Monday, August 30, 2010

Nick Vujicic, Life Without Limbs

Truely Inspirational!
If only those who are suffering from depression could see life from his perspective...

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

You don't need belief and you don't need faith

Read a good article about Buddhism in Australia

Adele Hulse relates her opening to Buddhism: "When I first met Lama Yeshe (her guru) my father had just died. Lama Yeshe said, What is born must die'. I said,I don't believe this stuff', and he said, `you don't have to believe. In Buddhism you don't need belief and you don't need faith. You need intelligence and understanding.'''

Monday, August 23, 2010

Mahjong Mahjong

I spent 16 hours playing Mahjong with friends. We started at 2pm and ended the session at 6am (we had a break for a short dinner only). This is a new record for me.
Another new record for me:
I was the second player and I could not believe my eyes when I saw my tiles - it was PERFECTLY arranged.  After I drew my first tile, I won immediately - Ping Hu - Men Qing - Zi Mo!!!
None of us (with more than 40 years of collective mahjong experience) have seen anything like that before. You gotta be a mahjong player to appreciate the RARENESS of this win. 
I might never see such a win again in my life.
That's how rare it is.

Volunteering at Communicable Diease Centre

Last friday evening, It was my first timing visiting Communicable Diease Centre (CDC), where I was supposed to befriend & counsel some of the HIV/AIDS Patients warded there. I was a bit apprehensive, as I was not sure if my presence is of any value, and I had never met any HIV/AIDS people before.
Even though HIV is not transmitted via bodily contacts, there are many precautionary measures for volunteers like me, for example, washing our hands every time we exit the ward, as well as wearing personal protective equipment like glove & mask. 
It was the first time in my life that I massaged strangers. For a moment, my pride and ego surfaced and I asked myself :why did I want to massage them? What have they done to deserve my service? 
Then, I realized that all these questions arise from my ego and they are secondary. The more important question is: Did I bring comfort and love to someone who is terminally ill and in need of some kindness?
At the end of the day, I was happy that I could bring comfort (even though it is insignificant) to AIDS patients who are badly stigmatized by the society. 
I think I would continue this service.

If you want others to be happy, practice compassion.  If you want to be happy, practice compassion.  
~Dalai Lama

A bit of fragrance always clings to the hand that gives flowers.  
~Chinese Proverb

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Karma @ Work - Lesson from a Cracked Holder

A few weeks ago, I went to a Hypermarket and wanted buy a plastic holder, as I was still considering other alternative, I decided not to purchase it. (Day 1)
The following day (Day 2), without any communication, my sister bought the plastic holder that I saw and used it in her room. I found the holder to be useful and it was exactly what I needed.
The next day (Day 3), I went grocery shopping with my family and I bought the plastic holder. When I came home, I found that the plastic holder was cracked. Naturally, I was a bit angry and I asked my sister who was carrying the bag, if she accidentally dropped or knocked the bag.
After seeing my cracked holder, my sis told me that she saw the cracked holder in the Hypermarket at Day 2, so she chose a good one and left the cracked holder back on the shelf. She asked why I took the cracked holder.
Suddenly, everything makes Absolute sense.
On Day 1 when I visited the Hypermarket, I dropped this plastic holder onto the floor WITHOUT realising that I caused the crack and placed it back to the shelf. On Day 3, I took the plastic holder from the shelf WITHOUT  realising that it was cracked.
I caused the crack, and I got to keep the crack.
There was no reason to be angry.
It is a wonderful lesson.
I am the cause, and I accept the effect.
The Law of Karma always work in a mysterious way.

The Crack

Sunday, August 15, 2010

2 Years of Flexitarianism

It started with a nightmare in Aug 2008.

Do I still crave for meat? 
Yes, occasionally.
But sometimes, when I smell cooked meat, 
I felt a sense of repulsion and disgust.

Reiterate the quote:
'nothing will benefit human health and increase chances for survival of life on Earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet.'
- Albert Einstein

Book: The Adventure Capitalist - The Ultimate Road Trip

"Financier Rogers retired at 37 and motorcycled around the world, turning the trip into the book Investment Biker, a hybrid of business advice and travelogue. That journey, however, failed to squelch his wanderlust. Instead of enjoying his sedate life teaching finance, Rogers decided to take his fiancée and a souped-up Mercedes on a frighteningly intense road trip: three years, 116 countries and 152,000 miles."

He is living the Ideal Life and his predictions about the world economy are quite accurate.

My Key Takeaway:

"If the trip killed me, I would die happy, pursuing my passion. And that was better than dying on Wall Street someday with a few extra dollars in my pocket." 

Saturday, August 07, 2010

The Giving Pledge

The Giving Pledge is an effort to invite the wealthiest individuals and families in America to commit to giving the majority of their wealth to the philanthropic causes and charitable organizations of their choice either during their lifetime or after their death.

