Wednesday, September 30, 2009


Saw this programme at Channel U a few weeks ago.
It is about celebrity going overseas to do charity work.

There is this particular scene that struck me.
Scroll to 08.25min
A naked boy was helplessly holding on to an adult shirt.
The happiness that he exuded while wearing an oversized shirt was both touching and sad.
(perhaps, it was one of the few times he wore clothes)
Happy to see a fellow human being happy.
Sad to know that people are deprived of such basic necessity

Monday, September 28, 2009

The Most Pretty Little Girl to me...

Just came back from Perth this morning...
 I am already missing the most pretty little girl...

My 18 months-old niece.
She is very smart and adorable.
Can't wait to see her tomorrow evening.
Will be back home early to play with her

Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life.

Commencement address by Steve Jobs @ Stanford
I am honored to be with you today at your commencement from one of the finest universities in the world. I never graduated from college. Truth be told, this is the closest I've ever gotten to a college graduation. Today I want to tell you three stories from my life. That's it. No big deal. Just three stories.

The first story is about connecting the dots.

I dropped out of Reed College after the first 6 months, but then stayed around as a drop-in for another 18 months or so before I really quit. So why did I drop out?

It started before I was born. My biological mother was a young, unwed college graduate student, and she decided to put me up for adoption. She felt very strongly that I should be adopted by college graduates, so everything was all set for me to be adopted at birth by a lawyer and his wife. Except that when I popped out they decided at the last minute that they really wanted a girl. So my parents, who were on a waiting list, got a call in the middle of the night asking: "We have an unexpected baby boy; do you want him?" They said: "Of course." My biological mother later found out that my mother had never graduated from college and that my father had never graduated from high school. She refused to sign the final adoption papers. She only relented a few months later when my parents promised that I would someday go to college.

And 17 years later I did go to college. But I naively chose a college that was almost as expensive as Stanford, and all of my working-class parents' savings were being spent on my college tuition. After six months, I couldn't see the value in it. I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life and no idea how college was going to help me figure it out. And here I was spending all of the money my parents had saved their entire life. So I decided to drop out and trust that it would all work out OK. It was pretty scary at the time, but looking back it was one of the best decisions I ever made. The minute I dropped out I could stop taking the required classes that didn't interest me, and begin dropping in on the ones that looked interesting.

It wasn't all romantic. I didn't have a dorm room, so I slept on the floor in friends' rooms, I returned coke bottles for the 5¢ deposits to buy food with, and I would walk the 7 miles across town every Sunday night to get one good meal a week at the Hare Krishna temple. I loved it. And much of what I stumbled into by following my curiosity and intuition turned out to be priceless later on. Let me give you one example:

Reed College at that time offered perhaps the best calligraphy instruction in the country. Throughout the campus every poster, every label on every drawer, was beautifully hand calligraphed. Because I had dropped out and didn't have to take the normal classes, I decided to take a calligraphy class to learn how to do this. I learned about serif and san serif typefaces, about varying the amount of space between different letter combinations, about what makes great typography great. It was beautiful, historical, artistically subtle in a way that science can't capture, and I found it fascinating.

None of this had even a hope of any practical application in my life. But ten years later, when we were designing the first Macintosh computer, it all came back to me. And we designed it all into the Mac. It was the first computer with beautiful typography. If I had never dropped in on that single course in college, the Mac would have never had multiple typefaces or proportionally spaced fonts. And since Windows just copied the Mac, its likely that no personal computer would have them. If I had never dropped out, I would have never dropped in on this calligraphy class, and personal computers might not have the wonderful typography that they do. Of course it was impossible to connect the dots looking forward when I was in college. But it was very, very clear looking backwards ten years later.

Again, you can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.

My second story is about love and loss.

I was lucky — I found what I loved to do early in life. Woz and I started Apple in my parents garage when I was 20. We worked hard, and in 10 years Apple had grown from just the two of us in a garage into a $2 billion company with over 4000 employees. We had just released our finest creation — the Macintosh — a year earlier, and I had just turned 30. And then I got fired. How can you get fired from a company you started? Well, as Apple grew we hired someone who I thought was very talented to run the company with me, and for the first year or so things went well. But then our visions of the future began to diverge and eventually we had a falling out. When we did, our Board of Directors sided with him. So at 30 I was out. And very publicly out. What had been the focus of my entire adult life was gone, and it was devastating.

I really didn't know what to do for a few months. I felt that I had let the previous generation of entrepreneurs down - that I had dropped the baton as it was being passed to me. I met with David Packard and Bob Noyce and tried to apologize for screwing up so badly. I was a very public failure, and I even thought about running away from the valley. But something slowly began to dawn on me — I still loved what I did. The turn of events at Apple had not changed that one bit. I had been rejected, but I was still in love. And so I decided to start over.

