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sundays after sundays after sundays

sunday has to be one of my favourite days. (not that there are that many to choose from)

it’s one of the few days where i can sleep the whole day away without feeling (too) guilty about it.

and for those who might be inclined to skive the housecleaning duties, it’s the perfect time to make a batch of cookies or ice-cream.

although i know i probably should catch up on work that’s been piling up throughout the week, my three most popular things to do on sunday include:

1) Ironing: yep, there’s nothing like ironing 30 work shirts at once (especially when i realise there isn’t anything left in my wardrobe on monday, except my ‘old uncle’ work shirt). i would put a picture here, except that i’ve worn it already and its current condition is not ‘photograph-able’.

2) Sleep: as in regenerative unconsciousness, not as in the other sleep. there’s nothing like making up for a couple of frantic 4 hour nocturnal ‘naps’ in the midst of meeting project deadlines during the week.

Some of signs that tell i’m really tired:
a) an ‘out of the body’ experience while i’m awake, and feeling detached from my body.
b) experience ‘lag’ (or ‘internet latency’) between the time i am thinking of doing something and my body actually doing it.
c) feeling really really exhausted, but being unable to fall asleep when i’m in bed.

yep, i definitely feel more ‘alive’ after these naps.

3) eat: the quintessential singaporean pastime, to scour the papers and magazine and find the next foodies paradise before the other foodies find it.

the secret i’ve found is to go for dinner at 630pm (6pm if possible), because the half hour headstart could save about 1-2 hours of waiting time.

if going for lunch, head out to the place at 11am.

i hate crowds when i go shopping. the same applies to eating too.

collateral damage

What’s a sign of how productive my week had been?

My ‘to do’ list:

Observe ‘exhibit A”

Looks busy doesn’t it?
lots and lots of things to finish up.
the thing though is that the producitivity is measured by the number of things completed, rather than the number of items listed.

as for this week….no comment!

TS Eliot

Friends can be quite strange sometimes.
I can’t always figure them out.

A friend once came to my house and as I was giving him a house tour, he came to my home office, looked at me and said “TS Eliot, The Wasteland”.

I can’t for the life of me figure out what he’s talking about.

talk about your weirdo freaks…

says a thousand words…

As we go into the weekend, I’d like to offer something light to consider.

as saturday and sunday approach, inevitably the thoughts of what it’d be like to go on a holiday would naturally come to me.

to me photographs have always spoken more than a thousand words.
maybe even a million.

and photography has been more than just a hobby for.
it’s a way of capturing memories and maybe even a time machine, allowing me to go back months, years and even decades back to a time when i was experiencing a certain emotion, whether it was happiness, contemplation, or even sadness.

here are 4 photographs from my collection.

This was when we went to Bali about 2 years ago (about 2003). This was right after the Bali bombings, and it was a surreal experience to be on one of the world’s most beautiful beaches and have the beach to yourself.

Literally it was just the five of us, David Lim, Pam, her friend, my wife and myself. Our friends Ber Luen and Gwen had come separately and we met up for a beautiful seafood dinner at Jimbaran, next to the beach.

This photo was shot at sunset at Jimbaran.

I’m not sure which was the most enjoyable: the food, the beautiful skyscape or the pleasure of well-loved friends and family.

perhaps the mixture of all three fills me with a rush of joy, contentment and serenity when I look at this photograph.

Greece, ocean waterfront
The photograph was shot during our honeymoon to Greece and Turkey about 2 years ago.

Greece, being a collection of several hundred islands, is an idyllic country with landscapes having a picturebook quality.

i’ve always wondered how it’d be like to live in a village like this.

sure it looks tranquil and calm, i’m sure i’ll get bored out of my brains within a few weeks though!

Stone texture
This was a picture taken of a stone wall in Turkey.

The textures and shadows are as beautiful to me as a landscape or a person.

imagine all the hundreds of years of sand blasting at the brick wall creating those crevasses and cracks. each grain of sand smashing against the surface, a small speck colliding with the inevitable.

in time however, each grain leaves it’s mark on the pitted surface, filled with character and marking the presence of the sand.

i imagine myself as a speck of sand, and think about the mark i will leave on the brick of history.

