Monday, 30 July 2007

Nice Korean Song

A beautiful girl and a beautiful song...

I watched this part with my friend the night before she went to Hong Kong to save her relationship. I think this song means a lot of her. She is doing great so far to handle her breakup. I am proud of her! I cannot imagine if I am in that condition.

Everything seems so fragile nowadays - love, health, wealth, job. Maybe it is time to remind ourselves not to take things for granted.

But I am glad friendships and family relationship are going stronger.

Lyrics & Translation:

param gyeoli changeul heundeulgo
nae gimalhan jakeun nawei pan weouro
areumduphge byulbijdeureul
kadeul chaewojuneyo
malhi aphahajimah
nalkkok aneunchae dadokyojumyeo
jakjara weouro haejuneyo
keodji mothalmankkeum himekyeowon aphawado
nunmuli apeul karyeowado
kajjimothal nae sarang aphedo nan useullaeyo
jamshimado kyeote haengboghattdeon giogdeureul
kashime kanjig halkeyo
du nune suno najin jeobyuldeul
cheoreom yeongwonhi

English Version:

the wind is shaking the windows,and over my small room,
the stars fill up the sky, shining brightly too many to count,
the stars reassure tired me
they wipe away the many tears that are deep inside me

don’t be hurt too much..they hug me tight and pamper me
and comfort me,
telling me to go to sleep

though I’m exhausted to the point where I can’t walk
though my tears blur my vision
I’ll still smile in front of my love that I’m not able to get

Even though our happy times were short, I’ll treasure it deep inside my heart
like those countless number of stars, forever

My dream is coming. though it is unusual that my one star is bright
it is very bright, even comes down to my shoulder
stop being so holds my hand as it touches me
and gives me a warm hug

though I’m exhausted to the point where I can’t walkthough my tears blur my vision
I’ll still smile in front of my love that I’m not able to get

Even though our happy times were short, I’ll treasure it deep inside my heart
like those countless number of stars, forever

Only for today, I won’t cry though my eyes fill with tears
I want to laugh like those stars
Oh~ I want to cherish all my happy moments deep inside my heart
Like those countless number of stars, forever

Sunday, 22 July 2007

Parable of the boiled frog

They say that if you throw a frog into a pot of hot water it will quickly jump out. But if you put a frog into a pot of cold water and slowly heat it up, the frog stays put - and cooks. By the time the frog realizes its predicament, it's too late. Poor Froggy will boils to death or can only be saved if only someone pull him out.

The same things are happening to us - in career, in relationship and on earth. This is human nature. The slow developing trend or threat are so difficult to grasp. By the time we realize, it may to too late to do anything. Or, it can be anything we do will not matter anymore.


The shifting of economy and the world gone flat have great impact on how organization can thrive in this new economy.

Boiling-frog syndrome stands as a warning to managers and team members not to ignore the signs of negative institutional inertia that portend eventual failure. For an improved work environment, it's important to first recognize signs of hot water and then turn down the heat.


In this article, it talks about how the boiled-frog parable apply to our job.

Sometimes the same thing happens to people in their jobs. If they had known on day one the job was going to be this bad, they'd have jumped out of the pot. But they've been in the job awhile, adjusting little by little as circumstances worsen.

"Then they go on vacation, come back to work, and it's like jumping into a pot of boiling water! They can suddenly hear the petty arguments, see the political situation for what it is, realize how little the work means to them. They can see how abusive their bosses are, feel how stressful the job is or perhaps feel how good it was to spend time with their significant other and children, and realize how much the job is stealing from that time," said Wilson.

As uncomfortable an experience as this is, those who have it are fortunate. This back-to-work clarity will force them to pay attention to their careers before it is too late. Many others in the same circumstances will put up with rising temperatures until they end up in a knock-down drag-out fight with their co-workers or bosses, develop migraines or have a family crisis. Or until they lose a promotion they thought they deserved, realize they feel most of the time like quitting or do lose their jobs. We even encounter the occasional soul who says he won't take vacations because it would be too horrible to come back.

Now and again an almost-boiled frog shows up at the door crying, "Fix it!" which, of course, is impossible. Careers cannot be treated in the emergency room. The solution is to manage your career, and not just sit there while the forces around you determine your course.


Going through her breakup made my friend realized how she had taken more than she gave. She thought her reservation of love would have make her less vulnerable. But she told me she never thought she would hurt as badly.

She told me again and again that she is those type of person who will not easily trust or care for a person. It made me feel a bit angry because I heard this a lot of times from other people as well. This is absolutely an excuse to avoid responsibilities and commitments. Do you think the people on the other side of the giving end are not feeling unsecured also? Do you think they are not afraid of being hurt or rejected? That they born as silly love fools? It takes a lot of courages for one to be in love and those who give are the courageous one. Do not give the excuse to be a coward.

My friend had taken things for granted. She was the frog in the slowly steaming water. Suddenly she realized the heat. She had been oblivious to burdens of the people around her. She had not been able to understand while she continued to demand attention and care.

But she understand now. She is going to go a very "long distance" this time to save her relationship. I hope she will succeed.


The boiled frog may be all of us on earth who choose not to do anything about the unavoidable threat of global warming. I first learned about the boiled frog story from the documentary "An Inconvenient Truth". I heard about global warming and thinning of ozone layer for more than 10 years while studying science in high school. Until now, I have not see any major changes to address this issue.

So, we are the frog in the water heating up, unaware and happily living our life.

When will we notice the heat? Will we ever get to jump out before it is too hot or will we boil to death?

