Idea Sea

Singapore River

Singapore River

Melody & Lyrics: Jianxi Luo


When I wake up in the rain forest,
The wind breezes on the river.
When the sun rises in the banyan trees,
Blooming, Vanda Miss Joaquim.

When I climb up Bukit Timah Mountain,
I see you outside the bungalow.
You are wearing a batik,
Just like, a Peranakan girl.

You say you are from Temasek,
Have you ever seen the Merlion.
You say you are from Singapora,
Orchid flowers surround your home yah.

You say you wanna fly yah high yah,
When you look into the sky.
You say you are looking for a star shine,
One day, you find Gemini.

When the sun sets in the banyan trees,
The wind breezes on the river,
When the moon rises up to the sky,
You and I walk along the river.

When we listen to the wind,
When the wind breezes on the river,
When the river mirrors the moonlight,
You lean on my shoulder.

When the star shines on the river,
When the moonlight buries my mind,
When you hold me into your hands,
I remember, the night of Singapore River.

When the sun sets in the banyan trees,
The wind breezes on the river,
When the moon rises up to the sky,
You and I walk along the river.

When we listen to the wind,
When the wind breezes on the river,
When the river mirrors the moonlight,
You lean on my shoulder.

When the star shines on the river,
When the moonlight buries my mind,
When you hold me into your hands,
I remember, the night of Singapore River.
…Singapore River…

(Inspiration — this song is about how Singapore embraced me, and how I discovered Singapore. The “Peranakan girl” is a metaphor of Singapore. This song was first conceived and then composed in 2014)

Written by admin, July 5th, 2015 at 1:20 pm, Posted in Uncategorized

A Simple Model of “Happiness”

(This article was written in 2006)

We know humans never stay at a constant level of happiness from whatever we get. I am curious about how to answer this question: at what level of achievement, we will be able to reach the highest level of happiness.

First, the key variables in this problem are identified as,
H: Happiness
E: Expectation (>= 0)
A: Achievement (>=0)

So I propose the model with its assumptions to analyze the questions raised above.

Assumption I:

An individual’s happiness is proportionate to the gap between his achievement (what he has) and his expectation (what he wants to get), instead of the absolute level of his achievement. In another word, how much you own won’t determine how happy you are. However, how much more you gain than what you have expected will bring you a lot of happiness. Therefore, H (happiness) should be a monotonously increasing function of (A-E). Though I am aware that there are many other ways to describe the relationship, here I tentatively propose a simple linear model as below.
( Eq.1) H = m * (A – E) + n
where m is called an emotion coefficient, and n is an emotion constant. In particular, m > 0, and n > 0. n indicates the happiness level when the person right achieves what he has expected. This model is illustrated in Figure 1 below.

Figure 1 Relationship between Happiness, Achievement and Expectation

Assumption II:

We speculate that people tend to expect more as they achievement rises. Therefore, I propose an exponential relationship between E (expectation) and A (achievement), though there could be other choices for modeling this too. This assumes that, when human achieve something, they would expect more on that base of their achievement. The formula to describe this assumption is as below.
(Eq.2) E = k * exp ( l * A )
where k is called ambition constant, and l is ambition coefficient. In particular, k > 0, and l > 0. It says, more ambitious persons have bigger k and l. k indicates the initial ambition level when his achievement is 0. This is demonstrated in Figure 2 below.

Figure 2. Relationship between Expectation and Achievement

We insert Eq.2 into Eq.1, and then obtain,
( Eq.3) H(A) = m * ( A – ( k * exp( l * A ) ) ) + n
Take the derivatives of H with respect to A, then we get,
(Eq.4) H’(A) = m ( 1 – k * l * exp ( l * A ) )
(Eq.5) H”(A) = – m * k * l^2 * exp ( l * A ) < 0
Because H”(A) < 0, H(A) function is convex, the maximum of H is achieved when H’(A) = 0. According to Eq.4, we get
(Eq.6) A* = – log ( k * l ) / l
Based on Eq.6, we know,
When k*l >= 1, A* <= 0
When k*l < 1, A* > 0
These two situations are illustrated in the Figure 3 below.

Figure 3. Maximum Happiness and Related Achievement
Note: k and l are ambition factors in different aspects.

Therefore, for people with kl >= 1, since A*<=0 and the function is convex, their maximum happiness is reached at the time they haven’t achieved anything (A=0). For people with kl < 1, their maximum happiness is reached at some point of receiving achievements at certain level.

The indication here for people with greater ambition (kl>=1) is that, achieving more makes them less happy. This sounds striking!

