8th ASEAN Para Games

Singapore was very honored to be the host for the 8th ASEAN Para Games (3 to 9 December 2015), with 15 sports (archery, athletics, badminton, boccia, cerebral palsy football, chess, football 5-a-side, goal ball, powerlifting, sailing, shooting, swimming, table tennis, tenpin bowling, wheelchair basketball) for the athletes with disabilities. The 10 countries imagewho participated in this sports event were Brunei,
Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos,Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

Nila is the Mascot for the event. He was always exuding a bundle of positive energy and burning passion for the sports, cheering the athletes.

I was one of the 3,000 volunteers in this extraordinary event! Being part of the Victory Ceremony workforce, my role as an Athlete Chaperon was to usher the winners of each event to the holding area & prepare them to go on stage to receive their medal, a mark of their achievement. It was indeed a celebration of the extraordinary.  Coupled with the courage to go against all odds, everyone of them is a winner to me!

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As much as I went with the intention to give my time in a meaningful way, I returned home gaining more than expected. The participants:

  • translated their physical disabilities into a lifetime opportunity instead of dwelling in bitterness,
  • accepted the challenges of the sports and live a life with no limits,
  • gave themselves the chance to be part of the celebration of the extraordinary.

In fact, everyone of us has our own disabilities. We tend to blame others for our failures. We call it quit before putting up a good fight, because we think the situation may not be at our advantage.


Indeed, they are the living testimony of what I have written in my previous post:

  • Living Above the Line creates Personal Power!
  • When you are Above the Line, you are the Victor!

They will always be my heroes who live their lives Above the Line.


2016: Above the Line

2015 is coming to an end. How would you score yourself in the following:

  • Personal Development (physical, mental, emotional, spiritual)
  • Professional Development (career, competency, relationship)
  • Social Development (family, friends, community)

Have you been On line, Below the Line or Above the Line?


We are On Line… We get by… We focus on fire fighting; relaxing when there is no fire, and simply wait around for the next fire to fight. We are survivors…

If On Line puts us at sea level, then I suppose Below the Line could possibly mean that we are drowning… You seem to be downcast, lost faith in yourself and people around you ignore you… I believe nobody wants to be below the line because it is an unpleasant place to be in.

So, what is Above the Line?  I know! It means I am above the sea level, where there is fresh air (abundant life), sunlight (hope), blue sky (love), etc. etc..

What does it mean to be Above the line?

  • Living Above the Line means taking action, for YOURSELF.
  • Living Above the Line means you are giving YOURSELF a chance to live a happier life.
  • Living Above the Line means you transform problems into opportunities, giving YOURSELF a chance to think and act positively.
  • Living Above the Line means you are willing to live a life of improvement, to see YOURSELF changing for the better.
  • Living Above the Line means you allow YOURSELF to be an instrument to inspire others through your attitude of positive expectancy.

Why do we want to live Above the Line?

  • Living Above the Line is a life skill that creates Personal Power!
  • When you are Above the Line, you are the Victor, the Navigator; no more a victim!
  • A life of success is the end product of living Above the Line!

I invite you to join me in my journey to live Above the Line in 2016.


Stay tune! The journey begins now….

Interesting findings from a newly-trained first aider

First-Aid-Supplies-OnlineI have attended a Standard First Aid with CPR+AED course recently and I must say that it has been enriching.  It also makes me think what I can do proactively so that I can remember the techniques and, at the same time, feel useful. The following are 5 interesting findings:

Mobile Application

There are 2 mobile applications that I have found very useful and I would like to share with you.

  • If you are currently residing in Singapore and would like to be available as a First Responder, you can download myResponder.  It will prompt you to render first aid to Cardiac Arrest cases near you before the ambulance arrives.  It could be performing CPR or helping to apply AED to revive the casualty.  myResponder will also highlight the nearby AEDS.
  • mySCDF is another mobile application that is absolutely useful for anyone in any parts of the world.  It has Life Saving Procedures for CPR, Choking, and the operation of a fire extinguisher.  I would only recommend those who are AED trained to operate the medical device.

Rescue TV Programme

For those who subscribe to Cable TV, I highly recommend 2 rescue TV programme that I love:

  • Bondi Rescue – you will find a team of trained lifeguards, committed to their rescue effort, such as drowning and cardiac arrest cases
  • King Cross ER – watching the emergency department saving lives was an emotional, heart-stopping and thought-provoking experience

Just for laugh

For basic knowledge of everyday first aid, you can visit BritishRedCross to watch the video. Be Ready, not Sorry.

