Monday, December 31, 2007

The One about the New Year

in 2 hours time, we ill say goodbye to 2007 and say hello to 2008! How time flies... this is also the time that all students and teachers alike dread, the morning rush, the last minute rushing of the holiday homework which was supposedly to be done like a month plus ago. In fact I am surprised that I am not really suffering from the "back-to-school" syndrome... maybe it is just because I was not really on a break this 2 months. While my colleagues who came back from holidays struggle to get back the momentum of work.. I am but preparing for my first day of school.. sadistically excited about going through another year again.

A colleague in school decided to say good bye to the teaching profession today. I dont blame her for the short notice... Things had in fact not been going well for her. She was perceived by the management of not performing up to expectations and the management felt the need to help her. But of course through the process of constant and vigilant monitoring, more and more inadeuacies were "discovered" and bigger and bigger issues were magnified. In fact when one come under the microscope of the management, it is almost impossible that any speck of error can be swept literally under the carpet. I agreed wholly that there is a need for teachers to be almost saintly and error-free but there is always a point of time that we err as we are but children of god. But as it always say, "with greta pay come great responsibilities". While the government tried to increase pay to commensurate the amount of work that we are doing ( which i think is more for the keeping of talented teachers who were disillusioned with the profession.. seriously what make them think that by increasing our pay will help... we are already doing far beyond what we are paid to do... I believe more teachers would prefer to have either 1) lesser work to justify the present salaries we are getting... or 2) higher salaries to commemnsurate the work that we are doing now) but sad to say , with more pay, they expected all of us to do more work... and with more work that is when we all get

As I sit down in front of my laptop, I decided that it would be a good time to pen down my thoughts for 2007 before the year come to a close. Let's hope the new year will be a good one...

Monday, December 17, 2007

My new (erm old) hobby

Since Vernice came on board and literally became the third party in our family and bed, the bed had been pretty much a place to sleep ( wink wink... it must be the late night and the excess caffeine)
Since my little princess came to our family, mrs ng had been trying very hard to be a good mother, to the extent that she forgot her other duties like careerwoman, daughter, daughter in law and of course a wife.  But forgive my chauvinistic comments and let me get to the crux of today topic.
I have always been a music fanatic, and although i am not musically inclined, I am proud to say that i have always pride myself with my taste for music and of course my constant exposure to different genre of music - classical, opera, techno, acid jazz, pop, rock etc.  And as i started to explore more music stuff, i see the need to have a proper system to play my music that i like. and behold.... i invested on a new sound system, and put it in my spare room as my little sanctuary.  It is a place where I spend my relaxation time away from the stress of work and nothing beat playing a cd and hear sheer musical poetry coming from the speakers.  It is a divine feeling and i have never regretted this path of no return.  Although i must say that it has been an expensive hobby which I never thought I would put in so much time, money and effort in it.  But then again, the satisfaction of seeing all the musical components, from the cd player/ turntable, to the pre amplifier, to the power amplifier and finally to the speakers, connected by the choice of speakers cables, interconnects and of course the power cables and hearing the music is a great feeling.  I have only been fiddling with hifi for about a year and it has been a great learning curve for me.  And i agree that this had given me new zest ( sadly not in my work).
Enough said... a tour of my humble system :)

I managed to convert the small unused room to accommodate my system.  Luckily for me, mrs ng had been supportive.  She rather have me in the room than gallivanting outside :P

This is a super audio cd player which weight almost 12 kg!  It is a japanese made marantz player and i really got this for a bargain from a fellow hifi enthusiast who wanted to upgrade to a better system.

This turntable is a vintage one and i had a hard time looking for it.  This is almost 20 years old but it still spin like a brand new one.  Like old records, vintage turntables and music are still the older the better.
The equipment above are ( from top left, clockwise) the pre amplifier, the phono amplifier and the power amplifier.  For the uninitiated, the phono amplifier is the one that convert the signals from the turntable, the pre amplifier is the one to convert the signal from the cd player which is transmitted to the power amplifier and then to the speakers.  That how the sound is produced.

With the maid coming into the picture, I had to give up my room for her quarters.  Better enjoy the room while it last.

The One about another new "addition to the family"

For the next few days, my wife and myself will be embarking on a search journey- to find a FDW for the family.

For the uninitiated the FDW stands for Foreign Domestic Worker or commonly known as the maid. I am afraid that with my number 2 coming into the picture, both of us, with our hectic lifestyles and working schedule can no longer just depend on my mum to look after Vernice, "Varick"* ( yah, I know this is just at the moment thingy) and of course our very own Trafford.

