The Real People’s Action May 3, 2013Posted by @Karen_Fu in change, real power.
Tags: democracy, life thought, Peoples' power, politics
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You know what is the real people’s action? When you call yourself one, you need to represent the people, work for the people, listen and do for the people, and stop telling people things that goes around the bloody bush. It only makes people angry. If we are lazy, disobeying delinquents, hooligans, criminals of the monkeys’ kind; then we deserve to be told off. But we are not and will not buy rubbish that will take away the rights of the people who have done no wrong but want a peaceful prosperous healthy society. – Karen Fu
Boston International Marathon Blast April 16, 2013Posted by @Karen_Fu in ethics, faith, life challenges, terrorism.
Tags: Boston International Marathon, life, terrorism
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Disaster strikes for a reason. We must keep hope as well as faith in adversity. But we must always try to find root cause and solve them. If a recurring problem exists, something must be stubborn to change and we must change that stubbornness.
The mishap is senseless, but the cause for terror has a reason. It’s recurring every now and then. We need to be vigilant.
(photo: via Todayonline)
1. My other posts on terrorism:
2. New York Times Report on the terror attack :
Add: You know, peace isn’t hard to keep. What is hard to keep is the complexity of minds that go haywire that results from being intolerant. Some people have less threshold for tolerance. Some, more. If you hit those with big hearts, fine. If you happen to meet those with small minds, you are good to get blasted on a land mind. In several ways, the way of being simple or even simplistic may save trouble. At rare times, knowing nothing is better than being over sensitive about many issues. To be too smart is often the cause for trouble. — Karen Fu
Margaret Thatcher – some thoughts on life and leadership April 12, 2013Posted by @Karen_Fu in change, human quality, UK.
Tags: biography, controversial leaders, Great Britain, great leaders, Margargret thatcher, politics, the iron lady, United Kingdom
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Love her, hate her. Whatever it is, Margaret Thatcher is now history’s iron lady.
She is well known for having her own guts that don’t bend when she believes in it. Certainly not a Great leader who would command a perfect 100 percent respect from all kinds of people. I wouldn’t expect the working class people to like her. Neither would the middle income people would favour her. She has a hard fist on the economy. Perhaps there was no detour to save the country from an ailing system where companies had relied heavily on state support. You cannot exactly blame her for the hard handedness. But neither can you genuinely appreciate what had become of it either. She is a highly controversial leader to be agreed upon as a great leader in that sense.
But when you look upon how she handled high officials in her cabinet, you would have to admire her persistence. It is exactly the undying spirit that she stood out from her modest family background to rise above most as a formidable political figure with a very pragmatic perspective towards life. She seems to see many things as business but she was always on the go. Perhaps too much on the go. Often one may have to ponder if family was in her mind as she ran for politics. Would life be called a success when family commitments are not fully met? Would leadership be fully commended when people suffer? Should so many suffer?
I like her for her guts. I like the fact she was tough. In politics and in business, you have to be tough. Bending over is a no brainer. But her hand in policies that wreck many people’s lives did not exactly get better. Change requires pain in many instances. But I truly believe in mitigating such sufferings to a bare minimum. Sometimes the way forward is actually taking a step back. Iron fists sometimes don’t work well in some areas. Then again, the Falklands war was the best iron fist she ever pounded on. Integrity of the nation on the world stage is one of the most important concern from a great leader. She did it without fear.
Her greatness lies in saving the country from the brink of national collapse. However, her failure was to sacrifice the less economic well off to suffer amidst such huge radical change. It’s pretty hard to call her a 100 percent true heroine. But one thing you can be resolute about her is her staunch determination to rise from the ground. She is also very fortunate to have a doting husband who was always supportive of her.
As much as I admire her guts, I have some doubts about her as a true peoples’ heroine. In international politics and business, she was a great leader and a master heroine. But as a true people’s leader, I doubt she had a superior score. I could recall some of our humanities tutors at college many years back, who were British, did not like her at all. I could understand the sentiment. If I were them, I wouldn’t either.
A leader must always bring the thought of the people first. Maybe trying circumstances then forbade her to do so. Perhaps the initial change must include great suffering. But when the suffering becomes recurrent, then it is a problem not to be ignored. It’s a personal thought here that perhaps some people may come against it, but as a student who used to live in the United Kingdom, I could dare say people don’t generally show detest for nothing. Especially when people are generally kind and reserved. – Karen Fu
1. New York Times:
Tags: Charlie Chaplin, harmony, humanity, life, World Peace
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Charlie Chaplin is not just a great comedian, he is a great humanist. Don’t think I need to write anything as I paste the video here for your viewing pleasure. This video has some of the most pertinent issues for us to reflect on what have been done and are still continuing.
A Simple Thought March 19, 2013Posted by @Karen_Fu in change, ethics, faith, human quality, life challenges, real power.
Tags: Allah, Buddha, ethics, faith, God, Lord, Religion, simple layman philosophy, sociology
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Am Facebooking and reading off feeds and comments along with skim reading other online notes and emails.
I cannot help but to post this quick thought that has come to me instantly:
For those who have Faiths, please do not think your Lord, your Buddha, you Allah, your God are deceivable. For those who have no Faith, there is still a force that you may yet to find but is looking over you. Just that you are not quiet enough to understand it, doesn’t mean the true heart of doing a certain thing cannot be seen.
Being true isn’t hard to do. Do not waste time thinking you can bend rules to get your way. Doing this in front to look good and bend it over to do something. It doesnt work that way. Some people donate money for good causes but do something hideous behind, thinking the charity will cancel off the negative karma of doing bad. My advise: don’t even think about playing tricks. It never pays in the end, ‘cos you don’t call your Lord anything else as they have the highest form of power that you cannot fathom.
I am a free thinker even at this point. I do so because I think this will free me up to mix with everyone. I believe that any positive religions will accommodate very similar, if not the same principles of what is obeying the Lord. And that is not to exploit anyone’s kindness for your own greed. That’s just one point. The point that I often read off news about certain people defying their Faith to do hideous crimes makes me often wonder what kind of people we have today. It may sound religious, but at times I can’t help but to think the natural disasters that we have are indeed the Lord’s way of teaching unfaithful people a lesson.
Hopefully people will be awakened. And that the power of advanced technology and science has little to do with solving actual problems. Often I think the backward movement of technology may well save our lives in many ways. It’s a huge change to flip over. I suppose people want the high tech to show ones prowess and might. Then thinking back again, it may well be a sign of self destruction going by the way how certain people are bending rules these days. – Karen Fu
Research and learning. March 16, 2013Posted by @Karen_Fu in design, Design thinking, education, research.
Tags: Einstein, Learning, PhD design list, play, research
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Just posted a very short and simple post to PhD design list. I always feel the notion of play and fun should never be underestimated. Unfortunately, this sub post stemmed out from a pretty nasty thread. It led to a seasoned researcher to choose leaving the list altogether. I read on and thought I’d just post a short note. My posts aren’t that valued by certain people though there are some who thought they had some good contribution. At one point, I was angry. As I read on the list and ponder the different characters, I decided it was not worth the pain to fume. Research and learning is about being very open. How open is the list is anyone’s guess but I could use many different views to seeing it. I think it needs a great quote off a great mind to convince. I’m no Einstein. Neither am I a world leader, but I always know the value of play. I was actually elated to come across Einstein’s quote on play:
‘Play is the highest form of research.’ quote by Albert Einstein, on a wall in the Tech Museum, San Jose, California
Surely, no play makes anyone dull. But I doubt the list will be truly receptive. It just drove one seasoned researcher away with quite a few people fuming. The entire list is like a war zone. I wonder if anyone will appreciate the short note (frankly speaking, not many) but I think over analyzing can be a poison. And I often wonder of people actually realize they do that most of the time. As we seem to grow older, and read into things too much; the tendency is for us to think we are so right about everything. Wouldn’t it be a curse for learning?
Quote myself:’some of best play could well be the overlooked as ‘fat chewing’. Don’t know about naval gazing. You’d take a mad person to over analyze certain objects to that point, but I think learning to relax is very important. Patience is another. Tolerance and perseverance is key.
What list is this? I don’t really care anymore. But I suppose there are different characters to take in. I am learning to cool… I don’t want grey hairs this soon. I still wanna play to learn.’
I admit this post could prick on some people. But If I care too much, I doubt I could even live properly. Learn to take soup cans and tomato cans. Including the rubbish cans. If you can’t, you don’t learn. A child takes in the crap and the condescending look, but they continue to play around and explore. A child is always open to the world. That’s why they learn the most without much formalities. Do I make sense? Ah, I remember why I gave up on many things. I need to take care of my health and sanity! – Karen Fu
People and Faith February 14, 2013Posted by @Karen_Fu in ethics, faith, human quality, life challenges.
Tags: exploitation, faith, life, might, People, Power, thought
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People work for money. Nothing wrong with that. But when it comes with the idea of exploiting everything to ones selfish and egotistical power goals, then there’s a problem. People can be swayed for the sake of money and power and do things pit against their conscience. But when it comes to rewards and punishments, it becomes clear that we human being cannot match our allah, our Lord, and our Faith and laws of nature in terms of the ultimate power and might. – Karen Fu
About being round and around February 14, 2013Posted by @Karen_Fu in change, real power.
Tags: change, les miserables, People, Power, world
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Money makes the world go round.
Power grips the world around;
But then power comes from the ground abound…
What goes round comes around!
Do I hear the people sing?
Jolly attaching this
For your enjoyment & thought! – Karen Fu
10 th anniversary
(Lyrics Via http://mp3lyrics.com/fNz)
Do you hear the people sing
Lost in the valley of the night
It is the music of a people
Who are climbing to the light
For the wretched of the earth
There is a flame that never dies
Even the darkest night will end
And the sun will rise.
We will live again in freedom
In the garden of the Lord
We will walk behind the plough-share
We will put away the sword
The chain will be broken
And all men will have their reward!
Will you join in our crusade?
Who will be strong and stand with me?
Somewhere beyond the barricade
Is there a world you long to see?
Do you hear the people sing
Say, do you hear the distant drums?
It is the future that they bring
When tomorrow comes!
Will you join in our crusade?
Who will be strong and stand with me?
Somewhere beyond the barricade
Is there a world you long to see?
Do you hear the people sing
Say, do you hear the distant drums?
It is the future that they bring
When tomorrow comes!
I personally like the other on YouTube videos too.
Will attach here for your viewing pleasure:
17 Valjeans around the world
Tags: Bukit Brown, change, Hong Lim Park, leadership, Lee Kuan yew, people's action, people's voice, Population White Paper 2013, singapore
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Back on Facebook catching up with news.
These days, I prefer reading online. It’s clean, snappy and way more fun; making it an extremely efficient and colourful form of media to catch the news apart from the gruesome weather. No need to stack newspapers and that does save plenty of space. Personally, I don’t like politics and I always make that clear that it interferes with issues in shades of grey when it shouldn’t be. But ironically, we need it in our society. I suppose we cannot run lives without politics. However, I often worry about the state of leadership here. It does seem to be in a mess.
The recent white paper on population has caused lots of stir though not to the tipping point of brewing a storm. Not because the situation is not serious, but more because of the fact that most of us have been very silent and law-abiding citizens who often choose to listen and just follow. We will not riot, not demonstrate or go into the streets with batons like many people in some countries do when things don’t go right. Actually to be really honest, we are very tolerant people here. The spate of concerns from various individuals have stated their thoughts on both human and natural environments clearly shows the intellectual capacity of locals here. So what kind of world we will have in some 17 years time, when our population density soars from the current 7500 people per square kilometer to 9000+? The matter is not confined to physical crowdedness alone where many infrastructures like public transport, health care, education et cetra fail to function even at satisfactory levels. People are all under strain too from the way we live, study, work and even sleep. We are like nocturnal animals. Many stayed up late at night. Yet many need to get up early. At one point, people have exclaimed that we are some of the fastest walking people around in the world. Agreeably we are. But what are busy about? For what? And why are we made to be so busy even when there is not much to be actually busy? Its crazy. When things go in this magnitude, even the quietest citizen will make a noise. I am making a noise now. I mean we don’t even have space for the dead. Bukit Brown, which has one of the largest Chinese cemeteries outside China, is undergoing partial exhumation to give way to urban development. To me, that is harsh to bring the dead up after they are supposed to be peacefully buried for several decades. Their descendants have dutifully keep the tombs neat and in Asian tradition, the dead are very important part of the living. The witness of these tombs being knocked down and bones being dug up isn’t a very palatable sight. And trust me, you can even feel very sad just looking at the process. It takes the coldest hearts to make the decision to knock down tombs. Especially the deceased ancestors who suffered for us to ensure we live a far better life than theirs.
