Cheryl Fox, An Influence?

I used to love watching Channel News Asia.

I first started watching it during the June school holidays a few years back. At that time, I didn’t choose to watch it; it just was the only thing I could watch at the time I woke up, which was about 6 or 7 a.m.

Cartoons (something I watch all the time) didn’t start till pretty late, about 9 a.m., and so it was either Channel News Asia or other news/variety programs in Mandarin or Malay. I typically speak only English, so I tuned in to Channel News Asia. I watched it as it evolved, from absolutely soporific to passable to reasonably good. I grew to like it; and when Cheryl Fox was first introduced into the morning prime time, I rejoiced.

She was attractive, and spoke well. I thus enjoyed watching Channel News Asia (and especially her) every morning.

I was taught, growing up, that watching the News was a good habit. I used to be so proud of the few times I watched the News back in primary and early secondary school (back when it was “time — by Raymond Weil, 7 PM”), as I would normally not be able to sit through the News and still stay awake. I was told that it was good to keep up with the affairs of the world.

And thus, I watched Channel News Asia as often as I could, which turned out to be everyday. I was spending 3 hours a day with Cheryl Fox speaking the news — my girlfriend (if I had one at that time) would have been jealous.

Now, whenever I attempt to read something aloud, I visuallise myself as her, speaking! and I actually do speak like her! horrors upon horrors! I even visualise the little quirks she makes when speaking, like the slight tilts of her head, or the tone of voice!

Watch out for whom (or what) you watch often…that person (or thing) might just influence your mannerisms without you even knowing it!

The Three Birds

There are three birds sitting on a fence. Two decide to fly away.

How many birds are left?

Well, three. Just because you decide to do something doesn’t mean you’ll do what you decided to do.

Often times, it is not the lack of knowledge on how to do something than it is the why to do something. When one thinks about something one has a passion for, one inevitably lights up. This passion may be sports, a hobby, or even a person. When one has the why, one will inevitably find the how.

Before deciding to learn how to do something, find out why you want to do it first. Then even when setbacks occur, one can carry on the good fight, and enjoy the spoils.

Thinking Out of the Box: Evolution

I would like to share with you the following story, though I am unable to recollect the reference from which I had taken it from:

There were once these kids that would topple the rubbish cans along the street, causing the rubbish to spew out. This had gone on everyday for a long time. One day, an old man came out, and offered the kids this proposition: He would pay them $2 to continue knocking all the cans down, everyday.

These kids couldn’t believe their luck, and for the next week, he paid them the $2 everyday for knocking down the rubbish cans. Then he told them that he would have to reduce it to $1. They were not very happy, but continued to do so anyway. For another week it went on.

On the third week, the old man told them that he could only afford to give them 50¢. They exclaimed, “What?! 50¢? You must be joking!”

The old man refused to budge from that offer, and they went away, and never knocked down another can again.

Analysis of the story

Imagine a square table, with four legs. The tabletop is an action, while the legs are the reasons the action is being done. In the story above, the action is that of kicking the cans down. The reasons the “kids” kicked down the cans was originally not that of money, but of perhaps a need for attention, or out of simple mischief.

When money was introduced, it was like adding an additional fourth leg under the table. This extra leg far out-weighed the other legs. So now imagine a huge table leg under the centre of the tabletop. Soon, due to a lack of a need of the other legs, the kids started taking them off.

When the other legs were taken off (when money was the only factor playing on the kids’ minds), the old slowly replaced the huge table leg with a smaller one (smaller amount of money). Soon, when the money became too small to support the tabletop, it collapsed (and the kids stopped their action of kicking bins down).

All actions have reasons behind them. Over time, these reasons evolve, while we may not even be aware of their evolution. Soon, we’re stuck with out-moded systems, systems that continue to exists because “that’s how it has always been done”.

Sometimes the only table leg left, is the one that says: “because that’s how it has always been done”.

Teaching Today

I’ve always had a thing for technology. Loved it since I first started using the PC many years back. Back then, it was games, games and more games. Then I started playing around with the PC’s files, started movings things around and seeing what a PC could do.

That progressed to using the PC as a tool or means to an end, mostly in communication (e-mail, icq etc.). This was followed by my milestone of building my first PC…I loved PCs, they were my pride and joy! Then I started formal lessons on PCs when I entered Temasek Polytechnic (TP). Suddenly my bed of roses turned to thorns; and pricked me, hard. Ouch!

Lessons were horrible (for reasons I have forgotten, I only remember boredom, the rest were mostly intangible reasons). I loved computers. I really did. After this I hated them. I hated all to do with the IT school. I didn’t like the style of teaching at all. Business subjects were not really different. The amount of facts and jargon one has to memorise is incredible! I liked the subjects, but not the way it was taught and presented. Soon the motivation was lost.

My God! Give me a break already! There’s something about the teaching styles which really, really turns me off. I think it’s really the lack of enthusiasm by these lecturers.

