Thursday, May 23, 2013
There is a new contemporary art fun programme for the children. Yet yours truly decided that this programme, Art Garden, would be good enough to please an adult. So through the eyes of an adult, here is my account of my recent visit to Art Garden: Places: A glimpse of Art Garden 2013 through the eyes of an adult
Friday, May 17, 2013
Title: Value Investing for Employees
Author: Clive Tan
Publisher: Candid Creation Publishing (Jan 2012)
Some time last year, I attend a work-related course on practical financial counselling. Other than the concepts of saving, creating new sources of income, debt-management and protection, I also learnt the concept of investment. That course got me to be more aware that my level of financial literacy needs to be greatly enhanced.
In an effort to gain more financial literacy and to figure out what value investing is, I found myself getting a copy of the above-mentioned book to give it a good read. It took me more than three weeks to read the book as I still find the technical concepts such as current ratio, cash ratio, price to earning ratio requiring more time to fully understand.
The other sections of the book that focuses on the foundations of value investing, the investment principles and investment process were much more accessible to read and to understand. I appreciate the examples that were used in the book to illustrate the concepts though I admittedly still find myself struggling a bit with the technical concepts.
Nevertheless, this is a relatively accessible and good read for anyone who would like to get themselves started on learning about value-investing so as to find out how it could be applied. Many thanks to the author, Clive Tan, for putting this book together. The fact that he is a Singapore citizen makes this book even more applicable to our local context.
For more information on value investing, you may wish to visit: http://www.millionaireinvestor.com
Monday, May 13, 2013
Title: Arabs and Israel for Beginners.
Author: Ron David
Illustrated by Susan David
Published by: For Beginnners LLC (2001).
One of the issues I cannot make sense of simply by reading the newspapers and watching the television is the Middle East conflict. A lot of issues do not make sense. I think I was too puzzled by the entire conflict between Israel and the Arabs. It is strange to me that we are all members of the human race, how is it necessary or even permissible to allow for war and violence to exist amongst ourselves? Perhaps there is a dark side to humanity?
Ron David's book, Arabs and Israel for Beginners, is a very accessible book to read. The sections on the history of the Middle East especially during the ancient times are particularly complex to understand. Nevertheless, I think for such a complicated long period of history, Ron David has done a very remarkable feat in organising the materials in an accessible form. The language used is clear and simple to understand.
This book presented materials on the following topics:
- History of the Middle East
- The Ottoman Empire
- The Ottoman Land Code of 1858
- The Hussein-McMahon corespondence
- Theodor Herzl and early Zionism
- Article 22 of The Covenant of the League of Nations, in 1919
- The 1917 Balfour Declaration
- King-Crane Commission's report
- The Passfield White Paper
- The Declaration of Principles
The author's intent of writing this book appears to be to give the readers some background about the issue and then point readers in the direction of sources to get the most credible facts on the issue. Readers are welcome to make up their mind on this issue. I like the fact that the author listed some of the best books on the subject. It looks like more readings to be done and a good searching for the books. Here are the books that were recommended by Ron David:
- The Fateful Triangle by Noam Chomsky
- Taking Sides by Stephen Green
- Israel's Lebanon War by Ze'ev Schiff and Ehud Ya'ari
- While Six Million Died by Arthur D. Morse
- The Question of Palestine by Edward W. Said
- A Concise History of the Middle East by Arthur Goldschmidt, Jr
- The Cartoon History of the Universe by Larry Gonick
- For Palestine edited by Jay Murphy
- Blaming the Victims edited by Edward Said and Christopher Hitchens
While this book is accessible to read, I am very perplexed by the issues discussed. Perhaps this meant more reading and keeping an open-mind for now.
Sunday, May 12, 2013
Title: The Happiness Project
Author: Gretchen Rubin
Publisher: Harper, USA (2009)
I had gotten myself this book in Oct 2012 when I was in Bali. It was extremely affordable when I saw Gretchen Rubin's The Happiness Project at the airport thanks to a strong Singapore dollars and a favourable exchange rate. I had gotten this book for less than S$10 so much more affordable than what I could get it in Singapore! So I just have to buy this book for myself as a gift.
However, with so many books on hand waiting to be read, it took me a long while before I started reading this book in Mar/Apr 2013. I had pleasantly surprised myself when I decided to buy this book for myself. The thing is that after realizing that one of my greatest challenge is that I have more books on my reading list than the time I have to read the books, I have resorted to borrowing books from the library and occasionally only buy books from my favourite authors.
