Thursday, March 31, 2005

Day Dreaming

Suddenly, I feel like quitting my job and retreat to a mountain or forest resort. I would open a small restaurant that sells Italian pasta (not that I am good at cooking, but I do like to eat them). I would be able to enjoy the fresh air and great scenery everyday. Spending my day entertaining a few pretty girls who visit the resort and cook for them. In fact, I would do something like a homestead where I would provide good food and a few bedrooms. When there is no customer, I would start blogging or develop some software for fun. When I get bored with computers, I would go for a swim in the river (not that I know how to swim), do some jungle trekking or climb some mountain. It would be perfect is there is a hot spring nearby. Hmm, one of my many dreams!

To Do or not To Do

Sometimes when nothing is being done, you feel like standing up and take some action. As soon as you do so, you feel disappointed because you are not getting the support you like to have. People usually prefer to be passive, like an old Chinese saying "One matter less is better than one matter more". Is like when you start emailing 20 of your friends in the same mailing list, only the usual 2 or 3 will reply, while you would never hear from the others. The other actually did like to read the mail, just that either they don't like writing or don't know what to write about. So, I guess don't stop writing then, for friendship sake.

I guess this is life. When you stand up to do something, don't expect your effort will be appreciated. In fact, you WILL face a lot of criticism or people might start to secretly or openly hate you. Whenever there is something need to be done, people will nominate you. Whenever something goes wrong, you would probably the first one in front of the firing squad as well. I choose to be both a man of action and words, so I continue taking initiative to do things. The normal job is too boring, need some extra activities to spice things up a bit, creating more challenges (not problem! PYSCH!) for myself. Though small people with small mind will never understand you or even dislike you, or you might even get fired to doing and talking too much, do it anyway.

Sassy Girl

While I am in the mood of thinking of pretty girl, a Korean actress and singer came to my mind: Jun Ji Hyun or Jeon Ji-Hyeon (전지현). I watched the movie WindStruck (野蛮师姐) where she acted as a sassy policewoman who falls in love with a teacher. The movie is smoothie and nice, somehow I am attached to it. I think she become famous for her part in My Sassy Girl, but I didn't watch that.

Anyway, why is she pretty? Of all the beautiful women in this world, what make her stand out and leave in deep impression in my mind? I wouldn't say she is the most beautiful women (in fact, no one is), but I would say her attractive comes from her sassy image. She acted playful and mischievous, and looks naive at the same time. I tried to find some pictures which show her sassiness, but only manage to find a few and I am not satisfied with it (she could be much better that that). Most pictures portray her as sweet and cute, whom is nice to look at but wouldn't make her stand out. Some of her picture portrays sexiness, but I don't think that is her strong side either. I saw her acted in a McDonald advertisement that shine out her playfulness totally (she put two Sundaes on her head as rabbit ears). I have the video on my PC, but have no place to upload it to :(

Anyway, anyone can be pretty and cute, but only personality and attitude will make the difference.


About 4 days ago an earthquake erupted near Sumatra, Indonesia again (the previous earthquake and tsunami is just 3 months ago). Many Malaysians felt the aftershock and escape from their apartments and condominiums in the middle of the night. Probably I was deep asleep, thus didn't hear a thing. I remember when I was young, someone tries to make me up by banging on the front door for hours and still fail :) At last, he had to climb to the second floor and knock on the window.

Anyway, the magnitude on this earthquake was 8.7 (the previous one was 9.0!). So, I was thinking are natural disaster and earthquake more common nowadays? The answer is no, at least for earthquake. Earthquake of magnitude 8 or more are pretty common and it happen almost annually. According to long-term records (since about 1900), we expect about 18 major earthquakes (7.0 - 7.9) and one great earthquake (8.0 or above) in any given year. There are about 1.3 million very minor earthquake (2 - 2.9) annually, 130K minor earthquake (3 - 3.9) and 13K light earthquake (4 - 4.9) happen annually.

I think I assume natural disaster is on the rise because it happened quite often around my country recently. Malaysia is in a non-volcanic zone, but we are surrounded by volcanic area from our neighbor, Indonesia. Hopefully DOOMS DAY is no where too near.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Anyone out there?

Tonight I am working late again while waiting for my sis, she had a company dinner. After numerous hours of work, I decided to take a break and browse some web, which subsequently lead to blogging this. Since I already went through my usual: Slashdot and Joel on Software (timeslot to visit Google News had been taken out by blogging), XiaXue's blog came to my mind. I came across her site at the Bloggies.

