Sunday, October 27, 2013

My Top 150 Movies

In 2006, I blogged about my top-100 movies list. 7 yrs later and countless movies after, I figure it's time to do another top movies list post, except that I find it soooo hard, even painful, to drop movies from the list to make way for new ones. So I decided to just expand the list to 150 movies!!! And the award goes to (not ranked in any order).....


1. Shawshank Redemption
2. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
3. Finding Nemo
4. 12 Angry Men
5. Notting Hill
6. Tonari no Totoro
7. Dr Strangelove
8. Memento
9. City of God
10. Vita è bella, La (Life is beautiful)
11. Great Escape
12. The Incredibles
13. Spring Summer Fall Winter and Spring
14. Crash
15. Twilight Samurai
16. Motorcycle Diary
17. Untergang, Der (Downfall)
18. Salvador
19. The Man who Copied
20. Laputa Castle in the Sky
21. Mar adentro (The Sea Inside)
22. The Killing Fields
23. 無間道 (Infernal Affairs)
24. Gandhi
25. The Corporation
26. March of the Penguins
27. Spirited Away
28. Kolya
29. Ocean's Eleven
30. Winged Migration
31. Sjunde inseglet, Det (The Seventh Seal)
32. Sin City
33. Sideways
34. Ran
35. Waking Life
36. No Direction Home: Bob Dylan
37. Monsieur Ibrahim
38. 龍鳳鬥 (Yesterday Once More)
39. The Pianist
40. The Sting
41. 英雄 (Hero)
42. Boot, Das
43. Back to the Future
44. 螢の墓(Graves of the Fireflies)
45. Ferris Bueller's Day Off
46. 唐伯虎點秋香
47. The Godfather
48. The Man who would be King
49. The Good, The Bad and The Ugly
50. To Kill a Mockingbird
51. The Manchurian Candidate
52. The Apartment
53. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
54. The Graduate
55. The Hustler
56. Vertigo
57. Rashômon
58. Dead Poets Society
59. The Bridge on the River Kwai
60. Reservoir Dogs
61. Batoru rowaiaru (Battle Royale)
62. It's a Wonderful Life
63. The Minority Report
64. Forrest Gump
65. The Lion King
66. Beauty and the Beast
67. The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
68. Bowling for Columbine 
69. Shrek
70. The Never Ending Story
71. Chicken Run
72. An American Tail
73. Shine
74. Before Sunrise
75. Magnolia
76. The Big Chill
77. Sunst Blvd.
78. Marathon (Korean movie in 2005)
79. V for Vendetta
80. Rear Window
81. Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith
82. Gladiator
83. Titanic
84. 2001: A Space Odyssey
85. Jerry Maguire 
86. Mr Smith goes to Washington
87. 醉拳 (Drunken Master)
88. 賭神 (God of Gamblers)
89. 最佳拍襠
90. Band of Brothers (arguably not a movie, but I have to put this in the list!)
91. Hotel Rwanda
92. Almost Famous
93. 九品芝麻官
94. Oldboy
95. Donnie Darko
96. 搭錯車
97. Pride and Prejudice (1940)
98. Mickey Blue Eyes
99. Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels
100. Toy Story 2
101. Kick-ass
102. 世界の中心で愛を叫ぶ 
103. The Good, The Bad, The Weird (Korean movie)
104. The Dark Knight
105. Inception
106. 歩いても 歩いても
107. How to Train Your Dragon
108. Slumdog Millionaire
109. District 9
110. Amores Perros
111. Into the Wild
112. The Usual Suspects
113. Avatar
114. North by Northwest
115. Wall-E
116. A Clockwork Orange
117. The Lives of Others
118. The Prestige
119. Inglourious Bastards
120. Up
121. Groundhog Day
122. All the President's Men
123. American Gangster
124. Double Indemnity
125. Pulp Fiction
126. Memories of Murder (Korean movie)
127. My Sassy Girl (Korean movie)
128. 竊聽風雲 
129. 少林足球
130. Incendies
131. The Artist
132. Django Unchained
133. The Secret World of Arrietty
134. 3:10 to Yuma
135. Tropic Thunder
136. K-20 怪人二十面相・伝
137. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
138. Wanted
139. A Big Hand for the Little Lady
140. Yojimbo
141. 時をかける少女
142. サマーウォーズ
143. Silver Linings Playbook
144. Sherlock Holmes (Guy Ritchie version)
145. Sliding Doors
146. Zoolander
147. Once
148. Hurt Locker
149.Y Tu Mamá También
150. A fistful of dollars
 