I believe the forthcoming peaceful rally at Hong Lim Park on the 16 February will be historic. At least in Singapore History, it will be. It will be the first massive rally that is gaining global attention from BBC, Bloomberg to Reuters. Yahoo to Facebook, from Straits Times to Zaobao. It will be the first massive rally since the 50s/60s. The first peaceful defiance since independence in 1965, from a nation where people have stayed silent and been listening almost all the time. Because the government is usually right. And rightfully, it has been largely correct. Except for this time over a span of the last 5-10 years that things start to go upside down.
As a citizen, I share a worry here. What will be the legacy after this? Do we have a leader like Mr Lee Kuan Yew? Many do not like Mr Lee Kuan Yew, but we cannot deny he was the one to hold up a fine team to bring Singapore out of the murky shadows back in the 50s. He unified scarred pieces into one efficient piece ready to take off. The team he had was a different one from the team now. They knew what genuine hardship was and how it was to be looked down. That garnered people’s voice and hence people’s action to put them into governance for the next few decades. His credibility to get things done was absolute. I doubt we have anyone like him, who is identified globally as an extremely capable statesman of impressive foresight on various areas in economics, politics et cetra. We can be a tiny country. But who says we need to act like one and be stamped over like one? If we cannot see big beyond our land size, and think a lot of things cannot be done because we are a tiny country; then we will be finished. To think that increasing population by some 30 percent given the mere landfilled increase of less than 10 percent isn’t going to see us well economically. We seem to dote on rise in human population to get prosperity, which i think is wrong. Unless we use unique technologies to increase space and harness great creativity to house people, I cannot see how we can live with 6.9 million under conventional terms on land reclamation and living in high rise buildings that tower way up above the ground and tunneling deep underground for extra space. I wonder if anyone would worry about over stressing the structure of the earth below our feet, but I suppose my worry may be overlooked.
Times have changed. It is no longer a time when people just sit back and let problems auto solve itself. It’s happening everywhere, not just in Singapore. What makes it unique here is that people have suddenly turned awake about politics. We usually do not bother about it. I wasn’t brought up to stay politically aware. Neither were my parents. Politics is unimportant for us. To us, a peaceful and prosperous life of abundant opportunities and in great health is tonnes more important than politics.
This rally at Hong Lim Park will be marked in history as a peaceful defiance against an unpopular but passed White Paper. Consider this a historic change of the people’s voice, the real people’s action. If I am cleared on that day, I want to attend and hear what others have to say – Karen Fu
Chinese New Year duo – Song Zuying and Celine Dion. February 11, 2013Posted by @Karen_Fu in change, China, Chinese New Year, creativity.
Tags: Canada, CCTV, Celin Dion, China, Chinese New Year 2013, creativity, 茉莉花，music, YouTube
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Happy new year of the black water snake! Saw this over on Facebook and thought I should share it. It may sound very controversial, but I think this is a very good attempt to blend in two vastly different cultures together while retaining each individual differences. An excellent blend of the east and west, Song Zuying brings in the passive yet strong singing style of the east to go along with Celin Dion’s vibrant resonance in a special style. The future will bring along many more western counterparts to cooperate with the mainland Chinese. The force is undeniably a fine change and hopefully will be one that speaks of a peaceful and creative symbiosis.- Karen Fu
What Makes Great Teaching - John Hattie and Pasi Sahlberg February 9, 2013Posted by @Karen_Fu in change, education, UK.
Tags: Australia, Finland education system, United Kingdom, University of Manchester, University of Melbourne
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The ultimate question for all teachers and teacher educators? Interesting perspectives of new teachers progression, appetite and development. Equally important questions about the profession and whether the focus should be on teachers or learners.
Excellent talk held at the University of Manchester about education. I can't help but to agree with most of the aspects on teaching. Highly passionate teachers are one, to ensure that students are truly happy and rewarded by an enriched education experience is another. While attaining superior skills is crucial, I always believe that we need teachers who genuinely feel the passion to teach. Monetary compensation is one, ensuring the true integrity of teachers is another. The intellectual capacity must come in lieu with ethics that strongly adhere to staunch integrity about what is right and wrong, what is just and unjust. Without moral ethics, it makes little sense if getting top skills that in the end will do nothing good for a sustainable living environment. Learning should be fun and the ability to play is actually a prime requisite for research. For if you can't get interested and move things around, enjoy what you are doing; how can you really assimilate the knowledge learnt and thus generate more original pieces of thought? I can't agree more with another statement that politics should get out of education. Wished I were in Manchester then. I think I learnt the most about what education should be and what learning is about way more naturally and successful than I was in Singapore. The environment was different and it allows the freedom to romp and try different things in an open and interactive manner. Great gift on the eve of the lunar new year. Education should be free. It should be for people who want to learn and have the passion to do so. It is not about power and money as the prime goal as it will not churn a great learning environment that will make the world a truly human and beautiful one.
Meritocracy snippet January 17, 2013Posted by @Karen_Fu in change, education.
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‘Being an academic elite itself is not a flaw. Getting full score for studies or being at the top tier of a certain subject area would deem one an elite. Being able to enter most of the NUS courses now is considered an academic elite. However, the flaw would be the idea that elites are the only best people to lead everything. That itself is wrong. Everyone has its ups and downs. Today you may be an elite. Tomorrow you may be a scum. A fine system will be one that allows anyone who has developed the level of competence to lead in their field of expertise. That’s meritocracy.’ — Karen Fu
MERITOCRACY is about more than just academic grades January 8, 2013Posted by @Karen_Fu in education, human quality, Singapore.
Tags: education, Meritocracy, singapore
MERITOCRACY in Singapore is about more than just academic grades, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong as he stressed that everyone here has a shot at success.
“When we say ‘merit’, we are not just talking about grades or scores, but also character, leadership and a broad range of talents,” said Lee said in a speech to more than 1,500 students and their parents at a bursary and Edusave award ceremony in his Teck Ghee ward.
2012 in review December 31, 2012Posted by @Karen_Fu in wordpress report card.
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The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.
Here’s an excerpt:
600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 5,700 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 10 years to get that many views.
Design vs Technology August 29, 2012Posted by @Karen_Fu in design, real power.
Tags: design, leadership, short quote, technology
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When one says technology rules, one is only half correct. It’s like claiming only the leader is needed in a country where followers do not matter that much. Design is a system. Technology needs system to integrate. Design needs creativity, that of which requires courage and imagination. – Karen Fu
Alarming video on Fukushima impact on the world. May 9, 2012Posted by @Karen_Fu in change, climate change, environment, ethics, faith, life challenges.
Tags: Fukushima, Fukushima nuclear accident aftermath, Japan nuclear disaster 2011, Man made disaster, radioactive danger, World disaster
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Far worse than what I thought about the fukushima radioactive leak. So cancer prevention should be the first to come into consideration if what Dr Helen Caldicott said is true.I can believe it is mostly true. But what I didn’t know was the extent of the disaster. We should never place complacency in what we know and play with fire. I will leave you to watch the video. It is very concisely presented. Anyone who still thinks nuclear is a viable source of power to expand economically should have their brains ‘washed’ by now. Technology should gear towards to how to cancer prevention and cure. I think that’s the most important task now — not the power struggle, fights and material greed. It doesn’t pay. — Karen Fu
Tags: education, Elite schools, singapore
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Note: Two weeks ago, a number of former Chinese High students spontaneously penned two separate FaceBook notes about their experiences when they were in school.
It’s been about two weeks since Wei Leong’s FaceBook note (here) and Jianrui’s follow-up (here) were published, and I’m pretty sure that most of us within their social circles and even beyond have been charmed by their sentiment and post-graduation enlightenment.
Take a break. Take a very good break. April 30, 2012Posted by @Karen_Fu in change, human quality, life challenges.
Tags: Human flaw, life, thoughts
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You know what I know, that they know things may just start to fall apart; if we know not how to handle it wisely.
Reading on and offline on various news. And it makes you wonder if we all probably share the similar misgivings. People do shift blame when they are in trouble. When they laugh at others what their woes are, they have totally forgotten their woes are starting to loom right behind them, When the trouble finally comes, they cite the others to back up their points — including the ones they have initially laughed at.
Lesson learnt: do not laugh at others. Things take an odd turn when they are laughed at.
Shortie blog post here. Thought I just squirt it. V important lesson. Don’t you think? — yours elfinic little cutie, Karen Fu….
Intelligence is overrated. April 24, 2012Posted by @Karen_Fu in change, human quality, real power.
Tags: business, EQ, Intelligence, IQ, leadership, MQ
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Can’t agree with it more: ‘Intelligence is overrated’ after reading this article What You Really Need To Succeed
I will quote the entire source here below my signature. Though this is not new. The emphasis seems to be stronger now. Perhaps it’s the realization of our world has becoming to be that makes people redefine the sense for success. There’s even the quotient for morals, which I am wondering how many would be brave enough to question if we have the moral sense to see where we have gone wrong. Personally I still feel that intelligence has to come in place to enable one to plan smart. But whether plans could be realized depends on a lot on human factors. Meddle that off sync and you have people reacting negatively. Human resource management is one of the hardest to tackle and to master different minds into unified force is a feat. Everything is human. Nothing happens because of a built in situation on its own. The human mind is complex. Few people can learn psychology to the tip of the pinnacle without looking too linear or even ‘crazy’. Dealing with people requires life experiences. Or at least a keen sense of what is happening around them and how they should react and change accordingly. That needs a vast exploration into different people spaces. If one is lazy, and think their due superior intelligence could tell them all, then success cannot be imminent.– Karen Fu
Albert Einstein’s was estimated at 160, Madonna’s is 140, and John F. Kennedy’s was only 119, but as it turns out, your IQ score pales in comparison with your EQ, MQ, and BQ scores when it comes to predicting your success and professional achievement.
IQ tests are used as an indicator of logical reasoning ability and technical intelligence. A high IQ is often a prerequisite for rising to the top ranks of business today. It is necessary, but it is not adequate to predict executive competence and corporate success. By itself, a high IQ does not guarantee that you will stand out and rise above everyone else.
Research carried out by the Carnegie Institute of Technology shows that 85 percent of your financial success is due to skills in “human engineering,” your personality and ability to communicate, negotiate, and lead. Shockingly, only 15 percent is due to technical knowledge. Additionally, Nobel Prize winning Israeli-American psychologist, Daniel Kahneman, found that people would rather do business with a person they like and trust rather than someone they don’t, even if the likeable person is offering a lower quality product or service at a higher price.
With this in mind, instead of exclusively focusing on your conventional intelligence quotient, you should make an investment in strengthening your EQ (Emotional Intelligence), MQ (Moral Intelligence), and BQ (Body Intelligence). These concepts may be elusive and difficult to measure, but their significance is far greater than IQ.
EQ is the most well known of the three, and in brief it is about: being aware of your own feelings and those of others, regulating these feelings in yourself and others, using emotions that are appropriate to the situation, self-motivation, and building relationships.
Top Tip for Improvement: First, become aware of your inner dialogue. It helps to keep a journal of what thoughts fill your mind during the day. Stress can be a huge killer of emotional intelligence, so you also need to develop healthy coping techniques that can effectively and quickly reduce stress in a volatile situation.
MQ directly follows EQ as it deals with your integrity, responsibility, sympathy, and forgiveness. The way you treat yourself is the way other people will treat you. Keeping commitments, maintaining your integrity, and being honest are crucial to moral intelligence.
Top Tip for Improvement: Make fewer excuses and take responsibility for your actions. Avoid little white lies. Show sympathy and communicate respect to others. Practice acceptance and show tolerance of other people’s shortcomings. Forgiveness is not just about how we relate to others; it’s also how you relate to and feel about yourself.
Lastly, there is your BQ, or body intelligence, which reflects what you know about your body, how you feel about it, and take care of it. Your body is constantly telling you things; are you listening to the signals or ignoring them? Are you eating energy-giving or energy-draining foods on a daily basis? Are you getting enough rest? Do you exercise and take care of your body? It may seem like these matters are unrelated to business performance, but your body intelligence absolutely affects your work because it largely determines your feelings, thoughts, self-confidence, state of mind, and energy level.