Maybe we all can do something now starting from ourselves first. Each one counts!

Visit for more information.

Tuesday, 17 July 2007

Heartbroken friend

I cannot believe it -my best friend just told me that her boyfriend had broken up with her. Through email.

How come? I asked. He was almost the ideal boyfriend. Everything he had done for my friend just show how caring he was and how deeply he loved her.

She was not caring enough. That was what he told my friend. In the email and later in the Google chat.
For 5 years, he has invested his love and suddenly out of nowhere he wanted to give up? Yes, my friend had been a little slow in growing her care for him. But she has improved a lot over times and she is those type of person which only care for certain people she feels safe with.

And she had care a lot about this guy. She had endured the long distance relationship for 5 long years, diving into her works as an excuse to escape her loneliness. She had stayed loyal despite the temptation. She was already prepared to married to him. How come he decided to give up even without warning her. How come he did not want to discuss with her first before he decide? What happened to him to cause him to make the sudden decision?

My friend is of course very devastated. I did not know what I can do for her. I am waiting for her call as she was out now with her friend. I still remembered the last time she was heartbroken (around 6 years ago) , we went to Genting and I taught her how to gamble on the horse racing machine in the casino. I think I may go to Genting again with her if she wants. At least we can escape to some place.

How come when one grow up , relationship becomes more fragile? People do not just go ALL out and love the other half anymore. There are always insecurity, calculations , materialism. No one dare to mention "forever" anymore. And there will be "no guarantee" what will happen to us.

Recently I met up with some old friends. One had just broke off with his girlfriend recently and was very down and not seeing friends for a long time. (Luckily he recovered) . One just got through the pain of divorce. The rest, either are not secured or prepared to get married or questioned how one can trust her partner?

I can see the pain and insecurities in a lot of people. They said they have learned from their mistakes. But, I also saw that it will be harder for them to accept new love and they will thread ever so carefully.

At this moment, I feel I really get older and have gone into another stage in life.

The first stage waas when we grew from toddler to a child who started to go to school.

The second stage was when one stop school and started to go to college or universities. Or continued Form 6 in the government schools.

The third stage was when one stop education and started going out to work.

The fourth stage is when one have enough experience in work + life and need to settle down or find real purpose in their life, usually by giving up or letting go of something.

Monday, 16 July 2007

Performance Review from an Employee

It is time for the mid-year performance review for our team. I got this well-written performance review from an employee who is very dedicated in his job for all the years he has been working.

You can refer to his review to see how to write yours.

I hope he will not mind me posting his review here. :)

Employee: Claus, Santa

Title: General Manager, Global Distribution

Reports To: CEO, Universe

Communication Skills:

Exceeds Expectations. Employee continues to excel at interpreting vague orders and communicating changing needs to his direct reports. This has become particularly challenging since the advent of email. millions of hand-written notes have been replaced by email from portals such as and Peak arrivals number 400,000 up to 5 days before Delivery Date. Formerly hand-written letters would arrive from late November to allow for postal delivery problems and make for easier order fulfillment.

Employee Relations:

Meets Expectations. Employee continues to receive accolades from his direct reports, constangly referred to as “jolly” and “merry”. He is, after all, literally a saint. This is doubly impressive given the special needs and diversity issues inherent ina mixed Human/Elf workplace. Accommodations such as specially sized workbenches and jumpsuits for the new clean room were made in a timely manner to the satisfaction of all.

360 degree feedback continues to be solid, although there were complaints on the confidential employee hotline of reprisals (lumps of coal rather than bonuses) to complainers or those considered “naughty”. No credible witnesses have come forth.

Project Management Skills:

Exceeds Expectations. Rapidly changing product lines continue to offer challenges that the Employee overcomes. There were complaints that there were insufficient training opportunities for existing staff to move from the Wooden/Plastic Toys division to the growing Electronics Department over the last 2-3 years. The Union has filed several grievances which have been satisfied.

Additionally, shorter order cycles (see Communication Skills) means accurate staffing has been a challenge. Employee was able to avoid massive layoffs during the slower season but still met Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). The North Pole is a one-industry town, and large numbers of laid off elves would have been a PR problem we didn’t need at this time. Employee really stepped up.

For now, production schedules have stabilized and, barring another introduction of a new game console, should remain steady over the next 12 months.

Succession Planning:

Does Not Meet Expectations. Employee has held his current position for almost 1400 years, ever since his promotion from Bishop of Myra in the Turkish Division. While he has stepped up to the challenges of building a global operation with superb Customer Sat numbers, there are concerns.

He has not identified potential leaders capable of filling his position. Given his age and his overall health and weight (in clear violation of our wellness standards) this is a concern. There is no sign he’s delegating effectively.

HR is concerned and will hold a meeting in the next month to identify candidates- perhaps from the Elf pool and lay out a professional development path.


Overall, another excellent performance review. Unfortunately his salary was capped 600 years ago, and HR is struggling for reward and recognition opportunities for someone who not only has everything, but gives it away. Issue will be studied at the next HR department meeting.

(Got this from a blog I cannot remember, but I can't resist posting it here for fun....hehe)

Friday, 13 July 2007

Child again

It's good to feel like a child again. That is why small and cute things (see photo below) get a bunch of technical professionals excited enough to gather around to take photos.

Nice gifts.........

This miniature of a cute "monster" and motorbike. The monster and the motorbike did not come together though. Some creative people from our team kinda put them together. The hand back there will show you roughly how big are the miniatures.

More monsters and more bike riding..............

More monsters jumping on the bikes................

