Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011: A Walkthrough

The year is considered to be a year of Cataclysmic proportions. In Singapore, politicians threw housing, transport and living standard issues like gambling chips into the political game. In Asia, natural calamities caused untold misery to tens of thousands and doubling the trouble was the Fukushima nuclear leak. In Europe, the Euro crisis. In America, the battering of Wall Street. 2011 also announced the demise of significant contributors in many arenas.

Whatever that we can manage and control, we will continue to do our best. But there were many things that were beyond our control. We are living in radical times and as they say, radical times need radical measures.

I had many challenges myself. Changes, like challenges, are meant to be treated as a time for trying new things. And yes I certainly did. Quit my full-time lecturing job to teach part-time. I registered PEAK PARADIGM as a Sole Proprietorship, managing my training business with a social perspective.

Things were not smooth-sailing. The Social Enterprise Association was a letdown. Totally demotivating to the aspiring social entrepreneur. I give it a 'C+' for its strategy but a 'D' for its leadership and execution. No mentoring programmes, no matching of comparable business or even business-to-business mentoring, just words, ad-hoc workshops.

Getting funds for social enterprises? You need to have a proven business model. HELLO? A Startup with a proven model? Is it like saying that you need to be a millionaire to borrow money? Hello? Does not
make any sense to me.
Anyway, i have digressed.

The following are pictures that helped me to summarise 2011.
(Numbering with pictures: Top-down)

1. Logo of my company
2. Penguin with a nice top-hat for Christmas
3. The clay piece which I made to remember the victims of the Japan Tsunami
4. The cutest boy whom i taught clay to in 2011!
5. Me facilitating clay to corporations with the newly designed PEAK PARADIGM polo-T
6. My first Christmas Clay set incorporating lights
7. Venturing into woodcraft for the first time!
8. The significant logos in my life in the last few years
9. The Japanese geisha: My favourite geisha
10. My biggest project turned golden

11. Home-studio set up this year
12. Exhibition at Temasek Poly library
13. Exhibition and Talk at Tampines Regional Library

. Participants

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Ninjas - One of My Favourite Themes

There is no need for words here in this post. The title says it all. Oh yes, you can use them as figurines or tokens for your board games simple or complex.

Symbolism Is As Ancient As It Gets

I first heard of this Belgian artist when i was doing my Masters in Applied Linguistics, six to seven years back. This picture and his illumination of the topic helped me to realise the 'what' of symbolic representation. What do you see in the picture? Is it a pipe? No, argued Rene Magritte. It is a picture of a pipe. The words on the picture says, "Ceci n'est pas une pipe." ("This is not a pipe"). Try filling the picture with tabacco and immediately we will realise that it is not a pipe. In fact, to further the argument, i would say that what we see here is an electronic picture of a pipe.

Magritte thus named this provocative piece "The Treachery of Images. If you want to find out more about this intriguing artist, see:

Henceforth this revelation, the penguins which I do have become "symbolic representation of a penguin." Surprisingly, when i went to a particular class of an all-girls primary school, they seemed to respond with understanding. They started saying things like:"Oh, i am now making a symbolic representation of a penguin" or a "symbolic representation of this and that." They waxed this statement until it reached a tipping point of being cool. Haha.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The Significance of Symbols

How do you enable and empower professionals to talk about their company or department work?

Method 1: Have an external corporate trainer provide training and facilitation. I presume a lot of technical terms and jargon will be used.

Method 2: Have the in-house trainer drill them with the Mission and Values and Strategic goals (again). OR

Method 3: Use air-dry clay to enable them to express their feelings, perspectives and the value-add that they can provide to their organisations.

Words can do that much. But an object which they make with the interaction of their left and right brains and their hearts will make a difference.

Look at the following examples and you will see the significance of using clay as symbols. The first part of the Creative Clay Conversations, which I created, is to teach them simple clay shapes which the participants can make themselves. Then the conversation begins.

"To stay healthy and happy"

" To be aligned with the mission and direction of my department"

"To play a central role in the staff development for people in different departments"

"The link between the departments"

If a picture can paint a thousand words, then using clay in creating conversations will be able to substitute ten thousand words!


Did you know that i watched this Award-winning show more than 10 times? I did it for my group assignment during my Masters in Applied Linguistics days. Director Baz Luhman (correct spelling?) did a fantastic job of directing the famous male and female leads. So much symbolism in it and so much literary stuff one can discuss.

But other than that, i love penguins and they found a way into the Moulin Rouge set

A Peek Into My Clay Studio

When you sign up for workshops with Leonard, you can be assured of a nice conducive environment to do something that you like. Ventilation is great and lighting is excellent for allowing you to see the details of your project. And because i really like what i do, you will go home with projects that you will want to keep for a long time.

Children who have come to my studio-home say :"Wow, uncle Leonard, you house is so nice!"

