Monday, December 28, 2009

Being a Christian parent

As my ex-preacher (now a missionary) shared her struggles with bringing up her adopted baby in China, I am again tugged in my heartstrings for parents with similar challenges. Below is my reply to her capturing some of the recent thoughts on this issue.

Hi LK...

Last week I tried something you wrote in your last letter. I bought a Christmas cake so that I could bring some cheer to my Joanna and Joshua. Like what you wrote, I shared the Christmas story again before we sang the Happy Birthday song to J.ith the kids. That said, that night was good as the kids were attentive. Sadly, I was not able to move on... to the growth and development of J. Several reasons really- I was away the second night to continue the story, third night kids were 'sick' of the cake and perhaps the story part II and III. sigh. But thanks to you, I am glad it was a start that I could take the opportunity to keep talking more about J. with my two precious little j-s. HOwever, I think the kids got it that Christmas is not about only presents and party, cos at least for my Joshua, he was quite 'in-tune' during the church's Christmas celebration.

Your two recent letters spoke to me as well cos little joanna was quite ill last weekend and it always strikes the heart of any parent with such instances. Didn't help that I was praying for a friend's son who was born on 12 Dec but had to be hospitalised since then. I am thankful God answered prayers cos baby Aden finally went home on the 28 Dec! Reason I am sharing this is that I am thankful God brought you on this journey of parenthood. Its never easy and when you shared about how you felt like the Israelites unhappiness in the wilderness, that really spoke volumes of our humanity and how often I personally struggled to hold onto our heavenly Father's hands. As Wenwen continue to grow, I know that the many surprises and joy will fill your heart just as it does sparkle that love for Vanessa.  Right now, she is undergoing the phase of the kids' "stickiness" to her.... (makes me wonder too how not impt the role of papa is). I think thats where the test of motherhood is while the kids are still young. Am happy too to read of your alibi's fellowship.  Maybe its an age thing but this sort of company and just knowing that there are close friends whom you can bond with in terms of exchange of parenting tips sure helps. Be grateful for them just as I am always grateful to the 'mother club' in our service. At least it keeps my wife sane for a few precious hours!  You know, its a bit hard to remain 'Christian-ly' in our fits of fury and frustrations (and now I know why God kept giving us chance after chance). I completely (and helplessly) empathize with Van on the moments when she just needs to let 'steam'.

On Christmas morning, my cell group planned for a get-together. I was both looking forward to the event not only for the fellowship but also to draw near to our Father that morning. In fact, on the way there, I even told Joshua in the car that God spoke to me to encourage Josh to seek him as J said to do unto those who need help. Alas, on the way, I knocked into a motorbike and the instant of being caught with my car plate noted by an on-looker left me frightfully running away after shifting the bike back in position.  So much for getting ready to worship God and leading the rest into a time of fellowship. While strumming the guitar, I felt so 'unreal' and the topsy turvy feeling was very distracting. On the way back, after praying with Van, we decided to do the right thing and go back to put a notice on the bike to ask the driver to call me. We prayed for a 'kind' driver and true enough, God again answered our prayer and the driver returned call and was kind enough to settle with some repayment.  We were glad we did the 'right' thing.

Anyway, welcome to the parenting club and don't despair in your parenting journey ok. Fact that you are doing all these in PRC is already something deeply admirable and highly respectable.  Praying for you and your family!


Sunday, October 18, 2009

Was it my procrastination that led to a lost opportunity?

I was very disappointed with myself last Saturday. An idea that I have been conceiving for months to create a Facilitation Tool kit and market it commercially went 'Boomz' upon realisation that a similar product was released very recently in US. With the past few sessions of workshops for different clients and schools, I realised that there was immense power with non-verbal visualisation that I harness during brainstorming with groups. That said, I was ready to collaborate with a SK who is a pretty cool photographer. We brainstormed several ideas to make this kit a holistic package for various purposes and were excited with how we could develop this commercially. We were ready to submit our joint proposal for a entrepreneur award with funding to prototype our concept. Over the weekend, I felt that my months of excitement and ideas just went down the drain when I read what the newly released package had to offer- the same ideas that I had. Can I re-focus to develop something better? How might I work on the new idea now that I know what are the various resources I have?

