Twin islands

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There is an island called conscious and an island called action.

People used to travel between the two. They go to the island of conscious if they want to take actions. And they visit the island of action if they have an conscious. Things were all done properly and in order but then both islands wanted to take a dominant position, thinking they are the more important.

So the war broke out and these two islands drifted apart and boats traveling between the two were stopped. Residents on the action island felt like chicken with no heads. They busy themselves without knowing what they are doing. So the place became chaotic. Rubbish is found everywhere and things got all messy. When do we ever think? They ask.

lazy catPeople on the conscious land keep on contemplating and reflecting but no action is ever taken so the place became deserted. Nobody is doing anything since every one is lying on the beach waiting for fruits to fall into their mouths. When do we ever work? They ask.

Something is very wrong but no one knows what. That happens when people live on an isolated island, I suppose.  Some of them started to build boats again and try to explore the other. The lucky ones arrived at the other island after a long time at sea. Ah, I know what I have been missing. The lucky one said! Boat people are rescued.

They are working on a bridge to connect the twin islands these days.

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Happy Children’s Day!

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I don’t remember how many times I set my foot in this university. We had so many rounds of meetings to discuss the course – city culture.With the four educators of the university team, we had walked a long way and still have a long way ahead. From having no clue what is a MOOC course, till today, we discussed again and again, the content, the instructional design, the learning objectives. For a while, I felt like walking in the labyrinth, not sure if I could ever get out. Luckily days became merrier over time.

september-happy-cat-month--large-msg-131498791795Right after the meeting today, I was leaving in a hurry as I had another call to do. But the team asked me to wait. Mysteriously they took out a photo album, titling [ You Are the Most Precious]. ‘Happy Children’s Day’ (Coming 1st of June is International Children’s Day). They exclaimed!

I held the album with my two arms going home, with a big big smile on my face.

Memory Library

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Cats in the city are very excited of their new library – memory library. Every cat has a card to borrow, lend, swap memories there. What is even better, each memory is wrapped in the form of a candy. How often a cat can eat a candy!!!

There are a few partitions in the library. On the first floor sits the Fact partition storing information. A mouse candy tells everything about a mouse, so does a milk candy. A cat goes there to have a particular candy to digest every bit of information inside. All candies are refreshed every five years. It is free for all and there is discussion to replace schools with these candies already.

cat in a bubbleThe Feeling partition is on the second floor. If it rains cats and dogs in the monsoon season, cats can go there to have a sunny candy for a change. Having the candy in the mouth, they will experience how it feels to walk around when the sun shines. If the market is short of fishes, they can ask for a gourmet candy. As soon as they taste it, they will feel like sitting in a seafood restaurant having a big plate of pink salmon fish in front of them. This part is free for kittens so a lot of mom cats are waiting in a big queue with their babies. Some of the mom cats are found to share these candies with kittens. They feel a bit embarrassed but the candies are too delicious they said.

The Treasury partition is the only part of the library every cat only has its own candy. Borrowing and lending is impossible. Many cats believe it is more like a bank and they are right. If a cat has had a wonderful trip or birthday, it can choose to save a part of the memory in a wrapping paper, label it and save it under its own archive. A few years later, if it wants to remember that particular trip or birthday, it goes back to take a tiny bit of the memory candy, to chew well and remember things. Some friends decide to save the candies together! That is a good idea!

cats on bikeEconomist cats say this might hamper the GDP growth of cat city, as cats will consume less with such library. Politician cats are already thinking about how to use this in the next election campaign. Military cats complain that such library will soften the minds of cat soldiers and damage the future of a cat empire! But they are pretty ignored by now, as most cats are on their way to the memory library! The library started to attract dogs too!

Born with a brush

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I met Lewis tonight who shared his story growing up. At eleven years old, he lost his father. In order to take revenge of the loss, he did everything wrong and bad possible. At eighteen years old, he wanted to kill himself since he felt a rotten self. Miraculously, he became a spiritual consultant after 50 years.

