Friday, March 31, 2006

Warning, Rant Ahead

I HAVE to get this out of my system.

I do NOT like indiscriminate use of smileys. It is a freaking pain in the arse to read, and I'm liable to go blind if every single letter is a freaking picture instead of a word.

I mean, do I look Egyptian to you? There is a reason why even those buggers stopped using hieroglyphics after a while.

I am very certain a scribe revolt as well as the phrase "the pen is mightier than the sword" was started about the same time. In the time of where the poor secretary was more of an artist than a fast typist, and a pimple in the wrong part of the face turns a msg from "having dinner with the neighbours" to "shagging the neighbour's dog, be back in 10 minutes."

Damn MSN and evil Bill for plunging us back to the Age of the Pyramids. Now if only I can feed HIM to the crocodiles...

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Sleep Deprivation and Mental Hyperactivity

Over the last 2 weeks, I have hardly slept.

Work, Reservist and sheer need for mental stimulation have conspired to keep my sleep to less than 3-4 hours every single day. To add to that, I have decided to buy myself another notebook. This one has absolutely no lines. This is good. I am not big on lines in my notebooks, and this one lets it all hang out. If i get truly inspired, I might even start drawing something.

Night shift on exercise means long long hours in the wargame room with nothing going on, except attempts by near strangers to make time to pass by faster. This means talking about everything. In the time where I have space to think, on shift and I can't sleep, and I cannot read cos the commanders are around. I think, and I write.

Here's a voyeuristic peek at what goes on in this twisted brain when it goes on overdrive...

When one gets older, one starts seeking comfort. Being comfortable starts increasing in importance.

Maybe it's the amount of disappointments that happened over the last week. Can I proceed despite of all that's happened? I'm not sure. I'm feeling tired, uninspired.

Sunday I felt good to be in the office clearing work. Memory's getting short and thoughts disjointed.

It feels as if I have been disregarding people.

"Never waste an opportunity to shut up" Maybe I should start taking that advice.

What's truly important to me? So important that I'll push forward, despite of all the oppositions?

As time goes by, it does seem as if people are pushing me into a mould. Trying to make me confirm to "that which is right". Is it my rebellion an instinctive desire to lash out, rather than a conscious decision to forge my own path? The line between the 2 is thin. Distinguishable but thin.

I was talking to my church mate the other day and I gave him the condensed version of what he can do to figure what he really wants. Feels a little empty, cos I don't do it to myself. Or it's been too long since I did it.

What IS really important to me in the long run? What do I really want to achieve? How am I going to do it? Let's see if I can get a list.

There are a lot of characteristics that I see in people that I'd like to emulate. Don't know how to do do that, unless I understand the motivation behind which these characteristics develop.

How do I make consistency and discipline exciting and deeply satisfying? What do I need to tweak in my mind and others? How am I going to work that one out?

Often life is a balance of contradictions. The tension of trying to find the centre point between two apparent mutually exclusive qualities. Like dance. Techniques vs passion and expression. Get the technical details out of the way. Get the techniques internalized, so that expression can truly flow.

Yet the techniques must change, if expressions cannot be fully displayed... (Is that the right word? Fulfilled? Released? Visualised, come to being... I am lost for words...) by the current techniques, then do they then have to change, and new ways found? Then how would one describe discipline? If things can be changed on a whim?

Is life the same? What are the techniques, the technical details on life then? What does it take for us then to really and truly LIVE?

What does it take to get us to the next level? For every dream to be realized?

Are we then afraid of fulfilling out dreams?

Because by fulfilling them it sets us apart, gets us out of our comfort zones, comfort zones and boundaries dictated by the people around us.

Because when dreams come true, and we have reached the end of our journey, and we have nowhere to go? And we are truly terrified of that emptiness and lack of direction??

Cos we don't really know what's that one thing, we cannot explicitly state that one thing that we'll strive for for the rest of our lives?

If we had the power to fulfil all our dreams, would we take it? But we do, don't we? Dare we reach out and take that power into our hands?