This could also be a reminder for such “ambitious” people who want to get bigger happiness via making greater achievement. They’d better stay home doing nothing. Alternatively, they can change their personality first (change their k and l, but can this happen?), and then try making achievements to increase happiness.

Note: due to the simplicity, this model assumes the risk of being misleading…It is just for fun…

Written by Jianxi Luo, September 26th, 2009 at 12:31 pm, Posted in Philosophy

Moon Light Sonata

Written by Jianxi Luo, July 8th, 2009 at 1:55 am, Posted in Music & Arts

Sound of Autumn

Written by Jianxi Luo, July 8th, 2009 at 1:54 am, Posted in Music & Arts

Little Snowflake’s Wish

Little Snowflake’s Wish

Lyrics & Melody: Jianxi Luo
Piano: Ling Leng

Did you ever notice a little snowflake,
it bloomed quietly on your shoulder.
That encounter was so short,
but it’s the meaning of the snowflake’s life.

Moment will not stay forever,
no need of promise, but memory.
Snowflake melt away on the road,
don’t cry, coz’ love ever happened.

If melting may exchange for spring,
snowflake would leave with a smile.
Spring comes, sun shines, everyone smiles –
this is just the little snowflake’s wish.

(Repeat last paragraph)

Written by Jianxi Luo, January 20th, 2009 at 8:14 pm, Posted in Music & Arts

Three Elements for Growth: Read, Experience and Think

Confucius said: Studying without thinking makes you tired, while thinking without studying makes you confused. He emphasized the importance of integrating reading and thinking. Another ancient Chinese philosopher said: read ten thousand books, and walk ten thousand miles. Here walking stands for getting experience. This sentence emphasized the important balance between reading and experiencing.

However, I think either of them tells a complete theory. I believe, the internal growth or maturation of a person comes from the emergent effects of integrating and interplaying three necessary activities: Read, Experience and Think. I call them Three Elements for Growth.

Confucius did not cover the importance of experience on reading and thinking, and the relevance of experience to improving reading and thinking. The latter neglected the importance of thinking. Neither of the two theorems is as extensive and complete as the Three Elements for Growth.

The growth or maturation I mentioned above is the unique growth or maturation that belongs to the individual person’s invisible inside, including intelligence, personality and capability, while excluding the growth and maturation of physical bodies. Such invisible inherent growth and maturation is the result of the interactions, fusions and emergences of the three elements: Reading, Experiencing and Thinking.

Here, reading means general acceptance and absorbing existing knowledge. It includes reading books, taking classes, communications with people, or observing the phenomena and movements in the outer world, etc. Experiencing means participating physically in events or activities. What is read may guide or influence the process of participating and doing things, meanwhile experience and reading can stimulate thinking. When you read, you often think in the trajectories of the knowledge flowing in the book. If in your thinking there are resonance and conflicts between your experience and what you read, the accumulative learning effect is much better than purely reading a dead book. In practice, if you can agilely use the knowledge obtained from reading and thinking, you may achieve more. In the mean time of reading and experiencing, thinking is important as it can determine what to read and what to experience. It is difficult to form unique personality and capability when you do things without thinking, or read books without thinking. Only if you integrate and fuse the three elements, you can achieve your unique personality, capability, intelligence, and charm inside, and other software embedded in the hardware of your body.

Three Elements for Growth: Read, Experience and Think. None of them can be absent.

[This article was first written in 2007]

Written by Jianxi Luo, December 7th, 2008 at 8:50 pm, Posted in Philosophy

My Mottos

Here I’d like to share a few mottos of mine. It actually had been a long time that motto-like words often jump out of my brain randomly. In the summer of 2008, I decided to start this journy of noting down such words when they came across. The list is expected to expand as my life moves on.

  • A confident man is not sure if he can succeed but does not fear to fail; a conceited man believes that he can succeed and will not fail.
  • Thinking feels like climbing. Climbing has a top, while thinking does not.
  • Life is a trial; all the trials are to make a life.
  • Reading is a journey, journey is to read.
  • Between reality and dream there is no gap but hard work.
  • Three activities to make a person grow: Do, Read, and Think. None of the three can be absent.
  • Three “takes” of the criteria for a “man”: 1. Take responsibility; 2. Take pressure; 3. Take risk
  • If life is a game of chess, the insurmountable adversary will be yourself.
  • Giving up self is the last way to find self back.
  • Do extraordinary things, but be an ordinary person.
  • Since the world is something in our eyes, you can change the world by changing your eyes.
  • When you look at yourself as a water drop, your mind becomes the ocean that contains enormous water drops.
  • Being loved is fortunate, but being able to love is even more fortunate.
  • Life is hardly perfect. Don’t expect a perfect life in the real world, but a perfect atman in heart.
  • We don’t have to do everything, but we have to do what we have promised.
  • Ideal persists where reality is not surpassed.
  • Gaining should be motivated by the desire to give, while the activities to give should not be purposed for gaining.
  • Don’t be sad about what you fail to achieve, but be happy about what you have achieved. Don’t give up at your failure, and also never stop at your success.
  • I don’t know whether I can make it, but I know I can try it.
  • Answering a question is actually to search a rational boundary that makes the question answerable.
  • In a trouble, the inept complain, the weak bear, while the able change.

