The Inside Scoop: Ask Agnes

COUNTDOWN T Minus 7 Days

I decide I am going to stop trying to tell the story of Bilberries Blue Inaugural Microsummit. It hasn’t happened yet. The point of it is the discovery and the making of it. Not the planning and the executing of it.

And then, I get my Saturday Afternoon and the rest of the next 7 Working Days back to enjoy the making of something truly new, and magnificent.

 

Saturday Afternoon – June 29, 2019

 

“You have to love it, you know,” I talk to no one in particular.

 

Whatever it is you find yourself undertaking, you will find that it gets incredibly difficult to sustain if you don’t like the work, and you don’t know the reason for being involved in the work. The people and environment will keep changing, and if it is the people who are the reason for your being a part of that culture and economy, then, your heart will have to be very strong, because people come and go, and so do markets, institutions and economies.

 

Whatever it is that I love, I have found a way to engage with it. To understand the depth of the mechanics of how it works. I think we find many structures of understanding for bodies of work or knowledge, and we label them, and then they get different degrees of authority and corresponding monetary values being associated with the knowledge.

 

Knowledge is just really knowing how to do something. If you know how to twirl a pencil, you already have knowledge. If you can share that knowledge, meaning you are able to show someone how to twirl a pencil, and you can do it systematically enough, you have a classroom of pencil twirling learners.

 

If you then collectively twirl a massive amount of pencils, then you could collectively potentially harvest wind.

 

You become like a mechanical turbine.

 

If you know every person whom you have taught to twirl a pencil, like he or she becomes a friend, you have many friends.

 

How you teach the pencil twirling is up to you. It most likely depends on the person’s interest and reason for twirling pencils.

 

If a person comes to you because he wants to harvest wind (by twirling pencils) for creating electricity, you would have to say to this very keen learner, I can only twirl pencils.

7178fce7-2062-443b-ba12-6bd0b607e893I Can Only Twirl Pencils
PEK with Uncle Ramalingam
Street Entrepreneur since 1959

Jalan Panglima, Ipoh, 2019

And humbly make a bid for a collaborative exchange like, “Can you show me how to convert twirling into electricity after I show you how to twirl pencils?”

 

He might look at you with scrutinising eyes, and say, “OK, but we might need to visit Agnes.”

 

Then you say, “OK. But I owe her a story.” The real truth is you owe Agnes one story which you can’t spin together, for the life of you, but you don’t tell your electricity collaborator, because he might not be impressed (with you not being able to spin just ONE STORY.)

 

So you say, “Ask Agnes.”

fa9dd086-c4f8-4237-87d6-2bf8d3378c38Hand on Landmower
Photo of Agnes hand on landmower
Schiedam, Netherlands, 2019

 

And so both you and your collaborator go to see Agnes.

 

And then now Agnes gets a bit annoyed, because, we haven’t got the first story, and then a second story starts PoP-Ping up, and Agnes asks him for the electricity story, and looks right at you for twirling pencils when you are supposed to be writing The Story That Unifies It All.

 

So you try again, and speak again with some kind of a reclaimed innocence, “I was just doing what I love.”

 

And what I hope to know is really how to twirl it all together.

 

Agnes says, “What is the relevance?”

 

I say to Agnes, “Ask him.”

7effa7f4-eb03-4bd7-ae57-551c6a4e0abePEK with Harry
ThinPandam
Street Entrepreneur since June 2019
Jalan Panglima, Ipoh, 2019

 

And then when she asks him, he says, “Ask Aunty Ooi.”

img_9620Aunty Ooi
80 year old Street Entrepreneur since 1968
Stadium, Ipoh, 2019

“Who is she?” asks Agnes.

 

It looks like someone has turned up to say that she could use the new electricity to charge up her heart.

 

“Whatever for?” Agnes asks.

 

Someone pipes up suddenly from nowhere, “So that we can do the stuff we love.”

 

Agnes frowns and everyone starts to go, “Oh, Oh, You didn’t get the brief?”

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“What memo?” Manju turns up, “I just got back in from China.”

 

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The Inside Scoop: The Shape of Me

COUNTDOWN: T minus 7 days

I keep not being consistent. I started with the number of countdown days to Bilberries Blue Inaugural Microsummit and then I realised, I can’t count the weekends, and I started counting working days, and then I slip behind in my daily targets, and then I –

 

Work on a Saturday morning right out of bed.

 

I call this a Project Management True-up.

It means catch-up, or rebooting, or complex dynamic adaptation.

