Saturday, June 19, 2010



According to the June 18th 2010 segment of RazorTV, Generation Y is hardest to work with, demanding & impatient, lazy & nacissistic...

That's what employers here think of them.

But on the positive side, they are techno savvy, fast learners & multi-taskers.

What do you think?


This snapshot happens to be my most favourite shoot, taken about fourteen years ago, during my holidays along the southern edges of Gobi Desert with Catherine, as part of the Ancient Silk Road sojourn.

It was also my first encounter with the obnoxious beast known as the "Ship of the Desert". I was told by my guide - in no uncertain terms - that I should not stand in front of the creature at any time, as it would happily provide me with an horrendous as well as torrential experience of his habitual spit.

Up close, the creature was far from ugly. Soft doey eyes & long curly eyelashes gave its face a friendly delicate look, which belied their underlying toughness.

Actually, I was most impressed by the creature because of its legendary survival ability in a truly inhospitable environment.

I had read that it could store water in its blood stream & not in its hump ~ one of the most enduring & misunderstood myths.

Interestingly, its hide could provide tents for shelter, & the meat was said to be similar to veal, although a little tougher. The milk was actually more nutritious than cow’s milk, & was often used fresh as a drink, as well as being made into cheese.

More interestingly, the camel's dung could be used as a fuel with no drying necessary.

Do you know that a "camel" is also called an "oont"?

Anyway, to cut to the chase, the camel is really a wonder of self-containment & self-sufficiency, able to survive hostile environments just on what is contained within.


If I give you 15 minutes to just talk about any subject that you wish, other than what you study, are you able to do so & impress the audience?

~ an excellent question to job applicants, posed by Grace Fu, Senior Minister of State for Education, to test their ability to think on their feet;

[from today's Straits Times' Special Report: 'Race for Critical Thinkers';]

Friday, June 18, 2010


“Whether or not you can observe a thing depends upon the theory you use. It is the theory which decides what can be observed.”

~ Albert Einstein;

Thursday, June 17, 2010


If you had enjoyed watching the sci-fi fantasy thriller movie, 'Minority Report' (2002), starring Tom Cruise as a future cop on the run - due to a too-perfect computer system gone haywire - in the Year 2054 (Washington DC), you would certaining recall seeing the futuristic graphical user interface - remember, no keyboard, no mouse, no command line whatsoever... only hand gestures to initiate.

In the movie, our hero put on his so-called data gloves & started whooshing through video streams of "future crime scenes" based on "precognitive sensing" technology.

Just as the movie's tagline read:

"The Future Can Be Seen. Murder Can be Prevented. The Guilty Punished Before the Crime is Committed...

The System is Perfect. It's Never Wrong. Until It Comes After You.

Everybody runs... you can't hide... Get ready to run!"

Well, I read recently that the seemingly intuitive graphical user interface is real, as depicted in the foregoing video presentation at TED by the inventor, John Underkoff. He had invented it - as a point-and-touch interface called g-speak - and it's about to change the way we interact with data.

In fact, he was the scientific advisor to the Steven Speilberg movie.

John Underkoffler led the team that came up with the unusual graphical user interface, called the g-speak Spatial Operating Environment.

His company, Oblong Industries, was founded to move g-speak into the real world.

Oblong is building apps for aerospace, bioinformatics, video editing and more. But the big vision is ubiquity: g-speak on every laptop, every desktop, every microwave oven, TV, dashboard."

"It has to be like this," he says. "We all of us every day feel that. We build starting there. We want to change it all."

Before founding Oblong, Underkoffler spent 15 years at MIT's Media Laboratory, working in holography, animation and visualization techniques, and building the I/O Bulb and Luminous Room Systems.

"We're not finished until all the computers in the world work like this... in about five years' time."

I am now fully convinced: The hand is the cutting edge of the mind!


Obviously, as NIKE puts it, malleability of your running shoes can affect your winning outcome on the field.

Putting it metaphorically, as most business strategists already concurred, mental flexibility &/or paradigm pliancy can give you the competitive edge in today's fast-changing world.

RANDOM SPOTLIGHT: "Talent makes the moment. The moments make the man."


"When we choose not to focus on what is missing from our lives but are grateful for the abundance that is present... we experience heaven on earth."

~ Sarah Breathdnack;


The following valuable information comes from the Institute of HearthMath, a recognized, global leader in emotional physiology, stress management and the physiology of heart-brain research.

