Sunday, February 28, 2010

Going on Five - Unfinished Business Speaks

If I were a human child, I'd probably be reading books meant for four year olds', or learning to tie my shoelaces and I'd most likely be carrying an empty backpack, impatiently waiting for my chance to go to pre-school. Well, something like that, anyway. But I am what I am, and with me being a blog, my life consists of waiting to be typed in, or waiting to be read., receiving happy stuff, frowning at half baked attempts at post, delighted when someone says something (except for the anonymous Hanyi spam).. sometimes, I inwardly groan as Terra types - she's not going to say that, is she? But like her, I try not to be judgmental. To a certain extent.

Most of the time though, I'm just another site on the world wide web (though Terra tells me that it is unfashionable to call the internet the world wide web these days), occasionally being perused due to being hit by search words like pippi longstockings or turning 27. Don't ask. Terra may be able to explain that better, some other time - she says.

I suppose I just want to say that it has been four glorious years here, and after so long, we have surpassed 500 posts, had about 30000 odd visitors (including bots, unfortunately), a good number of friends to have (imaginary) tea and scones with and lots of memories, good and bad. To those of you who have stuck around to witness four years of nonsense, we both thank you from the bottom of our hearts. 


Sincerely, 
Unfinished Business Part II

(and me! and me! - TS)

Friday, February 26, 2010

Typing on Keyboards in Defence of Gender

A lot of people probably don't really think before they speak, resulting in hurting the tender feelings of those around them, especially those who actually care for them, or perhaps saying something so incredibly silly that other people share whispered gossips about them, secretly laughing behind their backs. Small problem, I'd say.

And then there are those who say incredibly stupid things to all and sundry by voicing their myopic concerns aloud which then get picked up by the newspapers. Monday was one of those days where the secretary general of cuepacs commented about their (or is it his?) concerns on the “increasing dominance” of female employees in the civil service, saying it would have “long-term implications on the progress and growth of the country.” 

It's secretary-general Ahmad Shah Mohd Zin said on Monday that the trend now was that more women officers were being appointed to important decision-making posts.

For example, almost three quarters of the new posts in the administrative and diplomatic service (PTD) were being filled by women, he said, adding that this was contrary to the present government policy to “reserve only 30% of decision-making posts for women.”
(The actual government policy is to have women in at least 30% of decision-making posts. -- ED)
The teaching profession was also dominated by women, he added.
 (quoted from the star online)

I've heard a similar sentiment before almost a year ago from someone I work with, and since I had given my two cents on women and decision making before, I shall refrain from doing so here... (my two cents can be read here: Joseph and his myopic view of the women in decision making positions in my workplace)

It makes me wonder if his concerns are in the right place. As an outsider looking in (as I am neither in the civil service nor with cuepacs), I've noticed that the civil service attracts women by the dozen. In fact, a few years ago, one of the chemists (a young woman) mentioned to a few of us that there were openings in the civil service and told us to go and apply... unfortunately, it came with an age limit and I was a year too old. However, those that were born in the same year as her or a year or two later all applied, and they were all women who needed more time to 'focus on their personal life'.

What's even worse is that when I was much younger (in the fifth form, actually - aged 17), my additional mathematics teacher (a middle aged man) advised us in the class to pick up the teaching profession as we were women (I went to an all girls school at that time), and the teaching job would enable us to focus on our (future) families better! Imagine that. This has also been said about other jobs in the civil service, where people (read: older men) tell you... "Apply for work with the government, la...", and not surprisingly it is because you can apparently focus on your personal and family life better by working with the civil service.  It also doesn't matter that you don't get paid as much, although in recent years, the civil service salary has improved tremendously. 

I wonder if this could have been a contributing factor.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The Bloody Red Jeep

The normal Luna colour pencil box has about twelve colours. Kids call it red, while older people and the colour manufacturers probably call it vermillion.

It was ages ago, in the state of Johor where there was jeep. Of course there were many jeeps, but the jeep we have in mind is one in particular. It was red, and although initially known as the big red jeep, it was later on renamed the bloody red jeep (BRJ). If this jeep could talk, it would have many stories to tell, some happy, some sad and others - just ridiculously silly, or so it thought.

The BRJ was a victim of insane jealousy – not that it was pretty or anything of the sort. It was in fact too regular, or maybe it was the owner of the jeep that was a victim of jealousy - from some people who had no form of transport. It doesn’t really matter anymore, because the whole thing happened back in 1998.

