Saturday, November 20, 2010

Visit to Central Sikh Temple

It's a rare opportunity to visit a temple of another race. What's more, the Sikh Temple, when the Sikh community is not big here.

Went to the Central Sikh Temple at Towner Road (near Boon Keng Road) this morning to understand the religion or I would say, to know the ethnic group better.

Thanks to Mr Baljit Singh (I hope I got the name correct) for his patience and a very detailed explanation of the practices that many of us (outside the community) do not know.

Here are some thing(s) that I learnt this morning:

  • When entering a Sikh temple, one is supposed to cover the head (with a scarf, at least) and to remove their shoes. This is to to show respect to the teachings of the gurus. Why cover the head? Head being the most important and sacred part of the human body.
  • 3 key beliefs: (1) The teachings of the gurus (2) Hard work (3) Sharing
  • The Sikhs do not pray to any symbols or idols, but they listen to the teachings in the holy book, which was a compilation of 10 great gurus.

One interesting observation was that all the devotees who after they performed the prayer rituals, they would receive a spoonful of paste that was supposedly blessed (from the prayers, etc) - which was a paste made up of flour, sugar and ghee.

It seems like, there are several practices that revolve around equality:

  • All the devotees were to sit on the floor for their prayers, etc... which is lower than the main altar. Certainly, it's to show respect to the teachings of the gurus. On the other hand, it's also symbolic when everybody is on the same level ground - to symbolise equality.
  • Similarly, this applies to having a common 'name' in all the names - all men have "singh" in their name; similarly, all women have "kaur" in their name too - which symbolises brotherhood and sisterhood respectively; as well as equality in all.

The spirit of sharing is shown through the monetary donation made (be it 10 cents or a significant amount) as well as contribution of grocery and food to be used for meal preparation for the devotees who visit the temple.

Indeed, felt the hospitality of the community... not only Mr Baljit Singh, but also, in particular, the lady volunteer who served us the meal, getting the hot tea for us and keep checking if we were fine :) Thank you for the thoughtfulness :)

Sunday, November 07, 2010

GoogleMap - What a clever suggestion!

Googlemap has been one of the most popular sites amongst those I use to plan my travel. Not just showing me the place 'visually' (as it comes with numerous features), but also planning of the route. That's why, in the recent travelogues, without fail, I included googlemaps to illustrate my journey in a more graphic manner :)

Saw this retweet (by HumanJenz) that aroused my curiosity, it said "Get instructions leading from China to Taiwan, and look at instruction #55".

I am amused!!!!!

View Larger Map

Friday, November 05, 2010

About Leadership... briefly...

I think, I said this twice in my tweets (which were re-directed to one of my Facebook accounts) - I was impressed!

It's about the capability of our students, especially when it's demonstrated through 13-year-olds. The self-directedness and 'professionalism' exhibited when they were entrusted with the task that usually adults would do. I guess that's what's meant by leadership; of course, it's also about leveraging the opportunity and providing the right environment to nurture.

Leadership - it's NOT JUST something that one brings with them, but it MUST be COUPLED with the right attitude, so that it's demonstrated in the right light, to bring out its best :)
Unfortunately, it's not something that all could 'understand' - including adults, who strive to become leaders.

That's one word that we seldom mention when talking about leadership - Professionalism.
Yes, one might possess the leadership qualities; however, when not conducting himself/ herself in an appropriate (and relevant (to the context)) manner - such unpolished leadership would not be able to create the desired level of influence and impact.

Professionalism includes looking into areas that one usually take for granted.
  • Preparation is one of them. More often than not, people ride on their own experiences (which is built over time) and become slack in their preparation - because they thought they could speak off the cuff and 'think on the feet'. Nevertheless, no matter what, preparation is necessary, and sometimes over-preparedness helps to boost one's confidence and helps to handle unanticipated situations. Look around - sometimes, I think adults get into this problem - because of the 'experience' and therefore take things pretty lightly; and when faced with the issue, problem doesn't lie on them, but on others. This is not uncommon.
  • Thinking - in depth and breadth. It's not difficult to find adults who do not think deep enough. Hm... Shallow? Sometimes we would say, but sometimes it's because of one's "narrow point of view". It' just like the frog in the well, with their point of view determined by the size of the opening of the "well". Thinking deep is not enough. What's important is being able to articulate the rationale behind the thinking, and the ability to link issues to the action in order to bring out its importance!

Well, well... just within 6 hours in a day, I saw a 13-year-old being able to demonstrate this kind of maturity & fluency; while I interacted with an adult who was unable to make the connection to substantiate. So, what does that tell?