Join Me for Next Training
Wednesday, May 30, 2007
No fanfare, no frontpage headlines, not enough coverage. Theresa Goh rewrites her swimming world records (yet again) in the 50m and 200m breaststroke events.
World Records for goodness sake.
Our nation guns for medals at the Olympics; in fact the government spends so much just to make the Olympic dream come true. We give citizenships to foreign-born athletes in the hope of getting some honour and glory in the Olympics or even the Commonwealth or Asian Games.
We have a superstar in our midst. Theresa's a Singaporean. She's a role model for so many athletes. But where is the recognition? Where is Singaporean PRIDE when we need to show it?
Is it because she's disabled? Is it because of our selfish society that only acknowledges the accomplishments of the able-bodied such that 'world records achieved by disabled athletes' are no-big-deal?
Maybe it's how the media plays it.
But Theresa Goh ought to be honoured in every sense - disabled or not. When someone holds (or even rewrites) world records, she's someone ABLE.
Singapore needs to recognise her. Come on, Singapore...
Tuesday, May 29, 2007
Are we getting enough benefits?
Are we rewarded accordingly?
Are we appreciated for our efforts?
Do we get enough support for our efforts?
Are we spending too much time at work such that we neglect our Family and Friends?
Are we getting more agitated and more irritable towards people around us?
Are we feeling some levels of depression?
Okay, nevermind the low pay but do we see career progression?
What's next for us if we stay?
Are we assured of at least something at the end of the rainbow?
Do they even care? Or is it just the Ignorance Game - he who ignores more, whether self or others, wins?
Sorry folks. On the contrary: I don't even get peanut shells.
While I'm not publicly revealing my salary for the sake of NOT embarrassing myself and the industry I'm in, I'd just want to say that public service is paying ALOT more than what I'm getting.
So public perception is definitely wrong in this aspect - not all private companies pay better.
Now... is it just where I'm working, or is it true across the board for similar companies in the industry?
Thursday, May 24, 2007
Mr Choh, Ms Sian and their colleagues were referring to the message ' Quitting is hard. Not quitting, is harder'
Wednesday, May 23, 2007
Report says that the advertisers have decided to take out the display panels from some 450 bus stops after just 3 days.
Reason? Some senior folks have been harvesting the empty cans in the display panels for extra cash.
I call this Pure Entrepreneurial skills - they saw an opportunity and they certainly took advantage of it.
Ironically, the ad agency tasked for this brand campaign is called 'Out of the Box'. haha.....
Saturday, May 19, 2007
You are asked for 'Place of Residence' or 'Country of Citizenship'.
You scroll down to 'Singapore' and click on the option.
And most likely, you would have seen 'Sierra Leone' just above 'Singapore' in the drop-down menu.
You see the word 'Sierra Leone' ever so often when you sign up on new websites, fill up job search forms, apply for memberships, join online contests, take part in online surveys, register for races, etc.
Sierra Leone is that close to Singapore - at least on the internet.
But how much do you know about it? How many Singaporeans actually bother to find out about Sierra Leone?
How much do I know about Sierra Leone?
I have read about Sierra Leone in the news. Well, actually just some split-second glances at the obscure headlines in the middle pages of newspapers, quickly telling me that there's 'some civil unrests and poverty in Sierra Leone' - the usual political saga in the African subcontinent.
But that's about it. I did not take interest in it.
Until 'A Long Way Gone' and 'Blood Diamond'. And then I found out interesting things about Sierra Leone: Lion Mountains.
One party government, Rebels (RUF), child soldiers, diamond mining (conflict diamonds), Capital of Freetown. Incidentally (or perhaps ironically), Freetown was founded as a place to bring enslaved African blacks home to Africa from Europe and America as early as the 1700s!
There's so much to read about Sierra Leone. Almost like the tale of two cities - Singapore and Sierra Leone. So near, yet so far......
The Diergaarde Blijdorp zoo was evacuated and the 11-year-old gorilla, named Bokito, was eventually contained in a restaurant within the park, police spokeswoman Yvette de Rave said.
