I have a question for you: whenever you listen to a song, what is the first thing that strikes you about the song? Is it the lyrics, or the tune of the song?

If this seems like an odd question to ask and the obvious answer should have been "both!", please allow me to explain by giving you my answer to the above question.

The first thing that strikes me about a song is its tune, or melody. Lyrics are secondary to my ears.
I never really gave much thought to this at first, until I realise that I could listen to a foreign song which is in a language I do not understand (Korean, Japanese, French for example) and find something beautiful about it in spite of my incomprehension to the meaning of the lyrics. If this proves anything is that the foreign singer could be singing something as unexpected or unrelated (like his pet crocodile or sumfink) to what the tune seemed to be expressing and I would not have known it, and still enjoyed the song for its melody and nothing more.

In saying this, what if its an English or Malay/Indonesian song? Would I be influenced by the lyrical content of the song if the tune was something very beautiful to me since I actually understand these languages? I think the answer is, no I would not be affected by the lyrical content either. Truth be told, some songwriters are better than others, and some music makers are better than others too. If the best of both come together to work on a song, you can bet the result would be a chart-topping hit. However, there are those that are not as good but somehow a song or two gets produced anyhow (and the results are somewhat mediocre or lacking).
But that's besides the point.

For me, it'd be great if the song had wonderful lyric composition as well as a great tune to it. However, if the lyrics are mediocre at best, but the tune was hands-down awesome, it'd still be a great song to me. Therefore, in my own opinion of music, what lays the foundation to a great song is not the lyrics but its melody. The song can be ruined by disastrous words for lyrics fosho, but of course it'll take some grand disaster of a songwriter to destroy a strong foundation of a song which is its grand melody and tune. Hurt both and you get a really, really bad song -- totally not worth listening to.

So the year is 2017, and we've almost reached the middle of its second month.
Here I am, writing another post and hoping to finish it by midnight because I need to get my 7 hours of sleep (since tomorrow is a working day, sigh).
Such is life for me for the last nearly 4 years since beginning this journey (for the lack of a better word) called ADULTHOOD. Is that what this is?!? (<--- guess="" i="" more="" next="" on="" p="" this="" time="">
I need to keep this post short to meet the goal of this post's title, and since it isn't about anything in particular, let me just say that I've been pondering a lot about the meaning of selfishness.

When I was younger, the term 'selfish' was mostly used to mean when you refuse to share your things, like when you refused to lend your colour pencils to your classmate ('cos he never returns it!) and they yell, accusingly, of you being "Selfish!". In other words, 'selfish' was used to mean when one does not share with others what you have that may be in excess for you as ONE person.

But now, over the years I have come to learn (maybe not through the best of ways) what the term 'selfish' really means. Not that my childhood definition of it was any wrong, but really, there's more to it than I knew then, and that is.... selfish means to be 'of the self'. Like how you would say 'greenish' to mean it's 'like, green', and therefore, self-ish is to be of the self, and ONLY of the self.
In other words, it's when you can only think of yourself and nobody else, and your actions are actually of benefit only to you and not others. In a way, my childhood definition of it wasn't all that wrong after all. It's when you can only think of yourself, and not of others.

Which brings me to my next point... human selfishness is pervasive. In saying this I am not relinquishing myself of such behaviour at all times, ABSOLUTELY NOT. However, I feel that in knowing this, I can remind myself of when I'm being selfish since I am clear with the definition. However, others may not be, and hence continue to act selfishly instead of selflessly....

Sometimes the world can be so cruel, because people are selfish.
But I heard this sentence on TV and it made me feel like there's hope in such words :- "The more you give, the more you'll have."

I must ponder on this. Thanks for reading, and I'm off to bed.

