Monday, January 30, 2012

In the mind of a child.

I spent almost a week with my nephew who's 3 years and 10 months old and honestly, it's probably equivalent to the quality time I'd spend with a Guru in a cave on a mountain somewhere.

For a kid who's not even 4 yet, he was amazingly adept in conversation.  He could tell you reasons why he liked something or why he doesn't like something.  He could make a statement and ask for your opinion.  Maybe I'm out of touch with kids but for the life of me I couldn't recall them being able to 'hold' conversations if you know what I mean.  Kids these days, are amazing.  Scrap these days, they've always been amazing.

In a span of one week, he has reminded me:

1) It's okay to be angry.  It's okay to be scolded by someone you love.  And it's okay to cry.  But everything is forgotten the next minute.  You love and you hug without grudges.  It's almost as though that 'nasty' episode never happened.  Being angry and being scolded doesn't make you love the other person less.

2) It's okay to miss someone.  And it's okay to be excited when you see that someone and actually show it with no inhibitions.  It's okay to grin as wide as possible and make silly faces because it's okay to show them how important they are.

3) It's okay to explore.  It's okay to be curious and want to touch everything you cross path with because if it's really dangerous, someone will warn you.  Otherwise nothing beats the actual experience of knowing what it feels and to quench that curiosity than to wonder about it forever.

4) It's okay to say no.  It's okay to tell someone you don't like something.  All you have to do is just request politely; please stop it, you're hurting me.  That's it.  No need for drama.

5) It's okay to ask if you want something.  But truly understand that it's a blessing to get it.  Toys need money and money needs to come from somewhere.  It's important to understand that someone gave something so that you can have it.  And it's important to share that story with others, so that they know how happy you are.  And it's important to say thank you.

6) It's okay to play.  It's okay to have fun.  It's okay to run around silly.  It's okay to hold hands and dance in circles till your head spins and you fall down and you laugh at each other for being so silly.  It's okay to not have a reason to be so silly.  It's okay that the world is looking but you are still so silly.  Who cares about the world.

7) It's okay to do homework.  It's okay to have fun in doing what is important.  Math or maze, it's more fun when you do it with someone.  And it's okay to ask someone to do it with you.

8) It's okay to be embarrassed.  It's okay to have made a mistake.  As long as you have loved ones backing you up, then there's no shame.  It's important to share the reason why you made that mistake.  But it's more important to get over it and move on in the next 10 minutes because seriously, it's not that big of a deal.

He was here for approximately a week and every day, I learned something new from him.  I don't really know if you'd call this 'something new' because c'mon, face it.  It's something we all knew.  We've all been children.  But you know what?  Sometimes, it's really okay to be children too.  Yes, it's really o.k.

I miss him so much and here's my smiley face :)

Friday, January 27, 2012

The Good Samaritan Shop.: REDRUMMURDER sexy 60's halter-neck.

The Good Samaritan Shop.: REDRUMMURDER sexy 60's halter-neck.: Donated item! Once upon item, REDRUMMURDER was like the shop to go to in town. I'm not sure whether it's still around today (I think i...

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Sparks' Open Library Project: The Social Animal - David Brooks.

Sparks' Open Library Project: The Social Animal - David Brooks.: This is one of the most profound books I have ever digested. EVER. And I mean no exaggeration. The Economist touted it as 'a fascinati...

Saturday, January 21, 2012

The Good Samaritan Shop.: agnès b. pinstripe knee-length skirt.

The Good Samaritan Shop.: agnès b. pinstripe knee-length skirt.: A beautifully structured and composed piece of donation :) agnès b. is known for her self-named French brand, which includes fashion and...

Friday, January 20, 2012

Circular reasoning has much ado about nothing.