Finally, group photo...all are so excited to put their toys together for a group photo.

The "smiling cutie-who-looks-like-fishing" back there belong to me- a nice gift from a friend. :). Cannot resist to include him in the group photo.

A small way of having a little bit of fun at work - by being small little excited kids again!

Thursday, 12 July 2007

Doing our best is not enough?

1. When we say we have done our best, does that mean we feel we are the best of all people and do not need any further improvement?

Oprah Winfrey said, "Doing the best at this moment puts you in the best place for the next moment." .

When we said we have done our best, it was probably the best at that moment with the available resources, times , energy and experience. But we can do better tomorrow and more better the day after. We still need improvement as what is considered best now, may not be considered best in next month.

2. When we say we have done our best, are we using it for excuse for when we fail, we hope we won't be blamed for our failure?

Abraham Lincoln said "I do the very best I know how. The very best I can; and I mean to keep doing so until the end. If the end brings me out alright, what is said against me won't amount to anything. If the end brings me out wrong, ten angels swearing I was right would make no difference."

We should never try to use anything as an excuse for our failures. Anything. Period.

Doing our best is the good journey, having fail or succeeded is the outcome.
Without the good journey, there will be no good outcome at all.

3. People do not want to care whether we have done our best if we have failed?

Marian Wright Edelman said "You're not obligated to win. You're obligated to keep trying to do the best you can every day."

Anita Hill said "You can't always expect a certain result, but you can expect to do your best."

Maybe someone people do not care, but I bet there are some who do. Sometimes, life is not just about winning, it is about contributing to the community and caring for others. And what actually determine whether we are winning or not? Our bank accounts balance? Our high-rank position in the company? Our big house? A pat on our back that we are doing great?

Most importantly is we can admit we have failed when we really have failed. And we tell ourselves that we have tried our best, not as an excuse but as an understanding on what makes us fail. Maybe we are just not cut out for it or maybe some external factors are causing the failures. If we see that we cannot really succeed even when we try out best, maybe it is best we call it quit.

In the story about the lighthouse, somethings just won't move and we have to go around it.

3. Doing our best is not enough?

Helen Keller (Out of the Dark) said "When we do the best that we can, we never know what miracle is wrought in our life, or in the life of another."

Eleanor Roosevelt said "You have to accept whatever comes and the only important thing is that you meet it with courage and with the best that you have to give."

If doing our best is not really enough, why should we try at all? After all it is the best we can do, and if it does not bring us success, why bother to try? Why struggle to do our best when we can actually try to do just enough.

Of course, doing our best does not always lead to positive result. But if you do not do our best, shall we wait for us to get lucky and suddenly hit the jackpot. Even if we want to hit the jackpot, we also need to go out and buy the lottery first.

What if people tell you "Buying the lottery is not enough to get you to win the jackpot". Of course , it is well understood, you definitely need a lot of luck too. But what else can you do besides buying the lottery in order to win the jackpot?

4. When we hear "doing our best is not enough" and we get hurt, it is because we have a big ego? Also when our ego is under attack, it is good because it keeps our ego in check so that we can improve?

Harold Ruopp said "Life does not require us to make good; it asks only that we give our best at each level of experience."

Booker T. Washington said "I believe that any man's life will be filled with constant and unexpected encouragement, if he makes up his mind to do his level best each day, and as nearly as possible reaching the high water mark of pure and useful living."

So many motivation gurus and books are out there to encourage people to give their best to the world. Yes, maybe doing our best is not enough, but does it help to discourage people from doing their best?

Life will be filled with constant and unexpected encouragement, NOT discouragement in order for him to do his level best each day.

In Dale Carnegie's book "How to Win Friends and Influence People", he said we always should try to influence and win people by not criticizing, not accusing and definitely
not focusing on the negative aspect of the person.

How about we just respect and appreciate those who have already try their best even if we do not hit the home run, can we?

Wednesday, 11 July 2007

Free Poll

I stumbled upon this site that allow to create free poll. So, just for trying out, I put up a poll here (see right and see below). :)

It is cool as I have been searching for something like this a while ago.

There was one time, I wanted to order dinner for the team during OT and I wanted to ask which restaurant should we order at that time. Hmm... Maybe I will create a poll for this next time. LOL.

Monday, 9 July 2007

Power of Principles

A powerful story about principle......

Two battleships assigned to the training squadron had been at sea on maneuvers in heavy weather for several days. I was serving on the lead battleship and was on watch on the bridge as night fell. The visibility was poor with patchy fog, so the captain remained on the bridge keeping an eye on all activities.

Shortly after dark, the lookout on the wing of the bridge reported "Light, bearing on the starboard bow."

"Is it steady or moving astern?" the captain called out.

Lookout replied, "Steady, captain," which meant we were on a dangerous collision course with that ship.

The captain then called to the signalman, "Signal that ship: We are on a collision course, advise you change course 20 degrees."

Back came a signal, "Advisable for you to change course 20 degrees."

The captain said, "Send, I'm a captain, change course 20 degrees."

"I'm a seaman second class," came the reply. "You had better change course 20 degrees."

"By that time, the captain was furious. He spat out, "Send, I'm a battleship. Change course 20 degrees."

Back came the flashing light, "I'm a lighthouse."

We changed course.

(Contributed by Dan Bell in Reader Digest)

When we are in the midst of storms in our life, we can choose to battle it with our strength and go against the principles and laws of nature. Yet, principles and laws of nature are li
ghthouses that stand firm and never fail. We can go against it or stand by it.