Watching the election results "live" on Google yesterday was a physical activity in itself.
Reading and listening to all the backlash the day after tire me out even more than yesterday.
Sure, there's a broken electoral system somewhere (my country included) and sure, Trump's a racist and sure, Hillary's a champion for women (when there are no other female candidates rich enough to run as big a campaign for the US presidency to compare her with, of course she is). But politics is never truly black and white (as we should all have learnt by now) and even though the supposed "lesser of two evils" did not win, how can we then be sure that this DJT win will result in all the fears you harboured all this while (or was it mongered to you by the Clinton campaign)? Is Trump not human himself to want what's best for people too (if not certain groups of people)?
    Coming from a country where fiercer battles have been lost and racism is firmly established into the system, I think life has gone on as usual for everyone just as how it did before any elections took place. Repeat: Life. Goes. On. If there are any lessons one should forever remember from this is that your votes count, and if you have gone jaded and have succumbed to inaction, which gives you no right to complain, life also still goes on for you.
     My stand on this seem to veer on the Trump side based on what I've written above, but truth be told, I can only sit on the fence, or better still, I really am just 'on the outside looking in'. I have no need to take sides; I'm not an American Citizen. And even if I did, my voice would not make a difference. An American citizen's one can, however. So if you ask me, with a turnout of less than 70% in most states, did enough Americans really care about the elections?
    The point is, I have seen and heard so many politicians making numerous promises that were never kept even after they have won the election. Has everyone forgotten this fact? The fact that people say popular things to get the popular vote even when they mean none of it (it's also known as lying)? What makes you so sure that Trump would actually keep his? If that is one solace to take, please take it.
    And a true democracy (or at least closer to it than my country's) would allow for the system to not re-elect him in the next four years, if things turn out for the worse. So there, another solace to take.
I think I can see where both sides are coming from, why Trump managed to win, and why Hillary was popular only up to a point, and weighing the arguments I've read, it's hard to say who'd do a better job. Admittedly, Trump is someone easy to hate, which makes Hillary almost angelic next to him. But, as democracy reigns, and we seek to uphold it, Trump is the winner and we gotta respect that.
And for a sudden thought: Trump is already a rich-ass multi-billion dollar guy. Winning the presidency is not exactly a means for him to garner more riches (but maybe just another means, yes). Perhaps his take on it would be one truly for the American people, to make America great again (but isn't it already great, being the biggest power in the world?) now that he is a politician and the 45th POTUS. Who knows?
Here's hoping for the best as complicated as it might be, and in the case of Brexit which I think shocked the world for nearly the same reasons (fear-mongering included), the analogies can only run so far.
So? Life. Goes. On.

(This may be a long post with no particular theme, plus, the title is irrelevant. Be warned!)

It's been 4 years since I graduated from Uni, which is why I reminisce about those uni days of yore less and less. But every time I do, it makes me sad that I can recall less of it as the days go by.

Which is why I think I should pen down my thoughts here, in hopes that it will help me remember them. Why remember? Well, there were some good lessons learnt from those events, so I hope that I'll never forget them by putting them in writing.

If there's anything I regret not doing better of back in uni is keeping my records digitally in a more organised way. The one subject I regret the most not having kept in good shape are the notes from my Ethics course. Well, if it helps, there weren't actually many handouts that were available from the course anyway, because most of the lessons that 'struck' me were mostly those mentioned orally.

Let's give some background. The Ethics course in question (ELEC4112: Strategic Leadership and Ethics) was the only course I did in uni which touched on ethics. It was a compulsory module for every engineering student in UNSW. And by compulsory, it means some people don't enjoy it at all and will just meet 'minimum requirements' at best. For me, I tried my best. As it turns out, it was one of the courses I enjoyed the most in that particular semester. While some people call it 'dry', 'boring', 'abstract', 'so obvious' and 'totally irrelevant to me as a future engineer', I beg to differ. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and I must say Dr Iain Skinner (the course lecturer) did a really good job at managing this course. You can read more about what the aims of the course are and what it entails here.

There's even the ELSOC (electrical engineering society of UNSW) wiki on the subject here.

