Saturday, December 24, 2016

Being whiny on Facebook

It's the eve of a holiday that bears not much meaning for me but it does mean that we're nearing the end of the year and so it's the perfect time to look back at how 2016 has been. Much of our lives nowadays is lived and played out on social media and Facebook is the tool I use to document mine. There are mainly three types of Facebook posts - selfies, whiny ones and those brimming with optimism. In the next two entries I will share the Facebook whinges I have made as well as things that I'm thankful for in 2016 (the second post is here). Let's start with the more notable posts I made when I needed to vent my frustrations.


PLEASE! No more "I have XXX friends on Facebook. Let's see how many of you will care to leave a comment"! I'm a big attention whore but even I'm not that whory to post something like that! 

There is a Christian TV channel here in Papua New Guinea with nothing but creepy sermons and preaching. If you are craving for some cringing, you gotta tune in for just a few seconds and you'll get your wish and then some!

I heard a complaint the other day at work that people who don't attend company parties are missing out on building better work relationships. But why do they like to make them fancy dress parties?! This forcing and troubling of people to put on something they feel uncomfortable in is the main reason why they don't attend these events! I was biting my tongue so hard and couldn't express my true feelings when my boss whinged about this!

From one irrelevance (Halloween) to another (horse racing and gambling). But then again how often does one's birthday fall on a public holiday? I should really count my blessings.

Can't believe I have to wake up at 6.15am tomorrow to get to the gym when I'm on vacation! If that's not dedication tell me what is? Goodnight everyone!

Please do not show me pictures of your babies. If you'll die without sending them to me, just send them but don't expect me to offer compliments. I'll say nice things if there's something nice to say. In other words please expect nothing other than silence from me after you hit "send".

Just like Christmas, there is a Good Friday message from the church today on national television when cringe-worthy preaching is unashamedly broadcast within a dedicated time slot. I wonder if there truly is a 100% secular country on this planet.

Someone asked me recently what did 8 years of Pink Dot achieve in Singapore. If you're an optimist you'll say that at least the government has allowed the LGBT community to continue having this breathing space. However the overpowering skeptic in me knows that nothing much has been won when 8 years of hard work can come crumbling down so fast and so easily because of the age old vocal-minority-screams-to-a-government-that-panders-to-it-and-gets-its-way-again problem.
This latest Ministry of Home Affairs v Pink Dot saga is a classic case of the 2-steps forward-2-steps-back phenomenon that pushed me away from Singapore back in 2008. My life is too short to let my home country mess with it. For those contemplating to leave as well please know that you're not quitting the fight, you're just wanting what every human being deserves.
As for the rest who chooses to stay, if you don't continue to fight, you can only blame yourself for your own plight. That is if you realise you're leading a sub-standard life void of many very basic human rights in the first place. I know of many Singaporeans who have been numbed and dumbed down by the government over the past decades to feel that the condition they're in is normal or worse still good for them.
So in summary either you leave or stay to fight. For those who don't fight, you've essentially accepted your fate as second class citizens. However it's everyone's duty to let those who still don't know they are knee-deep in shit that they are.

First world problem #462: Felt really tired after my first full day back at work. Reason? I woke up one hour earlier than required because I forgot to update the time on my phone while the alarm time remained the same. Lesson learnt.

Looks like my attempt at nominating myself for the monthly employee recognition award (based on all the good client feedback from my time in Papua New Guinea) has failed. It's either I'm not good enough (which is highly unlikely because I've seen people getting the award based on crappier "performance") or my manager is totally not interested in recognising his people despite being paid to do so (likely the real reason, not that it's any surprise). Although it's just two Gold Class cinema tickets or a supermarket gift voucher, it's the principle that counts, and I believe hands down that I deserve that award for putting up with being stuck at that ultra ulu (Singlish for remote) place for almost 2 years!

A parliament is not the thing I want hung! Let's all just wait and let this cliffhanger unfold in the coming days. In the meantime let's move on on social media OK?

URGH! Now that Picassa is gone and photos are managed using Google+, it all gets very confusing and frustrating. You see, Google+ is MUCH more prudish in terms of nudity and now I can't use Google+ because they have banned me for my latest photographic series and to date have not given a way to reverse that ban. Does this mean I can't post any more pictures on my blog on Blogger which is also owned by Google? This buying of companies and amalgamation of applications is SUCH a pain and it looks like it will only get worse. Anyone feels the same way too?

I really don't know why this simple item (Danish Butter Cookies) has become such a rarity in Australia! Only stocked during Christmas?! Why?! Made me stock two tins as a result even though the quality is not very good.

There must be something fundamentally wrong with how the Australian government runs projects (light rail, NBN and what have you). It's either that or there's serious corruption in its ranks. Maybe a bit of both...

