A letter to our daughter by Mark Zuckerberg

A letter to our daughter MARK ZUCKERBERG·TUESDAY, DECEMBER 1, 2015

Dear Max,

Your mother and I don’t yet have the words to describe the hope you give us for the future. Your new life is full of promise, and we hope you will be happy and healthy so you can explore it fully. You’ve already given us a reason to reflect on the world we hope you live in.

Like all parents, we want you to grow up in a world better than ours today.

While headlines often focus on what’s wrong, in many ways the world is getting better. Health is improving. Poverty is shrinking. Knowledge is growing. People are connecting. Technological progress in every field means your life should be dramatically better than ours today.

We will do our part to make this happen, not only because we love you, but also because we have a moral responsibility to all children in the next generation.

We believe all lives have equal value, and that includes the many more people who will live in future generations than live today. Our society has an obligation to invest now to improve the lives of all those coming into this world, not just those already here.

But right now, we don’t always collectively direct our resources at the biggest opportunities and problems your generation will face.

Consider disease. Today we spend about 50 times more as a society treating people who are sick than we invest in research so you won’t get sick in the first place.

Medicine has only been a real science for less than 100 years, and we’ve already seen complete cures for some diseases and good progress for others. As technology accelerates, we have a real shot at preventing, curing or managing all or most of the rest in the next 100 years.

Today, most people die from five things — heart disease, cancer, stroke, neurodegenerative and infectious diseases — and we can make faster progress on these and other problems.

Once we recognize that your generation and your children’s generation may not have to suffer from disease, we collectively have a responsibility to tilt our investments a bit more towards the future to make this reality. Your mother and I want to do our part.

Curing disease will take time. Over short periods of five or ten years, it may not seem like we’re making much of a difference. But over the long term, seeds planted now will grow, and one day, you or your children will see what we can only imagine: a world without suffering from disease.

There are so many opportunities just like this. If society focuses more of its energy on these great challenges, we will leave your generation a much better world.• • •

Our hopes for your generation focus on two ideas: advancing human potential and promoting equality.

Advancing human potential is about pushing the boundaries on how great a human life can be.

Can you learn and experience 100 times more than we do today?

Can our generation cure disease so you live much longer and healthier lives?

Can we connect the world so you have access to every idea, person and opportunity?

Can we harness more clean energy so you can invent things we can’t conceive of today while protecting the environment?

Can we cultivate entrepreneurship so you can build any business and solve any challenge to grow peace and prosperity?

Promoting equality is about making sure everyone has access to these opportunities — regardless of the nation, families or circumstances they are born into.

Our society must do this not only for justice or charity, but for the greatness of human progress.

Today we are robbed of the potential so many have to offer. The only way to achieve our full potential is to channel the talents, ideas and contributions of every person in the world.

Can our generation eliminate poverty and hunger?

Can we provide everyone with basic healthcare?

Can we build inclusive and welcoming communities?

Can we nurture peaceful and understanding relationships between people of all nations?

Can we truly empower everyone — women, children, underrepresented minorities, immigrants and the unconnected?

If our generation makes the right investments, the answer to each of these questions can be yes — and hopefully within your lifetime.• • •

This mission — advancing human potential and promoting equality — will require a new approach for all working towards these goals.

We must make long term investments over 25, 50 or even 100 years. The greatest challenges require very long time horizons and cannot be solved by short term thinking.

We must engage directly with the people we serve. We can’t empower people if we don’t understand the needs and desires of their communities.

We must build technology to make change. Many institutions invest money in these challenges, but most progress comes from productivity gains through innovation.

We must participate in policy and advocacy to shape debates. Many institutions are unwilling to do this, but progress must be supported by movements to be sustainable.

We must back the strongest and most independent leaders in each field. Partnering with experts is more effective for the mission than trying to lead efforts ourselves.

We must take risks today to learn lessons for tomorrow. We’re early in our learning and many things we try won’t work, but we’ll listen and learn and keep improving.• • •

Our experience with personalized learning, internet access, and community education and health has shaped our philosophy.

Our generation grew up in classrooms where we all learned the same things at the same pace regardless of our interests or needs.

Your generation will set goals for what you want to become — like an engineer, health worker, writer or community leader. You’ll have technology that understands how you learn best and where you need to focus. You’ll advance quickly in subjects that interest you most, and get as much help as you need in your most challenging areas. You’ll explore topics that aren’t even offered in schools today. Your teachers will also have better tools and data to help you achieve your goals.

