When is the last time you did absolutely nothing for 10 whole minutes? Not texting, talking or even thinking? Mindfulness expert Andy Puddicombe describes the transformative power of doing just that: Refreshing your mind for 10 minutes a day, simply by being mindful and experiencing the present moment.

Simon & Garfunkel – The Sound of Silence – Madison Square Garden, NYC – 2009/10/29&30

Watch Simon and Garfunkel perform 44 years after the song was first released in 1965

Sound of Silence lyrics

Hello darkness, my old friend
I’ve come to talk with you again
Because a vision softly creeping
Left its seeds while I was sleeping
And the vision that was planted in my brain
Still remains
Within the sound of silence

In restless dreams I walked alone
Narrow streets of cobblestone
‘Neath the halo of a street lamp
I turned my collar to the cold and damp
When my eyes were stabbed by the flash of a neon light
That split the night
And touched the sound of silence

And in the naked light I saw
Ten thousand people, maybe more
People talking without speaking
People hearing without listening
People writing songs that voices never share
And no one dared
Disturb the sound of silence

Fools, said I, you do not know
Silence like a cancer grows
Hear my words that I might teach you
Take my arms that I might reach you
But my words, like silent raindrops fell
And echoed in the wells of silence

And the people bowed and prayed
To the neon god they made
And the sign flashed out its warning
In the words that it was forming
And the sign said, the words of the prophets are written on the subway walls
And tenement halls
And whispered in the sound of silence

Songwriters: Paul Simon

The Sound of Silence lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

By Kori Morgan

Millions of music fans have been moved by Paul Simon’s lyrics since his career began in the 1960s. In particular, the 1966 Simon and Garfunkel hit “The Sound of Silence” has left an indelible mark on pop culture. Told from the perspective of a speaker who dreams of a more spiritually conscious world, the lyrics paint a disturbing picture of a society wrought with materialism and self-absorption. “The Sound of Silence” contains numerous poetic elements, including figurative language devices, rhyme scheme and tone.


In poetry, personification gives human characteristics to an object or idea. To emphasize the speaker’s isolation, Simon uses personification by having him speak directly to “darkness, my old friend.” The speaker desires to encourage people to find meaning in their lives beyond commercial culture, but no one will listen, except for the darkness he awakens to after dreaming of a chance to address them. The second line, “I’ve come to talk with you again,” tells readers that these nighttime conversations are habitual, further emphasizing the speaker’s status as an outcast.


A simile is a poetic device where the author describes something through a comparison, using the words “like” or “as.” In “The Sound of Silence,” the speaker uses a simile when he states that “silence like a cancer grows.” The people in his dream worship material culture at the expense of relationships with others, and the comparison of their silence to cancer emphasizes the destructiveness of this lifestyle. The speaker uses another simile when he says that although he pleads with them to listen, “my words like silent raindrops fell.” Like rain, his pleas fall quietly and unnoticed.


Rhyme is the use of similar sounds to create unity within a poem or song. In “The Sound of Silence,” Simon uses end rhyme, a type of rhyme that occurs when lines end with the same sound. For example, the first verse contains end rhyme through the words “friend” and “again,” “creeping” and “sleeping” and “brain” and “remains.” The final line of the verse ends with the word “silence,” but no corresponding rhyming line, creating a beat of actual silence in its absence.


The University of California Stanislaus defines paradox as “an apparent contradiction that is nonetheless true.” It might seem impossible that the people in the song can be “talking without speaking” or “hearing without listening,” since on the surface, these words appear to be synonyms. However, Simon uses these paradoxes to imply that the people’s relationships and conversations are so superficial and limited that they fail to have any connection or deeper interaction. In this case, paradox makes us think about the level of alienation these subjects experience.


Tone is the speaker’s attitude toward the subject of a poem. In “The Sound of Silence,” the speaker feels he has an important message to deliver to the people entrenched in materialism, but they are too busy worshiping “the neon god” of culture to care. The speaker’s tone can therefore be described as solemn and disappointed. From the fact that only darkness will listen to his message to the people’s ultimate rejection, it is clear that he is saddened by the narrowness of their lives and that they are unable to look for something deeper.

Artboard 1


The Human Camera (Autistic Savant Documentary) | Real Stories

Autistic Savants are children and adults who have an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and who display remarkable abilities or skills in one or several domains. This is a documentary about Stephen Wiltshire – a human camera known for his ability to draw landscapes from memory with just one look. 


What Is Autism?

