Vincent Liu

The Doorman

Confidence and Performance

Confidence doesn’t lead to high performance. Rather, confidence is a byproduct of previous performance.

I read another article along those lines from a college basketball coach, and the point made resonated with me. Again, it’s one of those proses that I couldn’t say better myself, and got lost until I got this quote off a business article lately.

Filing this as a reminder to self.

Introverts, Extroverts

Somehow, it wasn’t straightforward to figure out a defintion of an Introvert and an Extrovert. It was easy to conflate behaviours of shyness, asociality, brashness, showiness with actual internal states of mind. The definitions I’ve appropriated somewhere else sums it up better than I can:

Introverts reflect more, Extroverts experience more.

Tidy Up at the End of Each Day

Set aside 10 minutes each day before finishing to organise my desk.

It sounds easy, but personally, it’s still a difficult habit. At the end of most days, my head is rather frazzled and disorganized to remember this to do so. Also, when dealing with cleanups with computer tasks, it’s easy to get distracted and forget about what to clean, when to stop and pack up.

In addition, stopping is not a fixed time where I can anchor the behaviour to a wall-clock time – it’s typically very possible to end up working so late that it’s easy to bypass this habit and head straight off home.

However, it shouldn’t be such a difficult thing to do, and in fact it shouldn’t take me no more than 5 minutes.

I should also make a checklist of what to do for cleaning up at the end of the day. That way I won’t forget or have to expend more mental energy to remember what needs to be done.

Jewish Joke?

*Q:* “What do you think of the government?”

*A:* “Same way as I think of my wife,”

*Q:* "How so?"

*A:* “I love the government. I fear the government... and I want another government!”

Eat a Frog in the Morning

Eat a live frog every morning, and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day” – Mark Twain

It is not easy to find a live frog to eat every morning (thankfully!), but there will always be unpleasant things (and waaaay more beneficial) to do that will make the rest of your day less ‘bad’.

Take exercise. It used to be a daily morning ritual, until I had to move house; it’s certainly unpleasant to be awake at 6.30am, especially if you had a late night out, and be working out while you’re groggy and sleepy. But, it does make your social life a little easier than having to go work out in the evening.

As an advice, it does not translate to everyday work. Not all days have unpleasant work and some work can span across days. For me, mornings are also times when I have the best focus – it has to be spent on important work, not things that I wouldn’t want to do.

Some gurus promote this as a productivity life hack; I wouldn’t say this can practically be done daily for all forms of work, or would have the efficacy that can be applied on a consistent, daily basis.

How Does Louder Make It Any More True?

‘Huat Ah!’, is a common vernacular heard during Chinese New Year. It literally means “to sprout”, or loosely means to be able to gain good fortune, usually with an expectation that it will be a sudden and massive amount of wealth attained.

It’s an annoying superstition/custom, given that people would shout it out at the top of their voices, repeatedly. It is as if the loudness and repetitions would somehow translate to an increasing probability or magnitude of it happening!

The wishful-ness of ‘something for nothing’ still runs strong in this country.

Train Ride, a Squeeze No More

For a moment, I was convinced by mum’s explanation that I was able to get a seat on the train at Raffles Place station during rush hour was because most of the Chinese migrant labour had returned to China for the New Year festivities.

But after some reflection, I can’t convince myself this can be true; surely most of the people working in the offices blocks around the Shenton Way area would be white-collared workers, mostly whom would be local?

Given that it’s been more than a decade since I’ve returned during CNY (in the past years it had always been in December, as it was an easier to take a long holiday that’s lined up with the Western holiday seasons), I had to give it a benefit of a doubt.

I was on the train again today, and with mum in tow. We returned to the same station at Raffles Place, as I had been a few days ago, returning from a stroll through town. This time, it was past 6 and well within the confines of the evening rush hour. We boarded the train, and unlike previous years, there’s a notable difference between the volume of people – in the past, I had to assiduously avoid 5-7pm period or risk being packed like sardines. This year, I get to sit down, both times!

While narrowly missing a previous train from the one I boarded, one on-station staff member helpfully mentioned, “the next train would be in 2 minutes.” He meant it literally. The electronic display indicated that all successive trains are arriving in 2 minute intervals. That’s what appears to be the real answer to why I haven’t been crushed in the MRT this year.