Thanks to Kerry Flowers- for your timely dose of humor.
I guess I just have to wait for Noah to come back to pick me up...

Monday, September 28, 2009

Know thy style

One of my personal highlights of 2009 was to be invited to speak in a Global Brain Summit in Vail. After the last couple of workshops/talks in China, Hong Kong and Malaysia, I was wondering if God would be stretching me further in this new role. Yet, I know that with every single presentation I present, the amount of pre-work invested was tremendous. Take for example this talk in Vail. As I recalled, the 5 days prior to arriving in Vail, I was up every single night working and re-working on my slides while giving up on a much needed sleep, not to mention overcoming the jetlag from the 24 hours of flight from Spore to Denver. That said, I knew that my hardwork did payoff afterall as the social red brain was gleaming with joy from the feedback of the participants. Yet, I was searching for something deeper, if God will is for me to bless others with the words I speak. I needed to find an alignment: Who am I really onstage and offstage? What do I have to offer- more than inspiring others with my passion and my ideas?

As I was seeking an answer, a friend offered some insights. In an email conversation, we talked about several issues and learning points. Here's an excerpt from my conversation with a dear friend, Edd Brown (thanks EDD!):

You are a great and enjoyable spirit. Your zest for life is infectious.

You have a great presentation style. Let me quickly say that what I liked is that you took who you are in regular life and put it right up on stage. You were not a different person on stage as many presenters are. You have a natural gift that draws people to you off stage- and you were able to carry it with you on stage.

Off stage, you project a joie de vivre while simultaneously projecting confidence, warmth, competence, passion, respectfulness for others, and a belief in what you are doing. You are able to convey that on stage as well. That is so rare!
(Brothers-in-arm: Joshua, Colin, Edd, Perry, and me)

As I continue to ponder on my style, regardless of the format, I always seek to teach creatively. And what is more important to me is to plan my delivery to not only keep the participants' attention but to design in such a way to cause learning and retention of content to take place.

"Don't just throw the seed - grind it, bake it, slice it, and put a little honey on it." - Charles H. Spurgeon

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

A prayer of His Fatherly Protection

Before I left for US, I was very anxious and sad that I will be leaving my wife alone to care for the two kids, especially when my domestic helper was granted her well-deserved Hari Raya leave. Yes, I was the undeserving one actually, but the opportunity to speak in an international conference was too good to resist. Yet, as the days drew closer, I was wondering if I was really irresponsible to have accepted the invitation while leaving my dear wife to fight her own battle.

This prayer was from a fellow sister-in-Christ from MOE. It reminded me that our heavenly Father will be there, in whatever circumstances.

Father, I want to thank you for the Dads out there like John. His heart is for his wife and children. Purify him and deepen his love for them as you so often do for Dads when they are away. May he he be faithful to take the time on the plane, in his hotel room to be still before you and hear Your guidance for him.

Be Vanessa's strength. May there be many joyful moments of extra closeness as she takes over the usual tasks done by their helper. May she and her mum draw closer together as they care for the little ones. May this be a chance for Vanessa to increase in ideas and confidence in caring for the kids as is so often the case when there are stretches of 24/7 with them.

Please protect the little ones. Please, by the power of your Holy Spirit, teach John new ways to pray for them as he thinks about them from far away. Please keep them from illness and injury. Thank you for Joshua's spirit of helpfulness and his parents' wisdom in giving him this washing uniform task. May he and his mei mei grow in wisdom, in stature and in favour with You and with people.

In Jesus' Name,

To Lucy, thank you so much for speaking the prayer straight to my heart. It not only affirmed me then, it also encouraged me to continue to be a good husband and father, for the rest of my life!