However this search, initially on the internet, had exposed us to much horror stories of 1) horrible maids, 2) horrible employers, and 3 ) horrible maid agencies. It had instead brought out more stressed in a less stressful holiday period, the exact opposite that the FDW should be doing. Staring through the computer screen, as i was sieving through the tons of information, accolades, abuses and the biodata of the maids and the agencies, i was overwhelmed by the stacks and stacks of details which required me to sit back and reevealuate the whole entire situation. There are the procedures (official and unofficial) of what to look out for in a maid agency, there ar the things to do, the criteria to look out for, things to ask etc etc.The list is really long and exhasting (not exhaustive)

I do understand that relationship between people are fated in some ways or another, and thus it all depended on how it work out when we meet, but these stuff had undoubtably make me do a second take on the maid issue. Well as the famus saying goes, come what may... hopefully I have not done too much bad things to suffer from bad maid karma. :P

Friday, December 14, 2007

School and Crazy Telemarketers

i got my macbook back today :)  It felt so handicapped without the flexibility of online world.

i went back to school today for my CCA - basketball.  I must say that I am slowly getting closer to my girls.  Maybe it is because for the past few sessions, they have been seeing me :P  I guess it gave a whole new meaning to "frequency breeds familiarity".  Spend the whole morning tidying my already very tidy table.  I just hope I have the perseverance to keep it up when the mad rush starts in a few weeks time.

anyway with the festive season coming and the fattening of the pockets with the end of the year bonus, it is no wonder the telemarketers are working overtime with the well rehearsed sales speeches to get one to subscribe to a new credit card and/or credit line.  For the past 3 weeks or so, I have received like a zillion calls from people who had this great promotion of a new card, which is like the 2345,3748 th card that I got from that particular bank.  If it is not irritaing enough, apparently they do not keep track of the people they had called and kenna scolded and in a few weeks time, they are again back in their ever chirpy tone asking you to subscribe to a new card which you had said no to a few week ago.  As part of the retribution of rejecting one bank, the other banks "conspired" to call you one after another. And I had to waste valuable time just saying "no" to them.

If not for the telemarketer, it would be this stupid chinese woman scam who tell you that you have won 1st/2nd/3rd (delete whichever not applicable) prize and you are to collect it.  I had some fun of my own a couple of days back when i was getting some books from kinokuniya when this particular chinese lady called.  Seeing an "unknown number" on my hp, i pick it up.  Below is an extract of the conversation. (For the anglophiles, I have translated the whole conversation into english)

Me:  Harlow ( in my most bored tone)
Lady: (in a chipmunky excited voice) hello, is that mr ng wei kwang?
Me:  Yes speaking
Lady:  Mr Ng, I am calling regarding the survey you did the last time.
Me: Huh?
Lady:  Mr Ng, you have won 3rd prize! they are calling out your number here at the genting convention centre.  Where are you?
Me: I am here! I am here!  I am walking to the podium now.
Lady : (silence)
Me: Yes Yes YEs I have won!  I am walking over now, did you see me, I am waving to you, yes, me in the blue polo shirt I am coming over now, wait wait wait
Dead tone on the other side.

Anyway after that silly bout of fun, I found out that there were other mean ways to deal with them.  Actually i was inspired by this youtube video.  It is really great.. Enjoy it!


Thursday, December 13, 2007

Randoms thoughts

3 months plus is a long time for not blogging...
well just to add an entry before this blog really goes into cyber obscurity...

This had been a very quiet and uneventful holiday for me. While all of my colleagues are overseas to recharge their batteries to prepare for the next year of mad rush, I am stuck in Singapore preparing for my long overdue dissertation. Not that i anm really in the mood to do so... but I got to start sometime if I dont want my masters to expire...

Anyway just some random updates

1) the arrival of a new born babe
My no. 2 will be coming soon.. sooner than I thought. 28 February 2008, mark that on the calendar as I anticipate his arrival. Anirresponsible parent I am, and of course showing favouritism, I have not thought of the name for him. Actually I had a girl name for my number 2, but I was half expecting a boy. Wanted to have a sister for vernice and called her veralyn and guess I got to keep that name in hiatus. To continue with the V tradition, I am thinking of calling him "Varick" not that there are any good boy names that's start with V - Vernon being out for peculiar morbid singaporeanish reasons. I initiatlly wanted to call him "Eljiah" but received some not very favourable feedback from the non-catholic friends who claimed that it sound a bit "indianised". Guess "voldermort" would also not go well with the harry potter fans. Well back to the drawing board and wait for a bright idea to strike..

2) the move to the light side
as part of my self imposed detention in singapore during this holiday, i decided to spend the money supposedly to go overseas to get a new gadget for myself - toys if you need to know. I was contemplating on 1) x box 360, PS 3 or even a wii but i guess getting all these stuff who really make it even more difficult for me to settle down to do my research. Tempted by Steve Job ingenious convert ads, I got myself a macbook. Yes I am a converted apple junkie. the mac os is so intuitive and easy to use, at least i am not confronted with the bloody blue screen every now and then. Paid 2 grand for this sleek white baby and immediately plonked in another half a grand on accesories to make it look even cooler. Well so far for 3 week plus, it had been great until last night when the stupid keyboard goes bonkers and i had to end it for repair. guess machines are just as unpredictable after all, whether they are white or black...

3) My outlook to life
with my baby, spending more time with tem had become a bigger priority, in fact since the no.2 came about, i have been seriously evaluating my priorities on my career. I know people wanted opportunities to move up the ladder of success, but my priorities seesm to have shifted. Maybe I have gotten sick of all those politicking, bitchslapping stuff and wanted to have more time for myself and my family. Recently I have witnessed the change of people when power started to "corrupt" them. It is sad to see that young people who got overwhelmed by power and the way they behaved as a result of the power they think they possess. i remember when I left IJ, a colleague gave me a advice that never to let power corrupt me and up till now, I still hold this mantra close to my heart. Maybe seeing it from a third person view allowed me to have a better perspective of things.

I will try to blog more often now hopefully before the avalanche of work come piling in again.