The future belongs to the young because they will become increasingly successful due to the connectivity and social networks the previous generation did not have.  And because they are successful, they will become increasingly more connected and wired to networks which will bring more opportunities that are also deprived from the previous generation.  These young people will enjoy the ‘soft’ rewards of being a global villager – resources their contemporaries a decade ago only dreamt of having but they are also the cursed generation because they will need to pay an exorbitant price to experience global standard ‘hardware’ infrastructures forcing them to be even more competitive, and more successful than their peers.

Do you see the fundamental problem of circular reasoning?  We cannot never do a root-cause analysis accurately, thus causing a lot of decisions to be made based on guesswork.  It's like saying “only the young die young” - essentially it doesn't really tell you anything.


Thursday, January 19, 2012

What a 12 year old today think about music.

"Without Youtube.. Music is nothing.. We will be stuck listening to Mozart or Beetoven but I respect them :)"

Actual words.  I kid you not.

So see, you censor YouTube, you slice out a huge chunk of music from their lives.  Their inspiration will be stunted.  It's like asking them to go back to Stone Age and start all over again.


Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Monkeys and bananas.

Start with a cage containing five monkeys.

Inside the cage, hang a banana on a string and place a set of stairs under it. Before long, a monkey will go to the stairs and start to climb towards the banana. As soon as he touches the stairs, spray all of the other monkeys with cold water. After a while, another monkey makes an attempt with the same result - all the other monkeys are sprayed with cold water. Pretty soon, when another monkey tries to climb the stairs, the other monkeys will try to prevent it.

Now, put away the cold water. Remove one monkey from the cage and replace it with a new one. The new monkey sees the banana and wants to climb the stairs. To his surprise and horror, all of the other monkeys attack him. After another attempt and attack, he knows that if he tries to climb the stairs, he will be assaulted.

Next, remove another of the original five monkeys and replace it with a new one. The newcomer goes to the stairs and is attacked. The previous newcomer takes part in the punishment with enthusiasm! Likewise, replace a third original monkey with a new one, then a fourth, then the fifth. Every time the newest monkey takes to the stairs, he is attacked. Most of the monkeys that are beating him have no idea why they were not permitted to climb the stairs or why they are participating in the beating of the newest monkey. After replacing all the original monkeys, none of the remaining monkeys have ever been sprayed with cold water. Nevertheless, no monkey ever again approaches the stairs to try for the banana. Why not? Because as far as they know that's the way it's always been done round here.

And that, my friends, is how company policies are made.


This is a very famous story which to be honest, I'm not even sure who originated it.  The first time I heard it was via a colleague.  But the problem is I can't even recall which colleague.  But now that you've read it, I'm sure you went #damnitstrue too :)

So make it a point to go pro culture, oppose policies, and leave no answer unquestioned.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

My short film (if I ever have one).

I wanna tell a story.  The story is about this king who due to some unforeseen circumstances, left his home country when he was young to live in a foreign land.  No one knew he was royal blood but only himself.  He did all sorts of jobs to earn a living and survive (just like a commoner) but with great wisdom (cause wisdom is supposed to come with blue blood, no?).  But one day, he had to go home because there was rampant dictatorship and tyranny in his home country.  He fought long and hard for he had sort of 'relinquished' his throne.  But as life would have her way, he simply couldn't let go millions of his subjects that are living in horror and famine; result of ruthless dictatorship.  So he decided to go back and 'save' his country and in a way redeem himself.  So, one fine morning he donned his royal robe - full of splendour and glory, bespoke and befitted, wonderful and worthy of a King to succeed the throne.  And took the great flight home.

Next the movie should cut into an arrival scene that should be utterly moving.  The king will arrive in his royal splendour with no escorts except for his wife and two children.  But when everyone saw him, they knew salvation was at hand for they recognised immediately this is someone very important.  And one by one, they will bow their heads, bend and go down on one knee - in awe and respect, in joy and knowing.  One by one they will go down on their knees.  And there, at that very moment.  The King has been reinstated.

