Month: August 2008

Get out of the gym!

Let’s face it, gyms are boring. They drain the fun out of staying fit. So from here on, I’m running past the treadmill, trashing my 4-day gymming weeks and gathering new motivation to get off the couch.  Cycling Saturday Rollerblading Sunday Gymming Monday Basketball Tuesday Running Wednesday Gymming Thursday Yoga Friday The gym will still be honored two days a week because I can’t seem to find feasible alternatives to weight training. But hopefully, I’ll still be able to break the monotony. Here’s to exer-psyching!

Into The Wild

Have you ever let fear deter rebellion, possibilities confine dreams or conformity define life? If yes, Christopher McCandless is probably the greatest inspiration you can find; he is the epitome of courage and bravery, an incredible example of a person who can dare to live exactly the way he wants, unaffected by all things human. In 1990, McCandless, 22, graduated from Emory University, donated his Harvard college fund to charity, and set out to explore the wilderness of the American West, harboring a dream of an “Alaskan odyssey”. A follower of Tolstoy and Thoreau, he chose of a life of isolation and asceticism. In the book, Jon Krakauer follows McCandless’ journey into the wild, and lends this true account his own expertise as an avid mountain climber. Often contrasting McCandless to other adventurers, Jon Krakauer glorifies, objectively, the boy, his life, his dreams and his conquests. During his travels before his self-imposed solitude in Fairbanks, Alaska, McCandless befriended strangers time and again and left an indelible mark on their lives. Again, through his heart-wrenching story, McCandless …

Gen Y goes to work

As graduation clouds loom overhead and the job pressure builds, we don’t anticipate offers raining on fresh graduates like us. The umbrellas of non-finance majors in Singapore are particularly dry. It’s relieving to know that globally, our generation (Five jobs in five years, no worries) is dumping high paying jobs in search of the ‘right fit’, despising long work hours, and being valued for their fast-paced mindset (Gen Y provides leadership and productivity). I wonder if long-standing corporate cultures will make way for this new bunch of people, rebellious yet efficient. I wonder if hiring practices will be adapted to hunt for talent, as opposed to loyalty and conformity. Maybe it’s time the corporate world is split by generations too.

Reverse gratitude

Whether or not you believe in karma, it sure feels good to help someone in need, or at least volunteer to help. So I’ve started to think that gratitude should really work in reverse. We should be grateful to the people we help, for giving us the opportunity to accumulate good karma and find satisfaction in our deeds. Imagine if everyone was self-sufficient and never in need of help. That would mean no ‘satisfaction’, no good points, nothing to negate the bad karma. Remember that the next time you’re helping somebody. Reverse gratitude. Help and be grateful.

The end of summer

A time comes in our ‘adult’ life when the smallest of things start to make the biggest difference. A moment as simple as sitting at your doorstep, watching the dancing rain-drops, the melody of their pitter-patter, the homely aroma of hot samosas, the pink of the bougainvilleas, the green grass, the peach roses, the leafy Asoka trees. Taken for granted infinite times, yet suddenly so precious. It’s that time of the year again. While most people are saying goodbye to the warm summer days and the rainy afternoons, I’m bidding farewell to much more. Until next time, shal(h)om(e). Good things this summer: – Resumed reading ( I read ) – Blog stalking – 3 Olympics medals for India

Ignited Minds

With development, technology and partriotism as dominant themes, Ignited Minds, written by India’s ex-president APJ Abdul Kalam, is dedicated to the youth in India. Contrary to my expectations, it has a strong inclination toward science and a lot of technical jargon. In fact, there’s not even a slight touch upon entrepreneurship and business as driving possibilities towards India’s growth. From an economic perspective, a lot of growth factors for the country have been omitted. I suppose that as a scientist-turned-author, President Kalam retained his primary focus on science as a measure of a country’s progress. I don’t deny that it is one. But it kind of limits the scope of the book in more ways than one. Firstly, the book is more of a theoretical listing of India’s technological achievements thus far, rather than a practical guide to lay the youth on the right track to grow India. Secondly and honestly, I found myself skipping paragraphs and pages of scientific descriptions. Maybe I’m a little late in reading this one. Maybe it would’ve made more sense …

Happy Independence Day, India

15th August is when every Indian heart beats to the rhythm of the Indian national anthem and all eyes sparkle in the glory of the Indian tricolor. Every Independence Day, a dream is born. A dream to see India rise above all else, and become an epitome of peace, secularism and development. 62 years ago, India freed itself from the colonial shackles of the British empire. Indian freedom fighters displayed undaunted courage, and drowned their lives in a patriotic wave that has swept the country since. This Independence Day, let’s pledge in our hearts to work towards a united, educated, truly liberated India. “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed it is the only thing that ever has.” I borrow these words from Margaret Mead, very applicable in the context of India. Every time you bloat in Indian pride, the fire of a nation is rekindled. Every morning that you pray to God, any God, a nation’s secularism is renewed. Every day that you speak no foul word, a nation’s peace …

Last semester at college

It’s been a while since I talked about the real stuff that’s been bothering me. The Olympics, Indian news channels, people, are all very well, but I’m pushing aside things that I should really be thinking about. I’m exactly 3 months and 15 days away from graduating. Overwhelming, if one word could sum it up. It’s going to be the end of 3.5 years at college, it feels like the end of an era, and also like a fleeting moment that passed me by with my eyes still shut. The nostalgia is not looming yet, the friendships are still strong, but the future (suddenly?) isn’t looking bright enough. For 3 years, I have been waiting to miraculously discover the trail that my life’s supposed to take. What will I change in the remaining 1/2 of the year (or 3 months, 15 days to be more precise)? Disinterest is giving way to anxiety, and anxiety to fear and hatred. Fear and hatred of my future, of the things that lie ahead for me, of the sell-out that …

Beijing Olympics, a fake start

Remember how we all gawked at out television screens during the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics? The splendid fireworks became the talk of the evening (and of my blog). Well, well. Here’s what we know. A part of those fireworks were FAKED on our TV screens. They were digitally superimposed, even on the live coverage of the actual event. And there’s more. If you watched the entire opening ceremony, you might remember that little Chinese girl who sang in Chinese, right at the start. Personally, I couldn’t make much of it, but her nightingalish performance was received with lots of applause and appreciation from the Bird’s Nest audience. Guess what? It was FAKE too! She was only mimicking the voice recording of another little girl. Apparently, the girl with the sweeter voice didn’t have the right look to befit a stage as precious the Olympics opening ceremony. A seven-year old girl, she was told that her personal appearance during the Olympics ceremony would ‘harm China’s image’. So, in Beijing, they very conveniently coupled the better voice …

Life of Pi

Just when I thought I was growing out of fiction, Life of Pi crawled its way into my hands. I never thought so far-fetched a story could make for such a realistic read. Yann Martel is a very talented writer. The book is based on an Indian boy from Pondicherry, Pi, short for Piscine Patel, who is migrating to Canada with his family. His father, a zookeeper, has on board their cargo ship a bunch of his zoo animals. When the ship sinks unexpectedly, Pi finds himself on a lifeboat with a hyena, a zebra, an orang utan (called Orange Juice) and a royal Bengal tiger (called Richard Parker, funny story behind the name). The story then follows Pi and his struggle for survival in the middle of the Pacific, amid a mini zoo. Life of Pi is about endurance, solitude, hints of humor and a wild imagination, literally. A must, must read.