Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Crossing the line

'Only those who could risk going too far can possibly know how far they can go’
Dr Walter Bishop in the TV series Fringe 

I am an avid fan of the TV series Fringe, which revolves around the past experiments of Dr Walter Bishop which threatens to tear the universe apart. He regretted the consequences of his past actions, but he lamented that 'Only those who could risk going too far can possibly know how far they can go’. And I thought that was a pretty interesting line.

We have all heard the phrase “Don’t cross the line.” And that is always accompanied by the unspoken “or else…”

We can understand that there are serious consequences for breaching the limit, and that the limit is a “line” – sort of a metaphor for the limit being a threshold of which everything is fine and tolerable behind the “line”, and all hell breaks loose when you “cross the line”. It’s that fine distinction between staying within the line and going one extra inch and breaching that limit, and getting into trouble. It is like the breaking point of a material… you can push it that far, but an ounce more pressure and it totally gives way and shatters.

To avoid getting into trouble, many of us steer clear of the imaginary line. Of course there are real consequences and thus the line is real to some extent, but the line cannot be visually seen. As such, we have to assume the position of the line or imagine the line, which interestingly means that the line is flexible or relative – depending on the parties on each side of the line. But of course, the line is resolute and firm when it comes to physics, but we are not talking about that.

What we are referring to – is the line of human effort. While mere mortals stay clear of the line, champions and winners dedicate themselves to pushing the line and the envelope of what’s possible everyday. They challenge the convention of the line’s position, stretching the boundaries of the line instead of staying in the safe zone. Champions push harder than anyone else, even though they never can know how close they can get to the line without crossing it – and crashing or failing.

Getting closer to the line entails taking huge risks, but these are calculated risks that winners take. As hard as they push themselves to enlarge the envelope of their performance, even the greatest of champions have doubts lingering in their minds. Just how far is too far? It is perhaps the unique combination of experience, faith and determination that allows them to do further than anyone else, skirt closer to the line than one can possibly imagine, and attain the success that eludes peers with fear of breaching the line.

So while we should not throw caution to the wind, be conscious of how you read the phrase “do not cross the line…” The human spirit has amazingly resilient properties, which means you can push closer to the line inch-by-inch, much more than you can possibly imagine. That is of course, if you wish to. Many of us will prefer to lurk in the safety zone far away from the line, but for those of us who wish to be the best that we can be, treat the line with respect but do not fear pushing the boundaries.

Have you done your best? The fun part of life is that you won’t really know. Only those who've crossed the line will know where the line is.

Thursday, 2 June 2011


Stay motivated
It is difficult to do your best when you’re not motivated. There are things that you may not like to do, but since you’d have to do it anyway, find a source of challenge to motivate yourself. Who knows – you might even appreciate the task even better than you’d imagine.

Stay hungry
The common saying goes that wealth never last three generations, and it has been proven true in many cases. Be it wealth or spiritual contentment, they key to a fulfilling life has always been to stay hungry (not literally of course). A person who hungers for more tries harder, and gets more out of life.

Stay curious
Curiosity kills the cat, but we’re no felines so it’s safe to stay curious. Never stop questioning everything around you. Everything happens for a reason, and it might not be the right reason or best solution. The most outstanding individuals from scientists to businessmen always challenge the status quo with “why?” and you should too. Open your eyes wide, and your mind even wider.

Stay connected
No man is an island, and the most amazing achievements happen when people come together. The sharing of knowledge, contents or contacts can be very helpful in your life, and it sure doesn’t hurt to know more people. Even if nothing else, you’d never know when an innocent remark from a conversation can give you inspiration for something great, or change your life forever.

Stay grounded
Be it politics or business, many have failed because they lost touch with the ground. Always be in touch with the people on the ground, because anything that you do has an impact on them. If you do not understand the mechanics that happen on the ground, you start losing control. Be connected with your friends or subordinates – respect stems from understanding ground operation.

Stay strong
There are many things in life that hit us hard in the face, and force us to bend over. And sometimes things turn out so badly in the blink of an eye, that you might find the odds overwhelmingly against you. When you’re down, the only way is up. Don’t quit, soldier on and bite the bullet. When all is over, you’d see that it is only a storm in the teacup of life.