And the movie will continue to unfold with dramatic sacrificial scenes interspersed with seat-gripping 'almost Valkyrie' equivalent sort of strategy anxiety cuts.  And the king demonstrates his birthright wisdom and practical street knowledge (by hand and digital) by what he learned while living as a commoner, and all his wit to free his country from a Jong-il equivalent.

And Jong-il equivalent was banished, not brutally murdered like Gaddafi, Saddam and Osama because the king was compassionate.  From then him, his family and the country live happily ever after.


Story inspired by true story here.

Monday, January 16, 2012

The Good Samaritan Shop.: Nominated for 'Best CSR blog' - Social Media Award...

The Good Samaritan Shop.: Nominated for 'Best CSR blog' - Social Media Award...: Helloooo peeps, what a pleasant surprise! I got an email from the organisers of the Social Media Award 2012 that 'The Good Samaritan Shop'...

Innocent till proven guilty. Always.

Stop living in Fear.  As you can see (and I can guarantee), there are definitely a lot more innocent people than guilty ones in the world (and around you).  Even if we calculate 'population' equals to ONE, the possibility of that one person being innocent still outweighs the chance of them being guilty.  So relax, take a chill pill and have a little faith.

Why is this important?  Because I realized that when you take 'innocent till proven guilty' as a baseline of your belief in life, you'd realise your respond and action towards people will change too.  Don't believe?  Try it ;)

The Good Samaritan Shop.: Jack Spade leather messenger bag.

The Good Samaritan Shop.: Jack Spade leather messenger bag.: Another wonderful donation, all the way from Singapore! Jack Spade offers men's items that represent honest, thoughtful design and pract...

Sunday, January 15, 2012

What is the true value of life?

Recently, I did a financial status review - in layman terms, a review of my insurance portfolio to see if ever something happens to me, just exactly how much money I can squeeze from the insurance giant to make sure they keep their promise in taking care of my family.

While doing the review, my agent and I both agreed that I need to 'upgrade' my policy and this is mainly due to inflation and also what I could afford before when I was a fresh graduate was (still a blessing) peanuts.  If I'm ever doomed to be crippled or something, my payout is only sufficient for the ambulance trip.  That's how small we're talking about.

We've upgraded once while I was half way through my current working life and we're thinking of another one now because it goes for 0, 5 and 10, etc years and like your car, your financial health needs periodic service and maintenance to stay in shape and secured.

But while I agree we need to hedge against inflation, to be honest... I disagreed with my agent at some levels and was to a certain extent offended by her remarks.

Her argument was if my expenditure today is X, therefore I need a plan which ensure a payout that is X value equivalent when I retire (that is if I'm lucky to have survived minor injuries, lost of limbs or senses, natural disasters, crippling accidents and death by murder).  I supposed it's right but I'm quite taken aback that the gist of her selling point was: You're living this quality of life and you're spending X amount and you'd wanna  maintain this standard of living even if something happens to you.  If you don't buy this policy, you won't be able to survive because logically, you can't scale down.


Strange.  I didn't grow up in a rich family.  Not in a poor one either.  We're from a comfortable middle class and I feel really blessed because statistically speaking, my household is considered upper income, which consists of only 20% of total households in Malaysia.  If your household earns more than RM3k, than you are above average.  My discomfort, if I understood her correctly, is the fact that if something happens, I wouldn't be able to scale down my lifestyle.  And the way she had said it, sounds so matter-of-factly that everyone won't be able to scale down and therefore should spend more money now to secure the same kind of lifestyle in the future.  I don't doubt that it will be difficult especially to have to send Beanie away, but seriously there's a Chinese proverb which says: If the horse dies on you, you get down and walk.  Yea, perhaps we're so accustomed to luxury and convenience, it seems unimaginable for us to live without both.  I don't know how well I will cope.  But to hear someone else make that sweeping comment seemed a little strange to me.  If indeed you don't die (for whatever reason) and are able to pay-off all necessary medical bills then count your lucky stars.  There is no use for a 2.0 turbo if you don't have legs to throttle anyway.  Well, at least that's my theory.