 

 

Friday June 29, 2019

3pm Concall to discuss Bilberries Blue, Food Forest Farm and Moonriver Lodge interstories became me on a Grab with Vincent on the way to 10 Square @ Orchard Central with two boxes of Art Teacher Stuff getting ready for Mirrors Before the Sun, an inclusive art workshop for children and youth, with a whole bunch of old memories of dreams of Landing Space and CharKOL in our 30s finding a new renewal and continuity in this new fire and re-commitment by the usual suspects of my life in our approaching 50s.

img_0092The Art Teacher Loading The Art Boxes onto the Boot of a Grabcar
Singapore, 2019

 

Vashima PoPs-up

img_0212Vashima meeting Leng for the first time
10 Square@Orchard Central

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Then Vashima PoPs up at the end of The Inclusive Art Workshop to work on the pedagogical documentation and I woke up being greeted by a video of Day 1 of Mirrors Before the Sun – The Inclusive Art Workshop. I don’t know what inclusive means anymore as for me, the state of existence already includes everyone, and it is by way of choice and composition that one calls a grouping of something this or that, and suddenly, the beautiful art-making of conceptual organisational ordering became for me, something the order of:

 

The Shape of me

Back to the story of the concall. I briefly gave a sketch of my plan, how I am behind by two days, and then parents and children started to arrive, and I am with my iPhone, my ear piece plugged in attending a video conference call between Singapore, Ipoh, KL and Schiedam, turning the camera away from my face to giving a visualisation of the space of 10 Square, greeted parents, settled the families into the art studio, and then whisked out my action cam and stuck it into my pocket, and trusting that the wide angled lens will record something fascinating, we rolled into action with the kids, parents and helpers to find everyone just lighting up, inside, outside (upside down) and there are no words for something like this.

 

The above is action prose poem, not.

 

But it does get exhilarating like this when I try to be a documentarian who is also in the action.

Vincent Unloading The Art Boxes
10 Square@Orchard Central Art Studio
Singapore, 2019

And I ask myself, why do I do this to myself? A part of it is Martin Seligman’s PERMA and this is what it takes for my personal eudaimonia to pop, but largely it is because, I am trying to see how things really work with people, and what are the circumstances and environment that bring joy and nurture that deep sense of connectedness and coming into one’s own.

 

The shape of me, I realise, is my body in space, that organism that is a physical human body, and then there is the mental me – which is my conception of me. There lies the identity of me. How I draw that map in the terrain of society is how I am relating, and how big or small or what shape I am is about this mental relational.

 

I think I am getting at structure.

At yesterday’s art workshop little 7 yo J built a 3d structure on his collage piece. And 12 yo K was thinking of how to glue a box of coloured pencils onto his piece after he decided to put a shoemark on the glue. And little 8 yo K layered her work, and 20 yo N carefully laid out her work and gave colours and shape to her emerging landscape piece, and 20yo A, moved his composition several times in maybe 10 different ways, belting out his rendition from Annie the musical, “Tomorrow! Tomorrow! The sun will come out tomorrow! I love ya tomorrow! It’s only a day away!”

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The shape of Hope looks like this. It was dynamically constructed, and the structure shifts even as the components discover. The form-making is dynamically adapting to the needs of the community of the space and the relationals of that microsociety. That complexity, when freed from a more structured pattern language of relating in a group, becomes the space of the unknown that many prefer they don’t have to navigate through, because it takes high energy to relate to fresh new relational data. And like everything new, it requires constant change, until a common ground is established. Yet as soon as a form coheres, it shifts.

 

Chronicles of a Semi-Liquid-Semi-Solid Occurences

I am reading “Chronicles of a Liquid Society” by Umberto Eco. I told Stefan about it and his response was, “At some stage, we would have to become solid.”

 

I am not sure. I think a human body is solid, but the human mind can grasp from the Big Bang to the black hole and represent space-time interdependencies on bobbles and charts, with very good Physics storyteaching by Brian Cox.

 

A Very Pulsating Walk from 10 Square

I said to Vashima at 7.30pm yesterday, while walking between 10 Square to the Somerset bus stop, with zero contact with my family (as my iPhone battery finally decided to go flat and I had no power bank backup), was that, “This time, I am going to rework my pattern language so that I don’t burnout. That means creating my personal generative code.”

And I said to her, the difference now is that I let it go. I let go my plan. I would still make the plan to frame, but I would need to do dynamic true-ups as I am living the plan, which actually isn’t the plan anymore but action research. But actually, the research becomes a dynamic reflective practice and I become a practitioner instead, of my own generative coding.

 

Now if the form keeps adapting, what is the goal that one can track and still be confident that one hasn’t gone off track?

 

For me, I think that continuity is health and wellbeing. And that ability to reground into the centre of joy. It is always a little bit about playing badminton for me when I am in action play. Try to play each shuttlecock (actually, whack it) and always go back into the centre while waiting for the next shot. I used to play competitively, and the rewiring I am making myself rework now is to play collaboratively.

 

Collaborative creative work is really a little bit of a jaunty ride.

After 20 years of doing this, and investigating kickstarting projects, programmes, products, services, enterprises, family(!), I realise, it’s not about scalability. Growth isn’t about scalability. It is about adaptability.

 

The scalability is about the connectivity. The multitudes of connections that one can build and cohere with others that are stable, for different circumstances. That which we call an ecosystem.

 

An an ecosystem where the common goal is health and wellbeing: personal, social, planetary.

 

The words, the description, the process, the form of organising, I think these become more like art – personal and universal at the same time, uniquely spoken and in many ways, rapidly iterating to communicate the necessary between groups and subgroups of relating.

 

Common Exchanges

Whether the exchange is a market exchange, as soon as two human persons engage, there is something of two identities having to navigate and decide a common ground which speaks for both identities authentically and agreeably, happening.

