Monday, March 31, 2008

Teacher's Day

Dear Jeanz,

Well, how long has it been? More than 10 years, our friendship. Spanning the day we knew each other as little small people (face it, we are both rather small) in high school, through the time when we graduated from high school together, graduated from Trinity together, and all those shared Melb experiences...

And now, on your graduation day, let me wish you many many congratulations! After all those years of study, trduging around mother-henning your little kids, congratulations on your graduation! As you continue down this path you have chosen to embark on, may you experience much success and happiness.

And never forget that teaching is noble, don't forget why in the first place you did it, and you have a very important role to play in forming the foundation of kids' characters.

ps: Please find the cutest chubby boy, and pinch his cheeks and bite his arm for me!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Stereotyping the banker

While eating with my best friends last night, both of whom are bankers, our conversation turned to, naturally, banking, and it evolved into a discussion on the common types of banking people. Of course, we were not saying that all bankers were encompassed in our deductions, but that it was more of a general stereotype observation.

In banking, we realized that yes there were some people who were really passionate about the concept, who were really committed to and dedicated to their jobs and growing their clients portfolios.

But by far the most common type you will meet is the horny male banker. This is the sort who craves money, wants money to attract girls, and is girl crazy. They can be slightly cocky, arrogant, and their knowledge of things is on a superficial level. Some members of this community though are good at what they do. The best part is, none of them actually appear obviously as a horny money hungry male banker, at least, not until you get to know them better, and you definitely wont be seeing these sides of them unless you are a like minded male friend who wont blow their cover. Otherwise, you’d not recognize these types.

The other common type is the hot young female banker who thinks her looks will get her ahead, and sadly so, they do! In a certain well known international bank operating here, their Management Trainee/Associate program actually accepts probably 80% females, all of whom are considered way above average in terms of their attractiveness, when gauged against conventional and objective criteria. Their level of knowledge is often superficial, and shaky at best.

The worst part is, these people do make a lot, not by virtue of talent and hard work, but by virtue of being in banking. And they do think they are very clever, as society does hand them that title on a silver plate, as we deem people by how much they earn.

Immature as it is, I do take this personal and anyone of these people who tries to get cocky with me will get sharp words and a not so subtle put down. If you are in it for the money, admit so, and don’t hide behind any fa├žade and please get off your high horse. People who are flattered by their own salaries and consider others inferior to themselves do disgust me so.

Political Commentary

For all his and his administration’s mistakes, excesses and various wrongdoings, one thing that history will look kindly on our current Malaysian PM on will be the freedom he initially gave to the press. I say initially because by and by, as his hold on power became increasingly faced with criticism, and his tenure became more shaky, he succumbed to the same mentality adopted by previous insecure leaders of other countries: he clamped down on freedom of information. The press duly became extended PR arms of the ruling coalition, license and permits to speak were not granted to certain charismatic personalities (who would be able to spill beans on the government) and bloggers were taken to task.

This is not to say that they were not successful; instead, the more the government tried to clamp down on normal media as well as the mass media spinning their content, the more the people turned to the alternative media, i.e. cybermedia. (Let it be remembered that I coined the word here first). And the cybermedia is bereft of controls at this point in time in Malaysia, and hence, the momentum gathering against the government was able to gain more momentum.

It is still early days, but the previously opposition coalition must prove that it is a viable government. The next few years will be critical. It is bad luck that the next year is forecasted to be a tight one economically, but if that is the card we have been dealt, then that is what we must contend with. If the coalition can rule the 5 opposition held states well, there is no telling what will happen at the next GE; perhaps the toppling of the BN. In fact, as it is, the BN is close to its death throes. MCA MIC and Gerakan have had their balls cut off. UMNO is facing a strong internal challenge from KuLi and its strongest ever Opposition, helmed by its most viable and threatening leader ever, the former Education/Finance and Deputy PM.