I didn't see it then, but it turned out that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life.

During the next five years, I started a company named NeXT, another company named Pixar, and fell in love with an amazing woman who would become my wife. Pixar went on to create the worlds first computer animated feature film, Toy Story, and is now the most successful animation studio in the world. In a remarkable turn of events, Apple bought NeXT, I returned to Apple, and the technology we developed at NeXT is at the heart of Apple's current renaissance. And Laurene and I have a wonderful family together.

I'm pretty sure none of this would have happened if I hadn't been fired from Apple. It was awful tasting medicine, but I guess the patient needed it. Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick. Don't lose faith. I'm convinced that the only thing that kept me going was that I loved what I did. You've got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven't found it yet, keep looking. Don't settle. As with all matters of the heart, you'll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don't settle.

My third story is about death.

When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: "If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you'll most certainly be right." It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: "If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?" And whenever the answer has been "No" for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.

Remembering that I'll be dead soon is the most important tool I've ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure - these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.

About a year ago I was diagnosed with cancer. I had a scan at 7:30 in the morning, and it clearly showed a tumor on my pancreas. I didn't even know what a pancreas was. The doctors told me this was almost certainly a type of cancer that is incurable, and that I should expect to live no longer than three to six months. My doctor advised me to go home and get my affairs in order, which is doctor's code for prepare to die. It means to try to tell your kids everything you thought you'd have the next 10 years to tell them in just a few months. It means to make sure everything is buttoned up so that it will be as easy as possible for your family. It means to say your goodbyes.

I lived with that diagnosis all day. Later that evening I had a biopsy, where they stuck an endoscope down my throat, through my stomach and into my intestines, put a needle into my pancreas and got a few cells from the tumor. I was sedated, but my wife, who was there, told me that when they viewed the cells under a microscope the doctors started crying because it turned out to be a very rare form of pancreatic cancer that is curable with surgery. I had the surgery and I'm fine now.

This was the closest I've been to facing death, and I hope its the closest I get for a few more decades. Having lived through it, I can now say this to you with a bit more certainty than when death was a useful but purely intellectual concept:

No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don't want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life's change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. Right now the new is you, but someday not too long from now, you will gradually become the old and be cleared away. Sorry to be so dramatic, but it is quite true.

Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.

When I was young, there was an amazing publication called The Whole Earth Catalog, which was one of the bibles of my generation. It was created by a fellow named Stewart Brand not far from here in Menlo Park, and he brought it to life with his poetic touch. This was in the late 1960's, before personal computers and desktop publishing, so it was all made with typewriters, scissors, and polaroid cameras. It was sort of like Google in paperback form, 35 years before Google came along: it was idealistic, and overflowing with neat tools and great notions.

Stewart and his team put out several issues of The Whole Earth Catalog, and then when it had run its course, they put out a final issue. It was the mid-1970s, and I was your age. On the back cover of their final issue was a photograph of an early morning country road, the kind you might find yourself hitchhiking on if you were so adventurous. Beneath it were the words: "Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish." It was their farewell message as they signed off. Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish. And I have always wished that for myself. And now, as you graduate to begin anew, I wish that for you.

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

Thank you all very much.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

to the good and the benefit of one and all...

"Rely not on the teacher/person, but on the teaching.
Rely not on the words of the teaching, but on the spirit of the words.
Rely not on theory, but on experience.
Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it.
Do not believe in traditions because they have been handed down for many generations.
Do not believe anything because it is spoken and rumored by many.
Do not believe in anything because it is written in your religious books.
Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders.
But after observation and analysis,
when you find that anything agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and the benefit of one and all,  then accept it and live up to it."

- the Buddha

I must have Wisdom...

Going on a family trip to Perth later.
I am taking no-pay leave for this trip.
Certain things in life are too precious and priceless.
One of them is spending quality time with family.
Other considerations are secondary.
I told myself that I must have wisdom... during the trip.
Not to be too stubborn.
Not to say "I TOLD you so..."
Not to argue even though I am right.
Not to correct my dad even though I am right.
Learn to accept that things will not always turn out fine.
Learn to enjoy my Mum's nagging.
Learn to be more patient.
Learn not to react.
If I won an arguement based on facts and good reasonings,
I would have a temporary boost of ego,
but I would be compromising the peace and happiness of spending time together.
In the end,
nobody is winning,
everybody is losing.
I must have Wisdom...
(hope my family members have it too.... haha)
The easiest to acquire this Wisdom?
Contemplating on the Impermanence of Life.
It could be my last family trip.
I will never know.
Life is so unpredictable and so impermanent.
I must have Wisdom...

