Thursday, September 29, 2005

Small Happiness in Life (人生小小幸福)

I always remind myself that I must appreciate life (and the people around me), but what aspect of life are we supposed to appreciate? I order to understand how I am supposed to enjoy and appreciate life, I have decided to list down all the small happiness I found in life to date, and keep an accumulative permanent list of it.

This small happiness (Size S) is listed not in any preferential order.

  • Blog. I read about Blog addiction quite sometimes ago, and I have to admit, I am a blog addict. My mind in constantly working on coming out with a new interesting topic for my blog. I check my blog status at least once whenever I am online, those numbers and charts have infinite attraction in them. Sometimes I read my on blog and still feel fascinated by them. I read between 3-5 blogs daily and still hunger for more. Blog gave me happiness in writing, and I am glad there are people actually reading it. Though it did cross my mind that my blog will be used against me one day, but there is so much fun in being as open as I possibly could and immortalizing all my thoughts and memories.
  • Italian Food and Sushi. I like pasta with creams (not tomato please, no matter how healthy they are). If I found a girl who knows how to cook pasta, I think I would instantly wanna marry her (just kidding). I like all kind of pasta (but I like spaghetti the least), cream, cabonara or olive oil should be just nice. Somehow, by sitting in an Italian restaurant would just make me happy. Thin crust wood oven pizza is perfect as well, especially with ham, bacon, cheese and pineapple. Even plain Italian bread with olive oil taste superb. Sushi brings me happiness as well, probably because I like sushi rice and seafood (soft shell crab, yeah!). I would marry a girl who knows how to make nice sushi as well :)
  • Sleep late at night and Wake up late. I am a night owl, and I always fail to fall asleep before 12 midnight. Probably I just enjoy the serenity of night, whether for work or just reading something light or watch movies. My sister is a night owl as well, sometimes we watch old VCDs of movies or series together. Staying awake at night just makes me feel at ease and comfort. Night time can be so peaceful, but sometimes it brings out the true emotion in me due to its serenity. I seem to enjoy waking up late as well, maybe because I had been waking up early 5 days a week during my entire working life. When I say late, I mean at minimum 12 in the afternoon, and my personal best is 3 in the afternoon. Though sometimes I enjoy waking up early for breakfast, but not too often.
  • Dance. Dancing is my new hobby, introduced by Tang more than 6 months ago. Perhaps I like not only the dance, but the people I dance with as well. I have to admit my companies for dance do bring a lot of happiness to me, and enjoy hanging out with them. Mei Ru and Michelle had just started to join the crowd, I got all the people I liked under one roof. Too much happiness to handle in one small space. Following those simple steps is tiny happiness, making them into a dance is smaller happiness and doing it nicely with another person brings even more happiness. Actually it is a pity for the boyfriends of these girls not making it to the dance class together, as there is so much happiness to be shared together.
  • Play Video Games. I enjoyed my video games time when I was young, especially playing console with neighbours follows by playing online computer games with schoolmates. I used to brag about my children game plays with fellow gamer friends, about those classic games, best record and 24 hours endeavour. I felt more bonding playing console games as there are more emotion and verbal communication, where computer games are more individualistic (though there are network games, but you don't share the same proximity) and less real-life interaction. By the time I got myself a PS2, I could not find myself any gaming buddies. The neighbour's kids are too young, and my brother is such a picky gamer and just can't seems to find many people who enjoy games in my work environment (except Kenny, but he is not a console person). I used to have this dream of finding a girl who like to play console games with me, that would be the ultimate man (but it doesn't seems like going to come true).
  • Ice Skating/Roller Blade. When I was young, I found my brother' quad-skate in the storeroom and decide to learn skating by my own. My father is not very encouraging of it (as he afraid I might get hurt), but he didn't stop me either. I really enjoy skating until the roller gone totally bold and I end up skating on metal roller. I pick up roller blade about 1 year ago with Tang and Lorena, and it was pretty fun as well. Too bad it didn't last long due to inconvenient venue and lack of time. We did try ice skating after that, and it is indeed great enjoyment, if only I learned how to skate smoothly with more elegance. Perhaps it is the speed (comes with nice breeze) and agility which captured my heart.
  • Free and Easy weekends. Due to the every increasing hectic weekend with work or personal activities, I no longer have much opportunity to sleep through the weekend and watch TVs. I like to wake-up late in the weekends, laze around further, and watch some TVs. Purely doing nothing at all for one day just feel great. Too bad I have too many things on my mind nowadays, can't really afford to be free and easy. Perhaps I am the one who chooses such hectic lifestyles, and it isn't very healthy for the long run. Hopefully things we get better and more focus once I executed my 2006 plans.
  • No work on one weekday. Taking a day off on weekday just feel great. Absolutely no one to cram with in shopping complex, restaurant, cinema, skating ring, on the road and street (as long as you avoid the rush hour). Even staying at home lazing around with some mundane task feel great.
  • To hang out with pretty people. There is something about being together with nice and pretty people, it just feel good. Don't actually have to do much, some company with pleasant and pleasant looking people already is good enough to make me happy (as long as I don't hate them).
  • A productive day. Some unofficial research had shown we are only productive from 11 A.M to 3 P.M during our 9-5 working hours. Somehow if I have done a lot on concentrated solid work for the day, it would make me feel happy (as long it is not some monotonous boring job). It is sort like a minor adrenalin rush.
  • Online chat. This is quite contradicting with productive day, as online chatting is counter productive, but it brings me happiness as well. When ICQ first come out quite a long while ago, I was hooked on it instantly, finding everyone I can to chat with from sun set until sun rise. That was in college time. Somehow, I felt tired and bored with such activity (cause found it pointless, meaningless and a waste of time, probably due to the lack of quality chat buddies), thus gone cold turkey on chatting for many years. Recently, I am blessed with some really nice chat buddies who make online chatting more enjoyable. It kinda makes life more enjoyable in many small ways, and I sincerely thank all of you from the bottom of my heart. Besides, IM does reduce a lot of communication barriers and make us much at ease.

Additions on 09 October 2005:

  • Seafood. Seafood is like the king of meat, though white meat. Sri Lankan Crab, Soft Shell Crab, Mantis Prawn, Tiger Prawn, Clams (some big clams), Snail (Big BBQ Snail, though Escargot is nice as well, but I don't meant them here) and etc. Butter Milk (奶油) Crab is the best! If not because of the high price and high cholesterol, I would probably include them in my daily diet (nah! too frequent of a good dish spoilt my favourite).