One funny incident that the BRJ may have experienced was looking on at three lost souls at the dirty beach side of a city that must not be named (imagine a beach by a city –). One guy and two girls. One guy in love and one girl about to be confessed to, and one very uncomfortable girl who knew what was going to happen but couldn’t go anywhere else because…

1. It was in the middle of the night at a dirty beach
2. She was wearing a traditional costume – not convenient to hail a bus or a taxi if any could be found at that hour
3. She was relying on the owner of the BRJ to send her back but apparently her existence has been totally ignored due to the ‘romance in the air’

The long night finally ended and to the very uncomfortable girl’s delight everyone decided to head back to where they came from… in the BRJ…

Disclaimer: The reader may have noticed that the story above lacks any definite event. This is due to the fact that I was not an eye witness of the above event. The story was narrated by the very uncomfortable girl, whom I’ve unfortunately lost contact with at the moment.

PS: This was one of the very first posts I had put up in my old blog, almost 5 years ago. For some reason, an accidental rediscovery of a printed out e-mail that was also written five years ago made me feel all nostalgic all of a sudden

Saturday, February 20, 2010

I used to be healthy... Sniff! Sob! Sigh! Part 2

It was a surreal moment. I could feel myself suppressing laughter as he pushed the tip of my nose up to peer into my nostrils with the aid of the torchlight.

I had to make a visit to the doctor again this afternoon due to what I can only refer to as side effects of the flu that attacked me over three weeks ago, not to mention the few social invitations I had to decline, including one for tea just this afternoon with two friends I haven't seen in awhile and probably will not see in a long time because they are both being relocated out of the country!

The thing is, far from getting better in time as Leona Lewis emphasizes in her song that goes with the same title, the everlasting cough seems to have hurt my ribs to the point that tears freely poured out just the other day when I had run out of my supply of fisherman's friend and started having a fitful, uncontrollable coughing marathon (I've also been taking the cough medicine prescribed by the doctor and several traditional recipes courtesy of the mom), and to make matters worse, the pain seems to have spread even further to my external obliques and possibly even my glutes that sitting down is very, very painful. Standing up and sleeping is kind of alright, but walking seems a bit of an issue too. So my visit to the doctor was basically to obtain some pain killers so that I can live life like a normal person (I was hoping for an injection), and instead of that I had my nostrils scrutinized. One of my colleagues seems to be facing the exact same issues as me, but he was warded the other day because he started coughing blood. Turns out, his coughing of blood was not tuberculosis or cancer as suspected, but merely an internal injury caused by his consistent coughing! (Plus there was something about him being very, very thin and not having enough fatty tissues to protect himself from said internal injuries)

Back to the visit to the doctor... as I was explaining my history, he actually had the gall to tell me that I walked just fine, so my pain couldn't be that bad! (Of course I walked alright, it was a muscular ache, not a broken bone!), and he had that skeptical look in his face... probably thinking that I was some sort of junkie or something. Why don't doctors ever take pain seriously? (It happened once back in late 2005/early 2006 and I have quit going to that particular doctor for that very reason) Nevertheless, he gave me some medication, including some medicine for flu, (but why???), painkiller, cough medicine (again?), and some antibiotics... I took the painkiller about two hours ago, and seeing that I can actually sit down and type this out, looks like it is working indeed... we'll see how the rest of it goes though...

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Poetry, Not the City

The radio played Baba O'reilly
I started thinking "Oh my God, really?";
     In the mp3 player I ignore it
     Because it's too cool for keeping fit,
Tantamount to munching on celery!

Edit: For secretagentwoman...
1. I'm obsessed by certain things, Baba O'reilley walks in and out of my obsession list several times a year. It gets worse whenever I hear it on the radio
2. I've been also fretting that I had not written a limerick since 2004. Almost 6 years later, I do.
3. I never said I was totally sane ;) 

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Of Tigers and Cherubic Roman Gods

Disclaimer: Procrastination alert ahead... be careful before you tread ;)

An old friend once remarked to me that her parents would love to have me as their kid as I voluntarily dressed in red or pink occasionally, as red was always the chosen colour for festivals like Chinese New Year. I recalled her comment with a small smile as I typed the text message wishing her a Happy Chinese New Year on Sunday, wondering how 'red' her new clothes for the new year would be. She almost always picks maroon in varying shades instead of the bright red most people usually wear.

