I wouldn’t be who I am today if not for…

Nov 22, 2007

I’ve been tagged by Chris Brogan for this meme:

“Who had a big influence on you and how did that affect the direction of your life or career?“

We don’t have Thanksgiving here in Singapore, but I think this is an awesome meme, and I’m honored to be included. Thanks Chris – but more on that later. I’m always up for promoting others, and for writing about relationships. So, here’s the people who’ve influenced me, and who have changed my life. If not for you guys, I truly wouldn’t be who I am today.

My mum – Kind of obvious. She’s always been supportive of what I’ve done, even when it’s way out of the norm and really risky. Like quitting school. She’s given me enough space to explore the things I’m interested in, while teaching me good principles for life.

Simin – One of the most (if not the most) important people in my life. Yes, we’ve had disagreements and fights and all. But she’s always been one of the brightest sparks in my life, making me laugh, and just being a great friend. She was the main inspiration behind my temper improving, and basically, I became a better person because of her.

Samantha Wong – She’s always been there for me. Whenever I’ve been down, I could turn to her. She’s someone who I can talk to about anything. The times with her have kept me going in some of my lowest points in life, and ultimately to get out of those points. [edit: for those of you who might know her, no, this does not refer to the Samantha Wong from NUS High.]

Kai Hui – If not for her, I might not even be alive right now. Literally. When I was really at one of my lowest points (even toying with the idea of suicide – I don’t think I would have done it, but it was on my mind), she pulled me out of it.

Grace Huang – One of the first true friends I had, who I could really open up to and count on. She’s been my friend longer than anyone else, and even until now, I know I can count on her. Helps me to keep my head on straight and not get too emotional when stuff happens, and has been a great reminder that some friendships can last the distance, and that there are people who really will always be there.

Lihsia – I’ve blogged about her before a few times, I think. She’s been a huge encouragement and support, and an awesome inspiration. One of the smartest people I have the honor of knowing personally, having her as a friend has helped improved the way I think. When I first started this blog, she was my sounding board for a lot of my ideas, and she helped me sort out my thoughts for my first posts. More than that, on a personal level, she’s someone who I can trust, someone who’s always been willing to listen. A truly great friend.

Joshua Chan – He’s one guy I look up to a lot, and someone who’s influenced the way I think. He was more or less the one who cemented my opinion of the formal education system (that it’s broken). Great with words, always witty and often controversial, he was the first person who got me to start thinking about breaking out of the status quo.

Wei Min – Keyboardist and musician extraordinaire. He was the one who pushed me forward in my keyboard playing, and in my musicianship in general. He was a great encouragement, giving me good tips, and being harsh enough when required. Awesome musician, even more amazing mentor.

Natalie Yeo – My group leader in my first Megalife camp, and a great inspiration ever since. Haven’t really talked much in recent months, but she always helped me keep my eyes on God, no matter the circumstance. Even just seeing the way she lives her life is a great encouragement. She kept me firm in my Christian walk whenever I felt like giving up.

Chris Brogan – I emailed him for suggestions when I first started this blog, and I’m really glad I did. He gave me great advice, and even went on to promote and link to my blog. And he’s continued being a great encouragement – including me in memes like this, inviting me to PodCamp Boston 2 (and helping me in getting there), among others.

And last, but definitely not least….You – Yes, I know this sounds cliche. But without you guys, my awesome readers, this blog wouldn’t have lasted this long. Your encouragement has really kept me going, pushing me to continue posting, and to keep trying to write better posts. Your comments have thoughts keep me on my feet. Your own blogs give me inspiration and ideas to write about. So, thank you, all of you.

What about you? Who are your influences? Feel free to consider yourself tagged by me if you think it’s a worthwhile topic. Or you can share here in the comments. Specifically, I want to tag Sarah Deutsch, Jean Browman, Kabren, Tom O’Leary, Lynn, Esther.

Protests in KL

Nov 12, 2007

Yesterday, tens of thousands of people gathered in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia to demand electoral reforms. The government had refused to grant a permit for the gathering, and as such, it was considered illegal. Tear gas was used by police to disperse the protesters. You can read more on the story here.

