Monday, September 3, 2007

well looks like this blog has been shot down in flames and died

Thursday, August 2, 2007

wiki tiki wiki

I've been working on my class wiki website --- hey, it's kinda fun! I'm beginning to get the hang of it!

My coursemate, however, seems to be technologically challenged and she is driving me up the wall! To begin with, I had to make the wiki site suggestion (because she probably didn't even bother to try out any wiki sites --- too busy lah... like I have nothing better to do with my time!) and I set up the site and sent out the invite to her to join the website. All she has to do is create an account and jump right in... and guess what happens.... she emails me (and oh, snail mail gets to me faster than her emails) and tells me that she didn't get an invite. I checked the system and saw that the invite has been sent out to her but she has yet to accept it. Technology challenged people drive me up the wall!!! In today's day and age, one should be able to follow what I consider idiot proof instructions (and websites normally come with idiot proof instructions). Last week, when I asked her if she was technology friendly, she said that she was. I guess it is all very relative... many would think that being able turn on a computer is being technology savvy...

On the subject of emails, I asked her why she wasn't getting back to me when I emailed her and her answer was " Oh, I only check my email when I know that someone has emailed me". Okay, how would one know if anyone at all has emailed them if they don't check their email account??? Do such people get smoke signals or see lightning bolts when there is new mail in their inboxes??? Arrrggghhhh....... what is the whole point of having an email account and signing up for a class that uses technology as part of the coursework if you're a Digital Age Dinosaur and planning to remain in that mode for the rest of your life (and the next and the one after that as well)??? And oh, don't you dare think for a minute that this person is ancient because she is far from it. So tell me.... what gives??? I just don't get it!!!

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

power control vampire

It’s Wednesday again!!! How fast time flies! Wednesday is class day. K dropped this course that I’ve signed up for …thank God for that! I guess she dropped the course because she felt out of place --- she didn’t know enough about the subject matter to take over the class time. She's the sort of student who has a power control issue. You know, she’s the student who does all the talking in a class discussion while the rest go zzzzzzzzzz. I guess she missed the point --- it’s a class discussion and not a monologue. Sometimes, it can get to be very tiring especially when the class is at night and you really want to listen to what the lecturer has to say, exchange ideas with your coursemates on issues and go home. The last thing you want is a coursemate who is in love with her own voice and all she wants to do is talk!!! It’s a good thing that she dropped this course that I am on and it is a good thing that I decided to drop the other course which is offered right after this one (which only ends close to vampire hour --- 11 PM). I really liked that course but the idea of it being so late (and having to wake up early the next morning to get to work) and she being there made me reconsider taking that course this semester.

K works in the city centre in an oil and gas company. She says that she’s taking this course “Just to kill time”. She seems to be big on Korea --- all her illustrations seem to be drawn from Korea. She did her undergrad degree in the same university that she is now pursuing her masters in. Mind you, she attended the night classes as a matured student for three years and those classes ran from 8 to 11 PM from Mondays to Fridays. Yes, you can see that she is no stranger to vampire hour classes. In fact, who know…she many well be a vampire herself!!!

What I don't get is why would anyone want to pursue something like linguistics when one is not planning on practicing it? Why bother coming for night classes unless it’s gonna do something for your career advancement? I don’t know….she could be a professional student of some sort. The kind that are put on this planet to make life difficult for the rest of us part-time students.

Me? I’m pursuing my masters because I think I’ll make me a better educator. When I’m more knowledgeable, I’ll be able to guide my students better. Simple.

I'm sick in bed with a fever of 40 degrees

No blog till I am well again

Tuesday, July 31, 2007


I’ve been ignoring text messages and phone calls from this certain member of the male species. He texted me twice and rang me up four times yesterday --- once in the afternoon, twice at night and once in the wee early hours of the morning, waking me up from snoozy woozy land in a mad panic thinking that there was an emergency (God forbid). I didn’t reply any of his text messages or answer any of his calls. I had a hard time trying to get back to snoozy woozy land after that rude, untimely and unasked for wake up call at 1:30 AM and as a result of that, feel kind of zombie-like this morning.

