Sunday, September 28, 2008

Giver Remembered

Paul Newman (1925-2008) well-known for his legendary roles in Hollywood, also remembered for his incredible giving to charity and the arts - more than $250M in all.

Paul Newman on acting:
Study your craft and know who you are and what’s special about you. Find out what everyone does on a film set, ask questions and listen. Make sure you live life, which means don’t do things where you court celebrity, and give something positive back to our society.

His characters were often of a lone man, fighting the impossible fight against the odds. Even if the fight was ultimately unsuccessful, his refusal to back down ensured he'd always be a winner in the audience's eyes.

See BBC News for more.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Do what is right because it is right

Postwar study of Iwo Jima battle: Seeing that it was impossible to conduct our air, sea, and ground operations on Iwo Jima toward ultimate victory, it was decided that in order to gain time necessary for the preparation of the Homeland defence, our forces should rely solely upon the established defensive equipment in that area, checking the enemy by delaying tactics... It was a most depressing thought that we had no available means left for the exploitation of the strategical opportunities which might from time to time occur in the course of these operations.

I have never experienced hopelessness. I have never been driven to desperation. I have never had to cling on to dear life.

But he who received the seed on stony places, this is he who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; yet he has no root in himself, but endures only for a while. For when tribulation or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he stumbles.
Matthew 13:20-21

We're at peace and yet ever at war. An actively fighting spirit is what a man ought to have. After all, all men will die, but how many dare live?

Monday, September 22, 2008

World Peace

An ideal perhaps naive, yet a hope for things unseen.

International Peace Day, Kabul, September 21, 2008

Injured woman calling, Georgia, August 9, 2008 (NDP remember?)

Victory celebration process, Jammu, August 31, 2008

Flood refugees, Nepal, August 24, 2008

Pictures courtesy of Reuters

Sunday, September 21, 2008

choice begets choice

Father & Son

Freedom of choice is what all of us desire. Interestingly, choosing another's will over one's desires breeds purpose - and usually increased choices later on :)

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Father, Son

Obama and Senior

Now we are no longer slaves but God's own sons. And since we are his sons, everything he has belongs to us, for that is the way God planned. (Galatians 4:7)

A son bears the imprint of the father - even if absent. Yet there is a process of willing adoption and acceptance.

In his book, James Frey found himself adopted by Leonard, who somehow had the knack for knowing what he was going through and what he needed, despite his past abuses with alcohol and drugs and his near depressive state.

Many accounts abound, of talented and achieving people who caught something from their dads - even women do.

Guess that explains the yearning for a father, friend and mentor.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

The Diary of an Old Soul

The world's smallest man joins the woman with the longest legs in the world to mark the launch of a new Guinness Book of World Records in London's Trafalgar Square.

A dim aurora rises in my east,
Beyond the line of jagged questions hoar,
As if the head of our intombed High Priest
Began to glow behind the unopened door:
Sure the gold wings will soon rise from the gray!--
They rise not. Up I rise, press on the more,
To meet the slow coming of the Master's day.

Sometimes I wake, and, lo! I have forgot,
And drifted out upon an ebbing sea!
My soul that was at rest now resteth not,
For I am with myself and not with thee;
Truth seems a blind moon in a glaring morn,
Where nothing is but sick-heart vanity:
Oh, thou who knowest! save thy child forlorn.


How many helps thou giv'st to those would learn!
To some sore pain, to others a sinking heart;
To some a weariness worse than any smart;
To some a haunting, fearing, blind concern;
Madness to some; to some the shaking dart
Of hideous death still following as they turn;
To some a hunger that will not depart.


Go, my beloved children, live your life.
Wounded, faint, bleeding, never yield the strife.
Stunned, fallen-awake, arise, and fight again.
Before you victory stands, with shining train
Of hopes not credible until they are.
Beyond morass and mountain swells the star
Of perfect love--the home of longing heart and brain

From A Book of Strife, in the Form of the Diary of an Old Soul (1880) by George MacDonald (1824 - 1905)

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

take risks

After a long absence, the master of those three servants came back and settled up with them. The one given five thousand dollars showed him how he had doubled his investment. His master commended him: "Good work! You did your job well. From now on be my partner."