We all know that millions of people are experiencing extra stress. Much outgoing care and compassion is needed to help ease the emotional pain that so many are increasingly experiencing.

Doc Lew Childre, founder of HeartMath, has written a free ebook, "De-Stress Kit for the Changing Times", that provides a few simple practices to help people intercept and manage stress during this period of challenge and uncertainty.

Readers can go to this link to download a free copy of the ebook.

The audio version, in MP3 format, is available at this link.

My first encounter with the work of HeartMath dates back to the mid-nineties, when I had learnt to practise their Freeze-Frame, an instant & yet powerful self-inducing methodology for intentionally shifting emotional states in the moment as a prelude to effective stress management.

[Doc Lew Chidre is also the author of the book, among others, 'Freeze-Frame: Fast Action Stress Relief : A Scientifically Proven Technique' (1994)]


According to the Institute of HeartMath, a recognized, global leader in emotional physiology, stress management and the physiology of heart-brain research, there is a "state of ease" that each of us can access to help release emotional turbulence and help maintain coherent alignment between our heart, mind and emotions.

Learning to access our personal space of "inner-ease" can be done with minimum practice and in just a little time. When operating in an ease-mode, it’s easier to choose less stressful perceptions and attitudes and re-create "flow" in our daily routines.

Readers can go to this link to download a free copy of the ebook about the "State of Ease".

My first encounter with the work of HeartMath dates back to the mid-nineties, when I had learnt to practise their Freeze-Frame, an instant & yet powerful self-inducing methodology for intentionally shifting emotional states in the moment as a prelude to effective stress management.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010


continued from the Last Post]

[to be continued in the Next Post]


What do I do when I still feel unfulfilled?


"Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass; it's about learning how to dance in the rain."

~ Vivian Green, quoted in the book, 'Learning to Dance in the Rain: The Power of Gratitude', by Mac Anderson & B J Gallagher;

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

RANDOM SPOTLIGHT: Frivolous remark

I just wonder how a frivolous remark like what is shown on the bag can help to captivate a customer to buy the bag. Maybe the Y generation thinks differently, since the retail shop, selling wallets & bags, caters more to young people, based on my observation.


In recent months, I have really enjoyed watching the spy thriller series, known as 'Burn Notice', on StarHub cable television.

To understand what is a 'Burn Notice': spies don't get fired, they get burnt!

In the series, a covert operative in special operations, Michael Western (played brilliantly by Jeffrey Donovan) has been disavowed by his spy agency - with no cash, no credit, no job history & stuck in whatever city the agency had dumped him.

As a result, he has to undertake whatever jobs that pass his way to survive, & at the same time, trying his best to figure out what had actually happened.

Watching Michael Western in action is like watching super secret agents Jason Bourne & Angus MacGyver, all rolled into one.

Every episode has been a thrill to watch as he often has to improvise solutions & think out of the box to outwit his adversaries, some of whom came from his past.

Fortunately, he has the unwavering help of wonderful sidekicks in the person of a sexy ex-girl friend, Fiona (played by the beautiful Gabrielle Anwar) with past connections to the IRA (hence, she is always pretty cool with guns, bombs & fists), & a wise-cracking, occasionally goofy, ex-FBI informer, Sam (played by Bruce Campbell), who seemingly has wide "intelligence" connections.

Frankly, I like their unwritten "code of honour": they love to settle dicey problems, preferably in a non-violent manner as much as possible, & also love to help the underdogs, even when they have to risk their own lives, & worst still, when they are unlikely to be paid for.

Coupled with twisted plots, funny but witty dialogue, exotic scenes of Miami backdrop, mandatory car chases, shoot-outs & bomb explosions, & notwithstanding the heart-warming scenes of nagging & nosy-parkering from Michael's mother, Madeline (played by the still-beautiful Sharon Gless), the series has been truly great for entertainment, with a pretty good balance between action, romance, & comedy.

Never a dull moment, so to speak.

Best of all, also a lot of interesting & valuable lessons to pick up, especially about the power of observation, ways of eliciting & gathering information, techniques of conducting as well as evading surveillance, using everyday objects to improvise solutions, resolving conflicts, confronting fears, negotiating from a vantage position, impersonating - & staying cool - to get out of sticky situations, & thinking out of the box to stay alive.


"The truth you believe & cling to makes you unavailable to hear anything new."

