Sunday, 17 May 2015

The allegory of warm blooded and cold blooded

Self-propelled or external engine required

If you had a hobby or sport that you loved, and competence in your passion has no bearing whatsoever to your academic results or corporate climbing - that would take away playing golf for the sake of networking with your bosses - can you remember where you got your motivations?

I remember when I picked up photography just before going for NS, I never read so many books and experimented with different styles of photography - close-ups, portraits, nature, candid, night shots, and architectural to name a few. 

Shsssh... Wish I had that same passion when it came to my academic studies!

You know why? All the work and time I poured into photography was not "work" or for goals, milestones, nor KPIs; its just pure fun and enjoyment!

There's this internal combustion engine inside of me pumping all the adrenaline and energy to move me forward. To borrow a phrase I've stolen with pride from the butterfly - I'm self-propelled

There was no need for external catalysts or motivational speeches or "education" from others on why I need to pick up photography - and the myriad of benefits it offers.

Hollywood or for real?

You can verify it yourselves if there's a difference between things that you do because you want to - versus those that you do so because someone else has done that thinking for you and passed it off as "advice" for you. And you've swallowed it line, hook, and sinker.

Let me give you some examples:

1.  You took computer games development not because you like gaming, but because a recruiter or a survey sold you computer games development will be the next big thing and graduates will be highly in demand and thus well paid. (I seem to recall that's what they say 20 years ago about computer science. How's that turning out for you?)

2.  They say an excellent ECA record will be looked at favourably during scholarship applications and talent scouting by MNCs. So you joined the "easiest" and "least time consuming" sport and/or uniform group. (Somehow I don't think you'll make team captain or group leader with that "passion" of yours...)

3.  You learning to play the violin, was it you who bugged your parents into letting you play; or was it another one of those numerous "Its for your own good" well-intentioned others decide for you "interests"? (Do you still play the violin as an adult or is that violin left gathering dust?) 

Inspire or educate?

Does not matter if you have adopted a trader's path or the journey of an investor.

Can you recall were you inspired to this path/journey; or were you "educated" into this arena.

OK, both inspire and educate came from outside in. But you know the difference. 

Inspire is someone helping to kick-start that internal engine of yours. The running and maintenance is all you. You are likely to say, "In my humble opinion... This is what I think...."

When things go horribly wrong, you search for answers and solutions from within.

Educate is you latching yourself to the external engines of others. At forums or at blogs, you are likely to say, "Who and who said this... My guru told me...Everyone is doing it what...."

Yes, we do stand on the shoulders of giants before us - that's humility. But if things don't go as expected, and we start "blaming" the same persons whom we have just revered a minute ago, that's free-loading at its best!

Warm blooded cold blooded

For those who are educators, I think you can spot quite quickly amongst your students who are "warm-blooded" and who are "cold-blooded".

Same goes for land-owners (entrepreneurs) and shepherds (managers) for the co-workers you've hired.

We value those who are "automatic" right?

Have you had that face-palm moments when a co-worker acts like he/she is the boss - we must constantly inspire them and educate them on how to do their jobs?

"Company no good. No support. No training. How to do my job like that?" Sounds reasonable if you are uneducated, but with a poly diploma or degree...

"It's my manager's fault! He is so boring... No inspiration to do my best." I think I've heard that before about our grades no good because teacher's teaching so boring...

I think I better stop here.

The sun is shining outside. I need to go for my tan now.


  1. Hi SMOL,

    Arr... That's what u mean...

    My 2 cents worth... Many told me u need to motivate and interešt a person before a person can "score well" in exam.

    My take is: it is not necessary true, although there is no lack of such cases.

    I have seen pupils who hate the subject but muck and do well and get their As. "I will burn those books once the exam is over" is what I heard, of course, no books is burnt, but u are right. Passion allow sustainability but not "KPI"

    In my previous school, motivation is a serious problem, I did all I could to interešt and motivate them, many programs, games etc.

    So much so that there are a few parents who actually told the press what we are doing. The funny thing is: when the "talking point" producer ask me this: how long have u been doing this and why?

