Saturday, June 10, 2006

You Have The Power

Rather than assume that you start out with no power in life and accumulate it bit-by-bit or are given permission, assume the other way: That you have all the power in the world but are limited by laws, expectation and love for others.

Changi Airport The Place to Watch The World Cup

Changi Airport Lounge
Changi Airport the place to watch the world cup for me. Just touched down and decided to watch it here.

I predict:

Germany 4 - Costa Rica 1 and
Poland 2 - Ecuador 0.

Changi Airport shouldn't be called an airport. It should be called Changi, the shopping mall with the airport attached.

Friday, June 09, 2006

It's Not You're Stupid, It's Just I'm Clever

Are people really stupid?

Perhaps in fact, they're just uninformed or that we have greater and deeper insight than them.

Do we avoid conflict by saying we were just "lucky" in knowing the right thing?

Does Tiger Woods say when he wins a tournament that he was just lucky in getting the ball into the hole? "Aiyah, just lucky leh, I happen to hit the ball at the right angle, nothing much too it. And the wind blew at the right time."

Or how about Evander Holyfield when he beats an opponent to pulp? "I didn't do much leh. I just held out my fist and his chin landed on it."

Funny? However, that's the sort of statements you get in Singapore/Malaysian culture. The Asian modesty and "humility" at work.

It seems that people don't want to seen to be arrogant, or to be better than their peers.

I remember in my own life it started in Standard 1 (Primary 1). All I did was say something I knew (I can't even remember what it was) or perhaps acted something out and another kid said "Wah! You so action ah?"

I observe people who get straight A's who receive their awards with head bowed embarassed in getting their prize. There's nothing wrong with it in the right context. Sometimes it is embarassing to get an award. But can you imagine the Brazil team lifting aloft the World Cup "embarassed" to win something they've trained hard and long for?

Real competition has nothing to do with crushing an opponent, it is in doing your best and in building each other up.

The "loser" in a game doesn't lose. He has won because he has tried his best and has stretched himself with someone better than him. (Better than him this time that is.)

We think that in being self-deprecating we do not hurt our opponents feelings or make him down. No, that isn't it. In fact, if you think so, it means you're living in a scarcity mentality. If your opponent is mature enough and has the same attitude, he can handle defeat and grow stronger from it.

But does it then strikes as pride? What then is humility? What is true humility?

Humility when others lose isn't downplaying yourself or others but upplaying.

It's emphasis should be on building others up, not on tearing others (including yourself) down.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Fantasies of Life

In each stage of our lives there are illusions to give up. Erik Eriksson lists down the following, which is quoted in Scott Peck's "The Road Less Travelled":

  1. The state of infancy, in which no external demands need be responded to

  2. The fantasy of omnipotence

  3. The desire for total possession of one's parents

  4. The dependency of childhood

  5. Distorted images of one's parents

  6. The omnipotentiality of adolescence

  7. The "freedom" of uncommitment

  8. The agility of youth

  9. The sexual attractiveness and/or potency of youth

  10. The fantasy of immortality

  11. Authority over one's children

  12. Various forms of temporal power

  13. The independence of physical health

  14. And, ultimately, the self and life itself.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

When Religion Goes Bad

Most of the time God's word is a blessing to others.

However, the practices and customs of God's church and his word can be used as a disguise for our sins of fear, hate, pride, prejudice and the like.

In mild cases, for example a person afraid of making a decision often can use the religious clich├ęs of "I've yet to hear from God about this.", "Let's pray about it.", "Let me check the word of God". It's a kind of religious paralysis of analysis. He/she is just afraid to step out in faith even after diligent prayer and research.

In other cases, religion is used as a tool to control others or to keep them in check. "Have you prayed about it?" can be a valid case of concern or a way of casting doubt on a person's decision. There are parents who use the 5th commandment--"Thou shalt honor thy father and mother"--to manipulate or spiritually blackmail their children into submission or to keep them within the chains of their ego.

Parents like this use it so that instead of "Thy will be done in my children" it becomes "My will be done in my children" using their children as extensions of themselves to live out their own lives vicariously and live by proxy, projecting their fears, hates, anxieties and prejudices onto them.

There can even be the sin of pride in religion. A person can be proud of being the most prayerful or pious person in his church or community. Heck, there can even be people who are proud of being the most humble. Talk about oxymoron! The yeast of the Pharisees is still alive even in the church. Beware.

Scott Peck in "People of the Lie" writes that evil in fact when exposed tries to hide itself in the clothes of religion. The sad fact is that evil does not lie just in the dregs of society, it lies in all. Some of the most evil of people may be lurking in the guise of deacons, priests and pastors.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Don't Sweat The Small Stuff

Protecting and respecting your own privacy is a statement to yourself and others that you value yourself and your own peace of mind.