Archive for May, 2011

Do schools kills creativity?

Posted: May 30, 2011 in Education

Listen to Sir Ken Robinson’s 2006 classic talk on how the education system systemically, not deliberately, kill creativity.

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Traces of My Existence

Posted: May 24, 2011 in Life

I never really thought of the above title until I saw strands of my crowning glory decked the bathroom floor just the the other day! The sight evoked a certain kind of fear – not that of vanity – that welled from somewhere in my gut. It’s a fear that piqued my writing endeavour once more, a first for 2010.

I looked back at the decade past and wondered how many traces of my existence I left behind….some irrevocable, others irreparable, still some, irresponsible. I bemoaned the many times I have lavished in plenty whilst many around the world languished in poverty…..

I think about the expired food left forgotten in the refrigerator and forget about others scavenging for scraps of food in the streets; I acquired another top because it’s cheap and on sale, left it never donned in the wardrobe and forgot about those who only wear hand-me-downs; I take pride in the toiletries lining the edge of my bathtub and forget that for many, taking a shower with clean water is still a luxury; I am tempted to acquire another property because sources say it’s an investment and forget the hobos, the homeless on the streets.

It’s not about being grateful and thankful (both of which I certainly am!!); it’s about going back to basics and having just enough; it’s about going to the core of my existence and focusing on things that matter, things that are free and things that money can never buy; it’s about de-cluttering – physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually – and getting rid of excesses that no longer serve my purpose, chief of which is to leave no traces of my existence on Earth.

I don’t need to look far nor participate in political bodies to realise the consequences of the magnitude of my excesses; I look within my home and see so much traces of my existence left on earth and it’s here that I must begin – to be prudent in my choices; to be discerning in what I hear from marketers, advertisers and the news; and above all, to be wise in my heart and leave only a legacy of intangible footprints, not carbon ones.

~ penned 010110: 15:20 ~

PS: For more information on how we’re part of this process of leaving carbon traces, read The Story of Stuff!

I’ve never been interested in writing about local politics. In fact, I shy away from the topic because in the course of Singapore politics, sadly, the sword is often mightier than the pen! Many countless examples from JB Jeyaretnam to Chee Soon Juan are illustrative that wielding mere words alone cannot fight the ruling party.

However, this time is different! For one, I don’t feel that writing my narrative is going to be a lost cause! In the age of social media where my seemingly inconsequential voice can reverberate throughout, even to the remotest corners of the digital world, I know the Singapore GE 2011 is going to be different! This is how I want my narrative to be like:

I want leaders who have GRIT; who doggedly work their way up without riding on the crest wave created by another! I want leaders who are willing to toil and sweat – ploughing the ground 24/7 with endurance, sowing the seeds of entitlement to represent us and finally reaping the sweet harvest of endorsement from the masses!

Sadly, the protagonists have failed to exhibit this trait of GRIT. Where LKY and his compatriots have gained my respect for their hard work in their 60s and 70s, the majority of their successors have just enjoyed the spoils and not worked the ground at all!

I want leaders who have GUTS; who courageously admit to their shortcomings – where they’ve blown it, fallen short and failed in their duties! I want leaders who are not afraid to acknowledge their mistakes rather than avert them; who dare to say “I’m sorry! I’ve not measured up to the responsibility befitting of a ministerial post!” rather than dismiss them and say “Let’s move on! It’s water under the bridge!”.

Sadly, LKY has not emulated this trait of GUTS for his successors to follow! With due respect to the old man and all that he’s done for Singapore, here’s one where he has not gotten it right! He’s still residing in his ivory tower of self-righteousness, self-servingness and self-misappropriation and not touching base with the majority of his minions who desire to see humility , human-ness and humane qualities in their leaders!

I want leaders who have GUMPTION; who are prepared to risk electoral results and not change the goal posts in every election to suit their whim and fancy and make a mockery of our country’s election!!! I want leaders who are prepared to fight the good fight with their worthy opponents and not cower in fear and remain covert in the re-drawing of boundaries, the changing of GRC membership from 3 to 4 to 5 and then 6 and the increasing registration fees from $1500 to a whopping $16000 per person to get your name on the nomination roll!

