Just an Opinion of an Article

I want to dedicate this post to Warren Buffett for his article posted in TIME on 4 January 2018. You can read it through the link there before reading this post because I don’t want to give a false perception to the article. I wrote this under my interpretation thus this might not directly related to what he meant to share.

“I have good news. First, most American children are going to live far better than their parents did. ” – Warren Buffett

There goes his first two sentences. It instantly caught my eyes and I disagree with this statement. Apparently, he knows that I am not the only one who disagreed. In the subsequent paragraphs, he acknowledge that these days, not as many people are as optimistic as him. But the he did some calculation that includes real GDP growth and population growth. Assuming 2% real GDP growth and 0.8% net population growth, he infers:

“In 25 years–a single generation–1.2% annual growth boosts our current $59,000 of GDP per capita to $79,000. This $20,000 increase guarantees a far better life for our children.” – Warren Buffett

The first time I read this, I was nodding my head because the reasoning sound plausible. But, I noticed, he had a strong assumption: the growth are equally divided to everyone. I guess we can all agree that this assumption does not hold. Just do a simple search in Google about wealth and income inequality and some amazing statistics will greet you (i.e. this one); none shows equal distribution. That being said, with the calculation in the article, we can be sure that some children will be better off than their parents but I argue that majority (if not all) of the children in this group will be from the wealthy family or in other words the minority. The other might strive as well but they need arduous effort to be achieve it. Best scenario, of course the one Warren Buffett shows; but it is highly unlikely. Second best scenario, children will be as well off as their parents. I am not trying to be pessimistic but the truths are pointing to that dark side (he did mention this issue in the later part of the article).

I do not entirely disagree Mr. Buffett, especially in his point of innovation and productivity and market economics. Because of innovation that transformed the industry, ways of production, labor and capital, arguably everything today are done differently than decades ago. A lot of people lost their job, some jobs disappeared and new jobs were created. Those who cannot adapt due to lack of skill or opportunity were left behind while those in the upper social class tried their best to absorb as much wealth as possible. Some people called it greed but I say it is human nature. Anyway, getting back to the point, this will increase the probability that more people will have worse prospect that their parents.

“These devastating side effects can be ameliorated: a rich family takes care of all its children, not just those with talents valued by the marketplace.” – Warren Buffett

He mentioned this point just before he concluded his writing. As a parent, it is a very nice advise. All children should be treated the same in hope that they will get the same opportunity to success. But the word ‘rich parent’ made me feel a bit uncomfortable. Does this means that only if rich people care equally to their offspring that the “devastating side effects” i.e. leftover people due to specialization can be lighten. I am skeptical that doing so could make much change. Most of leftover people came from lower proportion of the society, so maybe it would be better for the rich to care for their lower counterpart as to donate or provide opportunity?

Anyway, I am not an American and this has very little impact to my life. I just came across this article by chance and while reading it, I found some odd points which are peculiar to me. Maybe he meant it differently or I interpreted it wrongly, seems impossible to get his answer. However, I just want to share my opinion and the seriousness of our -might be doomed- future.

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Story of the earth and that human

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Retrieved from Google on 10 Jan 2018. All rights reserved.

I am not an animal lovers, nature fanatic or a misanthrope (human hater). But today, as I scrolled down my Facebook feed, it suddenly hit me that human might be the worst thing ever happened to the earth. Wondering what video I saw that triggered that depressing thought? No worry, it is not anything scary or terrible. It is just a normal introduction of something called “organic water“.

 

Disclaimer: I am NOT an expert in the science and the scientific explanation below might not be accurate to the core, but please put your attention in the idea and not the science.

First of all, the company and the video has done nothing wrong and it is NOT their doing that prompt my negative thought. However, think about this: why do people want more organic water? (my answer: the normal water is not clean anymore) Why does the water from normal steam not pure anymore? (my answer: because it was contaminated by various substance, from dirt to deathly chemical). So, who responsible for the water adulteration? Human (your answers might be different the previous questions but I hope we agree at least for the last one). OK, now we have human wants organic water, normal water is contaminated, and human should be held responsible for the water contamination (to be more general, we can say organic water also represents clean water).