Four people were injured, including the woman who was bitten, zoo director Ton Dorrestijn said.
Bokito was shot with a sedative dart and recaptured, said zoo spokeswoman Lilian Jonkers, but she couldn't say what his condition was. It was not immediately clear how he managed to climb the high stone walls surrounding his enclosure.
"He got over the moat, which in itself is remarkable, because gorillas can't swim," Dorrestijn said. "He got onto a path for visitors and started running and went at full speed through tables and diners at the Oranje restaurant."
A witness, Robert de Jonge, told NOS radio that he didn't see the gorilla escape but began following it and tried to help after he saw people running and screaming that the animal had grabbed a woman.
"I saw the beast running through the park with a woman behind him, him grabbing her forearm," De Jonge said.
At a distance of around 30 yards, he saw the gorilla lie down near the woman and then heard her scream.
"He bit her, or I think he bit her, because when he stood up his mouth was covered in blood," De Jonge said.
He said he then stopped to tell arriving police what had happened and ran with them as they traced the gorilla to a nearby restaurant terrace.
The zoo was packed with visitors as many Dutch took advantage of a national holiday Thursday to make a long weekend. "Everyone was in panic, running away, screaming, wailing, screaming kids running around, I don't know what all, kids without parents — it was a total drama," De Jonge said.
Children cowered in their parents' arms as the gorilla loped past. People tried to hide inside the restaurant and were trying to bar the door, but fled as the gorilla approached, De Jonge said. Bokito then punched through the glass door and ran inside.
"They were all in panic — the animal, too, I mean — and all the people ran outside the restaurant, and zoo personnel were running up and they were able to keep the animal inside by barricading the doors with garden furniture and things," he said.
De Jonge said he later saw the woman "covered in blood," but walking unaided.
Friday, May 18, 2007
Even though I don't really follow this season of AI, I've been very impressed by her performance every time I happen to turn on the telly and see her singing.
And from the beginning, I knew. I knew she would not make it to the final two.
Because she doesn't deserve to be an American Idol - a title that would overshadow the winner rather than propel him or her to fame.
Honestly Melinda doesn't need the title, coz she's already a Diva.
I'd say she'll be the most successful contestant from this season, regardless of the eventual winner.
Meanwhile, the NEA has issued a joint statement with PUB that the waters are not toxic.
At least Singapore agencies deal with matters like these. Other countries don't even bother.
Let's take the recent case of the drunk driver who crashed his car into a drain, failed the breathalyser test, and then bribed the cops with $100. He is now facing double charges for drunk driving and attempted bribery. We ridicule his idiocy because he was caught here. And we laugh at the irony because we know he would have most likely gotten away scot-free in our neighboring countries.
We may have strict laws, but it is sound and it's not difficult to follow. We may nitpick on some policies and complain about some inconveniences.
Now imagine if we had to live with thousands of dead fish for a few weeks and not knowing what the problem was. Imagine if we had corrupt police officers, and instead of paying our GST and ERP, we use our hard-earned money to bribe our way out of trouble. Imagine if some of the trouble was only perceived trouble - man-made by corrupt officials - and you have to bribe anyway just to be 'troublefree'.
Our little red dot would be out of control.
People say we are easy to manage and govern because we are a small nation. It is also true conversely - we can easily get out of control.
Then we read about the trial in Tampines to allow cyclists on footpaths. The Law makes it an offence to cycle on footpaths. But we all know that cycling on footpaths is a much safer choice than to cycle on roads, especially when you're just cycling to school or going to the market. People have been cycling on footpaths for so many years, and co-existing with pedestrians. It has become a way of life.
There are more serious accidents that happen between cyclist and motorist compared to cyclist and pedestrian. That's a fact.
As much as The Law is meant to enforce and penalise, it cannot force the aunties and uncles and schoolchildren cyclists onto the road and endangering their lives just because they have chosen cycling as a safer, cheaper and environmentally alternative mode of transport. They are so much more vulnerable than any motorised vehicle!
