Friday, November 23, 2007

Interesting Painting

See how many of them do you know?
I saw this pic on ''

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Personal Mobile History

Comparing with most folks in Hong Kong, I think I’m way below average in terms of switching new mobile phone. Most folks changed there mobile annually, and I used to have some colleagues who change their mobile like every 3-4 months. To recount my old mobiles, I think this new one is my 7th. My very first mobile is a Motorola bulky mobile with a thick battery, it was a flip phone that back in 1996-97. My second one is also a Motorola Startec, it was considered to be very small back in 1999. Then, the next one is an Ericsson, not Sony-Ericsson, flip phone, it was gift from my dad back in 1999-2002. Then, I purchase my first Nokia 8250. I used that for few years as it was durable and actually I’m not a heavy caller and I don’t really do much with my phone anyway. After few years amazingly as phones are upgraded, I hadn’t temped to get a new one until 2006, when I bought a Toshiba T30, it was thin of only 9.9mm thick. Unfortunately, it was broken due to a ‘violent’ incident. So, I sold that to a street vendor for $400 and use my wife’s old Nokia phone until last weekend. I bought a new mobile phone last weekend, a Samsung Anycall L768.

I did some research to find out what is available now and finally select this one. It has most of the functions that I need and I join the 3G plan that come with this phone to access news and videos. I think I will enjoy this one when I start my new job next week.

The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People

Lately, I’ve been quite stressful due to couple of events. Firstly, my two-months-old son was emitted to hospital due to a sudden fever around midnight last week. Thank God, he is ok for now and he has to go through one more invasive testing to check if he has the problem of urine backflow which could be serious download if it remains untreated. That makes my wife very stressful and it flows back to me. Secondly, my wife is worrying about going back to work after more than 10 weeks of maternity leave. Similar to first event, her stress flows back to me. Thirdly, I’m about to start in a new company next week. It is always nice to have a new start in some sense. However, it is a stressful thing to start, knowing that the situation there is by no mean easy. That position, I would say is a quite ‘hostile’ position with some many unknowns. Though, I got inside briefing of the situation, knowing that is one thing, being there is another. I do put some pressure on myself to succeed in the new job there. I feel like I’ve something to prove to myself.

The stress above is substantial, and I don’t think I’m fully prepared to handle all of them when the timings of the above are so intertwined. However, while I’ve tried to do some soul-searching on how to handle all that stress, I spent few hours of reading in those few days that I was spending with my son in hospital. In between of feeding, diaper-changing, and cuddling my son, I found time to pick up a book that I bought years ago but never went through more than the first 50 pages. The book is “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen R. Covey. I’ve not gone through the whole book yet, but by ready the first 3 habits, I think that I’ve seen some light out of my current situation. At the age, in these days, I don’t get much advice or heads-up from other folks much. There are certainly some lessons or wisdom that I used to know but forgot as they have not been called into practice. However, this book does help me to refresh certain wisdom that would be useful to me now.

Quoted from Wiki, the seven habits can be summarized as follow:

1. Be Pro-active. Here, Covey emphasizes the original sense of the term "proactive" as coined by Victor Frankl. You can either be proactive or reactive when it comes to how you act about certain things. Being "proactive" means taking responsibility for everything in life. When you're reactive, you blame other people and circumstances for obstacles or problems. Initiative, and taking action will then follow. Covey shows how man is different from other animals in that he has self-consciousness. He has the ability to detach himself and observe his own self, think about his thoughts. He goes on to say how this attribute enables him. It gives him the power not to be affected by his circumstances. Covey talks about 'Stimulus and Response'. Between Stimulus and Response, we have the power to choose the response.

2. Begin with the End In Mind. This chapter is about setting long-term goals based on "true-north principles." Covey recommends to formulate a "personal mission statement" to document one's perception of one's own purpose in life. He sees visualization as an important tool to develop this. He also deals with organizational mission statements, which he claims to be more effective if developed and supported by all members of an organization, rather than being prescribed.

3. Put First Things First. Here, Covey describes a framework for prioritizing work that is aimed at long-term goals, at the expense of tasks that appear to be urgent, but are in fact less important. Delegation is presented as an important part of time management. Successful delegation, according to Covey, focuses on results and benchmarks that are to be agreed in advance, rather than on prescribing detailed work plans.

4. Think Win/Win describes an attitude whereby mutually beneficial solutions are sought, that satisfy the needs of oneself as well as others, or, in the case of a conflict, both parties involved.

5. Seek First to Understand, Then to be Understood. Covey warns that giving out advice before having empathetically understood a person and their situation will likely result in that advice being rejected. Thoroughly listening to another person's concerns instead of reading out your own autobiography is purported to increase the chance of establishing a working communication.

6. Synergize describes a way of working in teams. Apply effective problem solving. Apply collaborative decision making. Value differences. Build on divergent strengths. Leverage creative collaboration. Embrace and leverage innovation. It is put forth that, when this is pursued as a habit, the result of the teamwork will exceed the sum of what each of the members could have achieved on their own. “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.”

7. Sharpen the saw focuses on balanced self-renewal. Regaining what Covey calls "production capability" by engaging in carefully selected recreational activities.

I think that the idea of “Between Stimulus and Response, we have the power to choose the response’ is very useful for me to deal with stress. I have to rely more on my logical side to handle this. I think that it can help keep my EQ level to handle all the incoming ‘waves’ from allover.

Also, ‘visualization’ is something I used to practice, so I think I will use it again especially in setting goals in my new job.

‘Put First Things First’ is going to be a big challenge to me as I really ‘buy’ this concept, but it is certainly something easy to understand but hard to practice. I think I will try to do that, if not practicing well, as least I need to keep this concept in mind all the time. Otherwise, I think I will be swarmed in my new job, as well as at home.

For all the rest, I’ve not completed my reading yet and I doubt that I will have much time to do that anytime soon. Nonetheless, I’m glad to read that book which has stimulated my mind which is something that is long overdue.

Saturday, November 10, 2007


When I'm approaching the crossroad in my life, I often have a feeling of uneasiness. A crossroad means the current path is ending and the new one is coming up. Sometimes, I've the opportunity to choose which way to go. Once I selected, though I rarely regret the choice that I made, I can't help feeling excited, nervous, and uncertain about what's gonna happen on the new path that I choose. Like who am I gonna encounter, all the goods and bads that come with it....
I think I do have quite a few large changes in my life this year, certainly nothing is bigger than being a dad for the first time. However, moving to a new apartment, hiring a housemaid, and an upcoming career move did have effect on my daily life. There is only so much I can plan, planning can only scetch the outlook of things, a lot of the time, the worst and the best things I have prepared for just don't happen. On the other hand, sometimes I find that the attitude of 'take it easy' to see how things go....are just excuses of being lazy to plan and prepare. Anyhow, nothing is perfect....