Thursday, 28 February 2002

frustrating and highly disorganised day... feeling really out-of-sorts and irritable now...

everything has been so hiccup-ish so far today - woke up a little late and didn't manage to go into shop earlier (as I had planned) to complete some of yesterday's work. And it didn't help that I took bus 106A instead of 106 and it terminated just five stops after I got on and the annoying driver grumbled and grumbled on and on about how it is my fault and I should have checked before I got on (grrr.....) then I had to go into shop and pass warning letter to the salesman and to give him a pep talk and some pointers on what to do next.. everything was so stressful.. rushed around and phone was ringing, customer was asking questions, discovered I didn't complete something really important I had set out to do earlier (and now it was coming back to me..)...

:( .......... :,O
very stressed out today. Boss burst into office in the morning in a really foul mood and demanded that we terminate our current outdoor salesman if he really was underperforming. I meekly showed him the latest sales to date of our newly employed ("one-month-old") salesman and that got my boss into an even foul-er mood.. sigh.. only slightly over $2000, which barely covers his salary.. anyway, I was made to type out a "Final Warning Letter" to the poor guy and cc. it to the boss and the letter said that unless the guy bucks up in like, 3 days (!), his appointment will be terminated...

I don't know. I struggle with the thought that while I agree with the boss that the chap has to start producing results quickly, I keep feeling that perhaps a period of one month was too short to decide if someone was up to the job... he did look like he was already ramping up sales... but perhaps he really was a little too slow for the boss's impatient nature... quite stressed.. not sure if we are just terrible at employing the right people, terrible at managing or what.. Took the opportunity to consult my HR managment lecturer just now and my lecturer did not hesitate in saying that giving a new employee only one month to perform was unfair - given that the guy has also got to get familiar with the organisation's culture, products, systems and other stuff... my biggest worry really is.. if we keep employing and terminating new people, we will just have to keep training them and these people will never have the opportunity to ramp up their sales in the second month, even if they were able to... sigh.... my HR lecturer says that having such an employer, one with no "conscience", must be difficult. Decided not to comment too much on his statement.

Tuesday, 26 February 2002

15th day of Lunar New Year so followed tradition faithfully and ate rice dumplings. :) but didn't follow the rest of the rituals... had a laugh with alb 'cos he went on about this being the day girls traditionally throw mandarin oranges into the river/sea/lake so that the fishes don't eat the body of the man in the river.. hahaha... had to tell him that that is the Dumping Festival instead and all sorts of people (not just girls) throw dumplings (not mandarin oranges) into the river to save the brave hero Qu Yuan after he was killed by some bad guys (can't remember who they are..:p). we got more mixed up after that 'cos i continued to explain to him about the tradition of the sticky paste cake and why families have it - it is to stick up the mouth of the God of Fortune when he comes around to your house 'cos he "knows when you are sleeping, he knows when you're awake, he knows if you've been bad or good so be good..." :D ... sorry... :p

Monday, 25 February 2002

spent most of yesterday getting rid of vicious Trojan Sircam A virus/worm from all three of my office computers (all three got infected because all of them share drives freely - which alb tells me is really silly and should never be done :p) - quite a challenge 'cos when you remove the virus from one computer, it quickly gets infected again by the other computers which are still attached to it.. Was almost in tears in the midst of fighting bug 'cos started to be in despair, especially at the stage when I casually removed the sircam.exe file (with the help of Norton Antivirus) and then realised the vicious bug had designed itself to run before you can run all other applications so if you remove it, you can't run anything at all! :O (see yesterday story) . But finally won the battle anyway with alb's help (had to call him even though he was in the midst of watching Collateral Damage and he sweetly came to my rescue - phew!) - computers are now all clean and protected.. :)

Nonetheless, fighting this bug and growing to hate it more and more as I did gave me an exciting business idea... Imagine you hate your ex and you want to do the most horrible thing to him/her. I come along and offer you this service of designing a fully customizable virus that I will have you officially launch into the world. The virus will be named after your ex (for example, the John virus or the Susan virus). The virus will then spread all around the world and soon everyone will hate your ex too.. :O... gee.. so vicious.. hope no one really comes up with that....

my illness and grogginess is making me come up with such random and evil ideas...