I remember back in Secondary school, there was an English Literature teacher who really presented herself as enthusiastic about the subject, and that enthusiasm rubbed off on most of us.

Here at TP it seems like they don’t really enjoy it, that they would most rather be doing something else.

There are those who do enjoy teaching, and sharing their ideas, but unfortunately they do not prepare us for the exam very well…that’s the thing! Catch-22! Make me understand! not study, please! An ex-friend (now simply living in memory, wonderful girl though) who was studying in Australia, Rachel:

dun think i’m studyin much.understandin,probably.that’s what i love bout the system here.

After that I could never look at a PC the same way again. Everytime I look at them I am reminded of facts. Horrible facts that I would rather put out of my mind. And to think I used to love fixing computers…now I would rather pay someone else to do it. By the way, I have just switched to an Apple Mac.

I much prefer informal education (experience, books, talking/discussions with people) than formal education…formal education is a turn-off most of the time.

Or is it just me?

The Itch That Refuses To Go Away

I scratch, but the itch just will not leave. In fact, it feels like I’m scratching the wrong area. My brain tells me the itch is on my leg, but scratching there, it seems the itch moves to a different part of my body. I do not know what to do.

Here is an exerpt of the book I read, called Buddhism.

Imagine that you see people seated at a sumptuous banquet. Long tables piled high with delicacies spread out before them. A dazzling and mouth-watering array of foods, perfectly prepared, is steaming and glierning and sizzling right in front of their eyese, eaily within reach.

But the people seated at this feast aren’t eating. In fact, their plates are empty. They haven’t helped themselves to do much as a crumb. They’ve been seated at this banquet for a long time now. And they’re slowly and steadily starving to death.

They’re starving not because they can’t partake of the wonderful feast, or because eating is forbidden, or difficult, or harmful. They’re starving because they don’t realize that food is that they need. They don’t recognize the sharp, urgent pains in their stomachs as hunger. They don’t see that what they need to do, all they need to do, is enjoy the feast that’s right in front of them.

The Poem that Rhymes

I sit and I stare,
I look and I glare,
And my mouth is agape,
Much like a hungry ape.

What am I doing?
I am trying to write a poem —
One that is funny, and can ryhme.
However, apparantly, it has stopped.

It can no longer rhyme.
Unless hard I try, I might get by,
By saying something like time.

Time rhymes with rhyme,
So the poem can rhyme.
But in fact rhyme rhymes with rhyme,
So I shall say rhyme rhyme rhyme!
And it rhymes! I feel like stopping.

But alas I continue,
As I am nearly bored to tears.
What can I write, or what can I do,
To pass my time constructively.

Well, nothing apparently,
So I continue with rhyme.
Something I do all the time.
And I don’t get paid a dime.

I love rhyme, don’t you?
I’m sure you love it too!
The nice sound it makes,
Tasty as chocolate cakes.

My word! I am lame…
But tame tame tame.
This is getting stupid.
And my bottle has a lid.

I’m sick of rhyme, aren’t you?
Actually I am not, and what? you too?!
Great then, as I can rhyme some more,
And I can then…floor?

Thank you for reading my poem…
To end with a rhyme I shall say lion.
This poem is very deep,
I am now going to sleep.

Goodnight. (Light)

Constant and Never-Ending Improvement

I don’t know if you know about this term, it’s from Anothony Robbins. CANI stands for Constant And Never-Ending Improvement.

What is success? Is there an end to success? Well, in most books and articles I have read so far, success can be anything and everything! And often times it is the achievement of one’s goal. But what if one reaches that goal? Then one sets another one, and another, and another. Success seems…well…like something unachievable! Then isn’t attaining success awfully hard?

Well, one way we can define success such that it is to constantly improve in everyway, everyday. It might be improving relationships, or improving economically, or even improving physically. It might also mean improving our spirituality, or our service to community.

Every single day, improve, even if just a bit, even if it means eating one less potato chip, or jogging an extra 200 metres, or giving (more) money or time to the less fortunate, or more talking to family members/friends…just about anything. Just improve in some way, every single day. As you improve, you will prove to be a man (or woman) of greater value, every single day.

Every day you will wake up, and wonder how you might improve. Wonder what the things that you might do even better than before. Constant and never-ending improvement — success is not a goal, but a life-long journey.

Remember, you are either going up (improving), or going down (worsening!). Improve everyday! even if just a little…Read Anthony Robbins for some great life lessons!

The Big Bang and God

Religion escapes logic. Anything not logical cannot be true can it? Well, then is life true? Are we living it? Life is the most illogical thing you can expect to have. The Big Bang theory says we have less than 1% chance of being who we are, probably closer to 0%. Then there is the theory of God. If there is a God, then who came before him?