Additions on 29 October 2005:

  • HK Movies. I kinda have a soft spot for Hong Kong movies, from the very best to the very worst. Kinda have more "feel" watching them compared to English movies, though their quality might be deteorating for the past years. Once in a while, there are quite some good catches, which makes me happy. Sometimes is kinda difficult to find people to watch HK movies with me, as most people no longer like them due to her recent slump.

Additions on 15 March 2006

  • Simplicity in life, like chit chatting together, play Ps2 together, cook together, watch DVD together, jogging or swimming together, play together, do nothing together, anything else which allow us to spent the whole day together without disruption. Take leave together just to spent some time with each other just sounds like the best reasons to take leave, haha.


PS: Since I can't list all of them down in one shot, I shall keep on replenishing this page (whenever I thought of something) and tag it in my blog. BTW, I suddenly though of this brilliant idea of creating a website to allow people to write down all the small happiness in their life. By doing so, we can know how many people share the same happiness with us, or to find out what small things does people around us really like. In life, sometimes we focus too much on the big happiness that we neglected all the small happiness who accompanies us throughout our life.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Simplicity in Love

Yesterday during a conversation with Christine, I suddenly realize why I blogged so many topic on love and relationship, yet come back with no conclusion. I am a simple yet complex person, who can plan very well for my career yet extremely chaotic in terms of my personal relationship. I need to be a simple person in love.

Probably many times in your life, you would cross path with people who asked what kind of girls you would like. When I was young, I don’t think I have any exact preference, except that she must be pretty (yup! I am only skin deep at that time, and have no preference of long hair over short hair – in fact I found short hair kinda cute). After breakup with my ex-girlfriend, I long for someone who is more independent and confidence with herself. Someone who can just shine with aura making herself ever so lovable; perhaps I am imagining too much. After sometimes, I felt that I might be looking for the wrong thing in the wrong place. With sudden realization, I felt that the most important factor in a person is Kindness. With kindness, all the good things will just come along. Thus, I laid down the following criteria and ground rules as an answer whenever people ask me the same question again.

The 5 Criteria I am looking for in a girlfriend (Girlfriend Pre-requisite v1.0):
  • Kindness
  • Open Minded
  • Independent
  • Slim
  • Pleasant Looking
I have to admit, there must be some physical attraction exist. Slim represent healthiness, and pleasant looking is just pleasant. After quite sometimes, I found out that I could still like someone who does not meet all 5 criteria, which make the existence of these criteria quite pointless. I still believe that the all mighty Kindness must exist, as a kind girl is the most “sexiest” to me in a certain ways. Li Mun told me most of the people are kind, and these criteria should be easily met. Perhaps “kindness” is really a super big magic word to me, but it is really hard for me to explain in detail. In short, kindness represents positive energy, good qualities and pure thinking. Sometimes I felt that kindness can be sensed through feelings and auras, and mostly is an observation of what you did in the most simple daily life scenario. Perhaps not many people can afford to be kind nowadays due to our ever demanding and threatening lifestyle, and they do exist if I pay more attention to them. As for open-minded and independent, suddenly I felt these qualities are so inferior as compared to kindness. It is not that I don’t appreciate them, but if these two qualities would come along with her, I’ll take it as an extra blessing from God. I felt that with kindness many good things shall come along, and many problems can be solved easily. As for the physical attraction part, I would group slim and pleasant looking together, as pleasant looking. You can’t actually look pleasant if you are not slim.

To simplify things, I only look for 2 criteria (Girlfriend Pre-requisite v1.1)::
  • Kindness
  • Pleasant Looking
Now it looks much simpler and relevant. Someone asked me how about understanding? Isn’t understanding important in a relationship? Yes, it is important. Without it, how could a healthy relationship exist in the first place? But, I would not group them under the criteria section. Perhaps it is when I found kindness and pleasant looking, and then only would I look into our compatibility, understanding and feelings towards each other. The question is what kind of girl would I like? A girl who is kind and pleasant looking. There are more to work on after getting a double yes for both the criteria.

I have to admit I am fairly chaotic in terms of relationship, and confused of what I wanted, thus not able to make any decision or take proper actions. This is something worth pondering further as part of my self understanding. When you notice I blog less about love and relationship, probably I would have make it to become a simple person in love.

PS: Christine gave me an interesting topic to blog on yesterday, just that I don't have time to put my thoughts together this weekend. Probably would complete it by next weekend.

Karaoke Survival Series

I think I have my first Karaoke session in my life a few months ago, with Tang and Chooi, and some of her friends as well. I think it is someone's birthday, because there are some nice little cakes, but can't quite recall whose birthday is it. Anyway, I didn't quite enjoy it and found the session quite boring, as I didn't know many songs and I don't sing very well. So, probably I need some practice before going back for karaoke again.

Months have past (I have turned down numerous karaoke invitations), and I didn't improve on the singing nor learned any new songs. Somehow, I attended 2 karaoke sessions this week. The 1st one is the birthday celebration of Chim, CL and Chooi (and maybe Kenny as well) on Thursday (New Way at Times Square). Since it is a birthday celebration cum karaoke, I didn't quite accept or reject the invitation either, sort of left it to chance. I choose to follow Rock's car that day, though he agreed to attend the party but there is a small chance he might not be able as well. Well, it turned out he could, and I thought probably I could just enjoy the food only without singing. Many of us attended the celebration, including hardcore karaoke member such as Tang, Mei Ru, Michelle, Kenny and Chooi (and CL, maybe not too hardcore). We have those who don't quite enjoy singing as well, such as me, Rocklon, Chim, Kok Wai and Yong (maybe Rathi as well). Those who are here for the food grab the food, and others grab the microphone. Mei Ru has really kid-ish voice; Kenny is a showman; Tang likes to sing a lot; Michelle likes Malay songs (non-Chinese education); Chooi can rap; CL seems like a new comer. Tang, being her usual playful self, will prepare some surprises for the birthday boys - putting 3 condoms in a biscuit can full of weird editable liquids and ask them to blow it (hmm, how could she succeed in asking them to do it, and certainly she did not). Halfway while everyone is enjoying singing, Kok Wai being his playful self throws a condom with sticky liquids in it (did he jerk off in the toilet? I have no idea, not interested to know and not gonna find out). The throwing of sticky condom somehow ended up as food fight where nut and crackers are thrown across the room, until the waiter have to come in to sweep the floor in between (quite an embarrassment, but everyone have fun). I couldn't quite stand the boredom of just sitting there watching Music Videos, thus decide to pick a few easy songs to sing with (it shouldn't be too hard to sing along, as long as one of the person knows how to sing). Luckily there are 5 microphones with many active singers around, so it is pretty okay. I kinda enjoy it, and if only I could know a few more songs to keep the time occupied. The night ended with group photo, and Chim and Kok Wai slip a condom into Tang and Rathi’s handbags (they pour in a whole bunch of nuts in Tang's bag in earlier food fight as well). Somehow, everyone left in a hurry. Rathi gave me a ride home, goodie! I brought my DV to capture everyone's Malaysian Idol's moment as well :)