He texted me again this morning. He doesn’t seem to get it that although he may be having the hots for me, the feeling is certainly NOT mutual.

He told me that he is so sure that I’m “the one” for him and that he loves me (this after having seen me only ONCE --- I fear to think what he would be like if I saw him twice --- man would probably be sleeping in front of my door!). To that remark of his, I replied that I’m so sure that he is NOT the one for me. I have since tried many ways to lose him. I started out by telling him subtlely at first, thought that I would let him down gently. You know, I’m really a nice person and I don’t go around hurting others’ feelings but that approach didn’t seem to work. So I tried the direct approach and told this joe in his face that he better wipe out any strange ideas he may be having of an “us’’ coz it just ain’t happening, not in this lifetime nor the next!!! He was very quiet and looked hurt by what I said and I walked away happily thinking that I managed to drive the point home into that thick skull of his --- mission accomplished!!! But noooo apparently, that didn’t work too because less than 24 hours later, he not only texts me, he calls my number!!! In fact, if anything at all, he kind of gained momentum after that attempt of mine of telling him directly that NOOOOOOO, it is NOT going to happen!!!

I don’t get it. How thick skinned can anyone be??? Doesn’t he have some sense of pride and self worth??? I have NEVER met one as stubborn (or could he possibly have been dropped on the head when he was young and be brain damaged?) as he. Looks like I’m going to have a hard time shaking this one off.

I now cringe when my phone rings. I am fearful of seeing his name blinking on the screen of my phone. Thank god those things come with a silence mode. Sigh… what did I do in my last lifetime to deserve this, I wonder…

Monday, July 30, 2007

Gainful employment

Some people are sticklers for rules. They have a rule for everything and everything has a rule……… This attribute tends to be even more apparent in big conglomerates / MNC’s due to their nature and size. The problem with this is it tends to stifle creativity, at least, within certain elements of the company I am working with. If there isn’t a rule or procedure to cover a particular scenario it either gets ignored or …and there is some expertise involved with this ………it gets passed to someone else to become their problem……usually someone lower down the food chain.
There are people who are what I term as careerorists or more perhaps more fittingly, career guerilla’s or career prostitutes. They play the rules with intention of doing as little work as possible, while s*itting on others with the sole purpose of climbing the ladder – not to do any work mind – just climb the ladder. In fact some spend more time and effort working out how to get out of doing some meaningful work, than they would expend actually doing it. (Fortunately this only applies to a relatively small segment of the workforce.)
The company has a very “fulfilling” training program whereby if you get the right boxes ticked, you are nudged up a grade along with a small increase in salary and a bigger coffee mug. It has been observed that some managers spend hours during office time doing or revising for these “improvement” programs but little real work is done in the meantime.
It seems that there is any number of tactics in which to avoid work in “big corporate”. One of the more popular ones is meetings but there are others such as “training”, “seminars” and “expo’s” . One of the worse is the teleconference. Or in other words “places where nothing happens and nothing gets done”. I have been monitoring some of the fellows to see what they have achieved over the last 12 months and to be frank it’s not much …other than to heat up the atmosphere further.
Here’s how meetings go. Each of the people round the table expresses their opinion on a particular subject (they are all referring to the same subject and have been for the last 12 months), however each of these opinions is completely different. Then, “The Claw” (Wiki it) — and it’s always “The Claw” — says some crap like: “Well, we’re outside the box here with a new kind of polemic situation and we can’t know what the result will be until we’ve run the flag up the flagpole and seen which way the wind’s blowing and ensure we are all singing from the same hymn sheet.”
Plainly you want to argue with this, but as you draw breath to speak you realize that what he just said didn’t make any sense. And anyway, he hasn’t finished.
“It’s mission critical that we use blue sky thinking and that we’re positively proactive, not negatively reactive, if we’re to come up with a ballpark figure that we can bring to the table.”
Again, you raise a finger to make a point. But you don’t know what that point might be.
“We must maintain a client focus so that we can incentivise the team and monetise the deliverables, and only then can we take it to the next level.”
You wince as you bite your tongue to stop yourself from saying: “I’m sorry but wtf are you on about?”
As you walk out the meeting your head is spinning and, you wonder why it was necessary to have the meeting at all. Nothing was achieved except the consumption of time and a general feeling from my colleagues that they had fulfilled their contract of employment in a positively proactive way.
In a quest to try and alleviate the boredom, a friend and I heard of a way to make meetings more interesting - at least for us. We would give each other the name of a rock band before the meeting and then we’d compete to see how many of their song titles we could lob into the conversation without anyone noticing.
That’s why, the other week, my contribution to the meeting was : “We finish on the 31 December so All is Quiet on New Years Day. I Will Follow but I Still Haven’t Found What I Am Looking For With or Without You (U2 in case you didn’t know) And do you know what? Nobody batted an eyelid.
And nor did anyone cotton on when my friend replied by saying: “We are the Champions. Don’t Stop Me Now, Under Pressure I Want to Break Free” (Queen). But I even grew bored of this as I can’t get no satisfaction…. Ha ha ha sorry!
Conference calls are another great consumer of time and a tool for the justification of existence. After all its quite often the only opportunity to have some interaction with the big cheeses at HQ and it gives a lovely warm glowing feeling that you believe they are actually aware of your being – even if they do keep getting your name wrong. Teleconferences are exactly like a normal meeting in that nothing happens and nothing gets done and everyone talks rubbish but you don’t have to sit there, remembering not to fall asleep. There are many other interesting things to do such as counting the number of floor tiles and multiplying it with the number of ceiling tiles. I can also play with my PDA and no one will know. At the end I can be content that my colleagues will think I have put a sterling effort in and somehow this alleviates my guilt when I cash my paycheck at the end of the month.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

