le cahier de kev

le cahier de kev

adventures fresh off the press

A Step Forward Through Cooperation

It has been quite a month since the events of the previous entry.  At that time it was still pretty warm and everyone was getting ready for Halloween.  Just recently it was the presidential election in the United States.  Some people were happy with the results while some were not.  In the end, I think that it's just important for everyone to move forward and work to enact positive change.  


As someone who comes from a mathematical/scientific background, I favor more pragmatic approaches to things.  Rather than try to hinder others, I believe time, energy, and resources are better spent on developing solutions to economic, social, and foreign issues.  Even if we share different views or beliefs as others, it doesn't mean that we would be unable to work together with them.  It's a matter of sharing one's experiences and strengths with others who will likewise do the same that can help propel progress.  Cooperation is a step to build a better future.


Empire State Building shining in the country's colors on election night



(On a side note, I won't combine Part II of the museum pictures here.  It might end up getting messy so I decided to separate them for the next entry.)


I was able to get through a few books in the past month.  I enjoy reading to pass the time and these books really hit that spot.


I finished Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling and Bossypants by Tina Fey in October.  I also reread The Most Dangerous Game by Richard Connell.



The Most Dangerous Game was a captivating short story that I read back in high school.  It was a very quick read (I think it took me around 30 minutes to complete).  The presented story deals within the realm of the hunter becoming the "huntee" as he fights for survival.  I highly recommend checking it out.


Mindy Kaling and Tina Fey's books were a lot more lighthearted.  While Mindy's book discussed her work on shows she had worked on such as The Mindy Project, Tina's book made me smile and laugh more with her jokes and anecdotes.  Tina was very vivid with her stories about her many interactions with staff from SNL and 30 Rock, with friends such as Amy Poehler, and gave stories on how her father was a badass. haha  With Mindy's book, I really loved the detailed pictures and how her quirky personality came through the words of the book.


Both of their books were very enjoyable and I had a big smile on my face as I read while I was eating or sitting on the train.  These two women worked very hard to get to where they were and it showed the strength of their character.  There were also frustrations with the lack of clarity in terms of decision making for shows and balancing personal and professional lives.  Despite the hurdles that they had faced, they still moved forward with humor and perseverance.  I really admired those qualities as I read through their books.


Currently, I'm reading Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain and The Singapore Story by former Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew.  In late October I started reading Jeffrey Steingarten's The Man Who Ate Everything, but I put it on hold once I acquired Anthony and PM Lee Kuan Yew's books.




The one thing I really admired from the two books (from what I had read so far) was their candid approach in their narratives.  With former Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew, he had the enormous task to lead Singapore after its forced independence from Malaysia.  Just reading the background of his hard work was very inspirational.  He also showed that he was not perfect growing up.  In the book he mentioned that despite getting good grades, he would be tardy at times which led to him getting caned by the headmaster of the school.  I also read through his experiences during the Japanese occupation of Singapore.  This included how he navigated through the system to find work along with stabilizing means of survival (through basic necessities such as acquiring food as well as avoiding any conflict with the military which would have led to severe consequences).  I'm now on the chapter of his journey to complete his law studies in Britain and trying to get Kwa Geok Choo (the girl he was courting who would end up becoming his future wife) into Girton College at Cambridge.


You could sense the passion in his spirit navigating through all of these hurdles so that he can accomplish his goals.  It brought a smile to my face when I read how his hard work paid off.  He would find a way to get to his goal (whether it was through writing a letter to the school, contacting people whom he had previously worked with, or doing his research on a topic of interest) through his inquisitive nature.  One of the stories that came to mind was when he researched on what would be a product that would be in demand during the war (since he needed some financial earnings to support himself and his family).  He collaborated with a colleague Nyuk Lin who also graduated from Raffles College to make gum from tapioca flour and carbolic acid.  This highlighted his pragmatism to adapt to the changing environment through survival.


Lee Kuan Yew's experiences are applicable to the nature of the uncertainties of life.  When an unexpected life event occurs, we must adapt to the changing climate.  Similarly to how the world is evolving through the economic and sociopolitical demands of each country's society, we must always be prepared to keep an open mind and to listen to the voices of both our supporters and the opposition.  It's interesting to visit these thoughts since I remembered in an earlier entry that I wouldn't dive too deeply into politics.  In that sense, I won't lean towards one side while rebuking the perspectives of an opposing side.  What makes critical dialogue and the thought process enriching is the ability to hear out what both sides will bring to the table.  To those who are familiar with introductory calculus, I will use a mathematics example.


If I have a function f(x) = (x+1)(x+2), and I want to find the derivative.  There are two approaches.  I can either simplify through the FOIL method and then use the Power Rule to take the derivative of the function or I can keep the function as is and use the Product Rule.  The main thing to note is that both methods will lead to the same result.  Some people will prefer to do one method while others choose the other.  Neither one is better than the other.  It is just important that you end up with the correct result.  I do agree that in terms of policies, it may not be as clear cut.  However, both sides can contribute to shaping a course of action.


The main thing to note is that there are different perspectives out there and we must respect others' beliefs.  They may differ from ours, but that doesn't make them any less of a person.  As I had discussed earlier, instead of trying to find a way to checkmate the opposition, time would be better spent on producing a policy that is sustainable.  One of the common themes in these books is exactly that--overcoming conflict with those whom you may not agree with in order to move a project forward.  As my aunt would say, "It's quite inspirational!"


I'm still making my way through both books, but am really learning a lot about each of their struggles.  I enjoy both styles of their writing: while Anthony's book is a bit more brash in his approach to his descriptions, Lee Kuan Yew's approach is more eloquent and formal (as expected from a former head of government and the founding father of Singapore).


Things have been going well.  I had lunch with my aunt last Friday and we got to catch up after such a long time.  She's an absolute sweetheart.  We talked about family affairs, the current election, and our plans for the holidays.  What really touched me was that despite not getting to see each other as often, everything just flowed once we started talking.  We both had a huge smile on our faces as we caught up.  After our lunch, we promised to meet up again for another lunch date in the near future.  Ten minutes after I took her home she texted me with some sweet words and I texted her back, "Auntie don't cry...only tears of joy are allowed!"  She texted me back with a smiley and a heart.  It was very cute.


Auntie and Me



Thanksgiving is coming up and I'm excited to spend time with family.  To those of you in the United States celebrating Thanksgiving, I want to wish you and your loved ones a Happy Thanksgiving!  If you are traveling, please have a safe journey.


The medical law and ethics handout will be up soon.  There is a lot of information pertaining to groups affected by abuse and violence, but I wanted to make sure that all of the important bullet points are covered before publishing it for the public.  Thank you very much for your patience.

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