~ Pema Chodron, a leading exponent of teachings on meditation & how they apply to everyday life; also, widely known for her charming & down-to-earth interpretation of Tibetan Buddhism for Western audiences;

Monday, June 14, 2010


Last Monday, my Polytechnic buddy, David, invited me to join him in a morning walk through the Southern Ridges of the island.

Together with his wife, Jenny, we started off from Car Park D on Mount Faber Park, at about 7.30am, & walked leisurely all the way via Telok Blangah Hill to the Kent Ridge Park, from where we then back-tracked to the starting point.

When we started off, there was cool breeze, because it appeared that rain would greet us, judging from the dark cloudy sky.

By the time we had returned to the starting point, it was just after 11am. The weather turned out to be quite sunny.

I estimated that the entire walking distance we had covered at 10-12km, with the following "itinerary" [please refer to the above map]:

- Faber Trail (1 km stretch through the Mount Faber Park);

- Henderson Waves (a really spectacular 300 m long pedestrian bridge, with its distinctive wave-like structure, rising some 12 storeys above Henderson Road);

- Hilltop Walk (1 km stretch through Telok Blangah Hill Park, connecting one end with Henderson Waves & the other with Forest Walk);

- Forest Walk (an elevated walkway of about 1.3km, through Telok Blangah Hill, linking to the Alexandra Arch);

- Alexandra Arch (a fascinating 80 m long bridge, with its unique tilting steel/granite structure resembling an open fig leaf, connecting Alexandra Road & Hydrabad Road);

- Floral Walk & HortPark (a beautiful hotspot of floral diversity, with some twenty creatively themed gardens, comprising about half the size of Botanical Gardens);

- Canopy Walk (a 300 m stretch linking Kent Ridge Park to the museum known as Reflections at Bukit Chandu);

According to the National Parks Board (NPB), the entire walking distance through the chain of hills on the Southern Ridges, with a total of eight trail paths, is estimated at 9km, one way.

Besides walking leisurely through Mother Nature, & enjoying the views of shrubs & trees as well as the smell of flowers, breath-taking panaromic views - of the city, the harbour & the Southern Ridges - greeted us at strategic points along the way.

Reflecting on the walking & viewing experience, I must accord kudos to the trail planners at the NPB & URA.

I am glad to read that there are upcoming plans to link the Southern Ridges to the Keppel Waterfront with park connector from Alexandra Arch to Labrador Park.

My digital snapshots of the many panaromic views of the city, the harbour & the Southern Ridges will follow in the Next Post.

Interested readers can go to the following websites for more detailed information:

- National Parks Board (NPB);

- Urban Renewal Authority (URA);

[Source of Information, Maps & Photos in this post: National Parks Board]


A group snapshot of my Polytechnic buddies from the sixties at the Zhou's Kitchen in the Anchor Point shopping mall, on 2nd June 2010.

The host for the occasion was Ho, my buddy sitting right in the middle. The lady was Mrs Ho.

The next gathering is scheduled for 4th August 2010, & will be hosted by 'King', my buddy standing on the right of the snapshot.

The following two black & white snapshots were taken in Malacca, the hometown of Ho, during the sixties.

Just for the fun of it, can you recognise any of us by comparing with the recent snapshot as shown above, despite the transpiration of more than four decades?


According to America's Reinvention Coach, Pamela Mitchell, writing in her book, 'The 10 Laws of Career Reinvention: Essential Survival Skills for Any Economy', one needs to follow the ten laws as outlined below in order to succeed in the workplace:

The 1st Law: It Starts With a Vision for Your Life

The 2nd Law: Your Body Is Your Best Guide

The 3rd Law: Progress Begins When You Stop Making Excuses

The 4th Law: What You Seek is on the Road Less Traveled

The 5th Law: You've Got the Tools in Your Toolbox

The 6th Law: Your Reinvention Board is Your Lifeline

The 7th Law: Only a Native Can Give You the Inside Scoop

The 8th Law: They Won't "Get" You Until You Speak Their Language

The 9th Law: It Takes the Time That it Takes

The 10th Law: The World Buys Into an Aura of Success

I haven't yet read the book, but I do concur that some of the above-mentioned laws certainly make sense.


"It is easy to choose a path in life that has been well traveled by many before you and crowded by many walking beside you. There is safety in knowing the obstacles ahead, comfort and warmth from the companionship of others and certainty in the destination. Embarking on a journey into unknown territory requires steely courage, an adventurous spirit, a deep belief in oneself and simple hope for a better tomorrow."