Guess when is the 2nd karaoke session? Exactly the next day with my dance classmates (RedBox at Sungei Wang Plaza). Though I am feeling tired, but I decide to go anyway for 2 reasons i) I kinda enjoyed Karaoke, just wanna try it once and for all whether I could survive in karaoke room without being bored to death (and perhaps to pick a few Faye Wong's songs for me to try as well, figuring how to use the remote for the 1st time) ii) partly because of Li Mun as well, as we kinda talk about this the day before. I wanna make it a point to enjoy myself, though I don't have the skills. There are 3 microphones for 5 persons, goodie! Tonight we have Tang, Li Mun, Jeremy and Janice. Li Mun likes singing as well, perhaps not as active as Tang; Janice has a very specific choice of songs; and Jeremy only sang English songs (I think he sings pretty well, much betta than me). I manage to pick a few songs which I absolutely know how to sing, mainly 王菲 (Faye Wong) - 爱昧 and 李心洁 (Angelica Lee) - 同一个心空下. For the rest of the night, I just try to pick some easy songs and follow others. I know quite a few of Faye's songs because she was my idol when I was in secondary school, for the 1st time where I seriously listen to music (before that, I don't give a damn about any music, as I found it too complicated to know or remember them). The night is pretty enjoyable, as we sang from 9 P.M to about 2 A.M, pretty amazing in fact. I do like to sing girl's songs, perhaps I found it suit me better and I like to listen to them nowadays (after all, my first and only idol is Faye). The girls though I sing pretty well and know many songs, but in fact I just sang softly and follow others (some simple and easy songs with catchy chorus would be just nice). I am not sure what make them think I am good at it, probably just some words of encouragement. So, as usual, better learn up a few more songs before the new K session.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

About Taoism

Tonight is Mooncake Festival (中秋节)a.k.a Mid Autumn Festival; I am staying at home blogging and watching TV. It all started with playing lantern and mooncake party when I was a kid; lighting candles and burning lanterns when I was a teenager; and now doing absolutely nothing at all. I don't see any kids walking with lantern at night and only a handful light up some candles. Perhaps the culture is really lost among the younger generations; even mooncakes now comes in modern hip flavours.

Let’s talk about the Tao cell group which my sister brought me in last week, before I totally forget about it. As far as my understanding goes (a very limited one), Tao is a life teaching with strong emphasis in morale. Tao do believe in Gods (quite similar to Buddhism), and you have to show respect for the Gods. When I entered the place (道场), I have to bow six times to the images of Gods (a statue usually). Most of the people have simplistic clothing, and some of the seniors are very polite (they bow and hand things with both hands). This is a cell group night, so they would invite a speaker to talk on some life related topics, where tonight is about Home (家). According to the speaker, there are 3 parts to a Home. Firstly, it is a place for us to grow up and rest. I forgot about the 2nd and 3rd part of it. But the talk emphasise on life teachings and morale (with references with Chinese Saint (圣人) and his teaching), about what values we should have and how we dealt with our families.

The speaker did touch on many topics and I can't recall all of them, so I just summarised on a few key points:

  • When we was young (1st part of our life), we were taken care and brought up by our parents. When we grow up (2nd part of our life), we will have children and take care of them in return. Thus, it is a complete circle (圆满). Perhaps I do seriously need to consider marriage and have children.
  • Why do we face challenges in life? Because God felt that we are weak in certain aspects, and challenges in given in the aspect to test and train us, to become a better and more complete person.
  • What is the purpose of life? Life is a training journey (修行) to better ourselves. We should follow Taoism teachings which emphasis on life teachings and moral, thus making us a complete person and return back to the hands of the creator.
  • What we are (human - 人)? Human are consist of 2 parts, our physical body and our soul. I take care of our body too much and neglected our soul. The physical body is just a form (a container) we take shape in, while the soul is eternal.
  • What is the life-long training journey (修行)? To feed our eternal soul, to be kind and helpful by following the teachings.
  • Taoist are vegetarians as killing (taking life) is bad for karma.

Don't take my word for what Taoism is, as I am no expert. Believe at your own risk, and explore more by yourself :)

The speaker did told an interesting story which I would try my best to tell it. 2 kids wrote about the most influential incidents in their life, which happen to be the same scenarios but one end up in jail while the other being a successful person. For the 1st kid a.k.a Jail Kid, the mom bought him and his younger brother some apples and asked them to choose. The Jail Kid wanted the biggest and most red one, but the younger brother told the mother that he wanted the biggest and most red one before he could. The mother scolded the younger brother saying he should not be greedy and must respect the elders and let the elder brother choose first. Though the Jail Kid wanted the same thing as well, but he wanted to capture the heart of his mother (he was a wise kid) and gave the big apple to the younger child instead. His mom praises him. The lesson he learned was he must be wise to understand and fulfilled others' desired to get what he wanted. He turns out to be a cunning crook at the end.

For the 2nd kid a.k.a Success Kid, he faces the same scenario as well and wanted the biggest and most red apple. The mom separated the yard into 3 equal parts; each siblings have to clean up one part. The one who can do the best job in the fastest time shall get his rewards, big and red apple, and the Success Kid won. The lesson he learned was the is no free meal in this world, and he had to work hard for it. He work hard and be a successful person. Having the same scenario, the result could be so different based on the mother's teaching and values. So, we need a good mother, and I need a good wife for the children :)

I found that the lecture is pretty meaningful and could help us a lot in coping with our daily life, especially to those who needed guidance to open their minds and achieve self realisation (such as my elder brother). After the lecture the offer some light vegetarian snack and everyone is being very helpful.