In Buddhism, it is believed that there is no end, and there is no beginning. It doesn’t involve itself in how the world started, as there is no use to finding out. It teaches ways to improve our lives, both the individual’s, as well as society’s. In Buddhism, there is no “God” that you pray to. Buddha is an enlightened being, and nothing more than that. He doesn’t answer your prayers, he doesn’t answer your wishes; what he can do is teach you the way to achieve enlightenment, like him, or her.

Buddhism has become almost a religion to many people because of cultural influences. We see people going to temples to pray for things, to pray for well-being, for riches, for magic numbers they can use in the lottery. A lot of these are cultural influences, and not because Buddhism is a religion.

In Catholicism though, there is only one God. HE doesn’t accept competitors, and if you pray to other Gods, he will punish you. Well, this is according to the Bible, which is the word of God…or is it?

I believe that the Bible is not written by God, as we so understand it. I believe that the Bible is a message by well-meaning people. The passages in the book are mere messages sent out from enlightened people, something like Buddha. Jesus can be compared to Buddha, both spread the word of peace and love. The Bible is a medium of getting through to people.

If you have taken any social behaviorial class, or any book on that subject, you’d know that a message has many parts. There is the sender, the actual message, the medium that the message passes through, the actual message heard by the reciever, and the receiver’s perception of that message.

So the Bible is the message. But the people who wrote the stories in the Bible had a goal, one the same as Buddha and Jesus, to create a better world, and better people!

The Bible may not hold historial truths, but it gets the job done in converting us to be better people. Do not take it too literally, unless that works for you. Everyone will, and should, have their own interpretation of the bible, and life in general. Religion may not work for everyone, that’s why there are atheists.

Do it, and if it works, stick by it.
The following is a parable quoted in the ezine, Rondout, called A Wise Woman; the author is unknown:

A wise woman who was travelling in the mountains found a precious stone in a stream. The next day she met another traveller who was hungry, and the wise woman opened her bag to share her food.

The hungry traveller saw the precious stone and asked the woman to give it to him. She did so without hesitation. The traveller left rejoicing in his good fortune. He knew the stone was worth enough to give him security for a lifetime.

But, a few days later, he came back to return the stone to the wise woman. “I’ve been thinking,” he said. “I know how valuable this stone is, but I give it back in the hope that you can give me something even more precious. Give me what you have within you that enabled you to give me this stone.”

Sometimes it’s not the wealth you have but what’s inside you that others need.

Falling in love…and maturing?

I have had infatuations/crushes on many girls since a long time ago. It might also be called the act of falling in love. Now, looking back on those times, I am suddenly ashamed of those times. They seem so illogical…

A few years ago I was totally smitten by a beautiful girl I didn’t really know. I searched through the internet looking for things I could say to this girl, and I came across a site full of poems, some by famous poets, and others submitted by visitors to the site.

So anyway, I looked through the “Love Poems” section. I came across a submitted poem, that went along the lines of “I’ll drink your bath water…” I loved it, but somehow many others thought it was disgusting. I didn’t know why. Now looking back, it does seem a little disgusting. In fact, I would find it disgusting and distasteful (pun intended!)

Ahh, but falling in love is such a very nice feeling! I want those times back!

So have I matured, or have I just lost the fun of youth?

A Love of Reading

Reading has opened up my life considerably. I started reading at a very late age (five or six?). Before then I was effectively illiterate, while my siblings seem to have had earlier persuits into the literary world. And when I did start being able to read words by myself, I didn’t read for leisure until I was ten or so, even then I read for leisure maybe one book a year.

My first read-for-leisure books were the “The Three Investigators” series. From ten to twelve, I read three books in the series; I do not recall having read any other book during those years.

I stopped reading books for leisure after that. In secondary school (my early teenage years) I was really into soccer magazines, and later on computer magazines (both of which I have since abandoned).

My school then implemented this reading program where we were all required to read either a book or Newsweek magazine from Mondays to Wednesdays. Mother-tongue (mandarin for me) reading was done on Thursday and Friday.

The mandarin reading times were torture. Reading it was like reading a painting, almost impossible. And it didn’t help too that the chinese book was thick and heavy, so most of us would just tear the book into little parts and share! Failure to have a book was punishment by standing up for the whole reading period.

It was in upper-secondary (15 or 16-years-old) that my love for reading really blossomed. I took home from the library my very first self-help book, called Talking to Ducks, as well as a book on the types of joys, of which title I have forgotten. I was from then on hooked on non-fiction books, especially those on psychology and self-help.

My language has certainly improved, and so has my general knowledge.

Did you know that “congruent joy” is a joy you feel for no reason at all? It just comes like that, and is one of the most profound joys around. Did you know that most of what we are are due to what we are thinking?

Did you know that an atom’s ‘spin’ is not really spin as we normally know it? Have you heard of Schrodinger’s Cat? About the crazy mental experiments he puts it through? Do you know that most of us are using only 10% or less of our brain?

Well, you can find it all at your local library! Or you can simply buy the books (things I buy: books, food, clothes — in that order!). It’ll help you grow, I guarantee it!