   

Friday, August 31, 2012

Recent jamming videos

It's been a long while since I last posted my jammin' videos...here're some done recently at my Abu Dhabi pad..enjoy :)

Sunny (Boney M cover):

In My Life (Beatles cover):

想你在这样的天气 (Original I wrote years back):

流星的夜晚 (original I wrote years back):

歡樂今宵 (古巨基 cover):

真情流露 (張學友 cover):

阿信的故事 (cover):

流星‧森林‧雨 (cover):

I've gotta get a message to you (Bee Gees cover):

月半小夜曲 (李克勤 cover):

Crying in the party (陳奕迅 cover)


Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Thoughts on 笑傲江湖



While I was resting at home the past 1+ weeks, I started reading through my favorite novel 笑傲江湖 again. This must have been my 6 or 7 times reading this epic work by 金庸.

I first started falling in love with 金庸's works when I was 10 yr old. I went from perfect eyesight to 300+ degree in short-sightness in one summer holiday as I frantically read through all of his works in those 2 months. And out of his works, 笑傲江湖 always remains my favorite, mainly because of 令狐冲, whom I could greatly relate to even as a young boy.

In my younger days, I was a lot more fascinated with the various 武功 depicted in the novel. But over the years, as I re-read this classic, I began to appreciate and understand its significance as a work on various human mentalities within a political context. In fact, 金庸 makes no secret that this is precisely his goal as he wrote the novel during China's cultural revolution in the late 60s. 

After my 2 volunteer trips to Cambodia, I thought deeply about how one could contribute to the society in a more effective manner and the conclusion I came to is that one would likely have to take on the role of a policy maker and in most instances especially in developing countries, this equates to being a politician.   

But being a policy maker or politician often means making compromises on one's principles, and most certainly a surrender of one's own private life. Being able to follow Confucius' belief of "知其不可而為之" is indeed really tough. I suppose this is why I could relate to 令狐冲; his character is one of pursuit of individual freedom while never refusing to surrender one's own integrity standards. This sort of man can indeed always stand on a moral high ground, yet the complexity and the interactions of the various belief systems and power forces in a society means that such obstinate adherence to one's principles will certainly limit the actual scale or effectiveness of this person's contribution to society.

Of course, one can always aspire to become the likes of 方證大師, but the temptation for more influence and power will always be there and I'm just not entirely confident of staying clear of the hideous path of 岳不群, 左冷禪. And it's also likely a path of no return once you've adopted the role of a public figure; the tragic ending for 劉正風 and 曲洋, while fictional, is very much a reflection of real life's difficulty of leaving the political sphere.

In any case, I'm reproducing the epilogue written by 金庸 at the end of 笑傲江湖. As I grow older, these words evoked more thoughts. This really ain't a simple novel, but a well-structured depiction of various political beings. I'd certainly be re-reading this in a few years' time (if God willing) and hopefully I'd gain some new insights again. Anyways, here's the epilogue; really well-worth a read:


聰明才智之士,勇武有力之人,极大多數是積极進取的。道德標准把他們划分為兩類:努力目標是為大多數人謀福利的,是好人;只著眼于自己的權力名位、物質欲望,而損害旁人的,是坏人。好人或坏人的大小,以其嘉惠或損害的人數和程度而定。政治上大多數時期中是坏人當權,于是不斷有人想取而代之;有人想進行改革;另有一种人對改革不存希望,也不想和當權派同流合污,他們的抉擇是退出斗爭漩渦,獨善其身。所以一向有當權派、造反派、改革派,以及隱士。


