Goodbye 2017, Hello 2018!

Every year, there seemed to have an entry on resolutions in the draft state – and never gets published.

Why do people make resolutions? I guess the process does make one feel better. Like what I plan (or rather, want) to achieve for the new year.

I don’t remember what resolutions I’ve made over these years. And that’s partly because I’ve never really set my mind to achieve them at all. The focus always gets lost in the process.

Looking back at 2017 (nope I don’t think I’ve made any resolutions for the year), the year seemed to have gone well.

The first half year was hectic, when mum fell and broke both the bones in her lower left leg on 27 Dec 2016 (the date is etched in memory). Spent the first 2 months shuffling between home – office – hospital. We placed her in community hospital after her operation as there was no one to take care of her at home, and it was easier for her as she can go for physiotherapy frequently. When she was discharged from the community hospital a few days before CNY, it was again another mad rush to plan duty roster. Those weeks were terrible. I guess everyone in the family felt strained. We couldn’t leave her alone at home as her leg was still in cast, that meant our social lives got affected in a way. Thankfully she has recovered and can now walk without support!

2017 also saw me taking many leaps of faith.

Music Theory Grade 4
While I postponed my guitar LCM grade 4 exam (using mum as an excuse hehe), I took ABRSM theory grades 4 (in March) and 5 (in October). It was crazy rushing through the syllabus for both the grades. Was supposed to take grade 3, but I’d completed almost all the past year papers for grade 3 and there was still a few months before the exam, so I took up the challenge of taking grade 4 instead. Managed to rush through the syllabus and attempted 3 years worth of past year papers (each year has 4 papers). Stressful period as it was my first attempt at taking music theory exam. Thankfully I managed to scrape through with a distinction!

Music Theory Grade 5
It was the default route to take grade 5 after that. Again, I took up the challenge of taking the exam within the same year – with only 6 months to prepare. I had zero confidence, as I had limited time to do revision (plus I kept skipping classes). This time round, I didn’t even manage to complete 1 year’s worth of past year papers. I went into the exam hall with the expectation of just passing the paper, but then in my mind I kept thinking “who on earth take music exams at age 36 and only want to pass?”. Somemore music is something that I’ve been wanting to learn since young. Fate has it that I scraped through the paper with another distinction again. haha!

Visit to Sydney
In May, I’ve also made my virgin trip to Australia! Always loved cold weather so Australia was the best place during that period! After weeks of picking and choosing, Sydney was the only decided location as we couldn’t squeeze in Melbourne without making it a rush trip. With this trip, I’ve satisfied my “craving” to visit Sydney Opera house and see koalas!

Sydney Opera House
Sydney Opera House (night view)

I’d love to visit Sydney again!

Embarking on the Masters journey
After a 10 year hiatus from school, I’m back as a full-time student again! Embarking on a Masters journey isn’t easy. I might have pushed myself too hard by taking modules that were out of my capabilities. Nevertheless, it had been a good semester and I’m looking forward to the next!

Mayday concert 2017 五月天LIFE人生无限公司 巡回 新加坡站
I have a particular liking for these 2 photos. No idea why. 起点是那平凡的成长.

五月天 – 起点是那平凡的成长
五月天 - 人生有限,和你们的约定无限

In summary, 2017 had been a good year (despite being down for a week due to UTI)! The year has proven that if you set your mind to achieve something that’s out of your capabilities, you’ll be able to achieve it!

Resolutions for 2018
I don’t think I’d want to set any resolutions, they’ve never been met anyway. Maybe I’ll list my wants instead.

  1. Complete my postgrad peacefully
  2. Resume a language course (still can’t decide whether to resume Japanese or Korean)
  3. Attend Mayday overseas concert (hardcore!!)
  4. Start investing

I think it’s a long list, but it should be achievable (only for the first one hahaha!).

One more hour to 2018. Happy New Year everyone! Let’s discard all the bad and grab all the good!

