Thursday, January 11, 2007

Female fringe

OK hope this self-drawn Paintbrush pic isnt too scary.
I am trying to illustrate a currently quite popular female hairstyle - the horizontally straight right across the forehead fringe. Please excuse my bad drawing - I couldnt be bothered searching for samples. It was quite popular when I was in Melb, among the Taiwanese/Korean/Singaporean students. You saw it all the time at these Oriental type restaurants - the waitresses in their little horizontal fringes. Taiwanese-styled girls from Singapore with gold dyed hair, knee high boots, furry jackets and that fringe.
It is like as if someone placed a bowl on top of her head, and proceeded to cut around the edges of the bowl to give it that look.
Now, my point is this. What is so attractive about this style? I mean I don't mean to knock or bang you personally. Just the style. It makes girls look dumber and sillier than they really are. They have that blur gong suaku look. They might be very competent professionally but a lot of credibility is lost if I was the boss, judgemental as I am.
Judgemental judgemental.
Its like I would walk up to such a girl, 'Hey Wendy, can you [catches glimpse of hair. Pauses. Looks. Thinks a bit. Gulps. Incompetent! Alarm bells ring]. Hey, I bet you are busy. Nevermind I get someone else to do.' I know. I am damn judgemental right? Terrible.
I would be passing a task to such a girl to do and she would look right back up at me with soft big wide innocent bambi beseeching eyes blink blink the 2 hands like a rabbit and the hair like that. Kinda makes you worried if she can handle it.
Girls who look like there also tend to be insipid. I.e. no mind of their own just mindlessly cling onto their boyfriends. The kind who is the only girl on the bball court, watching her bf friend. Who watches whatever movie the bf wants. The girl who might sit beside him when he plays his PC games. You know the drill. The insipids.
Insipid insipid.
Of course I am generalizing here. Some can pull it off quite well. The China doll. The Asian ahem.
But for the rest...trying to look like cute cute Taiwanese girls...makes you lose credibility. Try not to be so insipid - have some self worth, self respect and dignity.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

A piece of cake

It was another long tiring day at work. Got home circa 10pm. Well, whats new?
At this state of my personal life, I somehow feel that I might as well pour everything I got into work. At least there are tangible returns. But also, my sense of duty, responsibility and desire to prove myself would not allow me to leave work until the operations are running smoothly and settled. So, after another lonely, silent drive home, with Neil Young [Heart of Gold], Frankie [Strangers in the Night], Clarence Clearwater Revival [Have you ever seen the Rain] to accompany me, I fell into a silent, thoughtful, nostalgic reverie.

Which reminded me of a passage in one of Haruki Murakami's novels, Sputnik Sweetheart:

So that's how we live our lives. No matter how deep and fatal the loss, no matter how important the thing that is stolen from us - that's snatched right out of our hands - even if we are left completely changed people with only the outer layer of skin from before, we continue to play out our lives this way, in silence. We draw ever nearer to our allotted span of time, bidding it farewell as it trails off behind. Repeating, often adroitly, the endless deeds of the everyday. Leaving behind a feeling of immeasurable emptiness.

Would that how life be like if someone went through life without THAT one loving person? A colleague is now facing the same question I had previously faced. Her boyfriend is working overseas. Should she:

A) Give up her current job, go overseas to be with him. And start all over again. With uncertain prospects.

B) Basically break up and stay on here.

The factors are: Boyfriend is a great guy, the likes of which she thinks it is unlikely for her to ever meet again in this lifetime. Her career in this company is going really really well, the bosses love her, she has a clear and quick-to-rise path. If she stays, confirmed, she is going to do well.

Hmmm...decisions decisions.

Whats the point of making a lot of $ and being professionally proud n watnot if you come home to an empty house and spend ur birthdays alone and on wkends while everyones out with that special someone or other, u are alone because you are starting to get used to and like being alone. And sometimes you find that the company you keep while being alone is much more enjoyable than the alternatives. Is that a sign and the first symptom of people starting on that lifelong journey of bachelorhood/spinstership?

Then again you have to make sure that the guy is really the right one, who is worth it. There is nothing worse than putting your career on the backburner for the wrong guy.

Hmmm...decisions decisions.

Isnt life a piece of cake?