Okay, will I join Taoism? Though I think it is good, but I am a bit turned off by the extreme politeness and the bowing ceremony. I won't mind attending some of its lecture though. Besides, being a vegetarian make me anti social. Perhaps I am not ready for religion yet.

Impact of new working environment

As of last Monday, I was posted to the client site to work on an offsite project. This event had the following impact on me:

  • I was left crippled without the ability to go online with IM. It seems like I have been addicted to it recently and missed all my chat buddies.
  • Since I don't spent time on IM during work, there is a sudden boost of productivity due to great concentration. Conclusion? IM is bad for work productivity.
  • Nowadays I depend a lot on Internet to do my research, and slow Internet access is bad for productivity.
  • Internet Explorer is less productive than Firefox in browsing and downloading. Since I am not allowed to install new software on client's machine without permission, I sort of have to tolerate with lousy IE. I hope Internet Explorer 7 will be much more superior and productive.
  • I seems to enjoy working at the client side, because more convenience for travel and parking. Besides, I don't have to listen and handle stupid management decision here. We get to drive out for lunch everyday as well.
  • Suddenly I felt the detachment of my previous work and commitment for my company and team. I felt that I no longer played a significant role and someone had replaced me. Maybe it is a blessing in disguise, as no two person should be assigned the same role and responsibilities.
  • Finally I get to work on C++ development on UNIX environment. It is not as bad as I thought, given that a productive environment is setup after a lot of cursing. Given the speed and momentum I am on now, maybe I could finish the work within a month before the next round of testing. But like all other Software Project, there are many unforeseen events.
  • There is a happening place nearby with lots of futsal and pool table, only if I can get the guys to go there on Friday night.
  • The downside is I have to travel back to city after work for my dance class. Luckily it is an anti-traffic direction and it only took me 30 mins and RM2 for parking.
  • It is a bit inconvenience for me to blog after work on weekdays anymore, so the blogs should pop up on weekends only until further notice.

All About Ah Fun Jai

Recently 3 person asked me about my relationship with Ah Fun Jai, perhaps I have been really close with her and we are both single. I know Ah Fun Jai about two and a half years ago, when I start working for my current company. Somehow I found her to be cute, though she is short and dark, and always wear some weird colour pants and dark tops. Perhaps she is an active and outspoken person; I think I always have a soft spot for such personality. We manage to work on the same project in Thailand for about a month, and spent quite sometime being together as we stay in the same apartment, always eat together and sometimes manage to sneak out to have fun during the weekends. That time we really enjoyed each other company, and we could really agree on many things and have good topics. We even bought a pair of shoes there so that we could play tennis, think of it also quite outrages as we only played once.

After we were back to Malaysia, she voluntary stationed herself at customer site, thus we didn't spent time together in office anymore. She continues to be my active movies and sometimes dinner partner, of cause usually together with her friends as well. We chit chat through IM sometimes, but she is usually quite busy. With her working in a different working environment and culture, I felt that she sort of developed some level of hostility and disappointment towards our company's culture and department's practice. I do agree the company kinda sucks at so many levels, but this kinds hinder our discussion topic as we usually end up talking about work. It kinda makes me uneasy, as we started to have difference of idea at so many fronts.

Things get worst when she was transferred to another projects, a very hostile project with very little capable personals. She and her team was under a lot of stress and I think she kinda hate the company (including me) for didn't voluntarily bail her out. Since the project is under estimated and poorly managed, the company is not willing to put more people to work on it, thus hoping the existing team will somehow manage it. I have the feelings she kinda expect us to voluntarily help her team despite management's objection. As a friend, I am willing to help out, but they is no guaranteed how long the help might be required (probably I'll be sucked in the same shit as long as her). I see no end to it, and the environment is neither conducive. I choose passiveness, and I think she kinda felt disappointed in me (and other colleagues) for not willing to jump into the same shit hole as her. Our conversation is not as friendly and pleasant as it used to be after that. I found at a later stage that she faces some troubling family matter at the same time, adding more to her worries and pressure is building up. The gap between us had grown. Perhaps the God pity her, the project somehow ended and the family matter is somehow solved, making her a happy girl again.

After this incident, I always feel that we are not as closed and we have many differences of ideas and opinions. I found her to be very stubborn and we would have not so pleasant conversation whenever it relates to work (not really that bad, but it is neither fun). Somehow, a lot of our topics involved around work. Soon, she joined a dance class when her mood is much betta, and I joined her for the class subsequently. Since then, we spent quite some time together having dinners, attending dance class and practice sessions, and some movies as well. I do enjoy her company, but I still found her stubborn when we talk about serious work topic (Is she really that stubborn? I can't really justify her stubbornness, just some impression or feelings I have of her). After sometimes dancing with different people, I have this theory of the way/feeling you dance actually reflect your personality and character (judging by her dance, I still feel her stubbornness). I found her to be a person who had forms her strong view on some fronts, thus leaving little or no space for negotiation and tolerance (perhaps I am a stubborn person with strong views as well). But, I don't feel her hostility anymore and we are getting along much better (not that we are bad before this). She told me about her disappointments and challenges in life, perhaps I can somehow understand why sometime she has such mentality and thoughts.

Tonight Ah Fun Jai celebrated CL's birthday and farewell as well. I joined them at Soul Out after the dinner, and we chit chat until midnight. I was supposed to sent Ah Fun Jai back, but I suggested we go for a game of table futsal and end up with pools as well (it is too early to go home). I think we can always have quite a good time together, as both of us is not too picky of our activities and venues (we can be very flexible and tolerance in this matter). We left at 2:00 AM and have supper near her place, and end up chatting about more work related stuff until 4:30 AM (are we workaholics? or we don't have other normal topics?). This time, we could feel that we have a much better conversation. But I have to agree, we have a very different career path with different experience and culture from working (though we are with the same company).