The lighthouse is like a principle. Principles are immovable; they are timeless and universal. They do not change. They are no respecters of age, race, creed, gender, or status - everyone is equally subject to them. Like the lighthouse, principles provide permanent markers against which people can set their direction in times of both storm and calm, darkness and light.

Photo courtesy of

Tuesday with Morrie

Start by asking yourself these questions.

Have you found someone to share your heart with?
Are you giving to your community?
Are you at peace with yourself?
Are you trying to be as human as you can be?

That's what Morrie would have ask you when you have chance to meet him. But the truth is, you won't have chance to see him because he had passed away. The book "Tuesday with Morrie" was about his last journey on earth where he shared his experience with a wonderful writer, Mitch Albom.

Coincidentally, I blogged about death quite a lot lately. Especially on my post What if there is no second chance? , I really feel like I have not been living my life quite meaningfully. My best friend just told me few days ago that I did not seem to enjoy life now. Her observant brother told her (which she would relate to me later) despite my calm exterior, I had many troubles. She said she like the old me lot better.

Denial was my first response. I said I did enjoy my life, especially with seeing friends, long karaoke hours on last few weekends and with my recent reading habit. But after I contemplated more, I have to agreed with my friend.

I could not quite pinpoint how I become what she think I become. There was the huge responsibilities at work. There were the hunger for growth and getting ahead. We were told to commit and scale up as fast as possible. If not, we will be left behind. But no matter how much you have improve, you just seemed to be improving a little and not enough and were told you need much more improvements to meet the demand. Then, there were the sharing of problems where others who did not commit and perform, breaking the spirit of teamwork. Then, you would have been told you are not matured enough and not experienced enough to dream or venture out of your comfort zone.

And, in relationship, you just cannot be naive and trustful because that will make you vulnerable. You are not to expect love to be long lasting. That's where the culture teach us to be more materialistic and logical in relationship. Emotion and Feeling is second priority.

I was clouded with negativity. Years after years, I did not realize I have my positive nature sucked out of me. I think, sometimes I did fight for something good. But it was tiring and sometimes I could be helpless. That's the price one have to pay for trying to go to fast and seldom stop to look, to appreciate the beautiful things around me. But it is never too late to realize and change.
Life is supposed to be fun. Work can be fun. Relationship can be selfless. We just need to build the culture. As Morrie said , "If the culture doesn't work, don't buy it".

Morrie touched on several topics , for which I am most proud to pen them down here. If you haven't read the book, I recommend you to do so. Let's learn from Morrie.

  1. About the World

    The most important things in life is to learn how to give out love, and to let it come in. Let it come in. We think we don’t deserve love , we think if we let it in we’ll become too soft. But a wise man named Levine said it right. He said, “Love is the only rational act.”

  1. Feeling Sorry for Yourself

    Sometimes in the morning, That’s when I mourn. I feel around my body, I move my fingers and my hands – whenever I can still move – and I mourn what I’ve lost. I mourn the slow, insidious way in which I’m dying. But then I stop mourning.
    I give myself a good cry if I need it. But then I concentrate on all the good things still in
    my life.
    It’s horrible to watch my body slowly wilt away to nothing. But it’s also wonderful because of all the time I get to say good-byes. Not everyone is so "lucky".
  1. Regret

    The culture doesn’t encourage you to think about such things until you’re about to die. We’re so wrapped up with egotistical things, career, family, having enough money, meeting the mortgage, getting a new car, fixing the radiator when it breaks – we’re involved in trillions of little acts just to keep going. So, we don’t get into the habit of standing back and looking at our lives and saying. Is this all? Is this all I want? Is something missing?

    You need someone to probe you in that direction. It wont just happen automatically.

    We all need teachers in our lives.
  1. Death

    Everyone knows they’re going to die but nobody believes it. If we did, we would do things differently.
    So, we kid ourselves about death. But there’s a better approach. To know you’re going to die, and to be prepared for it at any time. That’s better. That way you can actually be more involved in your life while you‘re living.

    How can you ever be prepared to die?
    Do what Buddhist do. Every day, have a little bird on your shoulder that asks ‘Is today the day? Am I ready? Am I doing all I need to do? Am I being the person I want to be?’

    The truth is once you learn how to die, you learn how to live.

    But everyone knows someone who has died. Why is it so hard to think dying? Because most of us all walk around as if we’re sleepwalking. We really don’t experience the world fully, because we’re half-asleep, doing things we automatically thin we have to do.And facing death changes all that. You strip away all the stuffs and you focus on the essentials. When you realize you are going to die, you see everything much differently.

    We are too involved in materialistic things, and they don’t satisfy us. The loving relationship we have, the universe around us, we take these things for granted.

    Learn how to die and you learn how to live.
  1. Family

    The fact is, there is no foundation, no secure groung, upon which people may stand today if it isn’t the family. Its become quite clear to me as I’ve been sick. If you don’t have the support and love and caring and concern that you get form a gamily , you don’t have much at all. Love is so supremely important. As our great poet Auden said, “Love each other or perish”.

    And it’s so true. Without love, we are birds with broken wings.

    Say I was divorced, or living alone, or had no children. This disease – what I am going through – would be much harder. I’m not sure I could do it. Sure, people would come visit, friends, associates, but it’s not the same as having someone who will not leave. It’s not the same as having someone whom you know has an eye on you, is watching you the whole time.

    This is the part of what a family is about, not just love, but letting others know there’s someone who is watching out for them. It’s what I missed so much when my mother died – what I call your “spiritual security” – knowing that your family will be there watching out for you. Nothing else will give you that. Not money. Not fame. Not work.

