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Quotations

There is no such thing as a new idea. It is impossible. We simply take a lot of old ideas and put them into a sort of mental kaleidoscope.

We give them a turn and they make new and curious combinations. We keep on turning and making new combinations indefinitely; but they are the same old pieces of colored glass that have been in use through all the ages.  – Mark Twain

You should not have any special fondness for a particular weapon, or anything else, for that matter. Too much is the same as not enough. Without imitating anyone else, you should have as much weaponry as suits you.”

The Ground Book/地の巻:
“It is difficult to realise the true Way just through sword-fencing. Know the smallest things and the biggest things, the shallowest things and the deepest things.

– Miyamoto Musashi 宮本武蔵, Book of Five Rings

Skills are good to have but they should not be kept in your special trophy wall. If you want to be creative, you need to step out of your comfort zone and make decisions that are based on what is happening at this very moment and what was a success last month.

Besides if you use the same methods and “tricks” you will become quite predictable. Instead, try new approaches and learn how to fail. Use your skills to break new ground, not recreate beautiful stuff to get self admiration. When really failing, you sure will not forget about it and there is always a lesson to learn from this.

http://geofflivingston.com/tag/musashi/

http://dudye.com/10-things-miyamoto-musashi-can-teach-you-about-creative-strategy

Interesting video of a Japanese chef Jun who bought a rusty knife and sharpens it. Watch Jun make a radish rose with his sharpened knife. That’s skill.

How to polish a knife: Watch as a rusty piece of Japanese metal becomes a sharp, shiny blade

What do you think are important 21st Century skills?

歇后语xiehouyu are two part sayings. The first part is a riddle, puzzle or reference to story or history and the second part, sometimes not expressed, is the meaning.
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Photos by me. Taken at the Gardens by the Bay 2017

公鸡头上一块肉
大小都是个官
Top of the rooster’s head is a piece of meat. More or less its an official position

公鸡下蛋
妄想
Rooster lay eggs- wild wish

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打鸭子上架
有意作难
Chase ducks up the pole – will is there but difficult to carry out. Like herding cats.

鹅吃草, 鸭吃谷
各人享各人福
Geese eat grass, duck eat oats. Each enjoy what it likes.

温水烫鸡
一毛不拔
Scalding chicken in lukewarm/cold water. Not a feather can be removed. That is, very stingy.

问客杀鸡
虚情假意
Asking guests whether to slaughter a chicken for their meal. Hypocritical show of hospitality. (That is, if you are generous you would have done it. Usually guests in Chinese culture are obliged to say no.)

磨刀不误砍柴工 
mó dāo bú wù kǎn chái gōng

Grinding an axe will not hold up [delay] the work of cutting firewood. Spending time preparing your axe may quicken the speed of your work.

Story goes that two men were chopping wood. One started ahead. The second man just continued grinding his axe. The first man, very conceited, was anxious to find out who fell more trees ? It was the second man.

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Photo of Ainu carving by master wood carver Takeki Fujito in Tsuruga Wings Lake Akan, Hokkaido, Japan

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Desk of Japanese Carver Kengo at Lake Akan Ainu village

Half way through chopping, the first man’s axe had become dull and blunt and it took him more effort and time to fall one tree.

工 欲 善 其 事,必 先 利其器
gōng yù shàn qí shì,bì xiān lì qí qì

“工欲善其事,必先利其器”
孔子告诉子贡,工艺的人,要想把工作完成,应该先把工具准备好。

What then for someone who manages the state?

