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.