Saturday, February 25, 2012

If we are labelled dogs, let's become pit-bulls and not poodles !

Baey Yam Keng's idea that scholarships should be based on meritocracy and not nationality is not completely wrong, but that should only be lauded if the students with the best results do get the scholarships in the first place.

I got myself my First Class in Engineering from NUS over a decade ago, the very same faculty as this Sun Xu person. I would dare say then that most of us who got a 1st Class in those days were Singaporeans. But I would also venture to say that most of us had to pay off our school fees just like everyone else. This, for me, means skipping out on my bonuses for at least the first two years of my working life.

Even if we do make our beds with Meritocracy, PAP has a lot to explain to the Gen-Xers who did time in NS, did ok in University and regularly pay our taxes today why we are investing $175,000 per head in a batch of student who have 55% chance of getting a second lower than before.

It's not good mathematics, it's not good finance and certainly bad politics.

Here's some people whom I believe, deserve a scholarship more than the likes of Sun Xu or even someone who gets a 1st Class in Engineering ( believe me, we can look after ourselves and our children.)

a) Why not give a scholarship for the ITE grad that makes it to Polytechnic part-time.

I have a very capable colleague who studied in ITE. He spent 5 years on his diploma while holding a job at the same time. I don't remember anyone in my cohort who scored a 1st class with that kind of world-class grit. Quite a number of Singaporeans go through this system which in actually a time-tax on people who may potentially be late bloomers.

Note : I'm not asking the government to give more seats to ITE students in a polytechnic, but their numbers should be sufficiently small enough for us to make a decision to let them study for free or at least with 80% subsidies if they serve NS.

b) Why not make studying cheaper for diploma holders to get a degree in NUS/NTU.

I'm not in the engineering field, never was and never will be. I prefer to use my logical reasoning to analyse stocks, calculate real estate yields and help motivate my friends to find spouses.

The loyal engineers who still do technical work today generally have polytechnic diplomas. The more more technical ones tend to do a Bachelor in Technology as a part time course because they need to apply these skills at work.

An investment in these guys keeps our manufacturing and electrical sector competitive.

From another POV, can NUS/NTU reimburse engineers who stick in the engineering field for at least 8 years ?

c) Pay people to drop-out of NUS/NTU.

This has been experimented very aggressively in the US. Degrees, even engineering ones, are primarily used for signalling to potential employers a person's worth. Very few degree programs impart actual workplace skills. This means that folks in a degree program who are getting good grades may not actually need a degree to do well in life.

We need more entrepreneurs to open up new markets. A panel of businessmen in collaboration with the NUS Business school should form a fund to pay out $100,000 to about 3-4 students with a solid business idea as seed funding. The caveat is that they need are to drop out immediately and not apply for a degree program for the next 4 years.

Anyway, I like to end by talking about dogs.

My parents used to own a pet shop at Shaw Centre. I'm ok with dogs and it's not really an insult to if someone calls me a dog. I would take grave offense if someone calls me a poodle, because its an elitist breed that needs constant grooming.

I think if PRC scum bag calls you a dog. Go show them what a pit-bull you can be.

Make sure that when you bite, you don't let go.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Cynicism sucks ! Introducing Cynicism 2.0.

One of the things I observed after all these years is that cynicism sucks !

Cynical people achieve less in life, or perhaps go on to achieve less in life. Cynical people spend a ridiculous amount of effort to destroy a good idea when less effort can be spent to make the idea work.

I'm surrounded by cynics. Over the years, I changed the way I deal with them. Cynical people can be a great source of motivation as there is nothing more satisfying that showing a cynic that something can be done and that success is possible.

One of things I set out to do when I started studying Psychology intensely is to break down Cynicism into it's residual components using the Big 5 personality model and one of the things I discovered is that Cynicism is really a blend of the Neurotic and Disagreeable personality traits. With this discovery, I believe that the idea that cynics are also losers gain considerable traction.

Neurotic people are scientifically proven to make horrible spouses. Too much of it also causes a person to self-handicap and only set out to do something only if it is guaranteed to succeed. If a neurotic person is also disagreeable, you have this perfect storm of a pure vortex of an evil person, putting down others, not being able to accept criticism and destroying the self-esteem of their loved ones.

