Formenting dissent

I've been thinking hard how to provide 'feedback' about the unease (a gross understatement) my colleagues we feel about our big boss a.k.a. the empress, especially what happened here and here. In fact, I'm not even sure there's anyone higher than her who can intervene as technically she is considered equal to other big bosses.

Then a glimmer of hope appears...and please let it eventually brightens the future.

Ok, a little background: our department here in Singapore have both internal and external clients. Internal clients are our fellow colleagues in other departments, who need our expertise in certain areas. One area is to provide our opinion on the reasonableness of work performed by their own external clients. This matters because our colleagues are signing off certain forms/certificates that include, among other things, work done by their external clients.

Over the years, there were discussions, at times squabbles, about how this should be done but I can safely say that after 7 years, both parties are comfortable with the work we perform and the fees that we charged.

Enter the empress. Instead of checking reasonableness of the work, she is insisting that to provide proper assurance, we have to reperform the work! Naturally, this will mean a gigantic increase in fees (easily doubled), which is something that internal clients cannot pass to their clients as doing so will drive them to our competitors (who are already providing the same service a little cheaper).

Of course this caused an uproar among the big bosses of the other departments and inevitably some of them, including their senior managers, have touched on this topic with me and lamented that they are already comfortable doing the way of which my direct boss is advocating i.e. reasonableness check (and at most, some sample checking), rather than full reperformance. I agreed with them but said that it is out of my hands and it is something that all the big bosses have to work it out.

Later, I learned that the empress may just shift all such service to China and the reason given is because of lack of manpower (which is true). As we have already started discussing about this year end work with internal clients, we were given permission by our senior manager to forewarn them. This causes yet another uproar and I can safely say that all of them prefer the work to be here as even their external clients view this as an advantage over our competitors. Again, I agreed with them that we should just hire more (in fact, it's merely hiring to replace those who left) here, instead of shifting the work to China.

I really hope the big bosses of other departments can knock some sense into my big boss. Pray hard.

Ticklish current

On Sunday, Derek, Nick, Lloyd and I made our maiden journey to a fish spa, specifically at Kenko Marina Square. Lloyd and I had vouchers that were just enough to get each of us 30 mins of fish spa. Unlike normal massage, one cannot book in advance and so we just turned up. Fortunately, there was plenty of space.

At the entrance, we were asked to wash our legs after spraying some disinfectant on them and then to use their slippers. Our bags were kept in lockers.

Inside, there was a rectangle pool in the middle and a drain-like kind of pool against the wall facing outside. We just automatically gravitated towars the middle pool, which later we learned has the smaller fish (but not much smaller actually).

The feeling is truly unexpected. We couldn't stop giggling for the first 5 minutes or so. It was very ticklish! In fact, Derek kept wriggling about (so guys, we know how to "handle" Derek next time, ok? ;) ) for a while. Later, after getting used to it, it felt like tiny electricity current running through my legs.

It was truly fascinating. Some of us started with more fish on one side of leg and gradually more on the other side. Also, Nick has the most fish on him. He must be shedding plenty of dead skin hehe.

Fish spa

Although I may not necessarily pay to experience this in future, I will still recommend to everyone to try it at least once. Perhaps 15 - 20 mins will do. If any longer and especially if you're alone, bring a book along to read. It should be relaxing.

Throwing money

A friend is considering taking up insurance, which is great as I strongly encouraged him to do so when he's young. It should be used as protection. He wouldn't want all his savings go to, say, hospitalisation, right?

He did ask me a few things about insurance e.g. what he should get first, which company etc. Among many things I've advised him not to take up investment-linked policies because of a few reasons: investment risk is transferred from insurer to policyholders; better to separate investment and protection as it's cheaper doing it that way. He seems to understand.

Today I met up with him for dinner

Him: Oh yah, I decided to get policies from XXX company.
Me: What you're getting?
Him: The basic one and the hospitalisation plan.
Me: What basic one?
Him: The whole life one lah.
Me: But XXX only have investment-linked plan leh for that.
Him: Yah, that's the one.
Me: But didn't I tell you about how bad investment-linked plan is?
Him: Yah I know but I'm hoping that by getting it, I'll have better chance of them approving my application for hospitalisation plan since I was hospitalised before.

