Friday, September 28, 2012

Rethinking & Reusing

A house that took just 3 days to lay its two-ton concrete slabs and structural steel beams that were disposed from Boston's Big Dig.

Reusing something that's trashed--disposed highway parts in this case--to build your own house, is seldom the first thought that comes to mind to most of us. How do you incorporate such materials with a design that fits its neighbourhood and surroundings?

This project was featured in e2, PBS' documentary series on green architecture design. You can read more about its development here.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Rediscovery & Remaking

I just finished reading India Calling by Anand Giridharadas, an Indian native who as a youth moves to America with his parents and later decides to relocate back to his homeland, I suppose, to rediscover his roots. He writes about India's transformation in its social castes & the relationships in-between and its values towards success in life, towards family & marriage. It depicts each new definition through various characters he recalls through his family lineage such as his parents and their parents as well as those he encounters who each represent the old and the new India and the tensions therein.

You can read a review as well as an excerpt of this book here by NPR--it also includes an interview with the author as he talks about changes he witnessed.

And now I'm thinking about my own place in my country: a dwelling place where social ties and fond memories reside, a marketplace of making a living and pursuing aspirations, and a place of belonging where my loyalty is demanded.

One can lament some things, yet one can also be grateful--for those same things and also for others. Perhaps the crux of our identity lies in how we choose to make a place: Do you choose to belong and to contribute to shaping it? And if you do nothing, you either shape the status quo or you allow others to shape it along with you in it.

Questions that are being asked today: Where do we want to head and at what cost? Who should bear responsibility for each aspect of the systems we're building? Should we allow age-old institutions to adapt to modern lifestyles?

As a friend recently responded to my suggestion for him to join the national conversation even while he's abroad, how can I who am currently out of the system voice out for a matter which the local actors have the say and probably already had theirs?

In short: First, choose to be a stakeholder. Then, choose how you want to remake your place.

Sunday, September 23, 2012


Half The Sky by Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn is an immensely sobering and absorbing read because it puts the spotlight on the gritty issue of the sex trafficking of women. I'm a quarter through it...

Heavy and stirring it is. Its real life accounts of women coerced and trapped in prostitution illuminates the complexities involved in efforts to liberate these poor women. It also inspires how women, whether victims themselves and/or community heroes, are trying to help others.

Awareness is the first step. I'm not sure what's next...because I'm just learning about a whole lot of world issues demanding our attention.

Stay tuned and continue this journey.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012


When deciding on a major decision and direction to pursue, you have to weigh what matters to you. Not pragmatically or directed by other's expectations, but being true to yourself.

Perhaps look at the examples of those around you. Are they doing what you wish you were? Can you see yourselves in their shoes?

Sometimes you hit a bump and you gotta make a change to find that breakthrough you been dreaming about. And sometimes no one can really help you; they might give you advice but you're the only one who can try it for yourself.

Keep looking forward, pressing on. Only you can forge the future you want.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Making Room

Been clearing my room progressively. All useless things of no sentimental value must go.

Photos & journal entries hark back to days long past. Of earlier thoughts, events and seasons.

Oh how we move on...

We all have memories we want to discard. We thought we already did, but they bubble up, sometimes unexpectedly, from the recesses within. Perhaps memories are as powerful as you ascribe them to be.

Whatever's happened in the past, don't be beholden to it. It doesn't determine your future. Today's choices do--unless you choose to do nothing.

How do you know you've room for new things in your life? It's certainly not just about diving headlong into them and expecting instant adaptation. It's not about juggling more and more things together, because some will quickly fall from the lack of focus. So what is it?

Accomodating through space and behavior seems to be it.

Without the new, the mundane & routine dominate.

Make a choice.

Saturday, September 15, 2012


Homeland - Putting your finger on suspicions

Though a drama, yet the terror radicalist situation it depicts feels real and quite believable. Because the issues are close to its nation's heart: of war veterans and their psychological wounds and of a war that is ongoing as shown by recent events.

What captivates must be its 2 central characters: an CIA agent battling externally through rogue means and also battling internally as well to keep herself together and functioning; and a soldier recovering from terrors of war whose malintent is played out gradually and whose tortured mind is revealed through flitting memories and demons.

What gives us tenacity to cling on to a mission of eradicating an elusive enemy through all possible means? Is it loyalty to a cause and to one's country? Is it to vindicate one's hunches and actions?

Stay tuned as more is revealed next.

Breaking Bad - What your gut is capable of

Pressed by circumstances in life, it seems everyone and anyone can turn to the latent dark side. Life can be tough and cruel. It's all about how we choose to respond, isn't it?

Unmet needs feed our addictions which some try to hide and deny when confronted. The need to be accepted, affirmed and loved. The need to do something purposeful in life employing your abilities. The need to fight on when your survival is threatened.

The line on morality is drawn into question: How far would you go to save yourself and to give up what you've tried to hold on to?

Thursday, September 13, 2012


Change comes about when you take action. Progressive change is when the action is according to the plan you have determined.

What's your goal? Are you convicted that it's a worthy one and your motivation is right for you?

Have a plan of action.

If it's a problem to be solved, you need a plan.

If it's to enhance your quality of life, get a plan.

Even if it's to discover something completely novel and untrodden, I'm pretty certain a plan is still essential.

Plan practical steps to break routines, change ways of thought, learn new ones, form new connections, explore new places...

You'll get there. You only simply have to get started.

Sunday, September 02, 2012


• To undergo transformation or transition.
• To go from one phase to another, as the moon or the seasons.
(Courtesy of

If we want to move into a house that is bigger, better & more posh than the previous one, I guess we'd better leave our baggage and old keepsakes behind. Wouldn't want the clutter of old to come along with you, would you?

With each change in life, there are uncomfortable moments of uncertainty and perhaps anxiety. But better to be drawn and motivated by new opportunities than to dwell on the past. It's not easy to unshackle mindsets and familiar ways of rationalizing and doing things--sometimes it takes another to point it out--but if we don't try...what if we end up like the frog in the slow-boiling pot, or worse, flash-fried frog! 反求诸己 or self-awareness and self-checking is definitely a good thing to have.

I recently read Entrepreneurship: From Idea To Success by Farhad Foroutan-Esfahani. An anecdote about seeking answers in the proverbial "Book of Answers" struck me. Its moral summarized: The learning and discovery is in the journey--no one can tell you the answers from the onset.

With our each moving on from one [blank] to another (replace [blank] with job, life stage, marital status, social group etc), uncertainty is always present. Hopefully it is the new pasture that's beckoning. Or if you can't see it, then start taking steps to find it. At least I know I will--gonna take 1 step, and another, and another. And if I take the wrong step, God help me.

It is better to finish a matter than to begin one... For now, all I can simply do now is to close the previous chapter, however it happened, and move on. Self-berating helps no one, I've found, and least of all, yourself.

Look ahead. Look up. Look far! The rest of the journey's just begun!