    I told her: for them to understand language is for communication and can be applicable in real life situation.

    She ask me: so the results improved ?

    I said no.

    She asked if the program is too new. I told her the fastest way to get results is drill and practice. No these...

    It then dwell on her ..

    No, I have a batch of pupils who wanted results and will do what u ask them, yet they are not really performing as well as I hoped.

    But really once in a while, when I "zuo Wu zuo bo" and see the spark in the eyes and for them to keep asking questions: Cher Cher how come animation not moving etc.. I felt very satisfied, but deep Inside, I know such exercises have no bearing in their exam results ...

    Educating is really a struggle...

    I told my wife... I have so many on my plate that typing out all the roles and responsibilities for teachers to carry out already took me an hour ... She retorted: every hod do this, all the teachers will die.

    I told her I believed all that I do is for the pupils and not wayang. She told me every Hod think like me, teachers will still die...

    I am a bit lost in my educating career, I must say...

    Hmm... Hope I dun sound negative...

    1. Sillyinvestor,

      I do not doubt what you say about getting results with "motivation" from outside in.

      I have this lady friend who told me she was sent to one of those hothouse tuition centres where she was "taught" the art of acing exams in her youth. This she did.

      But once she left school, she has forgotten everything, there's no follow through. She was quite surprised I knew so much of history and science and my vocab is wider than hers, even though she's a graduate and I left school at 16.

      I told her I never stopped learning. I'm curious. I just can't study for exams.

      Now that she has her own children, she doesn't want her children to go through what she went through - she never learned with pleasure; she only aced her exams for the sake of others.

      See the difference?

      I can empathise what you are going through.

      I wouldn't dare call myself an educator, but in my previous life, we were supposed to: Develop Business; Develop People.

      The develop business part is easy - sales and costs can be measured.

      But how do you set KPIs on developing people? There's no exams. So do we count how many management potentials we have developed that were promoted? If I were to develop one top management potential, does that beat another coach who has developed 20 middle-management potentials?

      In my next comment, I'll show you what education was supposed to be before the KPIs junkies took over...

    2. Sillyinvestor,

      I studied at Hua Yi Primary School - its a English ed school. We were located opposite the Chinese ed Hua Yi Secondary School during my time at Margaret Drive.

      For many years, I've no clue or interest what 华义 meant. I'm English educated...

      That's until several years ago when I read in the Chinese papers on one particular important anniversary where past students and teachers of Hua Yi Secondary School met up and celebrated. There were calligraphy writings and poetry recitations to mark that occasion.

      I enclose the school song.

      猗欤盛哉! 我华义

      守吾校之校训, 依仁义与智群
      豈求身之独善, 将领导夫群伦
      猗欤盛哉! 我华义

      诚克己以复礼, 自无私而大公
      俾种族咸和睦, 跻世界於大同
      猗欤盛哉! 我华义

      There's Vision, Mission, and Responsibility for an educated person. "We" comes first before "I".

      How do we measure "soul" in our hearts?

      I credit the refection after reading that article as my 2nd renaissance in rediscovering my Chinese roots.

  2. Hi SMOL,

    During my time in uni late 90s, many of my friends are in computing course. Their parents told them that is the big thing going forward. They fooled themselves into thinking they will like the course because the future is bright.

    They enrolled themselves, but found out that they hate or could not comprehend the C+ or C++ programming. Many dropped out, some continue to pull thru n graduate, but struggled during the 4 yrs. For those who graduated, they vowed never get a job related to IT.

    Luckily I am in engineering, and still in engineering related field today. But instead of engineering products, I engineered sales. Hahaha.. the most "oily manner"!

    1. Rolf,

      I believe when it comes to the Corporate world, you best understand what I say ;)

      Study hard and work hard can work in the short term if we apply enough carrot and stick to the problem.

      In the long run, it's never sustainable. There's only so much pain one can endure....

      That's why those who depend on sunlight from outside may give up immediately when they meet just 1 failure. It's an excuse to quit what they hated all along!

