Saturday, May 31, 2008

The Art of Happiness

Saw this article in the Straits Times (29 May, Recruit section). It highlights 7 secrets of living a stress-free lifestyle:
1. Love your Job
2. Stay optimistic
3. Be Honest
4. Soak in Positivity
5. Chase your Dreams
6. Expand yourself
7. Have Fun

Oh yes, it seems easy, isn't it? But, really, it's so much easier to say that to act it out ... or have that kind of attitude..

How many of us are doing what we love to do? Sometimes, we don't really know whether if it's wat we love to do until we are put into the position to carry out the job... By the way, how do we define 'job'? It's a vocation where we are paid from the effort we put in to complete the task? Back to "doing what we love to do"... often, we psycho ourselves to like a piece of job - this is in particular, if we are bought it by the purpose. Otherwise, how to get things done? Yes, just like "teaching"... some of us go into the "job" (which we normally refer to as profession) because of influences from significant ones like our teachers, parents, etc... Do we really love the job from Day 1 (even before our very first attempt in front of the class)? No, I believe... it's only over time that the passion starts to grow... and of course, it depends on the environment we are immersed in, our supervisors (especially in our early years)... how we are 'treated' matters!

Certainly, I envy those could earn a living out of their passion... ie. the reverse of the earlier scenario. For instance, one who is passionate about art gets to draw a cheque from the work he/she does! How I wish... This is truly, loving your job because you do what you love to do... and it pays!

Staying optimistic is very very important... for one to move on, and also for one to survive! Again, this falls back on how high our EQ is, too! I believe. There are always 2 sides to the coin. Similar to everything... we choose to see what we want to see... often, our choice is base on our ladder of inference (over time...). If we choose to see from the positive perspective, we feel better and normally it generates warmth and narrows down the distance between people. Take for instance, when SC said that she wanted to turn up for one of our workshops, there could be 2 responses - one is, Hey, there she comes again... trying to pick on what goes wrong, to prove her right? or it could be Hey, she bothers to come despite she's very busy... so, she's keen to see the happening and it's a chance to show her how we manage to engage our participants. Yes... one is out to catch the wrong while the other is to catch one doing right.

So, when surrounded by positive thinking people, it's helps to generate positive air to create a conducive environment where everybody can be soak in positivity. Yes, respect is one of the key elements for such culture to thrive.

100 blogs???

It's the first time (in 3 years) that we introduced the ice-breaking activity called "Background Bingo"... modified what Paul had crafted... and included one question "Someone who has blogged in the last 1 year". HP and WK jokingly said, "How about changing it to Someone who has created more than 100 blogs?" Hahahaha.... Oh yes, who else they're referring to?

Hm... think about it... yes, think have already hit 100, although it did not cross my mind counting... Hm... something "to do" for work... till something that I "will do" because I feel I like to... be it for work or for my own leisure... Hm... Have become something I'm quite passionate about...

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Singapore Arts Fest @ Boat Quay: Water Fools

Something new (I think) in the Singapore Arts Fest scene - performance on water! The first one I saw was while at DisneySea - where we crowded around the water area to watch the peformance (ok, minus-ing some of those displays at Las Vegas many many years back). For visual, it's not as spectacular as the one at DisneySea in Tokyo. However, simplicity counts! also, it's performed at night (in darkness) - the lighting definitely surpassed the one that I saw in the daylight at DisneySea.

Oh yes, the music... notice that, er... it seems like there's a certain genre of music that the French performances tend to us... the music reminded me of those performances by the Circque du soleil troupe (http://www.cirquedusoleil.com/). Simply Beautiful...

The visual was good... amazing! It would be better if we know the storyline so as to be able to appreciate the development, from one scene to another...


One of the beautiful props - now you see it in 1 dimension, later as a 2-dimension picture, followed by 3 dimensional object!

All finales come with spectacular fireworks!


video

Sunday, May 18, 2008

The Hair Story

The heat is getting a bit too much - here comes the time of the year when droplets of sweat will form immediately, when expose to the sun. That tells how hot the weather has been... so, it's time for my 'hair' to go through the monthly routine (hey! it's less than 4 weeks! I counted) - yes, the treatment (in fact, it's the cleaning and dosing of nutrients) and trimming (notice, I don't use haircut... in fact, not much hair to cut... but to trim the ends of the hair so that it's neater... and in the process, it's shorten... everytime I leave the saloon, my hairstyle looks the same... er... very 'constant' huh?

That evening, was served by one of the 'new' faces - 'cos most of the time was by Sally.. also one of the more senior apprentices. He's Vicky. Hm... normally, conversation to strangers only limited to those few lines... but it's different this time, probably because there's a topic that got both of us to talk about - ah ha... it's one of those NA kids! (Oh yes, one of those whom we often labelled as neither here nor there... but thought they are very smart... ).

Putting this learning journey in the school aside, it's really his mindset, of what he's going through now that interests me. (OK, I'm kaypoh... it's natural, right? It's so difficult to guess what's in the teenager's head! The make-up is so different from ours!). Of course, also because he's frank and he voluntarily disclosed a bit of his family background.

He was from the NA stream and comes from a dyfunctional family. Yeap, he did not say much, but have been emphasizing the fact nobody there to manage him - he's mum's dead. There's no mean of his dad, and he lives with his aunt. Looks like his aunt is his guardian. Is his meal taken care of? Well, he has been eating out since (???)

He could not continue with his Sec 5 because his result landed himself nowhere. With 13 points, he could not repeat... so, it's the system's fault? Well, it seems like his teachers had to take the blame - at least that's what he perceived - he was stuck to the few teachers who were 'no good'. Oops! What kind of teachers will be good enough to be good - in the eyes of a class of 40 NA kids who have different needs and expectations!? Just wondering...who to blame?