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Wise words from a poetic friend- Joe Moreira

The following emails from a new friend- Joe Moreira, managing editor of Ocean Geographic, are truly uplifting and amazingly pierced directly into some of my innermost thoughts and emotions. Reading them over and over again somehow mysteriously renewed some aspirations and ignited some of my deepest reflections.

3rd Sept. 09

Hi John!

How lovely to hear from you! Was a tad disappointed when I did not hear from you, for you certainly aren’t from the common ‘civil service’ mould; it’s not flattery bro, it’s the truth and you know it, for you struggle with this ‘mould’ whenever it makes its pass every now and then. Anyway, it was my desire, not your failure and indeed ‘late’ as it were, it is still infinitely better than never. Thank you John

Well you were a refreshing change; no airs, what you see is what you get, full of earnest enthusiasm and not caught in the brownie points syndrome. Well my good man, I’m no sage but perhaps as my dear late mom used to say, ‘like a dog you slog around the clock, but with little to show at the end of it all.’ (in malayalam of course)- and I would respond, ‘for it is not the end yet mom’!

Don’t worry unduly about remembering all the ‘magic’ that we convey with the greatest of sincerity to the world around us. If we do, then we will need to stop at the first ‘magic’. Life I suppose Is about living, not the fear of failing or forgetting. Nature is so kind and well programmed, that when we deviate or falter, she has a way of waking us up or pulling us back, without ever restraining our freedom! Such a wonderful working model given to human kind, but for want of power over another, we keep ignoring or rejecting this natural model of excellence for our own fallible ones of comparatives and competition.

Am in the middle of editing our next issue which must go to print by Saturday – and thus this reply so late in the day. Was working out my talkset for China Airlines which I will record later at 1030 hrs and chanced upon Lou Pearlman, the guy who became the boy band mogul after his success with the Backstreet Boys – responsible for so much ‘success’ and discovering talent that the world would have completely missed; and yet it all started in the evil heart and fraudulent mind of Lou Pearlman! History is littered with such anomalies, but nature judges not. It simply goes on, and evolves. However, humans do.

Being involved now in the ‘environment’ scene I am amused as I’m equally irked sometimes with all these ‘causes and campaigns’ that sprout like mushrooms everywhere. Veiled in goodness, but sourced in mindless fear. Yet to publicly decry this would be equally foolish, which I do declare from personal experience. Being ‘right’ need not necessarily be right. But pragmatism without morals is no better either; then the end will always justify the means however ruthless or cruel. This is not new to you John; I’m merely echoing what I sense in you. We will fail by our own rules; but nature never punishes us; it’s but a perception. She is there to always to redeem us if we will let her; guilt is an alert for the moment inviting us to lift from fear to love, not to live in eternal damnation.

You are good man John with a good head on strong shoulders with a big heart in the right place. Your children will teach you more than you would’ve learnt from scholars and paragons; another one of nature’s quirky gifts. I wish you great joy being the parent.

Cheers mate!


4th Sept 09

My dear John,

Despair not, your very kind words have redeemed you from my earlier disappointment! Ha x3.

Was rather bushed last night and decided to rest my tired and aging body; and awake this morning to a lovely email from you. Thank you John.

That we allow the greatness within each being, human or otherwise to manifest in our lives is perhaps the fundamental secret of the child that escapes the adult; and we were all children sometime in our lives. Fortunate then you are that this secret has not escaped you.

My congratulations on your new post at the NIE. Rick Warren's (Purpose Driven Church/Life) interpretation of Moses' calling to the burning bush, and God bestowing upon him the powers he needed for the given mission through what he held in his hands....the shepherd's staff, comes to mind. Often while we pursue and strive to reach the glittering stars above, sometimes we forget the beautiful flowers at our feet. Well at least that will not be your folly, for you know what you hold in your hands. My best wishes John!

