Sunday, April 26, 2009

What's on the face?

Just penned this on my Facebook account... "wonders why some people like to write their emotions, likes and don'ts on their faces? Hm... does the whole world owe them? Hm... or they now owe the whole world?"

The first time I detected this at workplace was about 10 years ago, when someone alerted me... So-and-so wrote his emotions on his face! OK... from the behaviour, yes... but what can we do? He was our boss... haha... But then, started to wonder... why? It actually affects everybody... in other words, he determined the weather of the day. Anyway, he was our boss... and he left before we left...

Next, more recent years, it's even more prominent... we have to see the colour of the boss's face! That really determined the weather of the entire department... and yes, it affected our emotion as we reacted to the weather! Tough! But we braved through those bad weather days and survived!

So much about the bosses... How about peers?! It's really difficult to understand why some people like to throw their 'weights' er... I should say, their emotions? moods? Big deal? Yes, it simply started to stain the good wholesome picture that one first created and strain the relationships that one 'advocated' earlier... Now, are you a hypocrate? Sometimes, can't help but just wonder... is it the upbringing?

Be mindful: No one deserves the way rudeness one portrays on the face, no one deserves the kind of dismayed tone one responded with. Having a bad hair day is not a good excuse, being troubled by others is not a good excuse, don't bring them to the workplace - especially when one is in the leadership seat. We are not paid to experience such nonsense! 适可而止.

What a relief!

Last Friday, 24 April, was the auspicious day! It was the deadline of an important project. At 5 pm - yes, thanks to the 'maintenance notice', I got everything delivered at the dot! 5 pm. It's really the click of the submit button is also the click at the Relief button.

If we were to include the work carried out since 2008, well, it's almost 6 months, I think! OK, borrow the word, yes, we agonise over the project for weeks and for months... I guess, the worst phase was really from 1 April to the deadline - unconsciously (but I could feel it), the stress and pressure just built up! To some extent, at one point, almost couldn't swallow it! Yes, it's self-created stress and self-created pressure... something pretty tough to handle, I must say.

One thing learnt is, it helps when sharing the concern to people who have the background of the whole thing. Hm... maybe it might not have reflect well on managing the whole process, but I think it helps me to move on. And if not because of that, I might not be aware that there are so many sources of support, which I'm very grateful to... be it lending a helping hand - to be physically present or through phone calls, be it just 2 words like "加油" in the email, or the understanding and encouragement through the email... all these generate strong forces to push me on...

Heartfelt thanks to all! ^.^


First time flip through this book - "You Don't Need a Title to be a Leader". Actually not really want to start reading the book, but hoping to get some inspiration...

This was the first book shared in this year's EXCO meeting. Can't quite remember the details, but from the title, already able to figure out the message that the book is trying to put across. I thought, it's a good start - in fact, it's a very good reminder to the team, everybody is a leader - in one way or another... Each of us have our strengths and we lead in our own way, whether it's formally appointed or not - and we must respect each other and embrace on the strengths that make the team even stronger!
  • One message would be: One needs not be "officially" appointed or told that we are the leader before we do the job.
  • One also doesn't need the formal title before one's effort is recognised!
  • Another message is, if one is formally appointed leader, one needs not to remind everybody that one is the leader and indeed, over doing it creates the impression that one bosses around! It not only damages the working relationship and team dynamics, but also distance one from the rest... it does no one good! In particular, to oneself - as it paints the picture that one's too eager to climb the leaderhship ladder. Well, well, this is definitely not the way!

Something I like when flipped to page 8-9: Leadership - Large and Small

  • ... But what we don't always realise is that each of our daily actions and efforts have significant impact, as well...
  • ... When you do your job - any job - with initiative and determination to make a positive difference, you become a leader.

Yes, something that a leader would demonstrate..

  • The leader does not necessary be in the limelight.
  • The leader sees things through... He has the perseverence!
  • The leader will not pass the dirty job to others to complete!
  • The leader treasures everyone in the team because he fully understands that he alone would not be able to establish what's desired... The leader is not necessary the one who makes the biggest contribution to the success. It's the team.
  • The leader appreciates feedback from the members of the team.
  • The leader is definitely not fearful that his effort is not recognised because his ability is demonstrated through the outputs of the team!
  • To lead does not mean one commands.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Cats! The musical...

Bought the ticket since last October, when it first started selling. It's the 2nd run in Singapore, the previous one was in my early days of teaching, I think it's more than 10 years ago! Did not watch although heard lots of good comments of the musical... for a simple reason, I don't like animals (oh yes, including furry ones like... cats!). Oh yes, talk about animals, especially cats, YL will know what I mean... hahaha... those cats at RECSAM!

