Wherefore art thou clean fresh air?



I have not been so well lately, what with the dense haze enveloping our city these past few weeks. I have a post-nasal drip causing a bad cough, flu-like symptoms, a red eye and a headache. And like what I was telling my colleague, I seem to be in a sense of general malaise. Oh how I miss fresh air. I think it is time to take a drive to the hills and spend some time in clean crisp fresh air again.

pearlie

Random Word #1

Words pop into my head randomly sometimes. Does this happen to you?

I was waiting to pick up my son from tuition classes this evening, and I was playing a game on my iPad. Out of the blue, the word skedaddle popped into my head.

I don't know why. It was just there.

Weird, right? But a pretty cool word if you ask me.

Skedaddle:  
verb (used without object), ske·dad·dled, ske·dad·dling.
to run away hurriedly; flee.
noun
a hasty flight.

pearlie

Kindness?

I am praying for a friend who is having it bad at work. I don't know the details since it was not shared other than the request for prayer, which is fine by me and so prayed I did, albeit in a general sense.

But this time I was moved to pray that the job, the one he is currently having and the new one he is asking for, be kind to him.

I'm not so sure how a job can be kind, but kindness is surely found wanting these days.

In our quest for success and personal gain, kindness is something that we may have forgone.

What is kindness?

In Matthew 25:35-36 we have, "For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me."

Kindness is the act of goodness and empathy for others. It's the putting them in your mind and recognising and attending to their needs, sometimes over your own. It's the offer of a hand, a heart and a smile.

Kindness is hard to find in the corporate world these days. And I think it is the demand for performance, performance, performance. You need to deliver. We may give you a pat on the back but in the end, you deliver. And with that, people clamor to the top by eliminating competition, within the company, within the same team.

Is there any other way for success and still be good and kind to one another?

But then, I think the answer is found in the very definition of what success means to you.

pearlie

Christianity Explored


My church is having its second run of Christianity Explored and I have invited someone to attend it. With his acceptance of the invitation, I'm committed to also attend its 7 sessions, starting today.

I have not attended CE before and I can't say much yet from its first session. I am looking forward to the following weeks ahead.

pearlie

Do you watch movies over and over again?

I am definitely someone who watches movies and shows over and over and over again. I do wonder why I do that. I suppose I like the familiarity of the story and I enjoy it like you would listening to a favourite song over and over again.

I also watch it from a different perspective each time I watch it, but when I'm watching it for the umpteenth time, it's definitely the nostalgia I'm looking for.

pearlie

My car battery exploded

I was at the groceries store today that my car battery exploded when I had wanted to get home. I was igniting the engine when I heard a boom and everything went out. Nothing worked after that.

I called AAM for help and waited for an hour for the mechanic to come help change the battery.

When I came home, I checked the Internet and learnt that I need to be thankful that it was just a small boom, with no smoke or fire. My car is safe and more importantly I thank God that he kept me safe.

I know now that "free maintenance" batteries aren't really free from maintenance after all. You still need to clean the battery tops, make periodic re-tightening of battery connections, and test to confirm the working condition of the battery.

pearlie

Christians and Tattoos

Art
Can I as a Christian get a tattoo? I've always been inconclusive about this and I never really bothered to do much thinking or research on it.

But it has been on my mind recently. I have my reasons for having one and with dragonflies being special to me, it would be nice to have one like this on my left upper arm.


Source: ArtWanted.com

And about whether a Christian can have tattoos, I found this article informative: Is it Biblical for Christians to Get Tattoos?

But I'm not ready to get one as yet. No...not yet.

pearlie

Whom Shall I Fear

Whom Shall I Fear by Chris Tomlin


I know who goes before me
I know who stands behind
The God of angel armies
Is always by my side

pearlie

The Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra



I have always wanted to go watch a performance by the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra but I never got around to it, until two days ago. I went for Beethovan's Fifth Symphony conducted by Roberto Abbado, courtesy of Melissa as a belated birthday treat for me.



It was an excellent experience. It has been awhile since I've attended a performance by an orchestra and it has been years since I've participated in one, playing the cello. But those were amateur groups. This one were all professionals.

I really enjoyed listening to a familiar piece of music live, watching the conductor and the musicians playing their instruments with much heart and emotions.