Being logical, I asked him how he knew what he was doing from eleven to eighteen was wrong? How did he get the moral benchmark? Was the moral standard taught or something we were born with?

To which extent we are teachable on which matter? If education is to fill us with information or ways to think, aren’t we doomed to be in the shadow of people who pass them to us? Is every baby a blank canvas, leaving the adults to paint colors they believe are correct?

cat drawingListening to the slavery stories made my daily commute extra heavy. ‘The only way to freedom for them (slaves) is death’. (I would like to be born as a vegetable at that terrible time to be honest). I assume schools back then would teach nothing about the evilness of the system, as slavery was seen as normal and schools are institutional effort to pass down values and facts seen as correct by the administrator. So how did it happen someone realised the cruelness of the slavery machine?

So I do think every baby comes out with his/her own brush, which allows them to freely construct meanings of certain things without being taught by their human seniors.

Feed of Minds and feed of Souls

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At first I thought these MOOC courses were pretty awesome. They taught me how to form habits to be successful in my life, how to make decisions in a complex world. Wow, great, with all these toolkits and analytical frameworks, aren’t I going to be almighty?

Back Camera

Back Camera

But wait a second. Something is missing. It taught me how to establish habits to succeed, but it didn’t help me to shape an idea of what is success. It taught me frameworks to use in complexity, but it didn’t tell me towards which direction I shall go in the universe of change and chaos.

Isn’t it the most usual situation in our lives – minds are fed but not the souls. For us, who are both creatures of thinking and creatures of feeling. We are trying so hard to be faster, horse, bike, train, flight; telegram, telephone, fax, emails. But do we really know where are we going?

Buggers have no words

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[Ender’s Game] talks about buggers, the only alien form we know existed. How these buggers communicate with each other is incredible. They have no need of language as their brains are connected. As soon as the Queen bug thinks of something, the rest of the race understand simultaneously. When the Queen bug is destroyed, the whole bug civilization vanishes as there is no single record of their existence due to the lack of oral nor written language.

cat lecturingReading of this book made me raise a few questions about language as a communication tool – why did it come out and how did it evolve.

Studying how French counts usually puts a smile on my face. 70 is said as the sum of 60 and 10. 80 is expressed as 4 times of 20. I mean, what was the French ancestors thinking when they invented the language. Were they feeling such an urgency to educate its people both math and language that they cleverly devised mathematics into a daily language?

And if there is a chance to speak to my ancestor, I will certainly ask about their language too. Any ancient Chinese literature is written with such brevity and beauty that a lot of them sound like songs. Songs, being songs, do not function as a prescription or manual handbook. So every ancient literature we read, we need to fanatically look for what modern interpretation says about it. Since there are many versions of modern interpretations, it is really hard to tell which one reads the author’s mind better. My ancestors, were you trying to teach me how to be a mind reader?

Buggers you are lucky not to have this trouble.

Wine and dine on the web?

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Working on this tea MOOC course has been a most interesting and frustrating experience at the same time. Of course, via the Internet, we can talk about the trade, economics, making, drinking of tea. But that feels like using Youtube video to teach people how to swim. It just doesn’t do the full job.

To drink tea in a proper way,everything needs to be perfect. From how you grow the tea leaves, to how you find the perfect source of spring water. From choosing the right pot to cook it with the right temperature. Depending on who is making the tea, it will come out with different taste and smell. To know it is not enough, one needs to FEEL it.

Angry Dining CatBeing trained to think and write always using framework, I found it really difficult to replicate such poetic experience into a web-base course. How can you give people a perfect wine and dine experience using 1 and 0 code.

Many years ago, I was asked to write about the future of transportation for an internship with a container shipping company. I wrote about packaging music into containerships and send them around. So the music flows with the sea wave. The company HR might have liked it as I got the job. But now looking more closely at the idea, I am realizing how hard this vision can be materialized and how far it is from today still.