If Life is About a Journey on a Train

pic source: public-forums.blogspot.com

pic source: public-forums.blogspot.com

“Life is like a journey on a train…

with its stations.. with changes of routes.. and with accidents.

We board this train when we are born and our parents are the ones who get our ticket.

We believe they will always travel on this train with us.

However, at some station our parents will get off the train,leaving us alone on this journey.

As time goes by, other passengers will board the train, many of whom will be significant – our siblings, friends, children, and even the love of our life.

Many will get off during the journey and leave a permanent vacuum in our lives.

Many will go so unnoticed that we won’t even know when they vacated their seats and got off the train 

This train ride will be full of joy, sorrow, fantasy, expectations, hellos, good-byes and farewells.

A good journey is helping, loving, having a good relationship with all co passengers…

and making sure that we give our best to make their journey comfortable.

The mystery of this fabulous journey is :

We do not know at which station we ourselves are going to get off.

So, we must live in the best way – adjust, forget, forgive, and offer the best of what we have.

It is important to do this because when the time comes for us to leave our seat… we should leave behind beautiful memories for those who will continue to travel on the train of life.”

Came across this amazing piece of thought online, and I decided to share this with SOL’s readers.  🙂


Steve Jobs Inspirational Lessons

You can call me an Apple fanboy from the way how I love my Apple gadgets.

But deep in my heart, I know partly is due to how Steve Jobs has caused me to think life differently.

I was searching for a video for Mrs SOL on “Think Different”, that I chanced upon this video.

It summarises the lessons from his 3 life stories that instil deep in me.

I hope it can inspires you too.

For a young adult who just starting to build up his career, one particular lesson resonates well with me:

You can’t connect the dots looking forward, you can only connect the dots by looking backward. You have to trust the dots will somehow connect in your future, you have to trust in something.  Because believe the dots will connect down the road will gives you all the confidence to follow your heart. This makes all the difference. ~ Steve Jobs

Happiness Can Comes Free

Recently over a friend gathering session, we discussed the topic on happiness. There were few heated arguments on the happiness index of Singaporean, which I will not cover in this post.

Rather, pertaining to pursuing happiness, it just bewildered me that when has it became so complex, that it seemed that you might need a PhD to understand it.

What do you see from this photo? A lonely old man or a floor of happiness?

What do you see from this photo? A lonely old man or a walkway full of happiness?

Your definition of happiness?

What makes you happy?

I guess we are so obsessed over chasing materialistic benefits that the answers I got from people were usually linked to some sorts of monetary stuff such as to own a house, a car, having lots of cash in banks, etc. Some others, on the other hand, are less materialistic. They just wanted emotional benefits, such as getting married, having kids and a group of close friends, etc.

However, if you take a step back and look at these answers, you will realised that they actually depend on something for happiness. The problem here is that what if the thing you depend on for happiness is no longer with you? People around you will come and go, marriage can fail and fortunes you made can be lost in a day.  This kind of happiness is just so fragile.

So you might ask again, so can I find true happiness that last?

In my opinion

In my humble opinion, my answer to happiness is that you will need to just unlock your mind and programmed it to receive happiness in the simplest form! Although you could argue that said is easier than done, but do you still remember during the times when you were still young, how easily you can feel happiness and to let your emotions out? We were easily amused, laughed at the ‘lamest’ joke, entertained by the simplest things in life. How can we possible able to do it when we were just a kid yet as a matured adult we can’t?

It is when you regain the skill of appreciating simple thing in life that happiness comes.

Some suggestions are:

1. Learn to live in present, do not wait for your definition of happiness to happen. No more ‘if’ and ‘unless.’ The keyword is now.  

2. Learn to appreciate the little things you have in life. Taking stock of what you have now and be grateful you have them!

3. Learn to love yourself more. Taking good care of your health and well-being.

4. Learn to choose to see the good and not the bad in all things. Yes, is a matter of choice. Go ahead and choose happiness and you get it.

A simple example

Lately Singapore is experiencing a flower blooming season. This is believe to be triggered by the recent dry spell, resulted in mass flowering on trees including the Angsana plant that you see from the picture at the top of this post.

How can you derive happiness from this? Just take a look at how simple it is for kids to feel happy in the video below:


Sometimes the happiness you can get, comes in the simplest form and best of all, is for free. When we were born, we were welcome to this world with the joy of our parents. Therefore, it should be right to mention that we are born to be happy.