 

And so, the shape of me, would have to be also the shape of you, and what would the two shapes put together – look like? Be described? Be communicated? Be open for the engagement of another shape of the new other?

 

A Bag of Water

“Unable to perceive the shape of you, I find you all around me. Your presence fills my eyes with your love, it humbles my heart. For you are everywhere.” – Attributed to Rumi

I remember listening to Eileen Heisman speaking at a lecture organised by the Community Foundation of Singapore. She was sharing her journey as a philanthropic entrepreneur. She said that it is about being a bag of water in the freezer.

My takehome after that very inspiring evening was this note to myself:

  • You allow yourself to take the shape of the gaps of needs.
  • You become that momentary solidification of that gap. Of that new bridge. You become a space for the new relating. You become like a chemical bond for a new compound to become.

That’s what responding entrepreneurially to needs mean, for me.

 

Doggedly Terrified

I have scheduled another concall with Agnes on Tuesday, and I am terrified! I can’t pass up my homework.

Bilberries Blue remains doggedly wide open.

 

Ken Yong said, “I like the wild open.”

 

On Monday, July 1, I will share our forest journey. And since I am working ahead, that would make me a “precrastinator” (ref not named as there is a pop quiz prize for this).

 

Bilberries Blue Interns

Back to Friday, Winnie sent me a text. Internship! Our kids are getting ready for the workplace. And so, Bilberries Blue Interns will be PoP-ing up soon, and as I don’t direct anymore, the interns shall design their own internship!

Watch out for MEETINGS.

 

8pm with Vashima.

That walk from 10Sq to the bus stop took us a delicious, reflective pondering of 1 hour. What changed in my pattern language? I let go. Let everyone lead the way forward in each of the archetypes. Which means I kinda fire myself as the chief designer and engineer. And eventually, chief yakker.

 

9.00pm Friday Paktor Night

I made my Friday datenight, after my dinner date had finished his dinner. Thankfully, he greeted me with a smile and I didn’t have to go into the doghouse. Which will be tough because, we live in a condo and we don’t have a dog.

 

Saturday – Half Day Working Day

And this morning, I choose to be – liquid – glue.

And I WordPress this. And shut down the computer for 1.5 days.

 

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The Inside Scoop: The Mad, Frantic Prep for (Behind the) Mirrors Before the Sun

T Minus 9 Days AND 8 Days

This is NOT Good. My perfectly planned planning THE MICROSUMMIT PLAN got whisked out by the whirling reality of time, distractions, and procrastination. I watched a TED Talk on Procrastination and convinced myself: “I am not an instant grafitication monkey!” If you can tell me which TED Talk this is, I’ll gift you one PoP Quiz prize!

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A sharing with Vincent, my collaborator. He said I am his collaborator so I guess I am.

We (He is) are preparing for an Inclusive Art Workshop, and I am supposed to get ready for the BB Microsummit. But I got distracted by all the art stuff. Especially MIRO.

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Here’s Vincent and Mr Grumpy. Mr Grumpy is Vincent’s Art Teacher Helper.

 

Here’s the Art Garb – Everything the Art Teacher Needs.

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Here’s Vincent frentically preparing, and me highly distractedly wondering how to tell stories about 12 archetypes of the ESG Economy and all the wonderful people who have been part of the co-prototyping and co-building of it all. And there are quite a few of us.

 

The hope came from many heartspaces. Many, and so many dreams, and we are still dreaming. The doing, we find, and the keep doing, is what we are finding out. The stories write themselves, and we live it, and then live to share the stories.

I read the chapter on “Non-Trivial Economy” in Nora Bateson’s book, “Small Arcs of Larger Circles: Framing Through Other Patterns”.  I carry her book everywhere I go so that I can get to know Nora, and be able to dialogue with her regarding stuff. Stuff that matters to us both. To our hearts.

Maybe it isn’t about Currency. So I stopped frentically buzzing in Shenton Way today, to unpack all my boxes of art materials. All the art books, all the collection of art made by children. Memories of charKOL flood my being. I have no chance.

Meet Mervyn, a Logistics Entrepreneur. He runs his own van, and he helps me transport stuff around.

Suddenly, Winnie who has been co-founding One Love with me texted me this morning. I haven’t had the chance to update her. I said, “Would you mind if I just add you to Bilberries Blue? I’ll explain later.” She texted back without missing a beat, “Sure.”

Suddenly, I am late for a Zoom Meet with Agnes, who wants to talk to me regarding our stories. I am still not following the brief, and it has been six months since she asked for my homework – ONE A4 Page About My Why.

That was a disaster.

But not this.

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The Inside Scoop: Economics-Non-Economics

Countdown T Minus 9 Days

img_9988Yoda and Darthy staring at Yong Tau Foo
Lau Pa Sat, Singapore, 2019

June 26, 2019 – In Need 

I am plugged in. (Listening to “In Need” by Sheryl Crow). I am rained out. I am staring at a very big fan.

img_9992-1

The chimes of the clock tower in Lau Pa Sat remind me of the Ipoh clock tower I had just driven past last week.

img_9639Clock Tower
Ipoh Old Town
Ipoh, Malaysia, 2019

I think of Boston, I think of London. I think of Zurich.

img_9813Boston, 1995

img_9811.jpgLondon Bridge, London, 1997

img_9839.jpg
Zurich, 2013

They are all financial capital cities.