There wasn't any beautiful and impressive props for the show... the backdrop was more like the backstreet of some old buildings... ah! Garbage area - that reminds me of those similar to Oliver! or even Les Miserable. Nevertheless, there wasn't much change to the it...

From the start of the show, I enjoyed! A surprise to myself! hahaha... Human beings - men and women dressed like cats! Each carried a tail - either long or extremely long! Perhaps, because of the nature of the animals, the bodies and faces became very expressive! Wah! I like it... The wildness! The exaggerating moves! The expressive faces! and the interaction with the Cats! hahaha... showing off their paws to the audience! (oh yes, sitting at row J and near just beside the walkway)...

The show helps to contextualise the songs that we heard from the CD - though bought the musical's CD but could not quite make sense out of it till today! So, seeing is better than hearing :D

A few interesting characters that livened up the show:
  • Jennyanydots ('The Old Gumbie Cat'), a large round tabby cat with a long black tail. Ha! Can see the layers of 'fat' that made up the round body :D She "sits and sits and sits" all day. How she made her appearance? She actually rolled out from a compartment!
  • Munkustrap - The show's de facto narrator. A black and silver tom who is storyteller and protector of the Jellicle tribe. He doesn't look attractive, but his voice is captivating! Good voice! and his every swing and move are full of strength!
  • Rum Tum Tugger - The ladies' tom. I would associate him with Elvis Presley! Ha! So charismatic! On the other hand, also very vain cat! haha... But I really enjoyed his dance very much! and his voice! Ha! That powerful voice!
  • Mr. Mistoffelees - A young tom that dressed in black, with magical powers. His signature dance move is "The Conjuring Turn," twenty-four fouettés en tournant. One observation - it's the only cat that does not sing.
  • Grizabella - The former Glamour Cat who has lost her sparkle and now only wants to be accepted. It's the one that sings "Memory"

An unexpected scene - the Siamese soldiers that hold a 3 point-fork! It looked so funny.

More info at wiki:

Friday, April 10, 2009


哈,真的是大开眼界。。。原来,那么多人喜欢去“K”? 哇,没想到,原来卡拉OK的魅力那么大也!而且,原以为是“过时”的“企业”,原来,并没有随着时间而“消声匿迹”,反而更兴旺,门庭若市呢!Hm。。。我真的是有点“大乡里出省”的感觉哩!


想。。。去“K”的用意很多。。。有的人,那是一嗜好,就是喜欢清清歌喉,是总生活情趣吧!也有的,是要把歌喉练得更好,天生就是有副好歌喉。当然,也用的是用歌声去发泄发泄闷在心里的气吧!太多太多不同的理由,就把那么多的人,聚集在那一格一格里了!拜我们的“天皇天后”,我乐了整个晚上。不必唱歌,听歌就是一总享受了 :D



Thursday, April 09, 2009

Air time not enough

Well, who says that "sharing" must be 50% + 50%?
How about collaborating? Must that be 50% + 50% too?
What happens when one forgets the role or the part one plays in the show?
What happens when one is too eager to even cover what's meant for the other?
Yes, it happens. Yes, it just happened!

Have included a couple of questions in the last slide to set myself think harder...
  • 10 minutes - Enough? Not Enough?
  • Why? Whose fault?
  • How to manage this better?

10 minutes, certainly it's "enough" as that's the guideline given when preparing the presentation. It's a known "constraint" and no matter how much substance we have, just abide to it. Everyone's given the 'same treatment'.

So, why did we face the "not enough" situation? Let's look inwards - what have we put in for our audience? Too much content? Well, that's the trouble to everything - when we wanted to tell people so much about ourselves... and each point is considered an important point. So, when to give up when not to, what to give up and what not to? It's always a dilemma - and certainly, given that time constraint is a challenge, but it also sends us to think deeper, what's really critical (i.e. the key priorities), and how to send the message across with as little words as possible, yet the audience are able to hook onto it. This would require one to rehearse over and over again in the head, how to do it well. There's no difference - whether one is an eloquent speaker or not, it's not wise to talk off the curf when one needs to deliver a message within a timeframe.

As for presentation, one big challenge is really when it's not a solo presentation - then one has to watch out and observe, and to work within the (even tighter) timeframe given. I guess, nobody's piece is less important than the other. It's important and necessary to work within the time limit so that it will not compromise the overall intent. No doubt there's lots of ideas and information to share in order to substantiate the points. However, when there's a constraint, one just has to work within the constraint. I'm very certain, this thought has nothing to do with one being too sensitive or not, but as a professional, it's good to practice within the given conditions to maintain a balance of the overall system.