Even better, students around the world will be able to use personalized learning tools over the internet, even if they don’t live near good schools. Of course it will take more than technology to give everyone a fair start in life, but personalized learning can be one scalable way to give all children a better education and more equal opportunity.

We’re starting to build this technology now, and the results are already promising. Not only do students perform better on tests, but they gain the skills and confidence to learn anything they want. And this journey is just beginning. The technology and teaching will rapidly improve every year you’re in school.

Your mother and I have both taught students and we’ve seen what it takes to make this work. It will take working with the strongest leaders in education to help schools around the world adopt personalized learning. It will take engaging with communities, which is why we’re starting in our San Francisco Bay Area community. It will take building new technology and trying new ideas. And it will take making mistakes and learning many lessons before achieving these goals.

But once we understand the world we can create for your generation, we have a responsibility as a society to focus our investments on the future to make this reality.

Together, we can do this. And when we do, personalized learning will not only help students in good schools, it will help provide more equal opportunity to anyone with an internet connection.• • •

Many of the greatest opportunities for your generation will come from giving everyone access to the internet.

People often think of the internet as just for entertainment or communication. But for the majority of people in the world, the internet can be a lifeline.

It provides education if you don’t live near a good school. It provides health information on how to avoid diseases or raise healthy children if you don’t live near a doctor. It provides financial services if you don’t live near a bank. It provides access to jobs and opportunities if you don’t live in a good economy.

The internet is so important that for every 10 people who gain internet access, about one person is lifted out of poverty and about one new job is created.

Yet still more than half of the world’s population — more than 4 billion people — don’t have access to the internet.

If our generation connects them, we can lift hundreds of millions of people out of poverty. We can also help hundreds of millions of children get an education and save millions of lives by helping people avoid disease.

This is another long term effort that can be advanced by technology and partnership. It will take inventing new technology to make the internet more affordable and bring access to unconnected areas. It will take partnering with governments, non-profits and companies. It will take engaging with communities to understand what they need. Good people will have different views on the best path forward, and we will try many efforts before we succeed.

But together we can succeed and create a more equal world.• • •

Technology can’t solve problems by itself. Building a better world starts with building strong and healthy communities.

Children have the best opportunities when they can learn. And they learn best when they’re healthy.

Health starts early — with loving family, good nutrition and a safe, stable environment.

Children who face traumatic experiences early in life often develop less healthy minds and bodies. Studies show physical changes in brain development leading to lower cognitive ability.

Your mother is a doctor and educator, and she has seen this firsthand.

If you have an unhealthy childhood, it’s difficult to reach your full potential.

If you have to wonder whether you’ll have food or rent, or worry about abuse or crime, then it’s difficult to reach your full potential.

If you fear you’ll go to prison rather than college because of the color of your skin, or that your family will be deported because of your legal status, or that you may be a victim of violence because of your religion, sexual orientation or gender identity, then it’s difficult to reach your full potential.

We need institutions that understand these issues are all connected. That’s the philosophy of the new type of school your mother is building.

By partnering with schools, health centers, parent groups and local governments, and by ensuring all children are well fed and cared for starting young, we can start to treat these inequities as connected. Only then can we collectively start to give everyone an equal opportunity.

t will take many years to fully develop this model. But it’s another example of how advancing human potential and promoting equality are tightly linked. If we want either, we must first build inclusive and healthy communities.• • •For your generation to live in a better world, there is so much more our generation can do.

Today your mother and I are committing to spend our lives doing our small part to help solve these challenges. I will continue to serve as Facebook’s CEO for many, many years to come, but these issues are too important to wait until you or we are older to begin this work. By starting at a young age, we hope to see compounding benefits throughout our lives.

As you begin the next generation of the Chan Zuckerberg family, we also begin the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative to join people across the world to advance human potential and promote equality for all children in the next generation. Our initial areas of focus will be personalized learning, curing disease, connecting people and building strong communities.

We will give 99% of our Facebook shares — currently about $45 billion — during our lives to advance this mission. We know this is a small contribution compared to all the resources and talents of those already working on these issues. But we want to do what we can, working alongside many others.

We’ll share more details in the coming months once we settle into our new family rhythm and return from our maternity and paternity leaves. We understand you’ll have many questions about why and how we’re doing this.

As we become parents and enter this next chapter of our lives, we want to share our deep appreciation for everyone who makes this possible.

