Truyện ngắn Kino của Haruhi Murakami làm mình nhớ nhiều đến “Lắng nghe gió hát”

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Writing Tips by Stephen King

A Pilgrim in Narnia

I’ve blogged from time to time about the importance of Stephen King‘s On Writing. It is a funny, moving, flawed, and priceless resource for those who dream of having their journal sketches become hardcover books.

On Writing is one of the books that changed my life.

It is also, I think, a pretty good resource for anyone who taps out their living on a keyboard–from storytellers to journalists, from preachers to teachers, from bloggers to speechwriters, from scholarly researchers to policy writers.

In preparing for my previous post on Stephen King and Danse Macabre I stumbled across this poster. Though it has the kind of professional staleness you’d expect from a publisher–boy, I’d love to see a good edgy graphic novelist or digital designer get ahold of this book–I think it is a great reminder of some of the bright practical points of On Writing. It…

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The Power of Positive Writing

Awesome post about being positive, not only within your thoughts, but also in your words, and one more level, in our actions.

A Writer's Path

by Jacqui Murray 

Have you ever read a book and found yourself feeling depressed or angry, or maybe just fidgety as you read? You might blame it on the tension and growing crises that are part and parcel to a developing plot, but then why does your subconscious keep pushing you to take a break? A good book is a page-turner. You can’t put it down. So what is it about this one that has you tapping your fingers even during the chase scene?

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11 Tips For Writing Fantasy

Resolution for 2019 – finish my story!!!

Nicholas C. Rossis

Fantasy woman | From the blog of Nicholas C. Rossis, author of science fiction, the Pearseus epic fantasy series and children's books Image: Pixabay

My entire Pearseus series (five books) is sci-fi/fantasy, as are some of my short stories. So I was pretty excited when I came across a post on Reedsy with some great tips on writing fantasy. I’m summarizing here (and adding a few tips of my own), but be sure to check out (and bookmark) the full post on Reedsy.

1. Identify your market

If you don’t know your market, you’ve already made a mistake. “Oh, my market is fantasy,” you might say. But is your story steampunk, urban, or dark fantasy? Are there elves or tech? Is it set in the modern world, or is it a re-imagining of an alternate past? No-one would instinctively group Harry Potter and Stephen King’s The Dark Tower in the same category.

Indeed, “fantasy” is such a broad genre that you’ll need to dig deeper to find your niche. Your subgenre…

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How to make the most of a sudden career transition

Back in September 2017, I ended my first job and was hoping to start the next in October, when I realized the new place might not be a good fit. I decided not to go through with the job offer, and was clueless on how to find another job within 30 days.

The thing about Singapore’s law, is your work pass must be applied by your employer, and the moment you leave the company, you are on 30 days visit pass. You have to return to your home country before the 30th day.

I was worried as hell on the first week, frantically applying for jobs days and nights. On the second week I started to going through the five stages of “loss-of-job grief”:

Denial Monday- this cannot happen to me!

Anger Tuesday – I’m so angry at the other company (although it was me who decided not take up the offer, I still felt angry)

Bargain Wednesday – if only I didn’t throw my resignation letter so fast… If only I waited until I got the approval from Manpower Ministry…

Depression Thursday – this is damn sad, I tried so hard, I went so far, but now I gotta pack my bags and go??

Acceptance Friday – time to move on.

Saturday and Sunday of course were for me to celebrate that acceptance.

On the third week, miracle happened. I got my first interview in weeks, after sending a bunch of CVs around. And by end of the week, I got the job! I was saved last minute, and boy how relieved I was.

Fast forward 8 months later, I was so comfortable with my job I started to plan things for a year later, my department was restructured.  My nightmare is happening all over again. Yet this time, I’ve come prepared.

Three things I took away from this sudden situation, are accepting with grace, listing out your options, and how to turn over a new leaf.

Accepting with grace

There is very little you can do once you are on the list of redundant position. Most of the time, restructuring is the business decision that came from the high-level management, it has nothing to do with your teamlead, your supervisor, even your department head. So try not to direct your frustration there, but understand that sometimes, a company, an organisation, will do what they have to do for business purposes.

