Monday, July 25, 2011

Shake Hands, Shake Them Right

A handshake is usually the first physical contact when
two persons first meet.

Everyone knows how to shake hands but not everyone does it right.

A handshake is a form of human communication ritual that is commonly practiced across geographical and cultural borders. The exact origin of this ritual is unknown. Some historians suggest that it might have started as early as the 5th Century BC during the Ancient Greece times.

A handshake is more than just for saying 'Hi!'. During the medieval times, two men would grasp each other's bare hand to show that they were free from concealed weapons. In a way, a handshake is to demonstrate openness between two persons.

Allowing another to enter our personal space is
an indication of acceptance.

Human beings need physical personal space to feel safe and secure. Establishing physical contacts between two persons means breaking into each other's 'safe zones'. That would need some amount of trust.

The same idea is also extended to the geek world. In information technology, handshaking describes a process where a computer communicates and connects with another device such as a printer.

Today, we usually shake hands with another without much contemplation. Many may have missed out or forgotten some 'good practices' when it comes of a good business handshake. 

Let's look at some of these 'rules' again:

12. Be the first mover: Be ready to extent your hand in one confident move.

11. Don't 'squeeze': You grasp firmly but not too tightly.

10. Dry your palms: If you have sweaty palms, wipe them dry first.

09. Warm your cold hands: Holding a cold fish in the hand is not a good feeling. Give your hands a good rub before grabbing someone's hand.

08. Use your right hands: Sorry lefties, the use of your left hands can be odd and in some cultures, offensive.

07. Say something: A silent handshake can be awkward. A simple 'how do you do' would go well with this age-old ritual.

06. Make eye contact: Establishing a quick eye contact is a good way to establish a positive human relationship. I said a quick eye contact, not stare.

05. Smile: This is an universal language to mean 'friendliness'. A firm and sincere handshake and a sulky face simply don't gel.

04. Note cultural difference: Do expect some variations across cultures. In some situations, it might not be acceptable for men to shake the hands of their female counterparts. Do your homework first.

03. Let go: Don't grasp for too long. It may seem like eternity to the other person.

02. Bear with your discomfort: Even if you feel disgusted by the touch of a sweaty palm, do not wipe your hand on your pants in front of the other person.

01. Do not reject: It is offensive to reject an handshake without a good reason. Unless your religion or culture suggests that it would be inappropriate to do so, you are expected to reciprocate. Well, I suppose you could be excused if you have an injured hand.

Give a good first impression by giving
a good handshake.

It won't be wise to under-estimate the importance of a good handshake in the business world. The first impression counts and part of the impression comes from how your do the handshake.

Handshaking is an art. The next time you shake some hands, shake them right.

"Each contact with a human being is so rare, so precious, one should preserve it." ~Anaïs Nin~

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Monday, July 18, 2011

Be a "Better Me" Everyday

"Wherever you are, whatever your age you're only
a thought away from changing your life." (Wayne Dyer)

Need some motivation?

The answer is always 'yes'. No one ever complains about having too much motivation. However, some of us may have wondered why some people are often more motivated than others. First of all, let's see what you think of the more motivated people.
When you compare yourself with those individuals, what are your immediate thoughts?
  • "He has a more supportive family"?
  • "He has more encouraging friends"?
  • "He has a more understanding boss"?
.. or do you simply dismiss it as "He is luckier and is bothered by less troubles"?

We become what we think and believe [Pic]

You are who you think you are

We seldom point the questions to ourselves. Instead, we make unhelpful comments such as:
  • "I am born like that."
  • "I am not an important member."
  • "I am not worthy of a promotion."
  • "I am not attractive to others."
If you usually do what I have just described, you are doing things the other way round. You focus on the perceived goodness in the surrounding rather than on yourself. At the same time, you are over critical of yourself. That probably explains why you are not as motivated.

