Bewildering incidents

Some bewildering incidents have happened since the official take over by the new big boss last year:

(1)
Fact: Before she took over, we were already shorthanded by one. Within the next 8 to 10 months, 3 more left. Despite pleas from my boss for replacements (not new hires), there had been none except for the new manager.

Thoughts: Is she trying to demoralise us? Close down Singapore office? Shift all business to China?


(2)
Fact: A new manager was hired early this year and we were told of his exact date of joining. That was great news as we thought he could then help us with some of the excess work we had since the departure of 4 colleagues. However, he was instructed by big boss to go to China instead for a couple of months and the interesting bit is that we were not told! We accidentally found out from HR.

Thoughts: That was so rude! The irony is that he ended up doing alot of our excess work, which could have been done more efficiently if he was here in Singapore

(3)
Fact: We were told that study benefits are now harmonised across the region. As a result, our study leaves were cut by a third, which is far below what our competitors in Singapore are offering.

Thoughts: Goodness, what's going on up there? Are they dumb or is this really an attempt to drive us away?

(4)
Fact: We tried billing for work done on China projects. We were told to just "write them off" as they are not significant. One of the projects incurred a time cost of USD50,000.

On the other hand, we no longer can claim for study materials. All materials will belong to company and photocopied and distributed as needed. This is to save money. A typical textbook cost USD100.

Thought: Penny wise, pound foolish anyone? Copyright issue? Wiley, you reading this?

(5)
Fact: When she said she would do this or that by this time/date, rarely she met her own deadlines. She couldn't even make the time to peruse proposal for a huge project or just to say didn't have enough time.

Thought: Too much micromanaging? Misplaced priority? Too focused on the big picture but little on the details?

(6)
Fact: A manager in China that he would pay us certain amount of fees for our support. This was written clearly in an e-mail. When the time came for us to bill, he said he needed to get approval from big boss. In fact, since she would be down here later, he asked us to discuss with her.

Thought: What the hell is going on? Shouldn't he obtain the approval beforehand? Does the fact that he has the guts to ask us to tell big boss what happened mean that she knew about this?


As an aside, any idea how to overthrow a tyrannical empress?

The unrecognised dads and mums

During Mother's Day and Father's Day, appreciation is shown for the patience and care our parents have shown (if they had shown) us in bringing us up throughout the decades. I would like to highlight a large group of people who have never been appreciated before on such days: those who have childish parents (and I don't mean parents with regressive minds).

Oh yes, I know that some people may think it's ridiculous to compare decades of bringing us up from babies till young adults with a few years of taking care of childish parents. Well, think about this way: our parents have the advantage as starting of as parents since we were babies. We feared them. We respected them. We looked up to them. We admired them. Therefore it is much harder for us to have our roles reversed i.e. we have to be parents to them when they are childish. We want to scold and punish them and yet have to do it without raised voice, with careful words and, impossible it may sound, with respect. I put to you that this is a harder role to play.

So to all guys out there with childish parents, I wish you belated Happy Father's Day and best of luck!

I Love You, Man (updated)

This is an excellent movie! Go watch it. Sorry, I'm bad at general description. I suspect Derek might write a review about it.

Update on Sunday, 21 June 2009:
Hehe well, I'll say a few words about this movie. I was so tired last night especially since I played about 2 hours of tennis in the morning.

It was about a guy, Peter, who was about to get married but realised that he doesn't have any male best friend to be his best man. Thus he went on a quest to find one. It's hilarious (but not slapstick) especially the inevitable awkward moments (both gay and gayish ones) as he doesn't really know how to make male friends.

I've never had best friends, at least not according to my intepretation of "best friend". I had a few close friends. In fact, there was a group fo 6 of us back in lower secondary school. In upper secondary, I had a few close friends and a few very good friends but not all of them hung out together. I remember writing a letter of thanks during Valentine's Day to 5 of them (or was it 6? Lol I'm really old). Yeah, I was depressed and sentimental then while in Australia.

Now? I still don't have best friend and maybe not even close friend. I do have one of which I definitely can count on in emergency but we run in different circle of friends and do different things. However, we regularly meet up for lunch and catch up. I have a very good friend and a few good friends.

A counsellor once suggested that being away from home (I was away since I was 15), I tried to incorporate my friends as members of my "family" and thus the conflicts I had with a close friend back then. Although she was wrong about the reason of the conflicts (I was in love with him lah hehe), I believed her statement in general is probably true and hence I try not to do that as then my expectation would likely to exceed what can be received from my friends.