Deep fried soft shell crab
No photo collection would be complete without a picture of food.

There’s something magical about eating the shell of a crab.

I’m not sure what it is. perhaps the idea of eating something crispy, perhaps catching the crab when it’s most vulnerable in the state of transformation.

Are we prey for something bigger out there?

Will we one day become fodder for some ancient, alien lifeform?

Honestly, we can’t worry about what happens next, when every day possesses so much beauty and potential.

While we may not be able to capture every single moment with a camera, the most important moments of our lives will be captured in our mind’s eye.

Live long and propser.

how to start a (cyber) war

pay attention, i will say this only once?

shhh, did you hear what i said? I would say this only once.

hey, put your mouse down for a second. i need your full attention. this could prevent all out holy electronic war.

this is how you can start an all-out war on the frontiers of cyberspace.

first, take two good friends who joke and tease each other over an electronic mailing list.

next, throw in a little confusion and misunderstanding, along with mistaken intentions.

throw in a liberal dash of “Btw, if you would have noticed, You have already been Ignored. no need to re-confirm that.” and you have the beginnings of a cold war, one in which there are no winners, only losers.

i remember years ago when i was active in the IRC (Internet Relay Chat) scene, there’d be scores of us techno-savvy teenagers who logged on to the internet and just passed time by doing the Seinfeld (talking about nothing).

And this time we had an outing to a games arcade.

This girl was standing at the fishing reality simulator (essentially a plastic rod, a nylon ‘fishing line’ connected to a reel in the machine and a big television screen showing pictures of the fish in the water.

as she stood at the monitor, her slim frame quivering as the line jerked her back and forth, she started calling for help as she yanked at the ‘fishing rod’.

I jumped beside her, grabbed her hands and started pulling the rod and reeling the fish in.

having scored her catch, she thanked me and I walked off beaming to myself.

I got home later that evening, logged on the #singapore channel and people start private messaging me.

“hey dude, what happened?”

“huh?” i replied

“ey, y u do tt?” another person messaged.

“do what?” i was puzzled

“you know, the other guy in the channel said he’s going to call you out and protect her honour the next time he sees you” another helpful soul offered.

“WHAT????” i ‘yelled’ in my moment of virtual exasperation!

It appeared that the girl had told the others that I had ‘violated’ her personal space and she felt uncomfortable about the experience and practically ran out of the arcade.

Although this happened more than 10 years ago, i’m still mystified today about her intentions.

Had she felt:
1) genuinely ‘violated’ even as she thanked and smiled at me?
2) weird because she knew that the guy who liked her had been watching her and would feel threatened that she felt good about being around other guys, even as she knew that he would feel insecure that she would not always be besotted by him, even though she knew that he would still like to hang out with other girls with whom he’d never have a chance with, because she would likely be the only ever girl he would find a sympathetic ear with and would spend time with him knowing that he’s be someone who would never find someone as good as her and could only fantasise about being with whoever it was in his mind? (yes, i agree, it’s confusing)
3) angry and upset that she hadn’t landed the famed “catch of the day” high score and missed it by only a few points. (although the arcade owner would turn off all machines at the end of the day, wiping off all high scores).

Regardless, it feel like a silly experience and even as i did my best to apologise to her and explain the situation to him, they would have nothing to say or do with me.

it later emerged that other guys and girls in the group had had similar experiences of ‘misunderstandings’ as well, and had gradually dropped out of the group.

honestly, the experience just reflected the infantile maturity of some of the group members and i guess it was just their fifteen nanoseconds of electronic fame. I guess in today’s context, the girl might’ve spent the next 3 weeks villifying me (until she found her next victim). good luck on landing your book deal!

the bottomline for me is that the internet remains one of the best places for cyberse…er, research and work and factual matters.

if it’s something important, especially in interpersonal terms, it’s just like the courier advertisement goes, ‘you can’t fax or email a handshake or a look in the eye”

to my friends who are in the midst of their electronic tiff, i am thinking you’ll get over this bump in the road to your friendship soon.

in the meantime, live well and be well.

firing up all cylinders…

Hi friends,
forgive my lapse over the last 2 days, i’ve been working on ‘improving’ myself.

i’ve just completed a intensive course lasting from 10am to 10pm each day.

it’s been an interesting experience going for the ‘ultimate power selling’ course.