In every city, there is a City. A financial hub.

In that hub, transaction support guys. Transaction Support. The exchange of corporate-related property rights. Be they shares/equity instruments, loan instruments, tangible assets, intangible assets and derivatives of these. And there will be accountants. I know lawyers are still called lawyers. Company secretary is now corporate secretary. I don’t know what accountants call themselves these days. Inside me, I am still an accountant, I guess.

I went to the City today.

img_9971Lau Pa Sat, Singapore, 2019

When I was younger, I would go into the City for work. Today, I went to see a friend.

ae252d95-d027-4f71-8271-002742cee762Sandra Seah & PEK
Bird & Bird Singapore, SGX Centre 1
Singapore, 2019

She lifted a ton of heaviness off my shoulders and my heart. I had imagined friendships in Ipoh Old Town, and now I am living friendships in 2019 Shenton Way. My heart is soaring. Maybe it isn’t all madhatting after all. Maybe there is such a thing as doing business, being professionals and living kindness.

 

A Platform but Not Quite So Sexy

Oops. This is what happens when you add a dash of something interesting into the works. Like Economics.

And the entire terrain shifts itself.

Just last week, I offered a young lawyer beer for his (legal) services. He blushed. I think he couldn’t believe I was really offering a trade. But maybe he is too young (for such non-cash transactions).

My friends tell me I can’t say such things. Cannot mix metaphors. Cannot talk so much in polite commercial situations. And they tell me I must comb my hair. Curl them, even better.

I tell them about love and friendship in the marketplace, and one friend said, “You sound like you are setting up a dating platform.”

 

Light Switches and Rape Alarm

I remember Euston House 1995, being a junior auditor being involved in the privatisation of the British Railways Board. Preparing a penultimate and terminal accounts of a nationalised institution of the Welfare State that had to be corporatised. I couldn’t understand the emotions. But I could feel it visibly. I could see it in those around me, but I couldn’t read it. I was too young. I couldn’t understand the choked words. Seeing an entire building empty, and I understood, in my mid-twenties that the accountant and the janitor are left to switch off the lights of an institution. Someone to turn off the lights and someone to settle the last dollar.

Usually, during the audit season, the junior auditor turns off the lights at the end of the day. So an ex-auditor is quite used to operating light switches and setting up company alarm systems, when everyone’s gone home, and it is dark, and one learns to become unafraid in the aloneness, and nonchalant almost, about darkness. Because one already sees dawn, and the switching off the lights is simply to transit to another good day’s work and usher in another turn of the good day.

But I didn’t understand the in-betweens. I had the understanding of the mapping of an auditor. I understand the processes of all the key threads of functional flows and the gates of risks. Every material checkpoint – we have our eyes on them. We were a little bit like Gurkhas, except we were in suits and what London had to get used to then, in mid-90s were girls at work, in the City.

Guess what this is. Yes, it’s my work drawer (in 2019) and two stories.

img_9807The Ancient Rape Alarm
PEK’s Drawer,
Singapore 2019

Standard issue to rookie girls: A rape alarm. I hold it in my hand when crossing London Bridge in the dark. Can you spot it?

Second story: don’t use the word drawer in the (United) States of (America). Do not ask to look into your manager’s drawers for files or stationery.
Backpacks & Mobility

Come second year, they issued us backpacks. Figured we really couldn’t lug those boxes (without wheels) across London Bridge and still be able to pull the plug off the rape alarm. Client files or chastity. So they issued us a backpack.

Then I figured pant suits. At least there will be another checkpoint.

It’s all about gating. Like managing dams and canals.

It’s still raining so I am working at Lau Pa Sat. The tables are super sturdy.

img_9995Swissy Doing the Imagined Yoddle
Lau Pa Sat,
Singapore 2019

40 rookies assigned to hotel 4 desks. In that kind of rookie environment, we learnt very fast to be mobile and be very lean. And to be grateful for every inch of square foot that you can rest your tired behind. First generation to whack Lotus Notes email and replicate electronic working papers on-site and talk on recording devices called the voicemail. We learnt to clear review points by leaving each other voicemails – point by point.

Some review notes have stories in them if you get a manager who likes to write. Some just have one or two words, and you have to scramble to decipher the secret coding of that partner or manager.

So one learns to decode very fast in this kind of environment where suits get very upset if we miss delivery. Very upset.

We were lucky coaching had entered the scene so yelling wasn’t allowed anymore. Plus I think it wouldn’t look cool to yell, even then. So I don’t know what the coping mechanisms people have developed since then in the evolution of their professional careers, but now I have developed my ahimsa space.

img_0009Inside a SunHat
Singapore, 2019

It isn’t working. That ahimsa space, because I am still yelling. In the midst of fast-action business decision-making, and as an entrepreneur, all the coaching went out the door. All the theory too. And all the practised decorum. And one becomes authentic. (Brene Brown will approve.)

 

That’s what I have discovered. Zero.