Stay alive
You can take this literally – to eat healthy and monitor your health. That’s great, but it is just as important to stay alive spiritually. Some people embrace religion, some look towards philosophy. Since we choose to stay alive, we might as well BE alive! Do not spend your days with your back hunched and head drooping. Walk with spring in your step, hold your head high and look at the positive side of life. Look towards the light, and you’d never see the shadows. Be alive!

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Queenstown before demolition

While photographers have flocked to cover the rallies, I decided that I'm enochlophobic and thus preferred to check out the old Queenstown estate before they demolished everything. Just to share some photos...

Monday, 14 March 2011

Work, leisure and sleep – can we have them all?

According to my friend Alex, it is possible.

Many of us wish that we have 48 hours a day to do the things that we want to accomplish. We always find our time being limited and insufficient, and that we have to sacrifice our sleep and leisure time in order to finish our work. Given that work is a top priority for survival (unless you have plenty of cash to spare), we often indulge ourselves in leisure after a hard day of work to unwind - a few hours after dinner to catch a movie, have drinks with friends, read a book or surf online. The net result is that we sacrifice sleep in order to accomplish our work and fulfill a bit of leisure.

My friend theorized that if we can categorize our 24-hours into three 8-hour blocks specifically designated for work, leisure and sleep respectively, we will have better control of our time. If we can imagine 9am to 5pm being devoted exclusively to work and nothing else, we’d strive to finish everything within these 8 hours. With careful planning and discipline, we can aim to avoid unnecessary meetings and trivial water-cooler talks, stop engaging in social networks and sending junk emails, to finish our work within the 8 work-hours.

The mind cannot function without a break, and leisure is important for the mind to recharge and refresh itself. It helps the mind to think laterally and be inspired with fresh ways of thinking, and to solve problems at work and at home. Catching up with friends after work also help to strengthen your social network, while reading books or watching a movie helps the mind to build upon new ideas or make sense of the world. You can also take this chance to visit the gym after work to keep the body in shape, which really helps to keep you healthy and your mind alert.

The effect of sleep (or the lack of it) is well documented by psychologists and doctors everywhere, which is why it is important that we manage our sleeping hours and pattern. A good night’s rest energizes one to take on the world effectively and efficiently, giving you the ability to accomplish more within the 8-hour slot for work, and enough energy to enjoy the 8-hour leisure after work. And that is why it is important to keep the allocated hours of sleep and not sacrifice rest for work or leisure.

The 8-hour theory may sound impossible to implement, because we have various obstacles that are external to us – such as unreasonable superiors, incredulous work load or family commitments. The 8-hour theory sets the framework for managing your everyday life, and to instill some discipline in the way we handle our time. Even if you feel you do not have control over your life or time, do not dismiss this framework outright. Try to work towards the 8-hour time block ideal, and see if you can organize the little things at work or at home to move towards the golden goal. There are many self-improvement books about time-management and goal-settings, which works in tandem with this theory to improve your life.

Ignore such advice of time-management and goal settings at your own peril. It is your life after all – if you choose to dismiss such tools as hogwash, you will forever be inundated by work and other demands in life. If you choose you place into practice various techniques and strategies to improve your life bit by bit, you will be able to wrest back control – of your own life!

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

OCP latest project - Canon Laser Printer video

Are all laser printers made equal? We were commissioned by Canon to create this video to showcase the finest features of Canon printers and All-in-Ones, and you can check out the rest of our works at www.orangecactusproject.com!

Thursday, 6 January 2011

OCP latest project - Canon PIXMA Wireless video

My creative and communications firm, Orange Cactus Project - was recently commissioned by Canon Singapore to create a product video to showcase the wireless feature of the new PIXMA photo printers and All-in-Ones. We chose to use a fast and snappy edit to communicate the wireless features of Canon PIXMA, using a white simple background and lots of 3D work to bring across the benefits in a graphical manner.

The storyline is simple - how a typical family can use and share a PIXMA printer wirelessly in their home. Instead of shooting in a home setting, we chose a white background to strip the environment of its context and reduce clutter, and we are able to use 3D to stitch the three characters seamlessly into one continuous sequence.

Enjoy!  :)