Thursday, May 26, 2011

Life Questions

How to be a better father?
How to be a better husband?
How to be a better son and grandson?
How to be a better brother?
How to be a better employee?
How to be a better teammate?
How to be a better friend?
How to be a better citizen to the society?
How to be a better me?

I think I’m intelligent enough to figure out the answer of the individual questions above. Most of the answers are not really about money, not that I’ve plenty. The problem is carrying out the answers in reality effectively and efficiently. Namely, how to achieve an optimal balance in resource (time, attention, planning and action) allocation and expected results? Some people may think that I would have more control of the former, but actually, that all depends on the latter. I’m not just talking about the results that I expect myself, but more about what OTHERS expect from me!

No book would be able to teach me how to do all that. Cuz, it is ultimately written by ME, it is the book of my life! It is tough, but as long as life goes on, I just gotta suck it up and do it.

Friday, May 20, 2011

A vivid dream on May 19

I’ve not have a memorable dream for a while. That’s why I was so surprise with what I can remember from what I dream last night. These are the sequential (somewhat incoherent) bits and pieces that I can still recall:

1. Discussion with my current boss about his assignment of sending me to Taiwan for an unknown period to manage a team of 12. I was unwilling to go due to family reason.

2. I was in a hotel in Taiwan. I was in a hotel lobby, can’t remember the details, but I was looking at a black and white carbon copy of floor map. I was told my room number is 812.

3. I was in the hotel room, it was kinda big, but it was dark outside. I prayed and bowed in all four directions to tell ‘the spirits’ that I was seeking for a peaceful co-existence with them for 2 nights. Please don’t bother me.

4. I went into the bathroom, somehow it become a large cave with hot spring inside. It was dark but I still can see there were people there. Many kids and two young hot Chinese girls were walking up the rocks towards me in blue and yellow towels. I then turned back to my room and somehow went to the reception to complain how come there were so many people (about 18) in my room.

5. Then, I was on a roof of a long rectangular building. Somewhat like a dock of a battleship. It was supposed to be the roof of a hotel. Exact place is unknown.

6. I was talking face to face of two of my ex-ex-ex colleagues (HT and RL). Then, man I saw crafts in the air. Very big craft maneuvered in the blue sky with some white clouds. They are Gundams! Also, other very strange and weird aircraft as well! One of them is a large white cylinder with a black star on it and a long red arm that can bend. I was screaming and looking for a camera to film them. HT was filming them by his iPhone. I was so excited and thought those aircraft must be going to an air show or something.

Well, that’s it!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Personal Growth

Recently, I have done a little bit of self-reflection of the current stage of my life. It is by no mean thorough or serious, but I do have a feeling about personal growth that I wanna blog here.

Personal growth that I mean here is more about growth/enhancement/improvement of my mind/spirit/intelligence. With such growth, naturally, I should feel better today than yesterday. I should perform better today than yesterday. As a result, things will turn out better which may lead to financial gain or spiritual satisfaction.

Usually, the mean to achieve such growth is through learning, supported by appropriate amount of exercise, healthy diet, sleep and entertainment. Also, a stable environment would help as well, namely, a steady income, decent health, and okay relationship with people who have first person contact frequently including family members, co-workers, peers, etc.

The learning that I mean here is basically picking up new knowledge, skills, and thoughts that can be applicable in real life. That can be obtained by taking courses, reading self-help books, etc. The point is that it must be something specific.

I feel like I’ve not grown much in recent times. I think it has a lot to do for being a responsible family man. I’m NOT here to blame on my wife and my kid. I enjoy very much for being a married man and a dad. The joy and satisfaction that they have been giving me is just irreplaceable. However, every take comes with give. I’m not trying to get maximum of everything which is impossible. Instead, I think I need to figure out a way to ‘optimize’ my resource to get a more satisfactory balance of both. Having said this much so far, you can tell that I’m not happy with my personal growth side so far.