The case of the missing money

I have a habit of shifting money around in the bank account. The other day, I was doing “housekeeping” and realise I have an amount that has mysteriously disappeared.

Background Story on OCBC Goal Savings Feature

OCBC 360 account has this goal savings feature that allows you to “lock up” your money. Super love this feature as it allows me to set aside a sum automatically every month for different purposes – insurance payment or travel.

OCBC Goals

When the goal has been setup (the setup process is quite tricky if you’re not familiar with how it works, I’ll skip it for now), you’ll have the options to edit the goal (changing the goal amount/duration or goal deletion) or add/withdraw money.

OCBC – goal in progress

When the savings for a particular goal is completed, you’ll be given the option to cash out. You can also choose to leave it alone – further fundings to the goal are stopped automatically.

OCBC – goal cash out

How It All Started

Last week, I was adjusting my goals so I made several goal deletions and creations. When I was taking a break from the process, I don’t know what made me tally the amount that I had.

There are two amounts shown – Total Balance and Available Balance. Total Balance is the total amount that you have, including those in the goals. Available Balance is the amount that is touchable, i.e. the amount you can withdraw via ATM or do bill payments from – this amount does not include amount that you have set aside in the goals.

When you have no goals set, these two amounts should (and MUST) tally. It didn’t tally that night when I deleted all the goals I had set previously.

A friend suggested I drop the bank a message via their Facebook page, as it’s faster to get a response compared to their internal secure email. And that was what I did. At 1.30am on 15 Dec (Friday).

Received a Facebook message reply from them (someone named DG) at 1130am, requesting for my contact number so they can arrange a Customer Service rep to contact me. I replied only at 4+ that day, as I didn’t have my phone with me.

To my surprise, I got a call almost immediately after I gave them my contact number. Thanks DG for the prompt action! After understanding my situation, the CS rep (Kalai) explained that this happened because I didn’t withdraw the funds from the goal before deleting it, and requested a screenshot of the goals section (the first image in this post) as evidence that I do not have any goals setup and that the missing amount is indeed mine and not held somewhere. I was told once he receives it, he’ll immediately send it to their IT team to release the money back to my account.

Coming from a fellow programmer, I don’t understand the business logic behind goal deletion. If goals are deleted, shouldn’t the funds be automatically withdrawn and credited into the account? From the user experience perspective, there should be minimal steps for the user to complete a task. So it makes perfect sense for the withdrawal to be automated.

So I sent it in via the bank’s internal secure email as requested by the CS rep. That was at 5pm. On a Friday.

The following days, I logged in to check religiously. I started to lose faith as I thought it’s dragging too long ($1.5k is not a huge amount but it’s still money right..). [ Thinking back now, I’d like to believe they had to do some checks before releasing the money. In case of fraud cases. So that 3 working days (excluding weekend) of waiting is understandable. ]

Finally on Wednesday 20th, the two amounts tallied! Imagine my joy! At that instant, I’m a happy woman again and decided I shan’t complain anymore since my money is back! (At this instant, there was no email reply for the screenshot I’d sent in earlier.)

Fast forward to Christmas Day morning 10am. I received miss calls from the bank. That made me wonder if something had gone wrong with the money or my account. So I picked up the call when it rang again.

Turned out, it was Kalai who called to inform that the money has been released and credited back to my account. This came as a surprise! I was only expecting a reply via the internal secure email, not a phonecall. And it’s Christmas Day when everyone is out enjoying themselves!

Thanks Kalai for making my day early in the morning! And DG for the prompt replies too!

Lesson learnt from this episode. If you have to delete your goals, remember to withdraw the funds first!

Humidifier vs Diffuser

Someone sent an image of a humidifier in a WhatsApp group today. The group’s topic is on essential oils, so my natural instinct told me a humidifier has nothing to do with essential oils. And I was right.

Did a quick search on google on the differences between a humidifier and a diffuser.