Strategies to Motivate One to Learn

Having been a teacher for almost 2 decades, one of my greatest delights is to see my students growing up to become lifelong learner. This cannot happen unless they’re motivated to learn.

The trait of motivation to learn is an enduring disposition to strive for content knowledge and skill mastery in learning situations.  The state of motivation to learn exists when learner engagement in a particular activity is guided by the intention of acquiring the knowledge or mastering the skill that the activity is designed to teach.

A learner’s motivation to learn is stimulated most directly through modeling, communication of expectations, and direct instruction or socialization by significant others.  As teachers, we are active socialization agents capable of stimulating the general development of learner’s motivation to learn and it’s activation in particular situations.  

People do not invest effort on tasks that do not lead to values outcomes even if they know they can perform the tasks successfully, and they do not invest effort on even highly valued tasks if they are convinced that they cannot succeed no matter how hard they try.  I find this articles very helpful for classroom teachers, and in fact, most relevant for trainers/facilitators coaching adult learning.

The following sharing is adapted from Synthesis of Research on Strategies for Motivating Students to Learn, written by Jere Brophy in 1992. 

Essential Preconditions

  1. Supportive environment – Encouragement, Patiently supporting learners’ learning efforts, Allowing learners to feel comfortable taking intellectual risks without fear of being criticized for making mistakes
  2. Appropriate level of challenge/ difficulty – learners will be bored if the tasks are too easy and frustrated if tasks are too difficult
  3. Meaningful learning objectives
  4. Moderation/ optimal use – noted that any particular strategy can loses its effectiveness if it is used too often or too routinely

Motivating by Maintaining Success Expectations

  1. Program for success – make sure learners achieve consistently
  2. Teach goal setting, performance appraisal and self reinforcement – SMART goals
  3. Recognize the link between effort and outcome
  4. Provide remedial socialization – teachers/trainers can shape the way learners view their performance

Motivating by Supplying Extrinsic Incentives

  1. Offer rewards for good (or improved) performance 
  2. Structure appropriate competition 
  3. Call attention to the instrumental value of academic actvitities – extrinsic motivational strategies are effective under certain circumstances but teachers/ trainers should not rely on them. When learners are preoccupied with rewards/ competition, they may not attend to or appreciate the value of what they are learning 

Motivating by Captilizaing on Learners’ Instrinsic Motivation

  1. Adapt tasks to learners’ interest
  2. Include novelty/ variety elements
  3. Allow choices or autonomous decisions
  4. Provide opportunities for learners to respond actively
  5. Provide immediate feedback to learner responses
  6. Allow learners to create finished products
  7. Include fantasy or stimulation elements 
  8. Incorporate game-like features into exercises
  9. Include higher-level objectives and divergent questions
  10. Provide opportunities to interact with peers – plan follow up activities that permit learners to work together in pairs or small groups to tutor one another, discuss issues, or develop suggested solutions to problems, or to work as a team preparing for a competition, participation in a stimulation game, or producing some group product

Stimulating Learner Motivation to Learn

  1. Model interest in learning and motivation to learn
  2. Communicate desirable expectations and attributions about learners’ motivation to learn
  3. Minimize learners’ performance anxiety during learning activities – structure most activities to promote learning rather than to evaluate performance
  4. Project intensity – useful when introducing new content, demonstrating skills, or giving instructions for assignments
  5. Project enthusiasm
  6. Induce tsk interest or appreciation 
  7. Induce curiosity or suspense
  8. Induce dissonance or cognitive conflict 
  9. Make abstract content more personal, concrete or familiar 
  10. Induce learners to generate their own motivation to learn
  11. State learning objectives and provide advance organizers
  12. Model task-related thinking and problem  solving 

Identifying Basic Personality Type using Enneagram

This is a follow up on what I have written about Enneagram on 3 February 2015.

The Feeling Triad: Type 2, 3, 4
Type 2 (the Helper) is caring, generous, possessive & manipulative.
– Healthy 2s are compassionate, generous,  loving & thoughtful; they go out of their way to be of service to people.
– Average 2s are possessive, needy & controlling, but not able to express their needs directly. They want to be loved but often intrude on others too much.
– Unhealthy 2s deceive themselves about the presence of their negative feelings, particularly rage & resentment. They want others to see them as loving & good all the time even when they manipulate people & act selfishly.

