Posts

Showing posts from August, 2006

2 by 2

Image
guess which one is melancholic J's version? 1 idea(J/TOHA's), 2 different images. Strange how the melancholic one created a cheerier picture!

memories

Image
Tym tagged me with a book meme but I got stuck at the first category - "One book you have read more than once". Most of the books I've read more than once I've mostly read because I was a student: Don Delillo's Ratner's Star and Libra ; Norman Mailer's Armies of the Night and J.D. Salinger's stories. These were what I wrote a masters dissertation on, none of which I feel like re-reading now. Almost 10 years later, Delillo confuses, Mailer tires and Salinger would probably bore! This is definitely not what Yambo would say. Yambo is the protagonist in Umberto Eco's new book The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana . He is a 60 year-old trader in old books wakes up from a coma with a memory only of "public" things and ideas. At the beginning he expresses feelings only in hackneyed phrases, but also extended metaphors and phrases from all the books he has read. Like a child who already has a stock knowledge of the world and an entir

what you learn at art class (part 2)

Image
To school and back - image by J Besides learning how not to make a pretty picture , I learned that: (1) Everyone likes feeling like an artist There are 8 of us in the printmaking class: 3 designer-types, 1 teacher, and 3 others whom I haven't gotten round to asking about their daytime job. One of my favourite classmates is Earnest. That's not his real name, of course. E is one of those young guys you think of as being 50. He wears oval gold-rimmed glasses, his grey polo T-shirt is loose over his skinny frame and tapered faded jeans, and he speaks a Mandarin-accented Singlish. E makes all of us in class smile and, sometimes, laugh with his nervous earnestness. In the beginning, E would turn up for class often not knowing what to draw or produce on a print. He would laugh ashamedly, "don't know what to draw leh. No inspiration." And even after he has set pencil to paper, he would ask nervously, "teacher, how ah? I draw like this can or not?" (He w

navigating the unknown

Image
One of these self-styled innovation gurus was at my organisation a couple of days ago. He had this 2 by 2 matrix which every self-styled guru would have at least one version of. In the top left quadrant is the case of "you know what you know", which basically means you are in your knowledge comfort zone. A boring place for the innovation guru. In the bottom left quadrant of "you don't know what you know" is kind of where most cubicle citizens are, hence where most consultants hang around to get paid telling you what you actually know. Of course, being an innovation guru, he was more interested in the right quadrants. At the top right is where "you know what you don't know" - and in today's context, google and wikipedia supposedly provides a sort of knowledge or content democracy for folks found in this zone. But what happens when you don't know what you don't know? His answer was that you would start to do some scenario planning

tour de chomp chomp

Image
Last night, despite the lure W!ld Rice's Singapore Theatre Festival , J and I embarked on a little night cycling adventure instead. I'll be honest. To call it an adventure would be an overstatement We stayed unheroically on park paths and street pavements, safe from the Homeric battles and journeys of growling trucks, roaring cars and squealing scooters. So modestly, ampulets present here the Tour de Chomp Chomp . From our flat to the busy Braddell Road (which marks the border between the dusty Potong Pasir constituency and prosperous Bishan) is a quiet but broad road, wide because it was built for container trucks. At night, with the infrequent buses, it is even more deserted... ...and creepy. At least to me. Especially when the Toa Payoh Evangelist strikes. The "Toa Payoh Evangelist" is a skinny middle-aged lady, her eyebags large behind round gold spectacles. Almost every night, she would find an unlit spot near a bus stop, or as we experienced last night

the measure of a life

Image
J's ma, J's favourite niece, and J's all-time favourite girl. Y : I wonder how your mom feels. J : Sad lor. Depressed. Y : That I know. What I mean is if she looked back on her own life, how do you think she will describe it? J : Before she got the stroke? Y : Yah. Before. If you had her life, how would you describe it? J : Hmm...I think she would have said it was good. She would be quite proud about it. You remember how she is always boasting about how good a mother-in-law people say she is, how she cooks so well, how this son or that is so fillial to her, how this in law or that treats her so good, how she is so polite, how her husband is such a good man... that sort of thing. I think she sees herself and her life as being good in that way. Last Saturday was Ma J's birthday. Someone suggested that we take her out for dinner. The venue chosen was Sakura, a low budget Japanese buffet place. Of all her 7 children, only 2 were there - J and his only sister. The ot

left of centre

Image
[p/s. National Day Special#2: An interview with David Marshall in 1994 ] Customised book cover and photo by J/TOHA It's National Day and even if you loathe the parade, the battlesome jetfighters and those "community" songs of patriotism that keep reproducing themselves year after year...as an acquisitive Singaporean, you've got to love sales! And the one to go to is Kinokuniya Bookstores's storewide 20% discount, where if you are of "the reading sex" , you can pick up Haruki Murakami's new collection of short stories Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman . “It's very important for people to learn to think about the inner life of people, people who are like themselves and different from themselves. Thinking about people different from oneself is fundamental to democracy,” says Nussbaum, whose 1995 book, Poetic Justice: The Literary Imagination and Public Life , argued that political leaders should read novels to learn empathy. “The novel is particular

prerequisite: compassion

Image
J and I have been daydreaming of going away from this island for a year or two. One of the countries I've been considering has a scholarship for a special public policy programme in English (a scholarship offered to folks in ASEAN, which I reckon is a guilt payment for all their World War II crimes against our great/grandpas and grandmas). Anyway, applying for the scholarship requires applicants to submit a very short essay to these questions - What is your leadership philosophy? Describe key individuals and/or experiences that shaped your philosophy. How have mistakes by you or others influenced your thinking? All loaded questions. I must admit I don't have a leadership philosophy , and I am not inclined to read one of those management books to acquire one. I think it was the FF who have once relied on the dictionary definition of politics ("the art or science of government"? I think was the reference) to illustrate the point that politics should notbe t