October 24, 2011
Last weekend, I attended a free seminar series at Raffles City Convention Centre. It seemed like a great opportunity to find out about liver and colon health. And indeed all was fine – good speakers (specialists from local hospitals), comfortable venue – until … we broke for tea.
The guests at the event, many of them older folks, rushed at the food … crowding round each tray as it was replenished, each stabbing at multiple dumplings with their forks, some over the shoulders of others. It was ferocious!!! And the thing is … none of the people looked anywhere near Survivor-level starvation!
February 4, 2011
Now, I’ve heard of shopping trolleys being taken home by shoppers, leading to supermarkets having to send their staff to surrounding blocks to look for stray trolleys, and I’d seen these abandoned trolleys just left around the housing blocks. And I’ve always wondered: why haven’t I ever seen anyone wheeling their trolley home? Well, I finally spotted a family blithely pushing their trolley home today!!!
December 28, 2010
This Christmas, I brought my friend to a cantata by an accomplished choir. At the end of it, she opined that the choir was excellent, but lacking emotion. This view highlights a thread I’ve noticed this year, one that seems to have arisen as a reaction against the kinds of practices increasingly being introduced into churches new and old.
In churches with ‘modern’ approaches, the focus seems to be on providing a feel-good experience to attract more people to God. In the more extreme of these churches, there is an emphasis on performance and even entertainment, on faith healing and other ‘spiritual gifts’ and on eliciting emotion. In reaction to this, some churches seem to be going to the other extreme, and have come to be increasingly critical of emotion, seeing emotional experience as ephemeral, quickly forgotten once worshippers get home. This point of view has some merit – the emotional outpourings at some services do seem more like crowd hysteria than genuine spiritual experience.
However, my friend’s perception of the cantata performance shows that denial of emotion is not the answer. The choir may have wanted to be more restrained to emphasise the message of the hymns rather than the performer or performance, but in doing so, it has forgotten that the lyrics are merely the vehicle for greater spiritual truths, not truth itself. To my mind, spiritual truth must surely encompass emotion, otherwise how can we talk of a relationship and connection with God?
November 15, 2010
I don’t watch much TV these days, but for some reason, I switched on the TV last night… and caught part of Singapore Talking. First time I ever watched that show. The topic was why teenagers don’t speak up.
What caught my attention though was the response to an opinion by a member of the audience that it’s difficult to voice opinions once you enter the workforce because you will be worried about how you will be perceived by your colleagues and your employer. One of the panel members, this bloke from Heartware, said something to the effect that if what you’re saying is “real” (a word he uses a lot – I believe that that’s his way of describing opinions founded on fact), then you have to go ahead and take the risk and just voice your opinion — if you lose your job, so be it, you can find another job.
Now, to be fair, I think his main point is that if you believe in what you say, stand up and be counted. Don’t be risk-averse. And I do believe that people should be held accountable for their words.
But, why should you have to pay a price for voicing your opinion? An employer should not be allowed to dismiss an employee simply for voicing divergent opinions, if such opinions are rational and well thought out. It shouldn’t be risky for people to voice reasoned opinions. And employers who fire, blackball or discriminate against their people for that reason should be called to account.