You may have many realities, but choose one life

A beautiful video portraying the multiple/parallel universes of Quantum Physics, sparking an inspiring thought into viewers about the possibilities of forging one’s ideal life despite life’s obstacles and challenges, and making what we defined as a beautiful life, beautiful.”

Below is the full track for the song “As long as I have you”, sung by Wong Lee Hom in the video. Enjoy!



10 Scientifically Proven Ways to Be Happy (Well, 11 actually!)

Inc Happy


Noteworthy excerpts from article:

Daily 7 minutes to great health:

“Think exercise is something you don’t have time for? Think again. Check out the  7 minute workout mentioned in The New York Times. That’s a workout any of us can fit into our schedules.”

Benefits of sufficient sleep:

Negative stimuli get processed by the amygdala; positive or neutral memories gets processed by the hippocampus. Sleep deprivation hits the hippocampus harder than the amygdala. The result is that sleep-deprived people fail to recall pleasant memories yet recall gloomy memories just fine.”

Spend time with family and friends:

We are happy when we have family, we are happy when we have friends and almost all the other things we think make us happy are actually just ways of getting more family and friends.” – Daniel Gilbert

Volunteering brings happiness to oneself and others:

Shortly after the fall of the Berlin Wall but before the German reunion, the first wave of data of the GSOEP was collected in East Germany. Volunteering was still widespread. Due to the shock of the reunion, a large portion of the infrastructure of volunteering (e.g. sports clubs associated with firms) collapsed and people randomly lost their opportunities for volunteering. Based on a comparison of the change in subjective well-being of these people and of people from the control group who had no change in their volunteer status, the hypothesis is supported that volunteering is rewarding in terms of higher life satisfaction.” – A study of volunteering in Germany

Smiling produces happiness in and of itself:

Smiling is one way to reduce the distress caused by an upsetting situation. Psychologists call this the facial feedback hypothesis. Even forcing a smile when we don’t feel like it is enough to lift our mood slightly (this is one example of embodied cognition)”

Going for vacation boosts your happiness ( at least for a while ):

In the study, the effect of vacation anticipation boosted happiness for eight weeks. After the vacation, happiness quickly dropped back to baseline levels for most people.”

Meditation brings calms and reduces stress:

In one study, a research team from Massachusetts General Hospital looked at the brain scans of 16 people before and after they participated in an eight-week course in mindfulness meditation. The study, published in the January issue of Psychiatry Research: Neuroimaging, concluded that after completing the course, parts of the participants’ brains associated with compassion and self-awareness grew, and parts associated with stress shrank.”

Closer proximity to one’s workplace makes us happier ( Surprise! ):

Our commute to work can have a surprisingly powerful impact on our happiness. The fact that we tend to commute twice a day at least five days a week makes it unsurprising that the effect would build up over time and make us less and less happy.”

We are happy just by being grateful:

“Participants included 219 men and women who wrote three letters of gratitude over a 3 week period. Results indicated that writing letters of gratitude increased participants’ happiness and life satisfaction while decreasing depressive symptoms.” – A study by The Journal of Happiness

One gets happier as one ages:

Researchers, including the authors, have found that older people shown pictures of faces or situations tend to focus on and remember the happier ones more and the negative ones less.

Other studies have discovered that as people age, they seek out situations that will lift their moods–for instance, pruning social circles of friends or acquaintances who might bring them down. Still other work finds that older adults learn to let go of loss and disappointment over unachieved goals, and focus their goals on greater well being.”

Being outdoors brings joy and happiness

“Being outdoors, near the sea, on a warm, sunny weekend afternoon is the perfect spot for most. In fact, participants were found to be substantially happier outdoors in all natural environments than they were in urban environments.”  – A UK study from the University of Sussex

Introverts just need to be understood


Introverts behave differently from extroverts.

This may well be the only important thing that anyone who wish to understand introverts need to know about.

Consider the following real life scenario, with fictitious names used:

Scenario 1:

Jane Tan,  a lecturer,  was about to start a lesson soon but the projector in the classroom just wasn’t working.