What is at the end of imagination? Are we afraid that we might be inadequate, that we are not WORTHY of being the truly glorious beings we can be?

The higher we go, the more effort we need to expend to reach out to those around us, and possibly under us, to remain in touch with them, to connect with them. And though we resign to the fact that those folks may fail us often, and not live up to the mark they set for themselves, and we set for them, it is for a hope, the hope that we fight, that dream that one day they'll raise themselves to their full potential and realize their own glory.

If we lose that hope born of love, we'll have nothing to fight for any more.

A little something that I have on my computer desktop,

"Our greatest fear is not that we are inadequate, but that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that frightens us.

We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, handsome and fabulous? Actually, who are you NOT to be? You are a child of God.

Your playing small does not serve the world.

There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you.

We are born to make manifest the glory of God within us. It is not just in some, it is in EVERYONE. And as we let our own light shine, we consciously give other people permission to do the same.

As we are liberated from our fear, our presence automatically liberates others. "

- Marianne Williamson (A Return to Love) Quoted by Nelson Mandela, then again in the movie "Coach Carter".

The devil's advocate in me suddenly things, but not everyone wants to be liberated. Some might find the darkness comforting, even desirable. Then how?

Enough... There's one more night on shift work. And sleep beckons, even if it's overwhelming desire is quinscient for the moment.

Saturday, March 18, 2006


For the first time ever, I have been called back to serve my country after I have ORDed so long ago.

I went for my first In-Camp Training 7 years after I took off the green and brown.

Other than the usual scramble before to wondering where I put my stuff such that I don't see it for more than half a decade, I was actually looking forward to the break in routine. Even if it mean rushing to make sure everything is done and handed over, AND that means not very much sleep at all.


In a way, it would be good to see how the rest of my camp mates have gotton along over so many years. It'll be interesting to see other new people. AND it is good to take some time off to actually think about the things that I have to think through. And I have several on my mind.

When I was down at the camp, watching the new batch of botak boys preparing to run the Standard Obstacle Course, a thought struck me. Why is it that all the Singaporean men have this love-hate relationship with the this 2-and-a-half years of national service?

We hate the time we spend inside with a passion. Yet we can't stop talking about it. What's the one main gripe of Singaporean women about the men here?

That we can't stop talking about NS. That no matter how much we dislike it, when two or three males are gathered, the topic will pop up. It's only a matter of time. It is so much a phenomenon, and so persistent, that the ladies start to hate NS with a passion as well.

So why do we do that?

There are a few reasons I reckon. The greatest of which is this. Common Ground.

It is a common reference point for nearly every Singapore male can relate to. Your so-called lowest common denominator, the one thing that every Singapore male, or ex-male (case in point, Kumar, our national drag queen) can talk about. Like travellers sharing tales of faraway lands, or fishermen comparing their catch, or even women discussing make-up. It is the one thing that every man in Singapore can relate to.

It really is the time where everyone is created equal. Go back to reservist and it really is an interesting experience. In my platoon alone, there are 2 or 3 IT specialists, one hedge fund manager, one struggling entrepreneur (ME), folks in wireless communication, one chap in operations in Citibank. In the whole company there are people who have kids, people who have NO kids, people who are still studying and people who have worked so long school is another story lost in the mists of time. There are hokkien types who can barely speak English, and lawyers who can speak English and are starting to remember their hokkien. CEOs and corporate slaves. Everyone put their lives on hold and get called back to face a common "enemy".

And at the same time, what binds people together faster, than a common enemy and a common dream? An us-against-them mentality, too much free time, and plotting of a million and one ways to spend the time outside of camp or to "keng".

Put any bunch of people through these same circumstance, and see if they'll come out with a certain bond, a common identity, at least as far as that part of their lives is concerned.

Consider, if you had a link like that, if you'll unconsciously use it to invoke an instant connection and a surge of "inner-circle" camaraderie. Come on ladies, even you. Be fair. Make up, clothing, pedicures, manicures and hair stylists takes the place of NS in your lives as well, right? ;)

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Dream Car

What's your dream car?