~ Marcy Blochowiak, CEO Marketing Director with World Financial Group & author of 'No Glass Ceiling, Just Blue Sky: A Women's Guide to Building Great Teams';

[Readers can go to this link at Nightingale-Conant to access one of the author's articles bearing the same title.]

BRUSH UP YOUR LANGUAGE: When do you use "lie" and "lay"?

According to Word FAQs at, to "lay" is to place something; to "lie" is to recline (though there are other meanings).

"Lay" is followed by an object, the thing being placed.

For example: He lays the book down to eat.

To "lie" is to recline, as in: She lies quietly on the chaise lounge.

The best way to explain it is that "lie" in the sense of 'to recline' or 'be situated' is intransitive and cannot take a direct object.

But "lay" meaning 'to place something' or 'put down' or 'arrange' is always transitive and requires a direct object.

Because "lie" is intransitive, it has only an active voice, while "lay" can be active or passive because it is transitive.

Part of the source of the confusion is the past tense of "lie", which is lay: She lay on the chaise all day.

The past participle of "lie" is lain, as in: She has lain there since yesterday, as a matter of fact.

The past tense of lay is laid, as is the past participle.



I was very intrigued by this mosaic construction - in 3D - of a footballer in action, that seemed to have captured the frenzy of the ongoing World Cup fever.

The location of the display: Vivocity shopping mall.



Interestingly, - & of course, metaphorically - the field of sports is now declared a war zone. So it seems that the choice of weapon can determine the winning outcome.

Sunday, June 13, 2010


"212° is not only a message of action - it's a message of persistent and additional action - the continual application of heat (effort) to whatever task or activity you undertake in order to achieve not only the primary objective you seek, but to reap the exponential rewards that are possible by applying one extra degree of effort."

~ Sam Parker & Mac Anderson, authors of '212: The Extra Degree';

The premise of 212° is very simple:

At 211 degrees, water is hot. At 212 degrees, it boils. And with boiling water comes steam. And steam can power a locomotive.

So, it's about the power of one degree, or that tiny bit of extra effort that can make all the difference in our lives.

It's about raising our awareness and understanding that one extra bit of effort, one additional bit of action, can totally change our personal as well as professional results.

Some interesting action tips from the book:

1) Eliminate one half hour of television watching each day & get 182.5 hours each year to allocate elsewhere (equivalent to four & half weeks at work);

2) Complaining once less a day chokes off 365 seeds of negativity a year;


1. Who am I communicating with?

2. What are we communicating about?

3. What impact do they have on me and me on them?

4. What have they got me thinking?

5. What have they got me saying?

6. What have they got me doing?

7. What have they got me reading?

8. What do they have me becoming?

9. Are they helping me to achieve my goals?

10. Am I adding consistent value to their life?

11. What are my goals?

12. Do they inspire and challenge me to grow?

13. Am I playing to win or playing not to lose?

14. Does my behavior inspire others to greatness?

15. If I passed today, would I be proud of my contributions and legacy?

Then ask yourself the big question: Is that okay?

~ inspired by Gary Ryan Blair's e-newsletter, 'The Awesome Power of Questioning'; he is known on the internet as 'The Goals Guy'; also, the author of the book, 'Everything Counts - 52 Remarkable Ways to Inspire Excellence & Drive Results';

"The most important thing is not how you spend your money, but how you spend your life!"

A memorable quote from the monster movie, 'Tremors 4: The Legend Begins', starring Michael Cross. I had watched it for the first time last night on StarHub cable television.

It's actually the fourth instalment of the cult movie series, starting from the early nineties, but this one is set as a prequel to the earlier three.

I have enjoyed watching all the four instalments, especially the depiction of man's ingenuity & creativity in dealing with hostile elements under the most dicey circumstances.

In a nut shell, the story generally centred on how a ragtag group of people living in a small isolated desert town rallied together to fight against a bunch of strange but intelligent underground carnivorous creatures known as "graboids" [now I know they were originally known as "dirt dragons" in the prequel].

The giant creatures didn't have eyes, though they had big mouths, filled with retractable blood-thirsty tentacles, & often tracked their prey via sound vibrations on the ground.

They were reminiscent of the giant worms in the sci-fi adventure movie, 'Dune', during the mid-eighties.

Michael Cross is the only actor who has appeared in all four movies.


RANDOM SPOTLIGHT: "Every team needs light speed!"

RANDOM SPOTLIGHT: "Don't look back!"