 

Zero to A Glimpse of Point 1 (0.1)

I love Zero. I hated it before. I hated not knowing. I hated hating. I tried to sugarcoat everything and it was no wonder everyone started calling me a “Princess”. Interestingly, I would have liked “Princess Warrior” but no one called me a warrior, only a princess.

img_8104
Yoda & Darthy Not Impressed at Underpreparedness, Generally
Backpack strap doubling up as shoe sole holder
Singapore, 2019

Confessional: I cried in my suit in the bathroom as a rookie. And I cry openly as an entrepreneur, trying to stitch the ESG (Environmental, Social, Governance) together to become a sustainable economy.

Write it down. Write down the Economics. Wow. How do I write down 39 years? At 10 years old, I had translated my first corporate agreement from Bahasa Malaysia to English. I looked back at my baby photos. Other baby girls get dolls, I visited factories as soon as I walked.

I have a photo to prove this. But will dig up after finishing this piece on Economics.

 

OK, Economics.

OK, I write it down.

Where did I pick off from? After the baptism of fire of the public accounting passage.

I jumped into not-for-profits to understand where the equitable piece went. In terms of the allocation of scarce resources bit. I was taught – equitable and efficient allocation. So I just wondered to myself, what happened to that piece?

The next piece was family. I am a mother of 16 years with two children, and yes, I do have a man too. Our household has a household management system involving two helpers and the division of portfolios and body parts. We basically manage according to strengths and specialisms. The entire terrain is scanned, mapped, covered. Without too much microexplosions. Typically mine are procrastinated and my husband’s are on Trello.

And then, I started to re-look at economic poverty. And these became underserved communities and became underserved persons for me. I had to re-examine disabilities and debunk that labelling because our son came with an extra chromosome, which was a brilliant, surprising twist of nature and gift of the cosmos. Thanks to (one) Brian Cox interface (at a physics lecture which is not a lecture), I have a better grasp of cosmology, or so I think.

Space-time was actually interestingly, largely missed in Economics. So, we wired the quantum and latent potential in. Through haiku’s and non-conceptual Ommmmms. So materiality became like literal – the material of matter. Matter-distribution at like epic-cosmic levels!

The idea of Commons is like at sunspot or starburst or like blackholes twirling rainbows. It gets psychadelic, on its own, even without any intervention.

Chin Hwee, Ngai Kin & PEK
Eating, Drinking & Chatting
Singapore, May 28, 2019

I don’t really understand it all much actually. So I went and looked up two friends: Ngai Kin and Chin Hwee. We were supposed to have read Economics. Apparently, we read it all differently. So, we could only chat about what we read. We tried to refresh our active revolving telomeres and see if we could map the evolution of Economic Theory and Developmental Economics. I confessionally couldn’t figure Political Economy and Economic History (especially of Victorian Britain and the Interwar Years). Still can’t. So I did reach out to some nifty friends in these areas, and they have to tell me stories, to explain it all. I said, “No math for this?” They said, “No, baby. It’s non-rational.”

Plus, we are squarely all back smack in South-east Asia in 2019, and the world kinda has changed. Like drastically, and plus, much of the oral history of mass transmigration of twentieth century of Malaysia and Singapore is now like 95+ years old. And much of the documented history is still too raw to be dialogued. Plus, we have a lot of languages to figure out.

 

The Auctioneer

OMG to the T-max. What is Economics?

And so, I had a massive identity crisis. Because up till then, I thought I had understood it. As vaguely as the Invisible Hand could afford me some semblance of structure and order. My favourite character if you will in the whole grand scheme of things is The Auctioneer. So I imagined the auctioneer fixing everything.

I will dig up a photo of my imagined Auctioneer, I promise.

Back to the Walras’ Law.

I had believed Professor Hahn, with his umbrellas. His price of umbrella on a sunny day is different from his price of an umbrella a rainy day.  There should be a price for every good/service for every state of the world. The most fascinating theory that never left me is this promise of the microfoundations of macro economics: The General Equilibrium Theory. I like it because it is most hopeful and most expansive. Plus it is complete and perfect. Theoretically, speaking.

Until you examine the squiggles and realise that there are conditions like:

  • Complete and Perfect Markets
  • Complete and Perfect Information
  • Perfect Coordination

I don’t remember the others. I am still trying to hunt down that journal paper. I see the equation in my mind’s eye, and mostly, Professor Frank Hahn calling us “little kinder” but I can’t remember the details. And I think the lot of us have recycled our lecture notes, after 30 years. (This too I did a round of validation.)

 

So, does the market clear on its own, or do we need intervention?

 

I believe there are multiple equilibria and equilibria can get stuck, and with just a little bit of nifty intervention, we can reboot the pathways towards goodness and renewability.

 

I believe it coherently, theory-wise, and conditions-wise.

 

So, I think theory is important. Even if it isn’t reality, it is a map. A framework of thinking. A mapping of pulling out threads and figuring the weaving and rework.

 

Otherwise, it gets a bit scary, like art-making.

img_9836Making Zentrummy Art
Zentrum Paul Klee
Bern, Switzerland, 2013

Or like jumping into a community of persons.