Top Tip For Improvement: At least once a day, listen to the messages your body is sending you about your health. Actively monitor these signals instead of going on autopilot. Good nutrition, regular exercise, and adequate rest are all key aspects of having a high BQ. Monitoring your weight, practicing moderation with alcohol, and making sure you have down time can dramatically benefit the functioning of your brain and the way you perform at work.
What You Really Need To Succeed
It doesn’t matter if you did not receive the best academic training from a top university. A person with less education who has fully developed their EQ, MQ, and BQ can be far more successful than a person with an impressive education who falls short in these other categories.
Yes, it is certainly good to be an intelligent, rational thinker and have a high IQ; this is an important asset. But you must realize that it is not enough. Your IQ will help you personally, but EQ, MQ, and BQ will benefit everyone around you as well. If you can master the complexities of these unique and often under-rated forms of intelligence, research tells us you will achieve greater success and be regarded as more professionally competent and capable.
Tags: cost of living, economic policies, Prof Lim Chong Yah, singapore
Broken MRTs have never been so common since its inception back in 1987. I was running away from the massive after office rush hour by having dinner at a shopping mall. When I was having dinner, I saw an elderly man in his 70s making his slow pace from table to table. When he came to my table, he politely asked me if he could clear my plate. I was looking on as I recalled the many senior citizens who have to work even when they are in their 70s and 80s. It is not a rare sight. One of the most memorable impression was an old lady who was clearly suffering from osteoporosis. She had a 90degree hunched back and had to clean the toilets at Raffles City. I told her to forget about drying the toilet floors and just quit the job. She told me she couldn’t because her middle aged son had trouble making ends meet. For some weird coincidence, she boarded the same MRT train as me later. I gave my seat up for her. And an Indian guy gave his seat up for me and we ended up sitting together. She talked a lot along the journey from HDB flat prices to jobs to her toilet chores at the shopping mall. It left a strong impact on me.
Unfortunately after some 2-3 years, I am still ploughing myself. If I had the ability to hire these old folks for a much higher pay and at far shorter hours, I would without hesitation. If I could really have it, old people should not work.
The cost of living is getting higher. I could dare say it has gone through the roof. Low income earners are making far too low. And when I read the proposal from Prof Lim Chong Yah, I applauded. Not only the old are working with meagre pay but so are those blue collar workers. In due course, everyone will get it in one way or the other. Cutting labour costs has its limits. How low can you go when living costs go up all the time? The law of economics can do up a certain point, often playing around with figures to solve problems. The ultimate is to feel the ground and hear what people are complaining about and act on it. Human factors have different permutation set of issues that contribute to those economics problems. We cannot plainly say we do this policy and that taxation, while insisting that wages must be kept low for businesses to survive. To me, it doesn’t make full sense. The way I see it is that if costs is the way to handle problems so firms don’t crash, then we are all screwed, as costs cannot go any lower. Falling to an unacceptable low point is as good as being unemployed.
I hope Prof Lim’s proposal is taken in somehow. I think we need a flip. And a quick one too. — Karen Fu
A Lego Lesson. April 16, 2012Posted by @Karen_Fu in change, creativity, Economy, talent.
Tags: Economics, globalization, Iskandar, Lego, legoland, Malaysia, multicultural, talent
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Issues on global talent came as I was watching the video. There are clearly many British and American educated individuals in the video. If I were to shut my eyes up just listening to them, I would have thought they were natives. It can be a strange sight to see. But with the propagation of western colleges doing transnational education as well as an increased demand for overseas western education, many students are opting to learn abroad if they have the opportunity.
Many creative individuals appeared to bear a strong multicultural background. Just like the interviewee who is a Malaysian graduated from Harvard, a good number of well known people tend to also have a ‘Rojak’ (Malay word for a delicious mixed salad of fruit and vegetables) blood of Asian and caucasian mix. Either this, or they often come from a rich diversified experience of multiethnic cultures.
As I watched on, I cannot help but to compare with what Iskandar, where Legoland is, has to offer, I cannot help asking why Singapore could not have legoland and universal studios without the casinos. Iskandar is only a strait away from Singapore and they are blooming the area up with Eco diversity living waterfront houses apart with hi tech industries. My gut feeling is that many will be lured to the region. If they could create the kind of security like we have over here, they could easily attract many to their shores for investments.
Our recent debate on raising the minimum wage and wage freeze for top income earners focus on keeping the local economy sustainable. As far as I see it, focusing on costs alone will not see us through. Surely we need to raise salary only when productivity is good. But to deprive the lower income group earners by cutting manufacturing / service costs is just as bad, if not worse. Could we be more innovative in our course in economics without slashing pay of employees when the cost of living is getting to be uncontainable? Lego started off from a small cottage industry to a mega toy business that isn’t confined to just play value. It has also been used in even furniture and architectural structures out from their simple block unit. Why is it that we cannot replicate such creativity instead of drooling on cutting costs ? If the lower income blue collar get their wages so low that they can’t economically survive, be sure to expect high social costs in due course. To start off burning costs as a mantra, be also sure that middle income earners pay will be controlled and marked downwards too. In fact, this is happening as the global economy isn’t good and companies both big and small are trying to slash wages paid to employees.
Often I feel we need a good flip. When things don’t get better, then it is high time we skip it and try something new. What maybe a soft skill may turn out big. We dont need to follow what most people do. The time when you start seeing many entering the same field, that’s the time you should be thinking of another emerging field.
There are many ways of leveraging what we don’t have. Our forefathers have done it. Why is it our generation seems to be talking backwards? We have the brains and the talent here but I think many are underutilized. If you were creative, what would you do? If I have the chance, I would flip it. — Karen Fu
Addition 17-4-2012 from my own quoted comment on Facebook : Cost cutting is not the way to go. Quality and innovation is. When you start to focus on the money alone, the result is you missed the innovation. Finally both firm and employees loose really — Karen Fu
Tags: change, design education, education, higher education, leadership, Massachusetts Institute Of Technology, MIT, nanyang technological university, National University Of Singapore, politics, research, science, singapore, singapore management university, Singapore University Of Technology and Design, SUTD Open House 2012
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Our colleges here grow quick in terms of grades. In no time, SUTD (Singapore University Of Technology and Design)will get almost all their students in the band of straight A-s. A global sign seems to be similar throughout all colleges alike, that a great education is one that not only engineers but also focuses on plenty of soft skills as well.
When I read about graduates pay at TODAYonline I cannot help but to think the education sector here is off. SMU (Singapore Management University) and indeed SUTD may overtake the other 2 local universities in 20 years given the current state of development. It goes to show something: we are no longer a place where traditional learning will see you through at work. That’s a good thing. But on the other hand, it shows another trend and that is our local born bred colleges are short of great networks that SMU and SUTD are enjoying. The former with the lead college from the U of Penn. The latter, with MIT. These are top of the world insitutions whose network are unmatched. If our NUS (National University Of Singapore) and NTU (Nanyang Technological University) are going to remain at top 2 here, they have to adapt to a new curriculum that entails invention and creativity. If we look at SMU and SUTD carefully, their curriculums are not 100% original. But what they are smart at is their way of branding themselves by implementing structure with a huge private sector appeal. Overall academic quality is definitely there but our students are short of real life experience ( as in experiencing hard life, trying situations that require them to problem solve. In short they are not street smart enough)
I am always keen in anything that concerns education. It changes minds, and it has a profound impact on the way a society would run. It has always been and it will always be. When I saw the open house at SUTD, and when it happen to land on a semi free Saturday, I seized the day to go and visit. I should have actually stayed at home for a good nap due to a prolonged period of late nights without much sleep. But the course structure has an unique engineering and technology education. And after reading heaps of it in the media for so long, and having met the associate provost and his secretary before, I thought I must see it myself. I am by nature too curious. Usually people love inquisitive students/people, that’s how discoveries are found. And thats learning. (But I think some people may not like it somehow.) On with the post:
The college imprints the mark by saying it will change the world.
Quote: ‘In his remarks, Magnanti, president of SUTD and Institute Professor at the MIT Sloan School of Management, noted: “Like all the great universities of the world, SUTD will be research-intensive and bring the fruits of research into the classroom and into the marketplace. As the largest technically intensive design center in the world, in both scope and size, the IDC aims [for] no less than to change the world.’
‘Change’ has been the buzz word since President Obama has used it in his presidential campaign 4 years back. We need change. Change really means to be different. It has a completely different tone to ‘modify’ which means alter by moderation. If we need ‘Change’, it refers to a different character and intellectual set. Many students here in Singapore have the latter part. You could find straight A scorers in the so-called 30 percentile, and thats not a rare scenario here. Getting A-s today is probably a global trend. Better grades achieved than what their predecessors have gotten decades ago. But the quality of problem solving in dire / trying times may not be an easy feat to many, if not most of the academically brilliant people. I attribute this to 2 main factors: complexity and the egoism in the way of thought. The kind that pretends to be great but small in the minds to admit we need ruthless change. I love the way Prof Ken Robinson has made his TED speech on creativity. It is the point of a truly receptive mind that makes the mark. Our Singapore colleges here could define the moment if and only if we earnestly want to make the change away from being obsessed in grades and prestige, and learn for the sole sake of learning.
But often we do not see the kind of thinking that includes the guts to just ask about doubts that linger in our minds. We have lost guts to challenge the norm. The emaphasis on arts is important. Hard core and soft core subjects need to be inclusive in any education. The emphasis shouldn’t be just on pragmatic interests.
When I was looking at the kind of support they have, and the way they could even let new students put up work at Chinatown and make it so huge, shows the kind of support they have to grow a school almost instantly. (More of this later in the next part.) As I was looking on, I was thinking what they have set out to do.
When they declare they want to change the world,that change must be modest to include the commoners at the base level. No one’s a great leader without this inclusion. Period.
First off, I think that the defined leader is one who knows how to handle social economic woes in favour of the commoner. This is a global call. But it didn’t come clearly evident to me in that respect. It appears to have more academic pride that it is already in sync to take over the world without much feat on how one could get on with all for any design contribution. I was further alarmed when I was snoopying around. It is evident many of their students think they are everything. When we want leaders to change the world, we want a positive change that includes earnest empathy of what needs to be done. Though the school emphasizes on the candidates themselves more than grades, I suspect this is hard to achieve given the intended small quota for their first intake to ensure the entry grades are superior. It is understandable they need to keep the grades up. No one wants to take a academic laggard in. While grades are important, they are often not the true testament of genuine intelligence and wisdom. Creativity cannot be seen in grades either. It is seen through the way they handle problems.
I wasn’t impressed by their students way of presenting the methodology, in particular with one of their students. To me, it was rather impolite with his arms swinging all over apart from failing to briefly describe what it was. It was only after I started talking about the story behind the creative process that he seemed to really talk properly. My impression was he thought he knew it all until he realised someone knew just as much or even more.
I went on talking to another student at the Robotics section, which was a pleasure though. He clearly was aware of many of the ideas behind. The atmosphere of the school looked fun and casual, but somewhere behind the back of my mind says the work of the true mind is still elitist in style from the way the people who answered my questions. If they were to promote lifelong learning, which means you learn from 18 to 80, they should not have such mindset. I had asked if I should do an undergrad because I see the Bachelors as a perfect recipe. I had that idea when I was an undergrad and grossly thought I was not educated in the right way. Hence I did the spare on my own by visiting other schools and see what they we’re doing. Not that it wasn’t multidisciplinary at my school, but it was short of doing Mathematics, which I saw it as vital. Now I agree with the associate provost, that doing the bachelor’s a waste. I don’t need it. But there are holding points on the postgrad too. Admittingly, the course rekindles the studying idea in me. But, I start to ask questions.
I was reading the printed brouchures for Chemical engineering and I thought it look as though they are teaching students ‘how to see’ in a literal way. Creativity cannot be taught, though it can be experienced. The process may be guided but no one must attempt to teach as though there is a fixed formula for innovation. There isn’t.
Brilliance don’t come at a particular age. They could come in at any stage in person’s life or may not come at all. The point is, people’s maturing minds do change. Some from brilliance to bust. Some grow gradually over time. A great school is opened to anyone brilliant at any age to enter. I have seen people reading 2nd and 3rd degrees in a different field or emphasis when they have already been working. I used to have a friend who has 3 bachelors: Medical, Physics, and Dentistry. Another coursemate of mine was a 60 year old woman who just wanted to pop back to college because she wanted to realise her ideas in ceramics. Turned out brilliant. Sometimes, certain things don’t come at 18. And many times, things come clearer after a certain age, especially true if one has gone through life experiences.
