Saturday, November 24, 2012

A short breather (part 2)

OK, I will not let my work woes prevent me from life outside of the office and so I will continue blogging. I need to reinforce the idea that it is only a job and it is not worth it...

Well, here is the second installment (first one here) of the highlights of my nine-day trip to Singapore/KL last month.

The food I had during this trip back was not very impressive mainly because it was such a short stay. A notable exception was something I had at the Gardens—the most expensive xiao long bao I have eaten, at close to $13 a pop. It was filled with goose liver and came in a broth of shark's bone cartilage. The strange things we put in our mouths.

 Though I like fine-dining, hawker fare is what I really go for whenever I make the trip back home. And Indian rojak is a dish that is quickly disappearing on the island. It took me quite a while to hunt it down but it was worth the effort. This is something you will NEVER find in Australia.

 I can't help but take this picture. And my bibi is such a good sport too!

 A sobering reminder that regardless of how much Singapore progresses, the island can never escape its nanny-state image, at least not for a long time. Here are the latest samples of the uniquely-Singapore signs and national campaigns. The bottom left picture is a classic WTF example.

 My trip also included a short stay in KL, which also has its own fair share of WTF signs and rules. The sign in the top picture was on the door to a restaurant. I think the middle icon meant to tell people not to bring outside food in but still I had a chuckle. The guard in the bottom picture seemed to be there solely to prevent people from treading on the tiny patch of carpet grass. Ision knew firsthand what it feels like to be shooed away by a grass-guard.

 The famous Petaling Street night market. It was so disappointingly small! As with all night markets, more than 75% of the stalls seemed to be selling the same thing. And in case you are wondering how can one further ruin an already bad LV-fake? I have just the right picture for you.

 A remake of the classic popiah (my favourite food in the world) wrapped in egg as well as in lettuce! And who could pass off an opportunity to savour the famous So Kee BBQ pork? Ision considers it a sacrilege when I remove the fatty bits. I think many would too.

 This is truly a dessert you can only find in Southeast Asia. Creamed durian flesh coated with chocolate with the apt title "Durian Bomb". I thought the two flavours wouldn't go well with each other but I was wrong. If only Ision knows how to appreciate this prickly fruit.

 The top picture features a really small section in a large supermarket. I have a friend who swears by all things pork and I think he would die if he were living in Malaysia. As for the 14 ringgit pack of snacks in the bottom picture, that same bag costs only $2.99 here. Talk about the cost of importing a product! Note: the current exchange rate is 1AUD = 3.2MYR.

 I hope this trend doesn't spread. To me, buying expensive clothes for someone who will only grow out of them in a matter of months is crazy. For that matter, having kids in itself is crazy but that is a separate issue. By the way I have never come across sections in department stores dedicated to designer clothes for kids, this is the first time.

My spoils from my rounds at the shops. I am quite happy with my buys especially the almost knee-length asymmetrical cardigan I got from H&M (third piece from the left—I have been wearing that a lot), a brand that is not available in Australia. It is so hopeless here when it comes to popular foreign labels like H&M, Zara and Topshop.

One of my main reasons for going back home is to spend time with my mum and come Christmas, she is coming over to stay with me for at least a month (yay!). With this one less reason to go back home in the short term, I am not sure when I will next drop by Singapore/KL. Also, there is quite a good variety of Southeast Asian food here in Melbourne city (albeit nothing truly Singaporean) so my food craving doesn't ever get so strong to make me want to go back often (unlike my time living in Sydney). Plus the weather there really gets to me now and I never fail to get heat rashes every time I travel to that region.

But you never know... Jobs in my industry are drying up fast in Melbourne and so I have to consider new locations in my current job applications. My department has just announced that 12 people will be axed before the Christmas break and the current 55-strong team will shrink to 15 by May 2013. All that doom and gloom is predictable in this economic climate but on top of that, I am fighting to not get unfairly dismissed so that I can have my retrenchment package. I am NOT going to let the company get away with denying me my package so easily by just citing petty examples to justify poor work performance. And if I do get fired in the end, I am going to lodge a complaint with Fair Work Australia. Yes, it will get messy and that is why I desperately hope that I do not have to cross that bridge.

Right now for job locations, I am looking mostly at Brisbane (where all the new positions are, not counting Perth) but will not rule out Singapore (and countries even further away) if the job pays well. In the mean time I will continue to enjoy the good spring weather here in Melbourne and hope that the work situation does not deteriorate and further affect my health and well-being.

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