IMG_4014People Chatting
Singapore 2012

If we have several neuron structures in our brain architecture (ref Antonio Damasio), then even our internal communication structure isn’t quite understood yet by ourselves as homo sapiens, then how are we to coordinate ourselves to arrive at the equitable and efficient allocation of scarce (now converted into renewable) resources.

So, we spent a lot of time pondering People.

  • Caring Economics (ref Tania Singer)
  • U-Lab & Presencing (ref Otto Scharmer)
  • Gift of Imperfections + Vulnerability (ref Brene Brown)
  • Wellbeing (ref The Happy Heart School Library)
  • Neuroscience (ref Antonio Damasio)

Then, we chatted a lot about Patterns.

  • Generative Code (ref Christopher Alexander)

In the midst of it, we checked out the Anthropocene. (ref Stockholm Resilience Centre & Johan Rockstrom)

And then we integrated:  Happiness!

  • Gross National Happiness Centre, Bhutan (ref Saamdu Chetri)
  • Doughnut Economics (ref Kate Raworth)
  • UNDP Global Goals

One last piece, ESG Investing.

  • PRI – Principles for Responsible Investment

I lie. One more, Enterprise Value Creation & Risk Management.

  • Startup Studios
  • Venture Builder

 

Impatient with the storytelling style, everyone is now ready to yell at me:

 

Elevator Pitch, Madam Yakker!!!!

We are not a startup studio. We create and enable ESG local-global economies. We are an economic development studio through action research, i.e. we are ESG Economy practitioners. But we are science and arts-based as much as non-conception-based. Critically, we are sequential time-matter-impact-based. We enable the creation of sustainable enterprises that create the goods, services and platforms that serve wellbeing – planetary, social, personal.

I think we are a ESG village enabler. From Street Kid to Village Kid. Watch this space.

We chatted with as many people as possible. Anyone who is able to participate in the U-ing of the ESG Economy, and build upwards towards goodness and kindness.

Kin, PEK, Emmanuel, Chin Hwee, Cyril
at Robinson Law Corp,
Singapore 2018

We built a licence model, with the intention to provide a library and self-governance platform. I asked stupid questions (there are no stupid questions). We have Intellectual Property, and a knowledge-sharing & services structure.

We looked for Andy, to help us with governance and everything else we missed. But largely because Andy used to play rugby, so he can help with team scalability. In rugby, it is a team of 14×14. In badminton, my sport, it is 2×2 or 1×1.

Andy and Kin.jpgKin and Andy
Looking fine and dandy
Singapore, 2019

 

Listening & Speaking

The microsummit is about listening as much as about speaking. We hope to meso, macro and mundo (ref Otto Scharmer).

I had thought previously that it was a journey of transformation. It isn’t. It is simultaneous. We need to be able to do it all, as life is diverse and structured organically. Sometimes competitively, sometimes collaboratively. Sometimes emerging, sometimes dissolving. And in the process of adaptability, sometimes we grieve, sometimes we rejoice.

What takes us through the day and the long, dark nights, is love. Unconditional love. And belief. Don’t underestimate the faithfulness of friendships. It exists, and though invisible, it moves biospheres.

 

Personal Stewardship

And then we zoomed in on sustainability stewardship. Personal Sustainability Stewardship. I realise we cannot change anyone. We can only make a personal choice to make a different decision.

Every time, every day.

“There is no General Theory of Economics,” Kin finally decided to shatter my 39 year old quest. I went like, “Oh???” He went like, “Yaaa.”

“And all the reading and essays we turned in?” I was still hopeful. He said, “That’s all to help us think.”

2018, 05-28 Birth of EUWChin Hwee, Ngai Kin & PEK
Peace Centre, 
Singapore, May 28, 2018

Chin Hwee joined us for lunch. He had coffee. Kin said, “Not me, I cannot name anything.” I said, “Errr I would call it something like Sustainable Integrative Transformative Economics.” Chin Hwee closed his eyes for two seconds, either exercising immense patience, or he was accessing some lotus compassion energy, and suddenly, out of the silence, he made a definitive pronouncement (in his silent authoritative Chin Hwee way), “The Economics of Universal Wellbeing.” Well, fancy that. We took one second, unanimous three-way nodding.

Tada. We have a name for the Economics we hope to move past neoclassical economics of mid-twentieth century. Big aspirations. But big aspirations are good.

 

And solid.

 

A Collaborative Microsummit for Global Sustainability & Flourishing by

Bilberries Blue - Mar 2019 - finalIBI logoRICE-logo_colour-01

DAY 1: July 10, 2019 – 10am-12.30pm, 10 Square, Zero Fee

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/bilberries-blue-inaugural-microsummit-with-nora-bateson-at-10-square-tickets-63727751420

DAY 2: July 11, 2019 – 10am-5pm, Temenggong House

https://www.eventbrite.sg/e/bilberries-blue-inaugural-microsummit-with-nora-bateson-temenggong-house-tickets-63730683189

July 11, 2019 – Temenggong House
18/20 Temenggong Road, S098771
10am-5pm (+ Lunch)
35 pax, SGD300* per person
*20% of Bilberries Blue Microsummit Fees are designated for underserved communities

The Inside Scoop: the remaining 5m dash of PoP-ping the School of Pedagogy

36c6856b-481d-476c-a2b3-ba754e769b2a

PEK: V, we did it.

