Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Command, Control and Communication

My husband used to tell this joke when he was in the army. When soldiers go to war, they will shoot the officers first before going into he battle field. Those who have served in NS may have a lot more jokes to share officers. 

I have been reading this book Command in War and learnt about the C3 concept. Command, Control and Communication.

Recently, a lady in command was very upset when she discovered that she did  not command the heart and soul of those she control. Her followers were disengaged and would only carry out her command. She has control over them but they did not buy into her vision. 

Her appointment and position gave her the ability to command and control. Most leaders assume that since they are in the position to command, they can command.

What they missed out is their ability to communicate their vision to those they lead.

Some leaders barks their commands at those they lead.

Others make declaration like because I am in command I can do what I please.

All they have achieved is having their instructions and orders carried out but they do not have followers that will run with them into the battle and die with them and for them.

Once, an officer after a long road march ordered that all his soldiers take off their socks and put their feet at the foot of the bed. This officer personally checked that every single soldier's foot do not have foot rot. Of course his soldiers are willing to die for him in the battlefield.

All  a leader has to do to engage the hearts and souls of those he leads is to communicate his choice of decision clearly to his followers. Once the follower understand the rational for the decision taken, the followers will follow his leader to the end of the earth.

In the book The Art of War, it was said that a leader has to know the environment, the weather, the land terrain, the enemy and most important of all himself. To me that is the highest form of communication


So it is said that if you know your enemies and know yourself, you can win a hundred battles without a single loss.
If you only know yourself, but not your opponent, you may win or may lose.
If you know neither yourself nor your enemy, you will always endanger yourself.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Have yourself a merry little Christmas?

And so the present have all been opened. The turkey roasted and eaten. And you step back and wonder..... is it all worth it?

What is the point of giving present when you are not presence at the party? What is the point of sitting in front of the Television watching EPL?

Inference, Interpretation and Implication

1. That you did not respect your host enough to be present at the party. Your body is there but your heart is with the EPL.

2. That all the relatives gather together is less important than the football game that is being played between one football club and the other.

3. That watching a screen image of twenty two men running around in chasing a ball is more interesting then interacting with people you seldom see.

4. Forcing everyone else to watch you game teaches your children that who ever control the remote wins. And that it is all right to be a brat and selfish and see to your own needs with no regard to any one else.

Compared this with another Christmas Party.

1. There are no television in the living room and so guests have the opportunity to interact with one another, catch up on old time, offer attention, appreciations and affirmations that they are people worth listening too.

2. Cousins, second cousins and third cousins who only meet at weddings and funerals can re- established bonds and relationship again over a simple drink and a simple meal of mash potatoes, ham and turkey.

3. Whole family sang out of key but loud and clear in one voice communicating in a way that no presents can that the family is one and there will be support when needed.

4. Most important of all, celebrating that Christmas is not a ritual or routine that one has to follow but a time to re established bond, kinship and family ties.

Next year, we planned to stay at home and have hot chocolate and stolen interacting with our love ones instead of going to yet another party to watch other watch football.

You have been warned.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

On Sunday, 20th December 2009, after getting some army issue from Golden Mile Hawker Centre with our son, my husband and I decided to go to Mustafa, the one stop shopping center where we figured our son could get the toiletries all under one roof.

We took a Transcab taxi (No. SHD 463G) at about 3.30 p.m outside the Golden Mile Hawker Centre. He turned into Kapour Road and asked us to alight as he refused to drop us at the entrance of Mustafa (below the overhead shopping mall) along Verdun Road. My husband insisted that he dropped us at our destination.

The driver started to insult my husband and said that he was being selfish. At that point, my husband opened the taxi door and asked my son and I to alight while he went in to the taxi again.

My son and I walked to the entrance of Mustafa and waited anxiously for him. We saw the taxi drove by us to Shing Hotel which is at the next block. Because we were worried about my husband, we fixed our eyes on the taxi.

What happened next shocked us. As my husband got out of the taxi and walked toward Mustafa, the drive got out and ran toward my husband and rained blows at my husband. My son sprinted to the spot (thank you SAF for making sure that he cleared 2.5 km in less then10 mins) where he found my husband had been pushed on the floor. My son had to pull the driver away to prevent him from hurt his father even more.

When the police arrived, both the driver and my husband were advised to make a police report at Police Cantonment Complex.

My husband arrived at 5.30 p.m. Two hours later, he was asked to pay the taxi fare. My husband paid the fair but made a statement listing down the injuries that he has sustained. He left the complex at around 10.30 p.m.

Lesson learned

1. Passenger still have to pay for taxi fare even though taxi driver has provided unsatisfactory services.

2. Even if the driver has hurt passenger, the passenger cannot bring up a criminal charge against the taxi driver.

3. The taxi driver is in the driver seat and therefore he has the power to decide where he can drop passenger off or else he will take the law into his own hand.

4. Transcab Taxi website state the following
  • Whole Team aim for excellence and to provide excellent service
  • Experienced people in transport line

Till today, I still feel traumatized whenever I see a Red Transcab Taxi.

You have been warned.

(My husband and my son explaining to the traffic police what had happened)

The taxi with the taxi driver. Notice his calm face. Maybe he knows that nothing can happened to him.

Monday, December 21, 2009

How much does it cost?

