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Thursday, 30 April 2015

When is a circle not a circle?

When it's our MRT circle line of course!

I don't know about you, but it looks like a horseshoe or omega line to me.

Reminds me of the story about the Emperor's clothes...

Almost circle is not a circle.

Just like almost first simply means you came in 2nd best; nobody remembers those who came in at 2nd place....

Of course I understand the engineering feat and financial resources to link up Harbour Front and Marina Bay is not something for faint hearts.

You mean the land reclamation and port development works at Tuas is less?

Enough looking at others.

Now look at ourselves. 

Are we not doing the same?

Our circle is not complete, yet we tend to speak and act as if it' a full circle!? OK, not you. You are complete. But I'm sure you have this experience with a colleague, neighbour, or school mate?

How about mouthing work/life balance and going home on the dot at 5pm, and upon reaching home we lock ourselves in the room to read annual reports or marvel at squiggly lines or candlesticks?

Yeah, work/life balance my foot. 

Our circle is not complete - just like our MRT circle line.



  1. Hi SMOL,

    I've a lot of experience drawing circles. You can't say that I'm obsessed with it, but it did fascinate me. Usually when we say we wanted to draw a circle, we end up with an oval shape. To be a circle, all the points from the centre must be equal. But when we draw it, some points are nearer or further from the centre, resulting in an ellipse or an oval shape.

    When I draw a circle, it looks like a circle, but I know it's not really a circle. It's at best an oval shape resembling a circle, so it's always work-in-progress. I guess in life it's the same. You attempt to draw a circle, you end up with an oval. Here, two solutions to circle the oval is at hand. You can erase the parts that are nearer to the centre, to make it further. Or, you can erase the parts that are further from the centre and make it nearer. You can't do both, otherwise you won't end up with a circle anymore. It'll be yet another oval, though a different shaped oval.

    It's an interesting question you posted ;)

    1. LP,

      I've always wondered why Japanese Zen Masters like to draw a circle as representation of Zen.

      I was taking the circle line yesterday and somehow the 2 clicked together ;)

      In my pursuit of improving my craft of better entries and exits, I've broken it down to 2 processes akin to what you describe as in either erasing the parts nearer or further from the centre - but never BOTH at the same time.

      Ah! Now I think I've a superficial understanding why the Zen masters draw the circle in one full stroke. And keep practicing this "way of the brush" until the circle FEELS right.

      The circle is always work-in-progress.

      Thank you for your illumination ;)

  2. chim..
    sometimes after work, i accompany my gals while they do their homework. watch abit TV or news, enjoying my hobby, reading your blog, etc
    guess nobody's circle is a perfect circle

    1. Jimmy L,

      Perhaps its not meant to be a "perfect" circle?

      Have you seen any perfect circles in nature that's not man-made?

  3. Hmm...

    Too chim for me too.

    Coming to a complete circle? We can feel we come a circle, but what does it mean?

    We feel better and learn more, but as a circle, we go again. Round and round.

    1. Sillyinvestor,


      Have you noticed it didn't stop you from sharing your own interpretations?

      Can it be this post is just an invitation for readers to share?


  4. Hi SMOL,

    Life is a canvas. Why draw one circle when we can have it full of polka dots?

    What? Keeping drawing circles is multiplying the difficulty many times over? It's boring too!

    Do leopard prints then if it panders to the kind of exotic we are seeking.

    But why do repeated prints when we have a plethora of shapes at our imagination's disposal?

    I'm not too interested in what makes a perfect circle and how to get there.

    But rather, why we want a circle and why can't we call something that's not a circle a circle?

    Because we compare.

    Because we are bound by what others have already defined.

    We are closed in, stuck in a circle.


    1. Endrene,

      That's an interesting and different angle you have put forth ;)

      Out of the many shapes to choose from, I wonder why the circle was chosen by the Japanese Zen masters?

      Ocean - cloud - rain - river - ocean?

      You are right that the circle is not a circle. Only thinking makes it so ;)

    2. If you get a chance to ask the Zen masters, would you expect them to offer the same answer? :)

      Water cycle - a circle in form or substance? Many times same same but different?

    3. Endrene,

      The water cycle is my own interpretation:

      Is Snow Water?

      I've not reached the sky blue and trees green level of comprehension yet ;)

      It's always a pleasure to do a bit of Zen combat to calibrate my level of understanding now.

      Your water runs deep ;)

  5. We have tools to help us draw a perfect circle but to be able to draw a perfect circle by hand takes practice. There's beauty in imperfection and in perfection, it all depends on the beholder.

    1. Joyce,

      I've grown to accept and enjoy the flaws and imperfections for this is what make them unique.

      In the past, a scratch, a crease, a chip, a spot, or mark on my favourite possession would cause me anguish.


      I just shrug my shoulders. It's OK.

      I guess I've grown.

  6. Hi SMOL,

    Circumference = 2*pi*r & Area = pi*r*r

    So to understand circle, first you have to understand what is Pi?

    Pi is irrational, so is our life. Maybe spending too much time to rationalize it is too painful sometimes.

    We do need to sometimes do irrational things in life.

    1. Rolf,

      Buddha was asked whether he is BOUND by the laws of cause and effect?

      Buddha replied he is not BLIND to the laws of cause and effect.

      I guess that would apply to your comment:

      Are we blind to the existence of the circle in our lives?

  7. Nice...... present you the song "circle of life" from Elton John:

    From the day we arrive on the planet
    And blinking, step into the sun
    There's more to be seen than can ever be seen
    More to do than can ever be done

    Some say eat or be eaten
    Some say live and let live
    But all are agreed as they join the stampede
    You should never take more than you give

    In the circle of life
    It's the wheel of fortune
    It's the leap of faith
    It's the band of hope
    Till we find our place
    On the path unwinding
    In the circle, the circle of life

    Some of us fall by the wayside
    And some of us soar to the stars
    And some of us sail through our troubles
    And some have to live with the scars

    There's far too much to take in here
    More to find than can ever be found
    But the sun rolling high through the sapphire sky
    Keeps great and small on the endless round

  8. i am reminded of a nice catchy and romantic song by Belinda Carlisle - Circle in the sand.

  9. Thank you Rolf and Money Honey!

    Our lives are a little more complete with a song in our hearts ;)


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