The aim of the trial is addressing this very issue rather than skirting it. Yes, some pedestrians may have had nasty experiences with cyclists who zoom past them or ring their bells incessantly. Some may have had experiences with right-of-way issues. But I urge the public to look at the bigger picture - We can live harmoniously with each other.
How, you may ask?
Let's share the paths. There are cyclists and pedestrians co-existing anyway.
Why don't we use the 'Keep Left' rule, like we do on escalators?
Why don't we just ring the bell or say 'excuse me'?
Why can't we stop thinking that every square inch of space belongs to an individual?
Why can't we educate properly?
The trial aims to achieve this - to recognise that there seriously is no problem in the co-existence of cyclist and pedestrian on shared paths. In fact, with the trial, it would be easier to sieve out the errant cyclist from the responsible majority so that proper education can reach out to the right target audience.
Why can't we live with these small but significant rules of space-sharing that will reap results in social grace and responsibility?
Imagine if there were no baby steps to make us a gracious society.
Do we want to be a nation full of selfish and self-centered individuals? To me, if that happens, we will be out of control.
Thursday, May 17, 2007
4 x 25m warmups;
20 x 25m hand paddles;
20 x 25m hand paddles + pullbouy;
20 x 25m hand paddles + fins;
20 x 25m unaided;
6 x 25m cool-down
total = 2250m
Set 2: 3 times a week; 30min workout target
Endurance 1500m; or
Count-down (slow to fast): 500m, 400m, 300m, 200m, 100m
I'll attempt the 1500m freestyle and 50m freestyle sprint or 4 x 50m freestyle relay.
This means a different ballgame from triathlon swimming - I need to focus on speed AND endurance.
Looks like more purposeful training now. I've got the base already. Now it's a matter of using the right tools and programs to reduce my split timings.
Wednesday, May 16, 2007
This song, sung to the tune of Elton John's 'Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word', was written by me while I was in a cab on my way back to the office.
SHARING SEEMS TO BE THE HARDEST WORD
What did I just do to make you honk me?
What did I just do to make you curse?
What do I do when drivers cut me,
when I get squeezed like I'm not there.
What do I do to make you want me?
What have I got to do to be heard?
What do I say when it gets ugly?
When SHARING seems to be the hardest word.
It's sad, so sad
It's a sad, sad situation
And it's getting more and more absurd
It's sad, so sad
Why can't we talk it over
Oh it seems to me
That SHARING seems to be the hardest word
What did I just do to make you honk me?
What have I got to do to be heard?
What can I do when drivers cut me?
What have I got to do?
What have I got to do?
When SHARING seems to be the hardest word.
Tuesday, May 15, 2007
Singapore: The recent case between Novelty Pte Ltd and Amanresorts has left the author behind the famous cyclingturtle blog anxious if he is next in the suing spree. Just recently, a high court judge had ordered property developer Novelty Pte Ltd to change the name of its yet-to-be-completed private residential project, ruling that the 'Amanusa' name would likely dilute the image of one of the world's most exclusive resorts.
Although somewhat edgy over such irrelevant news, the author remains firm on his stand to keep his image. "I am Ah Munn, and I will remain as Ah Munn. My grandmother gave me my name since I was born. Amanresorts may not like it, but they'll have to live with it - the fact that I have a name that sounds like theirs. So what?" said cyclingturtle when reporters visited him in his office. "Hmmm...... In fact, 'Ah Munn Resorts to Suing Amanresorts'. Put that headline in your newspapers", he said as he motioned a tagline. "Because I think I was born even before Amanresorts became famous. I came first!".
Iskandar Development Region (IDR) is in the state of Johor in Malaysia while Tampines is on the eastern part of Singapore.
Today's news on the 2 places:
Singapore, Malaysia to cooperate on Johor projects
New study to look into allowing cyclists on footpaths
And the common denominator is: I was involved in the master planning for both projects!
It's great to know that one's hard work is paying off.... somehow.