This year happens to be the year of the tiger, the animal that skulks quietly as it hunts for prey or the one that yawns lazily in the zoo. The picture above was taken in the tiger park at Tambun, near feeding time, which is probably why you can see them. Otherwise, they'd be probably hiding behind that fake contraption. A book I'm reading now, the QI Book of General Ignorance states that the country with the largest number of these gorgeous animals happen to be the United States of America, mostly from zoos and in some people's private collection. Seriously?

I've always had a fascination for tigers for some reason, ever since I was a kid, and was internally tormented at the fact that they were illegally hunted for their skin, or hurt when they ventured into human settlements despite the fact that them venturing into the human settlements are usually caused by us in the first place as they themselves have been deprived of roaming space, and as I recently heard, even caught for food! (Ugh!!) Solitary creatures need their space.

Sunday was also Valentines Day, a day celebrated for it's connection with 'love' and the cherubic roman god known as Cupid. And although things like love is supposed to be celebrated everyday (excuse me while I cringe as I write this), this day still gets all the glamour and all, and if you're in the situation where making any bookings or reservations would be a lost cause because you're flying solo, there's nothing better than to sit in front of your laptop or computer and shoot arrows to make lonely people less lonely. It's probably even good karma!

(You gotta click on the link - the picture is only for decoration)
http://www.miniclip.com/games/loves-arrow/en/

Monday, February 15, 2010

Pass me the bear spray please...

It was somewhere in the not so final vestiges of the month known as January, where days flew past you and weekends were spent bonding with cousins over activities that were either in the form of a movie in the cineplex despite the crowds or promises to play Risk. Somehow, the idea of the movie got the popular vote instead of Risk, and we somehow found ourselves seated in the cool cineplex watching a movie because we wanted to watch a movie, and not exactly the particular movie (although all of us agreed to the movie due to not having much choice)

It's been awhile since I've seen a romantic comedy in the cineplex, well, not since the second Bridget Jones movie and I wonder if it is purely me being more cynical as I grow older or that I just wasn't that into the movie although I suppose I laughed at the 'inappropriate moments' with the rest of the crowd. The storyline was just normal... everything you thought would happen happened (maybe in varying degrees), the so-called romantic dialogue was cheesy, an acceptable level of comedy whilst the acting (by the leads) was mediocre at best, the worst crime being them having a complete lack of chemistry. In fact, I could say that the whole movie was saved by the appearance of the grizzly bear and the lead actor's minor obsession with bear spray! However, it could all be blamed on prejudice as well, seeing that I never particularly liked the female lead.

Nevertheless, the movie was somewhat entertaining - the comedic parts especially, which unfortunately portrayed our British lead actor as a hopelessly helpless milksop... but there was nothing really moving or thought provoking (which makes me wonder if romantic comedies ever give you something profound to think about, or to discover about yourself)... Well, maybe I was just expecting too much.

I've attached the trailer here, mainly for the grizzly bear (1:42 and beyond...) 


Saturday, February 13, 2010

Of late night journeys into the recesses of the mind

Sometimes you don't notice the obvious until someone points it out to you, especially when it's late at night and everything else is quiet around you. It's like having someone crack open an egg and explain the patterns on the shell where it's cracked, and point out how the yolk and white feels different to the touch... it's something you knew subconsciously deep down inside but never paid attention to, but you're sort of seeing it again, in a whole new light... maybe through their eyes. Or something like that...

I was having a late night/early morning online conversation with a friend earlier today, and among other things we spoke about was how the human mind is wired, how it works... forever seeking for patterns in order for us to make a decision, or to find the answers to something. Well, he was doing most of the explanation and I was more of the 'listener', nodding in agreement in my little corner of the planet whilst he expounded his thoughts from his little corner of the planet. This whole thing made me realise that searching for patterns is indeed what I did/still do when trying to solve a problem at work... It has always been the same old problem solving technique, asking those questions of who, when , how, why, where ??? And trying to place them under the same old categories used by everyone, using the same old analysis methods that leads you nowhere... and why?

Because, maybe just maybe there is no pattern. The tools lead you to make the assumption that there is a pattern, and you end up identifying a wrong root cause and taking the wrong countermeasures, which of course does not solve the problem and so it happens again. I mentioned some issues we were facing in this post, and sadly, they keep occurring much to the dismay of B and me.