Me, it's not any of those fancy sports cars that go too fast, and won't go pass Gear II in Singapore.

Call it the effects of an all-too-practical mind. Call it the residue effects of the cartoon "Mask". Call it too-long-inna-country-with-a-90kmh-speed-limit syndrome.

Call it a guilt trip from crashing my dad's Honda City.

But my dream car, would be a souped-up Honda Civic.

You heard it right.

Something non-flashy, non-ostentatious on the outside, with the potential for AMAZING performance. Moderately zhng the engine, change the wheels, just to make sure I can go up that damn slip road from Rocher to ECP without overly straining the engine.

The rest, will go into aesthetics. The front doors are on hydraulics and SLIDE forward instead of just opening sideways. Oh, no butterfly doors. They're silly. The rear doors slide back, almost like a van's back door, but wayyy cooler.

And I don't care if it's possible, but I WILL make the roof a hard-top convertible. You heard me. Cut up the entire roof and make it retract into the boot like that new Peugeot convertible. A little body kit, and then maybe, just MAYBE let one of those chaps from MTV Pimp Your Ride have a go at the painting.


The Singapore Elections

Welcome Ladies and Gentlemen,

to a farce that all know and love. Nothing can be said outright, and nothing can be done. The effects of this farce, of course, keeps a moderately effective subtly dictatorial dynasty in place.

No complaints there.

The only thing I have, is for the ruling party to stop treating the rest of the people like idiots and push to see how far they can get away with bashing the opposition party, acting like children playing "He started it" AND expect us to be happy drones.

It's one thing to subjugate the public and turn them into sheep. It's another to rub it in their faces.

A Spot of Narcissism

I went to the library the Sunday before last. It feels good to read again. I have been starved for intellectual stimulation and my imagination has been kept at a standstill for too long.

I realized that I am a visual person. Very visual. It is a good thing that I have a vivid imagination.

I am reminded that I can sleep any time, any where, any how, any way. My camp mates know. I nearly drowned in a bowl of mee soto after a 9km run after breakfast.

Work is busy. It feels good to move ahead, and it feels good to rest.

I am a compulsive entrepreneur. Now if only I'll get my butt moving, I'll be a loaded compulsive entrepreneur.

I come up with ideas. I need someone else to plan and kick my butt. Once the plan is established, I can run with it.

In the book "Tactics of Mistake" by Gordon R. Dickson, the military unit is under the control of 2 people. One, the planner, or the tactics specialist. He plans. Two, the executor, or the field general. It is a good arrangement. Both roles requires virtually mutually exclusive qualities in the person, and both extremes are required for any successful plan/execution/outfit.

How shall I implement this where I am right now?

Friday, March 10, 2006

Thought of the Month

I have been thinking about communication and the transfer of knowledge and understanding for a long time.
I reckon I'll be spending a lot of time thinking about this when I'm FINALLY going for my reservice this coming Wednesday. It's been 7 years. Can I still strip a rifle? I'm about to find out.
But I digress.

When I speak to people, there will always be a part of me thinking, "Am I getting through?" Human communication is a precarious and an inexact thing, with so many FUBAR* factors that at times I wonder how any of us manage to get ourselves understood enough to order a bowl of noodles at the hawker stall.

Consider for a moment. Human thought is constantly moving. In communicating, we attempt to crystalize a small portion of that, take it out of the context of our constantly moving stream of consciousness, codify them into a semblance of what we ourselves deem to be coherence and then project that outwards through actions and words.

The other party has to recieve these images and sound, hopefully in its entirety. They will then match these actions and words to an internal template, hopefully similar to ours, and try to make sense of the message, through the filters that they have in their minds, and attempt a fit into their own understanding and consciousness.


Add ethics, censorship, human emotion, morals, subconscious projection through body language, intonation and context, I wonder to myself how the hell do we even manage to make ourselves understood to the next human being, much less live together and not kill each other from sheer frustration.

Some have said that 70% of human communication is non-verbal to begin with. 23% is the way we say something and only 7 frigging percent is what we actually say. Fuck.