I recalled coming across a headline that SMRT had been upgrading their signalling systems a while ago… this time, before the crowds grow to an unwieldy number, they get shuttled away in the 2-minute interval. Or that’s my theory anyway. Whatever the trick is, it’s working, brilliantly.

Why I Don’t Post on Facebook

As much as I try not to post technology-related posts on my personal blog, this one possibly merits so, given it clarifies my thoughts and position on why I generally don’t post anything at all on Facebook.

If you are in the the IT industry, then you should already know all about Facebook – much has been said about this high-profile public company. In a nutshell, they are an entity that makes profit out of people’s personal data. Now, there isn’t anything inherently wrong about that, because users are the ones who are willingly giving up this information, and the company so far had not attempted to use this information in a morally repugnant, or distasteful way by today’s social standards (although some of you might argue otherwise).

Technology as an enabler is a good thing, but I can’t help feeling using your personal information in exchange for easy accessibility with friends and family is like a Faustian pact. Tell me, how many of you know that, by posting your picture up on Facebook, the company retains perpetual rights to your pictures? Even if you choose to delete your copy of your picture, Facebook retains the legal rights to use that picture, for any purpose forever.

Facebook is also at the forefront of facial recognition, where its DeepFace technology boasts the capability of recognising a posted picture of you with up to 97.53% accuracy.

Put that together and Facebook has the capability to track you directly, and indirectly, though your friends’ postings, and build a dossier about you – one that knows about you more than you do. I sure am not sure about the wisdom of allowing so much information to be tracked about you involuntarily, and definitely a little too 1984-esque for my liking.

If there’s one thing as certain as death and taxes in the software industry, it would be programming bugs. And if one’s information can be hacked from Ashley Madison’s data breach, it is only a matter of time that will happen to Facebook. Leaking your private information, can ruin lives.

Why some people would risk sharing sensitive, private information, is ultimately one’s personal choice, but I am not that totally comfortable that a corporation has the capabilty to gather in-depth information about me, which I have no rights, ownership and control over, which is indirectly acquired through the actions of friends, rather than myself.

Friends, I’d prefer if you’d generally not post pictures with me in it, or keep the tags out of pictures of me – my sense of paranoia will thank you for it :)

(Image Credits: SMBC)

Update on Progress

It’s close to the end of the year again. I am off target from my goal of attaining “6000 Punches, 6000 Kicks”, by a margin of 2000 thereabouts at worse, or 1000 at best. It also comes down to the actual definition – when I mean “Punch/Kick”, I meant a dedicated style of punch or kick.

If counting my combination of elbow attacks and varying punches, I should have exceeded the 6000 mark. For kicks, it would likely be at around the 4000 mark – it’s harder to perform kicks compared to punches, due to the flexibility needed to perform kicks upwards of the waist (I’m kicking into a sandbag). Certainly more exhausting too.

At least I’ve managed to get to the midway mark of my grand target of 10000.

In terms of feedback, the difference in the fluidity of movement can definitely be felt. What used to feel like something that requires active thought is more or less a reflex action now. The only thing that still requires attention is the awareness of the movement of the bag, so as to land the strike as accurately as possible – I’m not sure if that is possible to reflex away that too, but we’ll see.

Where it used to bleed with striking bare knuckles, they are callused enough now where strikes doesn’t cause any raw-ness anymore. And silly self-injuries from bad positioning of the wrist while striking have reduced by a good margin. I’ve realised from punching bags that it actually isn’t reasonable to angle the wrists while driving the knuckles into your intended target, as some martial arts would advocate in order to cause ‘more hurt’ to your opponent.

Personally, from experience, it’s counterproductive to make any movement from your wrist while striking at high power/speed. As this is likely to cause injury to yourself, or inflict less damage to your opponent. I’ll be quite happy if my opponent takes a blunt, full-force impact from the flat of my fists, rather than a watered-down punch from a couple of my knuckles, and risk breaking them from bone-to-bone impact.

That’s the summary of what I’ve learnt the past year. I’ll leave the remainder of my other observations in a future post.