That get me thinking, what kind of blogs attract my attention? Okay, I have been visiting geeky blogs and pretty females' blogs. Though I don't think XiaXue is very pretty, but sometimes she got some very nice shots of her on her blog, such as this one:

Now, how could I attract people to read my blog? I have no idea! In fact, I don't even know how many people visit my blog everyday. XiaXue have a really spontaneous writing style, like an outburst expressive female with different kind of moods everyday, which taste very much like gossip! I think my style is a bit conservative and dry, probably because I am an introvert. Though I like her style of writing, but I can't become someone who I am not. I don't like to write too much geeky stuff either, probably I know there are so much sources out there which are already doing a superb job. What should I blog about then? Hmm, nope, no new idea. Probably it is good to continue blogging about me, myself and my friends (no Irene). At least it is original and I like to read it. It surely immortalised my life in someway. I should improvise a bit on my writing style perhaps. Okay, back to work.

Another Happy Dance

Yesterday was my weekly dance class again, went for dinner as usual with Tang (Man Yee didn't join us because she was at client site). We went to this Japanese food shop at the ground floor of Low Yat Plaza. According to Tang, this is the kind of food sold by Ranma in the comic book. It is sort of like Udon or Soba being fried into a big pizza shape, together with some seafood. It is quite nice, something quite unique but expensive as well. 1 set is RM 18.90, so we share a set since it is quite large and it is not good to eat too much before dance.

Today Wai Ling will join us after her Yoga class to have a look and feel of our dance class. Khim have gastric and stomachache so she would not be joining us today. We were 5 minutes late. Today they just teach 1 extra step, yet I would say it is the most challenging guy step so far (Did I mentioned Jive have different guy and girl steps? So unless you are an expert, it is difficult to teach the opposite sex to dance). There is this woman in her 30’s that are supposed to help out new students, but she is neither the patient kind nor encouraging type. I partnered with her for a few times and it had been rather difficult. At last, I manage to get the firm grasp on the new step when I partner with Man Yee. It is easier for beginner to learn together, since it is less stressful and more compromising. It was fun. As usual, an hour flies by easily when we are having a good time. Wai Ling fetch them home and drop me at the LRT.

I feel happier when I am without motive. Probably should just be myself and mix well others, since I have not decided to have a more serious relationship at the moment. If we manage to have some good time together and found the suitable one, then probably we good proceed with something more serious when I am ready. Besides, I still enjoy being single at the moment and have a good time with anyone :)

Monday, March 28, 2005

Morning Jog at Bukit Jalil Park

I went for morning jog on Sunday morning with Mei Ru and her friend, Nicole. I ask my brother to tag along. The alarm clock rang, but I woke up 30 minutes later. Can't really blame me, I usually woke up on weekend at 12 afternoon or later. We meet up at Bukit Jalil Park near the National Sports Complex.

The park is big and beautiful, with hilly landscape and man made ponds. I would say there are a few hundreds people running around the park, most of them elderly and children. There seems to be some people promoting Falun Dafa, a kind of cultivation practice (breathing control and slow movement, seems like QiGong) which is supposed to be good for health.

Actually, Mei Ru and I plan to build up our stamina before climbing Mount Kinabalu (somewhere in June, the original date had been postponed). After some warm ups, we start jogging. Mei Ru and Nicole take very small steps when they jog, which I am not used to because I can walk as fast as they jog. Initially Mei Ru and Nicole talk a lot during first half of the journey, but everyone is busy catching up their breath during the second half. My brother is an extremely shy person, so he didn't say talk more than 5 sentences. We were exhausted after a complete round trip around the park, so we do something less demanding, walk. We started chitchat again, went to the pond to watch people feeding the fish and tortoise. We climb several stairs of 50 steps or more, it was pretty demanding, especially after the initial jog. I think I need more practice session before I am ready for KK.

We went to Sri Petaling to have our Tim Sum breakfast. The girls seem to have better appetite than the guys do. I used to eat a lot, but I reduced the intake over the years due to lower metabolism rate, less exercise and weight gain. Got to start taking care of my health whenever possible. The Tim Sum is just okay, not very good. I still prefer the Tim Sum near my place in Puchong. As usual, I talk about my dance class because Mei Ru seems interested to take up some kind of weekly exercise, either aerobic or yoga. Then she tries to persuade Nicole and my brother to join us for the KK trip but doesn't prevail at the moment. Probably we are going to organise a Cycling event in Shah Alam Taman Pertanian or Putrajaya Wetland (rumor had it there is a park for cycling), but Mei Ru might missed out those events due to friend's birthday and sister's birthday. We went back after the breakfast. I had a nice bath and continue my sleep.