We can do this work only because we have a strong global community behind us. Building Facebook has created resources to improve the world for the next generation. Every member of the Facebook community is playing a part in this work.

We can make progress towards these opportunities only by standing on the shoulders of experts — our mentors, partners and many incredible people whose contributions built these fields.

And we can only focus on serving this community and this mission because we are surrounded by loving family, supportive friends and amazing colleagues. We hope you will have such deep and inspiring relationships in your life too.

Max, we love you and feel a great responsibility to leave the world a better place for you and all children. We wish you a life filled with the same love, hope and joy you give us. We can’t wait to see what you bring to this world.

Love,

Mom and Dad

Posted December 7, 2015

Heard about these parenting taboos?

Dear Boys,

The world we live in is full of myths, taboos and other old wives’ tales on how things should be or should not be done. For me, I asked a group of friends over Facebook, and they came up with some really original ones.

Erena

  • “Don’t consume mutton if preggers . Like the baby might get epilepsy or fits in future.”
  • “They kept saying to drink Soya milk and bird nest so that the baby will become really fair .”
  • ” Like if u take chicken feet , your feet will become really strong . Does it work that way ?”

Agnes

  • “Also k not consume too much bird nest, or else the baby would prone to asthma or coughing.”

Flo

  • “Avoid colas too during lactation…it will affect the infant. Real story not mine tho!”

Jason

  • “Leaving bits of rice in your rice bowl after a meal will cause your future spouse to have lots of acne and pockmarks.”
  • “bad luck to open an umbrella indoors.”
  • “Shaving a baby’s head and eyebrows will ensure that the hair will grow back thick and luscious.”

Yvonne

  • “One old myth: During pregnancy, don’t sweep the bed floor right underneath the bed… Baby will have lots of hair… Seriously I worry about those who believed this… Hygiene and cleanliness are more important…”

Gracia

  • “Never look at ugly people or monkeys and dogs during pregnancy. Heard from old folks”

Dawn

  • “Always comment n say how you like your baby’s facial features to be during pregnancy period n the truth will happen.”

Matthew

  • “Never paint or Knock your wall during pregnancy? Don’t try ya..”
  • “Never use scissor on the bed during pregnancy “
  • “Never fix wiring , ( I did ), then seriously Elias had his umbilical cord haywired. “

Samantha
“Don’t tickle the baby’s feet or he/she will be afraid to walk”
“Don’t say “wah baby you are getting heavy”. Will induce jealousy from the evil spirits”

Melody

  • “When baby suck his/her toe, u r he/she is going to have a bro/sis soon.. lol”

Olivia

  • “Don’t use anything sharp to cut on the bed when pregnant….. If not, the child will have cleft lips”
  • “Never wash hair and have the fan blowing on oneself within the first month after one has given birth, or you will have wind in your body (Tao Hong…lol)”

Kwee Huat Wee

  • “Do not let the young eat fish roe, otherwise they would grow up poor in their calculation.”

So there you have it, I’m sure the list is not exhaustive and in your time, you might have heard of new new ones, or some of these might stay to your time! Do add your own to this list and everyone can have a good time learning from it!
( Thanks to all contributors from #1303, you know who you are!)

Posted Dec 20, 2015

Hanging out with Friends

Hanging out with Friends

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Dear Boys,

I have a chance of taking a break recently and used that time to meet up with my friends. In Singapore we are usually so busy with work, we seldom have time to do a decent catch up, the best we can do was a quick meet up over lunch and everyone has to run back to work.

So when there is an opportunity as such, I grabbed the chance and called these friends up for a chit chat.

Some have really tight schedule so I didn’t managed to meet everyone on my list, but some things cannot be forced, I’m still a good believer in fate, and until a better time, I will have to put a rain check on a couple of them.

My friends, are a mixed bunch, but that is what makes life interesting, we need to good dose of diversity in the people we meet, and learn from. Some are from my Aikido practice, some from my banking, and others from my recruitment work, and there are some, I can’t really ‘compartmentalize’ properly.

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Anyway, having a good mix helps me break away from my mindset. The dangerous thing about a mindset, is that you don’t know what you don’t know; catching up with these friends gives me a different perspective, and challenge my current thinking. Many of them have since moved on and joined other industry and gained some other life experience. In such exchange, we learn a little about each other, catch up with our lives, and also renew a friendship, making it stronger.