Cost of trip to OCS $40.

Cost of leaving mass tin and other staff in Tekong and so must go to Beach Road to buy back stuff. $80

Cost of having two other esses before going in ? Priceless

What most OCS are good at .......z....z...z..

Monday, December 14, 2009

It's payback time

Hand up if you have promised any of your children that if they do well in the final exam, PSLE, O Level or A level, Papa or Mama will buy........ (fill in the blanks here, it does not matter), bring you to ..... (again fill in the blanks here, it does not matter) or bargain .... you life away.

One of my friend ran out of gift to motivate her son who is completing his A level next year at a junior college in Bishan. He has been given a high powered computer yet again( so that he can play batter with great graphic), brought all over Asia for holidays for doing well.

I called this the billiard ball syndrome. The child is the coloured ball on the pool table, the red balls are the gifts that parents promised for good performance and the parents are the ones holding the cue stick. Notice how the coloured balls will never moved by themselves but are dependent on a. the red ball to transfer the energy and b. the amount of force that the cue stick has been used to transfer the energy from the red ball to the coloured ball.

When a child has been brought up to believe that learning is not an end in itself but a means to get the next PSP, hand phone or trip to the ski resort in Korea, he or she is not given the opportunity to experience the joy of learn.

Of course, some parents will argue that it is better his child passes the exam at what ever cost, never mind if he grow up selfish or materialistic. Or they commit the ad populum fallacy that since everyone of my friend, relative and neighbour is doing it, it is all right.

So what can a parent do to cultivate this joy of learning, to bring up self driven learner that is independent and intelligent at the same time?

Firstly, never associate learning with any kind of reward. Period.

Secondly, celebrate any small achievement that the child achieve at his own time and pace. Our four year old just learn to write an A yesterday and we were so happy and so proud of him. We praised him for being able to write but did not promise him that if he can write from A to Z he will get his Optimum Prime for Christmas.

Thirdly, create an environment which is safe and secure for the child to learn. The brain responses better to a positive environment. If the brain is stressed, it will perform but the performance is under par and will not be long lasting. Answer any questions that the child has and do not make him feel that his question is stupid, uninteresting or useless. Most important of all, never compare the brain with any other brain. It is the easiest way for the brain to give up it quest for learning.

A human brain is designed to learn. The million dollar question is what will it learn? Often, it will learn what the parents does not intend for it to learn. We as parents just have to remember Newton Third Law of motion: For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.

Now think. What is the opposite reaction when your child receive his gift this Christmas for doing well in his exam?

You have been warned.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

So fast another Ess will be released into the world soon.

Is the world ready for this Ess?

Today is Aubrey's birthday. Her name was chosen because I heard this song Aubrey by Bread one day and decided that this would be a great name.

This name has its origin in Old German origin. It is a Norman French variant of Alberich, Germanic name.

Aubrey means 'elf'. In Germanic Mythology, the king of elves was called Aubrey. Yes, our Aurbey can be impish at times with her laughter filling up a dull afternoon. She is fiercely independent, with her mind of her own and very logical. Yet her heart is filled with love for her younger siblings. she has become their part time mum when I am too busy with work.

Her second name,Gabrelyn was chosen because she was conceived 9 months before Christmas. As Angel Gabriel has foretold the birth of Christ to Mary around 25th March, we decided to use this name.

When I goggle her name, I am so proud to see so many articles she has written published on various news website.

She has only one year to remain as a teenager. May she continue to vex her parents like all teenagers do and may she blossom into a lady soon.

Friday, December 4, 2009

With no hope of reward nor seeking gain

Recently one of my friend ask me to help her find an opportunity for her son to do extra Community Involvement Project (CIP). She has wanted her son, who is on the through train at a school in Bishan to get involved.

I found a project for her son to do which involved working with children who has terminal cancer. It would be easy as the hospice is only a stone throw away from his school. Just as the details were settled she asked if her son's effort would be recorded in the School Graduation Certificate. (SGC)

My heart sank. It sank even lower when she explained that another colleague of her helped her daughter obtained a scholarship by doing a lot of CIPs and it looked good when she went for an interview for the scholarship.

I do not think it is the fault of the mothers as any mother would try her best to help her child develop to the fullest.

The fault lies in the system where students have to clock in compulsory a minimum of six hours of CIP every year. Because it is a compulsion, it is difficult to develop this ideal of volunteerism in our teenagers.

I am involved with an NGO which seek to protect the environment through the promotion of eco living. Often, I will have to hunt for volunteers to support this NGO. I normally would not choose students who when asked to help would reply :" Will it count towards the CIP hours?" or "Will it be recorded in the SGC.?"

Students who have been volunteering with this NGO know that they will not get any CCA points, any CIP hours, nor it will not be recorded in the SGC. No Reward, No Award.

Recently, there was a blood donation drive at the Bishan Community Center. An ITE student went there to donate blood. She did not receive any CIP hours, it was not recorded in her record books and no one in her ITE knew about it.

She was rejected because she was under 18 and need parental consent. She went home download the parental consent form and went back to donate blood only to be rejected the second time because there was not enough iron in her blood. She is now taking iron pills waiting for the time when she is eighteen and when the iron level in her blood is within range.

There is still hope for Singapore after all.