中國的傳統觀念,是鼓勵人“學而优則仕”,學孔子那樣“知其不可而為之”,但對隱士也有极高的評价,認為他們清高。隱士對社會并無積极貢獻,然而他們的行為和爭權奪利之徒截然不同,提供了另一种范例。中國人在道德上對人要求很寬,只消不是損害旁人,就算是好人了。《論語》記載了許多隱者,晨門、楚狂接輿、長沮、桀溺、荷丈人、伯夷、叔齊、虞仲、夷逸、朱張、柳下惠、少連等等,孔子對他們都很尊敬,雖然,并不同意他們的作風。   


孔子對隱者分為三類:像伯夷、叔齊那樣,不放棄自己意志,不犧牲自己尊嚴 (“不降其志,不辱其身”); 像柳下惠、少連那樣,意志和尊嚴有所犧牲,但言行合情合理   (“降志辱身矣,言中倫,行中慮,其斯而已矣”); 像虞仲、夷逸那樣,則是逃世隱居,放肆直言,不做坏事,不參与政治(“隱居放言,身中清,廢中權”)。 孔子對他們評价都很好,顯然認為隱者也有積极的一面。   


參与政治活動,意志和尊嚴不得不有所舍棄,那是無可奈何的。柳下惠做法官,曾被三次罷官,人家勸他出國。柳下惠堅持正義,回答說:“直道而事人,焉往而不三黜?枉道而事人,何必去父母之邦?” (《論語》)。  關鍵是在“事人”。為了大眾利益而從政,非事人不可;堅持原則而為公眾服務,不以功名富貴為念,雖然不得不听從上級命令,但也可以說是“隱士”——至于一般意義的隱士,基本要求是求個性的解放自由而不必事人。


我寫武俠小說是想寫人性,就像大多數小說一樣。這部小說通過書中一些人物,企圖刻划中國三千多年來政治生活中的若干普遍現象。影射性的小說并無多大意義,政治情況很快就會改變,只有刻划人性,才有較長期的价值。不顧一切的奪取權力,是古今中外政治生活的基本情況,過去几千年是這樣,今后几千年恐怕仍會是這樣。任我行、東方不敗、岳不群、左冷禪這些人,在我設想時主要不是武林高手,而是政治人物。林平之、向問天、方證大師、沖慮道人、定閒師太、莫大先生、余滄海等人也是政治人物。這种形形色色的人物,每一個朝代中都有,大概在別的國家中也都有。


“千秋万載,一統江湖”的口號,在六十年代時就寫在書中了。任我行因掌握大權而腐化,那是人性的普遍現象。這些都不是書成后的增添或改作。   


《笑傲江湖》在《明報》連載之時,西貢的中文報、越文報和法文報有二十一家同時連載。南越國會中辯論之時,常有議員指責對方是“岳不群”(偽君子)或“左冷禪”(企圖建立霸權者)。 大概由于當時南越政局動蕩,一般人對政治斗爭特別感到興趣。


令狐沖是天生的“隱士”,對權力沒有興趣。盈盈也是“隱士”,她對江湖豪士有生殺大權,卻宁可在洛陽隱居陋巷,琴簫自娛。她生命中只重視個人的自由,個性的舒展。惟一重要的只是愛情。這個姑娘非常怕羞靦腆,但在愛情中,她是主動者。令狐沖當情意緊纏在岳靈珊身上之時,是不得自由的。只有到了青紗帳外的大路上,他和盈盈同處大車之中,對岳靈珊的痴情終于消失了,他才得到心靈上的解脫。本書結束時,盈盈伸手扣住令狐沖的手腕,歎道:“想不到我任盈盈竟也終身和一只大馬猴鎖在一起,再也不分開了。”盈盈的愛情得到圓滿,她是心滿意足的,令狐沖的自由卻又被鎖住了。或許,只有在儀琳的片面愛情之中,他的個性才极少受到拘束。


人生在世,充分圓滿的自由根本是不能的。解脫一切欲望而得以大徹大悟,不是常人之所能。那些熱衷于權力的人,受到心中權力欲的驅策,身不由己,去做許許多多違背自己良心的事,其實都是很可怜的。   