居是邦也
Jū shì bāng yě

事其大夫之贤者,友其士之仁者
Shì qí dàfū zhī xián zhě, yǒu qí shì zhī rénzhě

孔子说:“工匠要做好工作,必须先磨快工具。住在一个国家,要侍奉大夫中的贤人,与士人中的仁人交朋友。” 

那么为仁是用什么工具呢?住在这个国家,想对国家有所贡献,必须结交上流社会有道德的人才,乃至政坛上的大员,政府的中坚;和这个国家社会上各种贤达的人,都要交成朋友。有了良好的关系,然后才能得到有所贡献的机会,完成仁的目的。
Source: Baidu with words in italics added by me

(The Baidu translation gives the impression that Confucius advised one should network with the rich, influential and powerful. But Confuscius emphasised seeking out the benevolent ones because his disciple Zigong’s question was on benevolence (仁).

When asked by his disciple how one should prepare to manage his country benevolently, Confucius noted in the “Analects” that just as a workman has to prepare his tools, an official preparing to govern a country benevolently must prepare his tools too.

Confucius advised that (humans being social creatures), one should seek out and befriend good and respectable talent in all levels of society.

How does a knowledge worker polish his tools?

Today, Confucius would have advised us, knowledge worker, what is the tool of your trade? Have you been spending time polishing it before cutting your tree.

Translation and reinterpretation by me.

Life is like jazz.
Much of it is improvised
We cannot control all the variables
We must live it with panache and flair,
Regardless of what it throws at us.

Check out International Jazz Day which is on April 30th. Just over. But well, plan for next year’s.
http://www.unesco.org/new/en/jazz-day

We can love our family and pray for their happiness.
We can give advice and help when needed
But we can neither make decisions for them
Nor make them act the way we want them to.
There are many things we cannot control in life.
That includes those closest to us.

Haemin Sunim, “The Things You Can See Only when You Slow Down”
Translated by Chi-Young Kim

(From my friend GK. Although many of these examples are probably collated from different places.)

Paraprosdokians are figures of speech in which the latter part of a sentence or phrase is surprising or unexpected and is frequently humorous.

1. Where there’s a will, I want to be in it.
 
2. The last thing I want to do is hurt you…. but it’s still on my list.
 
3. Since light travels faster than sound, some people appear bright until you hear them speak.
 
4. If I agreed with you, we’d both be wrong.
 
5. We never really grow up…. we only learn how to act in public.
 
6. War does not determine who is right, only who is left.
 
7. Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
 
8. To steal ideas from one person is plagiarism. To steal from many is research.
 
9. I didn’t say it was your fault, I said I was blaming you.
 
10. In filling out an application, where it says, “In case of emergency, notify….” I answered, “a doctor.”
 
11. Women will never be equal to men until they can walk down the street with a bald head and a beer gut, and still think they are sexy.

12. You do not need a parachute to skydive. You only need a parachute to skydive twice.
 
13. I used to be indecisive, but now I’m not so sure.
 
14. To be sure of hitting the target, shoot first and call whatever you hit the target.
 
15. Going to church doesn’t make you a Christian, any more than standing in a garage makes you a car.
 
16. You’re never too old to learn something stupid.

17. I’m supposed to respect my elders, but it’s getting harder and harder for me to find one now.

18. A bus station is where a bus stops. A train station is where a train stops. On my desk, I have a work station. 

19. I used to be conceited, now I am perfect.

20. A bank lends money to those who dont need it.

Note: I have since found more blogs on the www.

Check out: http://www.economicnoise.com/2011/09/05/182-paraprosdokians/

Your mind cannot hold two thoughts at once.
That means that a single thought can occupy your entire mind
Whether good or bad, everything stems from a single thought
If we are careful with that first thought, even tragedies can be prevented.

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Catching the sunset in Hawke’s Bay, NZ 2016.

Dream big but start small
A small adjustment can have a big effect on your life
If you want to be healthier, start by going to bed half an hour earlier

Haemin Sunim, “The Things You Can See Only when You Slow Down”
Translated by Chi-Young Kim

Keep your thoughts positive, because your thoughts become your words.
Keep your words positive, because your words become your behaviour
Keep your behaviour positive, because your behaviour become your habits
Keep your habits positive, because your   habits become your values
Keep your values positive, because your
values become your destiny
-Mahatma Gandhi