Question: Do I like her? Perhaps I should properly define "like" as like until wanted to start a serious relationship. I gave it quite some thought after Thailand, but my idea at that time was to very much focus on my ambition (Solid Financial is the Foundation for Happiness), so I left the thought aside. Perhaps there isn't much spark or heartbeat between us, so I didn't felt romance. But we do spent a lot of time together; perhaps we are just close friend. Is she suitable for me? Maybe she is, though I could expect both our stubbornness could create quite some challenges. Something is missing between us for a relationship to start off. I think both of us are too logical, thus making it even more difficult for feelings and emotion to take over. It sounds like we might just be the same kind of person taking different path in life. What the hell do I know? We could only know if we tried it. I have to admit I am a careful person in terms of relationship (though I could be careless and spontaneous once upon a time, maybe this is how it should be), requiring some spark and some logical thinking. Maybe our topics have always been too serious, and seriousness is no fun. I am such a confused child. I don't have a conclusion for myself until further notice. It seems like she is a good companion and a close friend.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Big Corporate Culture

It seems like an inevitable fact for big corporation to have many levels of red tapes and suffer a great lost of productivity and inefficiency. I had been deployed to one of the most luxuries semi-government corporation in the country, where she had the most advance building and infrastructures which way superseded its productivity. I think not many people in this world are capable of doing proper human resource management in an efficient and productive manner, especially in a big corporation.

A lot of the problems or rather inconveniences stems from extreme specialisation in the company. Everyone have no more than one or two responsibilities, thus they have a key person in every field/area/department imaginable. I walk in as an IT Contractor, where they nicely prepared a room (space is abundance here) and computer for us. We have a private windowed room facing some greenery, which is excellence (except that the room is a bit warm). The following are some inconveniences which pop up and stop us from starting work immediately.

  • Door Access Card. They didn't prepare an access card for us (most of the doors require the access card). Luckily two of my seniors already had the access card due to previous dealings, and I have to use theirs. I didn't even get my card after 1 full week working there. The card is the responsibility of Building Management.
  • Computer Login. No Computer Login is created for us. Basically, we can't even use the 2 computers which are there. After an hour, 2 logins is created for a Domain which the computers are not configured to login to. So we end up with no computers until the next morning.
  • Printer and Internet Access. The Project Manager asked for the Helpdesk personnel to attend to our problems. He manages to setup the Domain for us to logon with ease. But he needs to do a second trip to fix the Internet access and a 3rd and 4th trip to fix the printer problem (due to some permission settings).
  • Database Access. This is the most complicated part, as it involves many parties. Firstly, you need the Database Administrator to create the users. Then, someone else needs to install the database software on the PCs. Some permission problems arise, and we need the Helpdesk guy again. Then it is found that the Database user does not have the necessary permission to access the database, thus we need the Database Administrator again. At one point, there are more than 5 of their staffs in our room, including the Project Manager.
  • UNIX Login. No UNIX login is created for us as well, but that is solved swiftly by the Unix Administrator. Though I have to configure the development environment myself, finding all the necessary libraries and compiler.

Somehow we managed to get most of the environment up and running by the 3rd day and work productively after that. Actually 2 days isn't that bad, but it seems really bad during that time. The good thing is that they have specialisation, so that you know who exactly to look for when you have a problem or needed something. The bad thing is, most of the time you need to bother many people to accomplish a task, such as Database Access (Database Administrator, Helpdesk, Software Support and perhaps Project Manager). The problem is no one will pre-prepare the things for you, you need to continuously ask for it (or else you can't get anything done). Most of the people here are capable of doing their work within their specialisation domain, but don't try to ask more from them.

Perhaps I am too used to a multi-role environment, where I am the Analyst, Programmer, QA, Deployment, Support, DBA, Documenter and sometimes Project Manager, a true Developer. I do agree we need some level of specialisation to achieve a better level of productivity, but not to the extreme that 1 person only handle 1 task (perhaps they even have 1 Administrator for 1 server). Perhaps in a big corporate environment, we do need to put a lot of systematic policies and procedures in place which might hinder efficiency and increase cost, but at least it avoid chaos and get things done (by sacrificing efficiency in resources usage). The larger it gets, the less innovative and efficient it becomes. But in many cases, we do need the huge man powers to churn out gigantic products (sounds like Mythical Man-Month to me). Perhaps we could reduce the negative effect by implanting a better work culture with better human resource and project/product managers.

Monday, September 12, 2005

William & Luisa DanceWorld Dinner & Dance 2005

Yesterday night me, Tang, Li Mun, Kenny, Michelle, Mei Ru and Rathi went to this William & Luisa DanceWorld (William and Luisa is supposed to be multi times regional champions during the 90's) Graduation cum Dinner & Dance party at Sri Petaling Community Hall. RM 40 a pop and it is for charity as well. I got to wear for the first time a white long sleeve shirt, which I bought a few months back, and then only I noticed I haven't been out for partying that long already. Li Mun had a puffy right eye that night (due to 眼针), and we had been making fun of it for the past week. We saw a table number on the ticket, thus we thought there would be seating by table, but we was disappointed with only chairs around a basketball court and buffet eat on lap dinner. Besides that and the disfunctioning of the Ice Kacang machine, everything else is pretty alight.

The night started with a swamp of auntie performing line dancing, and they seem pretty good and enjoying themselves. There are a few hot auntie who really stand out, could really felt their enjoyment. Most of the night is filled with line dancing, which I think 80% of DanceWorld students are line-dancing auntie (I think this is the mass market of dancing industry at this moment). There are some Latin and ballroom in between, but they are really short-lived. At first we were quite afraid to go out and dance, as every else seems so proficient (flexing every inch of their body parts, filled with style and elegance). Somehow, we managed to convinced ourselves and join the crowd in a few dance of Cha Cha and Rumba (too bad no rock and roll). Only me and Tang danced, and I kinda feel bad didn't ask Li Mun out for a dance (but there are only so little songs for non line-dancing). Rathi didn't get to dance as well. Once we are out there, we just kinda feel okay, trying to ignore the others and try not to knock down anyone. It was fun, but if we were better dancers would make it an even more enjoyable experience. Really need to work on the style and flexing. Michelle enjoyed her line dancing a lot, and she is in full purple dress. Kenny is busy taking photos and videos until the battery runs out. Mei Ru seems a bit bored, but Kenny and Michelle get to accompany her.

After the dance session is the graduation ceremony. Those graduates are young and beautiful/handsome dancers, who are really very good. They even have Best Student award for different categories, really quite a big dance academy (as compared to centre I am learning - 爱之花 - it means flower of love, but it also sounds like AIDS flower in its pronunciation). The ceremony is followed by excellent performances of line dancing, hip hop, break dance, ballet, Latin and others which I dunno what they are. They are 2 girls that I noticed excel at different kind of dances, amazing. Young, pretty and multi-talented dancers, what else could be asked for. All the dances are really great, and everyone enjoyed it. I think dancing really could be a very fun activity, thus it strengthen my mind to stick with it longer, and perhaps take up Hip Hop besides Latin as well.

