A snapshot of my day

Today I:

  • read History of Western Philosophy (yes, still reading it… very thick!)
  • helped put together a sofa-bed – just arrived today, thanks made.com
  • worked, of course
  • wrote one page-r recommending Zmags, a really cool digital publishing platform
  • texted lots of friends. My mobile’s normally forgotten
  • chatted with sis
  • bought Pet Shop Boys tickets
  • a bit of grocery shopping online
  • recorded myself singing Winter Wonderland. Don’t ask
  • cooked for Hari Raya Haji, without oni0ns (Salam Aidiladha everybody!)
  • prayed
  • booked appointment to do a presenter headshot for Spotlight finally!
  • scheduled to put a little bit of money in Aberdeen Asia Pacific fund – I love Asia so much I want to invest in it. Almost a quarter of it goes to S’pore companies so that’s good for me
  • renewed library books.

My happy, chilled out life, low stress no strife! 🙂

Advertisements

The rules your kids did not and will not learn in in school

Really true – all teenagers should read it! In fact I should have read it!

Somebody posted this on Facebook and attributed it to Bill Gates – it’s actually by Charles J Sykes.

Rule 1: Life is not fair – get used to it!

Rule 2: The world doesn’t care about your self-esteem. The world will expect you to accomplish something BEFORE you feel good about yourself.

Rule 3: You will NOT make $60,000 a year right out of high school. You won’t be a vice-president with a car phone until you earn both.

Rule 4: If you think your teacher is tough, wait till you get a boss.

Rule 5: Flipping burgers is not beneath your dignity. Your Grandparents had a different word for burger flipping: they called it opportunity.

Rule 6: If you mess up, it’s not your parents’ fault, so don’t whine about your mistakes, learn from them.

Rule 7: Before you were born, your parents weren’t as boring as they are now. They got that way from paying your bills, cleaning your clothes and listening to you talk about how cool you thought you were. So before you save the rain forest from the parasites of your parent’s generation, try delousing the closet in your own room.

Rule 8: Your school may have done away with winners and losers, but life HAS NOT. In some schools, they have abolished failing grades and they’ll give you as MANY TIMES as you want to get the right answer. This doesn’t bear the slightest resemblance to ANYTHING in real life.

Rule 9: Life is not divided into semesters. You don’t get summers off and very few employers are interested in helping you FIND YOURSELF. Do that on your own time.

Rule 10: Television is NOT real life. In real life people actually have to leave the coffee shop and go to jobs.

Rule 11: Be nice to nerds. Chances are you’ll end up working for one.

You can read rules 12 -14 here on Snopes.com.

We all know how Reggae Reggae did it…

… but how about those countless other sauces? It is necessary to have massive capital to get started? I’m just curious.

There are a lot of aspects to ensuring a company makes (and continues to make) money from selling food products to people:

A bit of a random list I know; hope to find out even more over the next few weeks.

Books books books

I’ve been reading a lot more lately. I’ve been trying to stick to one book at a time but it’s hard! Esp since I have a great library at my workplace. I just come downstairs and choose some swell books.

Like Adam Smith’s The Wealth of Nations. I think it’s a copy from the 40s or smth. I’m not sure I’m going to finish this one. I’ve learnt a lot just from the intro! Maybe it’s just my modern brain but some paragraphs could be much shorter really. I’m up to the chapter about Wages for Labour, smth like that.

Bertrand Russell’s History of Western Philosophy – I’ve just finished Socrates, a bit of Plato and delving more into Aristotle. The cover of the book I got is a painting by James Barry that can be found on across all four walls of the great hall where I work. It truly impressed me first time I saw it.

I also finished How to be Idle by Tom Hodgkinson and How to Get Rich by Felix Dennis.

How to be Idle is arranged by chapters demarcated by time and the significance of it in an idlers’ day. Like for example 3am is a perfect witching hour as it’s long enough to forget the happenings of the day before and before the new day is born. The first half of the book seems much more informative than the second half. I’m guessing that his little children must be distracting him.

How to be rich is a great read. According to Felix Dennis, it is an ‘anti self-help book’, in that it lays bare what is truly involved in getting rich and does not indulge in ‘anyone can do it’ type BS. It is written purely from his perspective, and my what an insight. I suspect that this book has put some people off from pursuing their dream of ‘being rich’, judging from a couple of Amazon reviews. Some passages which warn the reader about the dangers (and perks of course) of being rich are really insightful, and he encourages the reader to learn from his mistakes and successes. I think it is rare to find a book on this subject by a bestselling poet.This is one of the books I will keep and re-read.

I just borrowed some Germaine Greer from the library; wanna know what all the fuss was about… and also a children’s French book as that is my French reading level – I gotta start somewhere!

Is Google boss’ vision for augmented humanity insidious?

“Schmidt said the long term goal here is to ensure everyone lives a happier life. Central to this is information, which is where Google comes in as a company driven by organising all the world’s data and making it accessible.”

Isn’t it dangerous to trust one private company with the world’s data? Was it George Orwell who said smth like, he who controls the present, controls the past; he who controls the past, controls the future. The word accessible has such a positive meaning these days, but what is being made accessible and to whom? What is in data? What is considered information esp in the digital age are at times beyond simple comprehension – as in, why would anyone want to know that? Like how many people visit my website, what websites I go to, what I download, who I speak to, who emails me, what I search for (indeed this has been used by police to track someone’s motives) and many more I cannot think of.