在中國的傳統藝術中,不論詩詞、散文、戲曲、繪畫,追求個性解放向來是最突出的主題。時代越動亂,人民生活越痛苦,這主題越是突出。


“人在江湖,身不由己”,要退隱也不是容易的事。劉正風追求藝術上的自由,重視莫逆于心的友誼,想金盆洗手;梅庄四友盼望在孤山隱姓埋名,享受琴棋書畫的樂趣;他們都無法做到,卒以身殉,因為權力斗爭不容許。對于郭靖那樣舍身赴難,知其不可而為之的大俠,在道德上當有更大的肯定。令狐沖不是大俠,是陶潛那樣追求自由和個性解放的隱士。風清揚是心灰意懶、慚愧懊喪而退隱。令狐沖卻是天生的不受羈勒。在黑木崖上,不論是楊蓮亭或任我行掌握大權,旁人隨便笑一笑都會引來殺身之禍,傲慢更加不可。“笑傲江湖”的自由自在,是令狐沖這類人物所追求的目標。


因為想寫的是一些普遍性格,是生活中的常見現象,所以本書沒有歷史背景,這表示,類似的情景可以發生在任何朝代。



Tuesday, July 10, 2012

My near-death experience

Yesterday, I almost died. I was literally a few seconds away from certain death. The fact that I'm now back in my house in Singapore and typing out this blog post with just my right hand (as my left shoulder's injured) still leaves me with this surreal sense of this thing called life. I probably should be sleeping now as I have an appointment with a specialist in the morning, but I need to get this out, while the memory's still fresh in my mind. Humans are creatures of habits and one can easily become comfortable once things start returning to the routine, which is why I need to write this now, so that this can serve as a clear reminder from myself that this miracle has happened to me; that I've been given this incredible gift of life; that I'd get to see Tammy and my family again; that I'll get to re-read 笑傲江湖 again; that I'll get to write another song; that I'll get to travel to new places with the love of my life; that I'll get to see Patrick and Nicholas again; that I'm given this second chance to "make a dent in the universe"...

It all started when we came to know of this Korean company that manufactures a fairly unique type of aircraft that supposedly utilize the principle of "wing in ground" (WIG) effect to achieve fuel efficiency by flying relatively close to the water surface. In a way, it's like a flying ship, such as the one below:



Turns out one of our sister companies was interested in this product and since we came to know the CEO of the Korean company through Robert, our Korean friend, we decided to arrange for Mr. Ahmed, the CEO of our sister company to check out the flight performance in Korea.

So yesterday, Robert, Ahmed and myself took an early domestic flight from Seoul to a small town called Sacheon which is a cluster of the aerospace industry in Korea where the Korean company's headquarters are located. When we arrived at the take-off site, the weather was perfect, there was barely any wind and the water was extremely calm. They first did the demo where they flew the plane around the bay so that we could observe the flight performance from the jetty.

Thereafter came our turn to experience how it feels as a passenger. Ahmed took the seat next to the pilot while Robert sat beside me at the back. It was a 5-seater so the cabin was relatively small. We put on our life jackets, buckled up the safety seat belt and put on some noise-canceling headphones so that we can communicate with each other during the flight. Everything went smoothly for the first 10-15 mins where we flew a good distance in both the WIG mode (around 5 meters above water surface) as well as actual flight mode where we climbed to an altitude of around 50 meters above water surface.

Towards the end, the pilot decided to give us one more demonstration of the plane's capability. I heard him mumbled something in Korean and then I heard Robert translating it, saying that the pilot wants to show us how it will feel when the plane hits the water surface while flying in WIG mode. He did it once and the plane bounced off rather violently. And then it happened.

I'm not sure if he attempted a second "touch-and-go" on the water surface or that he has lost control after the first bump. Regardless, the next thing I knew I was already drowning. It all happened so quickly, probably over a period of 10 seconds. Those 10 seconds felt like hours now that I'm reflecting on what happened.

In fact, I think it was quite likely that I was knocked out cold when the plane crashed but immediately came to as the water gushed in and I started drowning. It took me 1 or 2 seconds to realise what was happening. The first thought that came to my mind was that the plane was sinking into the ocean. I struggled to gasp for air for another 1 or 2 seconds and that was when it hit me: I was about to die. I thought about Tammy and realised I probably only had a few more seconds to do what I had to do in order to have any chance of survival.