Wednesday, May 09, 2007
Here, I'll list out all the popular searches for today as at lunchtime in Singapore. I'll just take my sources from www.msn.com and www.yahoo.com.
On MSN People, there's Gordon Scott, David Hasselhoff, Ron Artest, Wally Schirra, Norah Jones.
On MSN Hot Topics, there's Stay-at-home mom, alcoholism, Jupiter, memory problems, plastic surgery.
On Yahoo! top 10 Search Highlights, there's Ty Pennington, Warren Buffett, Jackson Pollock Paintings, Ellen DeGeneres, National Teacher Day, Fox 24, Wiccan, Sean Hannity, Supernovae, and Federal Reserve Meeting.
okay, let's wait and see......
Monday, May 07, 2007
I didn't make any concerted effort in wanting to read up about Africa, but I've been brought to this point where enough is enough. The books I've read so far are pointing to the fact that people are suffering there!
Look at the map and see where Rwanda is? (look between Congo and Kenya). Genocide there in 1994.
Then shift your eyes to the left side of the map. Look just above the South Atlantic Ocean and you'll find a small Sierra Leone sandwiched between Guinea and Liberia. Civil conflict there; 1999.
Remember what they said in Rwanda? They said 'NEVER AGAIN'.
okay, move your eyes back to where Rwanda is. Look above it, you'll find Uganda and Sudan. Genocide there. Now.
Yes, it's happening there now.
We need to do something.
I can't make it to Uganda or Sudan to help. I don't know how to.
But I know I can support the cause by getting the bracelets.
Are you getting one too? Let me know if you're interested.
Then I was just walking around Funan on Saturday and I saw that the DVD was out, so I decided to read the back of the DVD for the synopsis. Then I found out that the movie was set in Sierra Leone during the civil war in 1999! Hey! I've been reading about the conflict in 'A Long Way Gone'! I decided to get the DVD and bring it to grandma's to watch it with the family.
It was awesome! Although they had different titles, Blood Diamond and A Long Way Gone had many parallels which proved that certain events really did happen during the Sierra Leone conflict in 1999, and that Blood Diamond is perhaps re-enacting many true scenes.
Recruitment and training of child soldiers, brutal and senseless killings, fingers chopped off, rap music, local village militias, use of AK 47s and RPGs, the RUF rebels, etc.
All I can say is: It's a must watch movie!
Friday, May 04, 2007
You mean, a long-tailed macaque.
Other famous primates which get on the news once in a while are perhaps our very own Ah Meng the Orang Utan and Bubbles (Michael Jackson's celebrity pet chimp). But that's besides the point.
I just find the article totally ridiculous: A mother sees her son being chased by a macaque, and she calls the police.
Okay. Let's get things into perspective:
The macaque was probably minding his own business when some idiot of a child starts to make stupid sounds that irritates the macaque. Boy is the one who's disturbing the macaque, which was determined by the police that it was not behaving aggressively.
Macaque 1 : Human 0
Macaque gets offended because maybe one of those stupid sounds made by stupid boy resembled something in macaque language that insults its mother. No one insults macaque mothers, so macaque gives chase.
Macaque 1 : Human 1 (human scores a controversial goal here)
Frightened mother sees that her son is in danger of being eaten alive by tiny macaque who was minding his own business in the first place, and she calls the cops. This is another stupid move because she actually expects the cops to come immediately to scene of 'crime' and arrest the primate? Police should actually cite her for making unnecessary calls to the police! Mother was obviously disturbing the police!
Macaque 2 : Human 1
Winner at full-time: Macaque.
Point I'm driving at: EDUCATE YOUR KIDS ABOUT THE NATURAL ENVIRONMENT! don't cry father cry mother and report to police, report to CNA that a 'monkey' is disturbing residents. Don't be so suaku... AND DON'T FEED THE MONKEYS!
Am I the only one feeling this way?
The fall of the Roman Empire, British Empire, Greek Empire, the Aztecs, etc.
Was it due to war? Famine? Greed? Change of government? Lack of passion in leadership? There can be so many factors, and it seems so intriguing the more I think about it. Perhaps I'd need to read more about failures of empires, or societies in general.