Eating at different places

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These friends brought me to different place to dine, and I ate some stuff I don’t usually eat. I learned that there is a yummy vegan joint called nomVnom at Central, Clark Quay, all thanks to Edna. She is a cheery, spirited young lady who is making a name for herself in a very challenging industry. While she is the youngest friend I met, I thoroughly enjoyed the meeting and we talked a lot about other things, other than Aikido.

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Some of my friends brought me to very nice Japanese food, Yew Wah brought me to eat at Hifumi, selling very affordable Japanese food. I ate ramen at Santouka with Cherie and Karen. These are places I usually won’t go to, if I am out alone, or with you boys. It’s just not our usual go-to places.

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Catching up is good

Nowadays, people think of a catch up as a status over Social Media, It is not just about sending each other a text message or two, which we are all so inclined to do. We can all just pick up our friends’ number from the phone list and call. These people are friends, and they will also cherish a catch up. There are many trials and tribunals in life and they are best tackled when they are shared.

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Please call them

Don’t sit around waiting for friends to call you. Don’t wait to link up with people. Life is scarce and time even more scarce. In our fragile life, we need to call people and tell them we are around and we care for them. Don’t hold back, show people you love them for who they are and let them know they have a friend here.

In the past, I have this persona of waiting for people to call me. It is simply an ego-play, and no one win from such a “high-crass act”. Always reach out to people first, and if you do matter to them, they will make time for you. Then such people are best to catch up with again and again. They will enrich your life, and you, in turn, enrich theirs. In this exchange, everyone becomes a better person, and we become more connected than just a Facebook friend.

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Using TRX to smile

Using TRX to smile

TRX Montage

Dear boys,

I learned something looking at the photographs of Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson. He is this big guy who was a wrestler with the World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) and he transited to the big screen. And now he is a movie star.

Dwayne smile 1 montage

There is this phrase called the ‘million dollar smile’ and I think he has it. I know a there are other people out there who are millionaire and billionaires and they also have such a qualities in their smile. But The Rock’s smile is particularly appealing to me. His smile is big, infectious, wide and beaming. It is unabashedly loud and says ‘Hey, I smile, therefore I am.

A smile will helps us connect with people.

That’s something I realised, smiling is not an intrinsic quality I have, it actually needs a bit of practice to get it right. And being Asian (that’s a lousy excuse by the way), showing our emotions on our face is apparently not in our DNA. So I took the opportunity to practice my smile, when I’m doing something I enjoy, my TRX bout.

Its a bit of a vain for me, because I like to take photographs, but I don’t quite like my photographs to be taken. Its a strange psychology, I guess I’m just pretending to be humble and I try to shy away from the limelight. And guess what, the limelight shy away from you too.

The emotions is quite a bit of a mess to explain as I hadn’t really sort out my feelings as I write this, but I need to write it down first, before I sort it out. Truth is, I’m not gunning for the limelight just for a sake of it, what I meant is that in order for us to be successful, we need to behave in a certain way that allows us to attract success.

The Art of Smiling

A smile will helps us connect with people. A learned and mastered smile will do more than that, understanding the psychology of smiling will beam happiness into a otherwise dull room, a spontaneous smile will open hearts, and build bridges. A smile will always attract a smile, you rarely can look sad and feel sad in the presence of a smiling person. Therefore, a smile attracts happiness, popularity, joy, laughter, open heart, a spirited company and of course, success in all areas of life.

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A smile is a universal language, regardless if you’re Asian, look at the way Andy Lau smile, he has it too, in his own way. The Rock hailed from Hawaii, you can almost see the Hawaii sun, sand and the sea in his big, wide smile. Andy Lau on the other hand, smiles in his own accomplished, successful way. It is confident, not loud, open and warm people up slowly. He smiles in a way that draws you to him, The Rock smiles in a way that almost bear hugs you. Either way, their smile is the expression of a successful individual.

A Smiling Learner

So for me, I’m still learning, and I think after a workout, with all the good chemicals released in my body, I’d try to learn to smile, and I can honestly say I’m getting better at it. Even at this very moment, thinking of S-M-I-L-E brings a grin to my face. It wasn’t like that in the past. When I was taking my wedding photos with your mum, I have a 1-2-3 smile. which means after the count of 3, my smile basically when stiff.

So let me work on it. There are some stupid and funny things I did while I do my TRX routine, and it never fails to crack me up, and after that, I smile. And when I look at the photo, and I go ‘eeeeeeeewe!’ The I know I did a Stiff Smile, not a Spontaneous Smile. It’s still work in progress, and I think as I learn and keep fit with my TRX training, it is also a good time for me to progress and get better with my smile training. I think my smile hadn’t hit the ‘million dollar’ mark, but I’m sure I’ll get there.