Sunday, 24 February 2002

IV drip

think I should be going on the drip soon.. woke up feeling terribly dehydrated and head is feeling full and groggy even though I have drunk at least 10 glasses of water since the night before..... falling sick again (!).. quite embarrassing though 'cos I've always projected myself to be quite fit and healthy.

my antivirus software just killed off access to Microsoft Word, Excel and every other application :O.. think I have gone a little too far this time in my virus busting campaign... oh dear... as they say, killing an ant with a cleaver.. :(

Saturday, 23 February 2002

Just back from an enjoyable weekend in Sentosa with close friends and got toasted tan from sitting in sun and swimming in sea. Actually feeling really tired and ill now from all the fried food, alcohol, snacks and suntanning... :(

Have begun reading Og Mandino's The Greatest Salesman in the World - this odd inspirational book written in a storybook style is set in ancient Palestine which has apparently sold over 13 million copies in the 30 years since it was first published in 1968!!! Can you believe that?? 13 million! Wow! Might need to take a year to read the book though! They recommend that you read each same chapter daily for over a month before you move to the next one! :O I think they may just be trying to instil discipline as well.. don't know if I can be THAT persistent.. :p but looks interesting..

Thursday, 21 February 2002

just watched Jack Neo's I Not Stupid and am surprised how much I enjoy it.. it is a social-commentary-movie that makes Singaporeans laugh at themselves and bravely too, at the Government and it's controversial policies, though mostly in a harmless way.. The hilarious story about three kids and their families from different social backgrounds creates a social satire that touches on issues of education streaming, the importance of the Chinese language and focus on academic excellence and paper qualifications. Didn't know Jack Neo could be so multi-talented, as an actor, storyteller, screenplay writer and director.. quite impressive... they got good reviews too...

Wednesday, 20 February 2002

went for Financial Mgmt class today and found out that this is actually already Week 7! Almost haven't done any studying at all since the start of the term (except for reading some relevant books that will help with planning strategies for the shop and trying my best to pay attention in class).. don't know how time can slip by so quickly that it is almost already March and there are so many things that I haven't been able to do consistently (a.k.a New Year Resolutions). There are bible passages that I haven't come around to meditating on, running and blading have been as inconsistent as the weather lately, haven't started on the projects and reading that I should be doing for my studies, can't remember the last time I actually picked up my paintbrush or sketchbook for some creative expression.. and also stopped writing my many things.. so little time...

Realised that the problem lies in that I don't prioritise my time. The fact is.. I really don't have enough time for all I want to do.. so offhand, if I do really want to prioritise, guess this is how it would go.. God comes first.. then probably my fitness/health (i.e. running and eating properly).. then probably my studies (cos I know this is going to be a huge source of stress if I am inconsistent), then later comes family, friends etc... i think this is how it would go.... don't know... maybe sleep should take priority over everything.. zzzzz....

Tuesday, 19 February 2002

AOSEPT has just come up with this apparently “new” one-step contact lens cleaning system called “AOSEPT PLUS” that requires no rubbing or rinsing! This means that I actually save the time I normally spend on cleaning my lenses everyday and can do something else! Which works out to be.. err…… ONE minute! I can use this time to.. err.. type a total of 55 words! Ok ok… I know it doesn’t sound much but I really don’t like the whole tedious process of cleaning my lenses (and I find daily lenses too expensive) so this product does really appeal to me.. wow… guess this is what my Mktg lecturer calls “cherchez le creneau” – “Look for the hole...and fill it”.. which is what the company has done to come up with a new and innovative product. Another company that has done that was this other one I was using before this, which allows you to clean your lenses in 10 minutes flat! Quite good too. Must be innovative too to survive in market.. umm…

Saw this and really like it..especially the Platinum FMJ one... must save up for it…

Monday, 18 February 2002

isn't this just so terribly cute??? and these are the real people behind the bears!

thanks kai for making these lovely bears for us!! *smile*

It's really nice to have friends like these to keep for the rest of my life.. :)

Discovered horrors of all horrors two days ago that not just one, but three viruses have in fact infected our office computer!! :O The three guilty parties are the:

WORM_SIRCAM.A – which sends copies of itself to all addresses listed in an infected user's address book (we have more than 1200 addresses!! :O ) and in temporary Internet cached files.