As I calmed myself down, I realised that while the safety belt has prevented me from any major injuries, it was now dragging me in the water while my life jacket was pulling me up in the opposite direction. I reached for the release buckle of the safety belt and only managed to release it on my third attempt.

I still wasn't sure if I was going to live because I knew I was still stuck in the cabin and if the water had filled up the entire cabin, I'd still die from drowning in this enclosed space of water. And then the miracle happened! Turns out there was about 15-20 cm of air space trapped towards the roof of the cabin. As I took in my first breath of air, I told myself that I must live to see another day.

At that point, I still thought that the plane was sinking as it was almost pitch dark. It didn't help that I lost my glasses and everything was blurry. I started shouting for Robert as he was sitting right next to me before the crash. After a few seconds, Ahmed surfaced to the same trapped air that I was breathing in. I felt incredibly glad that someone else aside from me was alive. I started asking Ahmed if he was ok but before I could finish my question, he had disappeared into the water again and did not come back up. Then it dawned on me that he must have found an exit out of the aircraft and that the plane was not sinking but instead was probably still floating on the water surface. I made my way to where Ahmed had disappeared to and felt my way around using my hands. It was then I realised there was a big hole in the cabin wall, which I later found out was the entrance door that had come off during the collision. I used my hands to reach across the hole to feel what was on the other side and I felt air! We were indeed still on the sea surface!

I was still wearing my life jacket at this point and I remembered watching some Discovery channel program of how dangerous it is to be wearing a life jacket in a capsized ship. So I took it off, took a deep breath in and swam through the hole. When I came out from the other side, I saw, to my greatest relief, sunlight beaming against the body of the plane that was now capsized and I thought to myself, "Yes, I'm going to live! Yes, I'm going to live!"

After I caught my breath, I noticed that Ahmed had managed to climb up onto the aircraft body. I tried pulling myself up as well, which was when I realised I had badly injured my left shoulder. I was so focused on staying alive that I only realised my injury then. Fortunately, Ahmed was already on the plane and he helped to pull me up. We were both badly shaken and I saw that Ahmed's face was full of blood. I took a closer look at Ahmed's face and told him that he had cuts around his eyes and they were blood-red. I asked him to close either eye to make sure he could still see clearly from both eyes; thank God his eyesight was still intact.

Now that I was on top of the aircraft, I finally took stock of the scale of the damage. (Update: Below is a link to a news report that a korean friend forwarded to me a fews after:



The left wing had completely detached from the main frame while pieces of debris from various parts of the plane were floating around us. Then I noticed a body floating about 5 meters away from us. I couldn't make out who he was as I was without my glasses so I shouted across "Robert, is that you?" Then I heard him crying for help; "Help me Help me". It was Robert. I was so glad to know that he is still alive!

Both Ahmed and I thought he still had his life jacket on and that he would eventually swim back towards the aircraft. However, after about half a minute, Robert still kept crying for help; he was still not out of the woods yet. I really really wanted to jump in and pull him towards us but given that my left arm was useless now and without my life jacket, I just wasn't confident of doing that.

And then Ahmed did a very brave thing; he jumped back into the water, swam towards Robert and pulled him towards the aircraft. Fortunately, Ahmed still had his life jacket and the sea was extremely calm. Thinking back now, I think it would have been extremely difficult for us to save Robert if the sea was just a fair bit rougher and Ahmed also took off his life jacket like I did.

Robert was finally pulled to the edge of the aircraft and I held on to his arm while he tried to stay afloat holding on to the aircraft. He mumbled to me a few times "What happened? What happened?" but I was more concerned about whether he had sustained any major injuries. I asked him if he felt pain anywhere but he wasn't answering me. I saw some blood flowing from the back of his head and I knew he was still disoriented about what had just happened.

Ahmed managed to get himself up on the aircraft again while I tried to also pull Robert up. After a few tries, it was clear that I wasn't able to do it especially with my invalid left arm. For the next few minutes, I kept talking to Robert, telling him that he is going to live, that we will get through this together. I was very afraid that he might lose his consciousness and any fighting spirit left in him. After Ahmed regained his strength, he pulled Robert to the side of the aircraft where the entrance door was and asked Robert to step on the edge of the hole to push himself up to the aircraft while I crawled towards the other end of the remaining right wing so that we can maintain balance instead of all 3 of us crowding on one side of the aircraft.