I came with nothing into this world John, and will probably leave with nothing too; i own nothing. You are free to take and use anything as you wish John; that you have found purpose for my rambling thoughts, i'm honoured as i'm humbled. Enjoy the blogging. In his book, The Element, Ken Robinson's interesting observation of the 10000 hrs or more chalked up by the paragons in any given field, does bear some truth. An erstwhile pathway then to your writing endeavour.

Well my dear friend, before i ramble on again, it leaves me to wish you well and enjoy the gift of parenthood, which is no accident. Much awaits, and it starts with the little act of recognising the greatness in everything around us. The great day ahead awaits the great person who chooses to live it. Live it bro!


Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Vanessa's 34th Birthday disaster

The cake above looks like it went through quite a bit of knocking and slamming. Thankfully for the plastic wrapper around it, the shape is still pretty much intact.
Vanessa needed to visit her client in KL and attend the client's company function on her 34th Birthday. Joshua and I decided to follow her to KL, to celebrate her birthday. And to give her a surprise. In the end, it was more of a surprise to me than to her really.
While Van was busy meeting her client and preparing for the dinner, Joshua and I were enjoying ourselves in a movie marathon in the cinema beside the hotel. It was definitely much cheaper to watch movie in KL than in Singapore. We watched Harry Potter first followed by Transformers 2. In between we had Kenny Rogers for dinner and my, have the standard dropped so badly in KL that will be my last Kenny Rogers in Malaysia. (interestingly, my first ever Kenny Rogers was in KL more than 10 years ago and I will always remember the first taste of the fantastic corn muffins) After dinner, Joshua and I bought a cake and ordered to a bouquet of flowers for Van. Now, the disaster began when he fell asleep during the second movie and simply refused to wake up. Poor me had to carry him and pick up the cake and the flowers. Alas, luck was not on my side. The door that linked the hotel and the shopping centre was locked after 10pm. Man, I never felt more burdened then that evening where I had to carry both my son as well as the gifts. After walking round and round to find the next shortest route back to the hotel, I even pondered whether I should throw away some of the baggages, yes, even Josh. LOL....
Finally I found the exit and was so thankful for a moment when I saw a cab. However, that idiotic taxi driver simply refused to drive us back to the hotel as he claimed that it was only right behind. Man, who says CASH is KING??? Rubbish! Although deceptively close by, the two buildings are not exactly well connected and I had to make such a big detour. Finally, I was so exhausted I had to halt a car in the middle of the road to beg them to drive us round the corner.
Strangest thing of all was, Joshua throughout my agony refused to wake up and the moment we alighted at the hotel, he opened his eyes. I felt like strangling him in that instance.
Of course, the rest was history. And from the photos, you probably guessed that he was the 'shiokest' of us all.

Monday, June 22, 2009

A confession: Trapped in a world of Self-Deception

This entry is dedicated to a special Angel- BH.

Dear me

The Petronas Twin Towers of in KL. 4 am on a cold Tuesday morning. A cluttered mind.

Think God has put this work trip for a greater purpose- not so much to mediate the tension at home but for you to take time to reflect, and plan how you should be a better person. You have been terribly 'lazy' and an irresponsible soul have you? You do realised that the you have unknowingly fulfilled the lust of the flesh. What has gone into your mind, resulting in not looking after this body- yes, lazy and self-indulgence.

Mo Mo wrote about his attempts to reach out to the lost souls. You were humbled in your deepened understanding that love and forgiveness go hand in hand. Thanks to an Angel- BH, you realised (and thankfully admit) that you have long forgotten the sweetness of truth- God's words. Face it, for the past months, you have lived a lie- a self deceiving illusion that you still know the truth. Honestly, the indulgence of your life- internet, food, sleep, and even work, have made you become more estranged from the word of our heavenly father.