JS_SEEKER.A6 – (what I describe as the embarrassing virus) which changes the Internet Explorer start page of an infected system to connect to a pornographic Website and then adds a link to the Web site in the favorites folder (which explains why our start page changed to a porno page all of a sudden one day! :O and we had a bunch of new kinky links in our favourites folder)

JS_EXCEPTION.GEN – which also changes the infected user's Internet Explorer startup page and is able to mass-mail itself (ahhhhhhhh………. :O)

Spent the morning virus-busting, trying to recall some of the MS-DOS stuff I used to know (thankfully I have a 24-hour personal technical helpdesk) – hee hee.. one of the advantages of having an IT guru as a significant other :p Going to install anti-virus software finally tomorrow..

Sunday, 17 February 2002

I think this is really cute.... and for those who missed Valentine's Day, here a little something for you.. :p

This is great for those who love art and's really cool.. This is great for those who love science but not bunnies (especially marshmallow bunnies - really cute ones).
Discovered a quaint little place called Colbar along Portsdown Rd yesterday – a secret hide-away known only to the very few (I think) and also to the expat community. Great for a relaxing drink (we drank Tsingtao beer : p) and some simple snacks on a blisteringly hot day such as yesterday. It’s right opposite the Archery School and seems to be frozen in time with its old wooden doors and signboard with peeling paint. Feels totally cut off from the rest of Singapore. Very nice :)

Spent most of afternoon swimming and in spa pool – realised am not so fluid and smooth in the water anymore due to long layoff from pool, since spending most of my time running and blading. Must brush up on swimming if want to participate in biathlon.. :p :O I find the advice from this book Total Immersion – The Revolutionary Way To Swim Better, Faster and Easier really good. It focuses on three fundamental rules for going faster using the front-crawl: 1. By balancing body better in water (getting your buoyancy right – apparently reduces resistance in water by 70%!) 2. By making body longer (by always keeping one of your arms in front of you) and 3. By swimming on your side (as often as you can). Really works. Try it if you swim.

Just watched Bless The Child on vcd – good triumphing over evil. God’s power is so awesome! :)

Saturday, 16 February 2002

came back late from a friend's bbq - yet more stuffing face as part of CNY celebrations :p Looks like this really is the festival of feasting and anyone remotely contemplating losing some weight, flab, a-little-extra-on-the-side can quite clearly forget it.. : p how to when there is so much good, cholesterol-laden and seasonal/festive food around, so many obligations to fulfill and so much available time?? Yummy gourmet bbq - we had barbecued seafood (a delicious assortment including stingray, crayfish, prawns, cod, squid), chicken wings, sausages, beehoon, three different types of salad, sangria (yum!) and even yam paste dessert at the end.. as usual too much food but yummy... :)

had my second CNY loh-hei (raw fish salad) toss today with boss and colleagues at Mitzi's Cantonese Restaurant at Murray Terrace near Maxwell Market - boss' favourite restaurant. I love loh-heis.. they are so much fun and communal, gives you the pseudo-feel of someone proudly performing an important traditional ritual, and if done properly (i.e. not too dry and the sauce is just right), actually taste quite good - especially with the crispy bits.. yum..yum...

definitely putting on some flab... those new year goodies are vicious...

news report: our poor neighbours are frying!!

Thursday, 14 February 2002

Happy Valentine's Day Everyone!! *smile*

just had an unbelieveably good run.. felt on top of the world and could have gone on forever.. quite strange.. must have been because of sufficient sleep over holiday period.. :)

was walking through wheelock place just now and there were literally hordes of people/couples everywhere, queuing outside every single restaurant from nooch to nydc to sakae sushi and even some new ones with obscure names.. feels a little funny to be walking around date-less on valentine's day but oh well.. nokia customer centre wasn't open yet (lazy bums! will only open on the 16th.. but well, guess they know their customers will still be there anywhere..) so didn't manage to repair my 8250 (so annoying..) tried to help Sis find Hope For The Flowers at Borders but it was out of stock.. so hard to find this children's book (decorated only with black, white and yellow illustrations) on caterpillars...

spent most of today trying out samples of new modelling, moulding and casting materials at our supplier's house - really fun. Didn't feel like work at all - glad I like the products we are dealing with - no offense intended but I think I will really die of boredom if I work in a bank or shipping firm or something like that.. I think it is really important to like what you do for a living...