One might wonder why i attended the course considering the fact that i’ve been conducting lots of business and sales courses over the last 2 years.

it’s different when seeing actual practitioners put their actions into practice and a lot of times, I learn more from watching whether a person’s behaviour is consistent with their words (call this a hangover from having studied psychology), and i believe i learned more from watching (and soon modelling, and adopting) the patterns of behaviour I observed in Dennis Wee and his partner Chris Koh.

Photo: Dennis Wee receiving the lifelong learner award from President SR Nathan

Some important tips and reinforcements which I received during the course:
1) The art of closing the sales relies on following up, following up and following up.
2) If you want something badly enough, you will keep working on it, until you achieve it.
3) The first step is always the toughest, the next step is always the easiest.

Sounds simple? The value of going through exercises to reinforce this point is what will keep it in my memory for a long time.

The Dennis Wee group conducts previews for the sales course regularly and it’s suited for either entrepreneurs or those who are working for somebody and wants to make the transition to the next level.

For more info or questions about registering for a free preview, drop me a email.

PS: I have a limited number of copies of his latest book “Get Rich Now” in which he shares 15 wealth-generating techniques. These have been autographed by both Dennis and his co-author Sant Qiu.

A blurb from the book:
“Dennis Wee is one of the biggest names in Real Estate locally. To date, his company, Dennis Wee Group (DWG), is the only home-grown Real Estate company with franchises overseas. In 2003, DWG earned a total revenue of 3.467 billion, a company record high, despite the economic recession.

Through this book, Dr Wee shares 15 vital strategies that propelled him from a secondary 2 drop-out to a millionaire businessman running a highly successful company.”

If you’re interested to learn more about the man, his achievements and most importantly, his strategies, this is the place to start. Email me soon, before all copies are sold.

In the meantime, be well.

the path to ultimate riches

would you like to know the secret to achieving unlimited wealth?

The answer lies between your ears.

No, really. the answer lies between your ears.

While we can’t bring anything with us to the grave, the most important thing we have while we’re alive is our mind.

The mind isn’t necessarily just located within our brain.
I define the mind as the summary of our thoughts and feelings, including our intuition or gut feelings.

Our mind is what lets us dream at night when we go to sleep, what gives us a fresh sense of hope and drive each morning when we wake up (some mornings before tougher than others).

Our mind is the skeleton key which often unlocks unsolvable dilemmas (that is, until they’re solved, then they become minor stumbling blocks, upon later reflection).

Our mind is one of the remaining organs which remains fairly sharp even after the body starts to slow down.

In fact, I’ve just listened to a BBC World Service programme, The Interview (the URL will probably be incorrect after a weekly update) with Carl Djerassi.

Known as the man who created a social revolution, he invented the contraceptive pill, and transformed the lives of millions of women by given them more choice and control over when they had children.

Although he’s aged 82, his voice was vibrant and lucid and bursting with ideas.

Breaking beyond the boundaries of chemsitry, he’s recognised for having an extensive collection of Paul Klee works. His drama “An Immaculate Misconception” has been staged in Singapore by the Singapore Repertory Theatre (SRT).

His website provides an interesting treasure trove of information.

However, the one question i’m wondering about is that if more people learn about the importance of their mind (compared to material possessions), why aren’t more people investing in developing and improving their minds?

Most would probably agree that books can be a good source of information and are, for the most part, affordable.

However, I’ve been wondering why reading is on the decline.
There are few readers in this generation compared to thirty years ago.

Granted there are blips along the way, with the Harry Potter books.
But Harry Potter does not equal a literary tradition.

Why would literature be useful for today’s society?

Besides providing insight into our past (without which we will not be able to navigate through the present into the future), books and the printed word captures the thoughts of our ancestors, the ‘zeitgeist’ or spirit of the times so to speak.

take a challenge and go read a book today.
it might just change how you think, how you feel and ultimately how you live your life.

your inner parent, child and adult

transactional analysis is a school of thought in psychology that helps explain the way we behave.

