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Archive for June, 2012

On NBC Nightly News, Brian Williams opened the story of Nora Ephron’s passing as someone who is necessary, indispensable and probably irreplaceable. Filmmaker, screenwriter, humorist and journalist, Nora died this Tuesday at 71 years old. She was both incredibly pointed and funny. Over night, the internet is flooded with her amazing quotes from her books and movies. With that, I am sharing Amy Odell’s compilation of Nora’s most famous quotes on buzzfeed.com.

On Love

1. “I love that you get cold when it’s 71 degrees out. I love that it takes you an hour and a half to order a sandwich. I love that you get a little crinkle above your nose when you’re looking at me like I’m nuts. I love that after I spend the day with you, I can still smell your perfume on my clothes. And I love that you are the last person I want to talk to before I go to sleep at night. And it’s not because I’m lonely, and it’s not because it’s New Year’s Eve. I came here tonight because when you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible.”— Harry, When Harry Met Sally

2. “Well, it was a million tiny little things that, when you added them all up, they meant we were supposed to be together… and I knew it. I knew it the very first time I touched her. It was like coming home… only to no home I’d ever known… I was just taking her hand to help her out of a car and I knew. It was like… magic.”— Sam, Sleepless in Seattle

3. “Sometimes I believe that some people are better at love than others, and sometimes I believe that everyone is faking it.”

4. “Beware of men who cry. It’s true that men who cry are sensitive to and in touch with feelings, but the only feelings they tend to be sensitive to and in touch with are their own.”

On Divorce

5. “The desire to get married is a basic and primal instinct in women. It’s followed by another basic and primal instinct: the desire to be single again.”

6. “Never marry a man you wouldn’t want to be divorced from.”

7. “The divorce has lasted way longer than the marriage, but finally it’s over. Enough about that.The point is that for a long time, the fact that I was divorced was the most important thing about me. And now it’s not.”

On Youth

8. “Oh, how I regret not having worn a bikini for the entire year I was twenty-six. If anyone young is reading this, go, right this minute, put on a bikini, and don’t take it off until you’re thirty-four.”— I Feel Bad About My Neck

9. “You can settle for reality, or you can go off, like a fool, and dream another dream.”— Heartburn

10. “You can’t retrieve you life (unless you’re on Wikipedia, in which case you can retrieve an inaccurate version of it).”― I Remember Nothing: and Other Reflections

On Reading and Writing

11. “Reading is one of the main things I do. Reading is everything. Reading makes me feel I’ve accomplished something, learned something, become a better person. Reading makes me smarter.”—I Feel Bad About My Neck: And Other Thoughts on Being a Woman

12. “To state the obvious, romantic comedies have to be funny and they have to be romantic. But one of the most important things, for me anyway, is that they be about two strong people finding their way to love.”

13. “I try to write parts for women that are as complicated and interesting as women actually are.”

On People

14. “Insane people are always sure that they are fine. It is only the sane people who are willing to admit that they are crazy.”

15. “I am continually fascinated at the difficulty intelligent people have in distinguishing what is controversial from what is merely offensive.”

16. “American society has a remarkable ability to resist change, or to take whatever change has taken place and attempt to make it go away.”

On Feminism

17. “The Wonderbra is not a step forward for women. Nothing that hurts that much is a step forward for women.”— ’96 Wellesley College commencement address

18. “One of the things people always say to you if you get upset is, don’t take it personally, but listen hard to what’s going on and, please, I beg you, take it personally. Understand: every attack on Hillary Clinton for not knowing her place is an attack on you. Underneath almost all those attacks are the words: get back, get back to where you once belonged. When Elizabeth Dole pretends that she isn’t serious about her career, that is an attack on you. The acquittal of O.J. Simpson is an attack on you. Any move to limit abortion rights is an attack on you — whether or not you believe in abortion. The fact that Clarence Thomas is sitting on the Supreme Court today is an attack on you.”— ’96 Wellesley commencement address

19. “Above all, be the heroine of your life, not the victim.”— ’96 Wellesley commencement address

On Cooking

20. “My mother was a good recreational cook, but what she basically believed about cooking was that if you worked hard and prospered, someone else would do it for you.”

21. “Every so often I would look at my women friends who were happily married and didn’t cook, and I would always find myself wondering how they did it. Would anyone love me if I couldn’t cook? I always thought cooking was part of the package: Step right up, it’s Rachel Samstat, she’s bright, she’s funny and she can cook!”—Heartburn

On Parenting

22. “If pregnancy were a book they would cut out the last two chapters.”

23. “When you have a baby, you set off an explosion in your marriage, and when the dust settles, your marriage is different from what it was. Not better, necessarily; not worse, necessarily; but different.”