BH's sharing of his divorce led you to realise that you need to start taking charge again. You don't need an Adam Khoo- you need to go back to God's words! The growing pride so silently creeped into your life that you thought everything was fine. But wait, your family relationships took a strain, and you even lost consciousness of watching your eating habits. These were clear signs that something is not quite right- something inside you. The little sins that so easily slipped into your life had become a heavy burden. For example, the slip of the tongue with an easy curse coming out were granted an OK. That led to conveniently finding more excuses to "fulfil the lust of the flesh" (Gal 5:16)

You yearned once again for the promise of being able to "Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with teh yoke of bondage" (Gal 5:1) At the heart of it all, you are humbled to know that the Father beckons to draw you back, to enjoy his forgiveness, and restore the relationship with Him.

At the departure gate on Sunday, the tearful beast in you was shouting out WHY IS IT THAT EACH TIME BEFORE I TRAVEL, THERE WILL BE SO MUCH UNHAPPINESS AT HOME? Think, it all started with a major breakdown with your father when you left for Hawaii in Sec two. Then the spiral cycle seemed to repeat thereafter. Perhaps, the emptiness of leaving home and stress of being all alone accounts for part of the reason. You felt so upset that you felt hypocritical to profess that you miss your family. Yet, you were really a good husband and father, the least you could do was to be a better help to your tired companion.

Right... so you questioned the value of LOVE. Rightly so. What should love really should be? Did you really "walk in love, as Christ also hath love us" (Eph 5: 2) Thank God you were humbled when you challenged your 'loving' assumptions - by the benchmarks spelled out in 1 Cor 13, clearly you were in a state of self-denial.

Love is patient; love is kind and envies no one. Love is never boastful, nor conceited, nor rude; never selfish, not quick to take offense. There is nothing love cannot face; there is no limit to its faith, its hope, and endurance.

At first you blamed SA Tan. You claimed it was his way of disrupting my preparation to lead worship. (thank God you didn't give in and walk away that Sunday morning) The blame game is always so easy- just point your fingers. But the Spirit was gentle to rebuke and used the song 'People Need the Lord' to remind you that - YOU need the Lord. Interesting too that the sermon reminded you that when God binds a man and a woman in marriage, the Word remains in them.

As the sun is about to rise, you realised that you do cherish this moment. May you always remember that just as our Father extends his arm of forgiveness, may you never forget Paul's invitation to "Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh." Gal 5: 16

Thank you for being honest and courageous


p.s. The pic was specially selected as a reminder that the sting of hurt to your vain ego during YOGOC wkshop. LOL!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

My Paper Presentation "Incorporating Thinking Tools to Enhance Facilitation of PBL"

Friday 12th June 09-
Random Thoughts on my very First Paper Presentation

In preparation:

First paper presentation- Incorporating Thinking Tools in PBL. Republic Poly's PBL conference on What are we Learning about Learning. Revisited the slides at 3am in the morning. Added TLLM's PETALS to provide context. Helps a little to add some credibility to mention that this was a refined work building upon my Masters project.Re-capped what Irene and I have envisioned to do with our paper. Included thoughts on future steps with currrent research projects with NHHS on metacognition. Irene's lovely slides saved the day.

Stress and Tension:

Very mind boggling experience presenting to a sea of researchers. Attending the earlier concurrent sessions were not exactly most ideal in preparation for my own session. Indications by senior management of Temasek Poly's, RP's SPAS, Australian's school administration attending my session of course, added to the stress level. Was highly critical and skeptical of some presentations. Validity and Reliabilty issues. Rita Roop was definitely one good cheer and a good dose of encouragment! Other presenters' weaknessses = my strengths/ For fear of 'difficult' questions- maximise my 25 min sharing so that less questions could be asked? Almost freaked out when I only prepared 40 copies of my presentation handouts. Student assistance helped print 30 more. My tag with the following - Ministry of Education, Singapore - definitely did not help. A Bishan Park Sec principal said, "I have been waiting for your presentation so that I can use it with my teachers". Glad that the two presentations before me were not too bad. Glad that I inserted a nice photo of me and josh with my email address to 'cushion' any difficult questions at the end. Doesn't help being the final presentation of the day. Encouraging email from Sue: "It will be great! Enjoy!!!!"