By the way, I won a gift hamper during the lucky draw, number 0167. I think this is the 2nd time I won a lucky draw in my life, not much of gambling luck in me either. A lucky night. I contributed the hamper as part of the office's food supply. We went off quietly about 10 plus, where I sent Tang and Li Mun back and have supper at Remember To Eat (记得吃). We took a photo of the 3 of us sticking our head together (I think we never took photo together before), will post it up once I have them. Just notice Li Mun's eye is getting more red and puffier. Also notice a very nice purple butterfly necklace, should have taken a picture of that as well. I reach home around 1:00 AM and need to work the next day :(

Here is a video of the dance night (taken by Kenny and posted by Mei Ru)

Saturday, September 10, 2005

岁月匆匆流走, 我要今生无悔

Yesterday I watched the ending of 星愿 (Fly Me to Polaris) on TV, which I found quite a good one with nice music (only if I know what songs it is). Richie Ren (任賢齊) who acted as Onion Head (洋葱头)says this to Autumn (秋男 acted by Cecelia Cheung - 张柏芝) after he was back from death with 5 more days to live, "岁月匆匆流走, 我要今生无悔 (Time Flies, I want to live life with no regrets)". This got me thinking again, what do I need to do now so that I can live life with no regrets (at lest no big ones).

What do I want to do with my life? When I was young, I thought probably I would one day getting married and form a family, and live happily ever after with my love ones. When I grow up, somehow or rather, I wanted success (and richness as well), thus I become more career minded and work hard. As times passed, I found that employment sucks because you end up working for stupid people. Thus, I aspired to start my own business so that I can have the freedom to innovate, and hopefully make a living out of it. After too long focusing on career and work, somehow I found all the money in the world would be meaningless if I don't have someone to share it with. Thus, I need a balanced life, a life with decent work and healthy relationship.

I guess the purpose of our life keep changing, or is it all these are just short term goals and I am missing the big picture? For Christian, I think the purpose is to believe in God and serve him, and salvation. For Taoist (I went for this Taoist group thingy and have something interesting to share in my next blog), it seems like they want to achieve Tao (得道,修道), meaning to be a better person and understand their inner soul. If I have no religion or follow any specific teachings, what is my greater course then?

I gave it quite some thought, and perhaps I could really see that far. I have some clue of my current short term career goal, which is to start a software business. Besides career, what other short term goals do I have? Do I want to get married, or do I plan to get married? In terms of career, I seem to know quite well what I want to do, plan for it and execute the plan. In terms of life outside out work, I seem to leave it to fate. Meaning, I can't plan for marriage if I don't meet Miss Right. But, shouldn't I put more effort in looking for Miss Right as I put effort for my work? Or meeting Miss Right is all about faith (缘). How true is the saying "爱情可愿不可求, 随缘吧!" (love could be hoped for, but not forced for, it's up to fate)? It is pretty hard for me to get the real answer for this, as the most logical answer would be "fate only does half the job, the rest is up to us". Can we really plan it? Perhaps, if we are desperate enough, we could start hitting on every girl (I notice someone do that recently, and he is not doing very well) which came along or go for speed dating or cupid club. Is this the kind of planning I am looking for? Err, perhaps I am not desperate enough.

Perhaps it is not so much on the issue of planning, but what I want to achieve in life? For myself only, I want to be successful (get out from the rat race) and have a free and easy life, and capable of taking care of people around me. Of cause I want happiness as well, but that is so difficult to define. For the greater cause, I want to help build a better tomorrow for mankind. How am I going to do that? I have no idea. Perhaps I could start by working with The Skill Academy to help the children, as they are after all, the leaders of tomorrow.

Perhaps it is okay for us not to know our greater course now, as life is after all a journey and exploration. We would understand more and self realisation will happen sooner or later. While we are learning, just be good, love and appreciate the people around us.

"The eye is a distraction, with vision comes greed. If you can close your eye for a moment and feel the person beside you, perhaps you could feel the real her and understand yourself better". by Onion Head (洋葱头)in Fly Me to Polaris (星愿).

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Profile Picture Update

Changing of profile picture to a newer version :) The picture on the left is the original version taken during my Taman Negara Trip in early 2005. My female colleagues say I look too young for my age, while others commented I look very old (I think I look young in it). Now I am upgrading the picture to ver 2.0, taken by semi-professional photographer Christine during my Kota Kinabalu trip in July 2005 at Snake Island. There is more sunshine in this picture, and definitely look darker. Li Mun (a.k.a Evil Miss Angel) commented I looked like "An innocent little boy who is full of hope and dreams". Today Kenny just told me that I looked boyish and shall never turned into a Man, muahahaha.

The Small Vacation Plan

I think now I am in a vacation craze. For the short-term trip, I was planning 1-2 weeks outdoor/nature trip, probably to Vietnam, Nepal or Silk Road (depending on the budget and companion). Vietnam look like a nice and interesting place, being less developed with some excellent nature spots, small villages and perhaps some historic ruins and religious place. I have considered Thailand and Myanmar as well, but security and safety concerns turn me away (frequent bombing in south Thailand, and political instability in Myanmar). Besides, Vietnam is cheap and near, thus making it the most possible and easier candidate. It should be a light and easy trip.

The next candidate is Nepal, a poor country with magnificent mountain view. According to Christine, we can ride elephant and do water rafting, besides mountain trekking which should be the main agenda. There are many excellence mountains, including snow mountains as well. I could easily expect 6-8 hours of trekking, which could last up to 8 days or more (depending on how good am I). It would cost me around RM 4000 and above based on the information I found at Malaysia Mountain Goal. If I have the money and enjoy trekking and primitive mountain living, then this would be my choice then. Lots of rocks, mud houses, superb mountain scenery, non-stop trekking, snow, sounds good to me (Not sure if we could reach Tibet, hehe).