I started off listening to the talks by the President. Prof Magnanti, and his newly appointed pillars. SUTD has not followed the tradition to name their colleges in terms of ‘schools’ and ‘faculties’ but in the name of ‘Pillars’. I like their talk, especially their ethusiasm. Their teaching style, which reminds me of my own schooling years. He first posed the question on the greatest 20 innovations of all time. And he started of engineering as the primer to innovation. Engineering empowers the world. So what is the place of Design in Engineering was my immediate reaction. Bearing a semi awake position, I had totally forgotten my question.
They started off stating that engineering is important to changing the way we live. Engineering is important in our lives. That itself actually made my first query. What is interesting was the list of top 20 inventions that shaked our lives. It was really an energetic session. No one was asleep but I suspect many do not think beyond them.
I was flipping through their paedagogy as I was listening. Now I have more than a ton of questions.
The same set of strengths could turn out to be pitfalls too if they don’t manage it properly. Their multidisciplinary approach is no new idea in paedagogy. Their inclusion of humanities, engineering and technology isn’t either. But what is a first is the way they put in aesthetics into the programme along with business and technology in. Student quality, from the way I see it, appears to range from extremely good to mediocre. Some do not appear to speak well, especially the student who did the bicycle design. He simply rode on it, spoken a little, and rode off. The President, Prof Magnanti, was wondering why he missed explaining in detail about the unique mechanism. I was looking as closely as I could. I don’t know who was the American guy in the other hall, but he just giberishly went through the design process chart. I knew what it was, and I asked him about the Stanford Program. Wasn’t happy with the answer apart from the food ramblings. However, I like the Robotics section. Smart guy. As well as the hands on workshop, though really it isn’t anything new. In fact, I didn’t like the idea that the students were given too many tools. You should them minimal tools. Best to give them close to nothing. I recall when I was at freshmen’s orientation, I was told to use only 2 pieces of plain paper to make a package holding 2 raw eggs uphill and downhill on a bicycle. It has to bear a cultural context. I did it in the form of a Chinese Fan. I loved the small projects. The projects they had at SUTD was nice. But I think they seem to complicated with too ‘engineering thinking’. I don’t know how to put it, but in a design process, you are not lumbered with too many schema like they did. They come close to teaching you how to think. On one point, its good. However on the other hand, it could be seen as bad as far as original thinking goes.
I wasn’t pleased with their design ideas given all the press coverage and MIT collaboration. I expect much higher standards. Maybe I was asking for the sky as I read the many ingenious inventions covered by MIT. Neither did I think the models were great. Model skills are not as important as design thinking skills, but neither should this kind of poor craftsmanship be allowed as they have state of the art workshops!
They are putting a brand image to the school which is obvious. The MIT collaboration gave them a lot of distinct advantage mainly because of the network. They want to change the world and they want their IDC (International Design Centre) to be the best in the world.
My personal belief is that for a person to become a leader, that person must be more than tough and not live in an environment where everything is cushioned. Smooth sailing doesn’t groom a tough leader who can implement change.
Enginering is first fiddler in my impression. They have repacked it with aesthetics. But they do not pay much to the true blood of design was my other impression.When some thing is done with purely engineering, it seems to lack human touch somehow. Try seeing a fully craft based product and an engineering product to see my point of view.
I was almost surprised to see sheets of photopapers with information on how they teach Chemistry. It really looked like ‘How to think’ sheets. Again, I have questions.
Maybe I have answered everything already myself within my mind. I doubt it is really a radical change. You could say it is transitional. And the course is definitely alive but I wouldn’t say it comes free without the ego, mainly because of the MIT element.
Course syllabus looks great and attractive but with doubts if it will really include design element in the human sense. Cheerios ! — Karen Fu
Tags: education, National University Of Singapore, normal stream students, talent
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David Hoe is not your average undergraduate. His parents filed for divorce on his fifth birthday; consequently, he had to live alone with his mother - who, unfortunately, had been blinded after a cataract operation as a result of a medical negligence - before she passed away when he was twelve. It has been a life fraught with immense challenges. In order to make ends meet, young David had to sell tissues and knick-knacks on the streets with his blind mother; unsurprisingly, this dysfunctional lifestyle certainly had associated ramifications - initially - for his academic-scholastic performance.
Titanic (1912-2012) in 3D preview March 30, 2012Posted by @Karen_Fu in faith, human quality, life challenges.
Tags: 3D movies, complacency, Human error, life, Movies, titanic, Titanic movie review
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Life is a game of luck.
It is also a gift that we should not be wasting it. Making each day counts depends on ourselves how we manage the circumstances around us. Sometimes, we can change them, and sometimes we can’t. We need a lot of faith to carry us on. Peoples’ characters don’t change much over the millenniums. But what we could change is the way we adapt to life challenges.
Thats what I learnt when I reviewed the movie preview two days ago.
I was excited about seeing the 3D movie of the film ‘Titanic’, which made its first debut way back some 15 years ago. I was in England when I first viewed the movie. It left a memorable impression that is still fresh in my memory. James Cameron’s portrayal of life and people using visual effects was stunning, made even more so today with 3D technology. I was marveling the effects of how the three dimension technology works. If the screen was wider covering the entire viewing width, it could have been totally realistic. If not, fabulous.
Nonetheless, the movie portrays the unfairness of class disparities that formed stereotypical thinking apart from causing tragedies in people’s lives. All were all so lucidly shown on board the so-called unsinkable ship. The movie comes in hand with the ArtScience museum exhibition of the doomed maiden voyage of the ship, which I have visited late last year. As I watched on, I kept comparing with what I saw at the museum. The Titanic’s treasures revealed items found 100 years ago. It was a mark of splendor and yet of great tragedy. Though the number of exhibits were not much, we could somewhat see how the tragedy that made the headlines then. Arrogance and over confidence simply don’t pay. Yet I cannot help but to see repeated forms of over confidence in real life.
Titanic engines were over pushed beyond limits for the sake of making the headlines by getting to the destination earlier. Indeed the headlines were made soon enough. It was the largest tragedy of that time, killing more than half onboard after hitting the ice bergs as it failed to divert in time. The breakage of the ship and subsequently the gushing of water and people drifting towards me was an eye opener, especially in 3D. It kept the audience quiet and revitted to the screen. The tragedy became alive. Needless to say, the visual impact was greater than what I saw 15 years back.
The deep sea search for ‘The heart of the ocean’ gave a sense of personal presence. I could feel myself underwater, flipping through the wreckage. The sense of involvement was alive and I really could feel for the movie more.
The ship is the microanatomy of the world at large, representing life set sailing into the unknown. We all do actually. When waves struck, the ship is supposed to act as a form of protection. The ‘Ship of Dreams’ where the poor could set sail to America to find renewed life of happiness and prosperity, which fell short because of various human errors. It could have been avoided. Both in the physical design of the ship as well as the strategy used to mobilize help to save passengers failed. What was known logic was downplayed by the ego to look powerful and brilliant.
Freedom, liberty and hopes for dreams that can be realised on a new found land vanished coldly into the waters flooded with dead frozen bodies. The distinct classification amongst people via the things they used, and the mannerisms different people adopted were acting on the same ship albeit in specified different areas. But who is to say that we have safely abolished such discrimination entirely in this era? The hard truth is that the deliberate tons of mannerisms to classify and segregate themselves as being superior is still alive. Power and wealth are the requisites to fortune and fame. But what this movie shows that it can never buy love, faith and loyalty with money and showily mannerisms.
The movie distinctively portrays class differences in the two main characters, Rose Bukater and Jack Dawson. The former born into the high class society of refined upbringing; whereas the latter, an orphan who was left to fend for himself in the streets of Europe. Both had their penchant for art, life and things that bring them life. Jack, who had no formal education, learnt from his dealings with the underclass and the underprivileged. His drawings were his expression of how he saw people. To Rose, the use of sophisticated words came into play instead.
Rose Bukater was that person. Initially felt trapped in her life of misery as she was betrothed to the millionaire Celadon Hockley; only to be saved by a steerage passenger called Jack Dawson.
Fighting against the flooding of Ice cold water and piercing cold of the winds in the Atlantic ocean amongst corpses was the true test of determination. It was Jack’s iron will that sunk in the power for Rose to learn how to fight and suffer in life with positiveness.
However the sadness comes when the sinking of the ship came into action. As the decks were flooded, the sophistication in technology failed to even protect its passengers. Flying bodies flung out of the sinking ship as desperation and despair filled the hearts of many. The shift made people on decks sliding down as the gigantic ship make an almost right angle dive into the waters.
Different people face calamity with different attitudes. Religious or agnostic, they face the same fate with their own means. Some full of repentance to die for their faults. Some hideously cheat to live, only to die later in shame. The fight from the working class to live was moving. It fell short because of set rules that tied them back. I often ask what would happen if a similar episode were to happen again? Too many people onboard a ship in the open seas, where help is like miles away. When disaster strikes, under the complacency of self worth and intelligence, the result is to face the inevitable death for being over confident.
The ugliness of fighting for their lives and the warmth from some people who had the conscience of giving up their lives to save others. The cruelty of class returned again into effect when it came to saving the wealthy first before the poor. The physical struggling to live and the sinister gun shots left a lasting visual impression.
Unfortunately, despite the resourcefulness and wisdom, Jack perished for the sake of saving his short lived love. It looked utterly unfair. Rose kept her promise to Jack to live a life full of meaning and to marry and have children. Her heart was kept true to her dying days. Every promise that Jack had set, she fulfilled it dutifully. The Heart of the Ocean was never been sold throughout her 85 years of life after the sinking of Titanic. She threw it back to the ocean before returning to die peacefully in her own bed. Exactly what she promised Jack before his dying moments.
Though the physical Titanic of the ship will not last under the sea as it gets eaten up by tiny bacteria; the strength of the human spirit filled with love and faith never flounders. Such is the titanic force of true love. — Karen Fu
PhD drudgery …. March 24, 2012Posted by @Karen_Fu in change, design, education, human quality, real power.
Tags: design research, drudgery, education, humanity, justice, PhD, phd design forum
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Tags: Massachusetts Institute Of Technology, Singapore University Of Technology and Design, SUTD Open House 2012
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If MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) system is not transferred to Singapore, how can Singapore’s SUTD (Singapore University Of Technology and Design) be like MIT when MIT reinvents itself <??>
I simply don’t understand. See highlighted lines in green below, in the quoted news from Channel News Asia. Or maybe I have mis understood it. When 2 colleges share the same transformation, wouldn’t the systems be the same?
On the happy tone, my structure that I did when I was an undergrad was right. I have made some briefs for myself asking social economic contexts as I thought my own course was short of real life scenarios though it did have some for Green Design. Unfortunately, I had no tools like SUTD has to realise them. I get the feeling my style has been right. On a quick note, I see they have a grossly unfair advantage over many other schools in terms of network. People do buy into MIT’s reputation and for that alone, SUTD will benefit a huge lot over the other universities in Singapore and beyond. The only down point, however, I feel is that their students do not appear to be as competent from the way I see at the Open House today, which I had specifically planned to attend. I have plenty of curiousity about the school though I do not think I would apply. It’s just a gut feeling about it. What I really didn’t like hearing a reply off one academic staff *** that ‘you can do an undergraduate, but you would be a lot older than the rest.’ It sounded as though they see overaged students as inferior ones from the way he said it. I have never seen age being a problem. I was shocked to hear that after SUTD has emphasized life long learning. That specific lecturer should not have said such a thing to anyone who wants to perfect their knowledge. Apart from that, I enjoyed the Pillar’s talk and intro. It was highly informative and I think the course will grow very well provided a few conditions set. More later.- Karen Fu
SUTD appoints US professors as “heads of pillars”
By Qiuyi Tan | Posted: 19 September 2011 1308 hrs
SINGAPORE: Singapore’s fourth university, the Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) has appointed two US professors to head two of its pillars — or focus areas — of study.
They are Professors Kristin Wood and Saif Benjaafar.
After 20 years at the University of Texas, Professor Kristin Wood will head SUTD’s Engineering Product Development pillar.
Prof Wood will focus on the design of high tech products with a hands-on approach to learning.
“We’re going to have classrooms where we have cohorts of students not learning in traditional lecture style, but working together with faculty at tables, presentation rooms, reconfigurable classrooms, learning on the fly with their peers solving real design problems that are really about changing the world,” Prof Wood said.
