Newsletter 04: Don’t blink too long

I was a little afraid of driving my car on Friday.

My body and mind had endured a strenuous February. Every day (including the CNY holiday) was spent quietly staring into the maelstrom of deadlines and commitments, then getting each job done.

The ordeal finally eased off on 29th February but my body and mind still needed time to cover.

The next day, Friday the 1st of March, I was sitting in a training session for NTU lecturers and my eyes fluttered.

The dream world suddenly replaced the classroom for a split second. I can’t describe what the dream world looks like, except that it wasn’t a classroom and it has no background sound.

I blinked and the dream world retreated. I was looking at a PPT slide again.

Oh dear.

FYI, my dream world is strangely persistent. Major storylines carry on from one dream to another. I will remember in a dream about something or someone from a previous dream, but when I wake up, the world and its characters fade away quickly.

It’s very rare for my dream world to threaten to encroach reality, so I knew I had busted my physical and mental limits.

I like to tell others the ancient story by the philosopher Zhuang Zhou:

Once, Zhuang Zhou dreamed he was a butterfly, a butterfly flitting and fluttering about, happy with himself and doing as he pleased. He didn’t know that he was Zhuang Zhou. Suddenly he woke up and there he was, solid and unmistakable Zhuang Zhou. But he didn’t know if he was Zhuang Zhou who had dreamt he was a butterfly, or a butterfly dreaming that he was Zhuang Zhou. (Wikipedia)

I’ve lived and dreamed long enough to know that Zhuang Zhou might be right. The Dreaming Ian has a very different life from The Reality Ian. As someone who walks the the ancient Tao path while being a Protestant Christian, I am at ease with disparate realities. That also explains my “go with the flow” philosophy in work and life.

After class (in reality), I drove home VERY carefully, keeping my eyes wide open and not allowing myself to blink too long.

Obviously, I survived the drive home or you won’t be reading this.

Recapping my past week in reality:

Let your children live their dreams, not yours.

Generated in Midjourney by me.

Singapore’s disappearing bookstores

Another two bite the dust. Screenshot from The Straits Times.

My first online Gen AI workshop

A departure from my usual in-person workshops! Thank you to Marketing-Interactive for letting me run this Gen AI Masterclass.

Waiting for Google Gemini to get better

Google is force-feeding Gemini on all of us, but it’s still far behind ChatGPT. Microsoft’s Copilot isn’t that good either.

Conversing with a LinkedIn scammer

This post was done with zero brain power, but LinkedIn made it my most popular post of the week. Then, the posts I spend so much time on hardly get read. I will never get the LinkedIn algorithm.

I’m going to rest as much as possible this coming week as it’s the NTU school break. I also need to update my long-neglected ThinkTan website.

Till the next newsletter, adios!

Originally published 3 March 2024 on LinkedIn. Subscribe here.