the "i did okay" frame of mind

A couple of days ago, I had the pleasure of sitting down with an MBA student over a cup of coffee. He was a foreign student who was sponsored by his company to pursue his MBA in one of the private higher learning institutions here. This is his second semester and in his first semester, he enrolled in only two modules. Now, let me tell you that as a full time student, enrolling yourself in two modules really means that you're here for a holiday. Enrollment in two courses are for people who have full time jobs and are taking the MBA as part-time students.

Anyway... I got around to asking him how he performed in his first semester. His response to that question was, " I did okay". So, me being me, I had to ask him what his definition of "okay" was. He said. "Well, you know, it was okay". I just looked at him with this look that said,"Yes....and what are "okay" grades???". He squirmed around in his chair before he said that he made Cs in BOTH courses. I don't get it... you know, I always thought that you did your first degree because you didn't know any better and were probably there to make mom and dad happy with the thought that you are getting some sort of higher education (although you had absolutely NO idea what you were doing). In contrast to that, pursuing a post graduate degree is a matter of personal choice. Mom and dad are no longer breathing down your neck and spending sleepless nights wondering if you're going to survive the four years of education and eventually graduate (a VERY big thing in the asian culture). Pursuing a post graduate degree means that this is something that you WANT to do... that you are intrinsically motivated to do it.

Okay, I'm going to tell you something about what I know about private higher learning institutions and how they all generally operate --- getting a C- in any post graduate module is the equivalent of a FAIL but they can't fail you as they want your money (what are they going to do if they have standards and students just drop out? It's all about generating income. Getting an education? Whoever said that it was anything to do with that???). So what they do is they give you a C- instead so that you will stay with them for the duration of the whole course (KA-CHING goes the till!).

Getting a C- in any post graduate course is a waste of time. It is the equivalent of telling the whole wide world out there that you are a waste of time. Why this guy seems cool about it is a absolute wonder! This semester, he informs me, he is enrolled in four modules...anyone want to guess how he's going to perform this time around???