House of Fury Night Out

Last Friday, Tang, Wai Ling and I went for a Cantonese movie, House of Fury AKA JingWu Family (精武家庭). We seldom went for Cantonese movies, as most of them are generally perceived as low quality without substance. The last one we saw together was House of Flying Daggers, but the people I went with wasn't quite satisfied with it (though I quite enjoy it), therefore I dare not ask them out for any Cantonese movie for quite a while until now. I myself like Cantonese movies, because I found them light and entertaining, but quite a number of them really sucks. Is like finding a needle in a haystack, if you find a good one, you would be quite satisfied.

House of Fury is a combination of comedy and action, which is a good thing (too much of either is too plain as well). It had a lot of actors and actresses which I like, such as Stephen FUNG Tak-Lun - 馮德倫 (the director as well), Anthony WONG Chau-Sang - 黃秋生, Daniel WU Yin-Cho - 吳彥組 and the TWINS girls. The CG graphics is nicely done (not over do), though some Qing Kong scene is rather awkward and funny. The humor is good and fighting is entertaining. So, highly recommended!

After the movie, we hang out for a while near McDonald. I had a chocolate sundae, but the girls didn't order anything because the store ran out of chocolate ice cream. We talk about our dance class, and persuade Wai Ling to join us. Tang shows us her Pulau Perhentian vacation photos with her family and relatives, 30 of them in total! They even have the whole bus by themselves. Most of her activities there include snorkeling (3 times a day) and swimming. After an hour or so, Wai Ling fetch Tang home and drop me at a nearby LRT.

Earlier I had a Salmon Tepanyaki with a lot of garlic. Now, the garlic smell stay with me for the next 24 hours!

Friday, March 25, 2005

Make yourself valuable, Watch your attitude

Everyday I knows exactly what to do and expect, that is get my lazy body up and drag myself to work (not because I don't like work, but I like to sleep as well). Ever wonder what will go through your mind if you are asked not to come to work anymore? You're fired! (sounds like Donald Trump in The Apprentice) What will you do? What will you well? Devastated and absolutely lost. You can't even sleep well and you end up waking up earlier than usual, even though you have nothing to do.

My brother is a talented and skillful investment analyst (good genes run within the family). Recently his top-performing fund was taken over by his supervisor, whom fund performance sucks. This is viewed as a hostile act as he try to cold storage my bro, and the big boss is the supervisor's good friend and isn't taking any stand. So, he was quite frustrated and filled with hatred. I asked him, "Since you are so good, why not move on to the next investment house?". He didn't answer my question, probably he doesn't even know what needed to be done or he lacks confidence in his reputation. He is still quite new in the industry and is performing fairly well compared to his veteran supervisor, thus causing some jealousy and FACE issues. At the same time, he was afraid the supervisor would take credit for the fund's performance in the industry, thus wasting my bro's one-year reputation building effort. I have no doubt in his investment skill, but I find that he has an attitude problem and people skill. Not that he is the rude or arrogant, just that he is not open-minded, get jumpy quickly and don't actually socialise very well. The worst it, he is in denial of all his weaknesses and though that he was the exact opposite. Sometimes it is quite hard for me to advise him as well.

Though we feel secure with our job, but that doesn't mean the sky will not fall down on us. In order to counter this dilemma, first we must make ourselves valuable by equipping ourselves with enough skills and experience. We must be confident that we can find a job anywhere without many problems (though a good job would take some time). Secondly, work on some other kind of jobs besides your day job. It could be freelance projects or hobby projects. Once you lost your job, at least you have something to look forward to and possibly some pocket money during the hard time. Since your company is paying your salary, thus it is unethical for you to do anything, which might hurt your company. So, work on these things during your free time and make sure it does not contradicts the company's interest. Thirdly, which is the most important one is the right attitude. This attitude thing is quite subjective. You must be confident of yourself and be strong. If the company give up on your for whatever reasons, we should blame the company but to think of how to make them regret their decision for letting you go. Make yourself useful and make yourself feel good, be open-minded. Since you are FREED, the world is for you to take on :)

