Friday, August 30, 2013

A conversation with God

Man: God, can I ask You a question?

God: Sure.

Man: Promise You won't get mad …

God: I promise.

Man: Why did You let so much stuff happen to me today?

God: What do you mean?

Man: Well, I woke up late.

God: Yes.

Man: My car took forever to start.

God: Okay.

Man: At lunch they made my sandwich wrong & I had to wait.

God: Huummm...

Man: On the way home, my phone went DEAD, just as I picked up a call.

God: All right.

Man: And on top of it all off, when I got home, I just want to soak my feet in my new foot massager & relax. BUT it wouldn't work!!! Nothing
went right today! Why did You do that?

God: Let me see, the death angel was at your bed this morning & I had to send one of My Angels to battle him for your life. I let you sleep
through that.

Man (humbled): OH!

GOD: I didn't let your car start because there was a drunk driver on your route that would have hit you if you were on the road.

Man: (ashamed)

God: The first person who made your sandwich today was sick & I didn't want you to catch what they have, I knew you couldn't afford to miss work.

Man (embarrassed): Okay.

God: Your phone went dead because the person that was calling was going to give false witness about what you said on that call, I didn't even let you talk to them so you would be covered.

Man (softly): I see God.

God: Oh and that foot massager, it had a shortage that was going to throw out all of the power in your house tonight. I didn't think you
wanted to be in the dark.

Man: I'm Sorry God

God: Don't be sorry, just learn to Trust Me… in All things , the Good & the bad.

Man: I will trust You.

God: And don't doubt that My plan for your day is Always Better than your plan.

Man: I won't God. And let me just tell you God, Thank You for Everything today.

God: You're welcome child. It was just another day being your God and I Love looking after My Children.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Arab Spring and the Israeli enemy

Thirty-nine years ago, on Oct. 6, 1973, the third major war between the Arabs and Israel broke out. The war lasted only 20 days. The two sides were engaged in two other major wars, in 1948 and 1967.

The 1967 War lasted only six days. But, these three wars were not the only Arab-Israel confrontations. From the period of 1948 and to this day many confrontations have taken place. Some of them were small clashes and many of them were full-scale battles, but there were no major wars apart from the ones mentioned above. The Arab-Israeli conflict is the most complicated conflict the world ever experienced. On the anniversary of the 1973 War between the Arab and the Israelis, many people in the Arab world are beginning to ask many questions about the past, present and the future with regard to the Arab-Israeli conflict.

The questions now are: What was the real cost of these wars to the Arab world and its people. And the harder question that no Arab national wants to ask is: What was the real cost for not recognizing Israel in 1948 and why didn’t the Arab states spend their assets on education, health care and the infrastructures instead of wars? But, the hardest question that no Arab national wants to hear is whether Israel is the real enemy of the Arab world and the Arab people.

I decided to write this article after I saw photos and reports about a starving child in Yemen, a burned ancient Aleppo souk in Syria, the under developed Sinai in Egypt, car bombs in Iraq and the destroyed buildings in Libya. The photos and the reports were shown on the Al-Arabiya network, which is the most watched and respected news outlet in the Middle East.
The common thing among all what I saw is that the destruction and the atrocities are not done by an outside enemy. The starvation, the killings and the destruction in these Arab countries are done by the same hands that are supposed to protect and build the unity of these countries and safeguard the people of these countries. So, the question now is that who is the real enemy of the Arab world?
The Arab world wasted hundreds of billions of dollars and lost tens of thousands of innocent lives fighting Israel, which they considered is their sworn enemy, an enemy whose existence they never recognized. The Arab world has many enemies and Israel should have been at the bottom of the list. The real enemies of the Arab world are corruption, lack of good education, lack of good health care, lack of freedom, lack of respect for the human lives and finally, the Arab world had many dictators who used the Arab-Israeli conflict to suppress their own people. These dictators’ atrocities against their own people are far worse than all the full-scale Arab-Israeli wars.

In the past, we have talked about why some Israeli soldiers attack and mistreat Palestinians. Also, we saw Israeli planes and tanks attack various Arab countries. But, do these attacks match the current atrocities being committed by some Arab states against their own people?!

In Syria, the atrocities are beyond anybody’s imaginations?

And, aren’t the Iraqis the ones who are destroying their own country?
Wasn’t it Tunisia’s dictator who was able to steal 13 billion dollars from the poor Tunisians?
And how can a child starve in Yemen if their land is the most fertile land in the world?
Why would Iraqi brains leave Iraq in a country that makes 110 billion dollars from oil export?
Why do the Lebanese fail to govern one of the tiniest countries in the world?
And what made the Arab states start sinking into chaos?