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Remember, a smile cost nothing, but it is the most precious crown you can wear on your head.

Is this porn? Showry

Is this porn? Showry

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Dear boys,

If a supply satisfies a demand, then there is a lot of demand for stupid videos like this.

Your mum and I argued about this particular Korean YouTube personality ‘Showry‘ (쇼리 공식 유튜브 채널) who came to prominence in 2015.

Who is Showry?

(https://www.facebook.com/sshowry)

Well, as a recent ‘YouTube celebrity’; she does crazy things called ‘eatcasting’, ‘foodporn’ which seems to originates from Korea. Apparently it is a kind of genre where people eat things in all manners and attires (some weird places), in the most outrageous, bizarre and crazy manner, all to get attention and viewership. For Showry, she is quite an attractive woman, so she does her eatcast in skimpy attires, makes a mess out of the food she ‘eats’, pouring all sorts of sauces and creams all over her, and her voluptuous bust. Your mum considers her acts bordering porn. Personally I do consider her regard (or the lack of it) for food, rather disgusting.

Here is where the argument starts.

Well, the way I look at how she do what she does, she is bordering porn, in a very sublime way. She is not naked, as she could be reported for ‘nudity’ if she shows a breast or two, and there goes her YouTube viewership (we will talk more about that in a short while)

She borders sexually suggestive, almost on the verge of porn. On one of her clip, ‘Chocolate bed‘ she is wearing a white dress and she drizzles 3 bottles of chocolate sauce on herself and all around her. It may look like a stupid thing to do and goes against every logic possible, but that video alone has 32,000 likes, 46,000 comments and 3.4 million views. If a supply satisfies a demand, then there is a lot of demand for stupid videos like this.

Your mum didn’t approve of what she did and as a parent, she would think that we have failed her if she had been our daughter. Your mum says she has no morals and principles by doing what she did to attract some untoward attention. Some of the comments on YouTube did asked if she was doing porn.

But she is not.

She is quite success-fool

And in my opinion, she is quite a ‘success’ playing a fool on the internet. And I’m looking at it from a ‘product’ perspective. We can make a couple of assumptions about her, in all due fairness, she is 50/50. Half stupid, half smart. Let’s look at it from ‘half smart’, she has an asset, she is attractive, she has a bust. She she can’t act (at least not Oscar winning type), but she can do stupid things. And she somehow got her formula right.

Frankly, she is not THE most beautiful woman on YouTube, and you can easily find another attractive woman, pour sauce all over herself and make funny noise, can that doppelganger gets as much hits as her? That is the 21.5 million views question. She has that much views as at 5th Jan 2016. She has somehow gotten her act together (pun intended) in such a unique way that she now has such a huge following on YouTube.

I doubt anyone else can do what she does and get the same results, as much as no one can do what Rowan Atkinson does as Mr Bean. Your mum refuse to accept that she has a ‘personality’, but here’s the argument; watching what she does, do occupy a spot in your brain. She does leaves an impression on you, good and/or bad. And that would have made her successful, in a fight for Share of Mind.

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Perhaps, she is right, and I’m over-analysing Showry. Maybe she is just a dumb Asian bimbo, dancing and prancing around teasing lecherous men and other shadier characters. That is where we can discuss her half stupid side. Well, maybe she do, do porn, privately. Or maybe some other people may offer her to do other more sexually suggestive stuffs. She might be stupid enough to succumb to that kind of temptations. That we may never know.

But I’m a natural born optimist, and I like to think that she is smarter than that. It do take some smarts and guts to do what she did, and I guess it is not a matter of spontaneity, knowing that she probably need to do many takes, to get it right. There might be many ‘no-good, bloopers’. Well, maybe I’m wrong about that, the things she do could be so downright dumb, even if she gets it wrong, she’ll continue with it anyway!

So the bottom line is this, she is doing what she is doing, fame comes, and of course the money. Will she take the money she earned from doing eatcast, and turn it into something else, some kind of investment? Another business venture maybe? Or will she be so sucked into this fame, she turn to the ‘dark side’ and starts doing really real stupid things to herself. Well, as she is still quite new, we shall be probably talking about her very soon, and over a lot more frequency.

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(all pictures sourced from internet)

Originally posed on 6 Jan 2016