Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Surround Yourself With Positive People

Tonight, I had dinner with a friend, who overwhelmed me with his negative baggage. He shared with me his hatred for Yucks (not his real name).

He blames Yucks for ruining his life, and causing his family distress. He then asked me, "How can I get back at Yucks?"

I replied, "You can't. Why don't you just ignore Yucks, get him out of your system and get on with life?"

He responded, "Easier said than done."

My friend is deep in a sea of negativity. He cannot focus on anything else other than Yucks. He is obsessed by the idea of vengeance, which means he is likely to sink deeper into the sea of negativity.

The sea of negativity is an area where all of us can fall into. In order to stay out of it, we need a plank to stay afloat and see beyond the sea of negativity. And the plank can come in many forms. For example, the company of positive people.

My former boss used to meet one of his friends regularly. Every time he met this friend, the friend would tell him a whole list of negative things. After a while, he started getting negative.

My former boss explained to his friend how increasingly negative he was becoming. He decided to meet this friend less regularly and sought the company of more positive people. Slowly, the support from his more positive friends made my former boss more positive again.

Likewise, I told my friend to find his plank in the form of more positive friends, unless he wishes to continue sinking deeper into the sea of negativity and risk losing more of his positive friends.

When we surround ourselves with positive people and thoughts, we have a better chance of becoming more positive.

Dharmendra Yadav

Sunday, May 29, 2005

Confronting Difficulties

Two months ago, I met a 17 year-old-boy who is an inspiration to me.

The boy's father died about two years ago. The surviving members of the family - wife and 2 children (including the boy) - did not inherit much from the deceased. His mother was a housewife and, until recently, she was jobless.

Debts continued to mount and the family's situation went from bad to worse. A year later, at 16, the boy had to come to terms with reality and accept responsibility of taking the lead in his family.

He now works part-time. He also helped his mother find a job. With the help of community leaders, he worked out a comfortable debt repayment plan with the family's creditors. He now looks after his younger brother, and makes constructive contributions to the community.

The boy is an ordinary human being. Even though he is not well-educated, he has shown an extraordinary potential in the things he has achieved.

He would put me to shame when I was 17, as I am sure he would many others.

The boy's experience has 2 key lessons:

1. When faced with difficult problems, we can do 2 things: ignore it or take responsibility. Taking responsibilty can help reduce the difficulty. If you ignore the problem, it will only get worse.

2. In order to achieve difficult things, we must have a strong reason to do achieve such things. Thus, if you have a difficult objective, find a strong reason to achieve that objective. Sometimes, the reason is inevitably thrust upon you; in such a situation, we should consciously make the reason our strength rather than a weakness.

Dharmendra Yadav

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Focus On Yourself Not Others

Many years ago, I met the brother of one of my ex-classmates. When we met, he was very shy and reserved. I decided to attempt to speak to him, and he soon opened up.

I found out, through that brief chat, that he was 12 years old and, he was preparing for his annual school assessment.

I keenly asked him, "What do you aim to score for this assessment?"

He replied, "I have to score 90 per cent."

I probed, "You have to? Why?"

He added, "Because my parents said this is what the top student gets."

The boy's use of words struck me. He had to score 90 per cent, in accordance with the wishes of his parents.

I worried for the boy.

He would grow up living the dreams of others, and meeting targets that others set for him. What about his own dreams and targets? Who will achieve them?

In accepting the dreams and goals set by others, we often forget about ourselves. And even if we go on to achieve them, there is little sense of pride.

We feel no ownership over these dreams or goals, because, quite simply, they are not ours. This can grow to be an unhealthy source of emotions.

A friend recently shared with me, "I often fall back into bouts of negativity and mini depressions. And recently, it got me thinking WHY. I've realised that I get negative when I start comparing my life with [what] it could have been... I think we lead our lives through the lens and opinions of others."

He has found a way out of this problem; a solution which he wants me to share with others.