Definitely not a combination that inspires success or achievement.

Instead I offer an alternative to Cynicism.

Cynicism 2.0 is an active life philosophy where you become cynical about cynicism. If cynics are emotional vampires, you become Van Helsing. You seek out cynics, get to know them and then break them with your willpower.

Here are some ideas on the foundations of Cynicism 2.0.

a) Collect Cynics as a source of motivation.

We lack nurturing souls in our lives. For most people, only mum can be nurturing towards you. Cynics however, are a dime a dozen. Urban survival dictates that cynics become a fuel for one's personal success.

To use the cynics in your life, you must adopt the maxim that if it can't be done by a cynic, it CAN BE DONE ! In fact, it must be done.

The look on a cynics face will be priceless !

b) Be ruthlessly empirical.

A neurotic and disagreeable person will pour cold water against any idea even before an actual field test. One tactic is to react with ruthless empiricism. Force the cynic to produce evidence, if the cynics mirrors your move, proceed to make the idea work. If anything, the cynic would have given you some advice on what to avoid to make your idea work so don't waste it.

Next time you meet a cynic and he gives you grief. Ask them this : Show me your KPI. What are your numbers ? Have you done it yourself ?

c) Say and deliver

This is the hardest part about dealing with a cynic and consistent use can break him. When you encounter someone who attacks an idea, say how it can be done and what resources you will employ to do it. Then go ahead and do it.

This requires a lot of discipline on your part. For one thing, you can only defend a strong idea with actual execution.

Cynicism 2.0 allows ordinary people to create a self-help system that harnesses the cynical people in their lives, you will find yourself setting disciplined goals and visualizing the path to success when faced with disagreement.

The joy of breaking a cynic is also personally satisfying as you build your self-esteem on top of their broken dreams.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

It's already Valentine's Day ! Loneliness 2.0

Ok, it's already Valentine's day.

If you liked my series, good. If you tried your best to make full use of it, but still did not get any progress, better luck next year.

This article is really popular today all over Facebook.

Loneliness 2.0 Article

Ok, so the article is'nt really entitled Loneliness 2.0 but it's high time singles reframe singlehood into something as positive as what the article does. Modern technology and cheap air travel on Chinese New Year is making singlehood more bearable these days.

Which brings me to my final point this Love season of 2012.

I doubt many readers are Agreeable, Conscientious and Emotionally Stable. Even if you are, you might even be drinking from the deadly fountain of Introversion and Closeness to New Experiences, making you immensely BORING and fit only to go to Sovnguard to kill Alduin.

On top of all this, society's problem is that the Beast of Singlehood is really growing in strength and power these days and amplified by social media.

If you find a hot cougar and fail to understand why she's single, be very careful, she's much harder to score than what she looks simply because your love rival is not a living breathing man but very possibly the Beast of Singlehood itself.

The Beast of Singlehood is the most seductive creature known to man and woman today. It means unlimited travel, unlimited control over financial resources, unlimited beer and unlimited shoes.

So, perhaps this Valentine's Day, take a good look at yourself, while you might even be better than the friends you hang out with, have more economic resources and a longer Placido Domingo, you need to convince that significant other that hanging out with you is way better than remaining single.

Until you can answer that question, you might to think about which class to play when Diablo 3 comes out in two month's time.

I'm going with Witchdoctor.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Countdown to Valentine's day #5 - The "nice guy" problem.

Let's talk about the "nice guy" problem.

You might want to pay attention to this article if you are one of the following:

a) You nurse a girl after a break-up only to see her date someone else after recovery.
b) You are always big brother or gor-gor to girls, close enough to share personal problems but not close enough to exchange bodily fluids.
c) You give her up for the greater good because another guy needs her more. ( How noble !)
d) You are an engineer stuck in a dating event full of female accountants.

First of all, don't malign nice guys. Nice guys make great spouses !

The problem is not because you are nice. As explained before, you have the combined traits which makes you a loser in the genetic race. You are probably introverted and lack openness to new experiences.