This book is an inspiring and very pleasant read. Gretchen Rubin has a gift of making it seem so fun and achievable for everyone of us to find happiness in our ordinary everyday lives. Even when everything around us may remain the same, because we take steps to be happy, we can find happiness.
In this book, Gretchen Rubin chronicles her adventures over a period of twelve months dedicated to her happiness project. During the period of her project, she read and did research about how to be happier.
These are some of the endeavours of her happiness project that I personally like:
1) Go to sleep earlier:
This is an endeavour I would like to strive to do more of. My body has been giving me messages that it needs quality rest.
2) Act more energetic:
This is one of Gretchen Rubin's Twelve Commandments in her happiness project. The insight behind acting more energetic is simple: we often feel because of the way we act. To some extent, it does help to use this "fact it till we feel it" strategy.
3) Give proofs of love:
This is a wonderful reminder. She began with a quotation by Pierre Reverdy: "There is no love; there are only proofs of love" reminding us it is only through our actions that people could experience the love from our heart.
4) Enjoy the fun of failure:
I do not like to failure or make mistake. I tend not to fell good. Then again, it is the process of taking risks that can help me grow as a person. Making mistakes as an inevitable part of the learning process can be fun. I shall remind myself to see the fun and the learning points from failure.
5) Ask for help:
It can be very humbling and many of the times challenging to ask for help. I feel vulnerable to ask for help and there are times when I am hesitant to ask for help. Then again, this endeavour to ask for help when we need would remind me to learn to receive while the tendency is to give.
6) Take time to be silly:
Oh well, this is something I could do more of. It can be fun to be serious about playing.
7) Keep a gratitude notebook:
This is a simple and effective way to count our blessings. There are a lot to be grateful for!
8) Give positive reviews:
I tend to be critical. This endeavour could help me to look for the positive in everything.
The Happiness Project is worth reading. Just reading this book can make me smile, and think.
Monday, May 06, 2013
Have you heard of the Adam Park Project? A talk by Jonathan Cooper on 26 Apr 2013 gave me a glimpse of the Adam Park estate. I was particularly intrigued the existence of the Bureau of Record and Enquiry.
For an account of the talk and what had transpired after the talk, please read: Places: Jonathan Cooper's talk - Beyond the trenches, wire and hell fire.
For an account of the talk and what had transpired after the talk, please read: Places: Jonathan Cooper's talk - Beyond the trenches, wire and hell fire.
|Image credit: www.twochiefs.com|
If you have wondered why there are people who are drawn to visit Bukit Brown many times and again, yet the thought of having to brave yourself under the sun or the elements are too much to bear, here is another way to witness the beauty of this secret garden in air-conditioned comfort:
Watch the documentary, Bukit Brown Voices, by Two Chefs.
Date: 11 May 2013 (Sat)
Time: 12 noon
Venue: Screening Room@The Art House, 1 Old Parliament Lane, Singapore 179429.
Tickets are at $12 (regular price) each, from www.bytes.sg.
I have had the pleasure to watch it a few months ago. I strongly recommend this documentary. I love its unpretentious presentation and how this documentary captures the beauty of Bukit Brown Cemetery as well as how the Bukit Brown Cemetery is rich in heritage/history and is a habitat for fauna and flora. There is a thoughtful review of this documentary by Woo Wei Ling here: That's pretty unbelievable, don't you think?
It's a moving documentary. I will watch it even if I have visited Bukit Brown Cemetery several times.
Perhaps as a community, we have to pause and rethink the costs and benefits of building a eight-lane highway through the Bukit Brown Cemetery. The inherent costs of building the highway could be more than estimated because once Bukit Brown Cemetery is lost, it is lost forever.
In the meantime, congratulations to Bukit Brown Vocies for being shortlisted in the “Best Asian Documentary” category at the inaugural Endeavours Documentary Film Festival.
Saturday, May 04, 2013
Have you visited a pre-war air raid shelter in Singapore? I recently had the privilege to visit one. Please visit Places: The Tiong Bahru Pre-war Air Raid Shelter tour for more accounts on my recent visit to a pre-war air raid shelter.
Sunday, April 28, 2013
More about my experiences attending this tour could be found here: Places: Heritage on the Hill, 27 Apr 2013.
Thursday, April 25, 2013
|Source: Stephanie Dowrick's website.|
Author: Stephanie Dowrick
Illustrator: Anne Spudvilas
It has been a while ever since I have read a children's book, more so a book for preschool children. I was prompted to read this book simply because it was written by Stephanie Dowrick and I was curious how it would be to read her book through the eyes of a preschool child.
