Archive for October, 2019

Be the change!

October 11, 2019 Leave a comment

This is the excerpt of the speech from the ‘Specialty Speeches’ advanced manual that I presented at Grassroots TM Club on 5th October 2019.

I am honoured to be invited here today to speak to the graduating students of NTU, Singapore.

You have students here today from different countries, different cultures, races, religions and languages.  Today you have graduated in Science, Engineering, Economics,Literature, Law, Astronomy, Medicine, Business and a host of other subjects.  Tomorrow you will go out into the world and live on your own.

Today the world is being disrupted by technology.   The buzzwords of today are Artificial intelligence,  Bitcoin, 3D printing, IoT and Augmented reality.  It’s a totally different world where only companies that can continuously experiment and innovate can survive.

And what about you and me?

How do we  survive in this new economy that is characterized by Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity and Ambiguity?

Remember these 3 Ps and 1 C

Be positive,  Be principled, Be proactive and Conquer yourself 


As students, you have led a very comfortable life in Singapore.  Yet we find people who complain about the smallest of discomforts – the weather, travel, housing, maids etc.  So how do you keep yourself positive.  We just have to look at ourselves and be grateful for this life – this human body, this mind, this intellect that we have been endowed with.

Every day we breathe upto 30,000 times

Your heart pumps 2000 gallons of blood every single day

Your eyes are the most active muscle moving about 100,000 times a day

Maria Salomia Slodowska was born in Warsaw, Poland in 1867  when it was under Russian occupation.

The youngest child of five, Maria was raised in a poor family, her parents’ money and property having been taken away due to their work to restore Poland’s independence.

Both her father, Władysław, and her mother, Bronisława, were proud Polish educators and sought to educate their children in both school subjects and their oppressed Polish heritage.

Maria  slept on a couch in the dining room and would rise early to set the table for breakfast.

Maria lost her sister to typhus and her mother died from TB when she was just 10 years old

Here husband passed away in  1906.

On the Sunday after his funeral, Maria escaped to the laboratory, the one place she believed she would find solace. She wrote this in her diary :

“Sunday morning after your death, I went to the laboratory with Jacques….I want to talk to you in the silence of this laboratory, where I did not think I could live without you….I tried to make a measurement for a graph on which each of us had made some points, but…I felt the impossibility of going on…the laboratory had an infinite sadness and seemed a desert.”

Being a woman Maria was not treated equally like men, but she went on to win not one but 2 nobel prizes.  Friends, Maria was none other than Marie Curie who  won the nobel prize for physics in 1903 and for chemistry in 1911.


As students, I believe what makes us who we are are our principles and core values.  The principles that our parents, our teachers and our friends have instilled in us.

When Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was in his first year at the high school. Mr. Giles, the Educational Inspector, had come on a visit of inspection. He had set  five words to write as a spelling exercise. One of the words was ‘kettle’. Gandhi had mis-spelt it. The teacher tried to prompt him with the point of his boot, but he would not be prompted.

Gandhi could not bring himself to copy from his neighbour.. The result was that all the boys, except Gandhi, were found to have spelt every word correctly.

Later, the teacher called Gandhi stupid.  But it did not have any effect on him.  Because Gandhis principles were etched in his heart and he always abided in his core beliefs.

Even if the whole world is against us – our true strength, our courage is in standing true to our principles.

Today, more than anything we have to be pro-active and innovative.  This means developing a growth mindset.

Thomas Edison’s teachers said he was “too stupid to learn anything.” He was fired from his first two jobs for being “non-productive.” As an inventor, Edison made 1,000 unsuccessful attempts at inventing the light bulb. When a reporter asked, “How did it feel to fail 1,000 times?” Edison replied, “I didn’t fail 1,000 times. I found out 1000 different ways to make the light bulb.”

As young students it is important to fail and fail fast so that we keep learning.  Learning can only happen through failure.  Success is not a good teacher – it only makes us vain and pompous.  Every great invention and discovery was achieved through failures.

Conquer Yourself:

This was what my teacher wrote on my book on the day when I left school.

When we are faced with a problem – we immediately blame the world- our colleagues, our parents, the weather, our boss anyone we can find.  The only person who we think is right is me…..our Ego is so big that we cannot accept our own mistakes.

Gandhi said “ Be the change that you want to see in the world” .  So change starts with you.

Today we want to change the climate – but we are looking for others, the government, NGOs… what about you?  Can we reduce the use of plastic? Can we help to do some cleaning when we go to the beach?

Everywhere around us – there is a problem.  And as individuals we can do our best to mobilise people towards causes and make changes – small changes.

But it all begins with changing our outlook.. conquering our emotions and serving others with a smile.

So my dear friends – what are the 3 Ps. And 1C

When you go out into the real world tomorrow – what are you going to do?  What will your friends remember you for?


Why I write poetry?

October 9, 2019 Leave a comment



What is Poetry?
Poetry is a literary work in which the expression of feelings and ideas is given intensity by the use of distinctive style and rhythm.  Poetry uses aesthetic and rythmic qualities of language to evoke meanings in place of prosaic ostensible meaning.  It attemps to stir a reader’s imagination or emotions

How to write poetry?
Poetry has the following elements:
Structure :   In poems, lines are often grouped together into what are called stanzas. Like paragraphs, stanzas are often used to organize ideas.

Imagery :
Poets use imagery to draw readers into a sensory experience. Images will often provide us with mental snapshots that appeal to our senses of sight, sound, taste, touch, and smell.  In essence, images show us meaning; when we compare the snapshots in our mind to our own memories or experiences, we connect emotionally to the poem.

Read more…

Categories: Books, Poetry Tags: ,
%d bloggers like this: