Archive for September, 2010

Have you ever Complain?

Sep 29, 2010 // 2 Comments » // Change Initiation

I once read an observation that our (Singaporeans) favorite national pastime is to complain – an act of expressing dissatisfaction, uneasiness, censure or resentment. It went on to comment that we are so superior and advance in its practice that if it is inducted as an Olympic sport we would be at the medal podium every four years…Hahaha, I kind of supported that observation as I realized that I am quite competent at this art form but might not be any where near the level of many other ‘national athletes’ in our midst.

I was at the train station 2 weeks ago and heard a pleasant (depending on your taste) jingles that remind commuters about the on-coming train towards the platform. The jingles is easy to remember and has a nice rhythem to it but maybe due to the quality of the audio system, I was desperately trying to understand the words…but I think it goes like this:

Train is coming, train is coming, train is coming,

Please start queuing,

and Love your ride!

Just a few days after the jingles went public, complainers in all national and age groups scrambling for platform to showcase their prowess. From press to cyberspaces, workplaces to food-courts, many were performing at the highest level in complaining about the jingles without any hint that they need stretching or warm-ups before launching into a 9.0 difficulty of maneuver…I was unimpressed.

Like any sports, complains does attract its fare share of commentaries. I must say that some commentaries does bothered the line of becoming the complainers of the complain depending on the commentary objectivity and purpose. But I guess this is where the eco-system of the public forum feeds itself;

  • The complainers requires something to complain,
  • and they will need a place to exercise the complains.
  • The public media provide the space for the complains,
  • because it is in the public domain, it also invites commentaries about the complains.
  • The complainers read the commentaries that was fed by their own complains,
  • and the media generates interest and eventually business activities.

Interesting. But it sets me thinking about our innate desire to complain; why would we do that? I would like to share with you about my thoughts here:

  • I complain because I am dissatisfied with someone or something.
  • I complain because I am uneasy with someone or something.
  • I complain because I want to call attention to what I am thinking and feeling.

We can perpetuate from the above and dwell deeper into this national sports. Any complains?

Point to Ponder:

1. What are we really complaining when we do just that?

2. What if we turn ourselves to the subject of the complains first…will the complain even materialize?

Take care of yourself first…is that selfish?

Sep 15, 2010 // 5 Comments » // Stories Retold

Charity BnB 2010

Charity BnB 2010

On 4-5 September, 98 cyclists handling some of the most exotic road bikes (and one lone mountain bike too) I have ever seen; and with the support of 32 volunteers which comprises of road marshall, masseurs, drivers, logistic helpers and many others taking on albeit small but important role, raise funds for charity by riding from Kota Tinggi town in the South-eastern part of Malaysia, state of Johor to Rompin – a fishing town 70km north of Mersing – total 320km.

The organizing committee chairman, Albert Yeo – a lay leader with Trinity Methodist Church who is also a good friend since my days at Hewlett Packard, suggested having me in the organizing committee for this year fund raising, I wasn’t sure what to expect but I did not hesitate when knowing that this is for a good cause – to raise fund for St. Luke Elder’s Care new centre at it’s Serangoon North centre. The event, which we started meeting and organizing since April went well and ended with the two days ride to Rompin as finale.

Here’s my learning:

I once heard a story shared by Margaret Wheatley, author of “Leadership and the New Science”, “Turning to one another”.

An elementary school has three rules to manage the children especially during school assembly, where teacher to students ratio were overwhelming. The three rules are:

  • Take Care of Self
  • Take Care of Others
  • Take Care of the School

One stormy Monday morning with gutsy winds and pouring rains. The school workers were bracing themselves with anticipation that it will be a long day cleaning up the school hall after the hour long school assembly, what happened next was a total pleasant surprised to them.

1. The students arrived at the main school assembly hall all deck-out with their drenched rain-coats and muddied boots [Take Care of Self].

2. Without much instruction and coaxing, the students help one another to remove the rain-coats and muddied boots [Take Care of Others].

3. In almost unison, the students deck out their rain-coats at a given area and line up their boots uniformly in rows outside of the school hall and step into the hall barefooted; so that the hall will stay dry and clean [Take Care of the School].

These three simple rules enable the school to manage and organize chaotic nature of school children without  rigid instructions. The three rules have also build in the school children a sense of belongingness and responsibility for self, others and school.

I have since apply the three rules to some of my programs, I called it “The Principle of Care“:

1. Take Care of Self – so that you may have the capability and resources to apply the second principle.

2. Take Care of Others – so that others may have the capability and resources to apply the third principle.

3. Take Care of All – so that people do not form ‘groups’ or ‘clicks’ which may jeopardize the greater whole.

Helping out

Two days before we headed off for the charity ride up to Rompin, Malaysia. One of the cyclist fractured her collerbone and ribs while riding casually at East Coast Park, Singapore. We visited her briefly at the hospital ward where she was recuperating after surgery and she uttered the two words that gave me the greatest of impression; “TAKE CARE”.

I am a total novice to road cycling, but I have also witnessed how the cyclist almost has an unwritten rule of the above principles; Take Care of Self, Others and All.

Points to Ponder:

To Take Care of Self so that you can Take Care of Others to Take Care of the Whole. Though the act starts with Taking Care of Self, but the intention in the end should be of Taking Care of ALL (includes team, organization, institution and environment etc.)