Thank you :-)

I use many types of air-dry clay. Because I like to experiment with new things, i am versatile with many types of clay.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

The Creative Clay Conversation

The Creative Clay Conversation is an original programme conceptualised by Leonard Kok, an experienced corporate trainer and senior facilitator of more than 10 years. A specialist in effective communication strategies, Leonard spent more than 6 years of facilitating and teaching air-dry clay to organisations in the private and public sectors.

The Creative Clay Conversation is based on the learning theory of Constructionism, which means that one learns through personal discovery of knowledge and its meaningfulness to themselves. Through the Creative Clay Conversation, participants will go through the process of self-discovery through expressing their thoughts, feelings and attitudes in creating clay artifacts that they can identify with. What we learn in the process of making things that we care about sinks much deeper into our belief system.

In this fun all-weather teambuilding activity, participants make colourful clay pieces which serve as metaphors to describe themselves, their organization and relationship with their colleagues. The session will include many creative and impactful experiential, hands-on, minds on, clay activities which engage the whole being and therefore produce honest and meaningful conversations -- conversations that bond the team.

The learning outcomes include:

1. Change Management
2. Team Vision
3. Team Envisioning
4. Infusing Corporate Values
5. Teamwork
6. Leadership styles
7. Working with limited resources

The Creative Clay Conversation enables your key stakeholders to breathe life into their own creations and transpose values into the colourful clay pieces. Instead of a file containing notes that are usually filed away, your key stakeholders bring back values which are infused into the artifacts - back to their workplace! We notice that when the stakeholders are proud of the objects they have made, they display them in their work areas. What better way to imbibe the organization's values!

Trying something new!

My perspective of lifelong learning is perhaps a view that is held by many people as well - Life is a long journey. How we make of the journey is up to us: whether we want to make it a long, boring and ardous drudgery or an exciting adventure depends on our perspective on learning as we walk life's paths.

Recently, a tuition student asked me whether i could do miniature canoe paddles for her canoe team in air-dry clay. However, i felt that it would not be realistic enough as the polysynthetic effect of the clay paddle may not convey the solid and straight, symmetrical shape of the paddles. I like wood craft and i proposed wood as a medium. She agreed. This is the result. I was very proud of myself ;-)

This is my first foray into wood craft. But it would be quite a while before i venture to start a woodcraft blog XP.

Christmas Gifts and Presents

It's the season for giving and receiving. It is, of course, more blessed to give than receive. I do customised orders for a more personal touch to your Yuletide planning. Whether it is a birthday present for the birthday boy or girl this special season, there's always plenty of ideas which i can provide. See some samples!

I am a professional facilitator and i facilitate private and public companies in creative teambuilding using clay. The latest one was held in Goodwood Park Hotel.

Penguin Wonderland 2011

I just love penguins. They are cute and intelligent, and of course in my previous posts I have talked about the love for these clever creatures. This year, i have included the use of Christmas lights to make Penguin Winter Wonderland.
Making use of lights significantly increases the time taken to complete the project as arranging the lights and effects, as well as positioning them for aesthetic effect, takes time. But the satisfaction outweighs the trouble and time taken.

See the video of the lit tree on Youtube:

Have a Blessed Christmas!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Penguins in Winter Wonderland!!!

The Yuletide season is here and all the penguins in Penguin Adventure Camp are all geared up for Christmas! As the helicopter hovers above the camp, all the penguins are seen to be enjoying different kinds of activties.

These penguins are not very difficult to do! For those staying in Singapore, i am conducting lessons during this holiday season. Do contact me at if you are interested ;-) For all organisations, if you want to organise a special event involving Peguins, i am the definite person to call!

Lessons in the polytechnic that i am lecturing in will be having a break as the students will be having their Mid-Semester Tests. So, i will only be meeting them again in Jan 2012. All the best to all my students.

I am continuing my marketing efforts to make PEAK PARADIGM a well-known Training and People Development Solutions company and of course besides the usual collaterals, printing brochures as well, i am also meeting clients and contacts.

I also signed up to be a fieldworker to document a well-publicised grave in Singapore, the Bukit Brown Cemetery! More on this as the events unfold.

Monday, November 21, 2011

My Biggest Project Horse & Updates

It has been a month since my last post! The reason? I have been struggling with many things of varying challenges, and one small pebble is the blog and FB updates. I was pondering for a looong while about the possibility of shutting down; or rather, MIGRATING my clay blog to FB. However, i realise through experience that there is a place for blogs after all, and one big reason is that i don't think FB postings are meant to be like blog posts. So, yes, i am back online again. Moreover, I have my PEAK PARADIGM Business website plus blog which i need to update also. Check out what i do: and my FB page:!/peakparadigm

Well, to play catch up slowly, i want to update you on the largest and most challenging piece to date: My horse. It has undergone three changes of colour, after some wear and tear from transporting from exhibition to exhibition.

