Showing posts from November, 2010

Life and How to Survive It - a NTU Convocation Address

"I must say thank you to the faculty and staff of the Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information for inviting me to give your convocation address. It's a wonderful honour and a privilege for me to speak here for ten minutes without fear of contradiction, defamation or retaliation. I say this as a Singaporean and more so as a husband. My wife is a wonderful person and perfect in every way except one. She is the editor of a magazine. She corrects people for a living. She has honed her expert skills over a quarter of a century, mostly by practising at home during conversations between her and me. On the other hand, I am a litigator. Essentially, I spend my day telling people how wrong they are. I make my living being disagreeable. Nevertheless, there is perfect harmony in our matrimonial home. That is because when an editor and a litigator have an argument, the one who triumphs is always the wife. And so I want to start by giving one piece of advice to the men: when

Saying "no"

Not trying to be a disagreeable person here, but I have come to realize how a big "no" done properly can be such a day-saver. Bottom line is - there is no way to keep pleasing people, because you will just be repeatedly being taken for granted. Saying a big and firm "no" in the appropriate situation to friends, customers or even your bosses need some guts and practice, I admit. Perhaps even some negotiation skills has to come into play. Don't go "erm, I think...", "but..." or "Let me consider...", because hesitation would just let the negotiation drags. So when is the 'right' situation you may ask? It may differ from cases to cases, but as long as you have valid reason(s) and you know you have the rights to do so, draw in that deep breath and say - NO. Now I have almost mastered the art of doing "no" with an super serious (possibly stern) look and flat tone. Brilliant. ***

Leading a life of quiet desperations

"Most men live lives of quiet desperation."  This is a quote from Henry David Thoreau  - saw it at the end of a book I recently read called "Earn more, Stress less". And I find rather intriguing.  The meaning of 'quiet desperation' can be interpreted as bottling up the feelings of desperation and dissatisfaction . Someone also suggested that it could be describing people who just wanna follow the flow and fit into the society, they might be too polite to complain and too busy to think about it much. I am sure there are many of us out there who fits the bill, including myself. How many of us dare to voice out our dissatisfactions to, for example, our superior or kin of seniority? How many of us are brave enough to pursue our dreams without being handcuffed by reality?  How many of us are leading the kind of life we want and working to change it (if it isn't)?  How many of us are truly living life for ourselves? Then I ponder the answers to this questi