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

small is the Formula for Happiness

Yesterday I went into a meeting with the big bosses to discuss on how we should create an R&D team to further strengthen the Software Development in the company. There are a few things I learned.
  1. Management sees technical diagram and term as Greek. For example, you should use the word "Presentation" rather than UI (User Interface). So when you present your idea, make sure you have very simple diagram with small common words. Rather than explaining what does each component do, explain what benefit each component brings is more like it.
  2. Try to keep your cool and don't speak too loud, even though you are frustrated for their inability to understand your technical explanation? Did I mentioned don't even try to explain in technical term?
  3. The current trend in the company seems to be F3. If you complain about something, make sure you do provide a solution for it and are expected to execute it as well. If you are not ready to burden yourself with more work, keep quiet then. The more you complain, the more problem you are assigned to solve.
  4. Let’s say you expect an R&D team is supposed to do technical research on technology and best practices. In the management mind, R&D are supposed to do anything with the word "research" in it, like "Reseach on how to convert a Coffee Machine into a Super Computer".
  5. Thinks 3 times before you open your mouth in front of the big bosses. Once they think you raise the issue to the wrong channel, they would start shooting you. The common phrase use would be "I am looking at the overview of the picture and don't have time to handle these small minor issues, you should raise them to your immediate supervisor". Think man! Think!
  6. Make sure you know when to stop. Sometimes you have 10 points to convey to the management, but 3 points already taken up one hour due to prolonged discussion. Probably you should stop torturing everyone, not to mention forcing them to hate you. Write down those points and drop him an email.
It is definitely stressful to be verbal in this kind of meeting, as you end up with many criticisms and a lot of homework, besides the real work you are supposed to do. Anxiety and pressure may kick in anytime now. Personally, I think people with small hope for the company and small responsibility will be a happy person. Once you have the dream to make a better change in the company and voice it out, be prepared for a bumpy journey ahead (with many headache and heartache). I chose to be verbal because I felt helpless complaining on the same issue again and again. Maybe it's time I take up some responsibility to make the place I work a better place, rather than quitting and move on to another suposingly better company. Now, I got a lot of homework to do :(

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

DO more than THINK

Yesterday night was my 2nd Jive dance lesson. As usual, I meet up with Tang and Man Yee for dinner. Yesterday was supposingly being reported as the hottest day with temperature reaching 40 degree Celsius (the usual are 33), luckily it rains :) Due to the rain, we change our plan to eat at Lot 10 external food court rather than Jalan Alor. Tang like the place because there is a live band there (consist of 3 guys in black) singing Chinese songs there. She picks me up near Haagen Daaz with her big light blue umbrella. At the food court, I saw Man Yee already started eating Loh Mee. She was in an orange top with red inner layer and flowerish short dress. She had a very sweet young look. I ordered a Chicken Floss Pan Mee with Egg and Tang ordered some Duck Satays. Neither of the food is nice. The band is pretty good though, and Tang was observing and curious on how customers flirt with a Carlsberg girl. Tang told me she bought 2 fighting and is going for holiday in Redang for the rest of the week. Ahhhh, holiday. Hopefully my holiday plan to KK in June will work out :)

After dinner, we proceed to the dance class. Khim was still worried about her dance steps, so she went there earlier to practice. Today we learn 3 extra steps, with one complicated steps which took me quite a while and a lot of help to get a hang of it. I think I partnered most comfortably with Tang, though I didn't get a chance to partner with Man Yee. As usually, I partnered with a few other girls who I need their guidance. There was this tall girl who changed her hairstyle to curly hair, which I noticed she is indeed very pretty with a nice figure. I always find women are more mature and attractive with curly hair, but the trend in Asia nowadays seems to be straight hair. The class ended pretty fast. Tang, Man Yee and Khim rush away as Khim's ride to pick them home had arrived. Not a very fruitful day I guess. During lunch the other day, my colleague Weng mentioned we must DO more than think. We as guys should really take more initiative, but I sort of have this psychological barrier whether I want to have a relationship at this moment. I think I need to be less serious and be more natural and cool. Need more work on this issue in my mind. Am I thinking too much again? Sucks!

Monday, March 21, 2005

Magnificent 18 Outing

Last Saturday Tang and I manage to organise a weekend outing to watch Robots at IMAX Cinema for 18 people (auspicious number). Wow! A new record for my event organising effort. It is the 1st time most of us go to an IMAX cinema, including me :)

Most of them are my colleagues (some from Cyberjaya office which I have only met once or none), and the others are their friends. Too many people there and I can't remember all their names, but I manage to stick two of them into my mind. Mei Ling is Mei Ru's boyfriend's little sister (they do look and behave alike), and Janice is Kenny's friend, both are quite shy. Mei Ru's boyfriend is shy as well, so is Michelle's boyfriend. So, pretty much everyone besides my colleagues are shy.

Okay, we are in the IMAX Cinema (too bad there are no 3D edition for Robots, so we are paying RM 5 extra for bigger screen?). We have nice seat with comfortable space, not many view blockages in front of me and a very big screen. Ohh! The movie starts. Tada! Nothing special, except that it is big and the picture sort of out of focus on some scenes. Okay, movie as usual, nothing to be too excited about. The movie is pretty all right, funny, but I would only give it an above average rating. The movie seems visually complex with too many things going on in a single scene, probably it needed to watch it again on DVD to enjoy its detail. I think Mr. Incredible or Shrek 2 is better.