The best candidate to me is Silk Road (or rather Xin Jiang), which would be the most expensive choice as well. Here is a good description of the route of Silk Road, which I have no idea about. I just read about Xin Jiang, and I enjoy the grassland, the clear river, the vast lake, mountain view, old sand castle and the native and their goats. The landscape is absolutely breathtaking, and I had already fallen in love with her. Silk Road has more variety of landscapes compared to Nepal and she definitely look like heaven on earth. I could imagine myself sleeping on the grassland, looking at the blue sky, listening to the smoothing water stream and surrounded by goats, perfect. Very few things in life could get better than this.

I though of Bora Bora before, but the place is far and expensive, though it is a good relaxation spot. I still prefer land activity as compared to sea. Perhaps keep it as a place to go when I have the extra cash or when I had reached middle age.

I hope to travel to one of these places in the near future :)

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

I can't work for money all the time

Why most people need a job? Probably for basic survival and perhaps maintaining the lifestyle that we desired, and all that needs money and we get money by working. All the times I thought I was working for the money, now I realised that I need more than just money itself. What else could I probably want out of a job? There are in fact many things which I indirectly yearning for, such as success and the "feel good" experience.

Actually, I am in the midst of planning a change of job, switching from full time employment to self-employed (starting my own software business). I ask myself, why the sudden change? Is it for the money? To my surprise, money doesn’t seem to be the main reason at all, though I thought it was. Why I want to make the switch?
  • I have lost the "feel good" factor in the company. I no longer feel excitement and challenges from the job, and I was bog down by poor company culture, which is not software development friendly. Basically, I feel frustrated with the job and the culture. Too much tedious and monotonous work, with such a low performance culture and un-innovative working environment. I suddenly feel so old and living in Stone Age. Thought the colleagues are kind and nice, but I was hoping for a better shift in terms of management and working culture.
  • I feel that I can't get "success" from this company. Yes, I could still get my less than 10% increment every year, my one-month bonus or even a promotion every 2 years. Those perks are not success (doesn't seems like good perks to me as well), but the natural progression in corporate cycle. What do I want? I want to do leadership, to let me lead a team and create superb software out of our effort. I don't want to do just software support (I can't imagine I let myself do it for such a long time), I want to architect a good product, instil good software development culture, encourage good teamwork practices and lead a successful product development. I don't think the management and corporate culture is ready for me. Though somehow I manage to convinced them to allow me to do that until a certain extend, but just feel that a lot of elements are still missing.
  • Self-employed? Isn't it you are eyeing for the big bucks? I though I was going for the money, but in fact, I would earn far less in self-employment. If I want the money so much, the wiser choice would be stick with my current job. I have a good fix monthly salary and good savings from EPF, plus steady little increment every years, why leave the comfort zone? Anyway, starting my own business is potential future moeny.

Why do I want to get out of self-employment?
  • I want to try my luck. I wanted to know whether I am capable of making it on my own, as I thought I could. Besides, I am feeling lucky (not exactly, but I am ready to take some risk).
  • I want to be in control. Usually when I work in company, I need to put a lot of convincing across in order for your idea to be accepted. Call me Iron First or arrogant, but I usually would though I have the good idea, if not the best (though not exactly my ideas, a lot of them is what I learned from books and others). But if someone have a better idea, voice it out reasonably and I shall consider it seriously (I am still resonable and not extremely hard headed). Nevertheless, I want to be in the position to steer the effort, presuming that I know what's best.
  • I can do it cheaper and better. I always thought I am so good in software development that I can do it better and more economical compared with other local software house (not many of them anyway). But I know I am not the best in Malaysia (I know of quite a few software developers better than me), but luckily I don't have to be the best programmer to be successful in software business.
  • I can. I know I am capable of it, just have to make it through (go through lots of hardship and anxiety). Else, I could end up crying reflecting on my cowardness during my old age.
  • I want to be young and successful. Success is one thing, but being young and successful is what I wanted. Probably I would achieve some level of success when I am 40 while climbing corporate ladder, but that's not what I am looking for. I thought by starting my own business would put me on a riskier and faster track.
  • I want to get freedom of work. I hate waking up early to work when I was slightly sick or extremely tired (or it is raining out there), not to mentioned fighting through hours of traffic. I want the freedom to work on my most productive hours, and I don't mind midnight. I can definitely save at least 3 hours a day of traffic time. I want to do shopping and dine out on weekdays, where I have ample parking space and less crowd. I want to have time to accompany my mom to her doctor's appointment. Perhaps I need lots of discipline and perserverance for self-employment, given the temptation of freedom.
  • I want to be financially independent early. I don't want to worry about money my entire life, and wanted to someday to focus on what I like to do, rather than what I had to do. Perhaps semi-retirement then, have some happy vacations and work on things which matter to me (be it charity or work and activities which I enjoy). I want to have sufficient medical budget when my parents fall sick one day.
It is not that money is not important to me, but there are more things to it (usually they somehow relate to money as well, hehe).

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Dream Girl Vol. 2

I have been wanting to write more about this topic, but I was not in the mood and not quite sure what to write about. Something caught me while I was watching 2002 (靈異異靈) on Astro, where Tide (阿潮 - 谢霆锋 Nicholas Tze) was killed by the Water Ghost (水鬼) and Wind (阿风 - 冯德伦 Stephen Fung) asked where would Tide's soul be at this moment. "A place where he had unfinished matter (他有心事未了的地方)", was the answer given. Then it got me thinking, where would I be if I was a soul who had left my mortal body? Who would I want to see? What would I do?

Christine pops up in my mind, as I was imagining I would "fly" to Hong Kong and to observe how her life would be. Standing by her side without her noticing me, have a close up without intervention, to really find out how she is like daily (this get me thinking, wouldn't it be nice if we could observe ourselves to see how we really are from outside) . But, I am not sure of what I should do, or what should I say to her. Probably buy her a dinner (or make one if I had mastered the art of cooking), haha. Too much imagination perhaps.