Meanwhile, Professor Saif Benjaafar, who was with the University of Minnesota, will head Engineering Systems and Design.
Prof Benjaafar’s area looks at the management of large and complex systems like transport infrastructure and supply chains.
But Prof Benjaafar said SUTD students will learn more than just the technology of it.
“Our focus on the broader social-economic context is what differentiates us,” he said.
“Our students, in addition to getting the fundamentals in engineering, math, physics and the sciences, will also get a deep exposure to management, economics and public policy. That profile would be very unique.”
SUTD is a partnership with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Zhejiang University.
Both professors said they are excited about the opportunity to work in an institution that transforms the way engineering is taught, and the way engineering research is carried out.
Prof Wood explained the idea is not simply transferring the MIT system to Singapore.
“The idea is a feedback system. As we create things here and make them work, they’ll get fed back to MIT and they’ll improve as well,” he said.
Prof Benjaafar added: “If the Massachusetts Institute of Technology re-invents itself, SUTD is what it will look like.”
The university offers four pillars of study that are inter-disciplinary, sharing teaching and research resources.
The head of pillar provides vision and leadership, administers the pillar’s academic programme and is responsible for the quality of its graduates.
The university said the two heads were identified after a rigorous year-long search.
The search goes on for the heads of the university’s two other pillars, Architecture and Sustainable Design and Information Systems Technology and Design.
Applicants have been shortlisted, and the university expects the positions to be filled by the end of the year.
*** the lecturer, is not just a lecturer. He was the one who was speaking along with the President Prof Magnanti at the lectern. I had thought he was only a lecturer until I read his name on facebook. I prefer Prof Magnanti’s tone zillion times over. Education is a life long endeavour. Am still awaiting for their rely over at facebook after I rephrase my questions. — 13 March 2012
Learning from Faust. February 28, 2012Posted by @Karen_Fu in change, education, human quality, life challenges, real power, research.
Tags: black comedy, education, Faust, German, research
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Come across Levity.com by accident as I was looking for more works from
Faust. Instead I found one poem that was logged under humour. But it does tell us of the irony in higher education. Should we change our education system from being book smart to being street smart? It is a problem that happens. And for the lot of us, success in education was a supposed way to wealth and sever away poverty. For a start, this thought is not correct. Learning is about experience. And experience pays well for a happy life that is enriched. But often we take education many ways around. Sharing this poetry for some thoughts. Learning is far more than we think and for people who blindly do theirs, this should be a wake up call. Enjoy!
Der Tragödie erster
Night. In a high-vaulted, narrow Gothic chamber FAUST, restless in his chair by his desk.
Faust. I’ve studied now Philosophy
And Jurisprudence, Medicine,
And even, alas! Theology
All through and through with ardour keen!
Here now I stand, poor fool, and see
I’m just as wise as formerly.
Am called a Master, even Doctor too,
And now I’ve nearly ten years through
Pulled my students by their noses to and fro
And up and down, across, about,
And see there’s nothing we can know!
That all but burns my heart right out.
True, I am more clever than all the vain creatures,
The Doctors and Masters, Writers and Preachers;
No doubts plague me, nor scruples as well.
I’m not afraid of devil or hell.
To offset that, all joy is rent from me.
I do not imagine I know aught that’s right;
I do not imagine I could teach what might
Convert and improve humanity.
Nor have I gold or things of worth,
Or honours, splendours of the earth.
No dog could live thus any more!
So I have turned to magic lore,
To see if through the spirit’s power and speech
Perchance full many a secret I may reach,
So that no more with bitter sweat
I need to talk of what I don’t know yet,
So that I may perceive whatever holds
The world together in its inmost folds,
See all its seeds, its working power,
And cease word-threshing from this hour.
Oh, that, full moon, thou didst but glow
Now for the last time on my woe,
Whom I beside this desk so oft
Have watched at midnight climb aloft.
Then over books and paper here
To me, sad friend, thou didst appear!
Ah! could I but on mountain height
Go onward in thy lovely light,
With spirits hover round mountain caves,
Weave over meadows thy twilight laves,
Discharged of all of Learning’s fumes, anew
Bathe me to health in thy healing dew.
Woe! am I stuck and forced to dwell
Still in this musty, cursed cell?
Where even heaven’s dear light strains
But dimly through the painted panes!
Hemmed in by all this heap of books,
Their gnawing worms, amid their dust,
While to the arches, in all the nooks,
Are smoke-stained papers midst them thrust,
Boxes and glasses round me crammed,
And instruments in cases hurled,
Ancestral stuff around me jammed-
That is your world! That’s called a world!
And still you question why your heart
Is cramped and anxious in your breast?
Why each impulse to live has been repressed
In you by some vague, unexplained smart?
Instead of Nature’s living sphere
In which God made mankind, you have alone,
In smoke and mould around you here,
Beasts’ skeletons and dead men’s bone.
Up! Flee! Out into broad and open land!
And this book full of mystery,
From Nostradamus’ very hand,
Is it not ample company?
The stars’ course then you’ll understand
And Nature, teaching, will expand
The power of your soul, as when
One spirit to another speaks. ‘Tis vain
To think that arid brooding will explain
The sacred symbols to your ken.
Ye spirits, ye are hovering near;
Oh, answer me if ye can hear!
[He opens the book and perceives the sign of the Macrocosm.]
What rapture, ah! at once is flowing
Through all my senses at the sight of this!
I feel a youthful life, its holy bliss,
Through nerve and vein run on, new-glowing.
Was it a god who wrote these signs that still
My inner tumult and that fill
My wretched heart with ecstasy?
Unveiling with mysterious potency
The powers of Nature round about me here?
Am I a god? All grows so clear to me!
In these pure lineaments I see
Creative Nature’s self before my soul appear.
Now first I understand what he, the sage, has said:
“The world of spirits is not shut away;
Thy sense is closed, thy heart is dead!
Up, Student! bathe without dismay
Thy earthly breast in morning-red!”
[He contemplates the sign.]
Into the whole how all things blend,
Each in the other working, living!
How heavenly powers ascend, descend,
Each unto each the golden vessels giving!
On pinions fragrant blessings bringing,
From Heaven through Earth all onward winging,
Through all the All harmonious ringing!
What pageantry! Yet, ah, mere pageantry!
Where shall I, endless Nature, seize on thee?
Thy breasts are – where? Ye, of all life the spring,
To whom both Earth and Heaven cling,
Toward whom the withering breast doth strain-
Ye gush, ye suckle, and shall I pine thus in vain?
[He turns the book over impatiently and perceives the sign of the EARTH-SPIRIT.]
NUS PRC scholar Sun Xu seeks help from the Chinese Embassy in Singapore pleading for second chance to 'repay' Singapore February 26, 2012Posted by @Karen_Fu in change, China, education, Singapore.
Tags: education, National University Of Singapore, Sun Xu, The Chinese Enbassy
Embattled NUS PRC scholar Sun Xu (孙旭) has sought help from the Chinese Embassy in Singapore on Thursday during its weekly reception for PRC students in Singapore, Lianhe Zaobao reported today.
Sun Xu reportedly approached the Chinese Embassy's Secretary of Education Mr Sun Zhi Ping (孙治平) for help, expressing his regrets over his 'inappropriate' remarks. He told the embassy official that he has already removed the offensive comment and apologized to Singaporeans.
Singapore ‘warns’ US on China bashing February 24, 2012Posted by @Karen_Fu in change, China, Economy, USA.
Tags: current affairs, poltics, reblog, singapore
Realism as S’pore ‘warns’ US
Behind The Headlines By Bunn Nagara
The city state has begun to adjust to emerging regional realities while pivoting on its pragmatic impulses, as always, while steering a steady course between China and the US.SINGAPORE’S political positions are nothing if not coolly calculated and calibrated. They are specially so when expressed in formal statements at high-level meetings.
Iron quote from the Iron Lady – Former UK PM Margaret Hilda Roberts Thatcher (1979-1990) February 22, 2012Posted by @Karen_Fu in change, faith, human quality.
Tags: Margaret Thatcher, Quote, United Kingdom
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“Watch your thoughts for they become words. Watch your words for they become actions. Watch your actions for they become habits. Watch your habits, for they become your character. And watch your character, for it becomes your destiny! What we think, we become.”
- Margaret Thatcher (biopic on her life, Iron Lady, now being shown).
Love the powerful lines. What else could you do online? What else could you do in person to become who you are and what you are made of. — Karen Fu
Tags: National University Of Singapore, respect, SunXu
It is clearly late. I have not blogged some thoughts that I want to share. But I feel so compelled to write about the Sun Xu (Chinese: 孙旭) saga. I wasn’t happy when I came to read the news about Sun Xu, who is currently holding a Singapore Government Scholarship to read mechanical engineering at the National University of Singapore. When I logged onto Facebook, I read dozens of threads about him and comments about the saga. Amazingly someone in the civil service defended this scholar, telling us to reflect. I can see what he is trying to say: that the scholar told us off as ‘Dogs’ because we have not behaved well in the eyes of the foreigner.
I have no objection to foreigners and I love to have foreigners here to enrich our culture as much as they add prosperity to our economy. Foreign investment and the rich exchange of cultures in many other intellectual and creative pursuits are what I advocate for. No country can prosper with closed doors. Moreover, we are a tiny city state; and the only way to continual prosperity is by opening our doors intelligently and wisely that we can survive sustainably. It’s granted and it’s straight logic but we need to have a priniciple of respect as a base. As much as we need foreigners, we need our guests to come into our home and show basic manners too. We simply do not like our guests to be rude, especially when we host them with potential benefits such as a full scholarship and a springboard to a lucrative career. Something that pays them at least 5 times over if they remain in their own homeland. If they do not like us, I am perfectly fine with it. But please make them return us all the time and effort to educate them; together with the money we have given them to study here. Not to forget the condusive environment where there is no riot, no war and minimally low crime rate that few countries in the world can match us.
I also notice a worrying sign. Though not all foreign students are disrespectful, there is an alarming trend where more foreigners come to show some form of disrespect in the form of ‘superiority complex’. The thought appears to come in, thinking that this place is a walk-over and since it is a tiny city state with only 5+ million soft spoken people, it is easier to climb up the social ladder than in their home countries. Hence, plenty more opportunities to be successful. And true enough, most of our local born citizens are brought up to be so. Throughout the past 50 years, we haven’t demonstrate in public and neither do we condone riots. We have always been peaceful and soft mannered people,whose first thought is to straighten things out when they are crooked via civilised talk amongst parties. And I am proud of this culture. Where many places in the world fail to do so and a few prefer throwing rotten tomatoes, yelling and fighting as a resort to get even; this is clearly a civic minded society rather than a gangster society. Obviously, we are not ‘Dogs’ in this respect as Sun Xu has so blatantly put it. The fact this country has given him a lucrative scholarship to take up a precious place at our University, shows we take in foreigners with open arms.
Reading the blog comments and the way he replied the reporters, it is clear he shows no repent until the media stormed in with their comments that he finally made an apology. I don’t think that is enough. NUS (National University Of Singapore) has counselled him but I think they should consider revoking his scholarship. A scholar isn’t anyone whose mouth is filth with vulgarities such as telling his Singaporean benefactors as ‘Dog’s ( gou3 狗) and ‘Wretched Looking Tramp/thief’ ( bie1 san1 “瘪三’ ).
I was on Facebook replying to Irene Ma’s query about what ‘if China asks a question if Singapore will take responsibility since we approve of his scholarship. And since NUS is the school, shouldn’t it educate the entrants on Singapore culture and warm them about causing any civil outrage?‘. My quoted reply was: ‘Then will the parents of this Chinese Scholar take the responsibility for not educating their child properly that in Chinese tradition, you are supposed to respect other people’s culture and be grateful to the teachers who taught you? No one fully knows a person during an interview. Not even in a few years in college. The only time one sees a character is through time. Perhaps NUS has to take the responsibility for being so soft in taking foreigners in so easily’
Singaporeans have no grudges against China. No one has. Why? Simply because our forefathers come from China and that we are of Chinese descent. A close tie is formed because of this. But we are clearly having different cultures from the mainland, which has diversed into a mix of multiracial ethnic flavor on top of being once a British & Japanese colony. They should know how to respect the differences of ours as we respect theirs. Admittingly, we do not like everything they do. In fact, I do not even like the way they talk. But does that mean I have the right to swear? I have come across a couple of students who are similar to Sun Xu and I question why. I thought I was the only one who had such experiences but now that I read online, I know it is common experience shared by a great many people. The only difference is that I have not had the time to really look into it.