This colour change also carries a spiritual theme: Man was the owner of all created things and he was the resident owner of the Garden. He was pure. (white) Then, of course, sin entered via the Serpent and the First and original couple was kicked out of Paradise. (Black). All creations then lived under the Curse until prophesy pointed to and was fulfilled in the Messiah, Jesus. We are wood, covered in GOLD.

Now this latest colour - GOLD- sits nicely in my study ;-)

Monday, August 1, 2011

Cultivate your passion!

It is interesting that with every birthday, the text in my post has become longer. Perhaps, it is the gradual de-censoring of my thoughts and feelings. Perhaps it is the gradual and personal revelation which matters more and more to me. To be true to myself.

Today is August 1,2011. I am getting somewhere and yet at a snail's pace in the direction where i want to head towards. Drips and draps of official opportunities in cultivating my passion. My thoughts for today, before i head to my tutorial, is this:

Passion, left unattended, will fade into the mundane rhythm of mere existence. Passion, focused and cultivated, will spark, ignite and flourish.-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Medium: a brand of Korean Air-Dry Clay. The blue fish is of course the early Church's symbol of Christianity. The colour is achieved by mixing it with white clay.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Here we go again!

Seasons come and go - before you know it, the (Lunar) Mooncake Festival will be here again. Festivals and occasions are traditional and cultural symbols. They anchor us to our roots and identity. They help us to mark time. Festival after festival; year after year.

The relentless tide of annual events carry us along our existence, silently and surreptiously. Soon, we stop counting for every 15th day on the lunar calendar, the moon fills the whole circle, only to be "crescentised" - then the rigmarole repeats itself. Time and tide indeed wait for no man.

Though this regularity, we can just go through the motions. Money flows in, the bills get paid, tuitions and enrichment courses get paid for, with the bonuses paying for big and small overseas family trips and nice things which we want as toys. And so it keeps us reporting for work and at the end of every work day, say "OK, another day, another dollar!"

I have enough of this.

I want to get unfamiliar with this mind-dumbing stuff. I want to do what i think is meaningful for my existence and at the same time, fulfil my role as a parent; and enable the less fortunate to have more opportunities. I believe balance can be achieved. I choose to believe that the social business pie is somewhat different from the dog-eat-dog, zero-sum-game-pie. I choose to believe that the idea of a social enterprise can work. I believe my idea can work. Which of course led to
My business plan is also affirmed by the professionals at Mckinsey Consulting, the Rolls-Royce of Consulting, who are so kind enough to listen to my plan for 30 minutes. The meeting, organised by the SES, turned out very encouraging for me.

Thank God for gainful employment, four months into my 'declaration of independence.' Opportunities and assignments are coming in. I am enjoying my time engaging students. But I hope the trickle of opportunities provided by the SES will turn into an outpouring. And that i don;t have to wait for another full moon to see things happening.

Picture - Mooncakes. Medium - a brand of Korean Clay. The colour stays vibrant and unlike the real mooncakes, this won't flake. There are many uses for these authentic-looking mooncakes. If you are keen to have a lesson or two, email me:
I do corporate teambuilding using air-dry clay as well. Enquiries are welcome.

For more information, check out
Check out my FB page as well:!/peakparadigm

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

New Pathways, Business Aspirations & Ideas

I am sitting here in a car machine shop at Sin Ming Drive, Singapore, getting my engine oil changed. My last post was in April, before Mother's Day 2011. As the old, sticky oil is being dripped, and new golden synthetic oil poured in, i am writing and updating everyone who has been tuning in to my posts an update of new pathways in my life and my business aspirations. Since April 2011, I have been on my own, with my training company PEAK PARADIGM.Check out my FB page here:!/peakparadigm. I am also lecturing in a good local polytechnic, and i am enjoying much of my time there. One particular class an IT class, has been a great source of happiness for me.

My public talk at Tampines Regional Library (TRL) last Saturday finally went 'on air' smoothly after some hiccups. The sign ups were not up to my expectations, very possibly due to the little publicity given; but the generally young participants enjoyed themselves. I didn't need to prepare much as i used leaves that were hand-made many months back as starting points for the participants.

The theme was hatched on Friday itself. Why not make it a red and white affair? Our National Day is just round the corner. Of course it made sense. TRL also made the event smooth by kindly providing 3 helpful student helpers who also would like some CIP (Community Involvement Prog) hours pumped into their student records. Nice touch!

A supportive student from SP came to support me and it added to the success of the talk. The pictures once again tell the sense of satisfaction of a well-spent hour and half. Thanks to Su San who coordinated this public talk. I am looking forward to more talks and public demos ;-)

I'll just sign out here and give more personal updates tomorrow and onwards. Cheers!