From words to deeds, attention to detail matters

Yawning Bread

I see bad English all over Singapore, but because I don’t want to sound like a language Nazi, I hold myself back, seldom writing about it. On the other hand, I don’t think I need to be apologetic about it. Getting language right takes the same attitude — attention to detail — that stands a person in good stead. More generally, a culture or economy that devalues the striving for excellence shortchanges itself. I sometimes think a widespread neglect of language quality in Singapore reflects a neglect of perfectionism, which shows up in a myriad ways from train breakdowns and bus delays to stark gaps in the social safety net.

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As space tightens, Singaporeans suffocate

An well-written piece that is making me question if I really want to live in Singapore the rest of life.

Yawning Bread

It’s taken me a while to think of a theme for this end-of-year post. Just in time, I have it: Space. Or rather, the ever-tightening amount of space in Singapore. The space I speak of is not just physical space, but also expressive space. 

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Is Explication the Root of X-Buddhist Stupidity?

Speculative Non-Buddhism

schoolmasterExplication is the annihilation of one mind by another…whoever teaches without emancipating stultifies.” –Jacques Rancière, The Ignorant Schoolmaster

A good teacher imparts a satisfactory explanation. A great teacher disturbs, unsettles, invites argumentation. –Richard Sennett, The Craftsman

X-buddhists easily throw around phrases like innate intelligence, the dawning of insight, inborn clarity, natural wisdom, pure mind, fundamental buddha nature, and so on. Apart from revealing the (perverse) pervasiveness of atman in x-buddhism, such phrases would seem to entail a deeply-rooted conviction among x-buddhists concerning the capacity of people to know and understand. Yet, the opposite is true. Contemporary x-buddhist teachers harbor a profound cynicism regarding ordinary people’s ability to arrive at significant insight into exigent human matters. This intelligence-phobic cynicism is founded on a teacher-student model that has accompanied x-buddhism from its inception down to the present day, from Shakyamuni Buddha to Stephen Batchelor.

The x-buddhist model is, in…

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The Stories We Tell Ourselves

Journeying Beyond Breast Cancer

storyI am always at a loss to know how much to believe of my own stories ~ WASHINGTON IRVING

I stumbled upon this quote today and it really struck a chord with me. But first I had to look up who Washington Irving was. Turns out he was a 19th century American author, essayist and historian. I don’t think I had ever heard of him before now – although as I discovered I did know two of his best-known stories The Legend Of Sleepy Hollow and Rip Van Winkle.

Back to Irving’s quote; and the question that it triggered in my mind is how much should we believe the stories we tell ourselves? For don’t we all tell ourselves stories which define who we are? We are the daughter of X, the sister of Y, the mother of Z and so forth. What do you do, people ask us. I work…

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