Autism is a lifelong developmental disability that affects a person’s ability to make sense of the world and relate with others. Autism comes from ‘autos’, the Greek word for ‘self’, and a person with autism is often referred to as someone who lives in a world of his own.

What Causes Autism?

Although there are many theories, no one fully knows the definitive answer to this question. Research shows that autism can be caused by a variety of conditions that affect brain development, which may occur before, during or after birth.

While the cause or combination of causes of autism is not fully understood, research suggests a biological correlation affecting the parts of the brain that process language and information coming in from the senses. Other research findings suggest that there may be an imbalance in certain chemicals in the brain. Genetic factors may sometimes be involved in certain families. In reality, what we know is that autism may develop from a combination of several “causes”.

The lack of understanding about autism can make it difficult for people on the autism spectrum to have their condition recognize and for them to access the support they need. False and often negative perceptions about the condition as well as misconceptions can lead to some people with autism being isolated and in extreme cases, lead to abuse and bullying.

Myths of Autism


image: Background vector created by freepik – www.freepik.com

 The Magic When Kids And Seniors Do Daycare Together | How Germany Gets Ageing Right | CNA Insider


SEP 29, 2015

As Singapore ages, the older folk may lose touch with the younger generation. The opposite holds true too, giving rise to misconceptions of each other. But these are often dispelled at courses organised by the Council for Third Age’s (C3A) Intergenerational Learning Programme (ILP). Here, students from primary and secondary schools, polytechnics and the Institute of Technical Education teach senior citizens various subjects like information technology, social media and photography.

Over 6,000 seniors and students have taken part in the programme, which started in 2011. It has been so successful that C3A plans to expand it over the next few years, said Ms Soh Swee Ping, chief executive of the active ageing agency. It is also holding an inaugural conference on positive ageing next month, and has developed a toolkit for seniors to help them discover their interests. It will launch 500 such kits at the conference, said Ms Soh.

These plans come as the Government is ramping up plans to get people to age well, amid an ageing population and rising life expectancy. Last month, it announced a $3 billion plan to help Singaporeans age confidently and lead active lives. More details will be released next year. By 2030, it is estimated that 900,000 people, or one-fifth of the population here, will be over 65.

More research on ageing issues will also be done to make successful ageing a reality for more people. At The Next Age Institute, a pilot study on care pathways has taken off, and an interim report of the findings is expected around the end of next year. The study will provide insights into care arrangements for older people as they transit from hospital to community or home care, said Associate Professor Corinne Ghoh, co-director of the institute at the National University of Singapore (NUS) Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences.

The institute, jointly set up by NUS and Washington University in St Louis in the United States in February, has been contributing to the discussions and new knowledge on active and successful ageing. In November, it will co-organise a symposium that will facilitate discussion on active ageing.

At C3A, there is a rising demand for the ILP, said Ms Soh. Seniors are quick to sign up for these courses, in which they may learn how to talk on Skype, use Facebook or do public speaking, she said. They also get to interact with the youth and vice versa. Said Ms Soh: “The youth may think that the seniors are clumsy, stupid, have butterfingers or can’t learn.

Closing the generation gap

“But at the end of the six to eight sessions, they may find that the seniors are not scary. This translates to them interacting more with their grandparents at home.”

The seniors benefit, too, as they may also have certain preconceptions of young people, said Ms Soh. She said C3A can work with more partners and schools to expand the programme. The ILP could also evolve so that senior folk become the teachers.

“They can teach dialects or customs. It doesn’t matter, as what we want to achieve is the bonding,” says Ms Soh.

Associate Professor Reshma Merchant, who heads the general medicine division at National University Hospital, said the inter-generational gap is getting wider and “empathy towards the elderly may decline if this trend continues”.

Co-locating eldercare and childcare facilities in new Housing Board developments to maximise opportunities for intergenerational interaction is an excellent idea, she said.

“Most elderly people feel much more valued when surrounded by young kids and, in return, the young ones will learn about culture and tradition,” she added. Ms Soh said that to age well, seniors also need to embrace ageing.

The third age is a phase where people may look at life in a more meaningful way. It can start at 50 or even 60 but, typically, people from 50 may begin to view life differently, whereas those who are younger could be focusing on financial stability, she added. C3A hopes to get people to view ageing positively at its inaugural positive ageing conference. Ms Soh said: “Even when we say active ageing, people tend to associate it with the physical aspect. But it also includes the spiritual, financial and intellectual aspect.”