Another point I learnt is it's important to know when to practise empowerment and how to do it tactfully (yes, EQ counts here!). When one is empowered to take charge of an area, there is no doubt the team members will give due respect and full cooperation for the piece of task to be carried out well and smoothly. To earn this respect and cooperation, it's also an expectation of this empowered leader to know how to practise this power in an appropriate and tactful manner. Similarly, team members also expect to be given due respect in return. Need not to illustrate this point... just look around, before pointing a finger on what others have or have not done, always ask ourselves first, have we, as an empowered team leader practise this etiquette?

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Hello, Miss Loh!

Was queuing for bus at the interchange.

That familar lively and cheery voice that was last heard... many many years ago.
That familar smile and that dimple... She still looked the same, but now her hair is highlighted... and really look like one in her mid 20s!

She's Hui Sia, my class chairperson - a very reliable and hardworking girl from Sec 2N (1996 batch!) that any teacher would love to have. How could I forget her name! But I remembered that's one of those Red Cross girls who manage her studies and activities well... and she fared very well for her CPA and EOA subjects over all 4 years - oh yes, she's one of those I taught for 4 years!

Of course, as she mentioned names of classmates like Joanne and Mia Seng... yes, the entire class start to assemble to form that picture :D Joanne - who looked fair and was a quiet but merticulous girl while Mia Seng could sometimes made you cough blood through his direct and tactless yet harmless words.

Ah! That class.... :D
Good to hear some of them still keep in touch with each other... all the best... ^.^

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Yesterday Once More (Carpenter's)

When I was young
I'd listen to the radio
Waitin' for my favorite songs
When they played I'd sing along
It made me smile.
Those were such happy times
And not so long ago
How I wondered where they'd gone
But they're back again
Just like a long lost friend
All the songs I loved so well.
Every Sha-la-la-la
Every Wo-o-wo-o
Still shines
Every shing-a-ling-a-ling
That they're startin' to sing's
So fine.
When they get to the part
Where he's breakin' her heart
It can really make me cry
Just like before
It's yesterday once more.
Lookin' back on how it was
In years gone by
And the good times that I had
Makes today seem rather sad
So much has changed.
It was songs of love that
I would sing to then
And I'd memorize each word
Those old melodies
Still sound so good to me
As they melt the years away.
Every Sha-la-la-la
Every Wo-o-wo-o
Still shines
Every shing-a-ling-a-ling
That they're startin' to sing's
So fine.
All my best memories
Come back clearly to me
Some can even make me cry.
Just like before
It's yesterday once more.


Saturday, April 04, 2009

Harnessing Technology? Slave to Technology?

In the technology-driven era, it's hard to live a day without techology! Handphones, computers, etc... just to name a few, have quickly change their status from "good to have" to "essential to have", when we are all inter-connected via these gadgets... indeed, the line that differentiates them has blurred too! We could just send sms from computers to handphones, and we could check and reply emails via our handhelds! That's what I've been doing anytime, (and almost) evreywhere since the Omnia becomes my asset!

Was listening to the audio-book "Eat that Frog!" (oh yes! at last, I 'ate' that frog just a couple of days ago!)... I couldn't stop chuckling after listening to that segment (when I was in the MRT)... The author related his experience/observation in a business luncheon in Washington...
(extracted from p90 of the book)
"... one of the organisers stood up and said a short grace. Everyone bowed their heads. When the grace was over, the luncheon began. However, at my table, four or five out of the eight people seemed to have been greatly affected by the prayer. They kept their heads down and their hands in their laps, even when the food was served. They seemed to be lost in deep thought over the profound questions of the day. Then I realise that they were not praying at all. They were all intensely focused on their BlackBerry devices, sending and receiving email, working their little keyboards like frantic teenagers playing video games. They were all lost to the world around them as they message back and forth, some o fthem with other people in the same room. They had fallen into a technological trap, a deep sink full of information exchange in which they were drowning..."

Unbelievable? Uncommon? These were 2 words we would blurt out if we heard the above 10 years ago! How about now? It's so common! Well, especially it's so affordable to own such a device and the devices are becoming more and more powerful.

Well, because of its capability, we just want to be connected at all times! During meetings, as long as a notebook sits in front of us, we are quite sure won't be getting 100% attention... however, we are so used to it now! However, basic courtesy still needs to be observed! We'll still give our listening hears to the presenters while we try to stretch our ability to multi-task!

Friday, April 03, 2009