Each person who chooses to pledge will make this statement publicly, along with a letter explaining their decision to pledge. At an annual event, those who take the pledge will come together to share ideas and learn from each other.
The Pledge is a moral commitment to give, not a legal contract. It does not involve pooling money or supporting a particular set of causes or organizations.

While the Giving Pledge is specifically focused on billionaires, the idea takes its inspiration from efforts in the past and at present that encourage and recognize givers of all financial means and backgrounds. We are inspired by the example set by millions of Americans who give generously (and often at great personal sacrifice) to make the world a better place.

Statement by Warren Buffett:
Some material things make my life more enjoyable; many, however, would not. I like having an expensive private plane, but owning a half-dozen homes would be a burden. Too often, a vast collection of possessions ends up possessing its owner. The asset I most value, aside from health, is interesting, diverse, and long-standing friends.

My wealth has come from a combination of living in America, some lucky genes, and compound interest. Both my children and I won what I call the ovarian lottery. (For starters, the odds against my 1930 birth taking place in the U.S. were at least 30 to 1. My being male and white also removed huge obstacles that a majority of Americans then faced.) My luck was accentuated by my living in a market system that sometimes produces distorted results, though overall it serves our country well. I've worked in an economy that rewards someone who saves the lives of others on a battlefield with a medal, rewards a great teacher with thank-you notes from parents, but rewards those who can detect the mispricing of securities with sums reaching into the billions. In short, fate's distribution of long straws is wildly capricious.

The reaction of my family and me to our extraordinary good fortune is not guilt, but rather gratitude. Were we to use more than 1% of my claim checks on ourselves, neither our happiness nor our well-being would be enhanced. In contrast, that remaining 99% can have a huge effect on the health and welfare of others. That reality sets an obvious course for me and my family: Keep all we can conceivably need and distribute the rest to society, for its needs. My pledge starts us down that course.


Truly Inspirational!

The Truth

(Taken in Tibet)

The Truth is to realise the Impermanence of Life,
and be Grateful for being Alive.
It is a Gift... at least for a while.

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Broadway and Mosque

Building a Mosque near Ground Zero?
An excellent article by Thomas Friedman.

When we tell the world, “Yes, we are a country that will even tolerate a mosque near the site of 9/11,” we send such a powerful message of inclusion and openness. It is shocking to other nations. But you never know who out there is hearing that message and saying: “What a remarkable country! I want to live in that melting pot, even if I have to build a boat from milk cartons to get there.” As long as that happens, Silicon Valley will be Silicon Valley, Hollywood will be Hollywood, Broadway will be Broadway, and America, if we ever get our politics and schools fixed, will be O.K.


I agree that as long as USA practices Inclusiveness and able to attract the best talents from all over the World, it will always remain as the world superpower for a long long time. As for countries that practice exclusiveness like Saudi Arabia, in 100-200 years time when their oil reserve was depleted, that will be the end of that country as well. It is a matter of time.

In Singapore, alot of Singaporeans are complaining that the foreign talents are taking the best jobs. I have a few foreign talents friends, and I am amazed by their intelligence and hard work. They do deserve the best jobs, and I fully support the government's initiative to import the foreign Talents - especially offering scholarships to bright foreign students, who tend to assimilate better in the society. I am more skeptical about those foreign "talents" who were educated in their own countries.

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Congratulations to TenCube

McAfee bolsters mobile offerings by acquiring tenCube

Congratulations to the founders of TenCube! I read on the Straits Times that the deal was estimated to be around US$5million. Happy to know that they are out of the rat race, they have fulfilled their dreams, and more importantly, they will be an inspiration to alot of high-tech startups in Singapore.

I was in the same project group as the founders, while we were in the US taking a Stanford module. There was one occasion when we had project discussion on Sunday evening, and we ended the discussion at around Monday 6am. We were totally gone and exhausted, but they were perfectionists and wanted to everything to be perfect. Thanks to them, I got an A for that module.

Over the years, I have seen so many startups failed. It is really heartening to hear the good news, especially from someone that I know. I believe it must have been a tough, but hopefully enjoyable journey for them. It is more than just intelligence and hard work, it is Passion. While most of their peers are in management consulting, investment banking and trading, they took risk and chose the path less trodden - entrepreneurship.

Now, they are successful and all the sacrifices seemed worthwhile. They instantly became an inspiration and there were 50+ congratulatory messages our small community. However, what if they failed? Would they be deemed as the foolish ones? Or even labeled as failure? 

Sometimes, I think success is more than just the end results - a validation to the effort and ability. May be we should also define success as personal growth, value-add to others, courage to pursue dreams etc...

More importantly, 
Are you Happy?
Did you enjoy the journey?