On May 14, 1948 the state of Israel was declared. And just one day after that, on May 15, 1948 the Arabs declared war on Israel to get back Palestine. The war ended on March 10, 1949. It lasted for nine months, three weeks and two days. The Arabs lost the war and called this war Nakbah (catastrophic war). The Arabs gained nothing and thousands of Palestinians became refugees.

And on 1967, the Arabs led by Egypt under the rule of Gamal Abdul Nasser, went in war with Israel and lost more Palestinian land and made more Palestinian refugees who are now on the mercy of the countries that host them. The Arabs called this war Naksah (upset).
The Arabs never admitted defeat in both wars and the Palestinian cause got more complicated.
And now, with the never ending Arab Spring, the Arab world has no time for the Palestinians refugees or Palestinian cause, because many Arabs are refugees themselves and under constant attacks from their own forces. Syrians are leaving their own country, not because of the Israeli planes dropping bombs on them. It is the Syrian Air Force which is dropping the bombs. And now, Iraqi Arab Muslims, some of the most intelligent, are leaving Iraq.  In Yemen, the world’s saddest human tragedy play is being written by the Yemenis. In Egypt, the people in Sinai are forgotten. Finally, if many of the Arab states are in such disarray, then what happened to the Arabs’ sworn enemy (Israel)?
Israel now has the most advanced research facilities, top universities and advanced infrastructure. Many Arabs don’t know that the life expectancy of the Palestinians living in Israel is far longer than many Arab states and they enjoy far better political and social freedom than many of their Arab brothers. Even the Palestinians living under Israeli occupation in the West Bank and Gaza Strip enjoy more political and social rights than some places in the Arab World.
Wasn’t one of the judges who sent a former Israeli president to jail an Israeli-Palestinian?!

The Arab Spring showed the world that the Palestinians are happier and in a better situation than their Arab brothers who fought to liberate them from the Israelis. Now, it is time to stop the hatred and wars and start to create better living conditions for the future Arab generations.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Living a life with no regrets

By Lee Wei Ling
About 20 years ago, when I was still of marriageable age, my father Lee Kuan Yew had a serious conversation with me one day. He told me that he and my mother would benefit if I remained single and took care of them in their old age. But I would be lonely if I remained unmarried.
I replied : “ Better lonely than be trapped in a loveless marriage.”

I have never regretted my decision.

Twenty years later, I am still single I still live with my father in my family home. But my priorites in life have changed somewhat.

Instead of frequent trips over-seas by myself, to attend medical conferences or to go on hikes, I only travel with my father nowadays.

Like my mother did when she was alive, I accompany him so that I can keep an eye on him and also keep him company. After my mother became too ill to travel, he missed having a family member with whom he could speak frankly after a long tiring day of meetings.

At the age of 88, and recently widowed, he is less vigorous now than he was before May 2008 when my mother suffered a stroke. Since then I have watched him getting more frail as he watched my mother suffer. After my mother passed away, his health deteriorated further before recovering about three months ago.

He is aware that he can no longer function at the pace he could just four years ago. But he still insists on travelling to all corners of the Earth if he thinks his trips might benefit Singapore.

We are at present on a 16-day trip around the world. The first stop was Istanbul for the JPMorgan International Advisory Council meeting. We then spent two days in the countryside near Paris to relax. Then it was on to Washington DC, where, in additon to meetings at the White House, he received the Ford’s Theatre Lincoln Medal.

As I am writing this on Thursday, we are in New York City where he has a dinner and a dialogue session with the Capital Group tonight, and Government of Singapore Investment Corporation meetings tomorrow. After that, we will spend the weekend at former US secretary of state Henry Kissinger’s country home in Connecticut. Influential Americans will be driving or flying in to meet my father over dinner on Saturday and lunch on Sunday.
Even for a healthy and fit man of 88, the above would be a formidable programme. For a recently widowed man who is still adjusting to the loss of his wife, and whose level of energy has been lowered, it is even more challenging.

But my father believes that we must carry on with life despite whatever personal setbacks we might suffer. If he can do something that might benefit Singapore, he will do so no matter what his age or the state of his health. For my part, I keep him company when he is not preoccupied with work, and I make sure he has enough rest.

Though I encourage him to exercise, I also dissuade him from over exerting himself. I remind him how he felt in May last year when, after returning from Tokyo, he delivered the eulogy at Dr Goh Keng Swee’s funeral the next day.

He had exercised too much in the two days preceding the funeral, against my advice. So naturally, he felt tired, and certainly looked tired on stage, as he delivered his tribute to an old and treasured comrade-in-arms. A few of my friends were worried by how he looked and messaged me to ask if my father was OK. Now when I advise him not to push too hard, he listens.