We do not deny our Chinese roots but neither can we support such gross misconduct. Regardless of race and culture and from which ever country one is from, an educated person of great civility will never express in the manner that Sun Xu has done. We have not ill-treated him by bullying and neither have we deprived him of an education. Unless we have done otherwise, the student could come upfront and call for a formal inquiry. There is perfectly no need to swear or even to write online saying he would use a knife waiting for’Alex’.(Eventually becoming the one who reported the incident) See picture below:
The heated response doesn’t come out of no where. It has come up from a long pented up frustration that is on the ground for too long. Hope the lessons stay in. China is a huge country of prospective economic might that can cover the world. But a tiny country should not bend to issues such as this, where it is clearly wrong. And I believe the Chinese governmnet, where previous leaders have advocated admantly, believe in close ties with foreigners alike and that it is only in the light of righteousness that we will see a mighty giant rise with respect and honor. — Karen Fu
1.The New Paper: NUS hauls up China scholar over ‘dog’ comment
2. STOMP (Straits Times Online Mobile Print): PRC scholar from NUS calls S’poreans ‘gangsters’ and ‘dogs’ in online post
3. Yahoo News: S’poreans outraged over PRC scholar’s ‘dog’ comment
Lunar New Year prayers with the masses for 2012 January 19, 2012Posted by @Karen_Fu in change, Chinese New Year, faith, human quality, Singapore.
Tags: Chinese New Year 2012, leadership qualities, Teresa Hsu Chih, The Great Stuppa, The Jade Buddha
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Went to ‘The Jade Buddha Exhibition’ at Ngee Ann city and praying with others for universal harmony despite I knew very little of formal Buddhism as far as mantras were concerned. But I learn from visuals and see how things around me operate in a highly orderally manner that often always teach me precious lessons, which words cannot portray fully. The event was a very meaningful one for the forthcoming year.
I know very little about chants and by no means a Buddhist. But I thought I would just happily join in with the thousands who were there to sponsor the jade Buddhas and offerings. I followed the crowd, and the written chants pasted near the deities, passing from one ritual to another. Actually I didn’t quite know if I did it correctly but I enjoyed the process of getting my palms together, and made a few wishes. I even wondered if the deities understood me.— It wasn’t sanskrit, it was certainly not tamil, it was in mandarin with bits of English because there wasn’t a perfect translation for that few words. Couldn’t do them in German or even with a smattering of French, but it was more of an instinctive communicative and intuitive way of getting around language barrier to just use pure common sense in my modest prayers. I thought it should come from the heart. So I just did what I understood.
As I was offering my humble pack of rice, I prayed with the thousands for a peaceful and prosperous year of the dragon. The packs of rice will then be given to needy homes in the country. Then I started to ponder why so many people needed the staple when there are many who waste their food. Surely the terribly rich and the very poor are more than miles apart and that itself could set another separate topic about equality in wealth.
The thousands of bags of rice came in within hours and all the Jade statues were fully sponsored into the tens of thousands of dollars meant to go the construction of The Great Stupa of Universal Compassion in Melbourne, Australia.
The whole ceremony was about giving, sharing and remembering what others have sacrificed for us. The late Teresa Hsu was a live example of courage whenever Buddism came to place.
She left the human world without her ashes collected was an act itself that showed her faith and definite courage. In Buddhist rites, bones are to be collected and kept properly. But she didn’t allow even that last rite to be done.
She feared nothing but I still am not fully recovered from the fact she left her ashes uncollected. It was a very unusual thing to do though it was a very courageous act on its own. It could be deem to be almost petrifying to think the remains were ‘unwanted’ especially when she was a pure real 1100% Buddhist. I wouldn’t hesitate to say she was willing to give her all at death to save people. Since she couldn’t, her last words were to tell people not to spend a minute of peoples’ lives to collect her remains. A drastic contrast to what many would have fought for their rights of every minute kind.
The remains of the day would be a life lesson learnt that she sacrificed for sentimental beings all big and small, both great and ungreat. That could even include the despicable. She didn’t mind what she was going to have or not going to have, she simply gave all. I thought she should have given some bit to her own when I saw how some people could eat up others alive for their own merit. In a material world where fame and fortune is power, such people like her are rare gems.
A leader of this might could instantly solve all problems but realistically speaking, few will do it in the kind of world we are now living in. On the positive front, those who did anything less than sincerity and honesty always pay in due course, either via the revenge of similar beings who were being mistreated or via nature through health woes. They will pay. And the price will be hefty. The crazy thing is that these people don’t even know they are paying for it though they know they are suffering from it.
On a grey scale of 10, we must aim to purify the partial hues and in the same time improving ourselves. 2012 will spell a year of transition when more people will realize why and how we have the economic woes of inflation, unemployment, physical pollution and metaphysical pollution all snowballed into a gigantic mix of chaos.Health problems that were used to be for the aged now exist in young people. The levels of mental psychological disorder increases due to rampant bullying and being bullied. Diseases arise from animals that we shouldn’t eat. Plants get contaminated because of the selfish desire to expand urban areas , and worse still, to use name of sustainability to promote their goods when they do not really mean anything healthy in the real sense. The power then will be laid in the masses of the common people to control what they want to change.
Thankfully there are three things that gives us hope with the freedom to voice. Consumer sovereignty, democracy of the people and the sheer natural law of sustainability do not allow the ills to propagate.
For the many who think the bad still get their reward, observe carefully that they live with worry, anger and fear behind the ill gained status. You hardly see them smile. Nor do you see them simple minded, which gives the absolute clarity of thought for peaceful living.
So in the real sense the new year is a year for the commoners. Those who fail to listen to these voices will flop miserably. And it is high tide that 2012 will belong to all who are kind and industrious.
Happy Lunar New Year from the equator.
Steve Jobs 1955-2011 – belated eulogy on life design January 4, 2012Posted by @Karen_Fu in change, life challenges, real power.
Tags: apple, life, mac, Steve Jobs
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He was more than able to design his products and services. We all know his power to transform the world in the way we live and the way we interact with one another in life. But he failed to design his own life. This video, which I got it via Majid on facebook, was to me a reminder of how we should live our lives.
The world is what and how you view and make it. Steve Jobs is a solid lesson for us. At the same time, his life told us to stay put and spare time for our loved ones because it doesn’t pay to put 110% in your career all the time. To me, he paid his life like 1100% on his career that was ultimately took his life away. He is a legend. We admire for his dedication for the Mac, iPads, iPhones, iPods and his staunch determination to be the forefront of technology. But he could have spared some bit more time for his wife, his kids and simply for himself.
To me, that’s tragedy, though it didn’t come in as any kind of surprise for the way he worked was going to shorten his life.
When I read the news on twitter last October, I was shocked though I was somewhat expecting his death due to the way he devoted his life at work. It was a very sad moment for a genius had gone. Surely his sense for words for his rivals are very different from his tone for the masses. I guess that is the way to survive in the real world, for that I don’t exactly seem to fully understand why we should be at loggerheads so many times.
Then again, this wasn’t the ordinary person by any means. He is a lengendary innovator, someone who had put his soul into his work and had risen from a disadvantaged class to the top. My first encounter with Apple was not a pleasant one. As a Singaporean, I would have first defend a local product before a foreign one. But he made me stand up straight before his products that shine through nothing short of exemplary.
My first purchase was a 3rd Generation iPod touch. I had bought it because I found my PDA was not working properly and I wanted something that had a touch screen. I lost it after about 2 years’ of use. At that point of time, I realised how much my iPod touch has twinned into my life. The schedules and notes I’ve made and the little ditty stuff that I put into my iPod. It was literary my life twinned into it. I was upset. I do not agree that much with the battery life as being a green technology as it is way too short-lived especially for the iPhone. But I do agree with the material use and all. The software architecture is brilliant and so is the concept of apps in his definition. I think what really hit me hard was that I see him as a hard fighter. I do not think that being born to an unwed couple and then raised by adopted parents was a pleasant process. The growing pains and struggle must have been there at some point. To start an enterprise and to have left it due to business politics is another. Certainly with his tough determination, he returned and knocked all the walls down to build what Apple is today. I have also noted the kind of people he hires, of whom many have modest upbringing but are outstanding in their own merit. Innovativeness can only come from minds that are big and receptive, and tougher than all the obstacles in the universe that is out there; with the keen eye for detail and an industrious mind that works for as long as your breath takes you.
Steve Jobs has done it to his last breath. That is the kind of character that I admire. I think perhaps in the business world, you’ve got to be aggressive because you’ve got an array of different people out there to handle and get things done. However, as far as innovation goes, this guy has huge lessons we all need taking in: ‘You need to learn how to fight and to suffer. Together with your wits, humour and determintation; and a creative gift of wonder before you can shine’. I salute Steve Jobs for all that —- A legendary Innovator, A Voice for Change.
May he rest in peace and that his legend continues. — Karen Fu
Happy Elephant – Order Within Chaos December 23, 2011Posted by @Karen_Fu in change, christmas, New Year.
Tags: elephant parade, new year wishes
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Done this during lunch for fun. It was so fun I wasn’t exactly having my lunch that much. Probably the idea of Order Within Chaos has been sitting in my mind where societal change has gone into different aspects of chaos in human relationships with nature and other living beings. There is no immediate solution to all those because people and surroundings are getting more complicated that we need to seek order within chaos. Sustainable answers need to be found in the process of the mess that has been piled overtime. I add in vibrant colours for hope and vitality for promise. I don’t think we have to be pessimistic about the future if we choose to. I have seen the elephants standing along Orchard and thought I would like to have a go. Then someone said there is still one template I could use. I did see the Facebook Fan page but didn’t think I had any time. When I finally did just today, I’d thought I had fun anyway. I see if I can do another few when I get my chores done. Merry Christmas and have a tidy plan and ride off the chaos! Best. Karen Fu
‘The Power Of Living In Truth’ Jeffery D Sachs December 22, 2011Posted by @Karen_Fu in ethics, human quality, real power.
Tags: humanity, Jeffery D Sachs, Power, sustainability, sustainable living, Truth
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I really like the whole message that Prof Sachs has written and posted online. Though there is Law in place, the justice is never really quite done. But I suppose where there is darkness, there is also light. Where it will cast a shadow to those who are hideous. I don’t think I need to add anything more but I will quote from this site :
NEW YORK – The world’s greatest shortage is not of oil, clean water, or food, but of moral leadership. With a commitment to truth – scientific, ethical, and personal – a society can overcome the many crises of poverty, disease, hunger, and instability that confront us. Yet power abhors truth, and battles it relentlessly. So let us pause to express gratitude to Václav Havel, who died this month, for enabling a generation to gain the chance to live in truth.
Havel was a pivotal leader of the revolutionary movements that culminated in freedom in Eastern Europe and the end, 20 years ago this month, of the Soviet Union. Havel’s plays, essays, and letters described the moral struggle of living honestly under Eastern Europe’s Communist dictatorships. He risked everything to live in truth, as he called it – honest to himself and heroically honest to the authoritarian power that repressed his society and crushed the freedoms of hundreds of millions.
He paid dearly for this choice, spending several years in prison and many more under surveillance, harassment, and censorship of his writings. Yet the glow of truth spread. Havel gave hope, courage, and even fearlessness to a generation of his compatriots. When the web of lies collapsed in November 1989, hundreds of thousands of Czechs and Slovaks poured into the streets to proclaim their freedom – and to sweep the banished and jailed playwright into Prague Castle as Czechoslovakia’s newly elected president.
I personally witnessed the power of living in truth in that year, when the leadership of Poland’s Solidarity movement asked me to help Poland with its transition to democracy and a market economy – part of what the Poles called their “return to Europe.” I met and was profoundly inspired by many in the region who, like Havel, lived in truth: Adam Michnik, Jacek Kuron, Bronislaw Geremek, Gregorsz Lindenberg, Jan Smolar, Irena Grosfeld, and, of course, Lech Walesa. These brave men and women, and those like Tadeusz Mazowiecki and Leszek Balcerowicz, who led Poland during its first steps in freedom, succeeded through their combination of courage, intellect, and integrity.
The power of truth-telling that year created a dazzling sense of possibility, for it proved the undoing of one of history’s most recalcitrant hegemonies: Soviet domination of Eastern Europe. Michnik, like Havel, radiated the joy of fearless truth. I asked him in July 1989, as Poland’s communist regime was already unraveling, when freedom would reach Prague. He replied, “By the end of the year.”