Human contaminated normal water and now looking for new source of clean water.
Nothing wrong with that right? but let’s add some details from what we had developed in the previous paragraph: Human contaminated normal water, they should have be held responsible for it but they do not care because they can just look forand now looking for new source of clean water. Hence I argue that human is selfish and greedy.

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Retrieved from Google on 10 Jan 2018. All rights reserved.

Now, let’s think about this from the earth and ecosystem point of view. Earth cannot evolve, it is just as it is. Since early days, various creatures have been living on earth, maybe not so happily but in harmony. However, as the number of human proliferated, it becomes harder to keep the balance. At the present, the soil is full of houses, air is polluted, water is contaminated, ice are melting, ozone is depleting, etc. Anyway, focus on the water. So we all know that water is essential for living creatures, which means the contaminated water will affect EVERY living creatures. You can easily find the consequences of water pollution to living creatures in google (the facts and figures wont be pretty). It is public knowledge that a lot of sea creatures died because of plastics in the sea, or due to lack of oxygen because of algae bloom stemmed from too much pesticide; diseases caused by polluted water, etc. This proved that dirty water affect every creatures, including human.

 

We now know that: human polluted water, dirty water affected all creatures and human wants clean water. Which to me means, even though it was the imprudent human who adulterated the water and exposed all creatures to danger, it is also human who wants clean water and I doubt that they will share this with other creatures. How are they going to get the clean water? Of course, take it from other beings, the tree. Here is the science that I am not very sure of: photosynthesis by plants requires light, water and CO2 and it will produce glucose and release O2 (and possibly water vapor). The water inside the plants should be use to accommodate this process, so I am not sure if the claim of this company of “this water are the waste” is genuine. My understanding is that the tree has trying hard to purify the water and use it as their photosynthesis supply but these humans plan (if not already) to take the credit and sell it. Do you see where am I going?

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Water vapor? Retrieved from Google on 10 Jan 2018. All rights reserved.

 

To be fair, I am also a human and I know it is arbitrary to lump 7.6 billion people as one irresponsible, greedy and horrible species. But I think it is time for us to open our eyes to the sad reality and change the way we think. Surely, accessing clean water, clean air, being healthy are our priority but rather than finding solution to a problem, isn’t it better to prevent the problem from happening at all? All in all, you may agree or disagree or you can just not care because I am no one and not taking action will not caused you any harm. But if even a little of you think that I brought up a point worth considering, please do not throw that thoughts away. Because as one person cannot change anything but as a whole we definitely can. Thanks for reading 🙂

New Year’s Enlightenment

Life is more than the digits in your scale
Life is more than the number in your transcript
Life is more than the amount in your bank account

Life is about the smiles, the tears, the joy and pain
Life is about learning something new, failures and successes
Life is about caring for others, sharing and kindness

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Original photo and design by randomwalk 🙂 All rights reserved.

They said “the grass is always greener in the neighbor’s garden”
Thus some people wished to the star to swap place with the other
Imagining the possible goods and best in the life of the other party
Little that they know that everyone has their own problemsBecause life itself is a chain of never ending problems
…or never ending opportunities

So once again, the value of life is not a math that could be calculated
The value of life is not like housing price that can be estimated
The value of life is also not something assigned by anyone but yourself

Thus only oneself can determine where and how their life will be, doing our best while embracing the unexpected ups and downs. Because nothing is constant, not even change if you don’t want it to 🙂

Sort of a Poem

Some people always look up
They failed to put their feet properly on the ground
Some people always look down
They failed to see the opportunity in the sky above
Some people forget to look back
They repeated the same mistake twice
Some people forget to look front
They are bounded by the past
Some people too focused on their right
They unable to see people who stand with them even when they were wrong
Some people too focused on their left
They unable to see the new things coming if only they willing to change
@random.walk_

Not really a poem but hope you like it…

Disgraceful Job? Think Again

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Screen captured from To Sell is Human page 144 sample Kindle book on 29 August 2017. All rights reserved.