Vashima: What, what?

PEK: BB-PoP PoP. It was right here.

Vashima: What, where?

PEK: Everywhere, and nowhere. In the circle, and on the edges.

Vashima: What are you saying?

PEK: It’s the invisible inside whirrer PoP-PoP of The Economics of Universal Wellbeing. 

Vashima: So we are done for today?

PEK: Ya. Tomorrow we PoP-PoP the economics. Now we zzzzz.

Vashima: We continue tomorrow!

PEK: Oh V, we gotta copyright the PoP Board.

Vashima (nodding in imaginary silence): hmmmmm

 

Peng-Ean Khoo
11:59pm
June 25, 2019

 

PEK: V, it’s the School of Pedagogy. That’s what got PoP-ped today.

Peng-Ean Khoo
12:01am
June 26, 2019

chatting

A Collaborative Microsummit for Global Sustainability & Flourishing by

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The Inside Scoop: What is a PoP?

COUNTDOWN T MINUS 14 days

I just realised I had a miscalculation.

It is actually T MINUS 10 Working Days!

Bilberries Blue Inaugural Microsummit: Warm Data – Emergences with Nora Bateson

Vashima Goyal and I PoP-ed this microsummit sometime in May. It went a little like this.

 

Today: June 25, 2019 – Space-Time

Slide2

We reflected on our work in May. Hence the space-time reference.

We love blackboards, whiteboards, corkboards. All kinds of surfaces where we can write, doodle and organise our thinking: our meta-integration.

A Place of Possibilities. This is what is PoP-ping.

I think we are testing the robustness of this paradigm. Across all agegroups and gathering of coming together of human engagement.

I said to Vashima today, “I think I do what I do because since young, I had this quest: I want to understand society. And I want to know why there is suffering, and how I can help alleviate suffering.”

We did a series of conversations of what became a “LIFE IS with Vashima Goyal”.

I mentioned to her about running. About HIITs. High Intensive Internal Training. You do 25m, then 50m, then 75m, then you sprint the 100m. So we did our first 25m, which is the LIFE IS series. Which turned out to be a 75m dash.

Then we did the PoP. Which turned out to be a 100m dash, minus 5m, so we paused at 95m.

 

May 30, 2019 – Human Communication Tools

I cycled to Vashima’s Workplace.

We discussed about pedagogical documentation. Specifically about forms. We were mapping 3D to 2D and back to 3D. The various boundaries of communication tools was unpacked and examined. For example, from music to drawing to painting to collage to dancing to words to text to space to theatre to gesture to silence.

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Then we got hungry, and she fed me several yummy homecooked meals.

img_8344

 

May 17, 2019 – Farm to Tummy

Peng Keat, Billie and Li Ping arrive in town.

Billie pops on Vashima’s lap.

Food Forest Farm had arrived in town.

We are wondering how to share all the stories of 12 archetypes as collectively we have a 20 year evolution.

We toss the farm to (oven) to table fresh vegetables, and ponder and worked with conversations.

We need more than one voice for a Place of Possibility to PoP.

 

May 7 – BB Equinox

We assembled everyone on Zoom. And basically announced to the Bilberries Blue Sustainability Stewards that we are having Bilberries Blue Inaugural Microsummit in July 10-11, 2019.

Everyone just chuckled. Everyone is getting hang of the sudden PoP-ping of projects.

We conversed and locked in the two day format collectively.
Day 1 – 100 pax zero fee event. Day 2 – small group fee-based engagement in order to enable financial sustainability while at the same time not compromising on our impact goals.

 

May 3 – Let’s Hang Up the Old Blank Canvases

We decided to get into action.

BB Equinox was conceived.

I found my old community documentary tools which was in my happy black and white (now beige) stripey bag. The last time I looked into it was in 2012 when my One Voice project bombed and I was too stuffy to rework it. And so I shifted. I unpacked it, and clarified the pieces that worked and the pieces that didn’t. And I made a choice to rework.

226c9e72-b8dd-46a6-bb64-cf0a8a512e54-collage

Vashima just went, “Hmm,” in the midst of my self-chatter. And just got down to scribbling on the blank canvas.

img_7245

 

 

April 30, 2019 – Place of Possibilities

Vashima Goyal came by for lunch to pick up her Bilberries Blue namecard.

And then, out of the vast blue mystery, Place of Possibilities cohered:

Slide1

So now, you have the backstory.

chatting

A Collaborative Microsummit for Global Sustainability & Flourishing by

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Bilberries Blue Inaugural Microsummit: Warm Data – Emergences with Nora Bateson (The Inside Scoop)

MONDAY, JUNE 24, 2019 – Countdown t minus 15 days

chatting.jpg

A Collaborative Microsummit by

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Why are stories so important?

They tell us things we might not otherwise grasp through any other medium.

And, so, the Bilberries Blue Blog will share such treasured moments. In the midst of microsummit preparations, eventbrite information, sending out invites, building up the evolution of all the incubatees, trying to make the revisiting of the historicity in the language of the emerging new, risking the inconsistencies, risking the incoherences, risking what used to be thought of as risks.