2 things we need to do when we reflect on this election results. One. The groundswell of anti BN movement was made possible by the PM’s more relaxed hold on the press compared to his predecessor. The same sentiments prevailed under Dr M’s time, but without a channel to be expressed through, and with the Net still in its infancy here in Malaysia, Dr M’s iron grip was able to suppress all this. With everything clicking at the same time however, Badawi had not a chance. Second. We must remember that Badawi inherited a government that was rotten and corrupted. But in good times and amidst a rolling economically progressive era, Dr M was able to get away with/suppress all this. Come Badawi’s time, he was not a strong enough PM to repeat what Dr M could do, and could not control his underlings. Given all this, and his inability to clean up what the previous administration gave him a huge mandate for promising to do (i.e. clean up the government he inherited), he was bound to go.

In the future, all eyes will be on the newly won states for the opposition. In Perak, the new MB is holding tremendous goodwill and support from the people, of all races. As his recent forays into speech making has shown, the ability to converse in 3 Chinese dialects, Tamil, English and Malay has won him the hearts of the people. In Penang, the new CM also has the people eating out of his hands. This is a great start and a wonderful new mandate to work with. The only things to watch out for are the bad debts, loans, and legal liabilities inherited from the previous administration. This is in abundance, as the empty offices that they walked into have proven, having had all files and papers shredded away.

In the still government controlled states, the BN is also experiencing a battle on yet another front; the Rulers. Perlis has successfully installed a Ruler’s choice MB over a BN choice. But in Terengganu, where there is much misdoings to cover up, Badawi is still fighting hard to install his puppet Idris. If the Ruler’s man gets the job, it will be tough to cover up all the misdoings that have been going on. So, it remains and exciting time ahead, as new developments continue to unfold.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Random musings throughout the day...

It isn’t very easy being a guy, especially a guy with all the articulate abilities in the world to jabber on about a host of stuff except for the stuff that really matters, the feelings inside.

It is not so bad if I was generally inarticulate, but what is the point in being articulate about things that don’t really matter?

I’ve been commended at work for being clear, concise, logical, but what is the point when the methodology applied to achieve those results cannot be replicated across to the emotional standpoint?

***
The desire to quit and resign still stands, and still burns strong. This weekend is going to be a time for resume writing, and do or die I will finish it this week and start my applications next week. Anything in Sydney or Melbourne would be fine, although of course I prefer Melbourne, it being in my blood and all. However, as I will likely be seeking an internal transfer to our company in Australia, which is based in Sydney, it is highly likely I will end up in Sydney.

What is there to look forward to in Sydney? Well, I guess the ‘overseas working yuppie’ thing does seem slightly attractive, although I’d have to be disciplined not to fall into the student living environment trap.

I think I’d like my own small little cosy comfy apartment. It’s got to be a minimalist type of setting, without much fuss. A painting here or there adorning the white walls, a big window/screen door that slides open to my balcony. That would do just fine. With my basketball posters here and there, and blown up and developed glossy photographs that I have taken on my various travels. A nice sound system.

Airy, bright, spacious, with a masculine bathroom.

What is a masculine bathroom?

Dark blue towels, navy blue, white towels, grey towels, lots of them.

Well it is good to embark on this kind of mental soliloquoy, because I am feeling a little apprehensive about working with Australians again. Living with them is one thing. Working with highly opinionated, often immature, somewhat judgemental etc Australians, especially those in the commerce industry, would be quite a put off.

Of course, for those already working there, they’d deny this, or it’d make them seem a certain way if they admitted that they felt this yet stayed on. But there is always hope, and I have met my fair share of the good people, and let’s hope that that goes on.

Looking young is also going to be a problem. Rats… I think I look 18 to these people.

It is of the utmost importance to come home to a lovely home.

***
T’was a good day at work today. Everything clicked and fell into place, and the presentations I had to produce from scratch and present to other high ranking stakeholders and get their buy in went well. Well, more work for me and more credit to my superiors, I suppose. The pressure is getting really intense and the spotlight is definitely squarely on me. It sucks that others’ of my designation don’t have this much pressure/expectations/responsibilities/accountabilities but at the end of the day, it is what it is and we just deal with it.

Looking on the bright side, always view this optimistically, as if this is an opportunity and it is one way I can rise faster than them. This has always been my mentality and it has brought me some measure of success, but the passion to do so and the willingness and desire to continue to throw myself into this is less, hence accounting for the increased annoyance at the status quo.

At any rate, the good news is that I suddenly received a significant sum of money out of the blue from the company. Always a good thing.

Mood is not bad, hence the impulse to sit here and type away and blog.

However it is tempered by some insecurity, which I will master and control. Will not let irrational reasons sabotage good things.

***
They say men suffer from higher and more severe incidences of depression and suicide. I can relate to it. I think it is a potent combo of inability to express coupled with the expectation by society to accept expressions of anything less than a strong and tough constitution and emotional makeup plus other pressures placed by society which men do not have any form of support group for.

Of course, objectively, this can also be said for women.

Anyway, thank god for sports and exercise. I use sports and exercising as my means of destressing and relaxing, and I’m not sure whether that is a good and healthy (mentally, emotionally, character wise) way to exhume pent up frustrations or not. Maybe it is not the right way, and the right way is to de-create the frustration in the first place by not letting whatever circumstances are causing our frustrations to allow us to feel that frustration. However in the absence of that means which I would love to discover, sports come pretty close.

***

I just love this lyric:

This innocence, is brilliant.

I hope that it will stay.

This moment, is perfect.

Please don't go away.

I need, you now.

Hold on to it, don't you let it pass you by.

Perhaps it was the circumstances surrounding my awareness of the song's existence, and what happened thereafter...but its definitely poignant and significant to me.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Yoou make me happy!

Love. Recently been receiving much news of marriage proposals, upcoming weddings, receiving a few invitations, generally hearing all round good news. Which is great. And also a few sadder stories of other relationships being rocky, having problems, hiccups, or being on the brink of incompatibility. Also been reading John Gray’s Mars and Venus on a date. Which is a pretty good book, except for certain parts which PISSED the hell out of me, but I digress.

An often overlooked but VERY critical aspect of love, is love. Huh? Whats that, you say?

Well. I was referring to the physical act of love, of loving. To love, means being in love (the feelings) AND the verb, the physical action of loving someone. Please, Alex, make some sense.

People generally think that love is a feeling, which they cannot control. They think, they don’t choose to fall in love with someone, but they do, and that’s that. And that feeling governs their actions. So as long as they have that feeling, they are happy to do things for that person, e.g. make sacrifices, do nice things, give surprises. But once that ‘feeling’ dies, they cant do those things anymore, and they think we cannot be together already because don’t have that feeling anymore.

To a certain extent that is true. But my argument is that love is something we can control. For instance, initially, in the “sparks of romance” period, we can choose to stifle it, not respond, or, respond. There is no such thing as ‘I just fell in love with so and so, I couldn’t help it.”. Nobody suddenly falls in love. You exist. You meet someone. Over some time you realize there are sparks. So you know that if you continue, you will feed the flames, and if you continue to fan it, it will blossom into more. And if you make the decision to go for it, then you cannot claim that you just happen to fell in love.

Ok, so now you are ‘in love’, what next? Is it a matter of the feelings being some inexhaustible supply, an eternal fossil fuel, that you can reach into and inspire you to do lovely and loving things? Nope. If you dont constantly do things to feed build up maintain n nurture that well, eventually, it dries up. You need to constantly love the other person, do loving things, commit acts that require you to give, without taking, and do things purely for the simple unadulterated fact that it would make the other person happy, regardless of whether there is anything in it for you. It transcends ‘I feel something for you so I do this for you’ to also ‘by continuing to do this for you, I constantly get reminded of what a privilege this is and how happy it makes me just to see you happy and your response makes me love you more’. You might be real tired, but you stay up for that extra hour to listen to the other person, you drive the extra mile to get her that ice cream she likes, you make the effort to bring her to a place she would enjoy, things like that. Acts of giving, my friend. When you find that you can still do acts of giving, there is hope. Try it. Do something that has absolutely nothing in it for you, but gives the other joy. It works. By doing so, somehow, you end up loving that person more.