In the process of job seeking I came across with job stereotyping. While sure enough some jobs sound more spectacular, require more skills and bear additional responsibilities, I believe it is not a reason to underestimate other occupations, especially as a fresh graduate. To be fair, if there are peers who got accepted as a traders in prestigious investment firm or researchers, of course we (or actually me) will say “WOW”. But if other peers were to say they got a job as clerk, sales or even HR, most people will frown, give an awkward smile and say “ah… good”.

Like majority of people, I don’t fancy those roles. I used to be those who frowned when I heard the word sales, and honestly never ever want to be associated with that word ever. That was my feeling before. Quite recently, I started to think more about it and somehow it dawned to me that I must have been wrong. All my life I have this terrible stereotype on this profession (you know they force you to buy things) but I realized I was not thinking very openly. Forced selling (such as foot-in-the-door) is so yesterday and it is just a very small thing of sales. Honestly, every business can only sustain if they can sell. Either the products and services are so good and useful thus people will buy it voluntarily, or that you are so good and able to convinced the public to buy things/services they actually might not need. Dig deeper, sales should also be associated to the event when entrepreneurs pitch their ideas to investors, to the social events where there are implicit connections sales a.k.a building connection, interviews (selling one’s qualification), even as a wife convincing the husband to buy her a Zara dress (selling reason) and many more. Selling is what we do everyday and it is not a shameful thing. IB traders is useless when there is no demand in their services, selling is arguably the core of the business. I hope by now you are at least a little convinced of the importance of sales job and how it had been underestimated all these years. So now the important question is how good are you at selling? I believe how far one can take their selling ability will be one of the success measure to which extend he/she  or me will succeed in life.

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Retrieved from Google on 29 August 2017. All rights reserved.

Apparently, I am not the only person that have this view, I have only read the sample chapter from Amazon but I will recommend it anyway for those interested: “To Sell Is Human: The Surprising Truth About Moving Others” – Daniel H. Pink (Amazon link). The sales approach is changing, less (if there is at all) catalogs and door to door sales, more technology implemented giving the exact suggestions to the right customer. The role of sales is shifting, not to force but to be creative such that they could successfully convinced the other party. This is one of the crucial skill needed by any CEO as well. So you might start as a small sales potato but I firmly believe that learning from it could bring really promising future.

Lastly, in the first paragraph I say not to underestimate any occupation. Sales is underrated but it is hardly the worse job, I mean, some people do choose to be in the field and there is professional terms for them as well. How about cleaning services, cashier? A lot of people never appreciate their doing and maybe even think they are filthy. But here is some evidence why low paying occupations are also important in a business. As you might have guessed I will say “can you imagine if no cleaning service to clean your firm’s toilet” or “imagine if there is no trash collector”, I believe you had imagined it (and maybe now you will say, “well I don’t need cashier because I can be charged online directly from the barcode”)  and yes they play roles there. But take a sit and think about this video