The other point she made which I was taken aback was the 'price' of the policy which should go accordingly to your 'position'.  Her reason on why I should buy A over B (example ratio of 10:1) is because "you're at a director level, therefore you should get A because anyone, even clerks can get B".


My take-out of that statement?

So people who earn more need bigger policies with bigger payouts so that they can ensure fuller coverage and more secured affordability when it comes to expensive operations to increase higher chance of survival and more comfortable recuperation and livelihood for 'the-rest-of-their-lives'.  I know I know, this is a stupid argument.  But I find it highly uncomfortable to know that the general sales pitch by insensitive insurance agents, is 'life could be bought'.  Smaller policies, smaller payout, lower coverage, lower affordability of costly operations, lower grade medication, lower survival possibility - all determined by how much one is earning today.  Now you understand why Chinese parents are SO determined to have their kids do well academically even if it's in the expense of their creative propensity?

I know I know, this is a blatant truth that needs no arguing - Africans are dying due to famine and Americans are wasting super-sized burgers (sorry for the generalization but just to illustrate an example) - life is never fair, I supposed I've always viewed it as a 'world problem' due to bad governance and rampant corruption.  But I've never seen it as a grassroot problem.  That we didn't even realize this thinking of 'my life is more valuable because I am so and so and I can afford this and that' has so unnoticeably permeated into our daily thoughts.  It's scary because the subconscious mind is seriously a lot more influential than we give it credit for.  If within an organisation, the value of a director's life is viewed higher than the value of a clerk's, then I think there's really something VERY wrong in our society.  We're placing too much emphasis on economic value because the only reason why I think the former could be more valuable than the latter is because the director can arguably bring more economic value to the company.  So... that's even worse right.  You're useful because you are economically indispensable.  Otherwise, your life is as good as a clerk's.  Appalling truth of how the value of one's life is measured isn't it?  Well, it is for me.  Especially in an organisation, I'm a strong advocate of equality.  How much you earn is directly proportionate to how much profit you're making for the company.  It has nothing to do with positions.  If a director was held hostage with a clerk, we do not determine whose life we should save based on economic value.  And we shouldn't even be the ones determining it.

So there you have it.  The truth about insurance.  Not how it works but how it sells to you by leveraging on your subconscious insecurities, how it plays up your fear and ego based on your 'perceived' economic value.  How it detests me yet I have no choice to play along because I can not care whether I (or my children - yup they should be toughen up) ride on horses or walk, but I cannot not care about my parents because they deserve a comfortable, secured life which they shouldn't be fighting for anymore.

Such is life.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

The Good Samaritan Shop.: MNG casual sportswear: Grey oversized knit.

The Good Samaritan Shop.: MNG casual sportswear: Grey oversized knit.: An item donated by another kind Samaritan :) I realized that it's really tough to be your own 'model'. As you can see from the pix below...

Friday, January 13, 2012

Aren't you a tad over-confident?

Everyone wants to be somewhere by 30.  No doubt, there are many who were born with the gold-plated apparatus in their mouth, but even so digital has paved major highways to success for many Millennial.  And, then I read something which really jumped at me.  Yes, today we have so many young moguls covered in the press - self-made or not, but if you take the average Joe, you'd realize:

"As a result, many young people today think they're superior to their peers and appear ambitious—playing up their successes as proof of their overachievement. But Twenge spots a growing disconnect between self-views and reality. For example, when adjusted for inflation, the average income of young men in their 20s is lower than it was in the 1970s, despite the play afforded in the press to modern Millennial millionaires." - Psychology Today

Do you see what I see?  For so many years, we've been enjoying the growth of 'capitalism' (the research was done in America, so we will use their model as an example), but this 'growth' is essentially delusional.  Sure we are earning 2k versus 200 given the same age 30 to 40 years back but the value of our money is now worth at 200 versus 2k.