A piece of cake, a piece of cake...

Monday, January 08, 2007

They are people too - flesh & blood

When I was still in Melbourne studying and just after graduating (gosh, I sound like a 44 year old when in fact I am 20 years younger), I worked in the F&B industry and bounced around a while. I also worked in various other industries. Mostly, in retrospect, it was in the service line.

Now, my sister is an air stewardess - also in the service line, and she has told her fair share of horror tales about dodgy/selfish/greedy (the list goes on) customers as well as the good ones.

So, today, I was at the petrol station. The attendant came over to help me fill up my tank. I recognized him - he had done the same for me b4. And, just like the previous time, I chatted him up while waiting for the tank to fill - nothing much, just some small talk, his family, his life, his kampung, things like that.

This last one year, since returning from Melbourne and settling down back in KL again, I have noticed how people in the service sector are oft ignored. Not a "thanks". Just the neglected person who HAS TO appear on time to take orders. Stand there stupidly while customers dilly dally over the menu making stupid humming noises while deciding what to order. Appearing INSTANTLY when the patron wants something. Instead of doing things for himself, simple basic things that he can do, the patron stands around and orders the guy to do it. Like it is his God given right. Hey (and please tell ur friends about this. you can easily spot who the inconsiderate people are), you got hands and feet right? Grab your own chair, or your own fork and spoon if its like just next to you, and for gods sake, know what you are gonna order b4 u beckon the fella in and dont let him just STAND there while ur slowly taking ur time choosing because he has other tables to serve too and if those people dont get their service on time they will make a hoo hah (just like these other inconsiderate people) and then the poor waiter will get in hot soup.

I have been trying to be that ONE customer who is not like that, who with a kind encouraging smile, or just some small considerate deed, makes the guy's job easier. I have been trying to be so to the guy that serves me at the restaurant, the guy who fills up my petrol tank, the lady who takes my order at KFC, the foreign contract workers who work for my company and are under my direct beck and call. They do anything, and I mean, ANYTHING, I ask. And they have the most subservient attitude. Yet I do not think I am above saying 'thanks' to them, along with a simple pat on the back or shoulder as encouragement or acknowledgement for a job well done.

I hate the local culture of 'I'm holier than thou.' Please do not look down on people in the service sector. Many of them have a tough life and a tough job as it is. Many of them hold down 2 jobs. If you think your life is bad, how about theirs? Can you do what they do? Can you ever be humble enough if you need to be?

The petrol station guy has 2 jobs. Daytime as a cook, nighttime as a petrol station attendant. Just trying to survive, boss. Got wife and 3 children. Just want to give them a good education boss. I gave him RM2 to go and buy a drink. RM2 wont make me a millionaire or a bankrupt, but, its not the worth - its the gesture that warms his heart, and thats what matters. The Nepalese guy who helped me carry 55kg of stuff on his back and dragged it up and down 3 storeys high (I also gave him a few bucks to go and buy a drink at the canteen). He has a disabled mother who needs medical treatment back home and he cannot afford it. And the Deluxe contract worker who works minimum 12 hour shifts, WORKS NON STOP, has a small break here n there for meals WHICH HE PAYS HIMSELF, and has no seat for the entire 12 hours. Some do, some don't depending on the job. And the guys who work in the ultra hot environment. And he gets paid RM5 or something A DAY. And this boss gets a cut of that RM5. Then they got to pay for lunch. And to top it off, on their way walking back home, they get robbed.

What have they got to live for? We think our jobs are tough? Come on, we are just too spoilt cushy and pampered. Learn to be humble. We have a choice. If we leave our current jobs because oh we complain that we got to work more than 10 hours, all we gotta do is find another job in some air conditioned place and sit around and can surf Net and still make enough to indulge in stuff that improves our quality of life. How about these guys? Work 12 hours in shitty environment with shitty bosses and everyones a boss and they r like the lowest on the food chain who has to get down on hands and knees and use just water and no gloves to scrub off industrial grade glue n ink from the ground, pay for lunch, save a bit left, tired as fuck, walk back, get robbed, WHOLE DAY OF WORK GONE, gets home to some dirty place shared by 20 other guys, no proper running water or power. What kind of wretched life is that?