Extracting the following information from “Being: A Psychology of Self” :

Transactional Analysis:
3 ego states: Parent, Child, Adult:

The Parent is part of yourself that contains all the external events that have happened to you. The parent in you feels and behaves in the same way your mother or father or whoever raised you did. Your parent can be critical, helping or both.

At the same time external events are being recorded in your parent, a second series of recordings is being made simultaneously. The second set of tapes include all of your internal responses to the input of your parent. It is called your child because it includes what you were when you were little. Your child has the same feelings and ways of behaving that you had when you were very young. Your child may be natural, that is on it’s own and not under the influence of your internal parent. or it may be adaptive so as to please your internal parent.

Your adult is the part of you that figures things out by looking at the facts. Your adult is an observer, a computer, and a decision maker. It is capable of looking at events in your life without the prejudices of your parent or the archaic feelings of your child. The adult is then capable of adding up these observations to see what needs to be changed. Your adult can make decisions and act on them. All in all, your adult is the key to personal change.

These 3 people within us (ego states) have some identifying characteristics or stock phrases. Whenever you hear a voice inside you saying ‘you should’ or ‘don’t’ or mouthing slogans such as ‘you can’t win’ or ‘children should be seen and not heard’ it is very likely your parent is talking.

Your child is more likely to say things like ‘i want’ ‘try and make me’ ‘i feel’ or just ‘wow!’

Your adult tends to deal with observable facts and logic such as ‘let’s see now, the most efficient way to proceed would be…’ or ‘now what i hear you saying, John, is that’

Most of the time we’re most aware of the motives of our ‘adult’, however our behaviour could be equally controlled by our parent and child.

What this means is that although we know we ‘should’ do something, if in the end, we slack off on doing it, or we do it obsessively, it could be motivation from our parent or child, although we may not be aware of it.

Unless we focus back on our past experience or childhood.

Researchers are finding out that our past experiences have a great effect on our current behaviour. But what’s more interesting is not just WHAT happened to us when we were younger, but rather HOW we responded to what happened to us.

Take my friend, Adam Khoo, for example.

In his book, I Am Gifted, So Are You!,

As a child in primary school (grade school), he had a bunch of “F” grade and had been expelled for mibehaviour and did so badly he was rejected by all the secondary schools (high schools) he had applied to. In fact, his results typically hovered at 40-55%. Among his entire cohort of 160 students, he crashed in amongst the bottom 10.

How do you think he might’ve turned out?

Destined to a life of disappointment and disdain?

Actually, the result will surprised you.

He experienced a turning point (read the book to find out!) and received ONE idea that had a tremendous impact on him.

Today he’s (extracted from his bio): “A self-made millionaire by the age of 26, He owns and runs 3 different companies with a combined annual turnover of $20 million. He is the CEO & Managing Director of Adcom (S) Pte Ltd (a leading marketing communications and advertising agency), Founder & CEO of Adam Khoo Learning Technologies Group Pte Ltd (a premier training and consulting company that specializes in both corporate training and student education programmes), and the Co-Founder and Executive Director of Event Gurus Pte Ltd (an event management company).”

Adam, in my opinion, is an example that it’s not WHAT happens to us, but rather HOW we react to WHAT happens to us, that determines our success or failure.

Many times, it’s being aware of what our inner parent or child is saying that will help give us a better understanding and help us move up to the next level.

In personality psychology there is the concept of htThe “Wheel of Kookiness” (or wheel of weird).

It goes: It makes no difference whether the feedback someone gives you is valid or invalid. The important thing is whether you come to believe it. If you do, a vicious cycle begins. (and you become ‘weirder’ or worse)
More thoughts: researcher Seligman (1973) says:
One of the most important beliefs that a person can have of himself is that he is not helpless.

And Rother ends this with:
Your belief in yourself, as Rother (1971) has aptly pointed out, tends to be either that the environment controls you, or you it. Depression is a rare occurence for those who believe they have some control over their environment.

[all three extracts from Being: A Psychology of Self (may be hard to find, but libraries should stock copies)]