It was spectacular.

pearlie

Is there fairness is this world?

We had Mr Lee Min Choon as our speaker today who preached from 1 Corinthians 9 with a sermon entitled "The Right to Relinquish Our Rights". The sermon can be summarised by what Paul said in 1 Cor 6:12 and 10:23 - all things are permissible but not all things are helpful. So we must be wise in what we choose to say and do.

What I learnt and was reminded this morning is that I have recently overlooked on love and forgiveness. I have been focusing on fairness but fairness is quite an impossible thing in this imperfect world.

Show me something that's fair. I doubt that you could.

So I need to return to love and forgiveness. I need to relinquish my rights, and live in peace with one another.

pearlie

We are in difficult times, but...

The economic situation here in Malaysia is getting bad, what with the dropping value of our exchange rate. I fear to think what will be the new base rate of the Ringgit. It used to be RM2.50 to the dollar, then it was pegged to RM3.80. But now it is around RM4.30 and will it be even rising up to RM5.00?

With this, I found this article to help us keep it all in perspective: In God We Trust? Five Biblical Lessons for Believers During an Economic Recession, by Brett McCracken.

Yea, we are in difficult times, but God is still God.

pearlie

Ahhh! Let Go...



I found and love this picture in this blog. And what she has to say encouraged me too:
- it's okay to let go
- don't hold on so hard
- decide what you truly want
- don't ask too many people for advice
- don’t listen to what others say after you let go
- celebrate your freedom

pearlie
Source: Recovery Along Route 66

Life's ups and downs

Life as we know it, with all its ups and downs, will soon be over. We all will give an accounting to God of how we have lived.
~ William Wilberforce

Life is not linear; you have ups and downs. It's how you deal with the troughs that defines you.
~ Michael Lee-Chin

My life is about ups and downs, great joys and great losses.
~ Isabel Allende

When you win a lot, you don't learn much. With my ups and downs, it's a lot of learning.
~ Tina Maze

I think that as you get older, you mellow out a lot more. Having been through the ups and downs in life, I feel more qualified to play the blues.
~ Mick Ralphs

pearlie

Enough is Enough

Enough is enough
Of walking on eggshells
Time is all up
Go ring the bloody bells
The mind is all set
There is no turning back
It's time to look ahead
Off to join the impelling pack

All rights reserved © 2015 Pearlie Ng

Dolores Umbridge



This is one villain that I will never forget. She is so sickeningly sweet and wicked that she is unforgettable. All pink and catty, she is an absolute interesting character to study.

Kudos to J.K. Rowling for writing such a character and Imelda Stanton for bringing her so brilliantly to life.

pearlie

Social connectedness as the key to success

Okay, okay - more TED Talk videos. I suppose this weekend has become a TED Talk weekend for me.

I enjoyed the learning and I like the speaking styles of some of the speakers. They were mostly excellent talks, but I've only ever clapped my hands—literally, that is—for two. One was Joseph Foer's talk I've watched and blogged about a month ago.

And here's the other one:

Why it's time to forget the pecking order at work

by Margaret Heffernan

It is about how an organisation can be successful. It is not from competition between employees or teams. It is not about picking superstars, or the brightest people and giving them all the resources and all the power. The results of such is usually aggression, dysfunction and waste. She said, "If the only way the most productive can be successful is by suppressing the productivity of the rest, then we badly need to find a better way to work and a richer way to live."

Instead, what brings success is social connectedness to each other. It means that "what happens between people really counts, because in groups that are highly attuned and sensitive to each other, ideas can flow and grow."

I agree with all she said here and it was mostly what I have been thinking about lately, except of course, she articulated it all so well. When I see at the end of the video that she has written a book on it, I quickly got a copy, especially at the mention of the topic of organisational culture.


Beyond Measure, The Big Impact of Small Changes
by Margaret Heffernan

I finished the book in one day. It is very interesting, though I do have some reservations and would need to take more time for a re-read. She did qualify it by stating that she does not provide a formulaic or a step-by-step answer to the issue. There is none. The matter is most complex and would require much thought and experimentation.