    There is not experience like having children. There is no substitute for it. You cannot do it with a friend. You cannot do it with a lover. If you want the experience of having complete responsibility for another human being, and to learn how to love and bond in the deepest way, then you should have children.

  1. Emotions

    What I’m doing now is detaching myself from
    the experience.

    Detaching myself – important for just not someone like me, who is dying , but for someone like you, who is perfectly healthy. Learn to detach. You know what the Buddhists say? Don’t cling to things, because everything is impermanent.

    Detachment doesn’t mean you didn’t let the experience penetrate you. On the contrary, you let it penetrate you fully. That’s how you are able to leave it.

    Take any emotion – love for a woman, or grief for a loved one, of what I’m going though , fear and pain from a deadly illness. If you hold back on the emotions – if you don’t allow yourself to go all the way through them – you can ever get to being detached, you’re too busy being afraid. You’re afraid of the pain, you’re afraid of the grief . You’re afraid of the vulnerability that loving entails.

    But by throwing yourself into these emotions, by allowing yourself to dive in
    , all the way, over your head even, you experience them fully and completely. You know what pain is. You know what love is. You know what grief is. And only then can you say, “All right. I have experienced that emotion. I recognize that emotion. Now I need to detach from that emotion for a moment. ”

    Same for loneliness: you let go, let the tears flow , feel it completely – but eventually be able to say, “All right, that was my moment with loneliness. I’m not afraid of feeling lonely, but now I’m going to put that loneliness aside, and know that they are other emotions in the world, and I’m going to experience them as well.”


  1. Fear of aging

    Embrace aging. As you grow older, you learn more. If you stayed at twenty-two, you’d always be as ignorant as you were at twenty-tow. Aging is not just decay, you know. It’s growth. It’s more than the negative that you’re going to die, it’s also the positive that yu understand you’re going to die, and that you live a better life because of it.

    Why do peop
    le always say “Oh, if I were young again.” You never heard people said , “I wish I were sixty-five”.You know what that reflects? Unsatisfied lives. Unfulfilled lives. Lives that haven’t found meaning. Because if you’ve found meaning in your life, you don’t want to go back. You want to go forward. You want to see more, do more. You can’t wait until sixty-five.

    If you are always battling against getting older, you’re always going to be unhappy, because it will happen anyhow.
    You have to find what’s good and true and beautiful in your life as it is now. Looking back makes you competitive. And, age is not a competitive issue.

  1. Money

    Devote yourself to loving others, devote yourself to your community around you, and devote yourself to creating something that gives you purpose and meaning.

    If you’re trying to show off for the people at the top, forget it. They will look down at you anyhow. And if you’re trying to show off for the people at the bottom, forget it. They will only envy you. Status will get you nowhere. Only an open heart will allow you to float equally between everyone.

    Do the kinds of things that come from the heart. When you do, you won’t be dissatisfied, you won’t be envious, you wont be longing for somebody else’s things. On the contrary, you’ll be overwhelmed with what comes back.

  1. How Love Goes on

    I believe in being fully present. That means you should be
    with the person you’re with. When I’’m talking to you now, I try to keep focused only on what is going on between us. I am not thinking about something we said last week. I am not thinking about coming up this Friday. I am not thinking about doing another things.

    I am talking to you. I am thinking about you.

    "If we can remember the feeling of love we once had, we can die without ever going away."

  1. Marriage

    There are a few rules I know to be true about love and marriage. If you don’t respect the other person, you’re gonna have a lot of trouble. If you don’t know how to compromise, you’re gonna
    have a lot of trouble. And if you don’t have a common set of values in life, you’re gonna have a lot of trouble. Your values must be alike.

    And the biggest one of those values – your belief in the importance of your marriage.

    Love each other or perish.

  1. Our culture

    People are only mean when threatened and that’s what our culture does. That’s what our economy does. Even people who have jobs in our economy are threatened, because they worried about losing them. And when you get threatened, you start looking out only for yourself. You start making money a god. Is it all part of this culture.

    How you think, what we value – you must choose yourself. You cant let anyone or any society determine those for you.
    The biggest defect we human beings have is our shortsightedness. We don’t see what we could be. We should be looking at out potential, stretching ourselves into everything we can become.

    "If the culture doesn't work, don't buy it."

  1. Forgiveness

    It’s not just other people we need to forgive. We also need to forgive ourselves. For all the things we didn’t do. All the thongs we should have done. You can’t get stuck on the regrets of what should have happened. That doesn’t help you when you get where I am.

    I always wished I had written more books. I used to beat myself up over it. Now I see that never did any good. Make peace. You need to make peace with yourself and everyone around you.

    Forgive yourself. Forgive others.

  1. Perfect Day

    If Morrie had one day perfectly healthy? Here was his answer.

    Let’s see… I’d get up in the morning, do my exercises, have a lovely breakfast of sweet rolls and tea, go for a swim, then have my friends come over for a nice lunch. I’d have them come one or two at a time so we could talk about their families, their issues, talk about how much we mean to each other.
    Then I’d like to go for a walk, in a garden with some trees, watch their colors, watch their birds, take in the nature that I haven’t seen in so long now. In the evening, we’d all go together to a restaurant with some great pasta, maybe some duck – I love duck – and then we’d dance the rest of the night. I’d dnace with all the wonderful dance partners out there, until I was exhausted. And then I’d go home and have a deep , wonderful sleep?

    And here was Mitch's response.

