Hi, I’m Visakan Veerasamy (call me Visa!). I work at ReferralCandy, and I also cofounded Statement. And I write for PoachedMag. I’m also somewhat active over at Quora. You should follow me on Twitter.
Singaporean. I was born and raised here. I studied and served NS here. I care deeply about making Singapore a more beautiful, thoughtful and loving community that we can all be proud to be a part of.
- Awesome Speeches and Essays Concerning Singapore
- What is PM Lee Hsien Loong like in person?
- Meeting PM Lee: The Aftermath
- Ministerial Pay: The neglected truth about financial incentives.
- Why Singaporeans don’t feel that they belong.
- Does racial harmony justify xenophobia in Singapore?
- Singaporean students lack drive. Why ah?
- How should our MPs handle social media?
- How do we get Singaporeans to look out for each other?
- Is Singapore a gaze-averse nation?
- The Singaporean Education System
- Evidence of Straits Times’ manipulation of forum letters
- Why nobody gives up their seats, and how we can fix that
- Why JC students DON’T deserve priority over Poly students.
Humanist. I’m not religious, but I believe strongly in love, compassion and faith in ourselves and one another. As a humanist, I also identify as feminist, anti-racist, anti-xenophobic and anything else that believes in a more equitable world for everyone. If and when we make contact with extraterrestrial life, I’m all for peaceful coexistence.
- Soulmates: why reality is actually more wondrous and beautiful than fantasy.
- Swarm Intelligence: God as something Within ourselves
- dealing with that familiar empty feeling
- How to deal with an existential crisis.
- Embrace the detours.
- Love lives, and to love is to live.
- The day suicide finally made sense to me.
‘Gifted.’ I was from the Gifted Education Programme, which was an eye-opening experience. I under-performed academically, and was asked to leave.
Retainee. I repeated a year in Junior College because of my abysmal grades. I was disillusioned with our public education system, with school, and with life in general. One of my life goals is to seek out individuals who are going through similar experiences, and help them through it.
Musician. I’m still a beginner, but I’ve written a few songs, played in a few bands and have gotten paid for it. I have organized multiple gigs in the past. I’m passionate about Singapore’s music scene, and I believe that if we ask the right questions and pursue the right goals as a collective, we can nurture it into something that we can all be proud of.
- Self-mastery and the journey of the hero
- Personal development and symbolism of the hero
- Left 4 Dead: Enlightened self-interest in a zombie apocalypse
- How I learnt to love Mass Effect 3′s ending, pre-Extended Cut DLC
- My Mass Effect experience
- 7 Lessons smokers can teach us about getting shit done
- The Art of Disagreement: 5 steps to emerge unscathed from every battle
- Why self-help books don’t work, and why it’s your fault
- Harnessing and managing the rocket fuel of Emotion
- 7 steps to unlocking superhuman clarity of mind
- Managing complex change: 5 things that stop you from accomplishing greatness
- How Marginal Differences will change your life
- Why you should keep track of every day
- The Smile Experiment
- A candid assessment of my own weaknesses.
- On binging, and moderation.
- Why weeks and months are more valuable than days and years.
I’m passionate about making whatever positive difference I can make to the world beyond myself, while learning, growing and having fun in the process.
My interests include systems thinking, communication, narratives, philosophy, social dynamics and decision-making. I love identifying patterns, refining and synthesizing disparate ideas. I live for moments of epiphany and insight.
I spent the first 20 years of my life as a chronic underachiever. My mantra was “Do as little as you can possibly get away with.” Minimize discomfort. When I turned 20, I gradually realised that I had wasted most of life’s opportunities being distracted by superficial things. I did not want my grave to read, “Here lies Visa, an arrogant, lazy and unlikable slob who accomplished nothing worth mentioning.”
I decided that I was going to stop drifting aimlessly and transform into a heat-seeking missile, locked onto my vision of myself growing into a highly accomplished individual who is happy, fulfilled and an asset to humanity. This is still a work in progress.
Above all else: Email me. My email is visakanv at gmail dot com. Ask me a question, tell me something interesting, whatever. I live for human connection. I want to hear from you, whatever it is that you might have to say- or even if you don’t know what to say. I’m here. This is me reaching out to you. Reach out to me.
I’ve written for:
visakanv.com - You’re here right now. I provoke people to think and live better.