Which essentially means (sorry to go all graph craze of late, but it really helps me to put things in perspective):

We may be achieving more.  But the value of our achievement overtime is becoming less given the 'time of achievement is at a constant 20s'.  Is there a solution to this?  I don't know.  But it sure helps to stop you from jumping off the 'overachievers'' cliff if money is your sole motivation for doing what you do.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

What's in the name of honesty?

Once upon a time, there was a fresh-eyed graduate who got a shelling of her lifetime for an honest opinion that she had impulsively put forward.  "You can shove your honesty somewhere else" was the reply - harsh, loud and clear.

It was remembered and it was defied.  For a lifetime.

Till many years later, Wisdom came knocking on the door and taught her that it wasn't honesty that was not appreciated.  It wasn't also so much the fact that we cannot propose our thoughts and feelings on the table especially when they trouble us greatly.  It was about holding it back till Right Time comes along.  It was about using Maturity to brew the thoughts and feelings so that they could be better digested when the time for them to be appreciated comes.  And by doing so, from Honesty blossomed Patience.

I see.

You know, it's quite a liberating when you finally get it?  Feels like something in you just took flight but at the same time, that very same feeling grounds you.  Because now you know better.  And now you know, what the shelling was for and for what it's worth, it was worth it.

And so I learned, some things you've just got to suck it in and let it brew in you.  Not to the point where you hit boiling point and explode but just enough for the emotions to vaporize a little even though the matter may remain.

Now for some laughs.

Picture credit here.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Sparks' Open Library Project: And to think that I saw it on Mulberry Street - Dr...

Sparks' Open Library Project: And to think that I saw it on Mulberry Street - Dr...: An astonishingly simple narration of what happens when an adult mind meddle with the imagination of a child! Sometimes the adult is an adu...

The Relationship Graph: Subject vs Matter.

It's easier to deal with life when you know (at least some of) its methods :)

They say, awareness is the first step to recovery.  If you are in a 'less than ideal' situation right now; keep calm, reassess your position and design the best exit strategy.  

p/s: I just realised that the graph is kinda sad, innit?  Haha, shows like the glass is half empty if you scored everywhere else except for the 'soul mates' jackpot.  Well, there're two sides to a coin, so let see if these terms make you feel better and will help you to er... reassess your reassessment:

- Blind love/Unconditional love
- 'Settling'/Comfortable
- Stand-in buddy/A friend in need, is a friend indeed

Well doesn't matter how you see it, ultimately, you're in control.  Good luck :)

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Jean Francois Millet Malaysianized ;)

Visited 'Malaysian Batik Masters' at KL Lifestyle Art Space @ Tropicana City Mall and something really caught my eye; one particular subject which belongs to Goh Kwan Chin entitled 'Sowing'.  I like his style of thick outlines that encapsulate his subjects in an almost surreal sort of animated fashion.  He made art seem so easy but I'm pretty sure his work is highly methodological.  At first introduction when going through his batik exhibits, I thought about Keith Haring.  Similar sort of animation and that same unmistakable thick ebony outline that almost intentionally grounds the entire artwork into its frame, afraid that it would otherwise escape with a life of its own.  But then on second thoughts, Goh's work brought memories of work by Jean-Francois Millet, the famed socialist artist from the acclaimed Barbizon school that originated realism in France during the 19th century.  The said particular painting was known as 'The Gleaners' (what contextual coincidence!) and you could compare them here:

All of Goh's work, like Millet feature 'peasants at hardwork'; the former portrayed much of a 'rural worker's life' whether it's in the paddy fields, the farm or rubber estate.  The work shows subjects bent over, hard at work - hard but peaceful life, unperturbed by the modernity nor technology that gave us much convenience but also robbed us of 'presence' when in close proximity with each other.  But of course, this interpretation and reference to Millet are solely mine and do not in any way represent the artist himself, nor the organiser.