Self-dialogue shapes your subconscious mind. [Pic]

Positive self-talk is the way

Your level of motivation would have been very different if you choose to 'converse' with yourself this way:
  • "What has he done right that I have not?"
  • "What is the one thing I can do differently, immediately?"
  • "I can be better in (something) if I try hard enough."
  • "I am unique in my own way and I have my own niche."
Making positive self-talk allows you to explore your subconscious self.

You are very much controlled by your subconscious mind and your behaviors are shaped by what you subconsciously believe. However, many of us are not fully aware of what goes on in our mind.

No one can make you frustrated if you are not 'programmed' to feel frustrated by another person's action. Things around you don't make you frustrated but your subconscious mind does.

Your behavior is controlled by your subconscious mind. [Pic]

The good news is that our mind can be re-programmed. To feel motivated, you would need to discard your dis-empowering beliefs. Make positive self-talk your way of life and see your subconscious mind being shaped into energy-charging beliefs.

According to the 'Law of Repetition', you would reinforce what you repeatedly do. You will not be fully convinced of the need to change unless your subconscious mind agrees to change. When you repeatedly 'talk' to your subconscious mind, you reinforce the positive idea and make it permanent.

Give up the ideal of "I want to be the best" for it does not necessarily mean much. Instead, strive to be a "Better Me" everyday. It is important that you keep your motivation level decent. An automobile without fuel is not going to go anywhere.

I hope this article makes a 'better you' in some way.

You might want to read:

"I don't think much of individuals who are not wiser today than they were yesterday. ~ Abraham Lincoln

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Monday, July 11, 2011

A Pet is for Life

Be a responsible pet owner. [Pic]

At the SPCA, an average of 600 animals are taken in every month. Some are lost pets but many are abandoned or given up.

Some simple numbers taken from the SPCA website:

"In 2010, we took in 7,597 animals. These included unwanted pets (cats, dogs, rabbits and hamsters) and strays (cats and dogs). 1,412 of the animals we received were pedigree dogs. On average, only 33 dogs, 37 cats and 29 small animals are adopted from the SPCA each month."

The numbers in earlier years are not good-looking too: 
  • 2007: 9,487
  • 2008: 8,738
  • 2009: 7,678

Give a homeless animal a second chance. [Pic]

This gives us some sensing on the scale of the problem. Yet, we are just looking at one animal welfare organization. There are many more in Singapore and they too have a consistent story to tell.

This is what you get out of ignorance and irresponsibility.

The cuteness of little animals often attract instant fondness for them. Unfortunately, when reality sinks in and when they out-grow their cuteness, their fates change.

Don't buy pets on the spur of
the moment.

It is also common to find great enthusiasm in getting animals related to the zodiac of the lunar year or buy a bunny for Easter. The sale of puppies soars in the Year of the Dog and the same for bunnies in the Year of the Rabbit.

Many of these animals do not get the attention they need after the initial excitement wears off. Their impulsive or ill-informed owners resort to giving them up at the shelters or simply abandon them on the streets.

I believe this happens everyday, everywhere.

Many pedigrees are given up each year. [Pic]

The fate of the pedigrees are not necessarily better. SPCA took in 7,597 animals in 2010. 1,412 of them were pedigree dogs. It always perplexes me to see unprepared and impulsive pet owners spend a fortune on pedigrees only to discard them later.

Owning a pet is a lifetime of commitment. We are talking about their lives and we are talking about our responsibility. Before you become a pet owner, be informed first. Consider adoption. Don't buy.

A pet is for life. Help spread the words.

Here are some pictures taken from the Singapore SPCA Cattery.

Many animals in the shelters are waiting for adoption. [Pic]

Not every animal is suitable for adoption. [Pic]

Due to low level of adoptions, a large number of
animals are put to sleep each month.

Around 20,000 cats and dogs are put down
every year in Singapore. (AVA)

Culling the strays need not be the only solution. [Pic]

Sterilization can help to control the
number of strays.

A pet can cost you thousands of dollars
in its lifetime.