Fiddling with the remote control, she just can’t find a way to get it working. The projector is on but it just doesn’t project the content on the lecturer’s laptop on the screen.

Just as Jane was about to give up, a student stood up, grabbed the remote control from her hand, pointed it in the direction of the projector, pressed a few buttons, and it worked! Returning the remote control to her, the student merely smiled gently and returned to his seat, but not before receiving a heartfelt thanks from Jane.

Not a word was spoken by the student, but he solved a dilemma faced by an educator with ease – and in time.

What does this mean?

“Introverts process their thoughts mentally and often focus on the necessary. Verbal conversations and actions are possible for them but engaging in such acts drain them of their energy. 

Hence, to understand their thoughts and intentions, observe their actions.”

Scenario 2:

Mary Lim, a librarian, was busy at work at the front line counter when a young chap in mid-thirties approach her, passing her his library membership card.

“Excuse me, ” he began. “I have reserved  a book and I would like to collect them. I have already paid the reservation fees and I would like an extension of the book loan if nobody is reserving them.”

“Sure thing,” Mary looked at the man while smiling. “Please hold on while I get the book.”

She got up from her seat and headed to the cupboard at the back, where the reserved books were kept.

While Mary was away, the man started flipping through a calendar, starting from the first page. Soon, he was looking at the reverse page of each page as well. He kept doing that for every page. After having seen all the pages, he flipped back the calendar to its original arrangements and looked at the remaining pages on the other side.

Mary came back with the reserved book in her hands and began processing it on her computer. While she was doing that, she kept looking at the man, wondering what he was doing.

As he continued flipping the pages, he smiled.

“So, can I have the loan extension? Nobody has reserved them, right?”

“Right,” Mary replied, with a somewhat puzzled look on her face.

The man finished scanning the pages and meticulously placed the calendar back to its original location.

Mary finished processing the book and passed it to the man, placing the man’s library membership card and borrowing slip on the book cover.

“There, it’s done.”

“Thank you.” The man smiled, collected his reserved book, and left the library.

From the first encounter till its conclusion, Mary has no idea what the man has been doing.

However, if she has observed carefully, she would have noticed that the man’s eyes remained fixated on the right side of the calendar throughout the pages which he has browsed. Now, the next question is why. The reason is simple. There is a list of recommended book titles, one on the right side of each page. And the man is merely looking at any interesting titles he might like to borrow or reserve in the near future.

“Most introverts think and act in their heads, seldom seeing a need to explain their rationale to others. This is why they are often misunderstood in school and in the workplace. Extroverts would face other social issues but often, not this.

This is because extroverts would sooner exclaim “Wow, what an interesting list of book titles on this calendar! Mind if I take a look? I am sure you won’t, right?” Extroverts proclaim their thoughts verbally first, while introverts proclaim their thoughts mentally first, and often, won’t verbalise them unless someone whom they trust asks.  In a world dominated by extroverts,  this difference makes a world of difference between someone who is perceived as sociable, and someone who seems to lack social skills.”

To communicate with introverts, these are some questions we can ask ourselves:

1. Are we taking the initiative to communicate with them? We need to.

2. Are we asking them what they are thinking at this point in time? Especially in the classroom or business meetings? Remember, introverts live in their heads. They often live in two worlds: an inner world of ideal possibilities, and an outer world of physical reality. This is why introverts are often deemed as dreamers. But it is in their dreams where they make creative connections.

3. What are your interests and hobbies? Introverts are often intellectually attractive, something that others may be oblivious to – until they talk to them. Then they would realise that introverts can really talk -especially on subjects of their interests.  

4. Do you prefer to correspond in writing? Introverts do not communicate superbly in person, and may not even make an impression during social gathering or parties. But they are often excellent communicators and writers on paper, which includes emails.

As Susan Cain, author of Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, said:

“Introverts, in contrast, may have strong social skills and enjoy parties and business meetings, but after a while wish they were home in their pajamas. They prefer to devote their social energies to close friends, colleagues, and family. They listen more than they talk, think before they speak, and often feel as if they express themselves better in writing than in conversation. They tend to dislike conflict. Many have a horror of small talk, but enjoy deep discussions.”