A quick check on google reveals Jared Diamond's 2 critically acclaimed books:
- Guns, Germs, and Steel
Very good books... maybe I should read one of them after Long Way Gone (which I'm already halfway through)
Maybe I'm not the only one feeling this way after all.
Thursday, May 03, 2007
just like Tiong and I were stuck at the Stamford Road one
on the last day of its existence.
This time, it's because of the rain.
It's heavy and I'm not going to risk
getting back wet and cold into the office.
It's so quiet;
ideally setting the tone for creativity.
I like it here;
I get things done.
Priorities are set;
targets are met.
No one pushes work;
no room for a lost train of thought.
Stuck this time because of the rain.
Stuck last time because we staged a silent protest
on the demise of the Stamford Library.
The lure of the National Library;
so many reasons to stay within its doors.
Since young, Ah Dong has heard many stories of donkeys and their place in the world as hardworking asses. The more he heard heroic stories of yore, and how his little town grew because of unwavering hardworking fellow donkeys, the more he became proud of his kind. He always knew that he had a place in society.
The donkeys who've laboured hard would always almost certainly be rewarded with their carrots. If they worked particularly hard, the carrot was much bigger. Sometimes, the carrot was so huge, the donkeys would bring it home to share with their donkey families. Or so it seems... ...
Anyway, Ah Dong grew up to be a strong and clever donkey. He made sure he worked hard and he worked smart.
Now, there was only one place to work for all donkeys, and this was at the local flour mill. Here, donkeys of all shapes and sizes would be - proudly - hooked to a stone mill. For 8 hours a day, the donkeys would be milling wheat. Sometimes they worked the extra hours to make more flour. But the donkeys were always assured of same bite-sized tiny carrots at the end of the day.
When Ah Dong came of age to work, it was only natural for him to work at the mill.
It was boom time when Ah Dong worked at the mill. The mill was a very well-known mill. In fact, it was part of a gigantic conglomerate of mills. The mother-of-all-mills was situated in the Land of Plenty, and it was called MILLion. It was doing so well that almost every month, MILLion would be buying over other mills from all over the world!
To make things more exciting, the little town where Ah Dong worked had a super bumper crop of wheat and super high demand for wheat flour. And that's because some clever academic in the higher chain of order claimed that wheat flour could last a thousand years. But that's another story. Anyway, the mill that Ah Dong worked at had to churn out the super supply of flour to meet the super demand for wheat flour. All the donkeys were ecstatic because they knew that a huge carrot would be waiting for them at the end of the day. And they would be part of the world's largest producer of wheat flour! Or so they were told... ...
Donkeys at Ah Dong's mill worked very hard. Sometimes they sacrificed their lazy weekends to produce more wheat flour. More and more wheat came. Sometimes there was good wheat; sometimes there was bad wheat. Whatever it is, they all came in huge quantities. Donkeys being donkeys, they just milled the wheat into flour regardless of wheat quality.
Day-in, day-out. Milling and milling.
Then one donkey asked, "Where is the carrot?"
The other donkeys stopped. Some questioned. Others just muttered, "You can't see it? It's right in front of you!". It's true. Each donkey had a carrot tied to the end of a stick, which was attached to the front of his head. The donkeys were told that they would eventually get the carrot at the end of the stick. So the donkeys just kept milling, including Ah Dong.
Most donkeys were told that a big fat carrot was coming their way. But they never saw it. All they saw was the same old wrinkled tiny carrot at the end of their own stick. There was talk that other mills were giving out bigger carrots. The potato mill was rewarding donkeys with radishes. The tapioca mill was giving out radishes AND sugarcubes! Then there's the corn mill that was rewarding carrots 3 times the size of what the wheat mill was offering! But the donkeys at the wheat mill were unfazed. They kept working hard and keeping the faith.
They continued to trudge on. Many donkeys were getting sick. Some of them developed knee problems; some had respiratory problems. Others began to develop problems in the family, for they were spending too much time milling and milling.