Try to look behind the citizens who are in crisis and waited hours to spend their money to supply their home. Try to think about the cashier officer on the end of that line, he/she cannot buy but have to be stand by there to serve others (and make sure the grocery was not raided), see the back officers who, in the middle of the heavy rain after big storm, came to work to provide others facilities. Then maybe take a look at this news titled: Japan’s Richest Village Can’t Find Workers for Its Factory. A business cannot work effectively and efficiently with only top management, they need people to do the small things too because a lot of small things will turn big in the end. That being said, the news of Elon Musk that fired (or not) his secretary after asking for salary raise. Whether he fired her or she decided to walk away, I cannot appreciate his way of treating her. If he thinks that her job is so easy that he can dispose her then shall he not say it so in the first place? Rather he decided to let her take a vacation while he showed the world he can do her and his job similarly well (I mean she has worked for him in the same position for 12 years). This is somehow more shameful than being fired right away because it is like saying that all those 12 years he was just tolerating her to be there and she added very little value to his company. But anyway, that is just my opinion. The third story is more personal, as the news had covered, typhoon Hato that hit Hong Kong and Macau recently left very bad taste in the city. The condition was terrible the day after the typhoon; trees, trashes, and every other things were scattered all over the place according to the footage. But amazingly, on my way to work the next day, the traffic in most places I passed are cleared and even the foot way have only several obstacles. The dirt of Hato still remains but only on the sides, places where it does not affect anyone. Meanwhile, I also saw the cleaning squad swept the road and clear it. I dare not to guess at what time the team started the cleaning such that the morning traffic went pretty smoothly but I guess there are people who don’t care as long as they can arrive to their office safely. I am too sometimes forget to appreciate their work, but I am trying my best to do a better job at it starting by giving a simple greetings~

Things That I Never Able to Understand

…which I encountered during my part time job.

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Since 2014, I have been working part-time in my university’s library. There I sit in the information desk near the entrance and my main duty is to answer questions, lend inventories as well as making sure people can come in and out through the gate smoothly without bringing food with them.

First thing first: The gate that can be seen above. 
So this gate is ‘special’ as in super moody but it really required no skill just patience to go through it. The mechanism is simple, make sure to stand behind the censor, tap your id card to the identifier, wait a second or half then walk in smoothly. There is an instruction on the identifier and if something blocked the censor, it will lit up red light and make a long beep sound. Super clear and easy, however, amazingly this gate always probe problems. More than many people failed to come inside and it is not rare to hear loud crash sound when people tried to barge in. Well, another reason why they can’t come in because their card is expired or not authorized to access the library due to lag in system information update. This too however, shown in the display of the identifier. Whenever I approached them and asked what was wrong with the card they just say ‘expired’ or ‘not authorized’ with angry or confused face which I really don’t get. They should know better than trying to come in without authorization, right?
Sad to remind you that this is a university library door and it required NO skill to come in. I really don’t understand why people still failed so miserably.

Second: No food or drink in library.
To me, this is very obvious. Library is a public area to study, enjoy books and maybe do school work. How can I concentrate if while I am reading there is a smell big mac and munching sound from one beside me? In addition, this five floors library has only two entrances, not much ventilation. Imagine if ten people eat Subway sandwich in the area everyday, can we smell fresh air ever again? Yet another issue with drinks. We do allow sealed container beverages but not those that could spill. This is a preventive measure such that no water will be spilled on to the devices and broke any of library’s property. Not only that, apparently these people are not very responsible of their rubbish. Often me and the security found empty cans and snack packages around the study area, which really downgraded the hygiene of the place. If one really in need to refresh themselves, the library offer this place where you can eat snacks and drink called the refreshment zone, still people will secretly eat inside the library premise without feeling guilty. Well, a lot of this library users, who are pursuing degree or universities staffs and professors, don’t care and some even scolded us for having the policy. Very ironic and I cannot understand why.

Third: Discussion volumedsc_0018.jpg
Remember what your mom used to say when visiting a public library? “Shhh, keep your voice down” or something with similar caliber. On the left is a picture of the learning commons area. Despite being still part of the library, here we could tolerate a little bit of noise. However, some group of people just cannot get how little is a little and just started chatting as if they are in the canteen. Laughing pretty disgracefully and worse of all, seems like have no understanding of public space respect. I have a very legit reason behind this claim. As a good employee I had approached these groups more than dozen times to ask them (from politely to not so politely) but they never fix their behavior and we received numerous complains from other users. I tried to reason with them and it quickly escalated to argument. Despite wining the argument (and successfully kick them out), they still come back again the next day with the same behavior. This actually cost their nationals a bad name within the library cycle where we label this national as troublemaker (lead to stereotyping other people of the same national). And they claimed to be university students. Ummm, I don’t understand.