    That’s it? It was so simple. So average. I was
    actually a little disappointed. I figured he’d fly to Italy or have lunch with the President or romp on the seashore or try every exotic thing he could think of. After all these months, lying there , unable to move a leg or a foot – how could he find perfection in such an average day?
    Then I realize this was the whole point.

Author's Note:
Have you ever really had a teacher? One who saw you as a raw but precious thing, a jewel that, with wisdom, could be polished to a proud shine? If you are lucky enough to find your way to such teachers, you will always find your way back. Sometimes it is only in your head. Sometimes It is right alongside their beds.

I wish I have a great coach like Morrie......

My final note: I knew a lot of people have read this book. But knowing what Morrie was trying to tell us is not enough. One have to know how to apply them in life. And one has to start now!

We can ask these questions everyday...
Have you found someone to share your heart with?
Are you giving to your community?
Are you at peace with yourself?
Are you trying to be as human as you can be?

Thursday, 5 July 2007

Seek First To Understand, Then To Be Understood

How many times have you start talking or giving your opinions before the other persons finish their talks? How many times have you start to tell people your points when you should in fact listen and understand what others are trying to tell you?
"Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood" is Habit #5 from the book 7 Habits of Highly Effective People from Steven Covey.

This habit is about wanting to experience something new from the other person, wanting to discover a new way of seeing the world, wanting to truly stand in the other’s shoes and feel their unique pain and their unique joy.

I was watching The Apprentice (a replay) the other night. If you do not know the show - it is a famous reality show featuring a bunch of highly successful and competitive candidates that are competing to be Donald Trump's apprentice. In one of the episode, there was this team member who tried to force her ideas to others and seemed too bossy for the other team members to endure. She became a hindrance to the team and was kicked out. Before that, she seek an opinion from a wise team member (he would eventually won the Apprentice) . The would-be winner told her that he thought all the members in the team had one problem - they cannot communicate well because everyone did more talking than listening. He then quoted "Seek First to Understand, Then to be Understood".

I thought he was really cool at that moment. For one reason , what he said was really right. For another reason, he said it in a non-confrontational way. The rest of the team members may most probably say "Yes, you boss everyone around and you are just too bossy. Everyone feels that". And what will be the response of the woman, who was being told flat in her face that everybody hates here and wants to back stab her? Denial? Anger? I would said both.

When you watch a group of people interacting, you will quickly notice at most time, people are either talking too much or not trying to understand what are being said. Some shut down other people ideas without really thinking them through. Some do not have the patience to listen to others. Some just make their own assumptions and never bother to ask and understand.

The key to good communication- Seek First to Understand, Then to be Understood

Ririan in his blog entry, mentioned this:

When another person is speaking, we usually “listen” at one of four levels: ignoring, pretending, selective listening, or attentive listening. We should be using the fifth, highest form of listening - empathic listening.

Empathic listening is listening with intent to understand the other person’s frame of reference and feelings. You must listen with your ears, your eyes and your heart. Empathic listening is a tremendous deposit into the emotional bank account. It’s deeply therapeutic and healing because it gives a person “psychological air.”

Stephen Covey also has a warning to us in his book about this kind of emphatic listening:

Do not even start doing this kind of stuff unless you are truly sincere about wanting to understand what the other is saying
Common mistakes that we or others frequently do:

- My idea is better than theirs.
- If I don’t interrupt them, I will never get to say my idea.
- I know what they are about to say.
- They don’t need to finish their thoughts since mine is an improvement.
- Nothing about their idea will improve with further development.
- I am more important than they are.
- It is more important for me to be seen to have a good idea than it is for me to be sure they complete their thought.
- Interrupting them will save time.

Finally, here are suggested two exercises we should try:

Practice Empathetic Listening
Find a person with whom you have a genuine disagreement (e.g. the American presence in Iraq, religion, “you don’t do the dishes enough,” “you shouldn’t act that way”), and practice empathetic listening. The goal is for each person to be able to describe the other’s position well enough for him to say, “yes, that is what I mean”. You don’t have to AGREE with his position, but you have to be able to state it in words such that he agrees that is his position on the matter.

Identify Situations in Which You Offer People Your Glasses
Identify situations in which you give other people “unfounded advice”. Did they really want advice? Do you understand their situation fully, i.e. do you understand how it is different than the situations in which you have experience? Does your advice still apply? In the situations that you identify, how could you respond differently?

Wednesday, 4 July 2007

Never let yesterday's disappointments overshadow tomorrow's dreams

I stumbled upon this email sent out on 31/03/2006 to the team. The link to this story was initially passed on by my friend.

A well-known speaker started off his seminar by holding up a $ 20 bill. In the room of 200, he asked, "who would like this $ 20 bill?" Hands
started going up. He said, "I am going to give this $ 20 to one of you but first let me do this."

He proceeded to crumple the dollar bill up. He then asked. "who still wants it?" Still the hands were up in the air. "Well, he replied. 'what if I do this?" And he dropped it on the ground and started to grind it into the floor with his shoe. He picked it up, now all crumpled and dirty. "Now who still wants it?" Still the hands went into the air.

"My friends, you have all learned a very valuable lesson. No matter what I did to the money, you still wanted it because it did not decrease in value. It was still worth $ 20. Many times in our lives, we are dropped, crumpled, and ground into the dirt by the decisions we make and the circumstances that come our way. We feel as though we are worthless. But no matter what has happened or what will happen, you will never lose your value. You are special. Don't ever forget it!

Never let yesterday's disappointments overshadow tomorrow's dreams.

How Simple is the Nicest?

I never see an online application that is so simple yet so elegant. Basecamp is one of the application which surprised me.