Also…. one data= one culture? The homogenization of world society well under way? We’ll generally aspire to similar things and dreams? Hence widening the market across the world to keep the demand going? Things and dreams that sap time and life so that we don’t have time left to think (only on trains and planes… oh wait, there are free newspapers to distract you)?

“In the future, he remarked, “We can suggest where you go next, who to meet, what to read…What’s interesting about this future is that it’s for the average person, not just the elites.”

Another mechanism to curb human thinking and natural ability to explore? Thinking is like a muscle. Anything that directly saves labour (like washing machines) is ok – anything that attempts to save thinking should be viewed with suspicion.

View full article

Philo tasty

OK, this is just so I remember what I read this past week:

Seneca – essay ‘On the Shortness of Life‘ – Man what an eye-opener! It basically says philosophy is the only worthy thing to do in life. Yeah well he’s a philosopher. But other things in that essay rings so true and there so many quotable quotes.

Alain de Botton – Status Anxiety – Amazing book. Explains status in it’s broadest sense and why we all crave for it – to get love, to meet expectations in the modern meritocratic society and being dependent on stuff like talent, luck and employers. What I was struck by was the theory that, now that mere mortals are all held up to be equal, there’s almost no excuse not to be rich, famous or successful. In the past luck had a bigger factor, like if you were born to a rich family or an aristocrat. The mere plebs were just that, mere plebs. Life was harder but they enjoyed what they had. Now we have lots of self-help books and ‘normal’ guys like Duncan Bannatyne and Richard Branson lining the shelves showing you the way to big success. So we have much higher expectations of ourselves and hence more prone to being disappointed in our lives. Especially if our peers are visibly doing better. It also shows how things, when before were not essential, become considered essential by a larger part of society 30 years later – stuff like 2nd cars and TVs.
To counter status anxiety, de Botton looks at philosophy, art, politics, religion and the bohemian lifestyle.

Rules of Parenting – Richard Templar and Confident Baby Care – Jo Frost – I just signed up to the local library. Thought I’d indulge myself in some super forward planning. Good tips in the rules of parenting book, but some points I just don’t agree with. I come from the school of tough love and obligation… and ‘Asian values’. The Jo Frost book is really cute and I’ll read it again come the time.

The Pleasures and Sorrows of Work – Alain de Botton – I had been meaning to check this book out for well over a year since he gave a talk at my workplace. My curiosity was reignited when I finished with the Status Anxiety book. This book was a bit of a surprise. A pleasant surprise – I was expecting a more ‘theoretical’ and general approach to describing work – but he went into detail focusing on specific jobs, tailing specific people who work in accounting (audit firm, Ernst & Young I think), fishing, rocket scientists, a careers adviser, a guy who is a member of the Pylon Appreciation Society, biscuit-making and aviation. It’s like a story book with lots of pictures. And also what is extremely evident is his constant use of metaphors and juxtapositions – some were so beautiful, but approaching the end of the book it gets a tiny bit dejavu-ish. I still like this guy, and this book is very insightful so I’ll seek out his other stuff. It is just so amazing the mundanity of some jobs and puts a magnifying glass on the monstrosity of wasting time, particularly other people’s time, never mind even if you’re paying them for it. It’s like first degree murder cos you’re robbing them of their life. Life = time. It brings work to perspective too – what significance would a specific project or task have in 3 years? And to think we sweat over them so much.

I’m currently reading a doorstopper – Bertrand Russell’s History of Western Philosophy. It’s prolly the only doorstopper I’ve read in my life, I think. I’m up to Protagoras. I’m also reading some ‘making full use of your iPod’ book which isn’t very arresting.

Care to recommend any books?

Rethink the future

This evening, I thought I’d be a busybody and attend an event for the launch of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation. I’d never heard of the lady, and I imagined her to be kinda older and from a titled background (I don’t know why, maybe it’s the name). Turns out she sailed around the world, at 28 years old, broke records, became a Dame off that, all pretty impressive. I think she’s a really inspiring character and a goal-setter who actually seeks to achieve those goals to the highest standard possible. She was very emotive, confident and great speaker/presenter I think – no notes, held our attention, all the sentences in one piece. The video presentations were also very professionally done and informative.

Superficial impressions aside, I think the message really resonates. ‘Rethink the future’ means creating a sustainable future. Because at the moment the status quo is to take stuff from the ground, make something with it, (buy it), use it, throw it away. But where is ‘away’? It festers in the landfill, and with a growing population and increasing consumption, that is not sustainable. So we should use technological know-how to create material and products that can be reused again and again or are thoroughly biodegradable. Electric cars that run on renewable energy. Fridges that can be made into something else at the end of their life. Even we humans are biodegradable! So we need to put more effort into the stuff we make to make them sustainable. It’s not merely recycling. It’s actually producing things in a different way, through a different product cycle model. Ellen MacArthur mentioned ‘circular economy’  and apparently China are onto that now. So things don’t get thrown away and instead go on to be different things or can decompose.  Waste should also be minimized on production, be it material or energy. For example, in the exhibition just now, a textile student came up with a weaving machine that creates the fabric pattern pieces to spec, so there is no cutting involved and no wastage; just sew the pieces together.

Seems like an exciting but also challenging future to face. I say, it’s definitely a very great time to be in science, design and engineering!