Friday, 28 October 2011

How Complacency killed the Cat.

It has been a full decade since the attack on United States of America has opened our eyes to horror, sorrow and a new word – Terrorism. That fateful incident shattered everyone’s definition of peace, safety and security.

Singapore may be twenty flight hours away from United States of America and ten years may have passed. But just last year, maps of Orchard Road and of Singapore's Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) network with Orchard Station circled were found by Indonesian Authorities. And earlier this year, Indonesian anti-terrorism officials arrested 11 suspects who were plotting to attack the Singapore embassy in Jakarta, targeting only Singaporeans who were leaving the compound. Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong prompted Singaporeans saying “We must stay vigilant,”

Honestly, it is not easy to maintain a constant state of vigilance when the government are not only on constant high alert but also taking preventive and precautionary methods to safeguard Singapore for any possible openings for any attacks. Our initial horrors have gradually been replaced by easy complacency. We fail to take into account that even as the government are learning as well as enhancing, terrorists groups alike are also learning from their past achievements and failures and will continue to develop elevated strategies to launch more effective attacks.

A full decade later terrorism still remains a multi-faceted elusive threat that takes an entire nation’s vigilance for prevention.

"Singapore has been targeted in the past, and continues to remain a trophy target. We cannot let our guard down." - Mr K Shanmugam, Minister for Law and Second Minister for Home Affairs

Chief Editor: Jeremy Chan

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Catch it, before it runs out.

We know how many seconds there are in a minute, how many minutes there are in an hour and how many hours there are in a day. Every 60 seconds still amounts to a single minute but why are still contrasting results with different people -- Why do some of us accomplish many times more than others and others many times lesser?

Because every individual experiences a single minute differently. An hour could fly by like a minute while a single minute could crawl by like an hour.

Dr Seuss once said “You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction you choose. You're on your own. And you know what you know. You are the guy who'll decide where to go.”

You have the power to will your mind to alter the way your time moves.

Here are some of the ways one could catch time, before it runs out.

Setting your mind to a daily clear schedule helps you to clearly know what you need to accomplish for the day. This gives you ample knowledge to know how much time you can waste and be distracted and how much time you need for your work.

Think about it positively whilst at it. It is no surprise how time flies when we are spending time with people we love or doing things we enjoy. The same logic applies -- work gets done faster when you are able to take joy in doing it.

Discipline is a key ingredient especially when there are increasing varieties of distractions (that ranges from a phone text, an email notification, an instant message to the ringing of a phone) that takes our mind somewhere else that usually ends up as an unfinished piece of work at the end of your waking hours. Do not underestimate how much can be accomplished in replacing that 10 – 15 minutes of instant messaging or replying an email to 10 – 15 minutes of uninterrupted work. Understandably you will not be able to complete that new marketing proposal or that big presentation you have to give. But 15 minutes of drafting a clear outline of what you will be doing or just starting off with a clear introduction could make what might take a dozen hours of staring into your laptop screen thinking of what to write into a few fully utilize hours of good solid work.

We often neglect or drag what we need to do, to do what we prefer to do. But in properly managing the hours of doing what we need to do, we would have so much more time to do what we prefer to do.

Editor: JT

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Hold your clenched fists and breathe!

Photo Credit to: Courtney Messenbaugh
You feel your heart rate increasing as it pounds harder behind your ribcage. Blood surges to your head and your rational mind gradually becomes disengaged as your thoughts become distorted. Breathing becomes more rapid. You feel the muscle in your arms tensing up. The tension spreads to every other parts of your body. You unconsciously roll your fingers into a clenched fist. You don’t realise it at first but your body seems to be saying something. Then, you feel it -- every neuron, cell, organ and muscle in your body is yelling at you to fight or take flight.

This is when you feel the insane urge to throw your fist into someone’s face or yell at something because unfortunately, in times of anger rarely do we take flight instead.

No one escapes the inevitable emotion of anger. It is more apparent in today’s fast paced, high stress, society where there are higher expectations that gives rise to higher rate of failures. Anger usually occurs due to differing expectations of yours and the rest of the world. It happens because one party failed to meet the expectations of another in a thousand and one possible ways. Regretfully, a punch thrown or words said in a fit of anger in the corporate world would soil your reputation and could land you in the land of the jobless. Amidst all the stress and pressure, how does one maintain social grace in the face of rising blood pressure and a pounding heart behind that chest?

Ralph Waldo Emerson said “For every minute you remain angry, you give up sixty seconds of peace of mind.” The key is the very essence of survival – Breathing. Breathing reduces your heart rate and reduces the amount of blood surging to your brains. Breathing increases the amount of oxygen going to your brain. A properly hydrated and oxygenated brain is a high functioning brain. Your initially disengaged rational comes back into consciousness. You are then better able to control your thoughts and desires. It may still seem utterly tempting to throw your fist at someone but at this stage you’d know better.

Anyone can become angry. That is easy. But to be angry with the right person, to the right degree, at the right time, for the right purpose and in the right way... that is not easy.
-- Aristotle.

Dr. Allison Yeo

Friday, 7 October 2011

Stress Management

There is no definite form of stress nor can anyone be immune to stress.

Hans Selye, a pioneering endocrinologist, once said, “Adopting the right attitude can convert a negative stress into a positive one.” No doubt stress has been commonly linked for a number of human ailments ranging from the cosmetic (hair loss, acne, wrinkles) to the deadly – high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease and even cancer. The crux here, however, is knowing how to manage stress level such that it does not negatively affect us in our daily functioning.

We need Stress -- At least a certain amount of it. A little stress and tension is essential for the better functioning of our daily activities. It is tantamount to our mental motivation, better focus and as a source of energy for our work. Attempting to eliminate stress is unrealistic, since stress is unavoidable and unconsciously embedded in most aspects of our lives.

You need to be aware when you are feeling stressed. Recognize the symptoms when the stress gets unconsciously overwhelming for your mental and physical being. Manifestations of excess or poorly managed stress can be extremely varied. They typically range from increased occurrences of headaches, sleep disturbances, shorter fuse, lower productivity etc. If left unmanaged, symptoms can be fuelled to a increased severeness that could affect your daily functioning.

We may be left helpless to contextual as well as external stressors in our lives but at the very least we are able to take control of how we allow it to affect our lives – Live positively!

Hans Selye ~ Its not stress that kills us, it is our reaction to it ~

Chief Editor: Jeremy Chan