“How do you know?” I asked. “I was just with Havel in the mountains last week,” he said. “Have no fear. Freedom is on the way.” His forecast was correct, of course, with a month to spare.
Just as lies and corruption are contagious, so, too, moral truth and bravery spreads from one champion to another. Havel and Michnik could succeed in part because of the miracle of Mikhail Gorbachev, the Soviet leader who emerged from a poisoned system, yet who valued truth above force. And Gorbachev could triumph in part because of the sheer power of honesty of his countryman, Andrei Sakharov, the great and fearless nuclear physicist who also risked all to speak truth in the very heart of the Soviet empire – and who paid for it with years of internal exile.
These pillars of moral leadership typically drew upon still other examples, including that of Mahatma Gandhi, who called his autobiography The Story of My Experiments With Truth. They all believed that truth, both scientific and moral, could ultimately prevail against any phalanx of lies and power. Many died in the service of that belief; all of us alive today reap the benefits of their faith in the power of truth in action.
Havel’s life is a reminder of the miracles that such a credo can bring about; yet it is also a reminder of the more somber fact that truth’s victories are never definitive. Each generation must adapt its moral foundations to the ever-changing conditions of politics, culture, society, and technology.
Havel’s death comes at a time of massive demonstrations in Russia to protest ballot fraud; violence in Egypt as democratic activists battle the deeply entrenched military; an uprising in rural China against corrupt local officials; and police in body armor violently dismantling the Occupy protest sites in American cities. Power and truth remain locked in combat around the world.
Much of today’s struggle – everywhere – pits truth against greed. Even if our challenges are different from those faced by Havel, the importance of living in truth has not changed.
Today’s reality is of a world in which wealth translates into power, and power is abused in order to augment personal wealth, at the expense of the poor and the natural environment. As those in power destroy the environment, launch wars on false pretexts, foment social unrest, and ignore the plight of the poor, they seem unaware that they and their children will also pay a heavy price.
Moral leaders nowadays should build on the foundations laid by Havel. Many people, of course, now despair about the possibilities for constructive change. Yet the battles that we face – against powerful corporate lobbies, relentless public-relations spin, and our governments’ incessant lies – are a shadow of what Havel, Michnik, Sakharov, and others faced when taking on brutal Soviet-backed regimes.
In contrast to these titans of dissent, we are empowered with the instruments of social media to spread the word, overcome isolation, and mobilize millions in support of reform and renewal. Many of us enjoy minimum protections of speech and assembly, though these are inevitably hard won, imperfect, and fragile. Yet, of the profoundest importance and benefit, we are also blessed with the enduring inspiration of Havel’s life in truth.
Jeffrey D. Sachs is Professor of Economics and Director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University. He is also Special Adviser to United Nations Secretary-General on the Millennium Development Goals.
Copyright: Project Syndicate, 2011.
Are PhDs a threat to design education? Are PhDs a threat to all kinds of education? October 14, 2011Posted by @Karen_Fu in education, Innovation, research.
Tags: higher education, PhD design list, PhDs
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I am following up, albeit in a very fast eye dotting manner on the thread which Don Norman had started from ‘Brilliance without substance‘. I have plenty to say. As so much time is allowed for me, I think I will just candidly write from my personal perspective. I think Gunar Swanson had hit a lot of points that design research need not come from only PhDs ( see his post on PhD design) . That is a crux of the matter. Research should not be done by only people who hold PhDs. Its a fallacy to assume that all PhDs could do fine intelligent research. It’s an insult to those who are able but choose not to do a postgraduate education because of the opportunity costs concerned. Research is the process of using keen observation to do innovative investigation, whereby different skills and knowledge are put into use to find the solutions to problems. It has to be done by intelligent people. No doubt about it. But it may not always be done by PhD holders. It can be seen as rude to think so.
I don’t hold a postgraduate degree though I had gotten in to a good number in various fields. I had the wish to a postgrad and onwards to a PhD. But circumstances at home did not allow me to do it. It still is actually. Despite so, I still applied in the slim hope that someone out there would offer me the full cash to cover the costs I would have to forgo. I wanted to be a college professor. I love academic environment because of ONE damned reason : its a learning haven where dreams could be realized without the politics. Top colleges could do that with their kind of financial base with companies and their network to research materials. I was dreaming away and to be not able to attend one postgraduate course was a nightmare, especially to someone who really loves to learn and teach.
Now this motivation to do a postgrad has dwindled down rapidly as I read off minds who are not opened. To me, receptiveness is very important as much as intellectual integrity. One cannot be too intelligent and wise to ignore what others out of our clique could offer. Everyone has their experience, and their cleverness for us to learn. It adds up to a wholesome mind that knows no boundaries. PhDs can be a threat if it blocks this freedom to investigate and problem solve in different ways. If words and tons of words are the sole way of doing research, then we are in dire trouble.
From my clique from Senior High, whom many are holding top posts in the country, I know PhDs are not a must. However, intelligence is a must. The mind must able to see beyond context and be able to interpret different information at a sound level. A good number of my ex-college mates only hold a bachelors, some at Masters level but they hold billion dollar assets excellently. I have only come across 1 PhD graduate from my Senior High clique who is holding a vice director post. I was surprised that not a lot of people had done their PhDs given the fact that most of my senior high friends were high flyers in academia. The reason? They don’t see the point of doing a PhD. Apart from those who did a medical degree, where many of them are researchers in different areas of medicine, I hardly see like even a third of them holding PhDs. Oh yes, another one did hers for journalism. But I don’t think it really helped her much in the end because she was already at her pinnacle of her career. Many had done important work in serving the people. The essence of this success is their openness to learn and to solve problems actively in great precision and efficiency in the best possible method for their pending problems.
Writing to this point, I must clarify that I am not against PhDs. But I do punch out to those who have restrictive dogmatic minds of whom, what and how to do research. It spells discrimination and a poor sense of foresight and even hindsight.
Research is not about prescribed formulas. Its about looking at the problem in a very holistic and sensitive way with respect to people and the environment. It is about the process of creative innovation where methods itself could be even invented. Sure you need a rule to keep things in order and an efficient system for all to relate to. But not to the point of confinement.
Certain cliches for being a PhD graduate appears to be evident. Perhaps it stems out from the idea that to reach the top of the academic pinnacle is an accomplishment. It is, provided that the PhD education has taught one to be truly democratic and open to different people, creed and culture in a respectful way. This is indeed a highly sensitive topic. But I suppose if anyone is genuinely interested in research and to see how it goes, I bet you people will speak up. — Karen Fu
My other relevant blog post reference:
Tags: design, education, PhDs, research, tertiary education
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I have been skimming through the threads on PhDs, education, design and about substance without brilliance. To be honest, I really feel like ‘crying’. So were the few who had read them over my shoulders. First off to clear out the verbose clot, we need to question the basics of education if we are delivering the right skills to students of the right calibre. Next off, we need to ask if we are teaching the right ethics and ideas about what design should be. This includes not only in the area of the arts but in other fields of engineering design, service design, social innovation etc. They are, in my opinion, linked. For without a sound mind of thought and knowledge in a sharp logical way, clear creative thinking cannot be formed. It is as simple as that. We need to also ask if we have been designing for the sake of designing. Or are we chanting the mantra without asking why we need to use a certain technology. At times advance technologies may be harmful. We need not use ‘progressive’ technologies in certain areas; but we must have a progressive mind to know what is good, and what is bad. Then we are talking about the true usefulness of scholarship, research and design. Many times, we are creating more problems to the problems. Do we really need a microchip to push out the water from the sprout? Does a cup of coffee taste best using a US$3500 machine when someone with the right hand tools would suffice. At some levels, ego seems to be eating us up. Our environment is damaged because we have lost touch with the ground. What is the point of PhDs when you’ve loose the fundamentals? I seem to have been reading a chunk of many words on forums at PhD-Design. Surely the type of words show power and we do need words to communicate over the internet. Its fast & it’s damn quicker to run the keyboards than to even draw or make models.
But at several points, I seem to feel we are students studying English Literature;
while in reality we need to learn design literature, social economics literature, engineering literature, politics etc..Words are there to portray thoughts but words can never display full ideas. They are definitely valueless if they are always being repeated several times.
Should words be used to create ‘class disparities’ ? Definitely not. But it does appear that certain cultures have to be dogmatically followed. That itself stifles that idea of thought. I think there are some ideas about what design education should be; and what research should be. I really love to study and research on design issues. — its basically about life quality in terms of design. But at times, when I read some research views or work; I would start to question about the methods and the ideas behind it. Do we really understand what is research and how to teach research ? What kinds of mindsets and attitudes should we bear in mind ? Sometimes, I find them ‘funny’. At times I find it frustrating. At rare points, reading them makes you wanna ‘cry’.
Taking up a postgrad isn’t that attractive now as I seem to be seeing more problems than solutions. It’s probably the ‘horror’ I read off from certain people on the forum and also the people whom I met. They seem to sound so rigid at times. But I still like to think I could do a postgrad because of 1 reason: teaching. Colleges don’t hire people without a postgrad qualification to teach unless it were to mean guest lecturing. I am studying on my own and seem to be very happy with it. I’ve also come to realize that in higher education, people tend to despise non-postgrad or non PhD graduates. A certain egoistical pride in the way some people view their post grad degrees. That’s also one of the reasons I keep away from the degree. Then again, people can still say I am not good enough to study for one. I have got a different style in expressing myself in which everyone can understand me. No profound words, no ‘profound’ looks. Plain and simple. Maybe that’s why some people don’t really like my style.
I think life isn’t that complex if we chose not to. We live in a oddball world where many people do not die from the disease that they got in the first place. They often die from the side diseases that they contracted later. Advancement in technologies may curing diseases, but if we fail to understand what is the root of the problem, then we are not eradicating problems.Take some breathing space to ponder about how we live. Then you will understand where I come from. It would certainly be a question of character if one does something awfully different from what they preach. That’s a shame on design integrity.– Karen Fu, before late bed time snooze..
Tags: design education, Don Norman, higher education, PhD-Design, Steve Jobs, tertiary education
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Don Norman posted yet another provocative post on PhD-Design forum: ‘Substance without Brilliance.‘ He hits the nail on the spot. But as I was skimming through on pockets-of-spare minutes, I think there are still rigid ideas at hand with usually certain people who tend not to change.
What caught my eye on his post was his mention on the confined curriculum within the design education along with the lack of adaptiveness. He mentions that most are short of hard core Science and Humaities subjects; and paid little on learning the humanities via ‘liberal arts’ route. In my opinion, a strong logic must come in hand when it comes to comprehending different data. Excellent problem solvers are extremely logical yet they are very creative. I have come to find aquite a number within my encounters. And many do not hold higher degrees. And and for some, no degrees. But what I’ve found a little perplexing is the nature of how he made those arguements at times.
1- Drawing has nothing / little to do with thinking. — I wonder how he meant. Even when one is sketching a nude during life drawing classes, we were told to think in terms of form and how the muscles moved et cetra. Free flow of hand drawing movements train the hand and the eye to quickly take down details. Granted that sketching nudes is not the prime core of the product design, it does instill part of an important training in how to be sharp at observation skills on the human form — important when it comes to studying of ergonomics — provided if the lessons conducted was really into that area of human factors and not just drawing a beautiful drawing.
2- design education must take on on its own. — true. But I think the more fundamental part is to genuinely learn to be open and not be so much on one’s own. Learning has to be free -spirited and without ego is very important to acquiring knowledge. An education lasting a span of only 3-5 years doesn’t really teach you the world but a good education could certainly teach you how to see and evaluate things around you. How would a design education do this? I believe it must first come off from the ‘human aspect’ to first change attitudes before the curriculum could have a radical change. Without that, nothing much can be done.