An affair

He was always there but I barely noticed his presence. It was usually a quick, that was all.

However, something changed last week. For some strange reasons, I had this strong urge to see him. I did meet and spend some time with him but I was concerned as he is not one I would wish to engage with for too long.

Hence I visited a doctor and was prescribed some medication that hopefully would eliminate the urge. It definitely lessened the intensity but, unfortunately, not its frequency. I still meet him regularly for the past week. At home, at work and sometimes even at the gym.

After more than a week of exhaustion and struggle, I visited the doctor again and once again I'm popping pills. Hopefully this urge will go away this time.

Please let this diarrhoea go away.

SGA313J

To the lady driver of this BMW: you could have killed a bunch of office workers around 12 noon at Telok Ayer Street, after the junction with Cross Street, by not stopping at the traffic light when it was clearly red on your side and it was clearly green on the pedestrian side.

Fined

My poor cousin. His started his first job here in Singapore as a hair stylist less than a year ago. Still unsure about how things work in Singapore. He was recently fined S$500.

For what? For taking a sip of drink in the MRT train.

It was really unlucky because firstly, MRT officer is seldom seen in the train. Secondly, even if the officer is in the train, what are the odds he bumped into my cousin just when he was sipping? Thirdly, usually people are warned first rather than fined right away.

S$500 is no small amount especially for a young man on his first job.

Sleep


IMG_1502, originally uploaded by williamnyk.
I wanted to sleep forever this weekend.

Out to a higher standard?

What fellow blogger, Alex, experienced is one of the reasons why I've decided not to come out to my parents. It would be a very convenient excuse for them to blame on homosexuality for all my perceived undesirable attitude and behaviour in the past and in the future. There would be pressure for me to maintain a standard that is likely to be higher than your average heterosexual person, which would be grossly unfair.

Even worse is my fear that they may take this further by excusing their bad behaviour and ignore any admonishment from me and waved it as some gay distorted views. It would be so easy for them to continue to be irresponsible since whatever I say then would fall on deaf ears and maybe even ignore my siblings' advice by assuming that they have been influenced by their gay brother.

If this happens, it would be dangerous. It has very real consequences on me and my siblings, at least on the financial side. No, it's not that we depend on them. It is the other way around. All these years we have been struggling to get the concept of budgeting and spending within one's means across to my mum and as far as we can tell, she hasn't grasped it. My dad's not helping by offering little resistance to her perpetual request to expand beyond the budget. Many things have happened to vary the intensity of these actions but that's what it is in a nutshell. This is only financial effect. You can certainly draw your own conclusion the effect on our relationship. Hint: certainly would not be rosy.

Can you imagine what would happen if I come out to them? As Alex's parents have demonstrated clearly: irrationality can rein in and all hell can break loose.

Road trip to Melaka Part 3

The next day, the Fenix Hotel occupants had breakfast at a nearby Taiwanese restaurant. I had some sort of noodle. It was so-so only to me, and evidently so from the fact that I don't even remember the name of the noodle hehe.

Went shopping at Dataran Pahlawan Melaka Megamall (hope I got the name correct). Bought some underwear and a short sleeved shirt (thanks guys!). Caught up with William while Derek and Cheryl had their foot tenderised at at Thai massage shop in the mall.

Had chicken rice balls, with chicken of course, for lunch. The rice balls were great but the chicken was kinda normal and in fact more moist than normal. Had delicious chendol after that. We had to queue at both shops.

After that, it was tearful parting (hahaha well it could very well had been one) and then back to Singapore. What are the key practical lessons I learn in this trip?

(1) Never go during school holidays, especially when it is the case for both countries
(2) Satay celup is a must!
(3) The Baba chendol at Jonkers Street is a must!
(4) Shopping is also a must lol

Road trip to Melaka Part 2

After satay, we went to do some touristy stuff. The place that is new to me is the so called Flower Garden but seriously lacking of flowers:

Melaka Flower Garden

The garden in front of the Cultural Museum is much better than this, if it is still as good as it was years ago.

Nearby is the open air Transportation Museum:

Melaka Transport Museum 1

Melaka Transport Museum 3

Melaka Transport Museum 2

Oh, Melaka has significantly expanded the number of museums. I believed it has around 20 museums at the moment. *Boggled*

We next visited A Farmosa, ruins of St Paul's church and another museum in the Stadhuys, which at the time has a small gallery on Admiral Cheng Ho:

Cheng Ho 1

Cheng Ho 2

After that, our group was split. I've followed Lloyd, Nick and Lloyd's two friends to eat satay celup at Capitol Satay, while the rest, as I found out later, went outside town and had Nyonya food. The queue for the satay celup was long and the place was warm with steaming satay gravy but boy it was worth it!