Movie over, and my legs are a little bit cramp (No cinema is big enough for my long legs!). We walk in a group of 10 plus for dinner at Kim Gary at Sungei Wang. I think the last time I did this walk in a big group thing is during Secondary School when Chinese New Year. I manage to catch up with a few juniors from Cyberjaya, chitchat as usual. There is this girl from Cyberjaya (I think I didn't get her name) who can finish up a whole box of "Cheese Rice" by herself (sometimes even a guy could not finish it!), an amazing display given her skinny size. Man Yee did join us this time as well, but I didn't get much chance to talk to her. We were separated into two tables, and in a fluke of luck we didn't end up in the same stable, though I tried to.

After dinner we decided to hang out for chitchat, so we end up in Seed Cafe. Mei Ru's boyfriend and sister decide to leave earlier, probably can't meld well with the group. Soon after, Man Yee left to join her friends somewhere near Bukit Bintang. She seems busy on the phone most of the time, the sign of a popular girl I guess. Anyway, somehow our chat topic went to pig and chicken butchering experience, that is something we would not want to see or hear. Now I feel guilty for not being a vegetarian. After an hour plus of chatting, we decided to call it a day. I offered to sent Tang home (though her home is within walking distance; but I am still worry about snatch thief and alike), but she insist on walking home (she is used to it). Probably I should insist even further. I drop her a SMS when I reach home. She is fine :)

Counter Trendy Crime with Star Trek

My company's sexitary (ahem! secretary) and friend will be absent from work for one week. Why? She was drag by a notorious Snatch Thief for more than 10 meters on the tar road. Usually the snatch thieves ride a motorcycle, but this b@st@rd drove a car and acted alone. According of the police, many of the reported cases are done by the same person in the same area, Cheow Yang' near SS2. Absolute shocking and horrible! We gonna have group bomoh session to curse the b@st@rd who did this.

Snatch thief are pretty common news in Malaysia nowadays, probably is the side effect of development. There are quite a few of pretty ugly snatch thief incidents, where the victims are killed, comatose, paralysed and hurt. The brutality of the snatch thieves are unspeakable, don't expect public mercy if they are caught (a dozens of punches and kicking would be expected). Most of them do get away easily and continue to terrorise women and old folks.

The sad thing is a woman nowadays so afraid to carry handbags with them when they walk on the street. They either decide not to carry a handbag, or carry a handbag with weak handles so that it can be snatched easily without hurting them. Things are getting out of hand, and we are living in constant fear. A few snatch thief had been successfully captured by the public, but the number of cases are growing by the month. The government took some initiative to install CCTV in strategic areas and perform undercover operations, but I don't think it is very effective either. How can we really stop snatch thief? Probably we need the help of everyone to hunt down the thieves. Sadly, there are cases where some brave people are killed for helping to confront the thieves.

Another trendy crime is Road Bully, where victims are attacked while driving on the road, either when accident happens or the predators are angry with you for whatever reasons. The worst case which could happen to the victim so far is had his head chopped off (sounds like Iraq hostage situation?).

Frankly, I think all these are the side effects of rapid economical development, where people are being stressed out in making a living. We could probably slow down our economical development and concentrate more of social development such as Australia and Canada. Having to enjoy low cost of living, better quality lifestyle and being taken care by the government even if you are a lazy bump who did not want to work. But then again, we would end up with a lot of lazy people and loose out in economical competitiveness, which might give rise to other problems in the near future. Maybe we should follow the idea in Star Trek, where everyone works for self-enbetterment and money does not exist. Though it sounds like Communism, but it is certainly a better implementation than China or Russia.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Citibank, I don't like you anymore

Today I face some problem with my Citibank Credit Card payment. This month's statement show that I didn't make a payment for last month, thus I am charged a late charges of RM 5 plus some interest (around RM 10). I am pretty sure I sent in the cheque, so I call their ever-ready call center.

Citibank seems to change their phone call system quite a bit, so I was a big confused but still manager to get through to an agent, no big deal. I was told that there is a problem with my cheque, that I wrote the wrong date. Okay, my fault then (I was still waiting for them to return my cheque to confirm that). Then, I was furious when they told I will be charged RM 50 as penalty for mailing in an invalid cheque. WTF! I almost swear to the agent. I tell myself no way I am going to pay for such a penalty, and told the agent that this act of penalty is equivalent to day light robbery. Then she tells me about how this is in the terms and conditions (who read those anyway? Citibank might as well write "anyone who sign up for Citibank credit card will sold as slave for life" in small print). Then, she offer to appeal for me and this would take 3 working days. Fine, I'll wait.

It's pretty simple, I am a customer and I don't like to be penalise, even though it is my fault. I can barely tolerate with the late charges, but RM 50 penalty is absolutely not acceptable. Is as if they don't make enough money because I spent too little and always pay on time, thus they have to impose some measure to squeeze more money out of me! Anyway, my stand is if they penalise me more then RM 10 for this matter, I would have to cancel the card. Being penalise and paying the penalty make me look absolutely stupid and feel helpless, not to mentioned being ripped of, which I don't like at all.

I perceived Citibank to be a good bank so far, not many things I complaint about them, except the annual fees (which most other banks had waived, but they claim it is due to Bank Negara rulings on foreign bank). Anyway, it only take one stupid event (though it was the customer's fault) to ruin all the its reputation of being a good bank. Now I hate Citibank (unless they waive the penalty; waiving the penalty will make Citibank look much friendlier in public eye)! Citibank, I don't like you anymore! Yes, customer is very hard to satisfy and customer is always right. So, I am RIGHT!

Since I hate Citibank, so I google around to see the hatred ranking of Citibank. I found (not very popular though), and Google shows 22,500 for "Citibank sucks" (that is not a lot considered the size of Citibank and the 8,058,044,651 google indexed).

Maybe I wasn't being fair to Citibank (should I?), since "Citibank sucks" will include any page which talk about Citibank (good or bad) and include the word sucks (might not refer to Citibank at all). So, I double quote to word as the search string (this would shows only pages with the two words shown together, side by side; it would be more credible). Google found
  • 377 for "Citibank sucks"
  • 122 for "hate Citibank"
Since I plan to move on to HSBC, so I google the following as well
  • 14 for "HSBC sucks"
  • 41 for "hate HSBC"
Since I am on googling spree, I tried the following as well
  • 16,000 for "Microsoft Sucks"
  • 2,300 for "Bill Gates Sucks"
  • 5,090 for "Apple Sucks"
  • 55 "Steve Jobs sucks"
  • 2 for "Warren Buffet sucks" (everyone like the rich old investor)
  • 9,210 for "Britney Spear sucks" (not that everyone hate her; but most of those site refer to sucking something else)
Then, I wonder who is the most hated man on earth, so I tried:
  • 4,290 for "George Bush sucks"
  • 15,100 for "hate George Bush"
  • 123,000 for "hate Bush"
  • 48,100 for "Bush sucks"
Anyone have any idea who is the most hated person on the Internet?

Health Hazardous Meeting

I had just come out from a long hours meeting which are supposed to last less than an hour. Frankly, I found meetings to be counter productive, cause you spend hours throwing ideas at each other with mediocre decision made. After the 1st hour, my brain just isn't working anymore and I hardly hear anything. After 2 hours, my brain totally shutdown due to exhaustion. You know what's worse? The meeting is to be continued because our rate of decision making is too slow.

The main purpose of meeting is to make decisions. One of the problems of meeting is democracy and empowerment. You want to make everyone happy and listen to everyone, thus you ask everyone to throw you lots of idea which ended up with more communication problem. You are afraid to make decision that would upset someone, thus you need everyone consensus to avoid being back-stabbed or hold accountable (if is near impossible to get everyone to agree on the something totally; you could only drag the meeting until every agree, else no one gonna leave this room).

Personally, I think we should follow the style of Brian Valentine of Microsoft in 2000. He established steadfast goals and priorities, and made a motto out of the phrase, "Decisions in 10 minutes or less, or the next one is free." Practically, we should get feedback from people individually (not during some meeting where to round up everyone; too many inputs at one time is bad for health) and empowered to make quick decision based on earlier feedback. This way, decision is made quickly and effectively without wasting countless hours in a crammed room. If someone object to the decision, ask them to voice out their reasons and to provide a proposed solutions as well (we don't want people who just know how to complain but don't know what need to be done). All the decisions and objections should be documented using Forum, Wiki or Blog (depending which flavors suits your working culture) for reference purpose.

So, don't waste valuable production hours trying to group people together and get them talking. Walk around the office, talk to some people and start making decisions. Ops! 10 minutes up, the next pizza is free :)

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Tsunami to Charity or Not

When Tsunami happen on 26 DEC 2004, it is the first time I contribute to charity in terms of Monetary (those less than RM 10 not counted!) and Energy. I donated RM 50 to Star / Maybank Tsunami Relief Fund electronically using Maybank2u (because too lazy to write a cheque and drop it to God knows where) and help out at Red Crescent Malaysia.