FeverAvenue.com – I write an Op-Ed column for Think Tank.
NewNation.sg – Singaporean political commentary and satire.
PowerOfPop.com - I write music reviews.
Campus Magazine – I write on behalf of men in a His vs. Hers column. (This one actually gets printed and distributed!)
Armchair Critic. I started a band, with no musical talent or background. We wrote our own songs. We played over 80 shows, including Timbre, the Esplanade Powerhouse Stage, *scape and the Youth Park.
The Kamikaze Love Pilots is an idea I have for the next band I’d start, if I started one.
Me and two friends organized several gigs together. We called ourselves CAVEvents. We would explore bars and pubs, make a deal with the managers, rent equipment, liason with performers, sell tickets.
I built a Facebook community from scratch, founded on the principle of good conversation. We have 290 members, and we talk about everything from philosophy and politics to trivial day-to-day stuff. We have members who’re working and studying all over the world, and we meet up from time to time. Several members have found love.
I sell t-shirts. We’re called Statement. The idea is that the t-shirts should function as conversation starters, that they should effectively communicate something about the wearer.
Someone once asked me, “You say that you’ll fight to the end for what you believe in- but what do you believe in?” And I realized- I knew, but I didn’t know. I hadn’t articulated it. So here’s a provisional attempt:
It’s possible. That’s the most important belief of all. Whatever it is that you want to accomplish. It’s possible. If the world knocks you down, get back up and try again. Be skeptical, but never cynical. Cynicism is too easy, and it accomplishes nothing. Nobody gets it right the first few times. Most people are afraid to try, afraid to believe in themselves. This can change.
Life is wiser than us. Wisdom comes from experience, and something that has been around for billions of years is something that we can learn from. Everything wonderful in the world went through variation and selection- trial and error. The universe is too complex for any individual to adequately comprehend. We have to acknowledge this, and learn to function accordingly- through deliberate and robust experimentation.(See: Tim Harford’s God Complex.) We aren’t evolving as quickly as we could be, because of our outdated, primitive thinking. This can change.
Survival of the fittest is a valid concept, but it’s poorly interpreted in today’s complex environment. The fittest person in a community is not the person with the biggest muscles, or the with the biggest brain- it’s the person with the biggest heart, who is able to leverage and utilize the vast resources of everyone else. Not everyone has learnt to transcend rigid individualism to see themselves as part of a greater whole. This can change.
Our emotions are outdated. They were developed for a context far less complex than the one we inhabit today. Fight and flight are both obsolete options. You can no longer truly win a fight any more, in the conventional sense. And there’s nowhere to flee too. Negotiation and compromise are the only way forward. We haven’t adapted to this reality yet. This can change.
Resources are overrated- resourcefulness is key. Every “limitation” can be transcended, and even leveraged as a selling point. There will always be someone somewhere with less of everything than you, in far worse circumstances- who will accomplish far more than you ever will, simply through sheer ingenuity and persistence. Most people are still conditioned to think that time, money and other resources are fundamental. This can change.
We are all connected, and increasingly so. Everything is part of something greater than itself. Everything is interconnected and interdependent. So self-interest means looking out for each other. Being selfish leaves you worse off, because it denies you the opportunity to be a part of symbiotic, mutually beneficial relationships. We should all strive to be valuable to others. Most of us don’t. This can change.
People have far more potential for goodness than we give them credit for. Everyone’s nervous, anxious and insecure. Everybody wants to be loved. Everybody’s afraid of getting hurt. Everybody’s defensive. Everyone secretly wants to live in a world where everyone is free, comfortable, happy- but most people are too frightened to take the first step. This can change.
People aren’t inherently bad- just unenlightened and unskilled at managing their lives. What do you want out of life? Most people aren’t sure. Are your actions and beliefs helping you get what you want? Almost nobody. Have you tried changing them? Most people aren’t even aware that it’s an option. This can change.
A lot of conventional ideas are going to get seriously shaken up in the near future. We’re still heavily invested in the status quo. This can change.
Big things happen through baby steps. As Will Smith says, don’t try and build a house. Focus on laying a brick. Say that you want to lay the most perfect brick that was ever laid. And lay it. And lay another one tomorrow. And eventually you’ll have a house.
Mindfulness matters. When everything is going crazy, sit down and pay attention to your own mind. The self is an illusion- or rather, a simulation. The solutions emerge naturally if you just listen.