Wednesday, 13 February 2002

Chinatown was dead as a ghost town last night and Marina was bustling with the crowds. River Hong Bao once again spelled “kitsch” (like a blown-up scale of the ubiquitous pasar malams you get all over suburban Singapore nowadays –i.e. pirated VCDs, cheap watches, 3 for $10 T-shirts, handphone accessories and the works). Accidentally deleted all my digital photos from last night :( so can’t show you pics of oversized pink and blue sheep soft-toys, fluorescent yellow Made-in-China stuffed doggies with over-sized heads and cheap sewed-on plastic eyes, Southpark Kennys in a whole range of shades of orange, jumbo styrofoam mandarins and gold nuggets and cartoon-nish looking statues of zodiac animals. Very surreal..

New year period can be such a drag when you have hardly any relatives to visit and all the shops are closed. Spent the afternoon taking pictures of new year goodies we have been stuffing our face with – view my “Amateur Food Photography” : p Have been over-eating (so what’s new?) and not looking forward to the end of the hols… sigh…

Tuesday, 12 February 2002


year year got fish, step step high rise

Anyone going down to the River Hong Bao 2002??

just finished reading Wall Street Journal best-seller FISH!- on boosting morale and improving results in an organization that is "chronically unenthusiastic and unhelpful". Quite inspired to breathe some new life into shop - not that we are all dead fish or anything like that - in fact, we are probably one of the most energetic and fun shops around (judging from the positive feedback that we get from some customers and also from the unsolicited job applications we get on and off). But sometimes, wish some of the staff (and also ourselves on tired and uninspired days) can be more consistent in sustaining that "fun, bustling, joyful atmosphere and great customer service".

shall try implementing the four ingredients that are mentioned in the book first thing we open on Thursday :) - Choosing Your Attitude (there's always a choice about the way you do your work, even if there is not a choice about the work itself), Play (making work fun), Making Your Customers' Day (getting them involved in the fun); and Being Present at Work (undistracted by other concerns) - hope the staff catch on with the idea..

Monday, 11 February 2002

burp!! :D (lingering smell of seafood and home-made chai masala drifts across living room where mum and sis are enjoying "A Kindred Spirit"...)

just finished stuffing face at home with steamboat-style reunion dinner with papa, mama, korkor and chiechie (truly a rare event 'cos someone - usually me :p - is always not around eating dinner with everyone else :) Mum prepared sumptuous spread of fresh steamboat ingredients - we had really fresh sliced pomfret, giant prawns, copious amounts of my favourite dried fish maw, chicken and pork liver, sliced lean pork, fresh and chewy fish balls, expensive abalone (which apparently hails from the Cal-mex (California-Mexico ?) Sea - only one giant slab in a can - sliced and blanced), chinese lettuce, golden needle mushrooms, and rice vermicilli. Ate and ate and ate and then realised I was exploding at the seams.. hahaha.. seams!!!??

now relaxing over a cup of Kho-Cha Masala Chai I bought from Mumbai last December. Had a good laugh cos I boiled over a mixture of milk and water while blogging. Taste is not bad though I still prefer the one at Borders... must try again - quite amazed at the amount of ingredients that actually go into making a cup of Masala Chai - glad for the ready-mix I have...

so i have a real rest day tomorrow - technically the only public holiday in the whole year that I celebrate at the same time as the rest of Singapore.. we are closed for two days!! And then it will be v-day (panic panic for those unprepared!! - incredible crowd today at shop wiped out most of our supplies of red paints of all sorts - for glass painting, stone painting, silk painting, porcelain painting, t-shirt painting.. hahaha.. :p
Someone over at ArsTechnica's forum have a story of a Palm VII cooked in an oven together with a pizza. Ridiculously, this chap believed that his wet Palm VII could be rescued by putting it in the oven with his backlight on. Well, someone in his house thought better use of the oven and threw in a pizza and turned the heat up...see story