Three is a golden number so let me just stop here for the moment. Maybe after reading those problematic points you came to a conclusion that I hate this job. Well luckily, I am not. This job is very petty that some people underestimated it but I learned a lot of my experience here and I made some very good friends along the way. Due to the nature of the job, I constantly have to face confused or angry or ignorant people that have various way of communicating, which required me to actually adapt with their style and try not to be too irritated with anything. I also was able to practice my language by pretending to be Chinese or Hong Kongnese as appropriate, then revert back to “English please” if I don’t understand their question haha. I have been here for nearly three years that contract end seems so unreal to me. But it is coming and I guess I am ready. I hold no grudge to anyone but I think the stereotype will still lasted for some time; the things I learned will always stay similarly to all the friends I made during the period. This includes two generations of student helpers, my supervisors, reference librarians, thank you Eunice for the graduation gift, Xiaolei for the morning and evening ride from/to Choi Hung, Susan for nice homemade bread, technicians, also cleaning service jiejie and beloved Ming Jie and A jie, thank you for various snacks and dinner you shared with me!

The perks of working in library? Your own fast PC, self-made locker and ability to enter library when no one has been welcomed yet!
DSC_0075**All pictures were taken by and copyrighted to @random.walk_ (me!)**

random.walk_

“Life is too short to not be creative”

Featuring canva.com

This is an amazing online tool to create amateur art.
Recently I created an Instagram account ( @random.walk_ ). This account contains my original work, photography as well as the quotes. I utilized Canva to make most of the work and it really helpful and it made me addicted. Quotes did not just come to me, most of them came due to the circumstances and thus there are stories behind my work. These are some work that I had posted (or will)

This is rare but all rights reserved to me! yes!

“Success is a measure of self-satisfaction”
I believe that success is a very subjective term. One can be a billionaire but if he thinks that he is not successful enough and that he needs more; the public can believe he had succeeded but for him: success still not around the corner. Other people might feel successful when they reached a level, for example, married to a higher status husband. Society might redeem this is not even an achievement to be proud of, but she is happy and she thinks that she had succeeded so she is. Hope this is logical enough.

“Observe beyond what the eyes saw”
Most of the time people failed to see the beauty, the positive half of the truth and focused deeply on the sad facts. It is easy for the eyes to deceive the brain and made our lives seems to be more miserable. Take a deep breath and think about what you saw, switch your perspective and do not let your eyes failed you.

“Professionals are experienced amateur”
It is not a secret that everyone starts someone. There are prodigies but they still born only able to cry. From the book Outliers, I had known that talent is a thing but most of the successful people just trained. trained and trained for 10,000 hours. That means they just stacking knowledge and experiences. So while NOT every amateur can be professional, professionals undoubtedly were cultivated from an amateur.

“Fail thousand times, succeed life once”
We heard a lot about how falling does not matter, what matters is if we can get up again. This has a similar idea, in life, we will encounter numerous failures, rejections that will make us down. Even if we did succeed, it might come with a risk of failing more in the future. Whilst this could be very nerve-wracking, just remember two things; one, a success is determined by oneself and second, we do not need much success anyway, once successful life should wrap everything up.

“Life full of lies”
We live in a world of paradoxes. Truths are never 100% true and there is truth behind lies. No one living a life without ever lied, whether they realized it or not. This is what I believed. Featuring book by Philip Zimbardo, “The Time Paradox”.

“Learn to spend, earn a friend” and “Friends sound so fake”
I really do not want to say it but I remembered my discussion with a friend couple years ago. Having friends means we exchange benefits, either socially, financially, or other needs. Sad but do not be too pessimistic, scientists are still looking into altruism that might support the concept of unconditional friendship.

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Have not posted this but I really like it. As you might have felt from previous posts; currently I am in a hard situation, I face an extreme challenge in which prevented me to move forward. I am unsure of where to go and what to aim. The pressure behind me say the road behind is not an option but I am stuck. Eventually, I started to believe that sometimes taking one or two steps back is not a shameful decision.