This revelation of course brings about a whole new dilemma, because your investigation results will definitely be greeted with raised eyebrows if you don't use the 'proper and tested problem solving tools' But seriously, what if those tools are simply that... tools created because it worked for some cases 30 years ago? It would be very interesting to find out if you can identify the cause of the problem using a whole different approach (according to my friend, you'd need a mad genius for that, or simply being a mad genius wouldn't be too bad either). It is of course something to think about... and something I plan to attack when I get back to work...

Friday, February 12, 2010

Brain Exercise

This is a little quiz I got via e-mail from my boss... Had some fun doing it and figured that I'd share it here for those who may be interested... You know, kind of exercise the brain with something other than the same old work/study related stuff....

 If:
2 + 3 = 10
7 + 2 = 63
6 + 5 = 66
8 + 4 = 96

Then:  9 + 7 = ???


PS: I've enabled comment moderation for this post for at least the next 24 hours or until a new post surfaces as I suppose people who comment (if they choose to) will be giving answers (things lose their fun element when you know the actual answer beforehand)
Edit: Turns out comment moderation is applied to all posts! Yikes! 

Thursday, February 11, 2010

T-Shirt Friday: Versatile Chemical Engineers

I kinda said I'd do this in the comments section of Saby's blog the other day, and since I remembered it in time, I figured why the hell not... after all, this particular T-shirt will be turning 10 in a few months time and used to be one of my favourite tees when I still used to use them... I don't fancy wearing tees these days, and even if I do, they're always the fitted kind and rarely come with smart and snappy sentences I wish I had thought of before they were printed on the said tee.


Other than that, most of the T-shirts I own are usually tees from special events at work such as the official family day T-shirt (I have three so far), or even when we got the TS certification, etc... Talking about tees, I was incredibly pissed at someone at work yesterday (I don't really know whom I should be pissed at because I don't know who the culprit is) because this person took a tee that was meant for me (HR put the tees in a bag for each department and had a list of who gets what size, but by the time I dropped by the main office to pick up my tee - one of the 3 sized S, the steno said that someone had taken mine and all that were left were the XXLs!) This was yet another special events tee, one to mark the 25th anniversary of a certain country's intervention in our automobile industry. Oh well... I just left it there, though... to rot, I hope! Thank goodness it looked kinda ugly.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Cough. Splutter. Ugh

This is the second week running that I have been 'offline' at nights, and I blame it all on the flu, which has now ceased being the flu, but has extended into a coughing marathon. The right side of my ribcage hurts so much now... all I gotta do is just wait for the left side of the ribcage to hurt for another 3 days or so, and then it will be the end of this current bout of sickness. I suppose the fact that practically everyone at work being sick too hasn't helped much. Self-imposed exile to the confines of the house worked over the weekend, but by Monday evening, it all got worse. I'm currently on the 4th packet of Fisherman's Friend (I bought the last packet at the convenience store at the petrol station this morning, so you can imagine the number of people out there who may be carrying a packet or two in their pockets now)

Ugh...

Thursday, February 04, 2010

If You Fall, I Will Catch You

I suppose it must have been in the far away days of the Triassic period when I first found out that I had fallen in love with him. The reason was never really clear, but then, when it comes to these things, what is? All I remember is that he had a sort of intense, albeit comical hatred for almost everyone and everything around him, accusing them of being phony and all that. I did find that particularly endearing. Of course this was way after the Permian period of my life when all idealistic thoughts of the knight in shining armour had been thrown away and flushed into the nearest toilet.

Alas, it went all unrequited due to the fact that he was only 16, and above all, a fictional character who went by the name Holden Caulfield, a fragment of the imagination of a man who was known as JD Salinger.

I had found out last Friday that JD Salinger had died, not as surprising as me finding out that he had been alive all this while, although I do remember reading about him some time ago, where I found out that he led a  reclusive life, and pointedly refused to allow the Catcher in the Rye to be made into a movie. How did the fact of him being alive escape me? I must admit that I was rather appalled at one of the articles about him where it states that he probably has a few unpublished works which they hope to look for (and do what, may I ask?) Yes, The Catcher in the Rye may have been splendid, but if someone wants to keep their manuscripts to themselves, then that's the way it should be. Dead or alive.

Anyway, it's been almost a week, and I have forgotten what was my objective of starting out this post... (the flu had prevented me from thinking very clearly this past one week, I'm afraid) and I leave you with this link which you may enjoy, or not.

Monday, February 01, 2010

The Flu - A Haiku

Sapped up energy,
Spinning tops, dancing dragons
Oh flu, leave me be