Monday, May 31, 2010

Value of Money

Steven D. Hayworth, chief executive of Gibraltar Private Bank and Trust, is thrilled that his daughter will be working this summer at a women’s clothing store before heading to college in the fall. It is not the particular job that pleases Mr. Hayworth. Rather, he is hoping his daughter will make the connection between how much she earns each day and what that will buy.

Wealth Matters - Teaching the Value of Work to Children of Wealth - NYTimes.com

It seems so many of us can't make this connection: how much a productive person earn eachs day and what that will buy. The reason we can't make the connection is that, chances are, we are unproductive! In a country that guarantees unproductive government jobs and a private sector that relies mainly on expats to do the real work, it is very hard to really know what it is like to be productive and how much that earns you.

One of the comments, which I thought was interesting, on the above article says:

I have several friends raised in very wealthy families who have never found their way in life, because they didn't have to work. I wouldn't mind a very rich kid working in a volunteer capacity, as long as he or she had to show up in a workplace every day and accomplish certain real tasks--but that's the key. The slacking rich kids I know have never had to show up. It's true the money isn't going to be worth much to them; what's $8 an hour if you have millions in a trust fund? But success in any enterprise, from work to personal relationships, is connected tightly to the ability to show up and do a job carefully and well.

Teaching Wealthy Children the Value of Work - Bucks Blog - NYTimes.com

As a reality check think of how much maids (house help) make and what that gets them.. I guarantee you they are probably more useful and productive than 90% of the population!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Dalai Lama on Religion

Granted, every religion has a sense of exclusivity as part of its core identity. Even so, I believe there is genuine potential for mutual understanding. While preserving faith toward one’s own tradition, one can respect, admire and appreciate other traditions.

An early eye-opener for me was my meeting with the Trappist monk Thomas Merton in India shortly before his untimely death in 1968. Merton told me he could be perfectly faithful to Christianity, yet learn in depth from other religions like Buddhism. The same is true for me as an ardent Buddhist learning from the world’s other great religions.

Op-Ed Contributor - Many Faiths, One Truth - NYTimes.com

Enlightening words from the Dalai Lama on religion. He carries on about Islam:

Let me tell you about the Islam I know. Tibet has had an Islamic community for around 400 years, although my richest contacts with Islam have been in India, which has the world’s second-largest Muslim population. An imam in Ladakh once told me that a true Muslim should love and respect all of Allah’s creatures. And in my understanding, Islam enshrines compassion as a core spiritual principle, reflected in the very name of God, the “Compassionate and Merciful,” that appears at the beginning of virtually each chapter of the Koran.


Friday, May 21, 2010

Understanding Cameras

Centuries ago, a young boy in Japan was preparing for a long journey. “You will need much drinking water,” said his master. “Construct a barrel that will catch the rain.”

After a quick run to his local Pagoda Depot for supplies, the boy built a large barrel, open at the top. When it rained, the barrel filled quickly.

“Good,” said the master. “Now pack it up.”

“But master,” the boy protested. “This barrel is much too big and heavy to take on my journey — it might not even qualify as carry-on! I need a much smaller, lighter container!”

“A wise observation,” said the master.

“And yet,” said the boy, “a smaller container means a smaller opening, and it won’t catch nearly as much rain.”

The master nodded again. “Excellent, my son,” he said. “Now you understand the trade-off between digital S.L.R. cameras and pocket cameras. The S.L.R. is big and heavy, but it has a huge sensor that collects much light; you can get sharp photos even at twilight. The pocket camera has a tiny sensor that’s blurry in low light, but at least you won’t slip a disk trying to carry it around.”

And for centuries, that’s how it stood. People could buy a big camera with a big sensor, or a tiny camera with a tiny sensor.

State of the Art - Sony’s Entry in the Big Sensor-Small Camera Race - NYTimes.com

I have taken up an interest in photography lately but never quite understood the difference between the big cameras (SLRs) and the pocket ones. I thought the story above is a good way of explaining it. For those who are wondering too.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Nadal's Watch

The four-time French Open champion will play matches wearing a Richard Mille watch designed specifically for Nadal, with materials used in space exploration. Mille says Thursday there are 50 for sale—at a price of about $425,000.

Time is money: Nadal wears luxury watch at French - Tennis - Yahoo! Sports


Time for Rolex to come up with a watch for Roger Federer.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

In Arabic

THE Arabic language is dying. Its disloyal children are ditching their mother tongue for English and French. It is stagnating in classrooms, mosques and the dusty corridors of government. Even such leaders as the Lebanese prime minister, Saad Hariri, and Jordan’s foreign-educated King Abdullah struggle with its complicated grammar. Worse still, no one cares. Arabic no longer has any cachet. Among supposedly sophisticated Arabs, being bad at Arabic has become fashionable.

The Arabic language: A God-given way to communicate | The Economist

While other languages are important in this day and age, this should not come at the expense of our mother tongue. Often you see parents who can barely speak another language distance themselves from their mother tongue and take their kids to English or French schools. You even see them communicating with their kids in bad form of a foreign language. This is a pity. We should take pride in our language. The article carries on:

But that hardly means the language is dying. Arabic is the essence of
Arab identity. Arabs are inordinately proud of their linguistic
heritage. Handed down by Allah, many believe the Koran must be read only
in the classical mode in which it was written. Even non-Arabic speaking
Muslims force themselves to learn enough of it to read it. Stumble
though they may, Arabs from different countries are enabled by MSA
[Modern Standard Arabic] to
communicate.

Far from dying the Arabic language is dynamic and will continue to evolve.