We should always keep in mind that true happiness is not far-fetched goal, and in fact, it all begin with ourselves – our mindset.

Cheers~ 🙂

Nothing can bring you happiness but yourself – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Believe in Good

This post will be a sequel to one of my popular posts, a poor man asked the buddha, which I have shared with you, dear readers, on my view on the importance of pursuing an abundance and not just wealth. Having abundance does not have to equate to how much money a person has nor how much fame he enjoys. It can exist in a form of emotion, pure happiness and satisfaction in your life, a simple realisation that your existence does bring a difference to others.

The action of doing good and believing in it, might not make you rich, but it can be just as if not more rewarding than what money can offer to you.

Enough said, please allow me to share with you a video that touches my heart, and I hope it touches yours too.

Believe in good, believe in a better world. 🙂


What it Takes to be a Successful Engineer and Scientist?

What’s comes to your mind, when you think of an engineer and a scientist? For an engineer, perhaps you will picture a helmet, safety goggles and calculator. On the other hand, for a scientist, you might picture a person wearing a white lab coat, holding strangely colourful fluid contained in test tubes.

As the world economy changes rapidly, the role of engineer and scientist has expanded, at least I feel. Therefore, you might be wondering what it takes for a scientist or engineer to be successful in the modern days?

source: chemistry.about.com

source: chemistry.about.com

No longer a frog in a well 

These days where innovation is the driving force for company survivability, engineers and scientists will need to be creative so as to generate useful ideas to sustain a business competitive edge. This can be done by having the engineer and scientist to be exposed to multi-disciplinary fields of study. No longer a major in one single topic is sufficient.

In a dynamic corporate world, team will consist of various experts from each of the field they represent; sales, designing, marketing, manufacturing, etc. To have that synergistic effect, everyone in the team is expected to be at least understand and appreciate what others’ are working in. No doubt this take effort and immense intellectual curiosity to read, ask and google to find out the fundamentals of the unknown.

Employers are also reviewing on potential employees work experience and personal interest during an interview as such information will reveal the candidate’s ability to take on future leadership role and customer interfacing roles.

Outstanding ideas should make economic sense

All ideas are good, at least no one should disparage any seed of thought as who knows it might be the next big thing. However, outstanding ideas are those that make economic sense, meaning, those that are pertinent to current issues or relevant to the customer needs and wants.

Therefore, it has become imperative for all scientist and engineer to acquire business acumen competency. It is important for all researchers that involved in projects to understand how the business works. This will help to improve their critical thinking skills and decision-making skills which might significantly improve the success rate of these new projects.

What can be done?

Training and upgrading are the two main keys to achieve the above mentioned. In Singapore, it usually involved a tripartite effort; employee, employer and government.

– Employee must be willingly to undergo upgrading courses so as to be able to take on more roles. Some sacrifices will have to be made for a better future, be it less time for the family or less rest.

– Whereas the employer must provide such opportunities to employees. They could also make job-rotation option available to the employee so that they could learn important skills through different job assignments in different departments in an organisation.

– Singapore government has been encouraging workers to keep upgrading their skills. The sum of $300m has been invested to build two massive Continuous Education and Training (CET) campuses – one in Paya Lebar and the other in Jurong East. The purpose all be to house training providers, career counsellors and classrooms under one roof. This will greatly aids workers in seeking for the relevant trainer and vice verses. With constant feedback, the trainers could also develop relevant courses that are required by the labour market.


Whether you are thinking of becoming an engineer or scientist, or If you are already one of them, I hope you can strive to be a value-added staff and belong to a unique group of technical gurus equipped with business essence, who can solve problems and most importantly deliver value to your customer.


The Need to Work Less for More

A recent conversation with a veteran with over 30 over years of experience has sparked an interesting food for thought. To him, all these years, work has not been a breeze. The motivation, when he was younger, was that to work harder during his younger days so that when he get old, he will have an easier life. However, he shared that as he progresses up the corporate ladder, responsibility and work has been loading him, causing his life to only get busier. Eventually, he comes to realise that he has devoted a large part of his life into working, missing out other important things in life.  Therefore, he urged juniors like us to while working, we should not neglect our family, well being and personal time for own growth.