The resource that I’m talking about here is not too much about money, not that I’ve lots of it. Rather, it is about time management. I did blog about Time repeatedly before. I’ve never tired of this topic. Cuz, as older we are, at least I am, the more acute sense of time that I have. Perhaps, it has something to do with the fact that we have a longer history that we can do self-reflection on. When we are 20 years old, what we saw at the time comparing to what we had been at 18, not that big of a difference would be noticed. Also, a 20 years old would see a lot of unknown in his life down the long road in future. There was just so much to look forward to. We had time to ‘kill’. We were enjoying our youth. For an older person, got married and became a dad. Things are looked to be more stable. Roles and responsibilities are more defined. Basically, you can pessimistically say that we are ‘stuck’ to be this and that. Regardless, simply referencing our parents, we can pretty much tell what our life should be going forward.

It is by no mean pessimistic or easy. Once we are married, we can tell our life path will deviate from those spirit-free bachelors. Once we became parent, our life path will further deviate from those leissez-fare couples without kid. We made life-decisions and just live with the consequences of them. The joy and pain of bachelors and childless couples have nothing to do with us. Personally, I would not miss the joy and feel fortune of not having the pain of those people. Cuz, I made my choices. The issue here is that how to deal with the joy and pain of being married and a parent. The joyful part is easy, just takes it as it comes, I think it is no brainer. The hard part is to manage the pain. I know the ‘half-glass’ full theory, it is an easy but quick pain reliever. That actually is too passive to fool myself for long term. What I need is something more concrete and tangible. I’m not looking for a timetable, but at least a strategy of time-management that could re-trigger my personal growth. I think that I have reached a point that I’m kinda desperate to have one.

I don’t believe that I’ve to shortchange the joy that I gain from being a husband and a dad. For now, I just think that I need to manage my overall time more ‘efficiently’. I guess I just need to reshuffle my priorities and set up tangible and reachable goals. I’m not too worry about motivation part, cuz I know myself enough that if I’ve a better plan and got excited enough of the goals, my motivation engine will auto-start itself. I guess, I just need to squeeze an hour or so to be by myself undisturbed, to think, to scrabble on my iPhone, and think again….let’s see what I can come up with….man just thinking and blogging it simultaneously really help!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

My latest thoughts on NBA 2011

My favorite team Boston Celtics was out by Miami Heat. I was not surprised by the result, given that Rondo was playing with one arm and Shaq was too old to recover. The bench couldn’t perform at expected level. So, here it goes for the season. Well, Doc is gonna be back for 5 more years. It is kinda interesting that he wanted so much to go back to Orlando to be with his kids in college, to see them play sports, etc a year ago. Now, he would coach 5 more years and don’t miss his kids’ games no more! I guess money talks. Anyway, it would be interesting to see what Danny Ainge will do in the unknown off-season given the possible lock out. Anyway, I will just stay tune.

Fortunately, my second favorite team Chicago Bulls is cruising along, beat Miami Heat in the first game of Eastern final. I guess the Bulls will win. I just don’t want Heat to be in the Final. Yes, the new Big Three will win championship soon or later, but I prefer the latter. Also, I doubt they can win 6-8 rings as they wished. Cuz, the Bulls is for real and I think Bulls will be the most dominant team in the next 5 years at least, provided they don’t suffer heavy injury. Bulls is playing as a team, yes DR is dominant, but he is also a guy that bring the team together. So, they will be tough to bit as Tom Thibs’s air-tight defensive schemes just suffocate most individualistic players. I love teams play as a team. So, go Bulls all the way this year and they deserve the ring!

Dallas will win the West, though I like Thunder, particularly after reading news story about Kevin Durant. What a humble kid he is! Similar to DR, I think they are much better young players as role models than those flashy LBJ, Carmelo Anthony, etc. However, I still like Bulls better. Thunder would be a great team rising in the West.

Spurs, similar to the Cs, is just too old as a team. It’s time to rebuild. Lakers is interesting, they are not as old as people think, but I just can’t see they will be better next year. With the Phil Jackson’s Zen management, those wild characters just can’t be contained. I don’t see them doing any better next year than this year. Will Phil retire? Maybe, more interesting would be…will the famous triangular defense retires with him? I know Rex Winter (if I remember the name right) is the real master of Triangular defense, but I don’t know if there’s gonna be any successor to that….hmmm…..