It is unfair, yes. It is unacceptable, yes. But it is inevitable and unavoidable if it is decided as part of a whole company business strategy. You may have been with the company for 20 years, yet it won’t guarantee you a forever position. The faster you can accept it, the quicker you can bounce back.

It is also a good experience for me since I’m still young. This makes me realize how easily anyone can be replaced, and how day-to-day work should not be my only source of income, and my only life purpose. Yesterday I had a job, today I don’t. It’s a scary uncertainty, but it is a serious wake-up call for me to understand: life is what happens to you when you’re busy making plans. Are you prepared yourself enough?

Listing out options

One of the reasons I was so obsessed with finding a job to stay in Singapore the first time I was unemployed, aside from obvious practical prospect working in the most developed South-east Asian country, was because I couldn’t bear having a long-distance relationship. Although it is only two-hour flight from my country to my partner’s, I was not ready to work that out. I failed once, maybe it wasn’t the right person that time and I was different back then, but I don’t want to risk it.

However this time, I feel more ready. Because we both are serious about our future, I feel like we are willing to compromise. Once I got that emotional obstacle sorted out, I began to list other choices I have.

If I go back, there are plenty of other opportunities back home. Lower pay yes, but it isn’t a complete disaster. I would still survive, could still earn a living without paying for rent. I would live with family, can meet up with friends any time I want. I can even consider to work with successful acquaintances, to learn from them and to enhance my practical skills (if they would have me, of course).

We hold on to one thing, believing it to be the only choice we have, because there is emotional attachment. But if we take a step back, take a look around, look up and down, look left and right, we would be free from the cage of choices we invent unconsciously. Remember, we always have different choices, depending how we look at the situation.

The difficulty isn’t the issue. The real issue is our attitude to the difficulty.

Turning over a new leaf

Unlike people who have real skills like designers, engineers, accountants, bankers, financial advisers,… I don’t have a lot of choices in terms of applying for jobs. I admit the moment I knew our department’s fate was decided, I have had my resume ready to be sent to basically anywhere. I started to reach out to all acquaintances, friends, those I believe can see my potential and can lead me to the right direction.

When you lose your job unexpectedly, it will take a while to adjust to the fact that you now need to find another job, but it takes time to find something that is interesting, suitable that you are capable of doing. In my case, with time limitation (I only have 30 days after contract ends), lack of professional skills, and the constraint of Singapore’s rules upon foreign workers*, I searched up and down the job listing sites and applied to all possible positions that I’m capable of. It is exhausted and tired, demoralized even, because I was worried and felt like nothing could save me.

I managed to slow myself down, with help of my partner that it would be alright; my family who assured me not having a job in Singapore wasn’t the worst case scenario, from my friends (all over the world) who constantly cheered me up. They made me realized, it wasn’t the end of the world, it was just one thing ends and make way for other thing to begin.

From there, I just focus on finding the type of jobs that I’m most confident in, that spark in me an interest and belief that it will worth the effort. I stopped myself from worrying too much, since it doesn’t help and doesn’t benefit my state of mind. And prepare for all the interviews I could get. I only have one shot to prove myself.

It is important to try and turn our attitude towards the situation around. How hard it may seem, try find a silver lining and look on the bright side. Even if you have to fake the positivity, the optimism, just do it and you would see the whole thing under a new light, where it is much more bearable and solvable.

Another essential note: you can hardly do things all by yourself. Reach out to all of those you trust and ask for their advice and support. You will find a lots of useful insights to apply to your current situation, and you may even see different options to prepare and adapt. It just takes a few calls, messages or emails – but it helps you ease your mind and make it see things clearer, rather than dwelling too much on the negativity.

Fabricated truth

From @rcbregman – Rutger Bregman

Stanford Prison Experiment? A lie…/the-lifespan-of-a-lie-d869212b1f62

Robbers Cave Experiment? Hoax…/a-real-life-lord-of-the-flies…

Milgram Experiments? Debunked…/behind-the-shock-machine

Marshmellow Test? Nonsense…/2…/06/marshmallow-test/561779/

Bystander effect? Fake.

