Thursday, November 29, 2007

Sharing Nugget #60

#60: Being Singaporean.

“The Challenge for Singapore is always: How do you maintain stability? Because if you lose stability in Singapore, you lose everything… If you live in America, it’s like sailing across the ocean in an aircraft carrier. You can jump up and down, and the aircraft carrier is not going to shake. But if you live in Singapore, it’s like sailing inside a small canoe. If you have people jumping up and down, the canoe will sink.”

Western Critics were dismayed that Singaporeans seem so docile and willing to accept the rule of their leaders.
“They have experienced the most dramatic increase in the standard of living that any people have experienced – probably ever since the beginning of man. And then you ask these people, ‘Why aren’t you revolting? Why aren’t you going out on the streets?’ Well why should they?”

Kishore Mahbubani
Former Ambassador to UN

In History of Singapore

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Sharing Nugget #59

#59: Line from "Batman Begins".

"Why do we fall?"

"So that we can learn how to pick ourselves up."

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Sharing Nugget #58

#58: "Intelligence plus character — that is the goal of true education."

"The function of education, therefore, is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. But education which stops with efficiency may prove the greatest menace to society. The most dangerous criminal may be the man gifted with reason, but with no morals…We must remember that intelligence is not enough. Intelligence plus character — that is the goal of true education."
- Martin Luther King, The Purpose of Education.

"Are we losing the SMU Culture?"
- SMU SA Publication.

Sharing Nugget #57

#57: Some things are about all promise and no delivery.

I am going for my final test for the module “Intelligent Organization” tomorrow morning. I am deeply disappointed with the course – lots of theory in far-fetched terms and telling WHAT things should be like; but never tell us HOW it can be done and very little application and empirical examples offered.

It is totally way out of the league of the other modules that have taught me things that really made me grow intellectually. Haiz… the irony of the course title yeah?

It took me a long time to make sense of it in a macro sense, and try to associate it with reality. In the micro sense, either it is too technical or too common sense. But at least, there is some parts with I can extract and convince myself that I have “learned” (or more like being reminded of) something. So here goes.

I am reminded that employees in out time, if they want to do well, they need to 1) possess strong knowledge of their chosen profession; 2) be independent in learning; 3) be aware that things are ever changing and evolving, and embrace it. A highly-intelligent employee must be 1) Learn, 2) adapt, and 3) evolve. (Never become a dinosaur).

To add on, I believe that also, a basic skill one must have is the ability to sieve through the tons of information out there, extract what is relevant, make sense of it by putting it into perspective; and then make informed decisions or recommendations based on it, and communicate it clearly through valid and structured arguments.

And importantly, one must be able to do all these FAST.

3 years in the Airforce – which is highly organized and faces an ever-changing environment - reinforces my belief that the above competencies are highly needed in a contemporary employee. Also, I have heard from my wife about the dinosaurs at work and how they hold back organizational progress.

Tomorrow I am going to vomit out in the final test all that the prof thinks we should know. But I will keep in mind those things I learned from reflecting on, and from trying to make sense of, the course content. I am disappointed that the course promised so much but failed to deliver. If only we are taught how to apply those intelligent org theories, or given more empirical examples, this would have been a very powerful module to take.

But alas…

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Sharing Nugget #56

#56: On Singapore.

"Arafat once told Palestinians: 'Either we become a Singapore, or a Somalia'."
- Minister for Foreign Affairs George Yeo speaking at the Dialogue Session in SMU.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Sharing Nugget #55

#55: 3Fs for 26th Birthday - Friends, Food and Fun.

On Sunday, I threw a birthday dinner for my hostel buddies. Usually, I don't celebrate birthdays. But this is my final one in SMU. And my hostel buddies have made my final 1.5 years in SMU so fulfilling. So I think a nice steamboat dinner is in order.

I remember my first birthday in SMU where my dear friends, with help from my prof Marco, surprised me in class with a cake. The whole class, some unwillingly, have to sing birthday song for me. This is one to remember.

I'm all of 26. And I am thankful for my family, whose phone call of "Happy Birthday" is all I need from them. And I am thankful for my wife and her family. I am thankful for the grace from Buddha. And I am thankful for my friends.