Despite all this difficulty in communication, we still try our very best to make ourselves understood to our fellow man/woman/others. And in doing so, attempt to provoke a reaction we deem to be satisfactory to ourselves in the recepient of our attempt.

Double wow. We suppposedly evolved monkeys really do aim for the stars don't we?

Enough ranting. Back to topic. Shite. As if communication isn't back enough, I gotta have a brain that jumps around like a bunny in heat, on a steady diet of mexican jumping beans and coffee for 6 months.

Back to communication. Why have I been thinking about this?

I'll be addressing my 3rd batch of course participants come tomorrow. There will be almost 30 people at this seminar. Almost 30 individuals. With their own unique experiences, and their own lives, and each individual level of knowledge. I have 60 minutes exactly to take everything they have heard, imagined, felt or concluded about trading and futures, and throw that out the window.

In that same 60 minutes, I'll have to plant the seed of what we believe trading actually IS, and synchonize 30 people to at least have the same understanding and lingo that we would be using for the rest of the course.

And I have to keep their interest. AND I have to make sure they GET IT, not just hear it and keep as head knowledge.

That's just one of the reasons why I am currently obsessed with finding a better way of attempting to communicate.

I am, shall we say, blessed with friends that come from many walks of life. My own life is enriched by their presence, but there are times where I find it hard to convey ideas or opinions to the other person, and me, being the numbskull who don't know when to quit, will keep trying and trying, to a point of time where the person gets pissed at me, or it gets painful.

Oh I learnt slowly and painfully to communicate and to listen. But there will always be a situation where I face an apparently insurmountable wall. And this wall to communication is such that I care enough NOT to just ignore it and leave it.

Examples? Parents, people I care about. People that mean something to me, but try as I might not get through. Talking to them is frustration in the purest sense, yet, because of what they mean to me, I never stop trying.

Maybe one day, I'll get through to them. Oh they don't have to agree with me. They just have to get where I'm coming from, after that, agree to disagree. Can it be the emotions that cause this block? Baggage? Or a simple refusal to compromise? Or can it be just me, that the people that matter to me does not agree with the things that makes so much sense to me? And it is a failure on my part to recieve communication from them?

Good thing my Reservice is 3 weeks long. Maybe I'll actually come back with an answer to this question.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Location Location Location

Here are a few pictures of the places I have run around in my last 27 or so years. Courtesy of my not-so-newly ripped out hard disk.

Took this on my flight to Paris. It took me 11 tries to get this picture, and no, I wasn't using a digital camera.

Notre Dame. I checked, no Hunchback. There were a lot of gargoyles, and a huge ass staircase. Thank GOD I was fitter then. The craze is over, but this bloody picture costs me 200 Euros. Tell you the story another time.

Read the town name on this train station. Hell is quite pretty isn't it? It's cold too, and I'm sure that it freezes over every winter in Norway.

Can't really see the name, but it says St. Edmund's Cathedral. I'm a saint!

Ok, that's all for now. Later!

A Quick Update

It's been too long since I put anything of my own here.

Has life been a barren landscape such that there is nothing by which to update? No.
Have I been devoid of intellectual stimulation? Not as much as before.

There is a possibility that my mental development has pleateued.

I have rediscovered the joys of being barely alive after physical training.

In a very recent trip to the library, I have realized that I am starving for mental stimulation.

At the same time, work is taking up a huge amout of time, and with all the developments going on, I have again realized that there is a distinct need for better planning and increased focus in the way I do things. The need has never been so great.

Over the last few weeks, I have been coughing my ass off, and been feeling exhausted. I have a feeling it has got something to do with the lack of Vit C and healthy eating. I'm gonna go find some way of ingesting a ton more of that stuff, before I completely collapse.

I HAVE passed my IPPT for the new year. Barely. How the mighty have fallen. That is IT. I am definitely going to have to train up.

That's all for now. I'll sign back in again, when I'm done with today's work.

Many new exciting things to think and do in the office, so off I go to brainstorm of more interesting ideas of world domination. Muahaha!