Why must politicians scream at each other in the parliament? Don't they know the louder you get, the lower your EQ is? Such immature brats controlling the country. Tsk tsk tsk.

Was thinking of treating boo to a nice Japanese meal tonight but I guess I chose the wrong place and here's why.
1) The kaiseiki set I wanted needed prior reservation with this requirement not indicated on the menu thereby causing disappointment right from the start (having the kaiseiki set available was the basis of my choosing the restaurant).
2) One of the entrees had missing items.
3) Stale oil was used to pan-fry the okonomiyaki dish leaving a bad oil taste.
4) Fried rice being a dish that's not easy to fail bombed big time with too much salt and pepper added making the dish the worst fried rice I've ever had in a restaurant.
5) Banana fritters dessert as per the menu was not available and was replaced by two paltry scoops of ice-cream.
6) The place is not run by Japanese and hence all the dishes had a distinct Chinese-takeaway flavour.
7) Head waiter didn't know how to conduct a Paywave transaction...
...and yet I was charged the full price. I wanted to give them suggestions on the spot but why should I help them improve their operations when they failed to meet the most basic of requirements? Suffice to say tonight's the last time the restaurant will see us.
#INeedToVent #FirstWorldProblems

It's the day of the dreaded work performance review. Aside from being a major disruption to work and a complete waste of time in the face of the longstanding pay-freezes and even possible impending pay-cuts, that hour of faking-it to the maximum level is going to take its toll on me. Hope I emerge from it unbothered or at least unscathed.

Victoria is so sports-obsessed that the Friday before the football grand finals i.e. today is actually a public holiday. Oh and Victoria is gambling-obsessed too (case in point: Melbourne Cup racing holiday). Well I'm not complaining because this means that I can save at least one day of forced annual leave. 

It doesn't pay to book flights early to get the best price! Because of Jetstar's Friday Frenzy fare promotion, I could have saved $75 on my upcoming Singapore flight if I hadn't booked so early! URGH!

I have never heard of negative interest rates until now and it is exactly what I thought it would be - you will lose part of your principal when you deposit money in the bank! I certainly wouldn't want to live in such a nightmarish economy!

Faye Wong's new song 塵埃 is finally out! As much as I'm elated that this might very well be leading to a brand new album after 13 years, I'm also a little disappointed with this new offering. I was expecting something not so predictable especially after she has worked with her long-time musical partner 張亞東 (the song's composer/arranger) so many times and should now be creating something really different. I also find the tune draggy and dislike "被吸入 也被排放" in the lyrics penned by Faye. Well at least it's still not as commercialised as the rest of Asian pop. What are your thoughts on this song?

The stir-fried noodles with meat dish at my usual Thai takeaway place has increased in price and the reason they gave was that the butcher is charging them more and hence they don't have a choice. But why are the vegetarian options also increasing in price??? Irritated! #FirstWorldProblems 

Do you know what the difference is between a crowd-funder and a street beggar? The former works smarter and the latter harder. Too harsh?

The Olympics is FINALLY over and we can again focus on things that matter. These more important things are different to different people but I know they all deserve more of our attention compared to a handful of minority elite sportspeople competing for arbitrary honour that costs the nation much money that is better spent elsewhere.

EEK! Just saw on TV the opening prayer that starts the Parliament sitting and for a moment, I felt I was thrown back into the stone age. Why do they still have such things in a secular country??? To make matters worse, they also just admitted the first openly-gay MP into the chamber but he sits with the Liberal Party!!!

Chemical Engineer is still in the skills shortage list this year in the Australian skilled-migration system despite there being an obvious increase in jobless chemical engineers due to the slump in oil prices. Shouldn't there be some sort of a quota in order to keep the jobless rate under control?

People think that Michelle Obama will win the election if she had run. If a woman can't even win, what makes you think a black woman will, in a country where old white angry men dominate the voting scene?
Honestly America only has itself to blame as almost half of the country didn't vote. When you don't vote you're not entitled to a say so non-voters can't just come out now after the election to make noise.
Also what makes you think that Trump can actually do the stuff he promised during his campaign? Surely there are enough checks and balances in America's mature democratic system to prevent any Tom, Dick or Harry from annihilating the country?
Trump is a reality-TV star and what did and said was just to win votes and gain popularity. From now on he'll definitely be moving back into the centre-right zone where he has always been in if he knows what's good for him and his country.
So there you go, my two cents rant on this issue.

Australia and New Zealand have the peculiar custom of celebrating Father's Day in September just so the sale of shit your dads don't need can be boosted in the quiet shopping season sufficiently far away from Mother's Day in May. So if this soulless commercial event is applicable to you today, Happy Father's Day.