If it was me, I would surely the fuck have become a criminal. No frickin way would I abide by the SYSTEM if thats what I get in return. No way. Stay legal, is like ... death. Mights well take that chance to be rich, and either I become rich or I go to jail which considering my other options, ain't so bad.

It is high time we treated these people as human beings too. They do what they do out of love. They are of flesh and blood. They love their children, wife, ailing parents. Thats what drives them to do such things. They swallow their pride. Are we so noble? I admit, sometimes I forget to be nicer to these people. But I will now add this to my list of 2007 resolutions - to try and be nicer to the service people I meet. They are humans too. They can do much more than me. When I wake up and realize the day I have ahead to look forward to... I would just so feel like stabbing myself if I was them. No other choice except to slog. Damn...that frickin sucks.

Its like when I was making sandwiches at Subway Melbourne. I didnt like it one bit. Hated dragging myself to work. But it was bearable coz I knew it was an interim job, a stepping stone until I got a proper permanent offer. But to those colleagues of mine...this WAS their career. This WAS their PERMANENT and proper job. Making sandwiches. Man...that sucked big time. Thats all I have to look forward to? Thats my life, my career? So I really respect those people who can drag themselves to work day after day in such unglam jobs. What is there to pity in those people who 'drag' themselves to work day after day in some multimillion dollar firm or bank, sit around an aircond office and earn much more than these other people ever will. What you got to complain? At least you get to throw around phrases like work life balance, career path planning, job satisfaction etc.

So yea..sorry for the long diatribe. Lets try to be nicer to every service person we meet. Thank you.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Manufactured Beauty VS Natural Beauty

Yea...I know its 6am on a Saturday morning...
Well, work beckons. I have been requested to go back to work because the other guy supposed to take care of this has to go on emergency leave thanks to his mum's various body platelet count or something going haywire. OK. No big deal.
Last night was just home from work at 10 30, and more or less collapsed into bed without showering...and ended up sleeping til now. Woke up, looked in the mirror, in my dishevelled shirt state (still in work clothes. I know. Very unhygienic. Girls, run). Somehow managed to toss myself into bed wearing only one sock and saw the other sock on top of my keyboard. Dont ask me how. And now, since the hair is still in place, I'm considering just rinsing the face, brushing the teeth, changing the clothes, and going off to work. But no...I think I will shower. For hygiene reasons.

Which brings me to my post topic. Been meaning to blog bout this for some time. OK, see, in my view, there are basically 2 kinds of beauty in this world.

Welcome to my concept of natural and manufactured beauty. To fully appreciate this, first, please accept and acknowledge that not all (wo)men are created equal. OK, now that we have all accepted that life and god is basically unfair, we may proceed.

Natural Beauty

These sorts of people are truly blessed physically. With flaws that are not blatant, they can get away with most anything. Their facial features usually is of this ilk: nice big eyes, high-ish cheekbones, chiselled jawline, nice lips and mouth, a nose that isnt big fat like a mushroom. They have quite proportionate physical dimensions i.e. head not too big for body, height is commensurate with head (i.e. one eighth) and arms and legs with just the right amount of body fat. These people need not be pretty. In fact, you might be one of them.

They can go to sleep devoid of makeup, and wake up looking more or less the same. They can brush teeth rinse face and pop out of the house and still look at least normal or good. They do not need to put extraordinary effort into making themselves look good. They can slap on a T shirt n shorts and still have that wholesome clean look. And girls who look like this look clean and fresh and healthy, especially when they wear those kind of fitting T shirts that only cover a bit of their upper arm, revealing just the right amount of fat on their arms. Guys love this shit man. When shopping, these girls end up looking quite good in almost everything they try on, because their proportion is so right, so they have to be very selective in what to buy. the basic thing with these girls is that they can go to sleep, wake up, brush teeth wash face, no need extra effort into dressing up or tidying hair or makeup, and just walk out, and look pretty decent. And dressing up, when they don't put in extra effort - they already look fine. The proportions are all there. But they look even better once they start to do those girly tricks of wearing certain things and combinations to show certain assets and hide certain non assets.