Type 3 (the Motivator) is adaptable, ambitious, image-conscious & hostile.
– Healthy 3s quickly learn how to make the best of most situations, & they are interested in building & maintaining high self-esteem. They are able to motivate others to want to be like them because they are genuinely admirable in some socially valued way.
– Average 3s are the most out of touch with their emotions & with their individuality. They suppress their feelings in order to perform more effectively & to make others like them. They lose touch with their feelings as they try to get the success & affirmation they crave.
– Unhealthy 3s can become hostile & extremely malicious if they do not get the admiring attention they desire.

Type 4 (the Individualist) is intuitive, expressive, self-absorbed & depressive.
– Healthy 4s are very personal, revealing & communicating their feelings in ways that enable others to get in touch with their own emotions.
– Average 4s become too aware of their feelings, especially their negative ones, withdrawing from others & living too much in their imaginations.
– Unhealthy 4s are extremely depressed & alienated from others, tormented by self-doubt & self-hatred. They become suicidal when they can no longer cope with reality.

The Thinking Triad: Type 5, 6, 7
Type 5 (the Investigator) is perceptive, original, detached & eccentric.
– Healthy 5s are extremely knowledgeable about some aspects of their environment, & are capable of brilliant, original, inventive solutions to problems.
– Average 5s feel more at home with thinking & imagining than with doing, & so get lost in the mazes of their minds while their lives & opportunities diminish.
– Unhealthy 5s create more problems for themselves than they solve because they have become so completely isolated from reality. They are unable to know what is real or unreal, true or untrue.

Type 6  (the Loyalist) is engaging, committed, defensive & paranoid.
– Healthy 6s are loyal & faithful friends. They act to everyone’s  mutual benefit, are committed to others & they look for the same qualities from others.
– Average 6s look outside themselves too much for “permission” to act from an authority  figure or belief system which will tell them what to do. Unsure of themselves unless the authority is on their side, they nevertheless feel they must assert themselves against the authority to prove their independence, at least from time to time.
– Unhealthy 6s succumb to anxiety & feelings of inferiority & insecurity, self-destructively bringing about the very consequences they most fear.

Type 7 (the Enthusiast) is enthusiastic,  accomplished, uninhibited & manic.
– Healthy 7s are exuberantly enthusiastic about the environment, becoming extremely accomplished in a wide variety of activities.
– Average 7s become extremely restless, moving from one topic to the next before anything can be completed, engaged in an unending search for new experiences. This causes them to do more of everything, although, ironically,  the more they do, the less they are satisfied. They want to keep their minds occupied at all times so that their anxiety will not get to them. They constantly imagine that they are “missing out” on something that would be more of everything so they will not feel deprived.
– Unhealthy 7s become self-centred, dissipated escapists,  flying impulsively out of control.

The Instinctive Triad: Type 8, 9, 1
Type 8 (the Leader) is self-confident, decisive, dominating & combative.
– Healthy 8s are based on tremendous vitality & a keen intuition that can see possibilities in situations & in people that others often miss. They feel strong & capable,  & can use their immense self-confident,  courage & leadership abilities to inspire others to great accomplishments.
– Average 8s tend 5s dominate everything in the environment too aggressively, asserting themselves impulsively & indulging their instinctual needs for control & satisfaction without much regard for the consequences.
– Unhealthy 8s relate to environment as bullies & tyrants, ruthlessly tearing down anyone & anything that stands in their way.

Type 9 (the Peacemaker) is peaceful, reassuring, complacent & neglectful.
– Healthy 9s are based on their openness, their ability to identify intimately with a person or belief, & a centredness that enables them to remain calm even when others around them are reacting hysterically. Their receptiveness, optimism & peacefulness are reassuring to others, enabling others to flourish because they create a harmonious atmosphere for everyone.
– Average 9s undermine their own development (& their ability to deal with reality) by disengaging from a real, grounded connection with their own drives, with others & with the environment. To maintain their tranquillity, they begin to idealised the other – whether a person or an abstraction – too much.
– Unhealthy 9s become dangerously fatalistic & neglectful as they cling to what have become little more than illusions about reality from which they have dissociated themselves.

