large free-standing poster wall, illustrating the fortune forecasts (in both Chinese & English) of all the twelve magnificant animals in the Chinese Zodiac.

Visitors to the complex often flocked to view their own related segments. I was one of them, as usual, with my curiosity streak.

As a Rat Personality, naturally I was bemused to read what seemed to be my fortune forecasts for 2010, with selected excerpts, as follows:

"Two important keys to your success are to be nimble and not to pick fights you have a chance of losing..."

"Scale back your endeavours in the first six months of the year, and make your most concerted efforts during the next six good months..."

"The best strategy is to cultivate flexibility... It is a good time to monitor game-changing trends..."

"Attend as many events and gatherings of the most important people in your life as possible, or better yet, plan some yourself... Proactively expanding your social circle and interests will connect you with one or more exciting new love prospects..."

"Relaxation will be valuable to your health this year..."

"... you should be vigilant so as not to get caught up in clever but uncertain schemes... due diligence erring on the side of caution and conservatism could avert serious losses."

For me, the forecasts read rather "generic".

As one who had already gone through more or less five cycles [each cycle, by each animal (the smart rat heads the list) in succession, is 12 years; taking the 5 earthly elements into consideration, that makes 60 years in one astrological cycle;] of the Chinese Zodiac, I am often inclined to take the fortune forecasts with a grain of salt, so to speak.

As I had reminded my relatives, especially those who just happened to be born a "mismatch" with the Year of the Metal Tiger, one should always approach the forecasts in the spirit of learning & fun, & not to embrace them as gospel truth.

Life, in essence, is making choices, & it entails making the best of it. There will always be good times & bad times. We just have to deal with them as they come.

Naturally, when the forecast calls for "due diligence" on your part, then you better move your butt in that direction. That's about it.

I often recall an insightful remark from a good friend of mine, who is also an amateur geomancer, the vital key to any fortune forecasts is "pragmatism".

By the way, the Year of the Tiger is forecasted to be the best year in 2010 for my wife, & also for one of her married sisters. Let's see how they work out.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


Last night, despite being pretty tired, I had started to read the first few pages of the long-overdue book, 'Borrowing Brilliance', by entrepreneur David Murray, on my bed.

The book was among a large stack of books on my bedside table. It had in fact been there for quite a while, together with the other books.

I didn't finish the reading as I had dozed off. My wife had apparently come to switch off my reading light & to remove the book while I slept.

According to him, he had lost US$50 million to learn a valuable lesson, which he wanted to share with readers.

"Ideas are constructed out of other ideas, there are no truly original ideas, you can't make something out of nothing, you have to make it out of something else.

It's the law of cerebral physics.

Ideas are born of other ideas, built on and out of the ideas that came before. That's why I say that brilliance is borrowed."

Gee Whiz! I am going to enjoy the book.

Please stay tuned!


"It makes little difference how many university courses or degrees a person may own. If he cannot use words to move an idea from one point to another, his education is incomplete."

~ Norman Cousins;

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


Here's the link to an interesting & refreshing business tool for readers to test-drive for FREE.

It's called the Profit Proposal Generator.

It helps you to think as a 'Value Creator' for your organisation or your own business.

The brain behind the tool is Larry Myler, author of 'Indispensable By Monday: Learn the Profit-Producing Behaviors that will Help Your Company… & YOURSELF'. He is also the CEO of More or Less, Inc., a profit enhancement consulting outfit.


What can you & I do to create a Heaven on Earth?

~ inspired by The Wisdom Page;


"To succeed in the future, organisations are going to have to find ways of energising people, so that they bring not only their skills, expertise & diligence to work, but they bring their passions & their initiatives as well."

~ business strategist Gary Hamel;


"To really see each other, we have to bother to look.

One essential step in learning to more genuinely see each other is to bother to look. If someone yells at us, or annoys us, or dazzles us with a gift, we do pay attention to them. Our challenge then is to see them as they are, not as we project or assume them to be. But if they don’t make much of an impression on us, we have a different challenge; it is all too easy to look right through them...

... Paying attention provides the gift of noticing, and the gift of connecting. It provides the gift of seeing a little bit of ourselves in others, and of realizing that we’re not so awfully alone. It allows us to let go of the burden of so much of what we habitually carry with us, and receive the gift of the present moment."