This advice has leads me to another thought which sometimes it get me wonder that with the advances in technology over the past century, how come workers are still working just as hard or even harder than in the past. Worst still, many peers shared that sometimes the reasons for working over-time might be for stuffs that are non-enriching or not contributing to the true productivity of the organisation. Example is like spending time over editing a presentation.

The reason for OT?

The reason for OT?

Studies have shown that working for longer hours do somehow has negative effect on our level of productivity. With the fatigue and frustration, we are subjecting ourself to less time and energy to uncover our creativity that might have the chance of reaping greater benefits for us and the society.

Working longer hours has also shown to associate with poor health and higher mortality rates. Chronic stress could lead to unnecessary anxiety and worry that result to depression. In other words, we might be risking our lives by working pro-longed hours!

Are you sure you are going towards your right goal in life?

Are you sure you are going towards your goal in life?

This possibly strikes the outcry for the need of work-life balance among employees. But with all the clamours for this balance why isn’t this happening in an instance? David Spencer, a professor of Economics and Political Economy gives five reasons why is it so:

1. Employer Power

The decline of unions coupled with a more flexible labour market (meaning less job security) have granted employers more power to maintain work hours that suit their economical interests.

2. Consumerism

Workers are swayed by mass advertising and sophisticated marketing to demand more goods and services – this, in turn requires that they work more

3. Inequality

Workers are more likely to enter into competitive forms of consumption and to feel more pressure to work longer where levels of inequality are high. Evidence shows that countries with higher inequality tend to have longer work hours.

4. Household Debt

The buildup of household debt, especially in US and UK, has put added pressure on workers to work longer.

5. Technology

Gadgets such as iPhones and laptops have meant that workers an be at work even when commuting to and from work or at home.


No matter what reason you are working for, your passion, business, money, do remember that it should not be eating up your entire time. Other aspects of life are equally important such as your health, your relationship with family and friends, your own personal time for growth and creativity. All these will give you a complete and better life and for sure, your level of happiness and satisfaction will be higher. In turn, your company will stand to benefit from having happy and satisfied employees around in the organisation.


Buddha said “You are free person and a master of your own actions”

This entry I am going to talk about being able to live freely from others’ emotions, and it is not an easy task. As you would have heard “no man is an island”, therefore every day we have to face our family, friends, colleagues and fellow commuters, inevitably we will get affected by what is going on around us.

With the occurrence of train breaking down higher than the probability of rain, can you recall the last train (SMRT) breakdown incident, and think about how did you get affected by the situation? Frustrated? Worry about running late from work? To make the matter worst, did the anger churning out from the rest of commuters add fuel to the burning fire in you. You started to realise people around start to frown, fight and get into an argument with each other, and there goes your ‘Good Morning’ of the day.

In our work, we will get into disagreements with fellow colleagues and superiors at times. However, engaging in productive debating might lead to higher efficiency and effectiveness in operations but getting too emotional will bring no good to anyone, including your organisation.

So how can we break freely from getting affected by others? Especially situation that brews negative emotion that you do not wish to get yourself involved? The answer might be to just tune your own thinking to change your perception to your thoughts. Below is a good story that I found in the internet to illustrate my point:

Once, Buddha was walking through a village with his students, where the opponents of Buddhism lived. The people of the village surrounded Buddha and his students and started insulting them. In respond, the students also started rising up and wanted to get back at them, but the presence of Buddha calmed them down. The words of Buddha confused not only the students but also the villagers.

He turned to his students and said:

You disappointed me. These people are doing their thing. They are angry. They think that I am an enemy of their religion and their moral believes. These people are insulting me and it’s obvious. But why are you angry? Why did you let these people manipulate you? Now you depend from them, therefore you’re not free.

The people from the village were completely at loss and asked:

But we were insulting you, why aren’t you mad at us?

Buddha smiled:

You are free people, and what you did – is your business. I am also a free person and a master of my own actions, which is why I have my own right not to react to manipulation and be free from anger.


Hence the next time you meet with a difficult situation or people, do remember that you are a free person and you have the prerogative to think for yourself. Whether to get frustrated or not, is up to your own mind, how do you want to perceive the situation.

Last but not least, I would like to share an interesting YouTube video with you. Hopefully, it will change your mind if you are to  get caught up with another train breakdown incident.