While either trait is not a problem, a combination of the two can result in a disaster. Your dating life and problem is easily summed up to a problem :

If she dates you, will you be able to provide a life of variety and surprise. Can you keep her engaged an interested in a relationship ?

While you probably make a better husband than the disagreeble extrovert otherwise known as a jerk. He is spreading his wild oats by using negative statements to attack women's self esteem, once that self-esteem hits rock bottom, he proceeds to sleep with her. Next week, the bloody bastard will be at it again in another watering hole.

Is there no justice in this world ?

Some tips for all the nice guys out there :

a) Expand your musical interests. It's not always country music or stupid love ballads.
b) Go to the museum. Just go and force yourself to like something, if you're an engineer, still... fucking go to the museum.
c) Expand your meal palate. Steak tartar anyone ? What about French ?
c) Learn the art of conversation. What do you do ? What made you decide to do what you do ? What is your philosophy in life ? Are men too macho or too sensitive these days ? Go memorize a fricking list of questions if you lack creativity.
d) Pick up something distracting like Magic for example. ( But not Magic the Gathering, I know many are into Serra Angels ! )

Anyway, here's my two cents worth of advice.

Tomorrow is your big day.

Happy Valentine's Day !

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Countdown to Valentine's day #4 - Neuroticism, the hemlock of all relationships.

Neuroticism is the tendency to be affected easily by negative events. Neurotic people get anxious, angry and depressed easily by seeming the smallest events that happen to them. Neuroticism is the great poison in relationships and one should be wise to learn to detect neuroticism in others.

In the context of filtering people like stocks, neuroticism is the equivalent of a bad management team. Bad management destroys value and sometimes it's worth avoiding a bargain stock if the management is corrupt or beyond redemption. Similarly neuroticism is the destroyer of marriages. A marriage can barely survive a neurotic husband but can rarely be sustained if there is a neurotic wife.

Sometimes you find a hot-looking chick in SDN and wonder what's wrong, the answer is possibly that she's neurotic, once you confirm this, run. Leave the country, even cut your balls off, because even good looks cannot save a relationship with a neurotic woman.

Neuroticism in men not as destructive, but neurotic men develop a tendency to handicap themselves and put obstacles ahead of themselves to avoid failure to protect their self-esteem. These people pretend to working on something but often will never achieve anything in life because they are so afraid of failure.

You have been warned.

Signs of a neurotic personality :

a) Somehow attracted to the colour black.
b) Gets irritable if the air-con fails.
c) Tries to defend poor exam scores by saying that they did not work hard on the test anyway.
d) Gets a physical headache when you say stuff that upsets them.
e) Violent, aggressive behaviour when given poor treatment in a restaurant ( Guilthy as charged ! )
f) Disappears for weeks after a personal setback.
g) Defensiveness when asked to produce results on paper.

If you are a neurotic male, wake up your ideas. Your self-esteem is worth squat in the bigger scheme of things and no one really cares if you succeed or fail. But at least you are not really a bane in relationships.

If you are neurotic female, give up ! Do not even use your good looks as a consolation because of the countless husbands who will be destroyed by you once they go ROM with you. Better stay single to eliminate the neurotic gene from the human race.

Anyway, this sums up the three traits to look for in a long-term relationship. We will discuss some special issues with personality traits as we move towards VD in the next two days.

Happy Valentine's Day !

Countdown to Valentine's day #3 - Agreeableness, and stop coming up with excuses.

Agreeable is a measure of how pleasant you are in social situations. Internally it also measures the extent that one trusts others. Agreeable people make good spouses because they are more generous, helpful and trusting.

To demonstrate how agreeable I am. I would like to tell many single men this.


Street common sense can go against the grain of research findings.

If agreeable men make such great spouses, why do nice guys remain single and dateless on Valentine's Day ? The answer is possibly that the individual is too introverted and closed to new experiences, this is a deadly cocktail that can make a person un-dateable and remains independent of whether a person is a nice guy or not. Note that just because a guy is undateable does not mean that he'll make a horrible life partner.