The Moment:

Took to the stage - trying to look confident. My jokes went "plapped" - prob too 'localised' for an international audience. Could not understand what the Indonesian was asking. Intended some long pauses during the presentation just to see the reactions of the Think my energy and enthusiam helped to wake up some of the sleepy heads. Was wondering: what on earth was she busily writing even though she had my slides. Glad that I pre-empt with statement: these are my thoughts as a practitioner with much room for further research. Plan to maximise my sharing was great. TIMES UP placard was flashed repeated when I was on slide 20 out of 28. First comment from audience: "Thank you for the very rich sharing...." Question One: Would you use all the tools in one go (my immediate thoughts: was that a trick question?) Question Two: Does your tool give everyone a fair chance to contribute. (glad I gave an anecdotal reply with how the affinity diagram gave a introverted student a chance to tell of his story) One of the toughest questions: Can your thinking tools be used for RP's 'One Day, One Problem' model? (definitely food for thought)


People rushed forward to ask for a copy of my soft-copy slides. To give or not to give? I wished they engage me with more "tell me more about your ideas" question. The Australian P asked, are there more tools? The Malaysian presenter asked, how up-to-date are your tools and which of these were more business related? Another comment: "it would have been even better if your session was for a longer workshop so that we can learn more about the tools." Natasha- An old long-lost classmate came forward and waited patiently for me. Sue commented ang mo asked "so where is the control group" (my response: ??!!*)@I#@)$)_@). A fitting compliment: A very thought provoking piece with some nice contemporary ideas. Felt a sense of "lost" and "wonder" Got a sms from Irene: How goes?

Wasn't it a delightful experience?

Saturday, April 18, 2009

The Dragon is Thirsty

With my usual gung-ho spirit, I innocently accepted the assignment early this year to speak to different key personnels of various enterprises in Hong Kong and China. Before I left, I told Joshua and Joanna that daddy is only gonna be away for 5 very short days, yet deep down, this verbal assurance left me wondering if that was really so.

A very humbling learning experience indeed, a friend commented that I was flying in aeroplanes and taking trains as if I was taking a cab ride from Buona Vista to Punggol. Indeed, I arrived Hong Kong by noon on the 16th March and delivered my maiden presentation on 'Innovation and Creativity: Unlock the Creative Potential of your Company to Overcome Economic Challenges' by 2pm. The challenge of addressing a group of senior executives from companies like 3M, China Aeronautical, Sky Technology, Fujikon International, etc, was simply mind-boggling. That said, in my opinion, it was a good start basing on the responses and feedback of the participants. The other comfort, it was delivered in English. By 7pm, I was rushed to the Hong Hum train station for a 3 hours journey up to Guangzhou. The journey continued with rushing from airport to airport on a daily basis from Chongqin then to Beijing and Tianjin (both cities in one day) and then to Shenzhen before rushing through customs back in Hong Kong 5 days later.

That said, I must admit, it was a good stretch, in more ways than one. Not least of which, it has at least afforded this wide eyed 34 year-old a ringside view of China's rapid changes. Compared to my previous trips to China, the landscape has very much changed in a short span of 5 years. It was no longer so much a culture shock as a business shock, particularly in their strong business models and quality management matters. Today, the business environment in the cities I spoke in has advanced so rapidly, it left me wondering how long would it take for the whole of China to advance beyond what Singapore has accomplished in the past 40 years.