Majority of most important researches about human behavior and social psychology turned out to be fabricated. The researchers “created” circumstances, contexts, premises to push things going towards the direction they wanted – rather than letting it naturally flows.

We can take home the fact that people are willing to do anything to prove their points are right, or to create a false “reality”, “theory”, “scientific facts” if they have something they don’t want to lose – be it money, fame, power, pride, reputation….
For unknown reasons and unbeknownst to you, you may be led on to do things normally you won’t. Or pressured, not to act upon things, that normally you won’t accept to let it happen.

At the end of the day, whatever you do, or don’t, define you. So think about it carefully on whether it is worth your actions, own up on your decision, and ready to face consequences. Sometimes, you only need to answer to yourself.


Singapore – never-stop-learning country

“Modern careers are like nonstop conveyor belts — you have to keep moving and learning no matter what stage you’re at.”

Colonial Singapore was found in 1819, yet the people often celebrate the Nation Day every 9th of August, in commemoration of the Singapore’s independence from Malaysia in the year 1965. The country is 53 years old as of now, counting from the point of its official independence.

Fast forward to 2018, with population of around 6 millions, including permanentresidents and other foreign nationals, this Little Red Dot is among the most developed countries in the worlds, “the most “technology-ready” nation (WEF), top International-meetings city (UIA), city with “best investment potential” (BERI), third-most competitive country, third-largest foreign exchange market, third-largest financial centre, third-largest oil refining and trading centre and the second-busiest container port.” (Wikipedia)

From a humble beginning, the country was led by the phenomenal and remarkable leader – Mr. Lee Kuan Yew. Today’s government, while cannot deny its flawed governing methods and questionable policies, at the same time has big shoes to fill, but at least, they has tried to explore and provide its countrymen all possible opportunities to strive for something better, as a long term plan. In Singapore, as long as you are willing to learn, there are many places and ways to expand your mind.


Click below for the original article from Ted Ideas, published on Mar 6, 2018 / written by  

Could Singapore hold the secret to preparing workers for an uncertain future? 

It’s worth noting how Singapore is tackling a problem many nations share: An aging workforce whose skills become obsolete before their working years are over. The city-state is a bellwether for what’s happening in much of the developed world. An emphasis on education has led to a workforce weighted toward professionals, managers and executives. As demographics have skewed older, so, too, has the labor force. Looming continuously is the specter of job obsolescence. People must master new software, equipment, methods — and even different ways of interacting with others.

Singapore offers a simple yet elegant solution: “second-skilling.” Tay realized that in today’s economy, second-skilling — developing your skills in a sector other than the one you work in — is necessary for career resiliency; it gives you options and flexibility. That second skill can either complement the skills you’re already using in your current job, or offer a completely alternative path.

But who pays for second-skill training? The answer in Singapore is surprising. Thanks in part to Tay’s lobbying, every Singaporean 25 and older gets S$500 (about US$350) for skills training of their choice from the government through the SkillsFuture program. The money’s in a virtual credit account, and the government plans to provide periodic top-ups. It can pay for training in anything a person might want to learn, not just what their company needs them to know. “Many programs are already funded 80 to 90 percent,” says Tays. “So the five hundred dollars can be used to pay for the unfunded portions, which, previously, we had to fork out from our own pockets.”

How to predict what jobs will be out there? Pay attention to job trends and hiring forecasts. In Singapore, for instance, growth areas for the next five to ten years include advanced manufacturing and healthcare (thanks to the aging population). Singapore is also hoping to become an aerospace hub, so job growth is anticipated there too, says Tay.

Especially if time and money are tight, try to build your second skill out of what you are already familiar with. A friend of Tay’s started taking photos for fun while working in the computer sector. He built up his photography and business skills, and after a few years, he’s become a professional photographer, shooting events, weddings, still-lifes and nature shots, and he organizes trips around the world for people to take photographs. “What he was doing as a hobby became a passion that transformed his career,” Tay says.

You often have more talent and ability within you than you think. What’s exciting about second-skilling is that it’s not necessarily about a job. It’s also about respecting your multifaceted ability to be good at different things.

Watch Barbara Oakley’s talk from TEDxOaklandUniversity: