Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Work Climate Q2 2008

29th April 2008, Tuesday

April sure seems long enough as we enter a dry month (not literally but socially) of May.
It was so disgustingly hot the past few days; especially yesterday when the arid weather really made me and my missus home bound.
I am also feeling slightly under the weather; perhaps the sudden change of climate had a grave effect on my health.

Speaking of climate, back to work after a good 2 weeks away and the climate seems pretty dormant and dead since I stepped in the office.
This period usually coincides with people waiting for the bonus and perhaps waiting to jump to greener pastures; so the heart was not with the company.
There might be a lack of project due to a lack of funds with the work year waiting to be open in May.
As for my side, the project seems to dangling there waiting for completion while I couldn't really move to another platform as it was quite overcrowded with personnel already.
So I spent like 30 minutes this morning clearing (note: not reading) a majority of the 114 emails when I was gone and just surf around before hitting the gym which a run on the threadmill nearly took my breath and my life away.
After lunch, it was basically waiting for knock off before I was inform I had some things to do which i guess I can only start tomorrow.

Didn't really break into any conversation with anyone, not even BY or my French supervisor...Just kept to myself as I wasn't in a jovial, conversative mood or my usual "leave-me-alone" encapsulation after a long hiatus maybe.

Some minor changes at work would be the shuttle buses had a new wallpaper, a psychedelic pink one which really didn't differ from the old purple one.
The spotlight above my workspace had been blown for god know how long.
It seems like our sissy deputy director had decided to defect to a sister institute but seriously his absence would not be missed much.
And there was no e-mail from the HR to go pick up that sacred letter for this time of the year, so the waiting game continues...

I was boasting to my fellow ICT mate that if I was happy at a work place, the pay package is not a major issue.
For the past year or so, I was pretty satisfied to remain status quo...I don't dread going to work but recently I started to feel a bit jaded at the cold nature of the people here.
Politics aside, I felt jaded maybe because I am really bewildered even at this age at what my direction in life will be...
Let's hope the sacred letter will perk me up with its scheduled arrival and I shall be the guy who used to be a close chum to the loud BY and hit the gym daily, rain or shine.

As for the social aspect of things, the La Tendo clique remain to be in the path of recuperation though no sight of Chan nor Ferris for the longest time.
EK took pain to try to organize movie outing or another badminton session, but no one seems interested.
Caught up with CS on MSN over the weekend, and he strongly discouraged me to refrain getting a Playstation 3 due to recognize lens issue which bug several consoles around the world. Well I'll monitor the situation and decides, anyway not many games really interest me at this juncture and my sole interest was that Blu-ray disc reading capability.

The missus did a newspaper cut out on an offer at Fullerton Hotel over the public holiday periods in the month of May which incurred some interest in me as well especially with the good memories we had back in 2003 when we stayed at another 6-star hotel in Singapore, Ritz Carlton.
It didn't take long for us to make a reservation and a good way to inject some romance into our married life perhaps....
At least dampen the dry month of May alittle.

Japanese word of the day: 乾燥した (Dry) Not just the climate...

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Saturday, April 26, 2008

Back from the GLOOM...

26th April 2008, Saturday

It's a quiet Saturday after when the sun wasn't shining too brightly while the pace on the street ain't as hectic... Nothing in the back of my head just as I like it as I tried to recuperate and make up lost time from that 2 weeks in Kao-hisung, Taiwan after my ICT.

It was a good 12 days without internet access with merely a ridiculously long loading span for ESPN Soccernet while using a public internet PC on the ship which utilizes VESAT or satellite system made me give up after the header bar even failed to load at all.
Devoid of the latest news and the inability to check mail which at this juncture of my life became more like a spam collecting point; I just got on with whatever life there had to offer whether I like it or not...

The missus sacrificed her sleep to come pick me up from the airport at the wee hours of 3 am as the logistics department from my unit kept stressing to us that it was near impossible to arrange for chartered flight with more humanly traveling hours.
We had only a mere hour or so to cuddle and made our presence felt before she was off to yet one of her Kuala Lumpur expeditions.
A few measly hours for 2 weeks for us to be together but at this stage we always felt one another is closeby anytime anywhere....

Sleep took a back seat for myself after my father-in-laws woke me up after 4 hours of really falling into slumber but I am still feeling fresh perhaps because of not wanting to waste much of the next 60 hours or so before going back to work...

So a quick glance and post-mortem of the reservist period:

Cons (perhaps too many to list)
1. Despite a drastic improvement of that human slums we had to endure the year before, the bedding condition and near-Arctic condition make sleeping comfortably throughout the night almost impossible.

2. The active personnel still is a pain in the ass especially a couple of Warrant Officers which one of the fellow watch-keeper aptly put it, "The Twin Flies (the insect that relentlessly buzzing around you with your effort to keep them away in vain).

