Archive for June, 2008


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Mid-year reflection

People tend to do New Year resolutions but few reflect upon them until the next New Year. But tracking progress is as important as setting the right goals as it not only reminds me of my goals but also allow me to adjust my plans if necessary (here and here are my resolution entries for this year).


Lately I haven’t been following my plan/schedule closely (hence less blogging, drawing, and serious reading) and probably have spent too much time on hedonic pleasures such as dining out, movies, and passive reading than on learning and creating things. Below are some thoughts on various aspects of my life. Overall I think I’ve passed the minimum standard in living the way I want but I definitely could do better.


Career: B-

Became much more familiar and efficient with my work. Now have to further develop my economic and financial knowledge and find ways to add more values.


Health: A-

Exercise and eat well enough to keep myself healthy (except having too many desserts on weekend). Probably not as fit as I’d like ideally, but that’s not my goal for now as I think the time and energy are better spent elsewhere.


Friend: C-

Haven’t catch up with friends that often and probably should communicate with them more regularly, especially those not living in Singapore. But it’s comforting to know that with certain friends, I can connect with them easily and feel close to them even without frequent contact (or perhaps just an excuse).


Love: D-

Only reason it’s not an F is because I didn’t explicitly set it as a goal. But as far as I can see, there’s little probability in meeting someone I’d like. My work environment, personality, and idealistic views greatly limit my chance of meeting new people and finding someone I like. Don’t think I’d do much about it for now except to continue better myself and keep an open mind.


Learning: B-

Read enough to feel that I’m learning something everyday. But the readings are quite random and spontaneous. Would probably be more effective if I specified my learning goals and follow them systematically.


Hobbies: B-

Similar to the learning goal, I’ve been dabbling in various hobbies but haven’t focused enough to do something particularly well. I plan to set some specific projects to do for each month to ensure I’m creating something regularly.


Finance: B

On track to repay my Grad school loans soon, even taking into account my travel plans and regular fine dining. Though still feel a bit guilty about my indulgence given I’m in debt. I guess my Chinese background makes me place more value on prudence than on consumption smoothing.


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From Marginal Revolution:

It may be that friendship is nourished on observation and conversation, but love is born from and nourished on silent interpretation…The beloved expresses a possible world unknown to us…that must be deciphered.

That is Gilles Deleuze and it is the front quotation in the new novel Atmospheric Disturbances, by the very beautiful Rivka Galchen.  The key premise of this novel is that a 51-year-old psychiatrist suddenly believes that his wife has been replaced with an exact look-alike; he refers to her as the Simulacrum.  I read it straight through.  Here is an interview with the author.

Silent interpretation – make sense to me as I think most love happens in the mind.


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Portrait for a friend

A belated birthday portrait for a far away friend who just moved to a new apartment alone for her first job. Wish she will enjoy this new chapter of life and continue to smile while facing life’s challenges. Smile

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August Rush

A movie for someone who likes music, dreams, or fariy tales.

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Mindset by Carol Dweck. The ideas of the book’s simple: We can change our mindset and a growth mindset is better than a fixed one. I found this book too much of a self-help nature for my taste. Reading about her research is much better than reading this book (for example, see here and here).

The Happiness Myth by Jennifer Michael Hecht. One of the more sophisticated books on happiness. Full of wisdoms drawn from literature, history, science and philosophy. It leads one to question many of the absurdities we take for granted in life and helps put things in better perspective. This is a book I’d probably read again.

After Dark by Haruki Murakami. I got the Japanese version and still figuring out how to get the most out of it. I find it much harder to understand/enjoy fiction written in a second language.

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