Ming’s Random Thought of the Day

I’ve often heard this comment about me. That my mind often seems to be in a different place from my body.

That is sometimes true, simply because this is how my thought process works.

As soon as I pick up on something, my brain starts whirring into motion and considering the surface and deeper implications of the object, occurance, or concept. And I can’t multitask, so all focus goes into pondering the matter at hand, often times leading to angry girlfriends. Haha.

I thought writing short posts about some of these random thoughts would be both fun and informative, so I’m starting this series titled rather creatively, “Ming’s random thought of the day”.

Today’s random thought comes courtesy of some double sided tape I bought from retail mecca, Mustafa.

Anybody who’s been to Mustafa knows they are bombarded by the most diverse selection of products available to humankind. So buying a simple roll of double sided tape becomes very much like choosing the pattern of your wallpaper, or the flowers at your wedding.

WHICH ONE?

As you can see, I settled on 3M double sided tape, and the question I found myself pondering later was WHY?

After some processing, I realised there were 2 key aspects to this simple $2.80 decision.

1) Pragmatic and Practical
2) Emotional

For #1, I had decided that since I had spent so much effort, time and money on the project I was using the double sided tape for, it would be stupid to buy some china piang brand, and have my good work wasted.

For #2, the emotional part came in when I saw the big Made in USA sign. I even turned the packaging around to double check. After all, what’s made in the USA nowadays? The emotional side of me assigned quality to a USA made product, and I started seeing an American flag waving in my head.

Which led to the next thought, right before I was reaching the end of my walk back to the office.

With globalisation, I felt a certain comfort, knowing that not EVERYTHING is made in China. The fact that 3M has created a value proposition through its innovation, consistent quality and branding, means I get to enjoy a differentiated product that has given somebody in the USA a job to do.

It is one activity I hope and concluded is likely to continue, simply because I’m sure there are a fair amount of people who will not want whatever they are attaching to their important, scrapbooks or the like, to start peeling off after a while.

Thats it folks, now back to work!

 

The pursuit of happyness (Part 1 of an infinite series)

I am an analyzer by nature, and I analyze everything.

I guess alot of us do this.

The biggest questions I think as humans we ask ourselves is
1) Why are we here?
2) What is the point?
3) How do we fulfil our purpose?

I’ve gone back and forth on these questions myself, time and time again.

When I was in college, I remember my answer used to be, “I am here to make a mark. To make a difference. To leave a legacy that will be forever remembered.”

My collegiate ambitions thus spanned the range. Amongst them, was to be Prime Minister of Singapore, global champion Squash Player, award winnning Architect, Pulitzer Photographer, I think you get the idea.

photo above is by Pulitzer winning Patrick Farrell (And I am getting goosebumps just looking at it).

The essence of all of these ambitions lie in service not just to oneself, but to others.

I think Singaporeans often get it wrong when they think these pursuits are just all about the dollars and cents.

It is not.

There are realities the common man and woman has to face everyday. The most basic of which, is simply, how to get by? The world is about dollars and cents after all, so we do the logic that if A=B and B=C then A=B=C.

The logic holds, but so does my argument.

The 2 key words we should focus on is SACRIFICE and CHOICE.

Something has got to give.

And it is at this juncture that I should tell you, if you have not watched “The Lady” which revolves around Aung San Suu Kyi’s life, go out there, buy a copy from Poh Kim, tissue paper from NTUC, and hunker down for a cry fest (Or maybe thats just me).- SPOILER ALERT

In a nutshell summary, The Lady is based on Aung San Suu Kyi’s life. And we see her first as a mother to 2 young boys and dedicated wife to an Oxford lecturer, Michael Aris.

The family setting in Oxford is particularly poignant for me as I did my A levels in Cambridge. And you see all the usual trappings of domestic family life. Things I see now that some of my friends have started their own family units and are getting on with their lives.

Whilst ordinary life can be equally as fulfilling, when we admire greatness, we need to understand that sacrifices are a part of this.

Our daily pursuits to bring up our children with good values, within a comfortable environment, the best schools, organic food, whilst rewarding, and fulfilling in its own right, is measured against alternative choices which have consequences and results far beyond our own, and as a result, I believe deserves special admiration.

Back to the plot, it is at this point that Aung San Suu Kyi heads back to Burma to see her dying mother, and witnesses the atrocities and violence of the military regime against her people.