Culling stray cats not the way: Khaw [Pic]

Cats are banned in HDB flats.  [Pic]

Many await a reversal of the HDB ruling.  [Pic]

A little animal is a not a soft toy.
Don't buy it as a gift. 

Keeping a pet comes with its responsibilities.
It is not unlike having a child.

A single female cat takes just 7 years to be the
source of 20,000 new kittens! (SPCA)

Everyone can help promote kindness
towards animals. 

A pet is a lifetime of commitment.
A dog or a cat will live 10-20 years

Animals given up to the SPCA may be
put to sleep in 24 hours.

SPCA distributes free sterilization vouchers
to the public.

You might also want to read:
Don't Buy Rabbits in the Year of the Rabbit
Please Free The Dolphins
"If we cannot be clever, we can always be kind."  ~Alfred Fripp~

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Monday, July 4, 2011

Picture Blog #21 : Terracotta Warriors in Singapore

Ehibition will be held from 24 Jun 2011 till 16 Oct 2011
at the Asian Civilisations Museum.

The Terracotta Warriors are in town.

These famous figures (兵马俑) were created more that two thousand years ago. Thousands of them stayed intact within the tomb of the first Emperor of China, Qín Shǐhuáng (秦始皇) until they were unearthed in 1974. After 37 years, the excavation works at the massive tomb complex are still on-going over an area of 56km2 at Xian (西安), China.

Today, tourists flock to Xian to be awed by more than 8,000 figures of soldiers, chariots and horses. These life-sized sculptures were made to accompany Emperor Qin so that they could continue to help him rule another empire in his afterlife.

Terracotta Warriors are being shown in Singapore
for the first time.

For a limited period, you will get to see some of these warriors in Singapore. "Terracotta Warriors: The First Emperor and His Legacy" will be held from 24 Jun 2011 till 16 Oct 2011 at the Asian Civilisations Museum. This is the first time the original statues are being showcased in Singapore and in Southeast Asia.

You can expect to see some 100 artifacts at the exhibition. However, due to the Chinese government policy to limit the numbers of figures to be loaned for any single show, there are only 10 Terracotta Warriors on display. These figures include a general, two archers, infantrymen, a cavalry officer, a charioteer and a strongman.

Life After Death: An Installation by Justin Lee
from 08 Jun 2011 - 30 Oct 2011
Concurrently, another contemporary art installation is on display to accompany the special exhibition of the Terracotta Warriors. Created by Singaporean artist, Justin Lee, "Life After Death" displays some unusual terracotta army figures with a tinge of modernity. 

These figures are flanked by graceful fairy-like maidens armed with modern technologies. Be inspired by his creative juxtaposition of Old and New, East and West as well as Life and Death.

You will have to be there to 'feel' the real thing. Visitors can also download a free app from the Apple App Store and 'interact' with the Terracotta Warriors. Watch this video to find out how you can 'bring history to life'. Tickets are at S$8 and Passion Card holders gets a 50% discount. (See Ticket Charges)

Here are some pictures taken at the exhibition.

The figures were accidental discoveries by a
group of peasants attempting to dig a well.

The statues are made of low-fired clay. [pic]

The terracotta figures are known for their
realistic representation of the details.

The figures are life-sized with
varying heights.

Emperor Qin was preoccupied with the idea
of immortality and life after death.

These figures date back to 210 BC. [pic]

The head, arms, legs and torsos were created separately
and then assembled. 

The tomb of the first emperor is one of the most remarkable
archaeological findings in recent times.

Historians believe that the construction of the
massive grave involved 700,000 workers.

Emperor Qin began construction of his
tomb when he was 13.

Detailed carvings were found on the
tomb walls.

A clay figurine. [pic]

Modern art installation of the
Terracotta Warriors.

Ancient warriors juxtaposed with
modern earphones.

A fairy-like maiden carrying a computer, blending
the past with the present.

Colorless lady figures with
loud accessories.

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