Sunday, 10 February 2002

had an early v-day celebration today - got him a pair of Nike ACG Air Storm (weather-resistant) cross trainers and got a cool black digital Swatch Skin from him! Happy happy happy :D

went for 45-min run at East Coast in the morning (from Macs to beyond Fort Rd and then back) and almost collapsed from sheer exhaustion from late previous night (3) and early wake-up (at 7, went back to sleep, and then 8). But starting the weekend exercising almost always feels good - sort of like getting something important out of the way so I can have a relatively guilt-free rest of the weekend to catch up with people, watch movies and generally relax.

enjoyed a simple v-day lunch of Hainanese Chicken Rice at supposedly famous stall at Seven-Storey Hotel near Bugis - where we encountered the most inflexible/non-existent customer service policy we have ever seen.. For those who know me, you know I hate green tea, barley, papayas etc. I hence tried to change the "home-made barley" drink that came with the rice set for something else, like a coke, and was instead rebutted quite matter-of-factly that it was "impossible". She didn't even bother to discuss it and was quite content to just let me stay unsatisfied! Talk about zero customisation!

dinner was at this new Jap ramen restaurant at Shaw Centre Beach Rd where I made the mistake of ordering the plain, quite unexceptional katsudon. Ended up struggling to finish it and looking like this....also found out that Zoolander (starring Ben Stiller) has been banned from showing in Singapore! That was the original reason why we had come to Beach Rd - but think it was banned due to the plot having something to do with the assassination of a Malaysian leader.. gulp! :O

Saturday, 9 February 2002

suddenly had this real random desire to go to South Africa, Sri Lanka and/or Tahiti… like.. right now…

just pack up my rucksack, slr and guide book and go…

ever had that feeling?
and so our little nation has been plunged into a sudden state of mourning…

even my daddy, a man of few words and even fewer emotions, upon hearing the shocking news, displayed a downcast, solemn look and could only mutter that he was feeling “sad” – very sad indeed – because Mr Ong was … “one of our Presidents” and because (with a slight pause), he was “an old boy of Chinese High”… :’( daddy then sat in the dark munching his biscuits slowly and thoughtfully… My brother too, speaking with awkward pauses as if making sure he wouldn’t be seen as being too “womanly emotional” in his words, was sad because this man was simply a “good man”. What a splendid example of an individual who has so successfully exemplified the ideal of having lived a meaningful life, that "…..when (he) came to die even the undertaker was sorry." --- Mark Twain” … don’t we all remember how he single-handedly took on and questioned our mighty government during his presidency tenure on the amount of information they should release on the use of the nation’s reserves? There can be no greater amount of respect accorded to this man… who has yet amazingly never left his touch with the common man in the street..

"And in the end it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years." --- Abraham Lincoln

we are all feeling really sad indeed

Thursday, 7 February 2002

have been sternly reprimanded by a total of THREE people for KIKIA! :D hahaha.... sorry.... :P
Cool blue LCD screen on my 8250 just blanked out yesterday, out of the … err.. blue (no pun intended :p)! Couldn’t read my sms, use caller id or check missed calls – very annoying – and had to rely on my memory of the exact number of presses to get to each phone function. After a whole day of practice, believe I am now able to do the following blindfolded: check voicemail, switch phone to silent mode, turn on and off phone, call familiar numbers and even sms (with a lot of errors lah) simple messages… haha.. found out this “blanking-out” problem is quite common with Nokia 8250.. aiyah.. so inconvenient… got to try to bring down to Nokia Care Center today..

Mktg mgmt lecturer was reminding us to read “Rich Dad Poor Dad” again yesterday at the lecture (I’m at Chapter Eight already anyway :). He said something casually to the class that made me sit up and really think about it hard and long for the rest of the evening.. This was what he said:

“I can predict your future by just knowing two things about you. The type and number of books you read; and the type of friends that you keep.”