Then the hardship begins - but notice the young chap recognises that it's difficult to earn dollars and cents now, however, he doesn't seem to regret having to work, rather than studying. He's currently in contract with the saloon for 2½ years and only have to attend class once a week. Most of the time, he'll be in the saloon to work & learn from the hair stylist.

There's something he said, which I could sense he feels as if he's a 2nd class citizen and therefore has to take ownership of his time here... (that's good, but it's sad that he has to learn it the hard way):

"... the trainer will teach those (who pay fees) and make sure they master the technique/skills... whereas for us, because the school pays us (because we're apprentices), they just demonstrate and we learn from there - then they will not bother whether we pass or fail..." Sad, isn't it?

He then added "... they (those who pay fees) will spend more time in the training school and complete the course in 8 months whereas we will spend time in the saloons to learn... and I thought it is more practical, having more exposure out there..." A bit Ah-Q, hm... I thought, it's a yes and no...

What's the monthly pay? He stressed, "Basic $650" and after deducting CPF and giving $200 to his aunt, he's left with the bit (about $300). Hey, just wonder! It's so little! And he has to eat out everyday (it's not cheap, judging from today's standard of living).

But the worst is not over. The pay is deducted whenever they are late or on medical leave! Oops! It's really expecting them to be there all the time?! That's very very strict. In other words, the take-back home could be even lesser than the $650!!! What peanuts are the apprentices left with?

Of course, next question is, what if he decided to quit? He said, no. The contract comes with a few thousand dollars of penalty.. and it's too much to handle. So, it means, he's stuck! When asked if he would have wished continue his study when he would receive pocket money while still studying whereas now he may ended up spending every single cent he earns... He said, he still prefers what he's doing now...

Oh yes, his inspiration? David Gan... "he only completed primary education, yet can charge so much...", he added.

Monday, May 05, 2008

7 mistakes to avoid

Click HERE to see article by Tony Jacowski

Saw this article... adn immediately got connected to it... hahaha... it described some observations I made (at the office, or even while in school) over time...

1. Extended breaks - this does not really apply to the school context, as all lessons are governed by the school bell (oh yes! still remember I commented - "I miss the bell" when first joined the branch). But in the recent months, this seem to be an once-in-a-while practice. It's not that I'm very ???? but it's a matter of integrity I guess... the sense of guilt somehow arises when exceeded time... Hm...

2. Tardiness - yeap, it's definitely a no-no... be it going to class while in school - that's why so used to dash here dash there... similarly when going for workshops! Yes, sometimes already know that others will be late, but still insist to punctual. Why? I would rather others owe me than I owe others!

3. Loud behaviour - Peace, peace, peace! silence, silence, silence! Yeap, am one of those who find difficult to work in noisy environment. Thanks to the clever invention of headphone! Yeap, sometimes really have to turn on the volume of music to drown the noise out there... sigh... Agree! It's really to show respect to others around...

4. Being Untidy - something that I can't really ta-han! Not just my table (oh yes, I'll make sure I do my part of keeping it tidy though sometimes could be dusty!). Can't tahan when they just throw everything into the paper bag before and after workshop! Order, order, order!

5. Personal Issues - Sometimes it's unavoidable, I believe... but excessive could be very very irritating, too! Yes, no doubt it helps to bring down the walls and establish better working relationship (yes, I agree)... however, limit that please....

6. Speak your mind - Thought it's quite ok, except that - remember to put things in perspective and stop making assumptions! What you have experienced or gone through does not necessary imply others have gone through the same, too!

7. Do not be emotional - sigh, sigh, sigh.... there's always some dramatic moments here and then... er... sometimes I wonder... maturity????

Sunday, May 04, 2008

To tell or not to tell?


Have noticed this... Bus 19 has a "unique" operating hour as compared to most of the bus services.

Sometimes, I just wonder... what time does the last bus depart each evening? 1900? 1959? Oops! well, what's wrong? The last 2 digits are missing... and they've been missing for many many moons already! You mean, no one from the bus-company ever notice that? Sometimes will see a few people in the queue for this bus... so will the bus come?

扫墓

清明时节雨纷纷,路上行人欲断魂;
借问酒家何处有,牧童遥指杏花春。





那时每年农历三月必做的事 - 扫墓。 是的,那是华人的一个传统。也是在这天,让我们饮水思源,略尽点孝道。


还记得小时候,真的是“扫墓”。 还记得,通常都是在周日。老妈说,那是我们都是‘走’“正清”。

那时,还是住在加冷一代,仍在念小学。 扫墓当天,是个大日子。还记得老妈得预先定购“煎堆”,糕饼等等。大事周张一番。而且数量惊人!因为那是四家人的“出游日”!是的,那是多么的热闹!而且,每回,我们都是乘着大罗里去扫墓。当然,那是真的是看到一座一座的坟墓。到处长满了杂草。老爸和几位伯伯就挑起“到扫除”的重任 - 先去寻找躲在杂草里的墓碑,清理一番后,才让我们这些小孩下车,让老妈和几位伯娘开始摆放祭品,准备拜拜。 好不热闹。

当然,小孩子们,当时也不懂得扫墓的种种由来。也当这是个聚会罢了。

过后,由于政府征用土地,祖先都得搬家了。我们也渐渐长大了。由于不必再爬山涉水。开着车子,就很容易地到碧山亭了。而且,大家都各有工作,也很难安排同一时间。所以,各家也选择方便的日子和时间去拜拜了。

传统,还有吗?传统,还在吗?