Yet, it is much more difficult to create a simple UI like this than to create a complicated one. (with all the fields we supposed the customers are interested to see but not really!!)

Tuesday, 3 July 2007

Google Rocks

I finished reading The Google Story in a short 2 weeks times in May. This is the only non-fiction book that I felt like reading a fictional story. And I was thrilled and excited throughout the story.

After reading the book, I really admire Google very much, especially its founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin. In fact, I admire them so much I felt compelled to blog about the reasons why:
  • They always strive to do goods with motto “Don’t Be Evil”.
    If you cannot imagine how much this has inspired me, you can check through my blog and see how much I quoted this motto and how much I blogged on issues of evilness. :)
  • They have a health disregard of the impossible.
    In one of the case way back before Google was born, Larry Page started with a crazy idea that he was going to download the entire Web onto his computer in a week. After about a year or so, he only had some portion of it.
  • Greatest partnership I ever seen– Larry and Sergey remained as a best partner, complementing each other with Larry focusing on technology, while Sergey focusing on product, people and procedures.
  • Energy and curiosity to questions everything. That's the traits that make them give birth to Google.
  • Making mistakes and fearless – when they launched Gmail, they received a lot of opposition from different parties. They have miscalculated the response of the public. But they still went ahead, anyway. Fearless duo!
  • Encouraging Innovation - they allow Googlers to spend 20% of their time on projects that interest them and exploring new things. That is 1 out of 5 working days. I will be very happy to work 4 days a week! :)
  • Have fun while working - they know how to turn their workplace into a sort of playground and great home.
  • Find different ways to reward their employees – Googlers has the joy to enjoy great food of a great chef, Free Movie Tickets for Star Wars (in fact, Google booked the whole cinema down the street), Free Branded Ice-Cream (that was when they celebrated when Google went IPO)
  • They play by their own rule – They even changed the culture during the IPO period, by limiting the profits gained by the middle parties which there is no reason they deserve so much gains. It was so just because of some inefficient bureaucracy.
    They really go beyond conventional!
  • Big,compelling vision . They think very hard on long term and they focus very much on long-term benefit rather than reap the short-term gain.
  • They are opened and crazy about arguing.
  • They try to remain in control, even when Eric Schmidt was hired as the company CEO. In fact, it is dictated the company have to get the majority votes from the trio in making big decisions. That's mean Larry and Sergey (together) are pretty much in control.
  • Best Marketing Strategy - Google become popular with only relying on WOM (Word-of-Mouth). Cheapest way too ! No big ads or marketing funds!
  • They always reinvent themselves - with Google Map, Google Earth, Google Books and of course Google Genes? I very much anticipate their next invention.
  • They were young and brazen when they became successful. Again, it proves this right - don't give a hell to those people who tell you are not matured enough to do or decide on something!
  • Google Current market share is ever rising- valued at almost $490 now , $85 on 2004. Microsoft is $30 per share. And ExxonMobil, the most profitable company is at $82
  • Secret and Surprise - they always keep secret on their products and , of course , their recipes to search. And they continuously surprise people with their great products! (except the bad surprise of the Gmail, but is a surprise, anyway. :) )

  • Teamwork. They promote the culture where the employees discuss with each other on their little projects or new discovery.
  • Focus on Hiring the Best.

    One remark in the book is funny! "It seems like Microsoft is the hiring agency of Google." That was when Google is trying to snatch (should say, attract) away the talented people from Microsoft.
  • Equal opportunities in hiring and other stuffs.
    During their IPO, they offer equal opportunities to all investors to bid on their shares through a bidding system they developed themselves. This is most unconventional as Wall Street practice is to give priorities to premium investors.

    Hiring: Found the text below in their ads for hiring.
    Google is an Equal Employment Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer

    To all recruitment agencies: Google does not accept agency resumes. Please do not forward resumes to our jobs alias, Google employees or any other company location. Google is not responsible for any fees related to unsolicited resumes.

    Most of all, there is no special treatment given to a particular page to affect its rating in the search result. For e.g. since I said so much good things about Google here, one cannot expect my blog to have high ranking when you search for "Google". :)
  • The greatest mathematician and computer science geeks - they even used some mathematics concept to decide how much shares to offer at the IPO. Though they are geeks, they are quite OK socially and also they applied Warren Buffet's teaching during their IPO.
  • Quirky corporate culture - that makes working at Google even more special and fun. I remembered reading some responses on those people who visited Google. Some good, some bad (for those who are more conventional). Mostly good, of course.

  • They are the new dictionary - they created new and popular words like Google, Googleplex, Googlers, and a lot of words.

    After reading the book and searching more stuffs for this post, I took a Google quiz in Fortune magazine and here is what I got:
    Yikes, you've got a lot to learn. Don't quit your current job. (OK, I won't. Thanks for letting me know. LOL)

I am so inspired!

Monday, 2 July 2007

Woman Fertility

What is the chance of me stumbling on news of 2 different technology breakthrough discoveries on woman fertility ( or infertility) in a day?

Answer: 1 in around 200,000 (measuring in hours, considering I started to read at around 5 years old). (No guess on my age, please)

The first test-tube baby created from an egg matured in the laboratory and then frozen has been born in Canada, in a breakthrough offering hope to women with cancer and others unsuited to normal IVF treatment.

More info on the local newspaper, The Star.

On other study, a bizarre hairless rodent living underground in Africa may offer clues about the links between stress and human infertility, scientists said on Monday.