There is a scientific explanation to this, as I JUST realized from reading John Gray’s abovementioned book. In it, he says, the way guys are wired, is that we want to know that we can meet a woman’s needs and that we can make her happy. We like to feel useful and needed. So when we do things that makes her happy, the reward is not getting something in return, but that we made her happy and that we have the ability to do that. It is an intrinsic reward, quite high up Mazlow's needs traingle. It is very crucial and critical for women to let their men know that they do indeed make them happy.

You guys should be paying me for this stuff.

Forgiveness

The Bible says we must forgive others for what have been done to us, and forgive ourselves for what we have done. In order to move on in life, we have to forgive others, and also to forgive ourselves. Until we can truly look back on events without any negative emotions, can we claim to have truly let go and have forgiven ourselves and others.

I have no problems with forgiving others. Really, when I look back, I do not feel the negative emotions, only the logical deductions of their actions. For instance, when I look back at a boss unfairly withdrawing promised support of me and leaving me out to dry, I no longer recall the feelings of disappointment, let down and betrayal. But I do remember the lesson learnt, the message, which is that among other behavior of his, this leads me to conclude that I can no longer work for him. This is not personal, just a reflection of a mismatched style and expectations. Hence, in this case, it is better for both parties to move on.

But for my personal life, it's tough trying to forgive myself and reconcile myself to the damage, hurt, loss/alteration of dreams that I have caused onto others. Due to my own immaturity, lack of wisdom and misplaced self belief (that my way of handling is best), I transgressed onto others. This is not something that can be forgotten easily or undone. It can never be undone or forgotten. The only way for them to move forward is to accept and forgive, which is a tough call. And I hate having put them into this situation. Because it is hard to forgive personal injustice, and either they have to do the difficult, i.e. forgive, or they are now sinners, i.e. unforgiving people.

I rationalize. I tell myself that we reap what we sow, and as long as we have given others an opportunity to match our expectations, as long as we articulate those expectations, when things don’t match, we can state a reasonable case to move on. And I thought (as it turns out, wrongly) I’d be able to accept such a situation as well if it was me. And we do what we can to lay down expectations, give chances when that is not met, and up to a certain cut off point, we draw the line, do what we got to do, and walk away, and that in itself is closure and the other party will be able to realize ok, hence, game over, asnd they'd be able to accept the logical reasons for the decision as well. I thought I was very logically driven.

But I have misread the human mind. When put into a similar situation where my repeated failure to meet expectations and ultimatums finally caused me to sow what I was reaping, I could not take it. Although the mind took it well, the heart couldn’t let go. And although I’m on a new lease of life, given a new opportunity to show who I am, I know that no matter what, I have caused Joanne’s first (and from now on, only) relationship to have such a terrible beginning. I have robbed her of that beautiful beginning. I can make the middle and the ending great, but the undeniable fact is that the beginning was not pure white. The only silver lining is that it taught us both many things. Situations like this either draw us closer, or create a wedge between us that we can try to bury but ultimately might rear its ugly head to tear us apart due to the lack of trust from her side, her different opinion of me, her judging my character based on a period of time where I was not myself, and perhaps her forgetting of the person I was before I made my mistake in life. I hope these don't happen.

At the same time, though I gave HY much chances as well, and laid clear to her my expectations, and I know I am not to blame for her taking it badly, I feel guilty n concerned. Is it not hypocritical of me to ask from one what I wouldnt give to another? Although, I did give her chances, and now, I must be fair to Joanne.

So I need to learn to forgive myself for my transgressions onto others, which is easier, as it is basically a matter of rationalizing to oneself. And that is much easier than others forgiving me, which is out of my control.

Time to go..all good things, must come to an end

Collectively, all the pressures and issues burdening me down have really stressed me to a burn out point. I have been trying hard to be strong and remain impassive and calm, collected and in control of the situation, not letting it show, not worrying and burdening those around me, but I feel that it is time to take action.

