Mono No Aware (物の哀れ)

Mono no aware (物の哀れ) is a Japanese term that I picked up when I read the book ‘Spark Joy’ written by Marie Kondo. If you don’t know who she is, she is a tidying expert and her best-selling books were sold worldwide and she has fan-based all over the world especially the western world. It is…

Becoming responsible for everything

  I was invited to the Sustainability+ dialogue jointly organized by the Bachelor of Environmental Studies (BES) Student Committee and the Environmental Law Students Association (ELSA) of NUS law last Saturday as a panelist. During the panel session, a student from CAPT asked me a question that is something like this. There are so many…

Please don’t call me ‘Prof’

I can never get used to the word ‘Prof/Dr’ to be prefixed in front of my name. Every time when I meet a resident in my college, they would politely call me out with a big smile ‘Good morning, Prof’. While my heart is warmed by their kind gesture both online and face-to-face, the word…

Breaking Free from the Curse of Accumulation

[Featured image by Lucy Valkyrie] Accumulation is all around us. We accumulate a myriad of things for a myriad of reasons. A most common kind of accumulation is wealth largely driven by the needs to feel a strong sense of achievement in our ever competitive society. The accumulation of knowledge comes in next as we…

Death is a transformational teacher

Death is a transformational teacher. When I was young, I couldn’t really appreciate the true meaning of death. To me, death is to be feared and it should be avoided. So when I saw a wake in my neighborhood, I would quicken my pace or turn my head away. That was how I were instructed by…

Divine Selfishness

I recently had several thought-provoking conversations with students in residential college 4. In some cases, it started out as a mere hello. In other cases, I was inquiring how a student was doing after recovering from an illness. Both of these cases somehow miraculously evolved into an engaging conversation about the pursuit of one’s life. One important…

Watching my thoughts

Today is the third session of my College’s dance interest group. It was contemporary dance. Needless to say, I was completely clueless of what to expect, although I was looking forward to be taught by Hui Jun, my student’s dance instructor. Student’s dance instructor … I like this oxymoron. Hui Jun is a talented young…

Because I am the container

On 18 August 2011, I wrote in my facebook status that I were deeply impressed by a group of middle-age man mimicking the dance moves of my once favorite SNSD. I remembered vividly how I reminded myself that I should never stop pushing the boundary of my comfort zone. I dreamed of the day that I…

Becoming Resilient through Failure – A Tale of Remembering Names

It was a typical day in school. I was walking past the dinning hall after having my dinner. A young, beautiful and lovely student greeted me across the hall way. I smiled back at her. In my forgetful mind, I was searching frantically for her name. After 5 minutes, nothing popped up. I was certain that I…