Monthly Archives: May 2018

June is a popular month for weddings. I have been invited to at least 3 weddings.

Because some of us could not make it across the bridge to our workfriend’s wedding, we decided to come together for a simple meal.


Here in this photo, ZH is tying the red ribbon flower balls (adapting a Chinese custom) on the chair for the groom to be. The groom was made to untie and collect the “balls of happiness”. No scissors allowed. We had lots of fun in the process. (More information on Chinese customs)

In agrarian society, people had celebrations several times a year – feasts which serve to bond people together. Eat, laugh and have fun. In Japan and Korea, companies sponsor drinks and dinner after office a few timed a year. You may not want to be best friends with your colleagues, but its important to hang out socially.

Other Asian companies hang out with colleagues during lunch or breakfast.

Is there a reason to celebrate? A colleague survived her daughter’s first week in school. Someone new joined the team – welcome them. We clinched a new customer or completed a new project. Bake a cake, get out the balloons.


Name 12 reasons you have to celebrate

How often do you laugh at the workplace

How often do you like to?

What is this lack of celebration costing you?


Credit source: Mediacock FB page

A picture says a thousand words.

What do you see in this picture?
a. Old economy work place vs Newer economy- robots , technology disrupting our lives and livelihood!
b. Who stole my lunch?
C. Mistrust between management and worker
d. A company that is top heavy?
e. Workers do not know management’s value add. Poor communication by management?
f. Managers that are not value adding to the bottom line beyond paper pushing.

If the company continues down this route, its unlikely to last long before its overtaken by competitors.

Unfortunately, its true that many workplaces are short of workers because of lack of skills and the lack of attrativeness of certain jobs.

Salaries need to be adjusted to compensate person doing the work.

I wonder, if you were the worker on the ladder, what would you do ?

a) join a union
b) quit
C) brand myself
d) network to change jobs
e) start a company
f) become part of management

Other options?


Photo taken by me at PS Cafe Dempsey Singapore. I love how a few medicine bottles are upcycled with ferns cut from roadside trees into objects of beauty, illustrating how beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

ʎʇʇǝɹԀ Ugly by Abdullah Shoaib

I’m very ugly

So don’t try to convince me that

I am a very beautiful person

Because at the end of the day

I hate myself in every single way

And I’m not going to lie to myself by saying

There is beauty inside of me that matters

So rest assured I will remind myself

That I am a worthless, terrible person

And nothing you say will make me believe

I still deserve love

Because no matter what

I am not good enough to be loved

And I am in no position to believe that

Beauty does exist within me

Because whenever I look in the mirror I always think

Am I as ugly as people say?

(Now read bottom up)

Note: Someone sent me this. I dont know who Abdullah Shoaib is. Its interesting that reading left to right, top down or bottom up, changes the meaning.

Western cultures read from left to right. Chinese culture read from right to left for instance (sun rises from the east to the west).


“Momentum” in Finlayson Green, Singapore, by Israeli scupltor David Gerstein. “The 18.5-metre tall painted metal sculpture depicts an upward cycle of progress, symbolising the energy and momentum of the district, Singapore and its people.” Somehow it reminds me of the tower of babel in Genesis.

Photo taken by me, one car-free Sunday morning in 2017, riding my bicycle.

Sometimes the context and the environment matters. Reading Laura Vanderkam’s “What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast—to jump-start the day productively” travelling through Japan’s very efficient JR train system put me in the right mindset to track my time and wake up early.

It is not so much the what I can do.
Laura Vanderkam suggests that we can nurture self, relationships and career with the extra time.

1) Discovering that I am actually a “morning” person. I just need to sleep early.

2) My important chores can be done

3) I have time for meditation and reading the Bible which clears up my mind and thoughts. I am less angry.

4) More conscious of time wastage as I can plan my logistics. And mindless surfing at night.

5) Read books I have been putting off because I have more energy.

6) My bowel movements have improved.

7) More conscious of my goals.

Its a thin book and I highly recommend reading it as well as planning a holiday in Japan using the public transport system. It makes you track your time more consciously.


Tracking through Matsumoto’s padi fields and mountain range.

The art of confession – renewing yourself through the practice of honesty” by Paul Wilkes.


Photo entitled “Reflections” taken in Nagoya, 2018 by me.

My first confession is that I never thought highly of confessions. I was searching for a book on Stoics for my workshop on diary writing and journaling when I chanced upon it.

“Confession is self examination, an honest conversation with ourselves, stripping away the veil over our actions and thoughts, so that we see more clearly and act more justly” writes Wilkes.

Today we complain about stress, rages and provocations, but where is the problem? Perhaps it is our lack of self worth or nagging guilt. Did we lose ourselves somewhere?

One of my favourite techniques in the book is “praying backward through the day“.

The first step is to confess to the God of your faith. Repent of your sin and ask God to be gracious and merciful.

1. Observe, Judge, Act
Observe: Be specific about what you want to change

Judge: consider the consequences of your action

Act: Do something to rectify your situation

2. Consolations and Desolations
Spend a few moments to recall moments when you feel most alive and worthwhile and when you felt the opposite.

What did I do that made me happiest?
Where did I feel ashamed of myself?
What habits worked for or against me?

3. Praying backwards through the day
Jesuit priest Dennis Hamm recommends LT3F approach – light, thanks, feelings, focus, future based on the examen of St Ignatius.

What is helpful when listening to a confession?
Wilkes quotes Dr Thomas Mathew:
In psychotherapy, we can treat outward symptoms – depression, anxiety, ennui – with medication, which sometimes is very effective in itself.

In therapy, time allows a person to go deeper. Don’t judge, or jump in with a solution. Just listen.

Why am I interested in journalling?
An unexamined life is not worth living. -Socrates