 

How did the Microsummit come to be?

mrl2018brainstorming

It was last April 2018. It was at 10 Square @ Orchard Central. We were brainstorming on Moonriver Lodge’s new business model. And we stumbled upon the ideation of microsummits.

Why micro? Because we believe in relationships. And real ones. Intimacy. Friendships. Face to face time. Daring to be epic while being small and beautiful. At that time, we haven’t really figured how the knowledge-sharing and services piece would factor out. We hadn’t yet figured out the intangible assets and how this links to the enterprise value creation of a sustainable enterprise.

Now we have.

And so, we have IP.  Intellectual Property. We have a mechanism for this, and this has a sharing and collaborative feature in it. At the same time, there is also a Governance feature. And we have stitched the Environmental, Social and Governance since then. Through the market mechanism with designed access development – our Sustainable Enterprises proprietary model.

And we thought to ourselves, it is time to share this great news.

 

The Economics of Universal Wellbeing

And so we accomplished three things, which actually is a very critical fourth.

#1 For Global Sustainability & Flourishing – we articulated Purpose

#2 We incorporated The Silent Dancer Pte Ltd and The Kind Weaver Pte Ltd as twin engines to serve Knowledge-Sharing & Services 

#3 We defined the ESG Economy into 12 sustainable archetypes. We have a Roadmap to align with UNDP Global Goals 2030.

 

#4 Critically, we have a team. We voted and identify ourselves as Sustainability Stewards.

This means we are ready. We have Purpose, we have Vision & Mission, we have Delivery mechanisms, and we are WHOLE & INTEGRATED.

 

Warm Data

Enter Nora Bateson.

nora-bateson-small-arcs

Vashima turns up grinning holding “Small Arcs of Larger Circles”. We had been researching “The Nature of Order” and “Pattern Language” by Christopher Alexander.

I went, “Ohhhh!” She went, “Yaaaa.”

The patterns of relationals. The Pedagogy of Alterity. The Pedagogy of Differences. The Pedagogy of Pedagogy – that makes Vashima’s next emergence: __________ (come to the microsummit to find out).

These were some of our microsummit prep moments.

Microsummit#1 prep

 

What does it take for a village to become?

I think it was something Vashima must have whispered to Colin. I think Vashima is a “collaboration whisperer”. Colin said OK and a 3-way collaboration happened. It was a little bit more elaborated than this but this story shall suffice for now.

 

We have all been action researching these inquiries as applied to Environmental, Social, Governance as working-living in sustainable economies and sustainable communities: 

How do multiplicity of voices and cultures sing the harmony of living and working together?

How do persons with different languages communicate?

Coordinate life? Work-life? Lifework?

Collaborate.

What is that place of possibilities?

The place of gathering, encounters, meeting and exchange?

What ultimately are the gifts being exchanged in such meetings?

What are the discoveries that can only become possible and crystallise into reality in the arrival, greeting, and meeting of the other?

 

Liminal Leadership

“The kind of leadership that I want to explore may not be identifiable as leadership at all.  I am interested in a kind of mutually alert care and attention to the well-being of all people and ecological systems. This kind of leadership cannot be found in individuals, but rather between them. It cannot be found in organisations, nations, religions or institutions, but rather between them. I have called it Liminal Leadership to highlight the relational characteristics.” –Nora Bateson

Something here struck a chord in my core. I struggle with leadership because I struggle with the communication and the relating. So, I went and invented an inquiry and titled it “The Poetics of Stewardship.” Then, Agnes yells at me, and says I have to work harder than that. So, this microsummit is really for me to learn how to WORK WITH OTHERS  and COMMUNICATE MORE EMPHATICALLY. 

 

ONE VILLAGE

I realise today that we are a village. Maybe because there have been lots of inter-yelling and inter-laughing. And lots of us running around trying to do many things all at once. I am quite a believer that things somehow work themselves out, especially when we are not alone, and are loved enough to be allowed to speak up. In however the manner, our truths are perceived, understood and spoken for.

We invite you –

Family, friends, communities, and organisations to join us to share your vision and lifework regarding Global Sustainability and Flourishing with us during

Bilberries Blue Inaugural Microsummit.

 

Together, we shall figure it all out.

 

DAY 1: July 10, 2019 – 10am-12.30pm, 10 Square

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/bilberries-blue-inaugural-microsummit-with-nora-bateson-at-10-square-tickets-63727751420

10 square.jpg

July 10, 2019 – 10 Square @ Orchard Central
181 Orchard Road #10-01, S238896
10am-12.30pm, 100pax, Zero Fee Event

 

DAY 2: July 11, 2019 – 10am-5pm, Temenggong House

https://www.eventbrite.sg/e/bilberries-blue-inaugural-microsummit-with-nora-bateson-temenggong-house-tickets-63730683189

temenggong house.jpg

July 11, 2019 – Temenggong House
18/20 Temenggong Road, S098771
10am-5pm (+ Lunch)
35 pax, SGD300* per person
*20% of Bilberries Blue Microsummit Fees are designated for underserved communities