The toolkit that C3A is set to launch will allow seniors to assess which of these dimensions they are lacking in. Ms Soh said: “There will be a score, which will give a sense of where you are, so that you know what to do next. For example, if your intellectual score is low, you can read a book or go for a course.”

Taken from https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/ageing-well-with-help-from-the-young

Celebrities on Being Famous But Not Happy



Elena Creci @elenacresci Mon 3 Nov 2014 18.39 GMT Last modified on Tue 21 Feb 2017 18.23 GMT


Fist clenched, a look of pure determination on his face, Success Kid is the boy who can do it all. You may have seen his face posted when someone’s particularly proud of an achievement.

Success Kid’s real name is Sam Griner and the photo is one of many his mother Laney, a photographer, took of her son and posted on her Flickr page. She still remembers the day and the moment she snapped this picture.

“He was so funny, crawling through the sand and then trying to eat fistfuls of it. He would move so quickly then, it was hard to snap shots of him sitting still,” she said.

“I only got that one shot of him, and going through my camera on the drive home, I immediately loved it. I posted it to my Flickr account as soon as I got home, and it was an immediate hit.

“It’s funny because so often people, usually those with little experience with toddlers, assume it’s a posed photo. Good luck trying to get a toddler to pose like that.”

The picture was taken in 2007, but it wasn’t until two years later Griner began noticing it around the internet. Initially, someone had photoshopped a crying child in the background with the title “I hate sandcastles”.

Griner admits: “I didn’t like it at all then. It was at the beginning of the whole meme thing. Sammy was still a baby and I didn’t even know what a meme was at that time, I just didn’t like him being portrayed as a bully.”

Fortunately, a year later, the meme changed and Sam became Success Kid, which Griner says she thought was “just adorable”. This led to Sam starring in commercials for Virgin Media in the UK and in the US in commercials for Vitamin Water.

And does Griner have any tips for parents whose children inadvertently become internet-famous? “Now it’s maybe a little different because memes and internet stardom is more widely known,” she said.

“But still, it’s got to be a surprise for most anyone who finds themselves in this situation. I think the best thing to do is accept it, because once the internet has it, it’s really out of your control, for the most part.

“Most importantly, retain the copyright to your photo, because the internet has now made it marketable. Not that you must now seek to market it, but it’s nice to have some control over how it’s used, and the right to take legal action over unauthorized use for commercial purposes.”

As for Sam, who turned eight this year, Success Kid is something he’s grown up with and is fully aware of.

“It’s strange to think he’ll never remember a time he wasn’t. He mostly really likes it. We’ve only done a couple of appearances, so it’s mostly just the photo. He likes it and it sort of embarrasses him.

“All of it is pretty awesome. Just that it happened to us. I took a photo of my kid at the beach, like any parent might, and posted for friends and family to see. Who could’ve ever known what would happen next? It’s been full of fun experiences and financially has helped quite a bit. I have no real complaints. I feel pretty fortunate.”

Adapted from What happens when you accidentally become internet famous? Elena Creci @elenacresci Mon 3 Nov 2014, Technology, The Guardian https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2014/nov/03/alex-from-target-what-happens-if-you-accidentally-become-internet-famous


Louis Bromfield, (born Dec. 27, 1896, MansfieldOhio, U.S.—died March 18, 1956, Columbus, Ohio), American novelist and essayist.

The son of a farmer, Bromfield studied journalism at Columbia University and was decorated for his service in the French army, which he joined at the outbreak of World War I. After the war, he worked as a music critic in New York City for a few years. After marrying in 1923, he moved to a village north of Paris, where he concentrated on his writing.

During these expatriate years, Bromfield produced his most highly acclaimed novels, including The Green Bay Tree (1924), Possession (1925), and Early Autumn (1926), for which he was awarded the 1926 Pulitzer Prize. Although written in France, these works, along with his best novelA Good Woman (1927), all focused on life in the United States. Each of them dealt with the attempts of individuals to escape the domination of family and tradition.

With the onset of World War II, Bromfield returned to the United States to live and work on his newly acquired farm, Malabar, near Lucas, Ohio. There he continued with his writing, producing Wild is the River (1941), Until the Day Break (1942), Mrs. Parkington (1943), and What Became of Anna Bolton(1944). Little of his later work attained the depth or quality of the novels he wrote in France.


Taken from https://www.britannica.com/biography/Louis-Bromfield

Malabar Farm – America’s Heartland