Thursday, November 6, 2008

Public Forum on

"Enhancing Our Physical Environment" ,organised as part of the public consultation process by the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Sustainable Development (IMCSD), chaired by the Minister for National Development, Mr Mah Bow Tan, together with comments by 3 panel members:-
1.Mr Tai Lee Siang, President, Singapore Institute of Architects and Director, DP Architects.
2.Assoc/Professor Lee Siew Eang, Director, Centre for Total Building Performance, School of Design and Environment, National University of Singapore(NUS).
3.Dr Shawn Lum, President, Nature Society.

Date:Thursday, 6 November 2008
Venue: The URA Centre (
Forum started from 7:05pm, ended at 9:25pm.
Many passionated public speakers proposed many great ideas and one member got carried away with his arguments on 'commuters network system'; while another suggested that the public should reduce eating meat to conserve energy; and many biodiversity subjects. Great team learning experience for me, too.

The Reflective Citizen: Have the unnatural developments replaced many natural developments in our nation building? Have you had the experience of moving off too quickly just to discover that you are on the wrong track? It pays to slow down sometimes to examine our present reality situation and take critical stock on ourselves. For reflection is a very important aspect of learning and leading to higher learner-ship.

It is important that national leaders and citizens engage in reflection. Many changes have taken place in the work of citizens in ROS(Republic Of Singapore). Reflective citizen invest time in thinking through his/her citizenry life. He/she thinks back at a difficult situation in the country and looks at the situation from a variety of angles. A reflective citizen engages other leaders in discussing practical issues and generates knowledge and insights into everyday problems. We want to (not "have to")engage actively in such reflective practices.

Reflect: Why are we doing what we are doing?

Reflect:Are we more concerned about citizen learning citizenry or country ranking/result?

We seldom reflect upon such questions because the world around us is moving so quickly and we are usually caught in an operational mode rather than reflective mode. But how can we learn deeply if we only engage ourselves in doing? How about the being? Sometimes, fast is slow and slow is fast.

If we do not reflect, do not pause and reflect together with our fellow citizens, when we think that we are doing something different, we may just be doing more of the same thing, and copying others without insight, but in a different way and calling it innovation. The spelling "innoza" is coined and used as Health Wealth blog address "" is to set our thinking from the last letter 'z' to the first letter 'a' in search for true innovative learning.

"Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and each time expecting a differing result."

Reflect: If we do not axe the root of the weeds in trying to rid them, when spring wind blows again, the weed will surely blossom once more. How many times have we fought 'fire' without actually tackling the root causes of the problem? If we can solve root causes, then we will have addressed many related symptoms at one go. Only by addressing symptoms and not the root causes, we can be tricked by an illusion that the problem has been solved.

Reflect: Have we proverbially 'barked!' up the wrong tree-symptoms many times? Energy wasted.

If a problem is urgent, find a quick symptomatic solution to buy us time to look seriously again for a more fundamental solution. But, if a problem/issue is not urgent, do not be hasty. Look for a more fundamental solution.

Reflect: Quick fixes may have side effects that make the present problem worse. For example,certain slimming products in the market today may have side effects that will only hit us after a few years. For a while, the product may appear to promote weight loss. But after some time, other health problems will set in. Now we have a more severe issue at hand. The 'cure' promise can be worse than the problem. Use water-cure protocol found in this blog.

I met one bright student, Arif, from Woodgrove Secondary School, together with his three schoolmates, all in school uniform together with their lady teacher after the forum. This school had some interesting experiences for us to learn from its journey to develop into a Learning School.

The Learning Organisation Journey of Woodgrove Secondary School

The first baby step of creating a Learning Organisation in Woodgrove Secondary School began even before the school building was ready in November 1999. The principal and a group of 17 staff huddled together every other day, in makeshift workrooms to visualise and work on creating this new organisation together, based on their dreams. The visualisation process created a powerful force , a congruency of spirit and mind, matched by positive behaviours. Truly inspired by the infinite possibilities of transforming pristine white walls into art galleries of students' work and waterlogged grounds into a resort style organisation, the starry-eyed got down to work - dirtying their hands from day one !
It was a journey of labour ; a journey of love.

The two months before January 2000 were critical in shaping the culture as the staff began operating on the basis of openness and trust; respecting everyone regardless of role or job-position, believing that everyone will contribute in a unique way to produce distinctively interesting school reflecting the diversity of talents amongst them. A Unique Singaporean Spirit indeed in progress.

The Woodgrove Secondary School welcomed her first batch of 316 students in January 2000. Since then, Woodgrovers have been growing by about 300 students each year till year 2004 when the figure stood at 1318 in 35 classes. The majority of the students come from the lower social-economic-strata who live in 3 or 4 room flats in the neighbourhood with a handful from afar.

The dream of Woodgrove Secondary School is vividly captured in the school crest:
"A picture of peace and serenity under the Woodlands sky. Excitement pulsates in the air conveying the promise of hope and joy, of happy beginnings!
The school logo depicts harmony in a perfect relationship of love, respect and care; two birds in gentle repose upon a sturdy unyielding branch. A nurturing environment resonant with the sound of young life - the chirpy song of birds, happy folks at work and play in the Woodgrove. Come follow your dreams." (Source: Woodgrove Secondary School Personal Planner, 2000) Now I know why Arif and his three schoolmates together with the dedicated lady teacher reflect this spirit and their presence at the Public Forum.

"Every Woodgrover will have the spirit of teamwork and integrity and uphold the belief of nation before self." (The School Vision)
"To nurture Woodgrovers into caring, responsible and gracious citizens of the future." (The School Mission)
"We believe in creating a vibrant learning environment for all. A second home where we grow to become caring, responsible and gracious citizens of the future." (The School Philosophy).


Yellowfruit said...

Good blogging.

Its ME said...

Hope all readers and bloggers are enjoying the present moment in life with Healthy Wealth and sharing the simplicity in living in peace during this trying crisis.

Seek wisdom and mercy.