Do I feel good after doing charity? I only feel I lost RM 50 when I donated the money, my feelings was neutral and didn't feel anything particularly good. I didn't felt that I helped the victim in anyway (I was even skeptical on how the money would be used; would it be used to finance a Politician's Mistress?), thus not giving me any sense of satisfaction. After spending countless hours at Red Crescent Malaysia to help them pack countless boxes of clothes to be sent to ... err ... some Tsunami affected area, I didn't feel good either besides feeling tired. I just didn't feel good or contributed when I do charity. I do hope my effort help the victims in some teeny tiny ways.

So, how should I encourage myself to do charity the next time? Probably I don't have a big heart. I think the charity work effort at Red Crescent Malaysia was badly organised. Mei Ru who did join me for the charity work at Red Crescent Malaysia claims that she felt more satisfaction when doing the same thing at a Thean Hou Buddhist Temple in Brickfield (packing items for Tsunami as well). Probably it is the people we work with and the leadership effort to cheer and make everyone feel good after a hard day work (for FREE!). So, charity does need capable and inspired organiser.

The Power of F3

Recently I attended a "XXX" workshop (no sex involved), where I was made to promise never to expose the content and surprises of the training to anyone (sounds like a secret cult). I think the main purpose of the promise is not to spoil the workshop experience for the people who have yet to attend it. It is an awareness workshop, which preaches a few concepts/ideas, but the most important is something that they called F3.

Let's say you are a guy who are lonely and broke, you could choose to
  1. Blame the girls for not knowing your good
  2. Blame the society for being too materialistic
  3. Blame the economy downturn
  4. Blame the sucky job
What we usually do are F1 and F2, where F1 is putting fault on other people while F2 is putting fault on environment. We never actually reflect what is happening to us on ourselves, cause the easy way out to blaming others. We should in fact, blame ourselves? (just kidding). We should in fact think of what we can do to improve our situation (F3), but not expecting what other can do or how the environment can change to improve our situation. The idea is not anything spectacular or shocking, but it would be a useful reminder to ask the simple question "What can I do to improve my situation".

If next time we complain about being broke, probably we should think of ways to make money rather than begging others to give us money. Though we might not be able to change our situation all the time, do it anyway.

The Balls in Flirting

Hmm, girls. These bring back memory to a discussion, which I have with my colleagues earlier. Sometime ago, I was taking LRT (Light Rail Transit) to Taman Bahagia to meet my sis. While on the LRT, there are two pretty looking girls sitting directly in front of me, which are attractive enough to make me uncomfortable. At first, I was looking directly at them, but I can't really keep staring at them through out the journey, as it would be rude. So, I would have to pretend to look else where, up, down, left, legs, behind them, whatever. But I do notice they are doing the same thing to avoid direct eye contact as well. It is not quite common around here to directly approach a stranger for conversation, or I am just giving myself excuse to be shy and cowardly. I am still more comfortable meeting someone from someone I know. Kenny (one of my colleague) said I should just go ahead and give it a shot, there is nothing to loose except rejection. Am I afraid of rejection? Or is it just something I am not comfortable with. Guess it is one of those Comfort Zone and Artificial Boundary thingy again. Probably I need help from SIRC Guide to Flirting :)

Jekyll and Hyde

Yesterday night while I was working late, Mei Ru pointed out to me that I am a completely different when I work and when I play. One side there is a fierce and mean looking faces, while the other side is a boyish playful all-laughing expression. I think about what she said and come to the following conclusion.

I always believed I am always an introvert who are serious and seldom speak, probably shy. These few years I have changed to a different kind of person, someone who voiced out more, able to speak boldly, a bit funny and not afraid to confront people. Somehow, I become more sociable, which I think is partially due to the books/articles I read and the desire to change (can't really pinpoint the cause for change exactly). So rather being shy and serious, now I have another personality, which are playful and sociable.

It is interesting to know that these personalities don't usually show up at the same place and the same time (you can't cry and laugh at the same time, usually). So, I am being serous and more vocal at work (good for productivity and get things done), and more playful at outing because I really want to enjoy the fun experience fully (being serious at fun isn't as good as being playful). Actually, I don't quite notice all these until she pointed out to me, and I actually confirm that after I watched how playful I am from my previous Taman Negara Trip Video not so long ago. OMG, I have changed and have dual personality now, is like Jekyll and Hyde, only I think that the serious side is still more dominant. But, I am still shy in certain aspect, especially with girls; not all girls perhaps, maybe just girls which I seem to like.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Lunch with the Smart one

Earlier yesterday I went for lunch together with Mei Ru to meet up with Chung Min, a friend we met during our previous Taman Negara trip (online photo album of our trip). Chung Min in Chinese (聪明) means smart or bright, so his parent probably are scholars with high expectation for him. Anyway, he seems to like his name.

