Handling too many interests, too little time – A Thought Exercise


Future Reinvention
Breaking out from the hiatus, revisiting the past, fusing it into the future.
~ Flex Tio, 13 Oct 2016 ~

A commitment to the nation’s conscription policy comes with its own perks. It gave me some time to complete my work in peace and more importantly, some time to self-reflect.

Once in a blue moon, I will take out my sketch book and draw whatever visions that came to my mind. As usual, I do not have a theme when I started drawing this recent picture. I interpreted whatever I have drawn after completing the drawing…

I took a 5-year hiatus from music and Japanese. Strange enough, that seemed to be what my idol Utada Hikaru was doing in the same period. I supposed most people at our age might probably be doing the same thing, as the spirit of living and adventuring got hold of us in endless cycles. Anyway, I’ve digressed.

Foray into public speaking, learning about soft skills (life skills!), a change in career, board gaming, half-marathons and an unsure but growing interest in facilitation. I’ve grown a lot as a person and I’ve learnt to be more accepting to the world around me in these five years. Life went tougher as expected, but I was marked happier. However, I wasn’t ready to give up the breakthroughs I had in life.

The past two year, I tried to do music and Japanese all over again. I wouldn’t say I failed to deliver after so long, but it had been a slug fest faced with limited success and passion to drive it. Melody no longer flows and Japanese just isn’t that fluent. It didn’t feel that satisfying.

It was also clear that I had way too many different interests and too little time.

One way was obvious, I have to pick and choose, and say no to some of the interests that I had. Of course, the perfectionist will want to have the cake and eat it too.

I was just wondering if a Future Reinvention could be another possible solution?

To me, Future Reinvention involves fusing the past talents that I have and use them in new ways that fits nicely into my current interests, creating a new brand of interests that I can pursue and explore. Fundamentally, it is a “kill two birds with a stone” type of solution. It is what this exact blog represents in fact, exploring symbiotic relationships between my interests.

I know very well that Future Reinvention is going to be a very ambitious project to undertake as I will have to rethink everything that I know about myself, probably even thinking about it in a reverse direction. I’m not quite sure if it is going to work out personally. Yet, my subconscious seemed to think it will…

That 0.1% Matters Too


This is what 0.1% looks like on the chart.

Small and insignificant or so it looks, compared to the grand scale of things.

Surely, there are greater things we need to worry about:

  • According to the United Nations, World Food Programme, 12.9% of the world population are starving.
  • A similar number exists when we talk about the number of people in the world who do not have access to clean water.
  • Percentages roughly halves when we look at the number of people who lack healthcare. That translates to about 5 to 6%. We are talking about 400 million of the 7.4 billion people in the world do not have access to healthcare.

With such a huge job at hand, why should we bother about 0.1% anyway? Is it too insignificant?

Do you know that about 0.1% of the people are internally displaced in the recent Syrian conflict?

If that doesn’t appeal to you…

How about the wealth controlled by the top 0.1% of the people?

According to the Guardian, in the States, the top 0.1% of the rich controlled as much wealth as the bottom 90%. Think of what you could do with all that money to help the world out, if you can influence them and give them a good reason to help the others.

Finally, there’s also about 0.1% of the people in the world who lived in a country that gained independence against its will. The country grew to be a seemingly utopian state but faces its own unique set of struggles too today.

I live in that country. Singapore matters to me. That 0.1% matters to me too.

Pokemon GO: Perspectives from a Random Lecturer in Singapore

Pokemon GO has been making waves in Singapore since it’s launch just a few days ago.

It has managed to do what Singapore’s Health Promotion Board has been trying to do, get people to exercise! And then there is this awesome Republic Polytechnic lecturer that lays down the rules against playing Pokemon GO in class!

I’m no Pokemon fan. I belong in the age of Doraemon. I’m also one of the curious lecturer who downloaded the app to see what my students are exactly enjoying. Students always seem so surprised that lecturers are also playing Pokemon and gossiping exchanging information about students, doing the things that students do. But hey! Have they forgotten that we are humans too?

In my opinion, every hype and fab that our students are into, there’s usually a positive outcome for teachers and lecturers to dabble into. Pokemon GO is no exception. In fact, it is so big that the rewards are many folds bigger for teachers and lecturers to reap.

(1) Pokemon GO gives me an instant shared experience to connect with my students.

Such rare opportunities provided me with the chance to break the barriers with students, especially those who I may not have connected well with in a class of 20 to 24. “By the way, have you check out the Pokestop at the fountain? Remember to top up your Pokeballs on your way to the MRT”.

Pokestop at NYP

(2) Pokemon GO gives me a language to talk to my students.

Want to go through all the Pokestop in the shortest amount of time to get your refill of Pokewares? Here’s your motivation to learn about the Travelling Salesman Problem. Can’t get my students to understand a theory in class? Whip out a Pokemon metaphor, they might just get it. Pokemon GO is probably doing very well in this aspect. It is complicated enough, in the sense that I can see lots of science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics behind the game. An art in every design and a technology to drive every enjoyment.An expressive example for some pretty confusing theories.

A common question I get from some people: You’re a lecturer and an educator, shouldn’t you be frowning upon games in the first place?!

Short answer: Why, whatever for? Everything in moderation. Work hard, play harder. Life’s too short not to have some fun?