Ok, let's move on to why it was a very good and eye-opening course for me.
Some people struggle in this course because phrasing arguments (as required in any ethics course) is not their forte (wasn't mine either). And a moral argument at that? Totally not easy. Ethics requires for a person to identify stakeholders and present arguments from a myriad of perspectives, which require some level of empathy, and a more objective view of the problem at hand. This is easier said than done, I think.
I remember one of the modules for the course was that on whistleblowing. And I'm like, I'm all for whistleblowing because hey, if you blow the cover on some misconduct or alleged unethical behaviour, how can that be wrong, right? But there are a lot of other matters at stake, like what happens to your relationship, or the possible consequences to you as an employee, or as a friend? Or to others whose livelihood hangs on the very business you may be destroying? Or, what if the whistleblower is 'blowing the whistle' as a revenge tactic, without having strong ethical grounds for doing so? How about.... if you're blowing the whistle on a multinational conglomerate, what makes you think you stand a chance on winning a lawsuit against a huge entity like that? Retaliation is a real threat, and despite having laws in place to protect whistleblowers, oftentimes it is much more difficult to enforce.
So now, would you dare blow the whistle? How do you overcome it, if you know for a fact that not doing so is tantamount to being as unethical as those you want to whistleblow against?
Tough questions, but why should you care? Since this course is aimed at engineers and takes an engineering spin to the topics discussed, it is real and pertinent to you because every decision made affects people, and you're people too, right? You design/create machines to help people, right? And ethics is a discussion that affects people, so why shouldn't you care?

But again, there is no hard-right or hard-wrong answer, but I believe every person has a strong sense of what is right and what is wrong and that these definitions of right and wrong are similar across the entire planet, in spite of our cultural/racial/religious differences.

There was also one ethics class that didn't quite have any engineering-related issues at hand, but it questioned the basic motivation that drives each and every one of us as humans beings: why do we do the things that we do?
I remember Dr Skinner mentioning something along the lines of 'the chain of whys ends at happiness' and it goes something like this. For example, if I asked you,
-why do you want to change jobs?
--to get that raise in my salary
-why do you want that raise in your salary?
--so that I can afford to buy more luxurious things, like that new car.
-why do you want that new car?
--Because I think I would enjoy driving that beauty and it would make me happy.

Another example:
-Why are you doing an engineering degree ?
--because I want to be an engineer
-Why do you want to be an engineer?
--because I like mechanical objects, the way things work.

Basically, the examples above tries to get to the end of the 'chain of whys' which usually always ends at the response that whatever it is you want to do, it is ultimately motivated by a belief that you'll be happy if you did whatever it is you do.
It may seem so simple, but it really summed it up well. We all really just want to achieve happiness.
Yes, you may want to win awards, earn a million dollars, but why? Why do you want that?
Because you believe it will make you happy. It's so simple.
Duh, right? But that phrase 'the chain of whys ends at happiness' (or something to that extent) really hit me, and it has stayed with me ever since. Maybe I did not need an ethics class to figure that out, but I'm glad someone told me in a succinct way that really struck a chord with me. And it happened to be at an Ethics class.

I could go on and on, but unfortunately (or fortunately for you reader) I have lost all my notes. All I can recall are the bits and pieces of those lectures which really made me think. (I admit, semiconductors and FIR filters didn't really make me think as hard as the ethics lessons did)
Maybe I'm more interested in 'the human condition' or 'socioeconomics' than I do with the other engineering courses. That's just how it was for me.

So what after all that? Well....Thought I'd share a few 'pearls of wisdom' here on my blog.
Oh yeah, and taking this ethics course improved my English by a lot! Writing engineering reports doesn't really help you explore your other vocabulary capabilities.
How and Why? Because of my Major Assignment where I wrote a story instead of a report. Email me if you're interested to read it.
I scored a Distinction in this course, but I can't say what I could have done better at (to have scored a High Distinction). The Final Exam? My team seminars?
Regardless, the lessons have stayed and I think that's the best outcome than any of those grades.

(I'm 2013 and late with this article)

I am part of this generation and this article resonates with me. I admit, I do feel unhappy at times and that the world of adulthood held so much promise that couldn't come true, as though I have been truly unlucky.
Fact is, happiness = reality - expectations, and my expectations were rather high. And also, this modern age of image crafting is not helping either.

Once again, an article that put into words a feeling that needed to be said. I can come to terms now.

And here's one more: http://waitbutwhy.com/2014/02/pick-life-partner.html