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

My view on cigarette

Over the past weekend, due to some personal matters, I’d to be on the street to do quite a bit of walking back and forth in my neighborhood. What got my attention was the more than I expected number of smokers that I encountered on the street. Besides old dudes, there were quite a number of young men and women smoking on the street, particularly when they were waiting for public transportation. I wouldn’t jump into the conclusion that the government effort in persuasion in quitting has failed. But, is smoking really that enjoyable to quit?

Personally, my dad is a life-long smoker. That’s something that nobody in my family is able to make him stop. We thus kinda turn our face on this fact. Fortunately, my dad is also considerate enough for not smoking when he is with us. However, smell of post-smoked bathroom and his smoky breath always reminded us how much we dislike smoking.

I’d only smoked twice in my life. The first time was during my teenage year out of curiosity. I stole a cigarette from my dad, I forgot that’s Winston or Marlboro, I inhaled that once and got choked so badly that I had to drink a can of Coke to dilute the taste in my mouth. At that time, I couldn’t understand why my dad would like such thing. The second time that I smoked was during my mid-twenties. I was with a girl that I liked who smoke every now and then. I was with her when she was pouring her heart with emotions in a late evening chat. I forgot what the topic was, but we were outdoor in a park on the roadside or something. It was kinda chill and she offered a cigarette to me. Perhaps it was the mood and all that, I inhaled again. It was a light cigarette. Different from the one that I took from my dad, this one had no taste at all. I didn’t feel anything. No choking, no nothing! However, that didn’t make me becoming a smoker, cuz at the end of the day; I still couldn’t find smoking appealing even one bit.

Since then, I’ve never picked up a cigarette in my life. I just don’t find it worth doing it. It costs money, hurts our health, and I do find second hand smoke extremely annoying, particularly after being a dad. I had to make extra effort to stay away from the smoke when I’m with my kid.

I wouldn’t challenge some smokers’ claim of finding Nicotine relaxing and addictive. I think the reaction to Nicotine is perhaps different from one to another, maybe it has something to do with our gene. Anyway, I respect people’s right to smoke, but please don’t affect the non-smokers. That’s basically in line with my thought on other hardcore drugs as well. It shouldn’t be a legal issue, but rather a medical and social issue. Namely, you should have the right to smoke, period. However, if your smoking behavior affects other people, you deserve to be disliked and repulsed. Though Nicotine is addictive, it affects our health; cigarette is not and should never be an illegal product. Addicts should be assisted to quit, they deserves the attention of the medical community, not the law-enforcement one.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Geronimo E-KIA

Osama Bin Laden (OBL), the so-called most wanted man in the world in the last decade or so, was killed with 2 bullets few days ago in Pakistan. With the circumstance of this incident, there are so much to talk about and it is definitely one of the top stories of the year.

It is very logical and believable that OBL was protected by Pakistan military in the last few years simply given the location of his resident ‘palace’ which is in close proximity to Pakistan’s military establishment. Some people are questioning if this will affect U.S.- Pakistan relationship from now on. I would say no to that and will explain that later.

OBL was killed, not captured. Based on the news, he was kinda identified and killed in an instant. Regardless whether he was armed or not, with other bystanders on site or not, he was targeted to be killed. That’s not an instant decision, but a planned one beforehand. I think the whole attack has been long designed and choreographed, most decisions were made with in-depth analysis on the pros and cons of different alternatives. Cuz, this action is a big deal to the Obama administration, at least in public. That has designed impact on the national sentiment, upcoming re-election campaign, etc. Things must be planned. Agreed with some news analysts’ view that capturing instead of killing OBL would cause so much unwanted consequence to the U.S. government. Like where to cage him, going through the legal process, publicity, his supporters/sympathizers’reactions, etc. That’s just not worthy! Though there is news saying that the United Nation is questioning the legitimacy of U.S.’s unilateral action of going in a sovereign state to take a military action of killing, I just think that’s laughable. It is not the first time the U.S. is doing that (remember Noriega?) the world is ruled by hegemony - the one who has a bigger fist!

About OBL’s sea burial, I think that’s a quite interesting decision. I agree that you don’t wanna let his dead body lying around for long. Cuz, a dead OBL is already a martyr to some people, you don’t wanna give them something physical to be drawn to. Where would he be buried as an alternative? The logical place will be in Saudi Arabia, given that he is a Saudi Sunni. However, would the Saudi Royal family wants such nuisance in its Kingdom when there are already unstable atmosphere among its citizens which are only temporary shut up with cash? I don’t think U.S. would want OBL’s dead body in a morgue in its mainland or any overseas military base for long. Cuz, that would be viewed as trophy by some Arabs, I guess. So, the only other viable alternative would be cremating his dead body and spread his ashes in the wind. However, I found the current decision interesting because it means that his dead body was taken up by the U.S. helicopter and was then taken on a long route to Arabian Sea for disposal. Why it was taken that far? Would the sea off Pakistan be closer?

Some would say that revenge for his death will be imminent. Reportedly, a dirty bomb is already in Europe and it will go off any time. Well, I think that’s silly. If Al Qaeda has a dirty bomb indeed, it would have gone off long ago. I wouldn’t doubt that some terrorists love to have some kinds of WMD, but I don’t think they can gather all necessary means to get it deliver to their desired target. It is just not easy. Think about it, it involves so much, including gathering materials, experts, machinery to compose it, a safe hidden site to house the whole production, the means to deliver the bombs, etc. When you think about how much it took to test weapons by sovereign states, you can imagine the daunting tasks by the terrorist organizations to do the same in hidden state. Well, some might say how about 9/11? Well, I don’t trust the official story 100%, neither some of the conspiracy theories. I just have doubts of the whole 9/11 incident, but that’s a whole another story…

I would say that terrorist attacks with a flag of revenge being raised will happen, but scale and impact of them would be far and between. I don’t know what OBL’s DVDs, portal storage devices and PCs contain. But, just the news that they are now in the hands of the U.S. government, would be enough to put all OBL related terrorist groups’ plans derail. They would need to go back to drawing board (if they have one) again to figure out what to do next. Thus, I would say that revenge in the name of OBL’s death would actually be less than it is expected.

Navy Seal has become a spotlight in this incident. I was more interested in the information about the Seal than other stuff. Like there are reportedly 2000 or so Seals are currently on active duty. 10% of them are the elites that belong to team 6. The kinds of training they went through, the background of those people, and different aspects in their execution past and present are just fascinating. I just wonder how their counterparts in Russia, China, etc would view this incident and what the corresponding stories of them would be.

Regarding “OBL, enemy killed in action”, aka “Geronimo EKIA”, using Geronimo as a code name for OBL has upset Native American. I think it is more a sidetrack story. They have all the right to be upset, but they are just not powerful enough to challenge the dominant Anglo-Saxon power. So, it would most likely be just a ‘beep’ in the sea of sound. Certainly, if the Seal commander said something like ‘Serpent EKIA’, that would be no story at all.

OBL’s death was celebrated in the States and was considered as a closure for the victims’ families as well as to the 9/11 incident itself. I would say that everyone has his/her right of expression as a reaction to this news and form his/her own judgment. However, I would say that OBL’s death is not that significant when we look at it from a point of view in terms of the geographical international political chessboard.

As mentioned before, Pakistan is just chess in the eyes of the Eagle. As long as it is valuable, U.S.-Pakistan relationship is expected to experience the upcoming down and the up again down the road. U.S. foreign policy has been using the ‘Carrot and Stick’ approach since God knows when. Pakistan is not Iran, it is not a threat to Israel. Pakistan is friend of China, an enemy of India. So, it is an important piece in South Asia geopolitics. U.S. aims to contain China, so any country next to China is valuable to the U.S. That’s it.

My view of terrorism has been around in the history for so long, being usually deployed as a desperate measure by the weak as a way to against those in power. It will continue and I don’t think the death of OBL would make a difference. Some polls have already shown that many regular folks do not find that our world will be any safer with his death. I just think that as the powerful groups are still exploiting the weak, terrorism will continue.