Manufactured Beauty

OK. People of this genre let me emphasize categorically, need NOT be ugly. In fact, they could have not bad features or proportion too. But generally, people of this disposition are physically not as well formed as people in the previous class. However, they have their own tricks too. There is makeup, dressing tricks that females employ, lighting, etc. These females probably need a little bit more time to prepare themselves and get ready. Then, they can even look hot. They usually fool most of the male population. I know I'm a sucker. Girls, when they see these kinds of girls, get annoyed when their boyfriends go "wow that chick is hot" because these girls KNOW what tricks are being employed. Thats why the true benchmark of a hot girl is when another girl says she is hot.

Ah. So. These people also look different when they are out compared to just after they wake up. Drastically more so than one with natural beauty. A true sign of a manufactured beauty. And when shopping, its not easy to find something that looks good on you and not just the model. But really, manufacturing one's aesthetic appearance is no crime. At least, after some touchups, you still look good, right? Some people do envy you for that. Manufactured beaty people cannot just wake up and brushteethwashface and walk out of the house. No way. They'd look too different, and their confidence would be affected.

No. To them, spending some extra time to put on some makeup, dress appropriately to highlight their small (example, example) waist, or wearing a certain type of top to make their decolletage look nicer, is all part of their everyday routine. Its like putting on armour, a mask if you will, to make them feel comfortable, confident and able to take on the world. Or just to look decent and presentable. No crime in that. It's like the (actually very) normal women who NEED to go to work in their high powered suits and jackets (especially if they are in banking and law) because its a psychological boost, part of psyching themself up to put on this veneer of toughness necessary to survive in their field.

Manufactured beauty people have a lot of tricks up their sleeves. A lot of the hairstylists and fashion people, when you really observe them, don't have good features or physical dimensions, but these are cleverly hidden.


I may be wrong. Haha, but hey, thats just one man's observations. No big deal. Its just physical aesthetics. Theres much more to life than that!

Friday, January 05, 2007

2007 Resolutions


It's 2007 officially. We are slowly getting into the swing of things. People are starting to reappear from end of year leave, like mites climbing out of the woodwork. People are starting to get back into work mode, staying longer, and the partying is slowly being strangled out of us by the mundane realities n routines of life.

Oh, please don't mind my cynicism btw.

Ok. I do not normally make NY resolutions because I do not keep them. I tend to make character/behaviour changes throughout the year instead. I have decided though that this uear it will be different. This year - I will make some resolutions. If I am not dead serious about it, I wont make it a resolution. So whatever I put down stuff I am determined to follow through on.

These are the major components of my life to improve over 2007, in no particular order, followed by a slight elaboration below.

1) Health
2) Finances
3) Self
4) Career
5) Family
6) Friends
7) Girlfriend
8) Character

1) Health

2006 was a year where I started to take care of my health, realizing that neglecting it by smoking.drinking.sleepinglate for the last 10 years was a serious hazard to my health. I started to drink juice everyday, eat some fruits, avoid animal fats, ignore KFC skin, etc. I used my company's corporate benefits to join Fitness First rather cheaply and started to test my limits on the treadmill.

Thats all well and good. But the problem is I still have too much supper, still drink n smoke too much, and tend to not prioritize gym enough. So this year I must take it a step further. Diet - must improve. Eat right, not too much fats, more fruits n vegies, less supper, less oily, thick, heavy stuff. Exercise - start charting my progress on the treadmill and see if I can push myself. Start lifting some weights to ensure I dont degenerate into Daddy Long Legs without the length. And most of all, I must sleep more. Sleep earlier!

2) Finance.

Last year I tried to keep records of how I spent my $, kept a budget, kept track of what I did with my $. I also educated myself on the various investments available to me. But I never did control my spending that tightly, and I never actually invested in anything. I make relatively OK for my age, but I spend too much. After one whole year of work, I calculated: I saved 20% altogether of what I made the whole year. Thats terrible. Let me repeat. Thats terrible. Way off target. I suppose the many trips to Singapore, the expensive wines I like, the car maintenance, the buying of a new computer all factor in. But still. This year I must track diligently every cent spent, keep all receipts, apply for claims for all company related expenses (of which I did NONE last year), keep to the budget, and start learning enough to actually make some investments.
Most of all..I must save 40% of my monthly take home pay.

3) Self.