I found out about this from one of my friends, Lihsia (who I’ve mentioned here before). It’s really close to home for her, being a Malaysian herself, and here’s what she has to say about it:

“I like my country in this way- there’s some sort of courage I admire in these people that you’ll probably never see in Singapore. I like that there are Malaysians who care enough about their country to try and do something about it, even if it means risking arrest and their lives etc. I like that thousands of people stood there and demanded their right to a proper democracy, even when the police were firing water jets and chemicals at them. There’s something inspiring about all of this.”

There’s no way I could have written it any better, and there’s really nothing for me to add.

Just a thought for you guys. Would you have had that courage, and cared enough, to stand up against the powers that be if you were them?

Daryl Peach: 2007 World Pool Champion

Nov 11, 2007

Congratulations to Daryl Peach, the 2007 World Pool Champion. He beat Roberto Gomez 17-15 in an amazing final. I know I posted in general about the World Pool Championships earlier, but today I just want to discuss the final.

I’ll start with Gomez, the losing finalist. He had played brilliantly throughout the tournament, but just seemed to choke in the end. He was playing much more conservatively than normal. It just wasn’t his own game. If you ask me, that’s one of the main reasons he lost. He didn’t stick to what he was good at. Ultimately, he just wasn’t himself. And he payed the price for that.

Peach, on the other hand, more or less stuck to his game. He didn’t really try anything too fancy. He just stuck to his calm, calculated game. And it paid off. That’s what his game has been all about throughout the week. It wasn’t about making the great, unbelievable, highlight-reel shots. It was just about making the best decisions consistently, doing the simple things well. That’s what got him to the final. Yes, he can do the highlight-reel shots (like the bank in the final rack), but his main game was always about percentages and decisions.

Above all, though, it was the mental strength that won the championship for him. I think the perfect example was the second last rack, with Peach leading 16-15. Gomez came to the table on the 9, and missed what would normally have been a simple shot. Daryl Peach came back and potted it, and went on to win the championship. That summed up the difference in composure and mental strength perfectly. Both players had their ups and downs over the matches, but Daryl Peach managed to maintain focus more than his opponent, and didn’t let it get to him. And that’s why he won.

There’s so much all of us can learn from that. You’ll have a higher chance of success if you stick to your game, and just be yourself, as Gomez’s loss shows us. And Peach showed us the value of good decision making, focusing on what we have and the power of mental strength.

Daryl himself summed it up perfectly after the game, “I haven’t got the most ability and there are lots of players with more talent than me but I just used my head and tried to focus on what I’ve got.”

How do you maintain your focus on your ability, and not get thrown off by circumstance?

50% Capture, 50% Processing

Nov 11, 2007

Brian Auer shows us 28 ways to interpret a photo.

Or rather, I should say that Brain Auer’s readers show us 28 ways to interpret a photo. The collection of images here are the result of a recent project he held, where he posted a raw photo he took, and invited his readers to edit the photo, and process it in whatever way they wanted.

And as you can see, even though it’s the same main photo, the results are so different. The emotions evoked by each picture are so different. Brian himself says it brilliantly, “The photographs on this page clearly show the boundless possibilities of artistic interpretation, and it all spawned from a single image.”

It all goes to prove his belief that “photography is 50% capture and 50% processing.” An awesome project, and great results. I just want to build upon it a bit.

I personally think that his belief applies to most aspects of life. In almost everything you do, the first version, the initial take, isn’t going to be complete. That’s only half of the job. Just as important is how you build on that, how you ‘process’ your initial effort. It’s similar to the point Steli Efti made in his post about Tomato Sauce.

So, in whatever you’re doing now, I just want to encourage you guys. Even if the first attempt doesn’t work out, keep working at it. How you build on it is just as important, and can affect the results greatly.

How do you ‘process’ your efforts effectively in the things that you do?

Link via Haha.nu – 28 Ways to Interpret a Photo