This is where I blog, only occasionally now.




January 12, 2024 Upcycling clothing labels -- don't throw anything away!


And it all started with, "These cardboard clothing tags are too good to throw away."





January 1, 2024 The garment factory supervisor 


Supervising these little operations was [drum roll] the factory supervisor. I don't know what her training and experience was, but she had the most amazing ability in estimating what hours, and by whom, were needed to finish certain "jobs" (consignments). Her little notebook (no computers) was all she needed. I don't think she even used a calculator. 


I might have an Honours degree in Sociology (then), but I could not have done what she was able to do: manage all the chattering women, all trying to gain some advantage over another, at least reputationally, estimate the labour costs, estimate the time required, and cajoling staff to work overtime.





November 26, 2023 The year that was 2023


It's been another year of ups and downs. A recent trip to Montalbano and Godfather country (Sicily) to celebrate 25 years of marriage was certainly an "up", despite a burst tyre three minutes before reaching our first hotel (the "down"). However, I would place the highlight of my year as learning about goalball and watching it played 'live' at the recent "Blind Games" (IBSA: International Blind Sport Federation).


These were people with disabilities trying to live ordinary lives, but in a most extraordinary way. I have utmost admiration for them, every single one.



November 18th, 2023  We(don't)Work. Really? (The guy who walked away from a failing business with US$1.7Billion)


I saw that WeWork functioned essentially as a cult.

  • Its leader could do no wrong.
  • What the leader says, goes, and information is not triangulated, tested against other sets of evidence.
  • If an employee has a problem, "Adam will solve it."


As I have said before, there are easy ways to becoming a millionaire. Just convince 1 million people to give you £1 each. Then onto the next million, and the next.





October 23, 2023 Parenting a Sam Bankman-Fried (cryptocurrency guy)


“Childhood was a funny thing for Sam,” said his father. “He was never comfortable with kids, or with being a kid.”


In his description of a child who was so bored with school, I saw my son. The main differences were that (1) we intervened when he was six; (2) I decided against pursuing an academic career to ensure making professor by age 60; and (3) we prayed for wisdom. I cried a lot. O, how I cried. 

Thankfully, our son appears to be a well-adjusted adult now, because his emotional development finally, in due course, caught up with his intellectual growth.

September 29, 2023 Multiculturalism or multi-culture-ism?


One day a much older classmate at university -- he was a mature student on an army scholarship -- asked whether I felt ill-at-ease being "the only Chinese" in a particularly small class studying "anthropological theory".


I remember this incident well because I remember stopping to think for some time, going over the faces of my four other classmates: two ethnic Indians, an ethnic Malay, and an ethnic "Eurasian" (East Asian variety). And me.


"O! I had not thought of that. Didn't realise I was the only Chinese in the class."




In a strange sort of way I had become completely "colour-blind" to skin colour in Singapore.





 Overcoming obstacles or the blind leading the blind?


In any debate about disabilities, abilities and the responsibilities for those who must care for those with far fewer resources, it might be worthwhile revisiting Nussbaum’s thesis on the capabilities framework which, please note, is not without its critics.


For example, we need to debate and decide: Do we wish to level people up, by giving those less privileged with the wherewithal to compete on a more level playing field?


Or, do we prefer to level abilities down, by making everyone wear eyeshades, to make everyone “equal” and equally “unseeing” (or perhaps even “uncomplaining”) to enforce uniformity, and thus achieve a form of equality?






: Swings and Roundabouts: social media


Perhaps it's time we got back to real people dealing with real people, shopkeeper and customer, friend and friend, instead of bots and third-parties acting as paid agents, to drum up business. And those inexplicable algorithms. (Everyone talk about these. No one has been able to define this for me.)


Perhaps we can now get rid of the "influencer" influenza that has infected every aspect of our daily life. I don't know if these people add anything to the GDP. Do these people actually pay tax, for example? Is it a bit like supporting traffickers then?



: Recent research on hay fever .


So, if you are suffering, what can you do? Over-the-counter antihistamines can be very effective, says Kelman. Wearing wraparound sunglasses and a brimmed hat outdoors reduces the amount of pollen that reaches your airways, and a Covid-style face covering can work wonders. “When you come in, take off the outside layer of clothing so that you’re not bringing the pollen into the main body of your house,” Kelman says. “Shower and wash your hair as soon as you can.”





May 30, 2023: Social media for business: boon or bane?


How did we find customers on the internet? At that time there were a number of like-minded businesses and we exchanged links. We each had a page that said: "these are retailers you can trust, and we all have the same ethics".



Fast forward to the present. Well, if you do not have people with the expertise to write SEO (search engine optimization) and content for you, or pay to get people to "Like" your Instagram, Twitter and FB, then you are stuck.


Full blog post here.




O! What a surprise. We have not been recycling properly:



  • Juice and soup cartons - These contain a mix of plastic and cardboard that is difficult to separate.
  • Toothpaste tubes - They made of hard-to-recycle plastic.
  • Takeaway coffee cups - These usually have a film of plastic.
  • Greasy pizza boxes.
  • Polystyrene.
  • Used kitchen roll or tissues.
  • Crisp packets and salad bags.
  • Dirty takeaway containers.

Source: Biffa


May 16, 2023: Cutting our paper footprint

Since I started Organic-Ally to reduce paper usage by using cloth hankies instead, there has been many developments, some good, some not so good, with regards to protecting our environment. Reducing the use of paper has been one of the effects of numerous campaigners. This post shows how one person tried to make a point and people have become very aware of how we are mis-using paper. 


However, I do wish to note how there has also been a reversal, again as a result of a successful campaign to reduce the use of plastic. Many of the mailers I once received that came wrapped in plastic now comes in paper envelopes. Is this a good result? I hope to be saying more about this later. Meanwhile, let me take you back to 2008 to show what we can continue to do to make a difference where paper is concerned. Let me also plug the use of my cloth gift bags here!! ?




How to save the trees

* Do not pick up paper napkins in cafés.

* Ask yourself: do I need to print this? If so, use both sides of the paper.

* Sign up to the Mail Preference Service:

* Make sure any paper you buy (toilet rolls through to writing paper) comes from recycled sources.
* Re-use paper bags or compost receipts and torn-up bank statements
* Cut down on and share magazines, return unwanted catalogues to the sender.
* Re-use envelopes and make your own cards.
* Read small print carefully and never tick the "more information" box.
* Ask your boss to buy recycled paper for your workplace.


Blog post here,



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