of rules & morality

I understand that the rule of law, systems & processes are all very important in our everyday lives but what happens when it is enforced to the point of is it devoid of any humanity?

I had a very interesting experience in a country (Singapore) where it is the epitome of efficiency through the rigid use of rules & regulations. I always marveled & envious at Singapore’s orderliness & cleanliness but does it mean such orderliness has to come at a price of morality?

I made an honest mistake at a car gantry where even the ‘machine’ didn’t catch but upon realizing it, I took the initiative to correct it with the officer upon checking out of the Island. I was prepared to pay some penalty fee but I was not prepared to pay for the car that didn’t physically went into the Island. The officer & the supervisor did not bother to try to find an alternate solution . Basically I was charged for 2 cars when only 1 car enter Singapore. Net – I am penalized for being honest. There were no officers or barriers barring my exit from the Island should I drive on to M’sia & that would mean I will be saving over S$47 should I decide to be dishonest & ignore the mistake.  However – that would mean the owner of the other car (my old car that was sold 3 years ago) would get the slack the next time the car goes into Singapore – which I couldn’t do, because of my conscience.

My conclusion from this experience was:-

1) The officer & supervisor were redundant – they just apply the rule of law & systems. Which I could have done it myself by going to a automated machine & slot in the card then pay whatever I had to do.

2) Why are there no way for the supervisor to have the authority to apply their moral sense over the situation ie make the decision to overwrite.

3) the iron fist of applying the rule of law has made us humans to be such cowards to carry out what’s morally ‘right’.

So.. how would YOU educate our young ?

Follow the rule of law – no questions asked – ie CANNOT question the rule  OR                  Follow the rule of law – principle based decisions – ie made necessary ‘actions’ that is principally right BUT will get ‘more work or reprimands or questions from your superior later?

Do we ‘blame’ the government & the society for this phenomenon? Or it is ALL up to the parents to do their part in educating their children?

 

 

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Misty Copeland

This month, decide to feature a lady from the dance circle & since Relm is currently aspire to be a ballerina, decided to feature Misty Copeland.

misty

source:fitblackwomen.com

She is the first African American principal dancer with the prestigious American Ballet Theatre (ABT). Born in Kansas City, and raised in San Pedro, California, Misty Copeland did not begin studying ballet until the relatively late age of 13.

It has to be her love of ballet that despite in great pain, she performed the Firebird beautifully. She would learn later that her left shin suffered six fractures and required corrective surgery but through perseverance & passion, she overcame these obstacles & still danced on today.

Ballerinas train up to 8 hours a day, 6 days a week & why am I not surprised? Like every profession, only through training, practice, perseverance & drive for perfection can one even hope to be good at their trade.

So what do one learn? While one may not have an early headstart, one can still be an ace on their trade, just from sheer passion, perseverance & love for it.

 

 

The dilemma of public vs private education

Is the current education availability landscape a boon or a bane  for the new age parents? Because of the knowledge & exposure to the global education landscape, the supposed ‘knowledgeable’ parents now became so concern with what ‘type’ of education they want their precious child to be getting. There are mainstream public school, private school, international & homeschooling – so many choices to choose from vs our parent’s time when there is just that one mainstream public school system.

I find myself reading, asking, analyzing & worrying excessively on what ‘sort’ of education system I should be sending my child to. My main priority is which education will help develop my child’s capability – but really when it comes to the nitty gritty part for me – it was just a simple – NO EXCESSIVE Homework !

Looking back, I only wanted my child to learn the Chinese language well so that she has access to more Chinese books vs just English books – which I often feel that I was at disadvantaged with. So I naturally enrolled my daughter to the local public Chinese medium school. And I never expect how my whole perspective change within the span of a year!

The accounts shared with parents of older kids attending the chinese school just shocked me & my experience of my girl getting all the weekly spelling from her kindy (according to the kindy, they are preparing the kids for chinese school) just does not sit well with me. I hear my sis in law complaining how her kid needing to complete the homework till 1am everyday & on top of that the kid’s weekends are spent on additional tuition classes.

So my question was – What is the school for then? If the kid has to do excessive homework & yet still go to weekend tuition classes – isn’t the school failing it’s role in educating the kids?

I firmly believe the parents’ well being is very important in a family. And I think if I (as the mother) has to be watching over my kid on her excessive homework every weekday nights after a working full day then weekends are spent on sending the child to tuition classes, I am pretty sure I will be not be very ‘well’ indeed – both physically & emotionally.

And thus – the alternative education came into the picture. Of course if the  alternative private / international school system is not available or even too expensive, I guess I will just have to resigned to my fate, but as I have mentioned – the availability & affordability have given us more choices. And precisely because of this availability, it furthers adds on to my ‘problems’ vs when I don’t have any other choice.

I always wonder why has the public education system eroded to just all memorizing & mugging? What’s with the excessive homework? Maybe our society has become really ‘complicated’ & the school is trying to keep up. But honestly I feel if anything, we need to simplify everything that’s getting so complicated now. People overthink & over analyze a small matter that they fail to focus on what matters. What matters is the child ‘understands’ what is being taught. Why 1+1 =2  & not 4 ? Why are we rushing them to do 20+14 when they don’t get why is 1+1=2 is not 4?