Strange.  I kept calling him, he.  Truth be told, I don't really know if Goh Kwan Chin is a man or woman.  I tried googling but to no avail.  Indeed this artist deserves a lot more coverage that the first two links posted by KL Lifestyle.  How unfortunate.

Hmm.  I realized I do miss art movements a lot.  Anyway oh well, if you're interested in Malaysia's very own batik art gurus, you better catch the exhibition at Tropicana City Mall before Jan 15th :)

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Dub step up.

I'm addicted to dubstep videos all afternoon.  The movements are so... mesmerizing; calculated and intuitive at the same time.  I see a lot of guys doing it but not many girl dancers though.  Hmm.  And I'd imagine, if I could just pin a motion sensor on each of the dancer's joints, we could really be amazed by an unexpected visual surprise on screen.  Wonder how that would look like.  Perhaps the closest visual idea is as shown by the Samsung mobile ad, dancer using his fingers instead.  Would be interesting, innit?

And I don't know why, Michael Jackson keeps coming to mind :P

I would be interested to know if there're Malaysian dubstep groups and see how are they doing.  Let me know if you know any! :)

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Accepting versus seeking responsibility.

It's 2012.  If you are resonate with the following:

1) That the average human being has an inherent dislike of work and will avoid it if he can;
2) Because of this, people must be coerced, controlled, directed and threatened to get them to work properly;
3) That the average human prefers to be directed and avoids responsibility, has little ambition and prefers security above all.

Do us all a favour.  Please change to these:

1) The expenditure of physical and mental effort in work is as natural as play or rest.
2) External control and threat of punishment are not the only means of getting people to work properly.  Man will exercise self-direction and self-control.
3) How a person will commit himself to helping to attain organisation objectives will depend upon the rewards associated with achievement
4) The average human being, under proper conditions, can learn not only to accept but to seek responsibility
5) The capacity to assist materially in the solution of organisational problems is widely, not narrowly distributed in the population
6) The intellectual capacities of the average person are only partly used under modern industrial conditions.

All it takes, is just a switch of mindset.  And I'm not just talking about work.  A family is also an 'organisation', in a social rather than business context.  You may not agree, but you will see a lot of similarities of what successful relationships are built upon - good teamwork, not just all sparks and bouquets.  Good teamwork doesn't appear overnight, it needs great challenges to prevail.

Good luck :)

Personnel Management I.

Unfortunately too many of our fancies we assume to be facts and they are accepted as such without question.  To make meaningful decisions about people we must question, exhaustively and objectively.  We must, as far as we can, remove the emotive content which so easily clouds objectivity, by striving for a scientific approach: 'going out and looking' and then when taking action being sure that it is based on knowledge - not fancy, fantasy or hearsay.  There is no substitute for painstaking study.  We must arm ourselves with both general and specific knowledge about people and situations before we can consider ourselves properly equipped to do so much about them.  This is undoubtedly the most difficult, but it is also the most important and the most rewarding task that the manager can undertake.

Reading this made me realized that I may have a glaring problem.  In my personal life.



Monday, January 2, 2012

The answer to that fear.

Yes?  No?

The New Year sure brought some 'light' - I supposed it's one of those reflective moments when you ask yourself what's been holding you back?  Most of us recognised fear but few of us know how to overcome it.  Confidence is both a good and bad virtue if you ask me, and the fine line between having some and having too much is just too damn unclear!  Thus making it a very unassuming yet dangerous ground to be in.  So, I suggest the next time fear stops you from doing something, check-in with yourself and bring some sincerity to the door.  For me, it (somehow) does the trick.  (Still in beta mode but we will see).

To do or not to do, to say or not to say, to initiate or not to initiate - when we are sincere, the other party surely feels it too.  Besides when we're sincere in doing something, somehow the outcome doesn't matter anymore, isn't it? :)  Good luck in conquering that fear!  And wish me luck too.  がんばろう!