The magic of numbers


Numbers are an amazing thing.

Our entire lives evolve around numbers.

Competition thrusts one into the fore while in romance, every woman wants to be to her man’s last lover.

Society thrives on large numbers though.

Extroverts are favoured precisely because they socialise with large numbers of people in a large numbers of settings.

Singles are lured towards dating events where there are large numbers of participants but who can blame them? Dating is – ultimately – a number’s game.

Companies and organisations plan their strategic expansion plans based on large financial figures – as large numbers imply lucrative deals and secure acquisitions.

Countries open their doors to tourists to improve their economic situations, and immigrants to boost their populations and labour force.

Men who have numerous girlfriends are considered to be alpha males and possess higher social value.

From the above, it can be observed that anyone who deals with small numbers are frowned upon.

Introverts are often considered unproductive because few people ever enter their inner circle socially.

Individualistic individuals who work on their own are considered a lone ranger and hence, a poor team player.

Social media members are compelled to have a large number of friends to prove their sociability.

Authors who have published a bestsellers but fail to make the grade for their follow-up titles are often dropped by their publishers as in the name of profit, sales supersedes originality.

Despite society’s inclinations to embrace plurality over singularity, there is much value in the latter.

Most masterpieces exists on their own. Consider the Mona Lisa, as well as “War and Peace” by Leo Tolstoy.

Introverts may have fewer friends but closer social contacts may imply that they have stronger bonding with the closed friends and loved ones around them.

Each one of us have a genetic blueprint and there is no one who is similar to us, including our twins (if we have any).

Limited editions of watches and other products imbue these products with a high level of prestige from buyers.

The topic of numbers is thus, abstract and unfathomable. Nevertheless, it does exists as an entity that serves as a beacon in which we human live our lives.

Be it physics, mathematics, engineering, architecture or game theory, numbers are omnipresent, and omnipotent. More prominently, our current wealth is determined by numbers. Even the mystic are governed by the existence of numbers. Just think numerology.

We are – in a way – directed by numbers, and the only difference are only determined by our cultural differences, diverse life upbringing, varied superstitions and specific circumstantial contexts.

While it is certainly fascination to see numbers in play in casinos and jackpot machines, it’s even more remarkable where numbers can be seen as our compass in life.

Story insights: Late Marriage and Family


A loving chinese mother in a pink blouse playing with her son with two water bottles shaped like a teddy bear, one in green and another in purple.

Her son in green shirt looks very young, still in his primary school days.  Probably seven or eight years old.

Before long, her daughter appeared out of nowhere to join them, donning a pink blouse similar to that of her mum’s.

Her mum left her son alone for a while and lifted her daughter up and placed her in a chair next to her, where she sat still obediently.

Once away from her mum’s grasp, her son wrestled himself free from his seat and ran around, shouting and screaming- mesmerised by the interesting scenes in his heads and living in a world of his own.

Within seconds, an adorable mum turned ugly, shouting and demanding that her son  get back to his seat, but to no avail.

The children’s dad joined them a few minutes later, and he too shouted at his son to get into line. This time, his son heeded the advice and walked slowly and resignedly back to his designated seat – next to his father.

It was then that I realised that both parents are rather old, the mum probably into her forties while her husband – while still fit and bulky in build – is in his fifties.

Late marriages – the modern trend of encouraging individualism and freedom while eroding the importance of family life and coupledom. A realm where children are considered as accessories and appendages rather than essential and mandatory, comforting support for marital bliss.

My thoughts on the “Running Man”

the running man

This post might prove to be of interest to fans of the “Running Man”, a South Korean variety programme that lasted over three years at this point in time, currently totalling 163 episodes. I first caught a glimpse of the program but I didn’t expect this programme to take off in such a drastic manner. Today, tons of fans worldwide knew the primary participants who are predominantly constant.

What is interesting about this programme are the following:

1. Humour: Humour is an overkill for most episodes. While most things are detested when in excess, humour is one exception where most would welcome an overdose. And what makes it even more amazing and interesting are that most of the games and activities in the various episodes are simple and it’s the great rapport between the participant and the witty remarks that make  the viewing experience of what seems like repetitive game play more memorable and laughable.  In the field of neuro-linguistic programming, one might even put it this way – the humour are the “anchor” techniques  that turn casual viewers into loyal fans and convert regular viewers into avid fans.