      While those with internal combustion engines will keep going forward even after 99 consecutive failures. They don't see them as failures; they treat them as discovering 99 ways on how not to do it!

      How's that for same same but different!

  3. Hi SMOL,

    Good analogy :)

    You're right. I can see students who are warm blooded. I've a normal acad student who isn't very good in studying, but boy, does he have a curious and learning system. At his age, he can hold a meaningful conversation with any topics ranging from quantum mechanics to philosophy to meaning of life. He said that he spend most of his time reading and learning from wiki and YouTube. Nor is he just surfing.. He actually learn and did practical things from the knowledge he learnt from YouTube, and keep refining the products he made. He embodied the problem based learning perfectly!

    My job then is to ask questions, link whatever things he is talking about to the subject I'm tutoring him. And then just sit and watch. By spreading some of his interest to the subjects, I can channel some of his internal motivation to learn to settle his academic results.

    I've no doubts he will be a successful person in the future with this kind of learning system in place. And I think I've a lot to learn from him.

    I realised that successful pple in real life never stops learning. I've 2 models to emulate regarding this. Self directed learning becomes the divide between the new illiterate and the literate!

    1. LP,

      Never mind personal finance, personal growth can be more priority.

      Just ask any adults how many books they have read for the past year and there you go!

      If we want to raise the bar higher, we exclude books that's related to our profession and the sample size gets even bigger!

      Its sad when reading and learning have goals, objectives, and return on $ attached to them.... No one reads or learns for the sheer joy of it?

      I often wish others, "Have fun!"

      I meant every word of it ;)

  4. Hi SMOL,

    I agree totally. Just look at the public transport. Just look at restaurants. Whenever there is a group of pple, they are invariably looking down on their handphone. Nobody reads anymore - and web articles do not count!

    Haha, I never count reading vocational books under my book count :) We should so kick start the reading campaign we had when we're young again!

    1. LP,

      Of course you don't!

      You and your 50 books a year - showoff! (I don't care. Can't find lobang so anyhow poke for the fun of it! I throw in the towel...)

      Cannot like that. We must give chance.

      Only when people yaya-papaya on me do I twist the bayonet, "OK, so how many non-vocational related books have you read for the past year?"


  5. Hi SMOL

    This post brought me back to my secondary school .

    Part of the school song lyrics go this : 圣婴中学,黉宇高嵩,....树人树木,俱收事功....谦诚和爱,景仰大同.....

    1. Small Time Investor,

      Ah! Chinese mission school indeed!

      By the way, the Gan Eng Seng Secondary School I went to also sama sama. Although mine is very England - we sang in English. LOL!

      But the spirit and soul are the same :)

      And as you can see, these schools of ours don't have SMART goals in their school songs or motto :)

      P.S. 树人树木 was the inspiration for my "Tree Planter" label on the right ;)

    2. Haha Gessian..,"ONWARD"

      "in 1885, our founder Gan Eng Seng, conceived the noble aim for a new breed of man... he started a free school for boys who were poor...."

    3. Rolf,

      It's ONWARDS with a "s" ;)

      The Anson school site was torn down in 1986, 3 years after I left in 1983.

      Bitter-sweet memories of the old pre-war houses at Tanjong Pagar before they were torn down for the swanky skyrise towers we see now.

      I still remember the old Maxell food centre as the dirtiest and scariest food centre in memory. And Chinatown was really squalid...

  6. My school (Maris Stella) also english pai but started off as chinese school:

    Here's the lyrics:

    煌煌海星 圣母圣名
    炳炳琅琅 永放光明
    高悬世海 照彻狮城
    指明正路 引导前程
    振兴教化 乐育群英
    阐扬学术 陶冶性情
    励以名节 持以坚贞
    勖以道德 动以至诚
    勿荒勿怠 精益求精
    勤勉忠勇 校训是行

    Maybe that's where I get my rhyme from lol

    1. LP,

      I guess we can trace a bit of us today to what our schools "taught" us.

      Interestingly, its mostly outside the academic curriculum ;)


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