Honestly, does excessive weekly spelling actually help the child in building her vocabulary in building meaningful sentences? (eg. I had a hard time explaining the difference between happiness & happy – in Chinese to my 6 year old daughter, heck I don’t even know how to explain happiness – defined in dictionary as -state of being happy  in English!) So..how do one explain ‘state of being happy’ to a 6 year old ?!

Yes, our public education has failed us. Our leaders are not in touch with the current trends. Our teachers are overworked & underpaid. The kids are not ‘inbalanced’ & unhappy, it is not wonder that bullying at school has gotten more vicious & deadly.

I can either be grateful that I have the means to give my child the alternative ‘better’ education system or be ‘angry’ that despite my tax contributions, our government failed the citizens in providing a decent education for future generation of this country.

So what would I choose? Can I be both?

Yes yes.. first world problems…

 

 

 

 

Icelandic women & Vigdís Finnbogadóttir

So the month of June, I have decided to feature the Icelandic women & Vigdís Finnbogadóttir as I visit the beautiful country of Iceland & wanted to feature the country’s inspiring women as well.

During the International Women’s Year in 1975 Icelandic women attracted great attention when they organized a general strike to show how important women’s undervalued work was. 90 per cent of the Icelandic women went on strike. And this is the start where the country’s politics start to change & that’s when Vigdís Finnbogadóttir comes in.

Vigdís Finnbogadóttir was the world’s first democratically directly elected female president.  She holds true to her post & took an active role as environmental activist and fought for Icelandic language and culture, acting as a cultural ambassador in promoting the country.  She had as her motto: ‘Never let the women down’ and worked specifically to promote girls’ education.

What I am in awe of is really how during the 1975 these Icelandic women decided to band together & show that they contribute just as much as men do. We are talking about 42 years ago where gender equality is not a norm (actually even today, it is still not a norm).

So yes.. women can do what they set out to do .. that is if they WANT to do it at all.

Maya Angelou

My month of May feature of inspiring woman is Maya Angelou. An poet, writer & civil rights activist. She is super popular.. so if need know more – just wiki/google – so much information about her.

Maya

image via wikimedia commons

Her poems are famous & so are her books.  But for me what really makes me take an interest in her was when she shared her mother’s advice – “Ask for what you want,and be prepared to pay for what you get “

And why it strikes me so ? Because – it is one thing we ALWAYS forget when want something. We ask, demand, work hard & give our all to get what we want but sometimes we forget to be prepared for what we will get.

It is like

At 6, you can’t wait to go to school but you are not prepared with the home work for the next 10 years.

At 12, you can’t wait to be taller but you are not prepared with the chaotic hormonal change

At 21, you can’t wait to start work & put your college knowledge to work but you are not prepared that what you learn are only used < 5 % cause nothing matters more than diligence & persistence.

At 28, you can’t wait to live with your absolute love but you are not really (or ever will be) prepared for the other 50% of the weird habits

At 35, you can’t wait to have the baby out of your womb (cos 9 whole months of 100% attachment can really get to you) but you are not really prepared for the 300% commitment to the child for the rest of your life.

“budding” wannabe entrepreneurs cum professionals

After years of running a small business & having met countless customers, suppliers & professionals, I can’t help but be more annoyed with the professionals. To be fair, these professionals are great at their work, one can learn a lot from them, but when they thought I am their BFF (on their end) , they start to give me ideas on doing business. And most of the time, they seem to be wanting the ‘business’ owners to come up with money, time & work, while they – being the ‘professional’ just gives the idea (aka all talk).

The fact of the matter is, entrepreneurs are not just people who generate idea. They are successful because they execute them. They invest 150% of their time in their idea. I am not an entrepreneur precisely because I don’t invest 150% of my time, I only invest 50%. But that doesn’t mean that I am stupid ok?

I don’t get why a professional will think ‘introducing’ people to work for us will therefore be ‘super’ beneficial to expansion of our business. The nitty gritty of any business is not just about people, its also about processes, controls, budgets & sales. If there’s anything I learned from my 8 years, it will be – its all about SALES, SALES, SALES. Get the SALES (& payment!) before one should even bother with any capital investment.

So see – those successful entrepreneurs, they know its all about sales & also all about capital  – what they do is giving their all to their idea & execution. I have met many small scale entrepreneurs & they work at least 12 hours a day & give their all to their business.

Yes – that’s what sets professionals & entrepreneurs apart.

Unless the professional can get out of their ‘comfort’ zone of that monthly ‘clock-work’ salary,please – don’t go around ‘sharing’ your ideas & telling other ‘small’ business owners to try to sell your ‘product or services’. It really is very degrading to your profession.

I am not an entrepreneur or a professional. But I am very ‘lucky’ to have met both types. I guess it is because we are small businesses & professionals seems to think they know better because they are experts in their field. I have never met any entrepreneur who gives ideas for other small business owner because they know that running one is nothing compared to the amount of energy & time needed.