The system requires us to proceed to obtain the satay and the cost is counted on a per stick or per coloured plate basis. After some time sitting and eating, the waitress brought us a few sticks of large prawns, scallops and some other seafood that cannot be obtained ourselves. The finale was sticks of abalone, some other seafood and, surely the crowning moment, a super huge prawn - so huge that its tail end stucked out although we placed it diagonally downward into the pot of gravy. Lloyd was already deliriously happy when he saw the earlier 3 large prawns but he was postively ecstatic when this one came:

Satay celup prawn

After that, we walked along Jalan Hang Jebat a.k.a. Jonkers Street. Remember the steel figurines I bought recently in Singapore? They were also sold here and so much cheaper! It was around 40% cheaper! Omg! I bought another two:

Steely spearman

Steely scythe user

Had supper and drinks later at Coconut House. I've been there before. Quite decent. I was very tired that night. I slept well, even without my usual milk and bread and even with the smell in the room.

Road trip to Melaka Part 1

It was planned for more than a month. During the last weekend of May, four of us (Lloyd, Nick, Derek and I) took MRT and bus to JB to get our rented car. Yup, we rented a Malaysia car. Safer that way. We waited behind these buildings for the car to arrive:

JB Kota Raya
Kota Raya: a familiar place for all those who commute between Singapore and JB

JB Puteri Pacific
Was this formerly Pan Pacific? Or a new hotel?

The car rental company, Avis, was a little incompetent in my opinion. We called them after failing to find their office and we were a bit worried about the weather. It was going to rain. They asked us to stay where we were and sent someone to get us. But wait a minute: how would they recognise us? That was the reason why it took them ages to get to us and they have the audacity to complain that they have made two rounds looking for us. Hello??? I won't rent from them any more if I can help it.

Once we were on the highway, it was smooth sailing. Derek slept during most of the journey. So it was just the 3 of us chatting away although I tried to snoozed too. I enticed Nick, and Lloyd partially since he was driving, into playing a game about solving mysteries. Basically, I told them the scene and they were supposed to solve it by asking me question in such a way I answer "Yes" or "No". Hope you guys liked it :-)

In Melaka, Lloyd and Nick stayed at a different hotel than Derek and I. William and Cheryl joined Derek and I at Fenix Hotel. This was how my room looked like:

Melaka Fenix Hotel 1

Melaka Fenix Hotel 4

And its attached bathroom:

Melaka Fenix Hotel 3

Melaka Fenix Hotel 2

Actually, it is a little better than expected considering the price we paid. My only complain is the smell, which Cheryl claimed to be coming from the bathroom. Luckily, it was only mild.

Later we met up with Nick, Lloyd, Ban, Savante and Legolas and headed for some chendol at Jetah Grove and satay at Melaka Ming State satay

I tried the satay but as expected, I didn't like it. I've never been a fan of satay and that just reconfirm it. Others were happy with the satay from that shop.

Right opposite the shop, was this shop:

Melaka banner typo
Spot any typo?

Equinox

Last month, for the first time I had dinner at Equinox, on the 69th (69 mmm ;-) ) floor of Swissotel. The fine dining restaurant is one of the highest placed restaurants in Singapore, while Swissotel is (I think) the tallest hotel.

A few of us was there to celebrate a friend's birthday. Obviously the view there is something to marvel at as you can see City Hall, Dobhy Ghaut and Somerset at night. Unfortunately, my gimpy camphone can't capture much of it:

Singapore night 1

Singapore night 2

Singapore night 3

We did walk up one more floor to the bar area. It's rather small. Posh kind of bar. Plenty of alcohol on display, even outside. Well, not my cup of tea really.

The food was good but horribly expensive haha. I had a scallop dish (forgot what else inside) which is so small that it was almost like finger food. It tasted great, no doubt but seriously overpriced (almost $50 after GST I believed). Guess we are paying more for the view. Oh by the way, we didn't sit exactly next to the window. That costs S$20 more lol.

They gave complimentary birthday cake which due to old age I can't remember what it was but it was delicious. It came with the obligatory candle:

Cake 1

Cake 2

Lol I just realised the candlelight looks so fake in this photo.

Will I go there again? Nope, unless there's severe discount. Will I recommend people to go there? Yes, do try it once if you can afford it.

Outside looking in


Butterfly ORQ, originally uploaded by Jaded Jeremy.