3. Hard to stay positive for the first week at least as seconds felt like years and even time spent on liberty (free to roam the Kao-hisung streets) seem irrelevant

4. The difficulty to stay regimental. I am not a soldier, a mindset you should know by now and I am not one to take unreasonable orders easy. The regulars kept expecting us to provide them solutions when they were the experts; some even hoping we would step in as convenient scapegoats to safeguard their careers. And of course, I always felt doing domestic chores like clearing gashes of cleaning toilets are a tough pill to swallow especially when it would get mess up moments later

5. There were 9 of us recalled for this exercise, a fold more than what we had last year but I wasn't too comfortable with the new faces who a big bulk made of smokers again wo tend to form a cohesive clique. There was one particular chap by the name of Sng who looked like a balding, mustached Ah Beng still stuck in their 1990 hey days was a making crass remarks and his blunt nature irritated most of us by the end of the trip.

1, One less mission which mean things are on a more relaxed pace.

2. Found this nice Western restaurant cum pub which we made a point to go to whenever we were liberated to go out for a good meal or some hearty drinks...Also where most of my money was exhausted on and a place to meet up some warm and hospitable local people.

Overall didn't enjoy it as much as many who treated it like a summer holiday with massive shopping and lugging at the end of it...
It was a niggling obligation we had to fulfil and I am now 3 down from the total of 7 with 10 years left to go...and I am sure I would be called up for more of such long overseas ICTs but with the good mix of people and more accustomization and better mentality, I would just toil it through, maybe even April 2009, a thought which my wife and myself dread upon but not as much now....

Japanese word of the day: 無感覚 (Numb) You just gotta stay numb at times while during the ordeal


Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Days before flying off to Kao-hsiung

8th April 2008, Tuesday

The flight world take off coming Monday morning as I endured another much-loathed in-camp training.

Attended the brief yesterday morning which very much mirrored that last year and got acquainted with comrades of this current stint, especially those I hadn't met before.
I was glad that Desmond as well as 2 of the other 3 were going this year; it would be great if funnyman, Chee, who provided much entertainment and laughters last year would be going, but of course he was off the hook after reaching that ripe age of 40.
There would be like 8 of us (not inclusive of Dez who is an officer), but the frail and unreliable patriarch, Burt seemed to put us on 2 watches as of those days when there were 4 personnel. Previously I thought it would be a good 15 people or something but many decided to send in that deferment letter and they gave way.
8 is a good number...Big enough to stand as a group collectively, but not big enough to make us too visible to be allocated unnecessary chores though that would bound to happen.

One major concern which really killed the morale altogether was the miserable living condition in the slum known as "troop mess" in the bellows of the ship.
Imagine staying with the contingent of other recalled naval men and even comrades from the land side, things could get quite fiery.
The worst would be the "heads (toilets)" which was ill treated with shit overflowing the bowls which can spoil everyone's morning.
Burt mentioned that we would be staying in a mess on our own with exclusive "heads" as well; but knowing that two-faced yet cowardice warrant officer, it might turned out to be a false hope...
Just hope for the best and prepare for the worst....

Recently my ever-switching interest meter had now inclined to our local footballing scene, much credited to Foo who has concentrate in local football after the more prestigious one from Europe is now to costly to follow avidly.
It could also because that the win over Lebanon recently, makes watching the Lions much more enjoyable from the beleaguered days. Might even have an outside chance to make it into the World Cup, but that would be too greedy...
Surely some patriotic lads in this forum wouldn't think so... A nice place to keep updated of the local scene and pretty astute observation and suggestion as well...
Got me all addicted to my old "Football Manager" game again to take this minnows from local football league and began another adventure... Even got me keeping a journal of that virtual club managing adventure, honing my skills of a prospective sports journalist perhaps...
I had been constantly relating the tales to Foo over the past week as well.. Surely 30 year old men like us should have better things to do....
Being sort of neglecting my missus, but she should understand the nature of her hubby that once he was addicted to something, it would take about a week to die off and things would go back to normal...

Finally, it's been a while since I headed down to Kallang Leisure Park. Since Karen is still enjoying her trip of solitude and self-discovery in Japan and Ferris still very much "missing in action" with reasons not given (heard could be busy with renovation of his new flat), the La Tendo clique seems to be on the verge of being a passing alliance.
With the waning attendance for badminton last month, EK since been jaded enough to try organize something.
Meanwhile I found reason to slack around in the comfort of my home than making the effort to travel all the way eastwards to the shop.
EK said since even me and Chan failed to show up as much as we used to, the clique seems to be disbanding. He did suggested a karaoke session with the return of Karen and a sending off to one of their long-serving staff, Sean.
But with the ICT staring in my face, I felt I just wanna stay at home, perhaps spend more time with the family... hey who am I kidding, more time with my computer!
Anyway do hope the situation with the clique would be back to its rosy state (I still chat with the guys online often) once I returned from Taiwan...

Japan word of the day: 常習 (Addiction) With life so mundane and routine, I am just glad to create such transient addictions from time to time.

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