Right now, the most pressing is work. At work, for the last 2.5 years since I joined, I have been a loyal soldier. I have been an exemplary employee, winning awards and praise along the way, being regarded as a star performer. The future for me here is bright. But recent events, departmental developments, and a series of unfortunate events (quite unlike that of Lemony Snicketts’) have drove home and highlighted to me that the timing is ripe. If my intention is to develop my career here, I will be a fool not to tolerate this for another year, as I will definitely be promoted then, which would cause my salary to be put in quite a comfortable zone for someone my age. However, since I have been considering moving to Australia, I now find it a very attractive option to go back there and service my PR before it expires. I do not want to go into detail, but after talking to a few people, and sitting back and taking stock of my situation from an entirely objective standpoint devoid of emotion, I have concluded that I want to leave as soon as possible, and since a 3 month notice is required, I will be tendering in April.

It is not easy making such a decision, especially walking away from a company that I have invested so much into. I have learnt a lot here, made some lifelong relationships, and meaningful friendships, spent many a significant moment there, enjoyed some of life’s milestones there etc. When the day comes, I will be very sad, but a man has to do what a man has to do.

Looking to the future, I am filled with doubt, but which successful venture has started out with a guaranteed knowledge of the outcome? Nothing worth doing is easy to try. We have to break from our comfort zone. First up is the industry I want to go into. Secondly, what job? To answer these, I have already narrowed it down to 3 industries. Within those industries, I will apply to whatever I stand a chance with, and from the process and outcome, I hope to be able to discover which exactly I want. I have been deciding for so long now, that it’d be insane to continue what I’m doing and yet expect the results to be different. Might as well try and start applying to all, see the responses I get, and from there, I can know better my chances and interests, and hence eliminate options and depending on the offers incoming, perhaps something will jump out at me.

The next worry is the Australian work culture. Having been there for 6 years, I can state that I do have a real fear of fitting in. In the engineering industry, I don’t expect to have a problem, but when it comes to commerce, I am worried. I have to confront the different mentality and culture that is inherent in members of a different industry, and also deal with cross cultural issues. Over here in Malaysia, the racism is such that they think you are better and hence they need to clip your wings. Over there, they think that they are better and hence you don’t even have a chance to show you have wings. And having managed several projects during my industrial training, I have to say that Australians respond to a very different type of management style compared to Malaysia. Anyway, time will tell, and if I decide to move, when in Rome, I will adapt, be a chameleon, and act like the Romans. I just hope and must believe (and pray) that I have it in me.

Of course, one way to think about things is that regardless of the outcome trust that God will not let me bite off more than I can chew. That there is a grand plan behind this all, that he is using me for his reasons. And that I can rest assured that if I submit to him, all these human feelings will be lessened. Getting a job probably wouldn’t be too difficult; securing the right one might be tricky.

There is another big insecurity with moving to Australia, totally unrelated to my work, haunting me which I cannot say, but must dealt with myself. It is a mark of immaturity or perhaps some sort of inadequacy buried deep inside, and that must be courageously faced and tried to be dispelled with.

GE 08 (A new hope for a new beginning)

You honestly wouldn’t expect me to go this long without commenting on the recent 12th General Elections, 2008, would you?

Last Saturday marked a historic occasion, a milestone, in Malaysian history, from any angle you look at it, not just political. For, and as we all have heard numerous times by now, the fat cats of the ruling coalition, who have way overstayed their position, were summarily and categorically defeated in a very real and significant sense, literally and figuratively. The signals heralded by this defeat can not be understated. Although they still retained their simple majority to hence hold power in Government, they can no longer wantonly make changes in their favor to the Constitution, to the law, and to the Election Commission. So, in summary:

Fact:

The BN lost their 2/3 parliamentary majority.

  1. The BN lost 4 more states, to bring to a total of 5 states now run by the opposition.
  2. The loose coalition have been now given a real mandate and opportunity to prove to the people that they are a very real and viable alternative government and no longer just effective as watchdogs who protest and oppose.
  3. The results show that overall, 51% of the Malaysian voted for the ruling coalition. Of this, the vast majority came from East Malaysia, which statistically reveals to house the most number of Muslim immigrants/immigrants turned Muslims in the last half a decade.

Implications:

The people have spoken. This is more a damning rebuke of the BN government then of a resounding approval for the opposition. Hence the BN should consider this as a warning served that unless dire changes come from within, it will no longer remain relevant and stand the chance of being pushed out of government in the next GE, marking the first time since Independence that Malaysia is not ruled by a national alliance of some sort.