Our century is the rebellious era of change where the conventional hype will not work because they have proven to be outdated. However, the inertia of change has always been stubborn to go because of the inherent human ego. I always come to think of history as a keen reference to the various human sufferings we have had in the past. Education to that effect, should always cater the idea of how to grow out of ego-istical’ ideas such as ‘elitism’ that confines us from seeing how many other different people see things. Ethics and sustainability issues have been discussed over the years. But I am beginning to suspect that it hasn’t been really working, else we would not be having so much waste created that is not really decreasing. If ethics has been brought into place, then I would have to question why the major world problems have not been eliminated. Social unrest, international disputes on trade and politics of different kinds simply show that our problems are merely morphing in form. Of course, that’s on the economics and social sciences front; but that is also related to design too. For without knowing these key relations, the products designed won’t be relevant. What Don hasn’t pinpointed are a few facts naturally on the ethical mindsets of leaders today who may be perhaps the output of our current tertiary education culture. We may talk about the curriculum that we need to develop a new form. With respect to design, it is a young course that is still changing. It doesn’t have the resolute syllabus of what needs to be learnt like traditional courses at universities like Medicine and Engineering. It is more of an applied course where technology and other subjects of study are brought into place.
I don’t think the craft aspect must be totally taken out. It’s a human skill and sensitivity that is trained through seeing how craft is done. But what Don may be referring to is the overemphasis on craft as the main source for designing products, which is a faulty emphasis if you were to consider the changing technologies & social economics which requires one to be astute and logical. The knowledge in fuel, materials and manufacturing areas are needed to fully understand how a potential product design needs working on. Craft itself is simply insufficient. We can’t live on solely craft anyway. But neither do we do products that are too ‘cold’ in nature as with the emphasis on solely technology and engineering are concerned. Design should break this out of this mold and form a clear distinct definition of what it can do. Else this discipline will soon be perished. All these, I feel, have strong relations to the kind of practice and people we have. All these will build the reputation of the course. I suppose ‘Substance without Brilliance’ isn’t exactly a good title. It really should be ‘Brillaince without Substance.’ That is the crux of the problem, in my modest opinion. I have decided to quickly put in my edited reply to the PhD-design Forum about the thread:
Posted on the 10-10-2011 (Singapore Time)
Looking at the world at large, we have to question that if we have strayed away from the true aims of what education should be. Design education, of course, belongs to a special breed. We cannot exactly equate that to the traditional form of tertiary education. I’m afraid I have to spear the head that in most establishments, teaching tends to form the school’s mould rather than the students’ mould. The late Steve Jobs serve a crucial lesson for both PhD educators and us all who love to learn and learn to love. We need to flexible with an apt mind that shows no rigidity in any way. Then the hard works chutes in. But I believe that hard work has a limit. Health is very important. Many, like Jobs, work as though there is no tomorrow. They work at the expense of family ties, which I object. Sometimes, you need to play for yourself. And when at game, you’d probably expand your mind more. Perhaps, I should have voiced this out ages ago. It’s a little late but its better late than never.
Posted on the 11-10-2011 (Singapore Time)
I had missed out the part on education that I’ve almost sounded as
though education isn’t important. It isn’t. Agree with Frankie on the
innovativeness of teaching as being crucial. However, one would have
to question about the quality of some teachers in the first place in
terms of their own minds if they are able to be that receptive and
elastic to various cultures and concepts. Chances are its very hard to
find such people. Most tend to keep on to their own and refuse
‘provocative challenges’ since that was how they were brought up and
got ‘successful’. We can’t change very much on that, at least on the
direct front.Then again, the history and the nature of most human
minds is that we tend to keep very much to our own because that is the
most beneficial and the easiest way to go through. This inertia if
done with authority could stifle creativity. Fortunately, such
establishments do not stay healthy for very long and they will be
‘auto-renewed’. Steve Jobs is a good example that a superior mind is
not taught by education. He had his own mind. And he did his own way.
Who would have thought that the brand ‘ Apple ‘ had any bond to
computers, and nevermind the bite of an apple could do wonders to our
way of living? In terms of graphical metaphor, it is irrelevant; but
he turned the world around. Thats revolution. Other great minds had no
direct education when they do something. Examples are many. In the
product and servies innovation front, Jobs is a great strategist at
work but ironically a thorough failure in designing his personal life
— he neglected both his family and his health.
> Are we maybe missing something here? Jobs was undoubtedly a creative manager, with vision. But what did that vision lead him to do? Hire educated designers of both software and hardware. In the case of hardware, first a range of outside consultants, and latterly of course, Jonathan Ive.
> Andrew J King
The Late Steve Jobs appear to hire people out from the usual. Most
hired under him tend to be from modest backgrounds with sound
education qualifications though not necessarily from the tip pf the
top schools. His vision of hiring is itself farsighted and different.
Everyone has fundamentally 1 education in a lifetime. Few lucky ones
may get 2 or more. We can’t learn everything in one education, or even
in 2 or 3. But what I can say is a fine education (excluding degree
granting colleges) will set you the foundations for thinking. The rest
of the education after High School or Senior High School (Pre
University) will really be focused on skills and advanced knowledge in
specified fields. Apart from this, if one had not formed the right
matrix for thinking; the chances of exceptional thought will not be
possible. Nevermind expanding on what that has been assimilated
In this aspect, college edication has little help. But what it could
do, I think, would be to allow individual students of learning to be
able to retain their own styles. And with that in mind, the culture of
teaching and curriculum has to change to fit the students creative
mind frame than to set a kind of rule of culture. The essence is the
knowledge learnt —- whether one has been keeping up with learning.
It has little to do with the level of Degree certificates one has
Hope I’ve made it clear. Perhaps not many are interested in my post.
Mine do look odd when it is compared to the usual post graduate
intellectual debate posts. But I always believe that learning takes no
specific form so as long as the fundamentals of learning with an open
mind & enthusiasm is concerned.
Innovativeness comes from a keep learning mind that knows no
boundaries. Education should always stay in that form and not in
affect of any kind of irrelevant influence.
Right I’m late again.
PS: adapt to grow; confine to perish.
Don Norman has always been provocative. I like the guts. But there are certain areas that I find it quite perplexing especially on the areas of sketching not seen as part of thinking; which I think its not quite true. But on the areas of design education failing to offer hard core study areas in humanities and technologies, yes. On the account of teachers who may in a way set a culture that confines the students, yes. I think there are plenty more that is to be done on a human level. The reality is that people are stubborn and resistent to change. How to handle the spear without getting speared in this case, would depend on how one handles the spear. The target of changing design education starts from people. I believe a sound education depends on logic. The kind that sharpens the mind to evaluate and form ideas very quickly. That actually needs more than an education. — Karen Fu
Tags: life, Presidential Election 2011, singapore, Tan Jee Say
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I am still all ears and eyes on the internet, the TV and even the radio like my family members and neighbours here. For the past decades, no presidential election is like this one, which requires recounts to make a final mark. It signals an evolutional change for the country, her people and system of governance. Instantly, the social environment has changed into a far more engaging and patriotic atmosphere that this country is coming to be. Singaporeans everywhere here and abroad are using their social media tools, following up closely to every bit of news at home. It wasn’t this way when I was a child. Not even this much when I was at college. And for this very matter, I feel heart-warmed.
During the process, I have come to witness how the *4 candidates make their stand. Of those, I really put my head up to Mr Tan Jee Say. Honestly, I have always forgotten his name up until the past 2 weeks. He’s got guts and the character to keep it up despite some strong opposition against him in which some areas can be really visible. That prompted me to read more about him, who is coming from a modest background with no big backing from the so-called powerful, apart from the many supporters running against the common grain of the incumbent powerful political party. I salute him for his courage to stand up to what he believes in; though I know he would not stand to win this current election because of 1 main reason: it will be difficult for him to make a collaboration with the running government and that is not good for all of us here. For a country to run smoothly, the president must be in consensus with the government to work as team. He didn’t give that impression. Nonetheless, I am proud of what who he is. He definitely will make his supporters proud despite his lost.
I always liken the fact that the new president to have tact with the pragmatics; and the wisdom to look after all the people in different classes. I have thought through carefully yesterday that I shall pick one who gives his heart and time, effort and soul to his people. I always have this belief that a person, who understands life physically and metaphysically, will do whatever is right for the people and will serve the people. Especially when he has genuinely done the acts of serving the underprivileged class; and personally gave his time, his life and skills directly. This is sure hall mark of a fine president.
All the 4 candidates are strong contenders for the top post. Most of my prediction has come true with one missing puzzle of who is the chosen President. I have expected a tiny margin but I don’t know who will be in. I certainly hope my choice gets in. I am also mentally prepared if my choice doesn’t come in. In any case, work continues in the positive light of value-adding human lives in any form that my modest skills could do. I wish I could do more. In areas that I can’t, I will assist those who can. Thats about the best I can do for now. And I hope more will come in as one people to serve for the betterment of deserving Singaporeans who are good citizens of this country.— Karen Fu
* 4 candidates:
Dr Tony Tan: http://www.tonytan.sg/
Dr Tan Cheng Bock: http://www.tanchengbock.org/
Mr Tan Kin Lian: http://tankinlian.blogspot.com/
Mr Tan Jee Say: http://www.tanjeesay.com/
Tags: Epic Picture, Lee Kuan yew, Singapore Politics, Singapore Swearing Into Cabinet 2011
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I was looking at the picture. And along with many others on Facebook, I too feel that this is one fine photo. I have asked if I could kindly use the picture directly here. I doubt it though. I’ve shared it on my facebook page and I guess for now, I can only use a this tiny print screen picture off my wall. It features both the opposition and ruling party members, notably with our first Prime Minister of Singapore Mr Lee Kuan Yew, standing together in the most casual and candid way one could ever imagine. Especially true after the heated debates and rallies that at least made me thought that the hammers and thunders were rocking the skies. Storms may come, but every after a heavy rain with that bit of sunshine comes the brilliant rainbow. And I sure hope that the beginning of this new chapter of Singapore politics will change and perfect itself with the introduction of 6 formidable opposition members. May the roar of the lion echoes its way beyond the horizon and resonates throughout the clear blue skies; where even the skies are not the limit, for peace, progress and happiness for this nation!
Here’s a tiny little weeny pic for your glimpse here. But if you cannot keep your curosity like I have done, then please either login to your facebook accounts or snoop your way to this link under ‘Pritam Singh’s Photos – Cabinet Swearing In’ . I think the picture will go to the papers anyway in due course. It’s too good to miss ! – Karen Fu
Tags: New Cabinet Line Up, Singapore elections 2011
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I can’t tell you all how happy I am about the new line up ! Hope this new change will spell a new start and that version 2 of nation building begins. I like the fact that there will be constant review of ministers and that will mean keeping a close monitor on progress. But I feel that the change of people should be also linked to the civil servants too.One of the main reasons for the miscommunication and the detachment of government & people may well be because there are civil servants who have not done their duties well. While we ensure the progress and work of ministers, I feel that the quality of their subordinates and many others who are below them, is just as important. The system is imperfect, and in some areas not good at all. But this election has done a great cause. It has basically enabled tough decisions to be ironed out fast.
Coming back to the new line up of ministers, it is obvious that the voice of the people are heard loud and clear; and that action has been taken almost immediately. It is a first move but I can feel that this is good move though we have yet to see more of its impact. It does appear that the PM has seriously looked into those open letters online too. There are a few others that are not done yet and I don’t expect those to be done easily. It is a very wise move from the PM and the resolute move to take out ministers that the people do not like out. PM Lee is well-known to do what he has promised; and I can trust that the matters laid on the board will be seen. What I have noticed too that the transportation service has already taken effect. It is only wise to take these actions quickly and I think that they will look into other views of them seriously.
I have also been reading comments online and I have come to think hard. Though many bloggers appear to write in annoyanmously — some with oddball names; and for one particular instance: an egg shell face with a crazy looking smile that is indescribably painful looking. My take is that it is best to put some kind of identity to the blogs that are meant to be important. It shows credibility and trust of the site and to people who are reading them. Anyway, there are many who are worried about the future that lies ahead. And I am of no exception. The various problems in our society is not a simple one admidst a world that is constantly changing and with different problems emerging. But when I start to see alternatives, I too question about the pending problems. The ruling party is going to have a lot of issues to juggle with, apart from a new slate of opposition party members in.I can see a lot of nit picking & in some areas, probably a couple of storms in a few teacups ahead. Whatever happens, I hope both parties–ruling&opposition– in parliament will keep in mind that apart from the politics of slicing, thrashing and karate-ing; the most important is to win peoples’ hearts by sheer devotion into peoples’ needs. I wouldn’t like to see shouts, arguments, and ideas that do not work in the end. It may sound crazy to put this up but I think politics is great when it is demure (if that is possible), and that it is not an eye-popping session of ripping one another apart. ( I don’t know why I write this, but somehow it just has to be written down ?!) Maybe it’s because I have read and seen debates all the time on research and speeches. But hopefully all will be well. Cheers! — Karen Fu