TL;DR answer: Taking away the extremes, the fanatical bad publicity that Pokemon GO has accumulated which included trespassing and getting into car crashes, I placed great trust that my students will game on in a moderate manner. No need to discourage, just need to encourage them to get their priorities right if they have not done so.

After all, I am an avid gamer myself, a Level 80 Maplestory Ice Mage (without the use of 2x Exp cards mind you), guilty of playing Maplestory quietly at the back of the lecture theatre and taking photographs of lecture materials in the age when camera phones are still sucky and Nokia still champs (I use a real point and shoot camera with a tripod!). Hey, I still score an A for my AI lecturer~

The world already expects the next generation to be super-humans in many aspects; I think they should just be more human instead.

My First Self-Authored Paper

It was always a dream for me to share and contribute unique ideas on a world stage. On 13 Jun 2016, I got a little breakthrough at Turku, Finland, through the 12th International CDIO Conference, presenting the first paper which I wrote as a solo author, Industry-Inspired Experiential Learning and Assessment of Teamwork (see Page 469/470).

Perhaps this idea is not that unique unique. Original and fresh perspectives at methods found in real life would probably be how I liked to describe it. It was a small piece of work, considering that a team of psychologists from the Individual and Team Performance Lab, University of Calgary also presented something on teamwork, an excellent piece of work (Please check it out here!) which was practical, structured and on a titanic scale.

Not to mention that I had to rush out of the conference venue immediately after my presentation to meet a collaborator, leaving no time to network with those who are interested in my work.

The very next day, I saw this (see 4th tweet):


The conference organisers picked up on my research and highlighted it on their Twitter. I’m really excited about it.

Not just that, there were at least three other people at the conference who remembered my face, my name and my research. A Brazilian who worked in the aerospace industry who consulted me on leadership training for their student-trainees, a lecturer from UK who we only met over 20 seconds over the conference dinner complimented my work, and, the psychologists from the University of Calgary, who also remarked that it was a good piece!

In fact, only now, after the conference, checking out from the tweets, it might be because it was the University of Calgary who had first picked up on my research. In an attempt to reach out to me, they tweeted globally. The conference organisers followed up on that tweet and highlighted my research. No matter what the case, it is something that really excites me and I can say I am proud of.

To the ITP Lab team from University of Calgary at CDIO, thank you for reaching out to me.

I’m also glad I attended both the paper presentation and workshop by the University of Calgary too. I really learnt a lot from their experiences; they are after all the experts in this field, backing their methods by strong research. If you are interested to check out their work, I’ve put a link to their website above. The tool is free to use too I believe.


At last, a breakthrough, a small win. 🙂

Win-Win for Cross-Island Line?

Background. If the proposed Cross-Island Line (CRL) MRT was to tunnel through the Nature Reserve, there is possible impact on the bio-diversity that lives 40 meters on top of the line (Line drawn in RED in the diagram below).

An alternative was given, routing around the Nature Reserve along Lornie Road and Upper Thomson Road (Line drawn in BLUE in the diagram below). Land acquisition seems inevitable and it will cost $2b more.

For more information, you can read about it here.

If experience serves me right, win-win situations are seldom black or white. They either exist in the grey region or require something out of the box. Disclaimer, I am no civil engineer, but this is what I am suggesting based on whatever I can see on the map, ignoring the fact the we probably need to dig a lot deeper (Line drawn in ORANGE in the diagram below):


Background Map from http://www.OneMap.sg

I’m suggesting we give Sin Ming a miss altogether and give up connecting the North-South Line and Thomson-East Coast Line at the northern region.

If we really have to, why not just build a branch line like the Cross-Island Line that juts out to Punggol?

Or perhaps Caldecott can be the interchange station to the Cross-Island Line.

In fact, I thought there were some experts who mentioned in the news that a further south alignment would be better? Whatever happen to that idea I can’t even seem to find it anywhere on the Internet no more?


Three Feng-Shui Reasons why PAP could do well this election

Feng Shui master's Luopan by Warren R.N. Stuart

Feng Shui master’s Luopan by Warren R.N. Stuart

It has always been an interest to me if the G would do things according to Feng Shui. Disclaimer: I’m no professional. But this doesn’t stop me from observing the good “feng-shui” factor for the coming 2015 elections.
(1) Polling Day falls on a 青龙(黄道)执日

According to baidu.com, 执日 is also translated as “Hold On”. Hence, with Polling Day falling on a 执日, the G would be able to “hold on” to its power.

(2) Lunar Seventh month is a lucky month for people born in the year of the Dragon

According to chinahighlights.com, the lucky Chinese lunar months for people who are born in the year of the dragon are the 3rd, 4th and 7th. Not surprisingly, our PM is born in the year of the Dragon! Who cares whether we are still celebrating the Hungry Ghost Festival which falls on the 7th month on Polling Day? Luck is with him!

(3) PM Lee Hsien Loong has secret friends Tharman Shanmugaratnam and Chan Chun Sing to help him

Elections are after all a team effort and this goes in Feng Shui too. According to World of Feng Shui, a Dragon’s secret friend is the Rooster. Both Tharman Shanmugaratnam and Chan Chun Sing are born in the Year of the Rooster hence our Prime Minister does not just have one, but two secret friends to help him win this election.

What do you all think? Could there be a great geomancy master out there advising them on every important step? I think so although I could be wrong too!