After much effort, Ahmed finally managed to pull Robert up. While I told myself that the three of us will get to live, I couldn't find any sight of the pilot. I remember speaking with Ahmed about the pilot but we both knew that given our current physical state, we just didnt have the capacity to go back into the cabin to look for the pilot. So we sat there and waited. For the next 15 minutes, I tried to recollect myself and tried to make sense of what happened. I started praying, thanking God for giving me this precious second chance to live. This is the first time I've prayed in a long time. Frankly I was hoping for some religious enlightening moment but somehow I was too shaken to feel His presence.

I then started thinking about how I've always told myself that I need to be prepared about dying young, that I need to live my life to the fullest so that I'll have no regrets when the moment comes. But at this point when I had come so close to death, I realised I'd still be full of regrets if I were to leave this world. I asked myself if I could have been a better husband, a better son, a better brother, a better person who can contribute something really meaningful to this world.

As I was cuddling my left arm to ease the pain on my shoulder, I saw the 'Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish' tattoo on my left arm, I thought Yes, I might have this tatt on my arm and I always tell my friends about this inspirational speech by Steve Jobs, I even signed off my emails with this motto of mine to keep reminding myself, but it now dawned on me that despite all these superficial displays, I still wasn't following the true sense of the phrase. I then made a promise to myself that from this moment on, I really need to live my life to the fullest. Suddenly, I felt this strong determination to become better in everything that I do. I felt this strong desire to do the very best in my job as an investment manager, as a husband to Tammy, as a filial son to my parents and in laws and as a role model to my brothers and brother-in-laws....

In the midst of waiting, I kept talking to Robert to make sure that he stays conscious. Finally, after around 20 mins, the rescue boat from the Korean company finally found us. As they approached us, they saw only the three of us and two of the employees immediately jumped into the water to search for the pilot in the cabin. After a few minutes, they finally managed to pull his body out from the cabin and onto the rescue boat.

The boat was rather small and they lay the pilot body right in front of me as they tried frantically to resuscitate him. I really couldn't bear to look at him but when I took a glance, I noticed that his face had turned purple but he did not seem to be bleeding anywhere. I immediately thought that the person lying there now really could have been me as he probably died from drowning rather than from any injuries sustained from the crash. Suddenly this image of me lying in a coffin while Tammy cries over my dead body hurts me so much. While I was feeling much guilt that I couldn't save the pilot, I thank God again that Tammy didn't have to go through this trauma.

What happened in the next 12 hours or so went by in a blur. We were first brought to a small medical centre and later to a bigger hospital in Jinju. Upon arriving at the medical centre, I asked for a phone so that I could call Tammy. I was so glad to hear her sweet voice. I briefly explained what had happened but I assured her that I was okay and that I'll see her soon. Meanwhile, the doctors tried their best to revive the pilot but it was hopeless.

I had the least injuries out of the 3 survivors and was in a relatively clear state of mind. While Ahmed did not sustain any major injuries, Robert's case was a lot more serious as we found out later that he had fractured 4 ribs and his right shoulder was completely fractured. I spent the next few hours at the hospital in Jinju circling between the 2 beds where Ahmed and Robert were resting, reassuring them that they'd be alright. I was especially worried about Robert because of his transplanted kidney a few years back. Knowing that he requires daily medicine to sustain himself, I was worried about further complications that may jeopardize his condition. I started making calls to my colleagues in Abu Dhabi as well as seeking help from our good friends at SNUH. Eventually we managed to arrange for our transfer back to Seoul (after much delay though as we had to wait for the local police to take our statements) where I knew we would receive the best treatment from the medical team in SNUH.

As I sit here now, in the comfort of my home and in the company of my loves ones, I still found it hard to come to terms of what had happened. I think that now, I can finally understand how some people had described in novels/movies as seeing their whole life flashing by in front of them at the moment of their deaths. I suppose drowning, as opposed to say a fatal car accident, gave me more than the immediate instant to come to a conscious awareness that I was going to face death. 10 seconds, while trivial in normality, was an eternity for me when I was fighting between the fine line dividing life and death. I am very sure if I had not managed to release my safety buckle on my third attempt, I would not be writing this now.