Sounds really true. It seems like many of us subconsciously take on the philosophy of what we read and study; and the values, attitudes and behaviours of the people we hang out with. Summarising, I think it is only correct to say that, as “You are (physically) what you eat”, we are also “(philosophically) what we read” and “(psychologically) who we keep as friends”. But wonder what it reveals about me since I read everything from Dilbert to Khalil Gibran to Ancient Histories of Egypt/Greece/China to books on art, architecture, spicy food, travel, photography, personal financial mgmt, biographies & autobiographies, photoshop, national geog, fiction, classics etc..quite random.. and occasionally (though very rarely..:p) Her World!!! :O

Wednesday, 6 February 2002

got a Kogeban handphone accessory today and suddenly realised how amazingly enduring some of these Japanese cartoon icons are... it's just "Burnt Bread" after all!! :O

have been absolutely hooked on Robert Kiyosaki's best-selling "Rich Dad Poor Dad" - about managing your personal finances - for the past week. Quite intriguing.. really got me rethinking about my spending habits. He advocates buying only Assets if we can (assets being things that can help to make money for us - not "desire goods" such as the latest gadgets, newer cars etc - really like a corporate way of thinking). He says that many people mistake Liabilities and Expenses for "Assets" and end up in debt or struggling with their finances all their life (e.g a car and even a big expensive house). Went shopping today and kept thinking about what he wrote and ended up in the end only buying two CDs - Paul Oakenfold's Tranceport and the Lagaan VCD - both of which I have wanted to buy for a long time (at least 6 months to more than a year!) and the cost falls within the budget allowed by my little "windfall" income I got just today from helping someone do something last month.. :) .. looks like i just might be able to "balance my books" for once if I follow his advice closely.. let's see how..

Monday, 4 February 2002

so HR mgmt lecture tonight was cancelled and for some odd reason I have the feeling of someone suddenly given a day off unexpectedly! :) Like I am on holiday! Realized how precious little time I have nowadays for doing anything else other than going for work, lectures and for the rest of my time spending time with the people in my life. Life becomes a cycle (though not in the negative way, just in case you misunderstand).. it’s just that in this cycle, I don’t really plan for anything and things just kinda happen – so stuff like running, reading, painting, thinking, etc.. sometimes gets neglected… so quite glad I had the opportunity for a short rejuvenating run (in the cool night air) round the estate just now and now for blogging… life’s little pleasures.. :)
having said that, I love my weekends though (all thanks to SIM for not stealing my off weekends away with lectures!) which tend to be filled with even more of life’s little adventures... Had a fulfilling past weekend going Geocaching (treasure hunting with a GPS device) and found my 3rd geocache at Labrador Park! Beautiful bit of Singapore – should go if you haven’t already.. continued Makansutra foodhunting at Old Airport Road Hawker Centre (ate Cho Kee wantan mee and Hougang otak otak), relaxed for a short afternoon with SA over thick creamy unexpectedly yummy milkshakes at Billy Bombers Orchard Point, catching up on each other’s lives, went for a run at East Coast Park (from Macs to Fort Rd and back – wah.. very long!!), then piled it all back with dinner at Fisherman’s Village @ Pasir Ris under a cool and starry night – before ending the week watching a 3h 45 min (so long!! :O )Bollywood hit Kabhi Khushie Kabhie Gham at East Point cinema @ Simei (so far!! :O) it’s worth watching just for the remarkable MTV-style dancing (which will put even MJ and his sister to shame) and the incredibly gorgeous-looking hunks and babes. These Indians look amazing – a mysterious mix of Eastern and Western looks…. Hee hee.. I actually even have the soundtrack from the movie – got that in Mumbai when I was there in Dec! :D

alb just sent me this really funny thing - turn on volume high before you click this.. hee hee...

Saturday, 2 February 2002

thanks to karen for telling me to "go for the time share presentation.....if you want to rankle your nerves and commit murder." Ended up really not going in the end 'cos time was really tight, rushing here and there and the timeshare reps were very irritating, calling me at least three times today to check the speling of my name and all that type of nonsense. Know they are up to no good cos guy kept reminding me that i must stay for the full 1 and a half session if i go (same as what karen said about "Been there and almost got into a fight because they wouldn't let me leave earlier than they planned!") and woman told me that i must not "forget to join the special draw to win Cartier products" by matching my 16-digit credit card number with what they draw out at the end of the session.. Wow! Lucky didn't go.. these guys are getting really smart.. getting your credit card details using such deceptive means..

fortunately i am not the greedy type and Cartier-Tiffany-Resort Holidays don't mean much to me..

I'll take hill trekking in Chiang Mai anytime... :)