Sadly, at present, Singapore doesn’t have leaders with GUMPTION! We have leaders who issue out threats, threats and more threats to get voted; leaders who don’t fight the fair fight with the oft re-shuffling of electoral rules and leaders who are lacking in the moral authority to govern Singapore because the majority of us can’t vote due to the changing rules!!! The antagonists have manifested this trait – none so more significantly than Low Thia Khiang! I won’t be voting in Aljunied but I hope in all honesty that his GUMPTION pays off!!!

GE 2011 is going to be different! I believe my narrative is going to climax with a watershed moment in the history of Singapore election! And I want to be there when that happens!!!

~ penned 1 May 2011: 1301 ~

Our Collective Consciousness

Posted: May 24, 2011 in Life

When the double whammy tragedy unfolded on 11th March 2011 in Japan, I stood transfixed at the horrific images that were transmitted before my very eyes. Unable to fathom the mammoth scale of destruction caused by nature and the helpless state it has reduced us to once more, I peeled my eyes off BBC, thinking that I could escape from the reality of it all! Oh, how wrong I was! In the aftermath of the disaster, I was left more speechless from what I read, saw and heard!

I read about the complaints on the Straits Times forum about the disorder in Tokyo airport and delays in the flights back home! Hong Kong was no better! Queues formed to stock up on milk powder and people were told to satiate their appetite for sashimi and sushi lest they’ve to wait many months down the road before they can whet their appetite again!!! SMS-es were wildly circulated about nuclear rain and with that, another kind of queue was formed to get hold of iodine tablets!!

For every good thing that I read, saw and heard vis-a-vis the tragedy, it was nullified by the self-centred, self-ingratiating acts of mankind!!

I wonder how many more acts of nature would have to be enacted before our very lifetime in order for us to learn that I’m my brother’s & sister’s keeper; that no man is an island; that we’re all islands adrift in the human sea of consciousness; that when one part is maimed, all parts suffer!!!

I believe this is the lesson – the allegorical allusion of the tidal wave sweeping through and inundating physical lands and wiping out human lives will be the pouring forth of communal awareness that will colonise the ready minds and convert the willing souls to receive a brand new age – the age of collective consciousness!!

At this point in time, I don’t see this dawn! But I’ll keep singing to the brand new Dawn: Where, O where, is our collective consciousness?

And I hope, my friends, you’ll join me in this song!

~ penned 170311, 20:33 ~

Licensing Parents

Posted: May 24, 2011 in Life

We live in a world in which issuing licenses for almost every job skill has become a requirement: we get a driving license to declare we are safe to drive; a doctor’s license to guarantee that we are not quacks; a lawyer’s accreditation to prove that we can argue on your behalf in the court rooms and a teaching certificate to testify that we can teach in the classrooms!

Which brings me to this title as I was doing some reading recently to upgrade my qualification in the academia (again, i won’t deny that it’s about accreditation :)). The more I read, the more I’m convinced that there’s grounds to believe that it may just work – issuing licenses to parents who befit the Distinction in Parenting!

And if it really takes off, I might have to contend less with screaming kids in public, ill-mannered adolescents who ignore polite questions, hyperactive kids pounding above my home in the middle of the night, abusive and violent teenagers!!

And the spin-off could also mean I have to deal with fewer parents who shove their responsibility to the schools as sole dictators of the moral compass; and those parents who never think that their child could be a wolf in sheep’s clothing, who blames it on the society, never on themselves!!

This concept was mooted some 30 years ago by Hugh Lafollette and has been largely debated ever since! His premise is true, supporting details valid and above all, argument is sound!

And given that I’m not a parent myself, it’s quite easy to see why I could possibly fall in love with this proposition!! Still, I’m wondering what my friends who are parents would say to this: what’s your reason for having kids other than for conservation of the lineage, preservation of the lifeline, consolidation of your retirement?!?

Pray, tell me :))

~ penned 25 Feb 2011: 1703 ~