(to be continued…)

Written by Jianxi Luo, December 7th, 2008 at 8:47 pm, Posted in Philosophy

Complementary World Views: Conservation and Evolution

The two symbols “=”, equal sign, and “=\=”, unequal sign, from mathematics, actually may represent broader senses than math, and can be used to understand broader problems. Here I use them to represent two fundamental subjective world views/perspectives, which have been used, consciously and unconsciously, by the human being to explore and understand the physical world. The equal sign represents the perspectives related to conservation or balance, while the unequal sign represent singularity or irreversibility.

On one hand, we always question and answer how things and matters are balanced, conserved, or encapsulated. On the other hand, we always seek to know how things and matters derivate and expand in time and space. The three major laws of Newtonian Mechanics and the First Law of Thermodynamics, all use a conservation perspective to explain the physical world. Meanwhile, from a completely different angle, the evolution-based theories from Darwin’s to the second law of thermodynamics have implemented the perspective of singularity and irreversibility in seeking the truth of happening.

Your eyesight determines the world in your eyes. The fact that the world is as what is known by us may not just be because they are truly like that, but because we have consciously or unconsciously applied such perspectives as conservation and evolution. They have not only assisted us to understand the physical world and life better, but may also affect the results of understanding in our brain. Or say, the way to recognize has influenced how the physical world is recognized.

Recognition may be driven by two human instincts — questioning and the desire to know the answer. It is our instinct that we cannot tolerate we don’t know. Everyone has the experience of desiring to know something. We may be obsessed by confusion, and then struggle to know the truth that underlies what confuses us. Once we have an answer that works for that while, we temporarily feel comfortable, happy, and our mind enters a certain kind of balanced and stable status. When a passenger car runs on a flat road that the driver is familiar about, the passengers will feel comfortable because driving is easily handled. When the car runs on a zigzag strange road, everyone on the car will feel uncomfortable because of the anxiety about the uncertainty ahead.

The efforts to find the answer to the questions and to solve the confusion are human instinct that pursues balance or conservation, or a process to get comfortably self-encapsulated. Answering a question is actually to search a rational boundary that makes the question answerable. Once we believe in an answer, in fact we have entered a self-closed recognized system. Inside the boundary, everything can be explained by something else in the same system. In that case, we won’t feel confused, and will feel happy and comfortable.

Although, human always apply the perspectives related to balance or conservation to solve our confusions, the action forms may be very different. For example, science seeks for rules or laws to explain the routines by which the world operates. Both the perspectives of conservation and evolution are efforts to seek rules or laws. However, religion seeks a “person” or a “conceptual person”. All the occurrences or existences in the world are managed and arranged by such persons, god, Buddha, etc. We don’t have to try and seek more, and we just need to be simply happy because everything can be explained by such a super “person”. Both scientific laws and God’s arrangements are actually applications of the conservational perspective. In particular, don’t forget, this results from our irreversible and endless effort to solve the confusions.

Continuously having questions and confusions, and then seeking for answers, is another type of human instinct. Such behaviors themselves are also singular and irreversible. Just because of this kind of human instinct, and related activities, our recognition on the external world is irreversibly expanding, and the human society evolves and advances irreversibly. At the same time, the pathway of the evolution of human being’s capability of recognition has also affected the pathway of the evolution of human beings ourselves.

Confusion-solving, or say, the search to expand the time and space we recognize, is an instinct of human-being, and an instinct to get happiness and satisfaction in surpassing what had been unknown, unanswerable, and made us unhappy. Applying the conservational perspective to close the system’s time and space of recognition is also human instinct, and an instinct to search the answer to the confusion and puzzle in order for happiness and ease.

The uses of the conservational and evolutionary world views, symbolized by the equal sign and unequal sign, are for the same purpose: pursuing satisfaction in the process of finding answers to our puzzle and confusions, and pursuing the ease from status in which the puzzles are explained. The two complementary philosophical world views of balance and singularity, not only help expand our recognition on the objective and physical world, but also help us recognize our subjective and spiritual world, and establish healthy life attitudes.

Written by Jianxi Luo, December 6th, 2008 at 8:56 am, Posted in Philosophy