The biggest (and most horrific) challenge is to speak fluently in Mandarin. Thank the good Lord that ACS had kept C in the Anglo-CHINESE School, despite how ACS-ians are infamously known for our competency (or lack of) in our mother tongue. Thank God for a wife who knows my every weakness and thus got me a Bestas electronic handheld dictionary on the birthday this year. Everywhere I went, I felt like it was the most precious 武功密集. I was religiously translating and rehearsing my talking points every waking hour, especially after some vehement feedback. With all honesty, I value 'honest' evaluations like "老师有时用中文不能完全表达意思", or some even more blunt 'request' to "改善语言表达能力". Apart from the fact that the Chinese speak speak Putonghua, I struggled constantly to un-learn translating words from English phrases.

The consultancy firm that hired me assured me that the task would be an easy one since we Singaporeans are highly regarded for our "law-abiding-ness" and our strategic East meets West approaches. I was shortlisted for the task primarily because of my Masters from US as well as my other business ventures and experiences. Yet, during my in-depth discussions with the participants, it was obvious that the knowledge I had may not be directly applicable when dealing with the mainland businesses (less resistance though from HK). The 'stretch' here takes on a new level where I need to constantly adapt and adjust to meet the local needs and their expectations. In addition, acceptance did not come automatically even after "boasting" about my credentials and experiences in businesses. Some outrightly pointed out that my my young and boyish looks (o Lord... do preserve my youth) was an instant disadvantage and one even jokingly commented that I ought to dye my hair white the next time I return.

Jokes aside, I thank the good Lord for the opportunity to witness how Singaporean needs to open our eyes and be less complacent of our achievements. What we achieved in the past decade, in my opinion can be easily superseded by a double or even triple jump with how fast the China's gates are opening up to the rest of the world. I have not ready solutions to how we can even try to 'catch up'... new innovative programmes/models? Education as a fast way to build capacity? Government to take the lead to make bolder political moves for further partnerships? A friend I confided in even suggested that it may even come a day where we are imported as 'foreign talents' to be chauffeurs, tutors, nannies to the Dragon babies.

For now, I thank God for the an overall positive feedback considering my many fears and weaknesses. On a scale of 1 to 10, the report card says it all for the following seminars. (Shenzhen had a different feedback form)

Course applicability 内容适用性
Hong Kong- 8.09
Guangzhou- 7.47
Chongqin- 7.5
Beijing- 8.63
Tianjin- 8.00

Content organization 内容编排
Hong Kong- 8.27
Guangzhou- 7.31
Chongqin- 7.94
Beijing- 8.75
Tianjin- 7.71

Activities, Discussion, Practice & Case Study 活动、讨论、练习及案例
Hong Kong- 8.55
Guangzhou- 7.5
Chongqin- 8
Beijing- 8.75
Tianjin- 8.41
Further Comprehension 对内容有深入认识
Hong Kong- 7.91
Guangzhou- 7.06
Chongqin- 8.38
Beijing- 9.00
Tianjin- 7.35

Presentation Skill 表达技巧
Hong Kong- 8.81
Guangzhou- 7.83
Chongqin- 8.00
Beijing- 9.00
Tianjin- 8.06

Ability To Simulate Participants' Involvement / Interactivity 促进学员参与
Hong Kong- 8.45
Guangzhou- 8.25
Chongqin- 8.19
Beijing- 9.25
Tianjin- 8.94

Applicability to Business Needs课程适合工作需要
Hong Kong- 8.09
Guangzhou- 6.97
Chongqin- 7.06
Beijing - 8.00
Tianjin- 8.53

And since it was a seminar conducted in Chinese, the following feedback were really very heartening....

- 觉新颖但广告意识强

- 创新的灵感来自于身边的任何细节,善于思考

- 很适合目前创新型发展的理念,建设细致的工具和技巧

- 通过互动引出结论,道理应让人留下银翔

As my good old school motto says it best...The best is yet to be

(just wondering when I will ever be able to start blogging in chinese.... LOL)

Friday, April 03, 2009

My EQ... on Facebook? QUite accurate indeed

Facebook has a certain magnetic appeal in getting people to respond online... the frightening thing about it- to share (or more explicitly-to make public) private personal information. Yet, highly intrigued to find out whats my EQ- its an easy trap to 'play along' ????