She decides to stay on in Burma, and it becomes evident with time, that the military is going to hardass her, and make it difficult for her as a woman. Take away her support structures. In particular access to the outside world, and her family.

These fat cats in khaki green, of course make it clear she can go at any time. And this is where CHOICE comes into the picture. And sacrifice is chosen.

Aung San could have packed up and left and continued with her life in Oxford, continued life as much of us do. But she did not, choosing instead an uncertain and possibly infinite period of loneliness and isolation. The story is as much about Aung San as it is about Michael Aris of course, who really encapsulates the ideal of love.

This scene is my favourite one in the movie (also because I LOVE CANON IN D), but just because you feel her isolation but the also the love that seems to transmit for her through that little radio.

Who does not harbour dreams and aspirations of true love? I certainly do, but are we willing to pay the price? As Michael Aris did?

We harbour hopes of a better tomorrow, but will we sacrifice our own for others? For perhaps just one other? Do we have that courage inside us?

I started this article wanting to write in a totally different direction that it has ended up in. It started out with a frivolous morning, in which I was shaking my booty to some 80s music, arriving in the office and switching to the Forest Gump theme song, and now listening to canon in D.

The pursuit of happyness is a never ending journey for us human beings, and thus I end this blog post letting you know there will be a second and a third, and a fourth, and perhaps more. Meanwhile ponder for a second that we sway like a feather in the wind, and life is what we make out of it.

The death of prose

It seems a little odd that I should be restarting my blog with a post titled as such, but here it is.

Somewhere along the line, in the last 6 years, I got lazy and stopped blogging. Why?

Well in one word, laziness.

One morning I woke up and said I’ll do it tomorrow, and that tomorrow stretched into a
matter of years.

I’m not proud of it, I think nobody ever is of procrastination, but you learn to forget.

So what changed? Why am I back? And how long will it continue for?

Alot has changed since I stopped blogging. The internet space evolves even more quickly than I could ever have imagined. Twitter in,  Twitter out, Plurk in, Plurk out, Facebook in, Twitter back, Foursquare in, Foursquare out, Pinterest in, Instagram in …

The evolution of social media, irregardless of which fad it has manifested into at any particular point of time has grossly shaped our lives and how we lead it.

Back on point, something dawned on me as I fell in and out of love so easily with all these new internet services that was spawning and then dying out.

They had one thing in common.

They pandered to a universal human need, and the better they did it, the quicker they succeeded. That need is:

INSTANT GRATIFICATION.



No matter who you are, your background or circumstances, it is human to fall prey to the allure of instant gratification.

Unless you’re this guy? Who,  rather admirably has deferred that in this life for eternal gratification afterwards.

Now back to this thing about instant gratification. The internet I believe has brought out both the best and worst in us, and I’m the prime example.

I’ve always been an impatient fella. My mother always has to tell me to stop shaking my legs as I’m shaking away the wealth she says.

The internet brings out the real me. And I’m a slave to several little buttons. The first one is the easiest! Without creating, I want information, so I hit this little sucker! And depending on how deep you’re in, that itch you’ve been resisting to scratch for about 3 minutes gets satiated, at least for now.

Ahhhhhh … that feels good. Now give me more.

And so Facebook and Instagram gave me incentive, in the form of these little devils.

photo is from @marrianemixi, I took it off the web.

Thus, I tweet, instagram and tell you whats on my mind.

And even after this blog post, I’ll continue to do so, because overall the associated benefits that come with these activities, such as keeping abreast with whats going on in the world, with my friends and doing the same for them, remain.

PLUS, I get instant love from all of you.

But the question I find myself asking is … what have I actually created?

The masterpieces I admire as I walk through the museums I enjoy visiting in London or rome, took an entire lifetime to create.

The grand structures, whose walls and crevices and floors speak to me, took 2 or 3 lifetimes.

Sure, technology dictates that we should do more with less, and yet … I believe in established argument, philosophy and theorizing.

I believe that whilst it is easier to create in short form, and today we are rewarded for doing so, taking time and effort to create something and then having it appreciated in a qualitative manner demands a place in this world.

It is with this vision that I restart my blog and also launch my new service, NuffnangX, to bring power and appreciation back to long form blogging and thought leadership.

We live in a new reality, shaped by technology that is constantly evolving, and changing how and if we choose to consume media, and in what format.

NuffnangX brings prose to the mobile platform in a palatable format & relevance back to a space that was losing it.

Perhaps, just perhaps, we can avoid, the death of independent prose in the online space.