Sunday, November 22, 2009

I ask for care and guidance

In a time when directions and purposes need to be clarified
When much is unknown
Hope is there
Answers yet to be found
What brings a moment of relief to the day
Is being kind to oneself to find beauty in the daily mundane.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

My experiences onboard Invasion Singapore!

I went for the bus tour entitled War on Wheels, Invasion Singapore! during the weekend. This event gets its participants to discover more about Singapore's World War II history.

The bus tour brought the tour group to several important sites to better appreciate the significant events that had taken place when Singapore was invaded by the Japanese military in 1942. It also gave us a glimpse of the civilians' experience of the Japanese occupation and the end of the occupation.

Read more about my experiences on the bus tour here: Back to the time of WWII Singapore

There will be more of such bus tours on 21 and 28 Nov 2009 (Saturdays). Please see this site for more information:

Monday, November 16, 2009

Read: Refuse to Choose

The recent book that I have read is Barbara Sher's Refuse to Choose!: A revolutionary program for doing everything that you love.

This book is about people who are drawn to many interests in their lives. In this book, the term "Scanner" is used to describe a person who has multiple interests. In this book, it proposed that Scanners who are people with multiple interests aren't suppose to choose just one particular talent of theirs to get started on a career. They were designed to put their multitalented brains to contribute to the world. Each has his/her special gifts.

In this book, Barbara Sher described that there are various types of Scanners, each with their unique characteristics and needs. She also described some strategies for each type of Scanners to do everything that they love.

The types of Scanners that were described in the book were:
-Cyclical Scanners
-Double Agent
-Plate Spinner
-Sequential Scanner
-Serial Specialist
-Serial Master
-High-Speed Indecisive

Some of the things that were mentioned in the book got me thinking if I happen to be a Scanner described by Barbara Sher. I remembered that I had a very challenging time making decisions what to major in when I was deciding on my preferred course for junior college. My grades were good enough to have quite a reasonably wide variety of choices. I struggled between making the choice between Science and the Humanities.

Then when it came to choosing a faculty to study in university, I also had good enough grades to have a large number of choices. Even after the choice was made, I still wondered if I had limited my options by deciding on a particular course of study. There were many times when I had wished that the education system could allow one to take as many majors as they would like. Then again, if that was allowed, I wonder if I would have the means to pay for the tuition required to study so many majors.

Anyway, in short, I find it quite liberating to read and realise that it is actually alright when one finds it a challenge to make a choice between one's various interests. In fact, the book proposed that it is possible to refuse to make a choice so that one could do as many things as one loves. It is quite a worthwhile book to read especially for anyone with multiple interests who wish to make a career out of his/her various interests.

If writing down things could help me get closer to my dream career, I would like a career that would allow me to do the following:
- sketch landscapes
- perform on the double bass in either a chamber or orchestral setting
- the honour to serve others
- travel and see new places
- paint (acrylics or paint)
- use reflective skills
- use analytical and thinking skills
- generate ideas and implement some of them
- allow integration of large pieces of information

- read and share about culture and history of the world
- share with others about places in Singapore
- write, e.g. poems and travelogues
- refine my existing skills
- learn something new that would interest me

My personality profile also reminded me that my ideal work environment would preferably have the following characteristics:
- a place where I could produce work that helps people
- a place that puts minimal emphasis on office rules and procedures
- a place where I can work independently on my own time-frame
- a place the emphasis is placed on tasks that require routine or rote memory
- a place that emphasise harmony (versus competition)

Would 'refusing to choose', and finding the strategies to help me do as much as I love get me closer to the dreams? I ask that the answer be a positive one please.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Read: The monk who sold his Ferrari

Image source:

Robin S. Sharma's
The Monk who sold his Ferrari.
New York: HarperTorch, 1997
NLB Call Number: 158.1 SHA

I have just finished reading Robin S. Sharma's The Monk who sold his Ferrari (A Fable about reaching your destiny). I went to borrow this book from the library to find out what I could learn from the book.

This starts with a story of a very rich lawyer who had a wake-up call of his lifetime when he suffered a heart attack in a courtroom. The heart attack forced him to confront the condition of his life. In search of happiness and fulfillment, he sold his material belongings to travel about places in the world to find his answers. He learnt about a powerful system from the Sages of Sivana who live in a village away from modern civilisation.

This book offers a step-by-step system of how one could live an enlightened living. I like the way that this book strive to use symbols to help one better recall the seven timeless virtues of an enlightened living.

For those who would like to know, the book speaks of the following seven timeless virtues of enlightened living:

1) Master Your Mind
2) Follow Your Purpose
3) Practice Kaizen
4) Live with Discipline
5) Respect Your Time
6) Selflessly Serve Others
7) Embrace the Present

These virtues were represented by symbols. These symbols were the magnificent garden, the towering lighthouse, the sumo wrestler, the pink wire cable, the gold stopwatch, the fragrant roses, the path of diamonds.

Many of the concepts make sense after I understood the principles behind the strategies. The challenge would be to apply them on a consistent basis. This book has clear concepts just that I felt I was comparatively not as inspired by it. Perhaps it was because I could relate better to a book that is more intuitive in its style of writing.

Personally, I would prefer a inspiring fable such as Paulo Coelho's The Alchemist which speaks of similar topics. I find that while The Alchemist may not offer a clear step-by-step system on how one could live an enlightened life, it has a greater capacity through its story-telling to help to instill the hope and inspiration for one to fulfill one's dreams.

Nevertheless, it was still quite worthwhile to read The monk who sold his Ferrari for its clarity in presenting the various concepts to live an enligtened life.

Friday, November 06, 2009

More sketches

It was 1 Nov 2009, Nature beckoned me to be in its arms. I headed for the Singapore Botanic Gardens to enjoy the beauty of Nature. Here is one of the photos that I have taken. The structure in the center of the above photo is a gazebo. It used to serve as a Bandstand.

A few months ago, I saw a photo of the same gazebo and I sketched it for one of friends.

When I saw the gazebo in person, I felt I just have to sketch it while observing it in real life. Here's the sketch that I did on 1 Nov 2009 of the gazebo. I hope this post brings you simple delights. Nature is beautiful.