His solution:
1. First, we must learn to live by the standards we set for ourselves, and not compare ourselves with others.
2. In achieving the standards we set for ourselves, we should constantly remind ourselves about our achievements.
3. We should constantly take stock of we have, and be thankful for what we already have.

While it is acceptable to aim to be the best, it is also good to be realistic about our goals. Some of us need more time to reach where the best are.

After all, it was a small step on the moon that helped mankind achieve a giant leap!

Let's pursue greater heights by focusing on the things that we can achieve and do.

Dharmendra Yadav

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Why Love Happiness

Recently, a person shared with me her plans about the future. She is going to study dentistry.

Without the slightest hesitation, I jumped in and listed all the things she should not be doing about her future. She was rather taken aback by my response.

Later that evening, I reflected about this incident. I tried to put myself in her shoes.

If I were in her shoes, I'd probably tell myself, "How dare he tell me how to live my future?"

I realised that by sharing with me she had meant to share and celebrate her happiness. I had, unfortunately, spoilt her plans.

Such incidents are typical in world surrounded by negativity. I am sure, at some point, we have tried to tell others "what we think is right", even though it may not be "right" for them.

It is a plague that involves many: families, friends, colleagues and even strangers!

This space is my personal attempt to confront my own negativity, and hopefully find the happiness I seek.

In making this public, I hope to share this happiness with others. Love Happiness is therefore an attempt to find happiness, share happiness and celebrate happiness.

In the time that is yet to be, I hope to share positive thoughts that inspire other positive people so that, at least, the world around me can become a more positive world.

Yesterday, someone shared with me his plans for the future. It was something he has always wanted to do: become a lawyer. I replied, "Great! Let's have lunch and celebrate."

You too are invited to share and celebrate your happiness, in order to help me make this difference.

Dharmendra Yadav

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Consult Public On Films Act

The time for consulting the public (again!) on the Films Act is now due. The Media Development Authority should activate its Films Consultative Panel for a public consultation exercise jointly with the Feedback Unit.


Recently there has been much public criticism about s. 33 of the Films Act (Cap 107). It provides:

Making, distribution and exhibition of party political films

33. Any
person who —
(a) imports any party political film;
(b) makes or
reproduces any party political film;
(c) distributes, or has in his
possession for the purposes of distributing, to any other person any party
political film; or
(d) exhibits, or has in his possession for the purposes
of exhibiting, to any other person any party political film,
knowing or
having reasonable cause to believe the film to be a party political film shall
be guilty of an offence and shall be liable on conviction to a fine not
exceeding $100,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 2 years.
The Films Act defines "party political film" as a film "(a) which is an advertisement made by or on behalf of any political party in Singapore or any body whose objects relate wholly or mainly to politics in Singapore, or any branch of such party or body; or (b) which is made by any person and directed towards any political end in Singapore".

The MDA has successfully applied this broadly; 'controversial' films have been banned.

However, the widely-publicised public criticism seems to indicate that MDA's position is not in synch with public norms/interest.


According to the MDA, the terms of the reference of the FCP are as follows: "The Panel is to provide for a more balanced and objective approach to film classification, in keeping with changing social mores. The Panel is consulted whenever a decision needs to be made on a controversial film."

As such, it would be within the FCP's mandate to conduct such a public consulation exercise to check if the position in s. 33 of the Films Act reflects current "social mores".

A public consultation exercise will not be new to the MDA. The MDA has often activated its panels in response to public criticism about the legislation under its purview. For example, in response to public criticism, the MDA recently conducted a public consultation exercise on its magazine content guidelines.

Such a public consultation exercise should be conducted by members of the FCP who are neither members nor donors of political parties in Singapore or overseas.

As the MDA did for its public consultation on the Code of Practice for Market Conduct in the Provision of Mass Media Services, the findings of the public consultation exercise on s. 33 of the Films Act should also be made available on the MDA website.

These measures will enable the public consultation exercise to be conducted in a neutral, fair and transparent manner.


Clearly, a public consultation exercise can help the MDA better decide on the way forward for s. 33 of the Films Act. And it should be done soon!

Dharmendra Yadav

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