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Kelvin Lim, “the voice of the cello inside” — 2020

“I desire therein to be viewed as I appear in mine own genuine, simple, and ordinary manner [..]. If I had lived among those nations, which (they say) yet dwell under the sweet liberty of nature’s primitive laws, I assure thee I would most willingly have painted myself quite fully and quite naked.”

Montaigne, Essays, Advice to the Reader, March 1st 1580

How this one came up is probably hard to say. It might be just another of these desperate attempts to cling back on time. Latin phrase engraved on solar clocks is “tempus fugit”, which means times flies, literally time escapes us. It seems that all of this goes way to fast. Getting good pictures of us, now, while we might never look better — and treasure them as keepsake when we grow old. Probably that was the original thought idea. J turns 40 at Christmas, and we are all together turning an important page for the family as for the first time in thirty odd years, we are deciding where we want to live next. So, something simple and great was needed. …


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I have been #movemebering for 9 years now. I started the year after my father passed away. It seemed natural at the time to do something, just a little something, to prevent men to die too young. He was 61, and he died from health issues that were preventable — lots of them really bad habits. But there is a bad habit that is killing many more men than any other cause. Suicide.

I’m a very rational person — at least I want to believe I am. I’m an engineer, and try not to do things in vain. I think emotions, anecdotal evidence and soundbites have sadly recently taken precedence over rationality — Covid19 is making it all even worse. But I tend to get the numbers, the facts, and respond appropriately to challenges. Prioritize. Try to do what is right, not what looks right. So I dwelled into the numbers (eventually).

My main “goal” for #movember originally— a very “manly” one — was to contribute to testicular cancer prevention, as someone near me passed away, way, way too young because of that. Also it’s one of the “male diseases” that had been “publicized” in cycling through the Lance Armstrong emblematic cancer fight, (although it actually it’s been demonstrated that cycling is not an influencing parameter). And it’s true it’s one of the silent killers of young men (average age of 33), and it is on the rise for mostly unknown reasons so far, and it is handled too late. One of the problem is that many apparently healthy men don’t see a doctor regularly, and their threshold for seeing a doctor for discomfort or pain is too high, meaning taking care of serious issues at a time when cancer is harder to tame. A lot of campaigning as been done to encourage younger men to perform a simple check of their testicles, and talk to their doctors if they see any change, and it is great! But it is still behind attention given to breast cancer, so we can continue to inform, and encourage self care. That said, when I checked the numbers, about 10% of total cancer deaths are caused by breast cancer (nearly 50000 in the US last year), hence a very high contributor to early death of women. And it is a 100 times higher than testicular cancer death…so Pink October, information campaign about breast cancers and early detection, investment in finding appropriate treatments is paramount. It does not mean that we should forget the work for lots of the other causes, and forget boys to “check thy nuts”, but honestly, painting #PinkOctober is a more important fight. With 440 deaths of testicular cancer in the US in 2020, breast cancer is more than a 100 times more important. I promise to serve that cause better than I did before — I want my love, and all other girls I know- to reach 99 years old healthy and strong. …


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I am not a critic, I am not a writer, and I have very little expertise in photography. But I have feelings, and I felt I had to do something after I read the book from Marie Dailey about daily life in Singapore. So I wrote.

Being far away from your country, family, friends, in 2020, has been a complicated exercise. I recognize that 2020 has been stressful for mostly everyone in the world. But for those “abroad” or “far away from home”, it has also put us back again in front of what “distance” really means. Some — like Marie — had to see people pass without the chance of a last goodbye. A simple plane ride is off the cards. Traveling for business, for fun, or for life and death has become insurmountable. …


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Photo by Pixabay from Pexels

In these turbulent times, many of us, of you, are facing personal uncertainty, generating stress, doubt, fear. They will lose their job — a job that had become an identity. How to make sense of what is happening to you? How to build resilience? How to rebuild an identity?

“What the hell am I doing here?” Radiohead

I came across an HBR article by Jenna Koretz about burn out that immediately resonated a lot with me. This great piece deals with burn out in high-powered professional, and tells about “What Happens When Your Career Becomes Your Whole Identity”. How to see it coming and how to deal with it. In essence, there has been an increasing number of hi-potential executive who run themselves to a psychological ditch, and start to be haunted by a key question, “what the hell am I doing here?”. She describes beautifully how successful executives had become addicted to the idea of success as defined by others. However they might not manage anymore to internalize this success as a form of achievement, completion, or satisfaction. Something like “all inputs are right, but the output is wrong”. …


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Photo by Jason Dent on Unsplash

I believe in prosperity, I believe in technology, I believe in free economy, I believe in democracy. I believe that growing inequities are endangering them all.