In a way, this accident, while tragic given the pilot's death, is truly a God-blessed gift to me. Not only had I managed to escape the plane crash with relatively minor injuries, I had now experienced first-hand what it's like to really face certain death. I've always held to the belief that one should be prepared to die young and hence, all this talk about planning for the long term, "you-have-to-be-pateint-son-cos-you-are-still-too-young-and not-ready" are largely make-belief that gives one the illusion and a false sense of longevity. A long life expectancy of a particular country, say 80 years-old, doesn't actually mean you are likely to live past 80, it merely means, as stoic as any other statistical measures, that 50% of the population would be dead before they reach 80. Singapore's life expectancy at birth is 81, and I was close to dying at 32.

If your perspective of your own time horizon is just months, instead of decades, then you'd quickly realize what really needs to be done, and what are that meaningless stuff that you felt compelled to do, be it because of societal pressures or personal deception of who one really is.   

Again, I find much inspiration from this extract from Steve Jobs' speech at Stanford: 

"Remembering that I'll be dead soon is the most important tool I've ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure - these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart."

Now that I've gone through this near-death experience, I can now say with a lot more certainty that indeed death is the most useful instrument to remind one of what is really important. Every breath I'm taking now is a precious gift, and I fully intend to make the most out of this second chance at life!

Before I end, I'd like to express my sincere gratitude to a few people who really helped me a great deal over the last 2 days; to KK and Jeehyae and my other colleagues back in Abu Dhabi, as well as the good people from the UAE Embassy, who assisted greatly with the various logistic arrangement; to Mr Moon, Grace and the team from SNUH who went to great lengths to ensure we were well taken care of and for accompanying me until 4am to complete my own treatment/diagnosis; to Chris from the Korean company for assisting with all the translation and coordinating with the various parties who constantly dialed in to receive updates on us; to Kenneth who waited until the wee hours to make sure I arrived to SNUH safely and accompanied me to the airport (it was great to finally see a close friend after the incident); to Sally who took us to Gleneagles and provided much comic to cheer the day; to Tammy's biaojie who got me an appointment with a great orthopaedic surgeon so quickly; to all my relatives from all over the world and the friends who have expressed their concern; I'd also like to thank Ahmed and Robert; seeing both of them alive had given me great strengths and hope to carry on despite our tragic circumstances. I certainly look forward to catching up with both of you after 3 of us have fully recovered from our injuries.

Finally, I need to thank my family, especially my dear wife, Tammy. It was because of them that gave me the fighting spirit to stay alive. And to God, as I know my survival is truly a miracle. He must have decided that I still have some use in life and gave me this second chance. I intend not to waste it again.




Thursday, November 17, 2011

New Life!

As my new life begins, i also have some new resolutions:

1. Listen/watch 3 1-hr iTunes U episodes per week (be it EconTalk, history/psychology/computer science/Law lectures from Harvard/Stanford/Yale etc)

2. 3 gym visits per week

3. 1 soccer session per week

4. 1 new book per month (6 fictions & 6 non-fictions for next 12 months)

More to come...

Monday, May 30, 2011

Dottinghill...


A new beginning....super excited!!


Friday, April 22, 2011

Recent reads...

1. Red Capitalism
2. Lords of Finance

And now moving on to some 金庸 classic... 神雕侠侣...楊過 totally kick ass man!

Blogging again?

Alright, I know I've been talking about this for ages, and truth is I'm not sure if I can keep this up but it's worth a shot. Blogging here I come again!!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Passion & Melvin

i've been a fan of Passion for a while now...but check out his buddy Melvin...equally great singer! love this!

Mraz in Sesame St

mraz is a genius:

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Friday, January 29, 2010

This is NEWS!


This is awesome!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Rick Price + Tommy Emmanuel

2 of my favorite artists from down under...here together :) this makes me happy!

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Canon DSLR competition

The Story Beyond the Still - Behind The Scenes from Vincent Laforet on Vimeo.


Wow! DSLR for film-making...i wanna join the revolution!