I nearly cried. Ok, ok. I actually did cry. Cried in despair. No, no, no, I told him that the company does not make it easier for you to get the hospitalisation plan simply because you get another plan from them. But he made up his mind, even though the company hasn't processed his applications.

It's like throwing money away. Much better to spend it on me lol.

Up (a coincidence)

On Saturday, before watching Up (an animated movie), my friends and I were having dinner at Plaza Singapura's Kopitiam foodcourt. One of the main topics we discussed was insurance. A friend commented that it is such a morbid topic and that insurance agent always talks about death and living. Well, that's the nature of insurance. To protect oneself from unfortunate events (e.g. on dying prematurely or living beyond expectation) that one cannot guarantee will not happen.

We watched Up at Cathay after dinner. It is much better than expected, even though I went in with much expectation in the first place due to good review all around. It's basically about a man who shares his adventurous wife's dream to live in Paradise Fall in South America. They set about saving money to achieve their dream but alas, they have to use their savings to pay for a few things, of which among them are hospitalisation bill and cost of repairing their house after a tree collapse on it due to windy weather (seems like a prelude to hurricane).

If only they have insurance...

In our hands

In My Hand, originally uploaded by williamnyk.
It is precisely because life is not fair that we shouldn't make it any more unfair.

- Me

Daily fasting

I've been having this persistent sorethroat since last week of May. Though it's not painful when I swallow, it is still sore and dry. Problem with me is that this could be caused by
  • your typical bacteria
  • acid reflux
  • post-nasal drip
I have been given medicine to treat all 3 but it's still there. Hence, I was referred to a ENT specialist. The GP suspects it's caused by post-nasal drip and said all the specialist can do is to confirm it i.e. there is nothing else to do but to live with it. My eyes nearly bulged out. If that's true, I'll seek a second opinion, especially from the doctor near where I live, who is very competent but unfortunately his clinic is not in the panel clinic list.

Anyway, I saw the specialist last week and he did a scope through the nose. Confirmed there's nothing there causing post-nasal drip. Confirmed throat reddish:


So conclusion: acid reflux. He suspects it's due to my light supper but I pointed out that it consists only of half glass of milk and a slice of bread to prevent gastric. Although he acknowledged that, he still said the reflux is likely due to that. So he prescribed me omeprazole and domperidone for just over 2 months I believed, which I am fine.

However, he also said no food 4 hours before bed. The shocker is this: no water 3 hours before bed! If thirsty, just rinse mouth. What the hell! I'm supposed to see him 6 months later in January. Six bloody months on this fasting regime.

Hope I don't collapse from dehydration before that :-(

Share share

For about 8 years or so, I have been investing in unit trust funds. Made some mistakes along the way but due to my prudent nature, they were not fatal but, instead, provided valuable lessons to me.

During the last few days of July, I made my first foray into investment in shares. At this point, I'm not looking to trade shares but I'm buying shares as long term investment (naturally with regular review to ascertain my view of the companies have not changed). I'll be splitting my future investment between unit trust funds and shares.

As a start, I search for shares that provide consistently good dividends, especially from companies that are dominant in their respective industry. I was fortunate that 2 ex-colleagues pointed me to Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) as they fit into my search criteria. As a result, I now own shares in 8 REITs, Comfort Delgro and SBS Transit.

Please help by taking SBS buses, Comfort/Citycab taxis, shop at Plaza Singapura, Bugis Junction, Tampines Mall, Raffles City, Ngee An City and Wisma Atria :-)

Dear Diary

I doubt anyone knows or remembers that I have a diary. No, not this blog but an actual traditional diary.

I have stopped actively write in it ever since I started work. There were a few huge gaps, with the longest one being 3.5 years! I started writing in it in November 1991 and was quite active until early 2000 when I started working. Since then, there have been sporadic entries, with the latest one written down on Sunday a few days ago.

I took the opportunity to randomly read some past entries. Wow, it made me realise I have forgotten many things. So many happy incidents, so many sad incidents, all blown away from my mind. It's good I wrote these down as there are important markers in my life.

So nearly 18 years on, things have changed dramatically. In fact, I can't even point to one thing that hasn't changed. Scary. Yet changes can be for the better. Let's hope there are more of these in future.

I should make an effort to write in the diary more often. Precious memories.

A funky entrance!

This is just too cute!