A hectic schedule and lifestyle, especially with work, caused me to occasionally forget to indulge in myself, reward myself, and take time off for reflection and healing and basically recharging. I ran until I was dry and fell into a well of unhappiness. This year, I will remember not to work myself into the ground. Must take time for myself, to read, to play guitar, go for walks, listen to music, etc. Must remember myself, and learn to relax.

4) Career.

In 2006 I really went for it at work. I applied 75% of myself. And, fortunately for me, this did pay dividends. I earned some trust, praise, recognition etc from the powers that be. And I am glad. I know I said I must put time aside for self. But the way I see it, I am 24 now. I am young. This window where I have energy, opportunities, and a future full of opportunities and potential is limited. So, I want to really go all out, to learn, to soak it all up, and build a solid foundation so I earn the right to slow down later when I have a mate to share my life with (and yes, spend all the carefully saved money sigh). The 75% must become 85%. And instead of lackadaisically sitting back and letting my managers drive my career...I will sit up and proactively take the driver's reins. A man without a career is nothing. I refuse to be a failure professionally. Failure is not an option. Succeed is the only path. A man cannot survive on love alone. Once the career is stable, everything else will fall into place. So..don't slack off, young man.

5) Family. I have been taking my family for granted. When I come home stressed as hell and tired, from work, I go into my room straightaway and shut my door. I bark at my mum and feel extremely bad upset guilty about it later. I do not spend time with them. I tend to be at work way too often. OR thinking bout work to enjoy the times when I'm with them. I also tend to trivialize their problems coz compared to my work stuff, theirs seem minor. Well. No more. I must learn to love my family more, take them out, spend time with them, and include them in my life more.

6) Friends. I have been blessed with good friends. 2006, I neglected a lot of them, and did not let them know what I thought of them. I did not take them for granted. I just stopped letting them know how much they meant to me. In 2007...I will make sure they know how much they mean to me.

7) Special Relationships. Sigh...and so a 7 year relationship turned out this way. Love... its an entry for another day. I still believe in it. I shall still be open to it. And when it comes, I will treasure it and recognise it. But in the meantime...I won't chase it anymore. I have been too badly burnt. Just focus on other aspects of my life, and meet friends when possible, and we'll see what happens.

8) Character. I need to grow up. I need to become more mature. No more immature behaviour. No more doing or saying things with very stupid objectives, that are thinly veiled and very embrassingly obvious. Its time to stop grumbling about this n that and just do what I gotta do. No more lying cheating snivelling. No more this n that. Its time to act my age.

OK. Those are my 2007 resolutions. This time nxt year I shall sit back and relook at all of these.

Health - Target: Hopefully I will feel and look better.
Finances - Hopefully I save 40% of take home pay per month. Plus I have some passive income from investments.
Self - I feel spiritually fulfilled. I have time for myself. I don't look back and feel dry n empty.
Career - I will be regarded as a sure fire star in my company. Or I will have moved on to a better position with another company. And looking ahead, the path sure looks bright.
Family - I want them to feel included in my life, and appreciated. I want to see that in their eyes.
Friends - They must feel in their hearts Alex is one of their best friends indeed.
Special Rship - Don't hunt for it. Don't push for it. Sit back. Live my life. Don't be pushy. If a girl is interested, then go for it.
Character - See how I feel about myself and how I handled things and whether I did it with integrity. Am I ashamed?

OK thats it folks.

It's late. Sleeping early is my new resol. So...gnite and take care!

Monday, January 01, 2007

NY Eve 06!

And its that time of year again!

NY Eve!

So thus we continued our yearly ritual (for the last few years) of heading to the top of my friend's dad's hotel (Jln Ampang) and holding our own party there inviting some of our close friends and celebrating NY eve and welcoming in the new year in style. Nothing beats a cool breeze, an unobstructed penthouse rooftop balcony 360 birds eye view of the KL night lights and seeing the fireworks.

Followed by our own party, good food, music, lots of alcohol, and heading down into our free rooms for the night (arms around a girl)...

Ah...last night a few of our staple regulars couldnt turn up for varied reasons, and KLCC and Dataran Merdeka had no fireworks as the celebs were a little bit more subdued.
More photos and videos of the fireworks up later!