Anyway, being Agreeable is also an important filter, somewhat like price to book ratio for stocks, but it is less important than Conscientiousness for men because disagreeable or Machiavellian men tend to go further in the corporate world and accumulate more wealth. My personal view is that women ordinarily do not filter aggressively against disagreeable people ( even Steve Jobs has kids right ? ) even though disagreeable men have a higher divorce rate.

Nevertheless signs of Disagreeableness can look like this :

a) Likes arguing with others. Cannot lose an argument.
b) Does not trust people.
c) Does not donate money to secondary school students in public.
d) Tends to lack ability to empathise.
e) Narcissistic bastard.
f) Prejudiced against stigmatised group. ( gays, fat or people of different colour )

If you are a disagreeable women, give up and stop destroying lives unless you are also really hot. The fact that you may climb higher in the corporate ladder does squat for men.

Being a disagreeable man is not such big a loss but if you do not have your achievements to back it up, you're just a grumpy loser. My advice is to learn to empathise with others or give up and stop ruining other's lives.

Happy Valentine's Day !

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Countdown to Valentine's day #2 - Conscientiousness, give up if you lack this.

If the number of people of the opposite sex you will meet can be seen as a basket of stocks, conscientiousness will be the primary filter that you should employ to ensure that you would not waste any-time for their consideration. For me, using conscientiousness applied to life-partners is as important as filtering out stocks based on dividend yields.

Conscientiousness has a complicated definition when I looked up Wiki. Some people would describe it as self-directedness. Conscientious folks are disciplined, industrious, careful, thorough, organized and have a strong need for achievement. Conscientious people have a plan for the future and have the balls to carry out their plans and track the numbers accordingly.

When you design a filter, there are some signals of someone who lacks conscientiousness :

a) Someone who is chronically late for an appointment.
b) Someone who procrastinates.
c) Someone who lacks impulse control, buys anything that's the hottest shit out there.
d) Someone who discussed sexual matters with a male friend ( Guilthy as charged !)
e) Someone who lounges around the house without clothes on ( Also guilty as charged !)
f) Someone who likes telling dirty jokes ( And the lady went "Mmmmf ! MMMPF ! MMMPF ! ")

If you're a lady and think you lack conscientiousness. Pray that you look hot.

If you're a guy and lack conscientiousness, I advice that you take yourself out of the dating market. Lack of conscientiousness in men is one of the highest predictor of divorce. Conscientious men who are disagreeable ( yes, the lawful Evil Darth Vader types ) tend to have more successful marriages and may even have longer lives.

Of course, being over-conscientious can be destructive to one's life. You can become a perfectionist, develop some obsessive compulsive disorder or can be just plain boring.

So it's not too late to take a good look at your significant other, if he lack conscientiousness. DTMFA ! ( Dump the MFer already ! )

Happy Valentine's Day !

Friday, February 03, 2012

Countdown to Valentine's day #1 - What to look out for.

Every Valentine's Day is the same on my Facebook. Some person decides to go all Emo-emo and start putting old Music Videos of Chinese songs from the 90s. Others start quoting song lyrics. Nothing changes after that. We can look forward to VD 2013 for more of the same.

As a married man and father of a girl, I want to do something different for VD.

Married people don't factor much into VD. All the struggles have already taken place. Now it's time to raise kids and worry about PSLE and getting the girl-girl into Raffles Girls School.

Singles should look at married people like the way CEOs look at management consultants. People who are not in the game but are happy to provide insight on what to do for the next playbook.

This year I want to write a few articles to countdown to VD for the readers.

Today I'm going to talk about what to look out for. Ask any single and he/she will have a wish-list on what to look out for in a significant other. As it turns out, studying Psychology can be useful and can yield a pretty simple answer. I think it's certainly possible to use this insight to filter out the problem people in your life the same way I screen my stocks for higher dividends.

So the next time, you are in some speed dating situation or get tested by other folks, you can claim to seek the following traits in a desired partner :

a) The person should be Conscientious.
b) The person should be Agreeable.
c) The person should be Emotionally Stable. ( Low in Neuroticism )

These three things to look out for are similar for men and for women.

As we get closer to VD, I will write about each trait.