Saturday, December 19, 2009

Some "difficult" personal ideas

I would say that most of my friends are intellectual with a little bit of a liberal bent. In this article, I want to showcase some of my ideas and beliefs which may not be easily acceptable by mainstream folks. The aim is to welcome disagreement and possibly improve on some of these ideas.

Here they are in their pristine state:

a) Defining a purpose in life is a waste of time.

Everyone when facing some difficulty or stress may reach some point in time when they start to question if they are on the right path. This indecision can lead to rash action. Work stress two years almost drove me into contemplating the teaching profession. I look at what happened and realized that if it's your job that's a problem, you find a new one preferably with better pay and hours. It may not even be the industry sector or the company that's giving trouble. It may just be the unreasonable assholes that you worked with.

If there really was some purpose in one's life. Then God or some creator would have made proctologists solely for the aim of looking down someone's rear end. A better approach would be to figure out one's marketable strength and failing which, take action to see if some strengths may surface in the process.

b) The Asian approach to education is the right one.

I want my kids to go through the Singapore system because unlike the Western approach, the Asian system defines the syllabus and grants self esteem only to the people who can master it. The western approach doles out self-esteem in the hopes that mastery occurs. The consequences are that the folks who survive the Singapore system are more unassuming and readily gain an appreciation that they can carve out something valuable for themselves with the right effort and sacrifice.

i) Confident and capable people are best.( But can you keep them? )
ii) Capable people who are not confident are good loyal workers.
iii) Incapable people who lack confidence are willing to learn and can be taught.
iv) The most destructive people out there are incapable people who are brimming with bravado and confidence.

c) Success comes from the constant leverage of rare unique advantages and can be unfair to people without them.

Suppose we take wealth out of the equation and look at intelligence and talent, even with these traits, life does not dole out talent and intelligence to everyone. Liberals may want to be kind to people who are born smart enough to succeed but they are hypocrites when they apply the same guilt trip to those who make it through personal resources and even family wealth.

The age of people coming from a small kampong and then going into RI and then becoming a Minister to rule benevolently over us plebeians is over. It's not something I proud of but Legal and medical schools are full of folks who don't come from HDB homes.

People put too much blame on governments and social institutions when they don't meet their own benchmarks for success. I think this is inefficient. It's better to look into our own personal advantages and then pimp it to maximum effect. We owe it to ourselves to play our cards towards maximum effect.

So if you are the bosses son, i think you should just take over and run your business well. The guy from the heartlands may be leveraging on his superior intellect and charm to take your share of the economic pie. And the scholar Admin Officer wants you to pay your taxes too.

d) The Singapore Dream is dead.

There is no Singapore dream anymore. Americans got the idea right when they say that you only have the right to pursue your happiness. Getting happiness is never guaranteed.

You get married, then have children to get some discount to buy ownership in a HDB for 99 years is a lie to keep you a slave for the system. After a while you get sick and die surrounded by consumer goods that you don't really need. Consumption now generates most of government taxes.

The same liberals who are against my measures of extreme austerity are feeding the government Admin office scholars with their own consumption taxes.

That's not a dream. It's a nightmare of epic proportions.

We have the freedom decide what's best for ourselves, politically, socially and economically. My methods to replace paid income with passive income to gain personal freedom is only a small partial solution to this grand equation.

When an army of capitalist shareholders descend upon our GLCs and start voting blocks with our dollars, this should be the battlefield that we are preparing for. With enough shares, we can end the "amakudari" in the corporate world in Singapore.

A democracy will arise from capital ownership. That is my Singapore dream.


  1. Remember Forest Gump’s passage: "Life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're gonna get."? I will try every one in the box, 'gonna get' in life.

    Defining a purpose in life is NOT a waste of time. A purpose in life can give and bring hope, at least.

    Anyway, not many people, in their twenties, thirties, or forties, will consider this – a search in meaning of life -- as important unless and until they meet a defining moment: say loss of loved ones, illness, etc.

    I believe it is not possible to have a script – my purpose in life -- written out that you could faithfully follow and be happy thereafter. Life is too imperfect to allow it to happen; and life’s happening does not work that way. Because there is much uncertainty in life, you and I cannot have a fixed script, but I can keep refreshing my life purpose to bring new perspective.

    Earlier, I thought I could live into the seventies, or eighties like my late father, but I now know I cannot because of my illness. My earlier purpose in life will go as I search for new ones – bucket list and what not.

    So I think, depending on the economic vagaries and health, our purpose in life will change as new situations present new challenges requiring new approaches: in thoughts, in feelings, and in creative actions; and you have said that too

    Just as I choose to work differently, play new roles, see life in a new perspective, I do have a different purpose in life now and this is not time wasting. It is an uplifting spirit.

    My two cents on a Sunday.

    Loon Shin

  2. It would be naive of me, or anyone so daring, to tell there is a right approach to education. Many people in the west and the east are still grappling over it. Hmmm... in the end, there is not going to be a 'right way.'

    Overall, I think a good education, perceived or imagined, will have to be a mixed of western, and east or oriental teachings. That to me is a reality. It is not real to have only the 'Asian' approach to education to the exclusion of the western teachings in the school systems here -- not possible too.

    Well, in leadership and management circles now, of course, there is a growing awareness that the oriental point of view can play a useful role to give a holistic approach to solving problems -- like taking the different community interest into consideration, thus tempering and moderating self-esteem. This ought to be a universal thing but some will acknowledge that this to be an 'asian' way. Another example is a confirming 'chinese' handshake instead of a formal agreement in trusting and ensuring deals.

  3. Nice blog, interesting post, so do pardon my rambling here ;-)

    Regarding gifts/talents, sure, not everyone has the same talents as the other, though at the end of the day (beyond material returns), those who maximise their talents are abundantly rewarded, either in their lifetimes or centuries thereafter.

    On the 'Singapore Dream', suffice to say that it comprises the collective sum of the hopes, desires and aspirations of all who identify themselves as Singaporean. Anything else termed as such is propaganda.

    On purpose, my view is that life is truly worth living; mere existence is a major act of shortchanging oneself. After all, What's Life If You Don't Live It?