This is a heart-warming story of a little boy, Harry, and his parents. It shared about how Harry draws strength from the moon when he misses his mother one cold night.
Reading this book reminded me of the simplicity and authenticity in books for children. I could imagine that this book will be a book that will connect members of a family together through the process of sharing this story.
Sunday, April 21, 2013
Special thanks to CL, I received a complimentary ticket to yesterday's TEDxSingapore's event. The event was sold-out and I was very thankful for the opportunity to attend what would be my very first TEDxSingapore event in my life-time!
The event was held at Bugis+ Joyden Hall. Wonderful thanks to the event organizers and the people who have made the event a success.
The theme for TEDxSingapore's event on 20 Apr 2013 was "Our Future, We Will Make!". There were many inspiring speeches and sharings. Many thanks to the insights shared by the speakers and the performers.
Let me attempt to document my key learning points and experience from this event on this blog:
Parag's Beyond Population reminded me of my gratitude to live in this extraordinary country called Singapore. His speech seeks to ask how Singapore could continue to remain extraordinary.
Zakaria Zainal's documentation of the portraits and anecdotes of the retired Singapore Gurkhas reminded me that we as human beings are interconnected. Our shared experiences and sense of history do transcend nationalities and territories. I felt touched to learn that many of the retired Singapore Gurkhas whom Zakaria Zainal had met were proud of Singapore's achievements.
With wit and humour, William Wan who is head of the Singapore Kindness Movement puts forth the idea that "kindness begins with me!" If we hope for Singapore to be a kinder place, why not start with being kind ourselves?
During the TEDxSingapore event that I had attended, a few Singaporean of the Day documentaries were broad-casted. The project, Singaporean of the Day, created by Jeff Cheong and his friends reminded me that the people from all walks of life in Singapore have their dreams and their hopes. Each of us do have a special story of hope to tell. I was particularly moved by the story of Joanne Poon: http://vimeo.com/63898737
Bhavani Prakash's presentation with her apt use of apples to illustrate the interconnectedness between us and the planet Earth reminded each of us to take at least some humble steps to work towards a more sustainable environment. We have only one Earth, and if what we do to our only planet will affect us eventually. I have found her five steps to "sustain'apple happiness" to be interesting. These were: 1) Acquire less, 2) Push away synthetic chemcials, 3) Pay it forward, 4) Learn from Nature, 5) Exercise your body and mind. Bhavani founded Eco WALK the Talk, an advocacy non-profit environmental website in 2008.
What left an impression in me from Moh Hon Meng's sharing was the suggestion of how we could take steps to be more inventive. The three steps of the Inventive Process suggested were: 1) Practise Creating, 2) Practise Wasting (i.e. to put our effort and time at risk, not knowing what the outcome could be), 3) Practise Asking. He shared that to enable Singapore to continue to be successful, it is necessary to continue to invent ourselves.
Elaine Lam's rendition of The Little Blue Princess and her personal journey to becoming a local jazz singer-songwriter was inspiring in its way. I like how she concluded her performances with a statement that vaguely went "Don't be afraid to dream because you may walk up to the rainbow!"
After lunch, Thaddeus Lawrence in his zestful and humourous style, share two personal experiences involving sky-diving and salsa dancing. Through these experiences, he put forward the notion that great leaders push us beyond our perceived comfort zones and that leadership is about making heroes and celebrating heroes.
Claire Leow's presentation on Bukit Brown Cemetery was personally moving. Did you know that Bukit Brown is the largest Chinese cemetery outside China? Not only is it a place full of heritage and history, it is the habitat of many animals and birds. She shared how her experiences with Bukit Brown had helped her reconnect to Singapore after eight years overseas. If we could make our future, why not get Bukit Brown Cemetery listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site as well?
|Wonderful illustrations by Tim from Art of Awakening.|
Sunny Singh's presentation on Stroke and TARA (Therapy and Rehabilitation Assistance) left a deep impression. He spoke about how he is creating a programme using Kinetic technology to improve the efficacy of stroke rehabilitation for the elderly. Why not make rehabilitation exercises fun?
I have not heard Teng Yen Ling play the ukelele in person, yet it was a light-heartening experience watching an impromptu recording of her jamming out tunes on the NUS shuttle bus. Maybe we could perform an act of courage by merely stepping out of our comfort zone? Sometimes, it is amazing how seemingly insignificant actions like jamming out tunes on a bus could put a smile on people's faces. Oh well, of course there will be people with differing opinions nevertheless. Imagine a future where everyone wears a smile.