  1. The threats, scare tactics and intimidation of racial riots, bloody massacres and drawing Chinese blood have backfired entirely. Malaysians have moved beyond communal politics, and are now ready to vote based on party policies and ideologies. This marks a transcendent moment in Malaysian politics, and marks the hitherto unknown maturity of the Malaysian electorate.
  2. Although there were high suspicions of vote rigging, phantom voters, the usual unfair elections accusations, with even the Election Commissions chairman coming out to state that the job of the EC was to keep the ruling coalition in power, the results themselves demonstrate that democracy is truly alive, well and kicking at least in an effective form today. For this is a victory to the Malaysian people, that democracy here exists, albeit in an infantile form. Added to that the highly suspicious last minute removal of the indelible ink fiasco, although one wonders whether the results were fixed and if so, what is the true extent of the defeat, there is reason to hope that the elections process were reasonably fair this time around.
  3. When Malays and Indians came together to state that ‘Chinese blood’ would be shed over their dead bodies, and that they would protect their brethren, it showed that race based politics is over in Malaysia. Playing one race off another, a delicate and very volatile act at best, is no longer effective. When DAP is voted for by Malays, and PAS by Chinese, when there is no racial riots or bloodshed and the election process smoothly took place, we can now claim that perhaps racial integration is further along than we previously dared hope for. In our region, how many countries can lay claim to such an outcome in such a major governmental upheaval?
  4. For all his flaws and remarkable incompetence, the PM has at least opened up the country to more freedom of information, and loosened the tight reins imposed by his predecessor. This election results would never be so if not for the part played by Youtube, the Internet, blogging, SMSes, etc.
  5. The Malays themselves are leaving UMNO in droves. They are fed up with the NEP existing to serve only a few of the privileged. Nationally, people are fed up with the policies and are demanding for a change.

The Future

The country has a palpable air now. There is an anticipation of change, the excitement of the future to look to. There is hope. With the voting in of the new representatives, this is a golden opportunity for the opposition to seize the time to make good on their electoral promises. If they fail, the blow delivered to them will make it highly likely that opposition politics in the country will never again rise to any significant level, and will fall further than ever before. If they prove they can deliver, in the next GE, they will be returned with even more powers than before, a fatal blow to the current coalition. These next 5 years will be closely watched. New representatives, seize your chance! These 5 years with such powers might never be replicated.

  1. The remaining members of the major ruling triumvirate need to honestly look into themselves. They might never recover, unless they are willing to admit to past corruption, money politics, excesses, arrogance, ignoring the people, etc, and make bold cuts and changes to correct the situation. The MIC and Gerakan is as good as irrelevant, and the MCA is not much better.
  2. Already the opposition is showing signs of dissent and quarrel. How they behave will really seal into the minds of the voters whether this is a viable alternative government, or whether they are replacing a red fox with a brown fox. It is time for the opposition to really walk the talk, put behind them egos and petty squabbles, let bygones be bygones, and work together.
  3. Old policies such as the NEP cannot be dismantled overnight. We have to be patient. The ruling party is already bribing non BN parliamentary members with anywhere from RM1m to RM10m per head to defect over, in a bid to regain its 2/3 majority. So far, they are not succeeding. We hope this to remain so.
  4. Anwar will most likely regain a PKR parliamentary seat in his next party by election. We shall await and see if he has really transformed into a youthful ultra pro Malay activist and main culprit for the racially segregated education system, into a Western style modern day political crusader.

The future fills me with hope that we can really be on the path to national revitalization. Otherwise, if the newly elected fail, Malaysia will truly be a lost cause. It is indeed an exciting 5 years ahead.

By the way, congrats for reading this far. Didnt think you'd make it.

Friday, March 07, 2008

A break...that's all I ask

So, after being tormented, worried, confused, and driven insane with mental wonderings and questions, fears, doubts, insecurities, and sitting around in my car aimlessly, I finally decided to drive myself to the nearby cyber cafe. A couple of admin things to follow up on.

- Check emails which I havent done for 2 weeks.
- Check anything from HSBC (Aus) or not.

