- David Ferry’s Beautiful Thefts | The New Yorker
“One reason people’s aversion to poetry sometimes passes over into strong annoyance, or even resentment, is that poems steal our very language out from under us and return it malformed, misshapen, hardly recognizable”.
- Poet’s Kinship With the President | The New York Times
“‘Richard was always a complete engineer within poetry,’ Professor McGrath said. ‘If you said it needs a little work here or there, a whole transfiguration of a poem emerged. He understood revision not to be just a touch-up job but a complete reimagining, a reworking. I know that’s connected to his engineering skill.'”
- The pun conundrum | BBC News
“The late William Safire, the New York Times’s long-time language writer, wrote in 2005 that a pun ‘is to wordplay what dominatrix sex is to foreplay – a stinging whip that elicits groans of guilty pleasure'”.
- Samuel Beckett meets the Teletubbies | Improbable Research
A possible reason why the Teletubbies always had that element of “[n]othing happens, nobody comes, nobody goes, it’s awful!”.
- “Jane Austen, Game Theorist”: Full Transcript | Freakonomics
“…in Pride And Prejudice, Mrs. Bennet is not a very sympathetic character, and she seems to be very foolish. But if you look at what she accomplishes it’s pretty good. She gets Jane married and she even sort of incentivizes Lydia…the younger sister, who in a very sort of crisis-y kind of way…runs off with Wigham without being married, which is a scandal. But I argue in the book that maybe she does that because she realizes the only way she can get some money in her marriage is to marry somebody who is not necessarily super committed to her…to create [a] crisis situation so the richer members of her family will then solve the problem for her. And that’s what happens”.
Tag - economics
So, many of my friends and loved ones have paired off or are pairing off.
I’m happy for all of them. Unfortunately, not all of them are happy, and some want out.
In a case like this, what’s the best way to decide?
The conventional decision-making process utilises happiness to decide whether to stay or to go.
That’s not wrong, but the focus is – because it usually tends to be on: are you/am I happy with X?
I’ve come to realise – from both conversations and experience (recent and otherwise) – that this question needs to be reframed so that we address the more pertinent issue at hand – that of added value.
Because the thing about love is that it isn’t merely about value i.e. happiness with X; the thing about love is that it’s about added value i.e. how happy X makes us feel about ourselves.
Assuming ceteris paribus – i.e. we’ve cleaned up our act and sown all the wild oats we need to sow, we’ve let go of any issues or people that need to be let go of, etc. – the real question we should be asking ourselves is:
Does X make me more awesome than I already am?
I’ve seen it in the friends and loved ones who are happy, and I’ve felt it for myself too: a good partner is someone who explicitly supports you in becoming better than you already are.
And rightfully so – if being with someone constrains you; curtails your development as a human being; turns you into a shadow of your awesome self, then is that person really good for you?
It’s applicable to not just love, but at work and in friendships and family relationships too.
For as hard as it may be, all of us will need to cut the strings to relationships that are toxic or stunting at various points of time in our lives.
In making those decisions, we shouldn’t let past happiness or promises of future bliss cloud our vision.
What we should be doing, really, is focusing on the fundamental issue of how much X will be able to help us grow.
And if that growth is going to be minimal, negligible – or even negative – then I’d say you know the answer for what you need to do to be happy.
I refer to the letter “Rest day exception for caregiver domestic workers?” (Dec 20).
All employees – domestic workers or otherwise – deserve a weekly day off (or more) to recharge and recuperate.
However, this creates a conundrum: when caregiving domestic workers are given a day off, no one else will tend to their care-receiving charges, such as wheelchair users or frail seniors.
Instead of doggedly demanding that caregiving domestic workers carry on working on their off days, let’s tackle this problem creatively.
I propose a solution with these three Ps:
- Part-time employment.
A job market is created for part-time skilled caregivers who are willing and able to tend to care-receivers on weekends – so long as the remuneration is commensurate with market wages.
So as not to penalise families with the increased financial burden, the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Social and Family Development can look into increasing the size and the scope of the monthly Foreign Domestic Worker Grant to cover this additional cost.
Alternatively, affected families can be allowed to claim a Caregivers’ Relief.
- Peer support.
If there is a shortage of skilled care-givers, the Council for the Third Age can facilitate the provision of caregiver training to retirees.
This allows actively aging seniors to be involved in taking care of their lesser-abled peers.
- Pop-up weekend daycare centres for care-receivers.
Temporary centralised facilities are set up in convenient locales around Singapore on weekends.
Economies of scale will allow, say, three part-time caregivers to tend to about eight care-receivers. This also allows families to pay a lower caregiving fee since more families share the cost of paying for caregivers’ wages.
The facilities can be located in void decks, for example, and be removed at the end of the day so that the spaces can be utilised for other purposes on weekdays.
Laremy LEE (Mr)
(Published as “Three-part solution for weekend caregiver issue” on 29 Dec 2012 in TODAY.)