I was born in 1973, the beginning of the crisis (the oil shock). It was actually like the “last round” bell sounding across the western world, marking the end of the “glorious thirty”. The unprecedented surge in prosperity that followed the rebuilt of European nations was coming to an end. Generation living at that time saw their world totally change after 1945. There was virtually no unemployment, and anyone without a degree but with some aspiration to work could make a decent living. On top of it innovation (boosted by the war industries redeployment) was providing more and more changes to the daily life of people across (primarily) North America and West Europe. Cars became ubiquitous, tap water came to every households, refrigerators changed the way people were shopping and living. TV became unavoidable. The perfection and simplicity of the American dream, that the whole western world embraced. …


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https://www.femalepleasure.org/

We went to an indie cinema last week in Singapore (the projector), that is hosting a film festival about inclusion, diversity and womanhood. #femalepleasure is a fantastic documentary following 5 characters, all women, whose life has been through traumas of different kinds. One flew a Jewish Hassidic community in Brooklyn, after a forced marriage. She tells about her fight. A German lady got raped in a catholic institution, where she was a nun, and tells her story. One fights to end what concerns 200 million of women in the world — and herself — FGM or female genital mutilation. Another one is fighting for love, and women, to be given an honest chance in India, where rape and misogynistic culture prevails. The fifth character is a Japanese artist who represents vaginas in her art in very funny ways and get indicted for “obscenity” while male genitals representations is ubiquitous and totally accepted in japan. …


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https://www.femalepleasure.org/

#femalepleasure is a documentary following 5 characters, all women, whose sexual and emotional life has been through traumas of different kinds. One flew a Jewish Hassidic community in Brooklyn, after a forced marriage. She tells about her fight. A German lady got raped in a catholic institution, where she was a nun, and tells her story. One fights to end what concerns 200 million of women in the world — and herself — FGM or female genital mutilation. Another one is fighting for love, and women, to be given an honest chance in India, where rape and misogynistic culture prevails. …


Perhaps is this is already a recession, and a crisis, both, or at least it’s becoming one. We might also as well be ready for the fact that what we’ve been through so far in the last 2 to 3 months might only be the shock. And the full ramifications of its impact are still spreading out.

I was born in 1973, probably for the modern era the time when “crisis” became a sort of continuity in economic terms, a way to describe what I happened since. And 1973 “shock” is a great way to explain what we’re going through. In a very short period of time, oil producers decided to make much more money out of the “black gold”. There’s been nationalization of oil production, alignment through a Cartel (which is a term that make my free-economy mind buzz), and a steep increase in the price of oil. And they were immediate consequences, across the world. All of of sudden, some activities were not affordable anymore — people felt the pain filling up at the pump, fuel became scarce. France engaged into a “zero energy waste” campaign, la chasse au Gaspi, as the Cartel did it again in 1979… Learning was that was societies had to adapt, but could not absorb such a big impact to their value chain in such a short time. There was the cohort of the consequences we’ve become since pretty accustomed too — economic slowdown inducing recession, bankruptcy, and unemployment. Gradually all sectors of economy started to lose ground… and loosening of monetary policies that come when governments try to “inject blood” in a dying economy induced inflation, that has plagued the world for another 10 years…what started as an increase in cost of energy — hence mostly transportation — had deep impacts on all sectors of a globalizing economy. …


Let’s get this straight, right away. There is nothing good about Covid-19. I wish every morning that none of that has happened. We have to fight together as much as we can to put Sars-Cov2 back in its box. It’s killing tens of thousands, wiping out the most vulnerable, the more venerable, and will leave families in tears. Economically, we’re still falling, and we don’t even know yet when we will actually hit the ground

Even for those who have not fully or partially lost their income with lockdown and what’s a tremendous economic shock, even “working from home” is not really the benefit it once was. When you have young kids around (as schools are closed), it’s an exhausting challenge to keep things going… with the two of us working, we end up working inefficiently in small time capsules from 5 am to 11 pm, intertwining life, meals, work, school, working-out for sanity and keeping the kids occupied — they are 3 and 5 1/2 year old. …


Cycyling manager: not for everyone.

Everyone has little guilty pleasures, one of mines is to watch endlessly the best stages of the Tour de France. From childhood, biking is one of the favorite things in my life, and in spite of the controversies around cycling in general and Le Tour in particular, my fascination remains indefectible. I love it all… The drama, the determination, the work that goes behind, the views of France from above. The winners. …

About

Hemka

Husband and dad. Engineering a better world. Putting things on paper.

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