Been really annoyed. First, there's been no internet access for the last 2 weeks thanks to Streamyx's as usual periodic breakdowns. Secondly, I am being driven nuts by the fact that I made an AUD16,000 transaction and for the last 2 weeks it has not gone through and it is driving me nuts and insane with worry. I've called and called like 30 times, and from morning til afternoon til evening til night til midnight and somehow the blooody problem cannot get resolved. Thirdly, the work Lotus Note has been acting up and is all screwed up, which needs to be rectified. Again. Talk about bad luck coming in threes, right? NooOooo...

Theres also the mother to think of. Her ill health in recent times has gotten me really worried. She is aging in front of my very eyes and her hair loss has gotten me v concerned. It makes me feel guilty to think of migrating and her being all alone here. I really really wish she had remarried when she was younger. Guilt is worse than being potentially mistreated by a stepfather. Coz when he grows old I can get him back. But you can never repay or be good enough to your mum for beinging you up alone.

And then there's work. I cannot even begin to describe the expectations, stresses, pressures placed on me. Dilbert said it so true when he said that in the corporate world, we are often told to make this n this project work, to cover up for the fact that the project was badly started, and we are just saving our boss' ass. Furthermore, there's so much demands, and there's more audits coming up, and finally...let me give some background. Already I handle 70% of VMI work for the company. My counterpart handles the other 30%. However, this colleague has resigned, and left, leaving an ad hoc committee of 3 people to now do her 1 person's job. In our inability to find a suitable replacement, now I have to double hat. Let me tell you, the work and pressure is not insignificant.

Additionally, I am having serious doubts and worries about my career path, job selection in the future, and the important question of what do I want has yet to be answered.

Read a book last night, which basically said ask not what I want, but what God wants for me, which would make it easier. So Joanne's way of abiding by the above is to apply for everything that appeals, and whichever job we land, would have God's hand and seal of approval on it. Because I do not have that faith, I am now worrying bout the strength of my faith, and it really disappoints myself, and steps will be taken to address it.

Added to and above all this, there is the spectre of the constant worrying, stressing, fearing, being insecure, and the tormenting confusion and perpetually expecting something terrible to befall me.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Now we are here, now we are gone

As the GE draws near, and the inevitable resounding defeat of the Opposition once again looms large, it is being driven into me yet again the likely hopelessness and vicious downward spinning spiral that this country will sink into. This will likely be the trigger that pushes me deeper into the ‘have to leave this country soon’ mental zone. Although I hate to think of it as a rat deserting a sinking ship, I can’t help disassociating myself with such sentiments. Where previously while I was away, I was desperate to be home, and when I was home I was ecstatic, I had reached a point where I was fed up and ready to go. However, now that the hour draws near, it is without a lack of nostalgia and sentimentalism that I mentally prepare to leave.

Today, I…

Worked until about 1:15, drove to the nearby coffee shop which was a 5-min drive, ate while reading my book…always a pleasant experience, this. Moments of quiet solitude and being alone are much under-appreciated. So after eating, with time to spare, I hopped back into the car and continued with my book. After another 20-min reading session with the AC on at full blast, I drove back.

These fruitful lunches and sessions of quiet solitude to reflect on things and wallow in my immediate surroundings that are devoid of any pressures or other seemingly relentless demands would be much missed. As much as the being-alone is important, I guess the feeling that you’re never too out of place and hence somewhat belong, more so than say if you were surrounded by people of a different race, might play a part.

I think these sentiments were brought on by the couple of expatriate men sitting beside me, who were conversing about their life here, at a volume that I couldn’t help but overhear. Hearing them describe simple everyday things like popular local entertainment spots and everyday places that I take for granted was a refreshing perspective on life in KL, and of my potential future life in some other part of the world. It was entertaining and amusing to find them being delighted or shocked or surprised or appreciative of certain things that I have always taken for granted and that us locals would not bat an eyelash about. Sometimes, what we overlook, are really the little things that impresses others.