~ Sharon Salzberg, cofounder of the Insight Meditation Society (in Barre, Massachusetts) & author of 'The Kindness Handbook';

[Source: Tricycle: The Buddhist Review;]

Monday, February 15, 2010


"There are three things extremely hard: steel, a diamond, & to know one's self."

~ Benjamin Franklin;


Ever since returning from Jakarta, Indonesia, just before Christmas Day last year, I have been very busy, physically & intellectually.

In fact, as mentioned earlier, I have been inundated with several project consultancy appraisals, in strategic partnership with my good friend, Dilip Mukerjea.

One has involved the creation of a new learning ecosystem for children, drawing upon internal as well as external landscapes in the existing premises, for a client.

Another has involved the conception & design of a digital webportal, which entails the utilisation of an intelligent digital concierge to guide webusers on learning, creativity & innovation from wherever they may be.

More importantly, there were also several projects relating to eventual implementation in Indonesia.

One involved the conception & design of a proposed curriculum for a 12-month Business School for Kids, interspersed with outdoor adventure camps to inculcate risk-taking behaviours, among other important entrepreneurial traits.

Indonesia has many beautiful natural landscapes to provide such an outdoor facility. Best of all, at low cost!

Another one involved the implementation of a systematic hand-holding program for students, in a defined centre or in the schools, to master my proprietary development of the 'Study Smart Process', which entails ten important process stages.

At this very moment, the projects are still in the "finalisation of negotiation" stage.

Actually, what has fascinated me most is the stretching of the intellectual muscles in my brain to deal with all the potential challenges & to come up with all the possible solutions.

In the course of preparatory work, I have to use a broad variety of software tools e.g. Excel, Powerpoint, SmartDraw, MindManager, etc., to flesh out initial ideas through mapping, storyboarding, flow-charting & spreadsheet analysis.

I also have to surf the net & read up on the latest & new technological developments, e.g. exploratory hypermedia, information mining, adaptive clustering, intelligent personalisation, digital content manipulations, technology-based & blended learning, paper prototyping, etc.

The resultant research has certainly helped me in the problem/opportunity exploration & project development process.

Frankly, the foregoing latter stuff was entirely new to me, although I have some inklings as to what they can do & contribute in the design & development of my digital webportal project.

[Dilip has also taken the opportunity to convince me to pick up a Mac Pro. I may consider it after the CNY holidays to coincide with the expected launch of the new range of Mac products. Looks like there will be more & new learning curves for me.]

During the course of initial exploration, there were also many extensive hours of intellectual sparring with my good friend, Dilip.

By the way, for the digital webportal, much of the intellectual property, which will form the total digital content library, will come from Dilip.

For me, the greatest challenge will be the digital manipulations of his published thoughtwares, as a start. The work has yet to start.

What also has excited me most is that the proposed layout of the system architecture as conceived by Dilip & me on our own for the digital webportal has been given the OK by a system architect, engaged by the investing party to appraise the project.

In between the many project appraisals, I have managed to spend some quick time to catch up with the backlog of my reading.

In the light of 'firing of all cylinders' on my part, so to speak, I have been very slow in posting of my weblog. This is inevitable, as I have to consider first things first.

Regrettably, my weblog readers will have to bear with my "absence" or intermittent postings from time to time.

In fact, I have also not been posting any of my book reviews on Amazon for quite some time.

Worst still, I am also caught up in the preliminary preparation of my planned relocation to Ho Chi Minh City with my wife. We are currently finalising the building plans with the architect over there.

If the current projects materialised in the not-too-distant future, I will definitely be pulled out of semi-retirement, & also may have to shuttle frequently between Singapore-Ho Chi Minh City-Jakarta.

Nonetheless, I am not complaining, as long as I can continue to "indulge" in 'firing on all cylinders'. It's my only new way of keeping my brain intellectually alive & physically active. My body, too.


Recalling some periods in my life when things were going really well for me, what was I doing during those times?

On a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being the things that are not going too well, to 10 being the things that are as good as they can be, where am I now?

What are the specific tasks that I have to do in order to bring myself up to full speed on that scale?

What are the important things that I can start to do right now in order to reach my fullest potential?

Sunday, February 14, 2010