24. “[A successful parent is one] who raises a child who grows up and is able to pay for his or her own psychoanalysis.”

25. “When your children are teenagers, it’s important to have a dog so that someone in the house is happy to see you.”— I Feel Bad About My Neck: And Other Thoughts on Being a Woman

On Death

26. “…the amount of maintenance involving hair is genuinely overwhelming. Sometimes I think that not having to worry about your hair anymore is the secret upside of death.”― I Feel Bad About My Neck: And Other Thoughts on Being a Woman

27. “When I buy a new book, I always read the last page first, that way in case I die before I finish, I know how it ends. That, my friend, is a dark side.”

Nora Ephron will be dearly missed.

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6 more days and we will enter into a new era under a brand new Chief Executive of the HK SAR. All we are bombarded by the news these days are the various scandals going on with the two transitioning heads of state. For months, the incumbent Donald was caught repeatedly by the press in reckless spending on business trips, accepting lavish traveling and even residential favors by local tycoons, and very much to our horror, smuggling truckloads of liquor from the chief executive’s mansion to his home. On the other hand, CY, the CE-elect, was wildly skinned by the public for lying blatantly about his illegal building works at his home – an offense which he harshly accused of his rival Henry only a few months ago. These scandals have hardly anything to do with public policies or the welfare of our fellow citizens. Worse yet, they speak about our leaders’ character and integrity. Or, the lack of it.

There is a saying that our souls can be corrupted by power, and don’t act all naive and shocked when you turn on the TV news. This happens everyday at the work place and in your households. The difference is only in terms of the level of misuse for personal gains. I am never saying that any of this can be condoned. I’m just saying that while we point our fingers at those around us, we should at the same time have the decency to look at how we conduct ourselves.

In my profession I always look into areas to minimize wastage and inefficiencies. I agree, these are only fancy and politically correct words. My company charges me to make sure we tighten up our expense control measures so that no one is stealing corporate resources. That’s why I am in one of the most hated professions on the planet.

Corporate resources can be traveling guidelines so that the junior marketing manager won’t be checking in to the presidential suite like our Donald did. They can also be how the heads of departments spend our money on unnecessary external consulting firms so as to “pass on the blame” for below-par business results. Talking about how it is best to spend company’s money is challenging and confrontational alone from a third-party point of view, but nothing is even remotely comparable to the landmines of employee benefits. You can imagine the extent of it by looking at the public riots you see in the cash-trapped countries of Greece and Spain.

What are these so-called employee benefits? Alright, we have hotel categories, hotel breakfasts, hotel locations, serviced apartments, daily spending limits, flight classes, lowest cost airlines, airline lounge access, airport limousines, club memberships, blackberry models, cell phone packages, laptops, flat screen monitors, office furniture, name cards, stationery, pens, folders, giveaways, and the list goes on.

Don’t get me wrong. I LOVE nice things. I love to be pampered, and I like to think that I have earned my ranks enough to be treated nicely by my boss. However, I know what the reality is, and I know how to draw the line. I come in to work and deliver and get my pay check. Then I can spend it on nice things. I’d rather see my employer make money and then reward me with a bigger pay check. Then no one owes anyone anything. What strikes me hard is that I often see many well-off senior staff thinking very much like Donald and CY – let’s get as much out of the company/government as possible.

I am fully aware that there are blood-sucking corporations out there who take advantage of innocent workers like running a sweat shop. That’s why we protect our employees with well written policies – something which our Chief Executives conveniently omitted for themselves. We know what we are entitled to when we sign on to a job offer. From time to time, companies will want to revisit those policies due to flagging business results or other priorities, and this often creates an outroar of frustrations and resistance from everyone. In my years of experience, I often find the biggest resistance actually comes from the highest ranking staff and often the most wealthy ones. They work their way around with smart excuses, threats and pressure through their poor secretaries. The only thing they almost never do, is walk away. No, it’s not worth losing those high paying jobs, they admitted.

That to me is a complete revelation of their character, and it is eye-opening. I believe it is a competitive market out there, and every one of us should know how much bargaining power we have in all circumstances. If you truly believe you are being ill-treated by not getting the true rewards of your deliverables, walk away. There must be tons of other companies who want to grab you. You have suffered enough. Don’t bully your way through the innocent policy enforcers. Negotiate a bigger package and then take 150 days of leave a year to indulge. Don’t spend your precious time haggling over the next hotel tier or that first class window seat on your next business trip. The reality is, a business trip is a business trip. Even if you have Donald’s presidential suite, you can still hate it because your diamond shoes are too tight.

That’s why, if I am charged with attacking “greed” as one of my buying commodities, I will happily and politely defer to my fellow human resources colleagues for their professional enjoyment.

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