The irony is I did not take my own advice at one time and it was he who stopped me from over-exercising. Once, in 2001, while I was recovering from a fracture of my femur, he limited my swimming. He went as far as to ask a security officer to time how long I swam. If I exceeded the time my physician had precribed, even if it was just by a minute, he would give me a ticking off that evening.

Now the situation is reversed. But rather than finding it humorous, I feel sad about it.

Whether or not I am in the pink of health is of no consequence. I have no dependants, and Singapore will not suffer if am gone. Perhaps my patients may miss me, but my fellow doctors at the National Neuroscience Institiute can take over their care. But no one can fill my father’s role for Singapore.

We have an extremely competent Cabinet headed by an exceptionally intelligent and able prime minister who also happens to be my brother. But the life experience that my father has accumulated enabled him to analyse and offer solution to Singapore’s  problem that no one else can.

But I am getting maudlin. Both my father and I have had our fair share of luck, and fate has not been unfair to us. My father found a lifelong partner who was his best friend and wife. Together with a small group of like-minded comrades, he created a Singapore that by any standards would be considered a miracle.  He has led a rich, meaningful and purposeful life.
Growing old and dying occurs to all mortals, even those who once seemed like titanium. When all is said and done, my father – and I too, despite my bouts of ill health- have lived lives that we can look back on with no regrets. As he faces whatever remains of his life, my father’s attitiude can be summed up by these lines in Robbert Frost’s poem Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening :  
The woods are lovely, dark, and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Hey, by the way, nice tie!

Key Learning Point:

To be successful with customers you must get the "big  things" right: risk analysis, financial planning, Suitable

portfolio and etc. But sometimes it's the smallest things that make the most positive service impression.

Action Step:

Without crossing the bounds of propriety or personal space, what compliments can your staff give to

customers each day? Attire, preparation, understanding, tone of voice, and many other areas can be

fertile grounds for identifying, recognizing and extending a moment of personal praise. For many people, it

may be the only  recognition they receive all day. What nice thought that this positive moment should come

from an organization and  a service provider likes you.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

How big is your boat?

I've always believed that you can pull a feat when you believe you can. If you have any doubts, then you've already lost half the battle. I love this article by Bob Perks.

Bob Perks
I've never owned a boat, but always wanted to. 

When I could afford one my car was too small to pull it and I couldn't afford to buy a new car. 

When I couldn't afford one, I was driving a big gas guzzler that could pull the Titanic.  

I couldn't afford the gas it would take to haul a boat.

That's the thing about boats.  

They are like dreams.  
Either too small or too big.  
You either sink or sail on.

I could be near the ocean and my boat would be too small.  

I could be near a river and my boat would be too big.

So, I gave up on boats... not dreams.

Now I believe you can never dream too big.  

If your big dream comes true you learn to live bigger.  

If only part of your dream comes true, you still have room to grow.

There's an old story of two fisherman out on a lake.  

One was catching big fish and throwing them back in.  

The other wasn't catching anything.

As the two boats got closer the one fisherman said to the other, "I've been out here all day and can't catch anything.  I've been watching you catch big fish and throw them back in the lake.  


The fisherman pulled in another big fish and tossed it back.  

He then said, "I only have a small frying pan."

That's the problem.  

We often times don't plan well enough.  

We think big, but plan small.

Can you imagine if Noah built a boat based on what he knew would float rather than what God told him to build?

God is telling you to be prepared for big things to happen in your life.

"How big is your boat?"

Friday, August 16, 2013

Evaluating your Associations

by Jim Rohn

If you were to evaluate the major influences in your life that have shaped the kind of person you are,

this has to be high on the list: the people and thoughts you choose to allow into your life. Mr. Shoaff

gave me a very important warning in those early days that I would like to share with you. He said,

"Never underestimate the power of influence." Indeed, the influence of those around us is so

powerful! Many times we don't even realize we're being strongly affected because influences

generally develop over an extended period of time.

Peer pressure is an especially powerful force because it is so subtle. If you're around people who

spend all they make, chances are excellent that you'll spend all you make. If you are around people

who go to more ball games than concerts, chances are excellent that you'll do the same thing. If you

are around people who don't read, chances are excellent that you won't read. People can keep

nudging us off course a little at a time until finally, we find ourselves asking, "How did I get here?"

Those subtle influences need to be studied carefully if we really want our lives to turn out the way

we've planned.

With regard to this important point, let me give you three key questions to ask yourself.

They may help you to make better analysis of your current associations.

The second question is:

"What are these associations doing to me?" That's a major question to ask. What have they got

me doing? What have they got me listening to? What have they got me reading? Where have

they got me going? What do they have me thinking? How have they got me talking? How have

they got me feeling? What have they got me saying? You've got to make a serious study of how

others are influencing you, both negatively and positively.

