Passion

A few pointed questions got me thinking:

1. Why did I choose to study Accountancy?

2. What is my career?

3. What is my passion (ok, I thought of this myself)

Unfortunately, or not, I am still in the process of finding out.

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TWC.

As part of my CORE curriculum readings for TWC (Technology and World Change), I printed this ‘Chicago Journal’ that was available to me on the school study website and the title is : ‘ The Needham Puzzle: Why the Industrial Revolution Did Not Originate in China’ and it is by Jutin Yifu Lin.

It is quite an old article, as it was dated Jan 1995.

It briefly attempts to explain why China had fell behind the West, chiefly Europe, in technology innovation and well, the reasons they gave were fairly convincing:

1. Social-political conditions in China were not conducive – unification of China and the tight control of the King on his subjects and people did not allow any innovations (read: disturbances) to disrupt the mandate to rule

2. Bureaucrats in China were selected though competitive civil service examinations – all the gifted were drawn into civil service and few in society who were intelligent enough focused on R&D.

3. Europe, with its falling aristocracy, favoured the explosion of news ideas and concepts, which eventually resulted in many new inventions and gadgets being produced.

4. War – as with any war, technology tends to improve geometrically as countries sought to conquer and defend themselves. Gunpowder led to the invention of muskets, and then to present day high-accuracy rifles, nuclear technology to annihilate but also, medical science and many more examples. Jet aeroplanes were resulted of R&D in war.

The first three points are adapted from the journal, while the last is from myself.

Well, that aside, somehow I can’t resist myself in drawing parallels between present day Singapore and the first two points. Granted, the first point is slightly harsh, but it is of no doubt that there are out-of-bounds markers in Singapore for various issues and works as well as restrictions in certain industries. Actually, the industries in Singapore are more or less well-regulated, in that sense that areas are demarcated for certain industries to be set up. Well, lack of land and closeness to residential areas are of imperative concerns but I shall not discuss those.

Second, lucrative incentives are presented to the top students in Singapore for a chance for overseas studies, in return, 6 years of their prime life to serve the country (caveat: let’s be politically correct and not use the term government). After serving your bond, you are likely to be either 28 or 30 years old respectively for females or males. Not that you cannot switch careers or jobs, but who wants to risk it? By now, you have a family and a stable income (not exactly the highest-paid, but remuneration ain’t poor for civil servants, especially once superscale salaries come into the picture).

Come to think of it, why aren’t there commercial companies, who are not GLC, offering overseas scholarships to the brightest minds in Singapore? Not that there is not any, but maybe not as well publicise? Do list any if you know of.

Previously I attended this small seminar-like session with a friend and there was this Singaporean speaker who resides in the US and is a teacher by profession. She spoke about the lack of talent in Singapore’s other sectors besides the civil service and there is a seemingly endless influx of gifted individuals into the civil service. This may have resulted in a dearth of talented resources in engineering or teaching or commerce. We have comparative advantage in good governance, but certainly lacking in entrepreneurship or research and development. Our economy is highly fluid and sooner, rather than later, the Indians and the Chinese are going to flood the market with technically-competent workforce that will result in the shift of high-tech industries to their countries. The transfer of technical skills and knowledge is so rapid that there is nothing in this world that no one cannot know.

We have the talent, but we are not generating the newest and the quirk-iest ideas that the world can catch on – are we doomed to ride the coattails of the world and maybe and eventually, be replaced?

We pride ourselves as the present day Venice equivalent, but amidst the lightning progress in today’s world, are we and can we swim against the tide of time and carved out history for ourselves?

History shall be our verdict.

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School.

Now that lessons have officially started and I have survived two out of my three school days, life is getting slightly more hectic. No lunches on Thursday and Friday will be a common thing as I have only 15mins break to walk from school to school in order to be on time for lessons.

However, it is still not too bad. At least the lessons I have aren’t too heavy yet. Or I do hope so; or well, I hope they are manageable for me.

Life will get hectic soon as my tuition kids gear up for their final exams. I have a CIP to handle as well as securing those academic results. Time is short, especially when you have to prepare for lessons by reading up or post lessons by refreshing what you have learnt and doing your homework. No more play time like the first half of the year when I can plant myself in front of my computer and slack/rest my night away until bedtime. Boohoo, I haven’t finish Gossip Girl Season 1 too.

But at least I have four free days. It’s time to plan to maximise the time and leverage whatever time I can save through efficient planning! Yay!

Time to get into the groove of school!

P.S. It kinda fun and enjoyable saying ‘Hi’ to friends in school while rushing from lesson to lesson. Like the good-old-jc days.

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Time.

Time waits for no one and no one should wait for time.

The time is now to make hay while the sun is shining and the spirit, willing and ernest.

Do not let time slip away and not let others determine your time.

It is time to do it.

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F1 Go-Karting comes to the heartlands!

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Adventure.

Looking at the photographs of my friends who have recently went for overseas exchanges makes me want to fly away to the faraway lands and explore the wilderness.

Like the story from the movie UP, ‘an adventure into the wilderness!’, is probably something I need. I had an excellent journey in army and then at the ministry. I need another adventure now. Though school beckons, it seems too much of a great unknown. I can’t seem to fathom how university is like, or how it would be.

At times, I do wonder how immersed (or maybe drown) I would be as we chase for the elusive dean list.

On other aesthetic things, I want to go on an overseas cip at end of year 1 summer and if possible, go on a work-and-travel program to US at end of year 2 summer. Then again, I have to clear a 2 months internship as well plus, I want to go on overseas exchange too! Academically-wise, I have to clear a total of (at least) 41 modules to graduate with a double degree. Argh, so many things to do but so little time; well, unless I graduate in 4.5 years, which is a possibility if I don’t want to rush and put too much pressure on myself. I do wonder if the government tuition grant covers that long or not.

An adventure is ahead and the first step has the greatest inertia. But all I need may be just a leap of faith.

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Ba***

On last Wednesday, I made my usual trip down to Ang Mo Kio for my evening tuition. I decided to take the train instead of bus because the latter was too unpredictable and the roads would be jammed in the rush-hour traffic.

So I alighted at AMK MRT station and I took the stairs. There was this 7 or 8 year old Caucasian kid in front of me and as he walked down the stairs, he decided to be adventurous and he climbed up the parapet (or you know there is this flat surface just beside the handrails).

Instantly, my ba*** dropped.

We were at least 4-5 metres above ground and this young chap pulled a damn stunt, right in the middle of the evening rush-hour. His parents were in front of him so there wasn’t any eyes on him.

Then, he tried to get down from the parapet but owing to his lack of height, he couldn’t reach stairs. Fearing for his life, I immediately grabbed his arm and helped him down.

He looked at me with shocked eyes as I told him “Don’t climb, don’t climb”.

Okay, I can’t judge what I did was right or wrong, but it was definitely the correct decision at that point in time. If he slipped and fell backwards, it would definitely have been headline news and I doubt I can live with that – knowing that you could have prevented the mishap but you didn’t.

Though I do wonder, if I wasn’t there at that point in time, would anyone else, do the same thing as I did.

I sure hope they would.

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