I wonder if perhaps the fact that I grew up with my own house, without a need to share, and always solidly rooted to more or less the same geographic area, has any influence or impact in my sentiments and opinions about leaving this country for good. I’ve noticed that people who have spent their life moving about never really develop much of a strong affiliation to any location, and are much more wont to be bitten by an extensive travel bug that makes it hard for them to settle in any one spot, although this is not to say that those of us who were brought up in an otherwise environment are not partial to extensive travel.

Well, time to stop day dreaming, lots of work to get done.

Recognition & Acknowledgement

This week’s sermon was quite interesting and arresting. A late night before had taken its toll on me and unfortunately, I am ashamed to admit that I fell asleep for the first bit. However, his second bit captured my attention. In telling us that we ought to be this and that, I found that much of what he said we should behave like (from what he gleans from and how he interprets the Bible) are already character traits that I have tried to inculcate in my behaviour from a young age. I find that when I was younger I was perhaps more disciplined and led a much more character-ed life. However, as it is, I think recent years have just served to bring out and display the worst in me, and not just bring out, but possibly develop it as well.


At any rate, two things he said stuck. All men have a need to be acknowledged and to be recognized. If at work, fair enough, because it translates into one’s income. However, off work, it is vital to remember that either you don’t do something, or you do it out of love, and if it is done out of love, it is the outcome of your act that is important, hence one should not need to feel appreciated/loved/acknowledged for that deed. If one feels somewhat unappreciated etc, then one should re-examine one’s true intent for performing that deed. That sort of response is welcome, but if it doesn’t come, one should not dwell on it at all. The second thing is that people always threaten colleagues with quitting. That is a thought that I am guilty of. The knowledge that they need me more and that I can just walk and THEN we’ll see where they are, and the capacity to utilize this negatively, is a very bad thing to use as a lever, even if kept to myself.

Must endeavour to lead a more principally correct life out of a genuine desire to be that sort of person, and not just because the Bible says so. Fear of God is fine, but I rather be a good person out of being a good person, rather than because of a fear of God’s retribution.

"Noble" professions...

*Sparked by JB's teachers are noble [agreed.] post*

When I was a really little boy, I was really cute. No, that’s not what I was meaning to say, although that sentence IS true. What I meant to say was, when I was a little boy, I wanted to be a policeman, and a soldier. I thought it was cool and fun and I got to play with guns and hide behind walls with my gun ready to fire, I got to shoot people and arrest bad people, and I got to search people. I would have smart shiny uniforms and wear a cool cap and flash a badge. And then I wanted to be a taxi driver because I thought playing with manual gears for cars was a very cool action. Then, due also to my mother’s preference, I wanted to be a doctor. She is from the generation that highly respects doctors, so she wanted her son to be in a respectable and reputable profession. However, 1 additional thing we both shared was that we both wanted me to be a good doctor. My dad died because of a doctor’s lack of professionalism. We both wanted me to be the type of doctor who would never cause widows and fatherless families.

I am sure there are lawyers who start off wanting to use their knowledge of the law to do good deeds, to fight for the poor and downtrodden, the ones who have been victims of injustice, to be a champion for the rights of the repressed. We all have something in common; we started off wanting to be a member of a profession with a long and distinguished history, to do good deeds for society.

Along the way, unfortunately, some people become sidetracked. The policeman realizes how being corrupt can suddenly increase his income exponentially. The doctor realizes how being unethical can give him a healthy side income. Undeclared, of course. And the lawyer realizes how he can sell his conscience to the highest bidder. So along the way the greed of man will over come and over ride the original noble intentions.

There are also those who started off only being after the money in the first place.

West Wing

Been watching the ‘West Wing’ TV drama series, about what goes on behind the scenes at the offices where work the men and women behind the US President’s decisions. Basically the running of the government is done by a group of people, and not by the President himself. He is merely the figurehead. This is probably true all over the world and no more than in Malaysia today. At any rate, for the US Presidential Elections, the candidates should just shut up and let their respective teams slug it out in various live debates on TV. After all, if the voters are voting for the entity whom will be making decisions on behalf of them, it only serves to make sense to listen to the support staff, as they are the ones who influence the president.

Furthermore, I find it vaguely disturbing that much of what is subjective are dictated by the subjective whims, mores and various other variables of a small and select bunch of men and women.