Listening as the art of perceiving possibilities stuck in my mind when I listened to Tong Yee's presentation. Are we really listening when we think we are? Do we hear the possibilities that could be hidden in our conversations with others? While I find it hard to connect the dots in Tong Yee's presentation, I like his notion that the roles of an educator are as best as I have made out: 1) To allow students to heal from their past hurts, 2) To give the tools, 3) To believe in the students. Perhaps then, we can make our future more glorious?
Deborah Emmanuel's spoken word performances connected with me. I suppose it was because of the authenticity of her performance. It was humbling to witness how people could heal through expressing themselves through art. Deborah is a performance poet. Her rendition of The Storm was heartfelt and authentic.
Kevin Lester's presentation and his rap performance reminded me that we can each leave behind a legacy in our own special way.
Laurence Lien's presentation reminded us the need for moral courage to effect change. He ended the presentation with Mahatma Gandhi's quote "You must be the change you want to see in the world", and he then asked the audience to consider his suggestion: "Please act like we believe we can change Singapore".
Bob Lee's sharing of his project in which he taught photography to visually-challenged people was humbling. He reminded me not to underestimate our ability to learn new things. He also reminded me not to understand our own skills to make an impact.
Veronica Gamez shared about her how her experiences in Mexico had in some ways shaped her and on her work with Aidha, a not-for-profit micro-business school dedicated to enriching lives through financial education. She spoke about how migrant workers in the world can be empowered to become agents of positive change to transform their local communities back in their own hometown.
Kumaran Rasappan's presentation discussed how success and failure are inseparable. He suggested that regardless of the outcome, failure and success is our own perception. In every success is a failure, and in every failure, is a success.
Overall, I have had a positive experience attending the TEDxSingapore. Other than getting myself connected with new ideas, I had the pleasure to engage in conversations with others and to connect with them.
Other blog posts on TEDxSingapore, 20 Apr 2013:
Summary of TEDxSingapore 2013: Our Future We Will Make #TEDxSingapore by Natalie Copuroglu.
Title: Value Investing for Women
Author: Pauline Teo
Published by: 8 Media Pte Ltd
Produced by: WORX Design and Communications Pte Ltd
I had meant to read this book at a later date. However, two female friends who had read the book highly recommended it. They claimed that it was easy to read. So I read it. I felt very pleased that this book is written in an accessible and easy-to-read manner. It took me less than a few days to read this book from cover to cover.
The concepts of value investing were explained in an easy to understand manner. This is perhaps one of the best book that I have read thus far on value investing. It is presented in a way that females are likely to find it easy to relate to. Males may find this book easy to find to read too although this book was written in a way that would appeal to females who prefer the technical aspects of value investing to be explained in the layman language.
This book reminded me to take charge of my own finances, and learn to work towards financial independence.
Friday, April 19, 2013
The Tiong Bahru Heritage Trail was officially launched on 14 Apr 2013, if you have missed the launch, the good news is that there will be monthly Tiong Bahru Heritage Trail every first Saturday of the month starting May 2013, at 10 a.m. and 3 p.m.
To get a glimpse of what to expect on a Tiong Bahru Heritage Trail, please read my account: Places: Adventures on The Tiong Bahru Heritage Trail
Sunday, April 07, 2013
If you like Buddhist art, especially those in Thailand, you may find this exhibition, Enlightened Ways: The Many Streams of Buddhist Art in Thailand, to be interesting. Here is an account of my recent visit to this exhibition: Places: My visit to Enlightened Ways: The many streams of Buddhist art in Thailand.
Enlightened Ways: The Many Streams of Buddhist Art in Thailand
30 Nov 2012 - 17 Apr 2013
Special Exhibitions Gallery
Asian Civilisations Museum Empress Place
1 Empress Place
Tel: (+65) 6332 7798, (+65) 6332 3275
Sunday, March 31, 2013
The next time you visit the National University Health System Building, do pay attention and look for the largest known public mural that was made by the late Ng Eng Teng. Ng Eng Teng was a well-known sculptor and winner of the Cultural Medallion in visual arts in 1981.
Here's a simple account of how a visit to the NUS Museum inspired me to learn more about Ng Eng Teng's Asian Symphony: Places: Ng Eng Teng's Asian Symphony at NUHS