One day while milling, Ah Dong caught sight of a huge mountain of carrots! There were other donkeys that saw the huge mountain of carrots too! For a split second, THERE WAS HOPE!
Then they saw a well-groomed donkey emerging from behind the mountain of carrots. He had a cigar in his donkey mouth and he wore a branded Ardonki suit. He was obviously a very rich happy donkey who was high up in the order of asses. Then this rich donkey put up a sign on top of the mountain of fresh succulent carrots.
The sign read: FOR PUBLIC CONSUMPTION ONLY
And the donkeys all lived very tired lives, overworked with the same old wrinkled carrot at the end of their stick.
Wednesday, May 02, 2007
Study Rates Singapore Fastest Moving City In The World
Survey Finds Majority of Singaporeans Concerned About Security
First report says that Singaporeans are the fastest bunch of walkers based on the walking speeds of pedestrians. Singaporeans take 10.55sec to cover 18metres, while a city in Malawi has pedestrians who take 31.60sec to cover the same distance. We are finally recognised as a united bunch of world record holders in the fine art of pedestrian walking.
Second report says Singaporeans are concerned about the misuse of credit cards and debit cards, with the main concern being internet security. Awareness?
Maybe so.... but both studies just point to a single fact - something so uniquely Singaporean:
WE ARE JUST A BUNCH OF KIASU PEOPLE!
Just got the hardcover. More reading to understand what is really going on in Africa. The struggles of Africans never seem to end.
'Not Fair Form To Ask These Questions?'
First of all, I don't get the headline. As usual - in a bid to shorten titles - the blurb gets off-topic or worse, it becomes gibberish.
In any case, the article questions the intentions of some ubiquitous questions in application forms. Apparently some take offence to questions such as gender, marital status, race, religion, and age. Actually I only find that many government agencies and small firms ask for these kinds of questions. I understand that most US firms have recognised that these questions may implicate certain levels of bias and have dutifully taken them off some time ago.
A bugbear that I find is for some companies that ask for detailed 'O' level results. But seriously, what is the use of asking for detailed 'O' level results when some have already gone way beyond that educational level and experience in life professionalism? Sometimes it seems so ridiculous to provide details that might represent a sliver of playfulness and not-so-good secondary school results. I mean, does having a few Cs in the 'O' levels mean anything, even after having worked for a few years? Companies should have the sense and maturity to understand the simple logic that some people are late bloomers. Having to report outdated results is rather useless and does not portray a person's true self.
In this aspect, the HR depts of some government agencies and 'world-class local universities' should review the application forms. If anything, these firms should take the lead for change!
What to do when it is not exactly a national top priority agenda?
I'm guilty of wasting paper in the office. Well, I try to save paper by printing on both sides and working on older drawings, etc. But no matter how much I would love to do my part, there still is the constant obscene whirr of the photocopying machine churning out ream after ream of printed matter.
Okay, so assume we want to play a part in the Green Movement in Singapore. What is the best way of Going Green and being practical at the same time? Let us count thy ways:
- Refuse any plastic bag if it's only for 1 - 3 items and/or if you can help it.
- No need to wrap stuff in plastic if you can help it.
- If you have bought stuff from different shops, you can do your part by 'piggy-backing' your items into just 1 bag. No need to carry so many 'branded' plastic/paper bags to show off, coz sometimes you'll look like a human trolley.
- Fill up the basin with water, soaking your grimy dishes instead of using running water throughout the washing process.
- If you come from a design firm, use superceded AO-sized drawings as gift wrapping paper.
- If you've got a habit of eating at your desk - just like me - use unwanted A4 sized paper as placemats.
- Take the bus. Don't give me nonsense that it's hot and stuffy. Buses have come a long way since the Hock Lee Bus Riots of the 60's.
- Singapore is a Garden City, so bring in some Bonsai or grow some indoor plants
I'm sure there are many more practical ways that are uniquely Singaporean, but that's about it for now. Spread the Green word while we still can.