Christine, a girl whom I had known for a month now. I nicked-named her "Dream Girl", as she seems like an ideal girl (which I like) whom appears in my life, when I least expected it. I am sure among so many girls who cross path in my life and I end up blogging about her, there must be a reason for it. Where are we now? I told her that I like her, and she reply by telling she like me as a friend :) I am not sure whether I like her more than a friend, but I was hoping for more than that at the moment (perhaps the love hormones is kicking in). Ever since that, we spent quite some time doing online chatting (I think I got my personal best record, from midnight to 9 plus in the morning), knowing a bit more about her and her background. Perhaps because I think there isn't much I can do (or at least, I'm not prepared to take extreme measures), our relationship is at best stayed as friends. I feel that it is pretty difficult to move forward, without commitment and physical present. The feelings I have for her never moved forward as if we are still in the trip, as it couldn't move. Yes, we did chat a lot and I know her better now. But, that only increase my understanding of her, not necessary had any effect on the feelings itself. Time had moved forward, but the feelings between us sort of stayed stagnant. I was thinking, as times goes by with so many things happen in my life without the physical her in the picture, the feelings might really fade away. She might end up being just a virtual friends (not really virtual, but she neither physically present as well). Sometimes I am confused who she is to me? Someone I like? A good friend? A chat buddy? Or just someone who cross path with me and I happened to stop for a while? I feel that we could be close, but not really close. She seems so near yet so far (I am not talking about physical distant). Perhaps, in life, is best not to expect anything. Everything that comes in is an added bonus. A new friend, someone who like to spend time with me, someone who talk and listen to me, someone who shares with me and perhaps someone who are willing to cry in front of me (or I would like to cry in front of her). With such thinking would make everyone in my life such an angel, and makes me appreciate them. Perhaps I did put some expectation of her, which makes our relationship seems not as close as it should be. I believe the relationship with her is special, in so many ways (at least we are fated to meet each other). Since fate had brought us to each other, I think it is our responsibility to make the best out of it. Probably we would not end up physically together, but I want us to feel happy with each other. It might not possible for us to share our lives together, but I appreciate her present in my life.

Where would this bring us? Logically, probably nowhere. Besides logical thinking, anything is possible. Since we can't move forward, perhaps it is not the time and I appreciate where we are now at this moment. I strongly believe she is a very good thing which happens in my life, and I appreciate her. Given my own version of the Test of Love, I don't think I had fallen in love with her. But, she is the "Dream Girl" which I hope more good things could happen between the both of us.

One thing does bother me. Religion can bring a relationship very much closer, at the same time it could be a barrier for a relationship as well. I never quite thought of the seriousness of these issues before, as religion to me had been always a good thing to bring peace and closer relationship between human. As we grow up and learned more, it doesn't seem that simple and naive anymore. But I do believe there is a God and a religion should be a good thing, it is just that we human aren’t that simplistic or pure (or we used to be, once). We are complex in nature, thus creating more problems for ourselves. Suddenly, I hope to make this world a better place.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

My Plan for 2006

There are still a few more months to go and I am already planning for year 2006, when had I become such a planner? Drastic situation had called for drastic measures. What am I planning actually? I am planning to take a long break from work and do something I longed for.

Firstly, I had many unfulfilled plans in term of my personal work. I had delayed on collaboration with a friend and I think he had lost interest when I finished it. The second project is a continuation from last year's effort, and I ended up totally didn't touch on it this year. At the same time, I am playing catch up with all my freelance projects, and delayed quite a few of them. I think I am getting less discipline and my freelance work had start picking up, and I still keep my day job. I want to clear up the backlogs, and make more money out of freelancing and hopefully lead to my next agenda.

Secondly, I had always wanted to start my own Software House, either it is a one man band or a small establishment. Maybe I am arrogant, but I believed I can develop software cheaper and better than all the software houses in Malaysia. My main problem is selling them, but I am better prepared than I used to be. Have been brushing my product development, marketing and sales strategy through various sources, mainly Joel on Software, Erik Sink, Rands in Response, Crossing the Chasm, The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing and Good to Great. Besides, I know of a few more sales contacts and my freelance effort had expanded. Now I have 2 marketable products in hands (still need some polishing before being put on retail sale). Do reading books and online articles help? I felt that they are quite an eye opener, at least now I am more knowledgeable and can deploy proper strategy (when I can execute them correctly is another matter). I guess I won't get to know how effective and applicable they are until I tried it. By concentrating more on my personal work, I am hopeful of can come out with one or two product line based on my current work, and take a risk and engage in one of my existing ideas.

Thirdly, I might join my cousin to setup The Skill Academy: an academy to teach exceptional children life functioning skills besides academic curriculum. I found that my cousin is a very passionate psychologist, who could make a decent living out of it, while caring for the children very much. I am afraid I am not very good with children, I don't think they like me anymore. Maybe I don't feel that I have enough passion with kids, not sure if I could be a good teacher. I always think of one day I would become a teacher for a short duration, and teach the children something interesting. It sounds like fun, maybe to fulfill my teaching-crave. I mean working with her could come out nicely, as she could use an IT literate person on her team (though not extremely critical, but I should be able to help her in some small ways). Besides fulfilling my teaching crave and helping her out, at least I got some kind of fixed work and maybe draw a small salary as well (if I quit my day job, I'll be jobless). Do I get joy by teaching children? It had yet to be seen. But, I am willing to give it a try, though it might be time consuming.

Probably this would be my second venture after 3 years. Last time I was strike with anxiety and uncertainty with what I am supposed to do (lack of planning and strategy, everything is pretty ad-hoc, and desperate for business and clients). The thing with coming out on my own is it needs a lot of discipline and self assurance. I am more prepared and a better person now, but that doesn't guaranteed success. The wisdom lies within, "Execution of a plan is be more critical than planning itself". I already have a rough idea of what I need to do and want to achieve, and I need to take care of the execution part of it. I think I am ready for a second try, and hopefully this would be a fulfilling and satisfying experience (as long as I can stop myself from sleeping and chatting too much, and work productively). I think my salary had grown to a comfortable level nowadays, but I still dreamed of working for myself (lesser the frustration with stupid and irratating bosses). I want give it another try while I can still pull myself out of the temptation of drawing a fat fixed monthly salary. Money not earn is money lost, this could put quite some pressure on me. I need to learn to detach myself from money itself. Money is important, but it is not the end. The guts to take on opportunity is more rewarding than money itself. Fortune favours the adventurous anyway.

Sometimes I wonder, am I doing it for the money or freedom? I guess I am somewhat unhappy and unsatisfied with my current job, due to its various limitation and bad practices. Perhaps I want happiness. The money to give me financial freedom, and allow me to do something which I quite enjoy as well. I once told my cousin, I want to be young and successful. A million dollar comes at age of 30 or 40 makes quite a different, and to make it on time is not exactly impossible. I just have to figure it out, execute it and hope for the best. Besides, I like the beer campaign slogan, "Someone will do it, why not you!”