You usually have it going on emotionally, but roadblocks tend to land you on
your butt.On an average day, you're quite happy, together, and content. You live
your life well.Your emotions aren't always stable, but you can go along with the
ups and downs pretty well.You tend to be motivated, energetic, focused, and
level headed.You see the world pretty rationally, and you don't tend to over
dramatize things. When things are bad, you know they eventually have to get

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Whats ahead?

I am at a new crossroad of my life... stuck in search of new directions, nothing to propel me towards any specific doors of opportunity (especially in times like these), I lay in silence praying to my Father who has guided me faithfully all these 34 years of my life.

The following paragraph from the touched my heart as I thought of what would essentially be considered of value years down the road.

The new paradigm is one of individual creativity and freedom. Creativity
and freedom cannot exist inside an environment of fear; they can only grow
inside a matrix of love and openness. The new paradigm will not have the kind of
security that comes from amassing great stores of money, or from building a
fortress against unseen enemies. Instead, we will find security in our
relationships and the quality of our lives. Our assets will be counted not in
cold hard cash, but in the measure of our integrity, in the health of our
children and society, in the quality of our goods and services, in the
inventiveness of our ideas, in the consistency of our friendships, and in the
honesty of our partnerships.

Monday, March 02, 2009

The story of a pen...and ugly people

I held up a pen ... about to write.
Suddenly this pen remnded me of a story: one that illustrated the many facades of man's thoughts and the complexities around what kindness means.

Recently I witness something that was very disturbing in a hawker centre. A crippled and slightly autistic young lady was moving around slowly in Kovan selling pens for a dollar each. I bought a pen and continued to observe her and her interactions with others around.
Fact is, I got increasingly upset with how some unkind people simply shoo-ed her away, the way you would react to an irritate fly. One lady even turned her son's face away as the child wondered how they ought to respond to her. Did the girl deserve such a degrading response as even she suffered from leprosy? In her quiet ways, she was not persistent in selling her products and she simply walked away, expressionless. In my weak attempt to help her, I intentionally stepped forward before that mother and tried to donate some money to the girl. She surprised me with the rejection of the donation and pushed a pen into my hand. Was it blatant ignorance to my act of sympathy or a deliberate act to preserve her pride? None-the-less, I respected her decision.

Upon reflection, I only wished that even as there may be black sheeps among us, the kind hearted Singaporean spirit will prevail to discern and reach out to those who are genuinely in need. Yet in my heart, I was wondering if we still understand what makes our society a gracious one.

Out of curiosity, I decided to text some friends by sms to hear their point of view. Below were their replies:
My wife: Don't be sad. Just help within our own means cos maybe they have met so many to determine who's genuine.
Mr GY: Good on you that you cared! Take it easy. I guess those people are stressed by current climate.
Ms CL: She wants to do real work and so will not want to take money without selling her product. Yes, people are ugly and they need to know God. I would say buy pen if that gives you peace. Meeting people's needs is the first step in sharing the gospel in a practical way.
Ms SN: John, you encouraged me with your act. Ugly Singaporeans are everywhere. Even we are guilty at times. We just dun c the underbelly of S'pore enough. At times, I feel so lost too that I realised I am so unreal. Can't take the mask off, I am ugly too...
Ms YH: Despite her handicap, she is making a honest living. Well, you can't change those who rejected her but at least you did make a difference in her life.
Mr CH: What makes you think she really needs your $? Maybe she is part of a big syndicate? How much can a selling a pen, or a packet of tissue help her? Sometimes kindness does not pay. Maybe the people saw your act and may think otherwise about your intentions. Is that girl pretty?

The above responses were simply overwhelming. Not only because of the contrasting range of emotions and thoughts, but how a single situation may provoke very different perspectives. Indeed, this is a case of how natural checks and balances are already in place to maintain the core of our social fibre. Perhaps thats where individual creativity of making new connections can better our society as a whole.