Here's a final question:

"Is that okay?" Maybe everyone you associate with has been a positive, energizing influence.

Then again, maybe there are some bad apples in the bunch. All I'm suggesting here is that you

take a close and objective look. Everything is worth a second look, especially the power of

influence. Both will take you somewhere, but only one will take you in the direction you need to


It's easy to just dismiss the things that influence our lives. One man says, "I live here, but I don't

think it matters. I'm around these people, but I don't think it hurts." I would take another look at

that. Remember, everything matters! Sure, some things matter more than others, but everything

amounts to something. You've got to keep checking to find out whether your associations are

tipping the scales toward the positive or toward the negative. Ignorance is never the best policy.

Finding out is the best policy.

Perhaps you've heard the story of the little bird. He had his wing over his eye and he was crying. The

owl said to the bird, "You are crying." "Yes," said the little bird, and he pulled his wing away from his

eye. "Oh, I see," said the owl. "You're crying because the big bird pecked out your eye." And the little

bird said, "No, I'm not crying because the big bird pecked out my eye. I'm crying because I let him."

It's easy to let influence shape our lives, to let associations determine our direction, to let pressures

overwhelm us, and to let tides take us. The big question is, are we letting ourselves become what we

wish to become?

"How did I get here?"

We then asked three key questions:

1) "Who am I around?"

You've got to evaluate everybody who is able to influence you in any way.

2) "What are these associations doing to me?"

That's a major question to ask. What have they got me doing, listening to, reading, thinking

and feeling? You've got to make a serious study of how others are influencing you, both

negatively and positively.

3) "Is that okay?"

Maybe everyone you associate with has been a positive, energizing influence. Then again,

maybe there are some bad apples in the bunch. All I'm suggesting here is that you take a

close and objective look. Everything is worth a second look, especially the power of

influence. Both will take you somewhere, but only one will take you in the direction you

need to go.

This week we wanted to discuss three ways to handle associations or relationships that are holding

you back.

1) Disassociate.

This is not an easy decision, nor something you should take lightly, but in some cases it

may be essential (please don't email me asking to advise you about this, only you can

decide). You may just have to make the hard choice not to let certain negative influences

affect you anymore. It could be a choice that preserves the quality of your life.

2) Limited association.

Spend major time with major influence and minor time with minor influences. It is easy to

do just the opposite, but don't fall into that trap. Take a look at your priorities and your

values. We have so little time at our disposal. Wouldn't it make sense to invest it wisely?

3) Expanding your associations.

This is the one I suggest you focus on the most. Find other successful people that you can

spend more time with. Invite them to lunch (pick up the tab) and ask them how they have

achieved so much or what makes them successful. Now, this is not just about financial

success, it can be someone that you want to learn from about having a better marriage,

being a better parent, having better health or a stronger spiritual life.

It is called association on purpose - getting around the right people by expanding your circle of

influence. And when you do that, you will naturally limit the relationships that are holding you back.

“Give it a try and see for yourself.”

Thursday, August 15, 2013


We should every night call ourselves to an account;

What infirmity have I mastered today? 

What passions opposed?

What temptation resisted? 

What virtue acquired?

Our vices will abort of themselves if they be brought every day to the shrift.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Success Is Everything

Success Is Everything
by Jim Rohn

Someone once said to me that success isn't everything and I think I know what they really meant. I believe they really meant that money wasn't everything and I certainly agree with that.

But I do believe that success IS everything.

First you need to succeed to survive. We must take the seasons and learn how to use them with the seed, the soil and the rain of opportunity to learn how to sustain ourselves and our family. But then second is to then succeed to flourish in every part of your life.

Good question to ask mature people "If you could do better should you?" And I think almost everybody would answer the question in the positive.

If you could improve your health shouldn't you do that?

If you can learn more shouldn't you do that?

If you could earn more and share more, shouldn't you do that?

If you can improve your relationships and spirituality shouldn't you do that? And I think that is what success is really all about. It is not just a destination that is set for everybody to try and go for.

It is like Zig said, "improving in every area of your life to see if you can't with satisfaction at the end of the day, week, month  and year and say 'I have made excellent progress this year, for myself, for my family, for my business, my career and my health'".

I think that kind of success everybody recognizes is legitimate and something we should all strive for.

Interesting phrase in the bible that says strive for perfection - not that we can ever reach it.

But it is in the striving, to be a little bit better today than yesterday, in our speech, our language, our health, everything we can possibility think of.

So yes, in my opinion it is good to succeed!

Success is nothing more than a few simple disciplines, practiced every day; While failure is simply a few errors in judgment, repeated every day

It is the accumulative weight of our disciplines and our judgments that leads us to either fortune or failure