You know what a double whammy is? It's when companies stop growing and hiring and at the same time release all their experienced i.e. expensive staff. Not only do job openings come rarely nowadays, you get hundreds of people much more experienced than you competing for that same position making the chances to stay employed really slim in this depressed climate. That's a double whammy.

Looking at the Bersih movement in Malaysia, I can't help but feel that this extent of government corruption could very well happen in Singapore especially when there's essentially no political process to put the major party in check. This makes the nation vulnerable if some corrupt official were to become the leader. Fortunately this hasn't happened yet but it could and therefore we need some sort of reform even though many have tried and failed in the past.

I am now back in PNG and have just received an extremely unpleasant email from my company. Apparently a salary review in an attempt to cut costs has revealed that we are all paid too much by industrial standards and we will need to have our pays cut!!! The thing that kills me is that we've always thought that the company has been underpaying us based on what we know from other companies!!! 

I don't understand why gay men even bother to donate blood. They clearly don't want our blood! For those people who lie in the questionnaire and then get caught when their blood tests positive for HIV, you and your stupidity are the only things to be blamed. By the way that's not Red Cross policy but that of the Therapeutic Goods Administration - I didn't know that.

Maintaining an active LinkedIn "social" life is a full-time job from the checking of available jobs to adding recruiters into my network plus making a neutral-yet-positive post everyday to make my profile pop up in the feeds of my intended audience. Even typing all that makes me tired already and I've not even stepped into the office yet!

There are so many things wrong with the "Bring Your Kids to Work Day". First it is a very noisy distraction and I dislike unruly kids who are so by nature. More importantly this highly-irritating annual event is nothing but a cheap token two-hour ploy to show that the company is family-friendly while squeezing employees more and more with the cutting of staff in an attempt to continue feeding the fat wallets of the big bosses. By forcing your employees to work overtime for free day in day out, you are NOT being family-friendly!


Hopefully all this negative energy won't ruin your Christmas. Stay tuned for my next post as it'll be much more positive. In the meantime Merry Christmas everyone!

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Musical journey (77)

Christmas is coming and the office always closes for two weeks during that time when everyone is forced to take annual leave or unpaid leave (if you've run out of paid leave). The official reason is for the employees to take a break and spend some quality time with family and loved ones. However all of us know that's a ploy simply to reduce our annual leave so we won't get to cash all of it out should the company retrench us. Fortunately this year I have enough billable work to not be in that boat which is perfect as I don't celebrate Christmas (Ision has to work anyway) and would like to save up my leave for occasions I do celebrate (e.g. for my upcoming Chinese New Year trip back to Singapore).

As you know I went through a phase of not having work and forced to take annual leave (yet another reason why I need to save it up). I hated that experience as it gives a constant sense of uncertainty as you see your leave days dwindle into oblivion. This is why I'll never complain when there's work even though there might be too much of it causing stress and weekends filled with work.

The flip side of being blessed with lots of work is that one can get tired and burnt out, and this is the perfect segue into this month's musical journey as it's a piece trying to bring out how mentally, emotionally and physically fatigued one can get when coping with a failed relationship.This song is one of my first few compositions back when I started writing in my high school days 20 years ago (GOD I'M OLD!!!). It's a story about how a person has fallen down in the journey of love. Tired, bruised and with no one to help him up, he has to get back on his feet himself and continue walking this road called life. I hope you can feel that weariness in the tune but if you don't I hope the slow, grey clip of one walking aimlessly puts you in that mood.


词 / 曲 : 锦泉

人到了终点   是否就该停下来
心碎到极点   是否就能卷土重来

又怎能在爱情的道路上   来去自如

人倒了下来   是否就能爬起来
泪慢慢累积   是否就能哭得出来


我不能   不能把锁给撬开


人到了终点   是否就该停下来
人停了下来   是否就能不需要爱


Should one stop when he's at the end point?
Can his heart be put back together after splitting into pieces?
With love as fragile as a crystal ball
With you as stubborn as granite
How can anyone expect a smooth journey?

Can one get back on his feet after falling down?
Will he be able to cry after accumulating so much tears?
The person who was not supposed to go has departed
The soul who was not supposed to die has been killed
Faced with a dead end
I can't escape no matter how I hard I try

You let love linger in your heart
Why can't you just let it out?
Waiting for you to turn back
Something so difficult for you to do
Even if you turned back
You would never look at me

You lock your heart up
And I can't pry it open
After seeing you kiss him
I think it's over
Because he now has you who used to belong to me

Why can't I pull myself together?
And have to pine for you day and night
All this ultimately just means that I've lost to him

Should one stop when he's at the end point?
Even when he has stopped
Will he not need love?