Type 1 (the Reformer) is principled, orderly, perfectionistic & self righteous.
– Healthy 1s  have the ability to relate to the environment impartially; they are consequently able to act with wisdom & conviction. They are reasonable, fair-minded & conscientious, guided by principles & ab inner “knowing” which give them strong consciences & a clear understanding of right & wrong.
– Average 1s are out of balance with their natural drives, feelings & instincts, which they try to control too much. They strive for nothing less than absolute perfection, finding it difficult to accept anything as it is since it can always be better.
– Unhealthy 1s are intolerant & self-righteous, becoming obsessed about the corruption they find in others while ignoring their own

contradictory actions

.  In the name of the highest ideals, they can become extraordinarily cruel to themselves & others.

Adapted from Chapter 3 of the “Personality Types” by Don Richard Riso

Susan in Yangon

Using Enneagram for Coaching

What is Enneagram?  Enneagram is a profound map that illuminates the 9 different architectures of the human personality.  It provides highly accurate descriptions of how individuals of each style think, feel, and behave.  It also explains the underlying drives and motivations, providing precise development activities tailored to the specific needs of the 9 styles.  For the individual, Enneagram is not a quick fix to your problem but I am sure you will develop greater self-awareness.  It is a powerful tool to help people learn and grow, and hopefully the awareness will enable you to take personal responsibility for your behaviour.

Understanding your Enneagram style

  1. Ones seek a perfect world and work diligently to improve both themselves and everyone and everything around them. They are Reformers.
  2. Twos want to be liked by those they want to like them, try to meet the needs of others, and attempt to orchestrate the people and events in their lives.  They are Lovers.
  3. Threes organise their lives to achieve specific goals and to appear successful in order to gain the respect and admiration of others.  They are Achievers.
  4. Fours desire deep connections both with their interior worlds and with other people and they feel most alive when they authentically express their feelings and personal experiences.  They are Creative Individualists.
  5. Fives thirsts for information and knowledge and use emotional detachment as a way of keeping involvement with others to a minimum.  They are Thinkers.
  6. Sixes have insightful minds, are prone to worry, and create anticipatory or worst-case scenarios to help themselves feel prepared in case something goes wrong.  Some Sixes are more overtly fearful (phobic) while others move toward the fear as a way to prove they have no fear (counter-phobic); most Sixes do some of both.  They are Security Seekers.
  7. Sevens crave the stimulation of new ideas, people, and experiences; avoid pain; create elaborate future plans that will allow them to keep all of their options open.  They are Adventurers.
  8. Eights pursue the truth, like to keep situations under control, want to make important things happen, and try to hide their vulnerability.  They are Leaders.
  9. Nines seek peace, harmony, and positive mutual regard and dislike conflict, tension, and ill will.  They are Peacemakers.

For greater details you can refer to the Enneagram website.  You are encourage to do an online test to know your Enneagram Style.

Adapted from “Bringing out the Best in everyone you Coach” by Ginger Lapid-Bogda

What is WEEP?

Unlike the Myers-Brigg Type Indicator (MBTI), or DISC personality profile, the Workplace Emotion Evaluation Profile (WEEP) probes mainly in people’s individual working styles, how one cope with stresses & strong emotions at work.

Answer the following questions with Strongly Agree (SA), Somewhat Agree (A), Didn’t Agree (DA) or Strongly Disagree (SD).

  1. I feel anxious a lot.
  2. When I am feeling strong emotions, I find it hard to think about anything else.
  3. I worry about living up to the expectations of others at work.
  4. I believe success is more than about luck (who you know, being in the right place at the right time) than hard work.
  5. I don’t know why, but people often take what I say the wrong way.
  6. At work, it is important to me that I am appreciated.
  7. It is important to me that people like me.
  8. I could be more successful at work if some of the people I work with were not so annoying.
  9. I frequently feel stressed at work.
  10. I tend to make decisions based on logic and facts.
  11. I am introspective – I know myself well.
  12. When someone at work does something that bothers me, I usually say something to him/her about it.
  13. I am comfortable speaking up at work when my opinion is different from most.
  14. I prefer working by myself rather than in a team.
  15. Once I’ve made a decision, I rarely have second thoughts.
  16. If I’m annoyed or angry at work, it would be pretty hard to tell because I don’t show it.
  17. In times of stress I find comfort or peace in religion.
  18. I rely mostly on my feelings to guide my decision making.
  19. I easily express my feelings and emotions.
  20. I like my life to be pretty much the same day to day.
  21. I consider myself a creative person.
  22. When I am stressing out at work, it is usually because of something going on in my personal life outside of work.
  23. I tend to be pretty competitive with others at work.
  24. I talk more than I listen.
  25. I do my best work under stressful conditions.
  26. I hate to admit it, but I am a bit of a procrastinator.
  27. When I am bothered by something, there are only a couple of people that I will talk to about it.
  28. It is more important to be diplomatic than truthful.
  29. Sometimes when I’m talking with others I feel like I’m the only person who sees the big picture.
  30. When forced to compromise my principles I still feel a nagging sense of regret.