The servant given one thousand said, "Master, I know you have high standards and hate careless ways, that you demand the best and make no allowances for error. I was afraid I might disappoint you, so I found a good hiding place and secured your money. Here it is, safe and sound down to the last cent."

The master was furious. "That's a terrible way to live! It's criminal to live cautiously like that! If you knew I was after the best, why did you do less than the least? The least you could have done would have been to invest the sum with the bankers, where at least I would have gotten a little interest.

"Take the thousand and give it to the one who risked the most. And get rid of this 'play-it-safe' who won't go out on a limb. Throw him out into utter darkness."

Matthew 25:19-30 (The Message)

changing changes to change change

HRM Singapore on making room for change:

We need to change the way we think about change. Sustained change may begin with actions, checklists, and tools, but must evolve to adopt a fundamentally different identity. Rather than think about change tools or programs, we should be thinking about changing identities...

Change requires letting go of an old identity. To forgo and let an old identity die requires clarity about what has to change, candor about the need for change, and courage to make the change happen...

Sustained change takes time. But actions that sustain change may be done in predictable ways. Leaders may follow a four 3s methodology to help move people from desiring a change to actually doing it.

· 3 hours: What can I do in the next three hours to make progress on this initiative?
· 3 days: What can I do in the next three days to make progress on this initiative?
· 3 weeks: What can I do in the next three weeks to sustain progress on this initiative?
· 3 months: What can I do in the next three months to demonstrate progress on this initiative?

The four 3s allow leaders to make sure that the change starts now, but continues. It allows leaders to have a dialogue with those in change to see if the change is actually occurring in short, specific ways that lead to longer term success.

Friday, September 12, 2008

that evanescent grip

Alison Rich tells BBC: What about if you have to speak to someone new who has a disfigurement, how should you react? Where should you look? Look them in the eye, but gently. If you find this hard at first then look at the bridge of their nose, it has the same effect. Shake their hand if appropriate, smile, nod your head in acknowledgement of their presence. Be sensitive to their cues - do they radiate confidence, fragility or sadness, are they in a hurry?

What should you say? How about "Hello." Sometimes it's a simple as that, talk about the weather, the price of petrol, how crowded the train is - as you would with anyone else. If you know the person and they have recently acquired a disfigurement, you could say that you're sorry they've been unwell or had an accident and ask them how they are.

Question: not-so-good circumstances equal bad luck?

The idea of luck, probability and random circumstances should be incongruous with the idea that a superior supernatural being governs all natural events.

So when a bad thing happens to a good man, what do we say that it is?

When a righteous man is rewarded with prosperity which blesses his lineage, i.e. that his later generations are blessed, that be good circumstances? Or not?

Conversely, a man born into poorer circumstances finds it harder to break out of his poverty. Is it plain bad luck?

What are the ultimate determinants of success in life? Is luck or circumstance one of them?

But there's no doubt that God's sovereign and in ultimate control... yet for us there is one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we for Him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, through whom are all things, and through whom we live (1 Corinthians 8:6)

Many things we fail to understand. Trust me, He says.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Grow old with you?

Got off the bus today and saw an old lady pulling out a paper cup from the dustbin. Putting it to her mouth, she drank from it without hesitating.

Had to turn away, was too much to bear.

I thought, give her money. But feet kept moving and lost sight of her. How much to give, would it really make any difference?

Shortly after 5 meters, I stopped and back-tracked. But she was gone.

Etched in my mind, this image will be...

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

just do it

Yoda says, do or do not.

Gotta do it to do it.

Friday, September 05, 2008


Stephane Rousson, a 39-year-old Frenchman who's hoping to cross the English Channel in a homemade, pedal-powered airship - again.

No vision, no plan, no outcome - as plain as can be. You need no further reminder when people around are getting hitched left/right/center.

You gurg!!

On a separate note, Human Race scored me 54m07s, an average of 5.26min per km. WOOT!

Now, time to buy a blimp...