We went for a German pub at Jalan P.Ramlee. The pub was under renovation, so there was very few people around. As with a true German Pub design, you could see high chairs and beer barrel tables. We pick a shady spots near the windows, as most other places are being renovated or exposed to heavy sunlight. The roof of the restaurant is transparent glass, so it is very bad for lunch. It is getting pretty warm, and Mei Ru's seat has a constant stream of sunlight. The air-con isn't helping much.

The main course goes in the range of RM 40-80, so we decided to have the set lunch instead (RM 25). We have a chicken and bread appetizer, grilled pork with chips and ice lemon tea. Mei Ru has chicken instead of the pork. The food looks nice and taste good, I have no complaint of that. Just that the heat in the place make me sweat and very uncomfortable. Definitely a spoiler.

Just found out Chung Min is kinda a streetwise person (someone who work in different kind of job and own a company which organises events). He claims that he is old, because he always refers others as "You young people ...". We talk about his work experience and relationship with his girlfriend Ong (we meet during the Taman Negara trip as well). Basically he seems like someone which a proper career plan and is in the midst of planning the journey towards wedding.

At the end of lunch, Mei Ru decided to buy him lunch (I found out at a later stage that she included me in buying the lunch as well). We pass him the Taman Negara Video (which I recorded with my new JVC DV and spent countless hours editing) and say goodbye. The lunch is quite filling.

Latin Jive (Dance) Class

Yesterday I went for my first dance class in my life, and it turns out pretty good.

To weeks ago, Tang (my colleague who where sent to do Hard Labor in Cyberjaya) told me about this Latin Jive dance lesson she joined recently. She was fairly excited about her new experience and persuaded me and a few others to join her. I once cannot imagine myself taking a dance class, but somehow now I am more receptive of the idea (maybe I am getting old).

So, Khim (another Victim of Tang's persuasion) and I decided to give it a try. Few others show some interest but have not taken action. BTW, Tang mention her autie is joining us as well. I have dinner with Tang at her favorite Chicken Wings place at the of Jalan Alor (I think it is called Wong Ah Wah Chicken Wing Restaurant). As usual, she will complain about her hard labor at Cyberjaya, how the customer is always poking her and how he is getting better at handling them, and the inhuman hour are getting more humanly. I decided to buy her dinner, probably because I haven't buy anyone meal for quite a while (lucky her).

We are supposed to attend the dance class 30 minutes earlier because Khim and I need to pick up the earlier lessons (we already missed 2 classes), but we are late due to the Chicken Wings. We join up with Khim and go for the class (the place is near Lot 10). Tang's auntie is already there, together with very talkative Lady in Charge (Florence) which can dance as well. Later I found out everyone at the place can dance, including the tea lady (just kidding!). Florence is a very patient and outspoken person. She teaches me and Khim the basic step: Back, Front, Left, Left, Left, Right, Right, Right. It really seems rather confusing just by looking at the steps, but once you get your legs on it, it's pretty alright. Student starts coming in and it is time to start. One thing good about dance class is that there are less guys and more pretty girls :)

The dance instructor looks like a typical dance instructor. He comes and leaves in a hurry, so didn't have much impression of him. The class goes like this: Ladies' Move, Men's Move, and a lot more practice and exchanging partners. There are a few elder people in the class to guide us, I think there are volunteers or some sort. I can't remember anyone name of the first day, I definitely suck at remembering name of people I met once, or twice, or thrice. The steps got more complex, but I manage to catch up, though not very elegantly. I sweat easily, and I sweat a lot while learning to dance. I am the only one having and using a towel. Khim is having a hard time catching up with the steps, probably because she is a bit shy. Florence tries her best to teach her, putting in extra after class effort. Our (Khim and I) deal with her is that we would try for 1 lesson first before we decide to join or not. If Khim give up, she might potentially loose 2 students. At last, her experience and perseverance prevail.

Lesson end, we pay some money to register, everyone is happy. Florence asks me to change the toilet light for her, easy task. Khim pick Tang and Man Yee (Tang's Auntie) home, while I took Monorail and Putra LRT to meet my sister at Taman Bahagia station. While waiting for my sis, I practice the basic dance steps though I was tired. Either I was bored or I like the dancing thing. Looking forward for the next lesson.

Though there are quite a lot of good-looking girls in the class, I kinda like Man Yee. People sometimes ask what kind of girl I like, I would say I would only know it when I saw her. Let see how it goes from here. Did I mention Tang's auntie is younger than her ;(