I invite you to take the online survey on WEEP website.  The four categories are Spotters, Accepters, Believers or Solvers.  At the end of the survey, they will provide you with a short write up of your primary and your secondary type.

Have fun 🙂

Chapter 9 of It’s Always Personal by Anne Kreamer

Road trip to Lashio & Pyay, Myanmar

Lashio is the largest town in northern Shan State and a good 6 hours drive from Mandalay. The population is made up of mostly Shan, Chinese and Burmans.

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Pyay was formerly known as Prome in the Bago Region and a good 6 hours drive from Yangon.

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Together with my colleagues, we went to the boarding schools to meet the Grade 11 students before they take their matriculation in March next year. This is so that we can share various Singapore education pathway for their consideration.

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First Music Run in Yangon

This week has been an eventful week for the students in the school I am working with. While there were race packs to collect, morning exercises to prepare the students for the run and instructions for the event, students were buzzing with excitement and apprehension about what to expect on that day.

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Yesterday, 29 November 2014, was D-day! Students had to gather at the Music Village, looking out for our school banner.


When my colleagues and I reached the Thuwanna Stadium, we estimated a total of 6,000 to 8,000 people of all ages, gathering for fun, walk/ run and music. Since we didn’t make it for the mass warm-up, we did our usual routine during our regular exercises before heading toward the Starting point.


We took a lot of selfies as we ran and the event ended with a Music concert after dusk. I believe this would be an unforgettable event for many our students and I am glad that we participated in the Music Run together!


Marketing Education

Marketing in Education is about the approach to promote innovative approaches to student learning, curriculum design and school development for the benefits of a broad range of people, such as the students, parents, teachers, and even the Future Society.  Yet at the same time, marketing is about business.  What then is the marketing strategies to grow people and to create wealth?


I was reading the article Marketing with Integrity and I agree these are steps to incorporate into the marketing of an International School that I am currently working with:

  1. Listen and create opportunity for your employees.  Conversation is essential in any relationship, to build understanding and to create an emotional connection.  You would notice that I use the word conversation instead of communication.  Many a times, people think of communication in the form of emails and memorandum.  When you listen and create opportunity for someone, it is a personal connection.  It does not matter whether it is a formal or informal meeting, it is the effort to make time for the person.  Hence, social awkwardness is something a leader has to overcome and remember, making time for someone to listen is never a wasted time.
  2. Treat employees with honesty and respect.  Everything we do is a reflection of ourselves.  Giving constructive feedback honestly without hurting or disrespecting someone is an art.  Real and sustainable change can only take place when a person is convinced that the change can improve lives and education of the students as well as themselves.  There are times when a genuine intention may be misunderstood, and it is important to continue acting with integrity, fairness, and it an ethical manner.
  3. Make decisions that benefits all these people, not just on top.  Promoting teaching and learning is the core business of education.  Quality people who are passionate about education and committed to educational values ought to be recruited and nurtured to sustain a school culture and instructional programme conducive for student learning and staff development.  Responsible decision making will naturally co-exist, to sustain change in an effective school that benefits the thousands.
  4. Provide training for marketing, communications, management and most of all customer service. Training is a long term investment, just like education for our young, to keep up with the constant demand and change of the 21st century.  Training provides the competent staff a platform to showcase their talent, and for the others to learn and even recreate.  For schools to stay relevant, staff to develop multiple skills to support the mission of the school.
  5. Making commitments to employees, customers and prospects; and keeping them.  Commitments are often made but forgotten.  It is essential for the commitments to be pen down, translated into strategic goals so that progress can be monitored and success celebrated in due cause.

The bottom-line is not to loss of essence and passion for learning and the love for people, in the midst of creating wealth and power.