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Photography: Getai - Interesting Incident

I did not want to share these photos, as i regarded this a failed photography-trip.
 (nothing interesting, until just now)
Void Deck

Getai Stage
I took 2 close-up photos of the front-row seats.
As you know, the front-row seats are kept empty for the spirits of the other world.
The photos looked normal on my camera LCD screen - nothing special. But there was error message, when i started to upload all the photos to my laptop. I tried again, without error message.
Assuming, all photos have been transferred, i deleted all the photos from my camera.
Then, I realised only those 2 close-up photos are MISSING!!!
Those 2 photos were the 4th & 5th shoots. i 'copy-and-paste' everything - there is no way i can miss it.
I figured that there might be problem with my SD card, so i take some random pictures and upload it - No problem at all.
Just feeling very weird.
Saw a lady praying fervently infront of the altar.
I hope she understands that:
Buddha does not reside in the porcelain figure.
In fact, Buddha has opposed the making of idol.
The idol serves as a reminder of Dharma, Wisdom & Compassion.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Random Note

A good friend posted this note on his facebook
This was my comment:
interesting note. good that you find time to write this reflection of life in the midst of your busy schedule. =)

we came to this world alone, and we will depart alone too.
we came with nothing, and we will depart with nothing.
This is truth of life... I am learning not to be too sad about it....
Be wise... recognise the truth, and be peace with it.
Alot of people mask it or avoid it, by making themselves busy, surrounding themselves with many people, avoiding solitude at all cost.
They will recognise the truth one day, even if they don't want.

Being solitude => being in peace & happy with it.
Being lonely => feeling emptiness, feeling the need to do something or be with someone, feeling incomplete.

Really depends on our perspective. =)
i think i write too much. not even sure what i am writing.. haha. i am still trying to figure it out myself...

Thursday, September 10, 2009

simplify simplify simplify...

I think I have a pea-brain...
I only like simple stuff...
I can't multi-task...
I hate playing politics...
I enjoy my journey
only when i
simplify simplify simplify

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

The Verdict is out...

Thanks for all the well-wishes and concerns for my previous post.
As my sprained wrist was still hurting after 1 week+, i decided to take a X-ray today and discovered that i fractured a bone in my wrist. Now, I am typing slowly with my hand in cast. 2nd time in my life that i have a fracture in my bone, but 1st time having a cast. At least, it is a new experience.
I am not in pain, jus that fracture would mean that i will take a long time to recover (Doctor said 6-8weeks), implying that i have to stop swimming and cycling. After my recovery, i would be in Nepal for 3 weeks. Not sure if i would be conditioned for next year's half-ironman. Well, that's life - certain things are beyond our control. Just be in peace that I have done my best. =)
Went to SGH A&E department - saw lotsa people in sufferings.
A reminder that I should count my blessings everyday.
Life is impermanent.

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Movie/DVD: An Inconvenient Truth
Spent my saturday evening watching this documentary.
I was really moved by Al Gore's passion and determination. I respect for his effort and leadership in making this world a better place. AND...FUCK Bush...who created so many problems in this world! The world could potentially change for the better if Al Gore won the US Presidential election back in 2000.
I HIGHLY recommend everybody to watch this movie if you haven't. (drop me an email, i could lend you the DVD)
Being aware of the calamity of situation, I would try to be wiser in making my choice.
The blue planet does not belong to us, it belongs to all the future generations and all the beings.
We should not be so selfish, and We can make a difference (even a small one like switching off light if not needed).

Living Pono - Jason Scott Lee
"Toward Living Pono" is an hour-long documentary for public television that follows internationally acclaimed film and stage actor Jason Scott Lee on his intentional journey from mega-movie stardom to living sustainably on his off-the-grid taro farm, 4,000 feet up the slopes of Mauna Loa on the Big Island of Hawai'i. The camera tags along with Jason as he goes about his work, whether he's driving through busy downtown Singapore on the way to the next film shoot, or tending his remote taro patches using only the methods of natural farming. An intimate portrait of one of Hawai'i's most beloved celebrities, the story encompasses the universal issues Jason is confronting: Materialism and alienation in western society, environmental stewardship, preservation of indigenous culture, youth advocacy, and living pono--with the traditional values of righteousness and respect for ancestors, neighbors, and the sacred land.
Youtube Link:
Quote from the video:
"It is a choice that each individual can make to make the world a better place"
"Career is nothing without happiness and joy inside"
As I grew older, I appreciate the philosophy of "Less is More".
The excitement of acquiring new thing is still there, but that kinda happiness is short-lived. I will get bored of the new toy or stuff easily. This kinda happiness is very unsustainable.
I try to buy less things... I try to live a simpler life...
When there is less emphasis on physical possession, I see more of the other aspects of life,
And I am happier. =)