2. Fantasy laced with romanticism: In various episodes, thematic settings (such as one set in a recent Korean drama) are established and games revolve around these themes. This has the effects of both attracting fans of Korean dramas to the programme, as well as introducing and initiating new viewers of K-pop into the Korean Wave.  In addition,  there is a crossover effect of “blending” fans of this variety series with those of Korean dramas, with this programme serving as the advertising platform for South Korean’s very own drama productions.  The commonly seen fantasy elements also tend to attract the younger crowds.

3.  Promotional platforms for K-pop bands: With the proliferation of numerous K-pop bands, it is impossible to introduce each singer individually, especially if one is looking at bands with members of more than 5, such as Girl’s Generation, Infinite, Beast, APink, EXO etc. Hence, the “Running Man” usually brings in a few members per episode to personalise and introduce them to fans – up close and personal.  Sometimes, two members from various bands are brought in in one go and band members from different bands compete with one another (as can be seen in the 8 September 2013 episode).

4.  Every contestant possess a specific characters: The fact that the “residential” contestants possess a specific, consistent character throughout the various episodes plays a great role in making this variety programme a great success. While one is cowardly, another is brash. While one is blunt, another is sarcastic. It’s these contradictions in actions and behaviour that make this programme so entertaining.  Humour exerts the greatest effect when it reflects life itself, and this programme exactly illustrates this. And its preciseness in executing this effect determines its success.

5. Live updates and behind-the scene- footage: Snippets of information are updated via the programme’s Facebook page prior to screening of upcoming episodes creates anticipation while behind-the-scene footages add interest to the programme as well.

For those of you who have not watched this series yet, you might like to catch an episode and see if you like it.

I believe you will.

For synopses of the various episodes, you can click here.

The Advantage of doodling (Part 4)

Daughter and Grandma2

This is my fourth post for this blog series on doodling. Please click here for my first post.

Having doodled in an impromptu manner with and without words, I feel that words add coherence to the entire image. More importantly, doodling is best done with a certain conscious intent when drawing, not so much in having an objective or goal in mind (as that would be akin to mind-mapping, which is another topic altogether) but  rather, consciously completing the doodling act by completing the visual element after a conscious recognition of the appearing visual (by associating the element with one’s recognition of the partially shown element based on associative thinking and one’s accumulative knowledge of things and people).

By doing so, one’s visual representation of the doodle would not be hampered or impeded by a pre-defined goal, and one is able to doodle at will, retaining a certain degree of flexibility for more varied interpretations from one’s subconscious. This allows one to manoeuvre at free will without being too “one-way” in thinking, thereby adhering to a stricter definition of “doodling”.

I feel that doodling applies to all areas of life. However, in the act of doodling, it is important for the artist to realise that  many of the visual elements are drawn out of one’s subconscious and hence are symbolic. These elements should almost never be interpreted at the surface level. For instance, a dove is not a dove. A dove is love and peace. As for flowers, its interpretation should be made based on what it represents. For example, a rose is not a rose. It is romantic love and beauty, which differs from carnations (with its modern interpretation of maternal affection).

Previously, before the emergence and prevalence of the internet, symbolic interpretations of visual elements and dreams are restricted to professionals. However, since the internet’s proliferation, researching and understanding visual elements pulled from one’s subconscious and dreams have never been easier. Yes, it takes effort but with perseverance and gratitude, one can easily identify interesting thoughts from one’s own drawings and seek to understand oneself better. So, my personal opinion is that doodling does have a healing effect on oneself, thereby serving as a useful therapeutic tool for everyone.

Nevertheless, I have to add that not everyone is attuned to the act of doodling or even drawing. For some, there is a need to allocate some time to this endeavour for doodling to be an effective therapeutic tool.

In my next article, I will examine the process of doodling and how it can be used to enhance one’s self-learning in one’s journey of self-discovery.

Stay tuned.