However, if I were to see her from a Gallup strengths point of view, I think she has the same themes as I do, which is probably why I seem to so readily agree with her. From her writing, I can see Connectedness, Empathy and Intellection as her top Gallup strengths. If that is so, would her proposal still be valid for company leaders with Gallup themes that are different from hers?

I wonder.

I plan to make this book a reading requirement in my work team, and hope to find some answers, especially in these two topics: (1) the High Potential talent group and (2) forced ranking of employees in their performance.

She has convinced me that it might not be a good idea to identify and acknowledge a group of employees as "high potentials" in light of the Pygmalion effect. I've had that same conclusion with why I disagree with the "Employee of the Month" award. And now I see the same with high potentials too.

And I have always been against forced ranking, but I have yet to find another way to replace it. She did not give any suggestions.

So it's back to the thinking block for me.

pearlie

How to Truly Listen?

I decided to check out more TEDTalk videos and found this. I find it excellent.


by Evelyn Glennie
Musician
Percussionist and composer Dame Evelyn Glennie lost nearly all of her hearing by age 12. Rather than isolating her, it has given her a unique connection to her music.

pearlie

What would it be like if there was no Jesus?

When I was reading my devotional material two days ago on Revelation 4, the author suggested that I close my eyes and imagine how the entire chapter would look, sound and feel like.
Revelation 4 (ESV)
1 After this I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven! And the first voice, which I had heard speaking to me like a trumpet, said, "Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this."
2 At once I was in the Spirit, and behold, a throne stood in heaven, with one seated on the throne.
3 And he who sat there had the appearance of jasper and carnelian, and around the throne was a rainbow that had the appearance of an emerald.
4 Around the throne were twenty-four thrones, and seated on the thrones were twenty-four elders, clothed in white garments, with golden crowns on their heads.
5 From the throne came flashes of lightning, and rumblings and peals of thunder, and before the throne were burning seven torches of fire, which are the seven spirits of God,
6 and before the throne there was as it were a sea of glass, like crystal. And around the throne, on each side of the throne, are four living creatures, full of eyes in front and behind:
7 the first living creature like a lion, the second living creature like an ox, the third living creature with the face of a man, and the fourth living creature like an eagle in flight.
8 And the four living creatures, each of them with six wings, are full of eyes all around and within, and day and night they never cease to say, "Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come!"
9 And whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to him who is seated on the throne, who lives forever and ever,
10 the twenty-four elders fall down before him who is seated on the throne and worship him who lives forever and ever. They cast their crowns before the throne, saying,
11 "Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created."
I tried it, and it was quite vivid. However, my problem was, though I can see and hear it in my mind, I could not feel it. I could not feel the might and glory of the scene.

And because I can't do that, I became quite discouraged.

I felt that for me right now, life in general is lukewarm and mediocre. Things are not bad but not good either. I feel indifferent, which in turn became for me a disturbing feeling.

I came back to the place where I have been questioning about the presence of God. Where is this glorious and majestic God?

It was necessary then today that I continued onto Revelation 5. The author asked a very important question, which is in fact is the answer for me: What would it be like if there was no Jesus?

Exactly! What would it be like without Jesus is exactly the right question to ask. Because I have indeed taken a whole lot for granted.

Without Jesus, there will be no justice, or truth, or love, or peace. Sure, we don't have those in totality right now but really, if it were not for Jesus, there will not be any justice, truth, love or peace. Not at all. Not even a sliver.

With that I am much encouraged. All is not lost. Jesus is here. He lives. He reigns.

pearlie

So many books, so little time



I received an email from HBR today about its Must Read edition on communication, and I thought since I need a lot of help in that, it might be a very good reason to get a copy. However, I find that $25 for 10 articles is just too much.

With that I went to look for "really" good books on communication and found these four. I have already gotten copies and even started on one. So, with these four and the three I am currently reading, I seriously have so many books, so little time.


Everybody Writes, Your Go-To Guide to Creating Ridiculously Good Content
by Ann Handley
This was the first in the list that attracted me. I may not put it into the list of books on communication because I like to write and I've been told I don't do too badly in it but I suck in communication. So it cannot be in a list of books on communication, right? But hey, writing is communication!

I checked out the preview in Kobobooks, and she had me sold in her Acknowledgement section. Yup, no kidding, the section where nobody reads. And this was the book I started on, but with the three I'm already reading, I need to stop reading this one.



