It is the beginning of the school term at the Faculty of Law, National University of Singapore, where in this semester, I teach a Negotiation Workshop. In our first class yesterday, we played a pricing game based on the Prisoner’s Dilemma. There are many versions of this pricing game and it essentially introduces participants to…

If you haven’t been living under a rock, you may have seen this recent meme in late February that got the internet buzzing with debate. A badly lit photo of a dress spread like wildfire with some people seeing it as white and gold, while others as black and blue. If you haven’t seen it,…

This is a blog I have shied away from writing. Several times. Even now, as I do so, I am wary of it. But here goes. I’ll come right out with it. Very few women feature on the lists of “top” commercial mediators. This year’s Who Who Legal World’s Top Ten features precisely….none. Seriously? Come…

This article may be helpful particularly if you consider settling a case as a party or as an advisor. There are many perspectives that one can consider when looking at mediation. One example is that our current mediation culture is still in development. Therefore, sometimes, parties ask me, the mediator, to invite the other party…

At the risk of being accused of being too much of a purist, I just have to have a little grumble about the latest misappropriation of the term mediation. All involved in promoting and encouraging the use of mediation know how one of the largest barriers to people availing of this process is the lack…

Intellectual life is beset by ‘gap’ problems. Philosophers wrestle with the ‘mind-body problem’: the gap between material and non-material aspects of human existence. All science can be construed as an attempt to bridge the gap between what is and what we can imagine: an inductive corrective to deductive supposition. Roger Cotterrell describes law’s gap problem…

Mediators deal in words – not exclusively, but a great deal (and perhaps sometimes too much, but that’s another blog). So it pays for us to think carefully about what words really mean. A couple of years ago, I came across an article entitled “US facilitation yes, mediation no: Omar”. It detailed how Pakistan, through…

“At these times”, said Dumbledore, indicating the stone basin, “I use the Pensieve. One simply siphons the excess thoughts from one’s mind, pours them into the basin, and examines them at one’s leisure. It becomes easier to spot patterns and links, you understand, when they are in this form.” (From Harry Potter, by JK Rowling,…

It is trite that one of key tasks of a mediator is to sort out what Patton, Stone and Heen in their book “Difficult Conversations” refer to as the “What Happened” conversation. Although they write about this and two other conversations in the context of negotiation, their insights are pertinent to mediators as well. One…

[Author’s Note: I am grateful to Ms. Melissa Teo whose journal ruminations led me to the random thoughts that follow] I teach mediation skills at the National University of Singapore Faculty of Law and it has always been something that I have found tremendously fulfilling. Apart from influencing generations of lawyers to consider the resolution…