Stressed-out mole-rats become infertile after constant bullying by the colony's "queen", the only female to reproduce. But this infertility is reversible and when the queen dies, a previously non-breeding female quickly takes her place.

Why I am interested in the articles?
1. First and foremost, I am a woman (if you have not already know that)
2. I am a stressed-out woman (proven with hair fall on the rise)
3. I love kids! ( I almost wanted to strangle one of my best friend who said she does not plan to have kids. To her: YOU know who you are. Don't let me strangle you!)

Photo courtesy of

Sunday, 1 July 2007

Getting Things Done

Four months after I have finished the book "Getting Things Done", I think I have to admit that I had failed miserably.

Four months ago, I was totally inspired to start organizing things in my life and make a BIG change in my life. Due to
my lack of discipline and distraction in life (due to some incidents), I have just improved barely.

However, my dream is not totally crushed. I understand the whole process better now. And, it seems I know what the best I can do and how to maintain my task lists. I just need to be discipline and maintain the momentum of reviewing the tasks often.

I will start all over again. This time, with more determination to make it works!!!!

My original email to the team when I was trying to promote the book, claiming it is the best book in enhancing the productivity.

From: Susan Lim
Sent: 12 February 2007 00:45
To: All Team Members
Subject: Getting Things Done... are we?

In "Getting Things Done" book, the author said there are 5 steps in every natural planning for virtually every tasks we need to accomplish, be it where to go for dinner, or what you want to eat . (page 58)

The 5 steps are:

1. Defining purpose and principles
2. Outcome visioning
3. Brainstorming
4. Organizing
5. Identifying next actions

Here are the questions asked for the 5 steps:

1. Have you clarified the primary purpose of the project and communicated it to everyone who ought to know it? And have you agreed on the standards and behaviors you’ll need to adhere to make it successful?

2. Have you envisioned the success and considered all the innovative things that might result if you achieved it?

3. Have you gotten all the possible ideas out on the table – everything you need to take into consideration that might affect the outcome?

4. Have you identified the mission-critical components, key milestones, and deliverables?
5. Have you defined all the aspects of the project that could be moved on right now, what the next actions is for each part, and who’s responsible for what?

After reading the questions, the author asked to stop , think about the recent project, and write down the answers of the questions on a paper. I did the practice and I have to admit that I have not done as much as I think I had on planning for the recent projects, and ALL the past projects. More often than not, we jumped right in to steps 4 and 5 without clear understanding and communication of the objectives, and no clear visioning.
Without clear understanding of the purpose , the visioning and thinking of all the possible ideas (Step 1 to 3), we usually completed a project and then found out there are many things more to do to achieve the objectives. I definitely need to improve on this (planning), and I WILL. And I hope we all do.

And the visioning as described in the book are the followings:

i. View the project from beyond the completion date
ii. Envision “WILD SUCCESS” ! (Suspend “Yeah, but …”)

iii. Capture features, aspects, qualities you imagine in place

Act of kindness

Neoauteur posted a wonderful account of meeting great people doing charitable work.

"Just as I was about to leave the booth, I saw something I would never forget. Emerging among the leprosy patients were three young nuns, around 19-22 years of age, wearing all-white attires. They were the patients' caretakers. They fed them, answered their questions, and cleansed their wounds. The nuns performed their jobs with pure joys having neither afraid of the nastiness of the wounds nor the fact that leprosy is a highly infectious disease. I could see in their eyes genuine affection and devotion. I could feel the tender and warmth radiated from the devoting way the nuns conducting their work. They treated the lepers not as their patients but as a friend in need of loving and care."

If you are interested to support some charitable works, please visit:

Please drop by to sign the petition to help protect access to affordable medicines where millions of lives are at stake.

Hidden Side of Things

I picked up the book “Freakonomics” in the book fest early this month. I bought it for 2 reasons: the anticipation of some eye-openers to the world economy like the book ”The World is Flat” and of course, the book economic price. Indeed, it was an eye-opener but to something a little bit different than economic, thus the title freakonomics.

The claim on the book, ”The hidden side of everything” sounds a little bit spooky but I love it! And the very interesting questions the book is trying to answer:

How did the legalization of abortion affect the rate of violent crime?
What is the probability that a real-estate agent is cheating you?
Which is more dangerous, a gun or a swimming pool?
What do schoolteachers and sumo wrestlers have in common?
Why do drug dealers still live with their moms?
How much do parents really matter?
How much do person name has impact on them?

And More...

Why Google is still so great, at least to me? :)
Why Vote when the odds of your vote actually affecting the outcome in a given election is as slim as winning a lottery?
Can fear of AIDS change sexual preference?
What are the differences between a really bad customer service (Rancid Chicken) and a good one (Vegas Rule)?
Is it possible to encourage organ donation -
if you agree to donate your organs when you die then you’ll receive a better chance of getting an organ if you ever need one to live?

The book was fun to read. In fact, I feel I can correlate to the author in a lot of ways. Here are what important qualities of the authors and the book.

  • Curiosity - able to question things and always seeking for answer.
  • Analytic thinking - able to collect data, put bits and parcels, seeing the correlation and come out with different solutions.
  • Randomness - it is not necessary to write or blog on a single theme.
  • Provocative - dare to stray from conventional wisdom.
Here is the interesting illustration of the hidden side of thing on the front book cover. I only realized what it is after I finished the book.

From a far glance on the book cover, people would have thought I was reading a book on dieting! (In fact, a friendly stranger had told me this).

My review and reflection for The Garden of Words

I just watched this short animation work from Makoto Shinkai. I had previously watched his grand hit 'Your Name' and absolutely fel...