Pitch Anything, An Innovative Method for Presenting, Persuading and Winning the Deal
by Olen Klaff
I can't sell and so this definitely caught my attention.



Crucial Conversations Tools for Talking when Stakes are High
by Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, Ron McMillan, Al Switzler
I gave this book a pass when I scanned through the list, but came back to it thinking that having communication tools is exactly what I need.



Delivering Happiness, A Path to Profits, Passion and Purpose
by Tony Hsieh
I have recently seen several videos of Tony Hsieh in his company, Zappos.com. I was quite impressed when he talks about his work. And when I found out that he actually lives in trailer despite being a multi, multi-millionaire, I'm totally beyond impressed.

So exactly, like what Frank Zappa said, so many books, too little time.

pearlie

Dimwits?

I am moving slowly with my reading of the office politics book and have found this quadrant useful to think about our behavior.


Source: Secrets to Winning at Office Politics by Marie G. McIntyre

You may think it's really dumb being a Dimwit, but if you were actually evaluating such situations in person, it becomes a sad reality that people do behave in ways that hurt themselves and the organisations they work in.

And I realise that in my position as a HR practitioner, the actions I plan to take may need to be evaluated first based on the possible reactions from the Dimwits and the Sociopaths. The Martyrs would be blind to it and there may not be many Winners around. And more often than not, we will find ourselves in all these four positions in various times and phases in our lives anyway.

pearlie

Office Politics


Secrets to Winning at Office Politics: How to Achieve Your Goals and Increase Your Influence at Work
by Marie G. McIntyre

I bought and read this book back in 2014. I was searching for something in Google today when I found an article referring to its content and realised I could not remember a single from what I've read.

I need to read it again.
Politics Is Not a Dirty Word

Typically, we use the term “playing politics” only to describe our colleagues’ behavior—never our own. They are sucking up, scheming, and manipulating, but we are building relationships, developing strategies, and opening communication channels.

Many people feel that playing the political game involves devious plotting or blatant self-promotion. But in reality, “politics” is what naturally happens whenever people with different goals, interests, and personalities try to work together. We are all continuously engaged in political transactions throughout the normal course of every workday. The process itself is neither good nor bad, but simply a fact of life—and the morality of the outcome is determined entirely by the motives and goals of the players. Both Hitler and Mother Teresa might be considered “politically adept,” but their results are judged rather differently.
Interesting. That's from the first chapter. I hope I will learn and remember something useful this round.

pearlie

Amigo Pancho


Amigo Pancho

I found this iOS game a few days ago and got caught up in it today. It's quite addictive, fun and really funny as well. The first few levels are easy peasy, but it gets harder.

pearlie

Arggh...song stuck in my head!!!

I have been watching the 2 Broke Girls sitcom and unknowing got the opening theme song stuck in my head. The. Whole. Day. Today.

So how do you get a song out of your head? WikiHow suggests these tricks.

1. Listen to the sting all the way through - the opening theme only has two lines of a tune to it, and the two lines keep running in a loop in my head.

2. Look up the lyrics - nope, there are none.

3. Play the song on an instrument - don't play no instrument anymore.

4. Visualise the song changing - hmm, maybe.

5. Picture the song ending - possible too.

Hope it works.

pearlie

No lunch lunch

I thought this is pretty interesting: The End of the Lunch Hour.
What ever happened to the lunch hour – actually getting out of the office for some air and a meal? Fewer American workers are taking time for lunch. Studies show that only one in five people take a break and leave their desks to eat. Most workers are simply eating at their desks.

But research has also found that the longer you stay at work, the more important it is to get outside of the office, even if it’s just for a few minutes.
Have you been skipping lunch too?

pearlie

Eternal Flames



For some reason, I began wondering if there were fires around the world that burns continuously.

Only then did I find out about eternal flames. Not the song by The Bangles, but real flames that keeps burning, naturally or deliberately.

What do they signify?

Off the top of my head, I would say that the eternal flames that are deliberately kept burning represent the continual burning of a cause, or a memory. It takes time, care and resources, and it represents the fact that we will never give up on the cause or memory that the fire is burning for.

pearlie