Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Mahathir, James & Capelli (Day 2, ICOT)

Not exactly a day with much new knowledge or tools, but lots of metaphors and good reminders. I listened to four talks, one of which was only a 'brochure' for the school the speaker was from: not good.

Quotable quotes from the other three:
  • "How does a man not necessarily burdened with a superior intellect find himself in a position of extraordinary power?" (Colin James on President George Bush)

  • "Democracy cannot solve the problem of bad leadership" (Dr. Mahathir on the inadequacy of liberal democracy, although he wasn't saying we shouldn't vote)

  • "The timespan for one generation today is 6 years" (Glenn Capelli)
  • "The camel looked like it was designed by a committee" (Dr. Mahathir)
  • "I was suspicious the IMF and World Bank were really trying to control our economy instead of helping the country" (Dr. Mahathir on why he rejected IMF loans during the 1997-8 financial crisis in the region)

  • "I'm not a scholar. My only qualification is my driver's license" (Colin James)

  • "A five-month old foetus can distinguish his/her father's and mother's voice from the womb" (Glenn Capelli)

  • "Being analytical is great but if you overdo it you become the first four aphabets of the word." (Colin James comparing analytical intelligence with somatic and emotional intelligence)

  • "Why should someone spend their time translating for you??" (Dr. Mahathir promoting the use of English - the 'language of knowledge' - to teach Science and Maths in Malaysian schools; he was taking a shot at those who wanted to revert to Malay)

  • "The deaf talk with their entire body; we normal folks are so boring - we just move our mouths." (Glenn Capelli)

  • "There are 6,000 languages in the world - 90% of them near extinction" (Glenn Capelli)

  • "When you run out of language, the violence begins" (Colin James on the Middle-East situation)

  • "Natural play is the greatest developer of the brain - it's better to let a child play with the cardboard box than the toy inside it!" (Glenn Capelli)

  • "I was studying to be a priest, but I had a problem with one of the vows: Obedience" (Colin James - he reminds me a little of John Dominic Crossan...)

  • Colin James implying that religion and prayer are manifestations of human stupidity; he cited the lack of empirical evidence affirming the efficacy of prayer (no comment)

  • The organisers running out of the fantastic salmon sandwiches at tea-break

  • The organisers telling people that coffee would be served at 10.30 and actually keeping their word. Nope! They should serve it earlier than the time they specified, thereby evoking little cost-less, PR-positive gasps of delight.

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