“A humidifier maintains a level of moisture in the room area.”

“Diffusers are used for diffusing the essential oils into the air for aromatherapy purposes.”

To the naked eye, both might be performing the same function, but their purposes are essentially different.

To the extent of my knowledge, generally, one do not need humidifiers in Singapore – given that it is quite humid here. However, if you are often in an aircon room, you might want to consider getting a humidifier in the room as the air is dry. Dry air is often a cause of dry skin and can trigger bacterial/viral problems (No I don’t have any academia reference materials, this is purely my understanding – studied too much, must always put references). A humidifier introduces moisture into the air.

On the other hand, a diffuser introduces essential oil (particles?) into the air. Both may sound the same but I believe the technology for both are different. I read it somewhere that if you put essential oil into the humidifier, you might end up spoiling the humidifier instead.

If I may confuse you, don’t confuse these two with air purifiers. It’s another technology altogether! :’)

Birthdays and Obligations

Sometimes, we feel obliged to do things. Do you get the same feeling too?

Everytime Facebook reminds you who are the friends having their birthday, do you feel obliged to send a “Happy Birthday” message?

If you chose not to send it, do you feel guilty after that? It’s like.. “Facebook has reminded me and threw the reminder onto my face. Cannot don’t send leh.. but if I send, the friend also won’t think I’m sincere since Facebook sent the reminders.”

But if you sent it, have you done it willingly? Do you sincerely wish the person has a happy birthday?

This question on obligations was asked during a class last week, when we were on the topic of Social Interactions. There are no rights and wrongs, it’s about how humans react when situations happen.

Since we’re on the topic on birthdays, I wonder how many of us actually remembers our friends’ birthdays.

So I did an experiment – to see who are the friends who really remembers my birthday. Judging from previous years’ experience, on average there were about 100~150 wishes via Facebook.

Last year, I hid my birthday info a day before the actual day. Other than the few close(r) friends who texted me via whatsapp, there were only a handful who sent me wishes via Facebook.

This year, I did the same experiment again – hiding the info a day before the actual day. On the day itself, 1 message came in via Facebook and a few via whatsapp. When I set the info visible a day after the actual day, that’s when more messages came in.

No, I don’t feel sad about it at all. I don’t feel like I’ve been forgotten. When one gets older, priorities change. Plus the fact that we have become so reliant on technology, we tend to forget things that we used to be able to recall with the snap of our fingers.

Back to the topic on obligations. I’ve also not been sending birthday wishes on Facebook the past months. I don’t want to seen as “aiya confirm is Facebook remind one..”.

That reminds me of an exchange student in my class who said I’m rude and that I should at least pretend to say hi when I see him along the corridors – but then why should I when I’m not sincere and when he wasn’t in my field of sight? Should I yell across the corridor if I do see him at the other end then?

I digressed. Happy belated birthday to myself! And happy birthday to everyone whose birthday falls on the 365/366 days of the year!

Age is catching up

Feeling discouraged. Some minor events that happened recently are hitting me quite badly. Lost the confidence of doing things right.

Anyway, I sat by the laptop wanting to do some readings for the assignment, but ended up doing my own administrative work (legit admin work! need to sort out finance stuff).

Looking back, blogging feels so yester-years. I feel old to be writing this post now. Maybe it’s time to look at the closure of the blog.

One of those days

One of those days you wish you’re not alone. You wish you have someone to share your thoughts with. You wish you have someone by your side. 

Cab woes

2 weeks ago, I had an unhappy encounter with a cab driver.

I booked a cab and had to wait 10 minutes for the cab to arrive. When I went downstairs 10 minutes later (I saw from the app that the driver was reaching), the cab has already reached and was waiting at where my lift lobby is.

Usually I’ll just walk down the stairs from the lift lobby to carpark, but that day the workers were doing painting works to my block and they cordoned up the stairway, so I had to walk to the other end of the block which wasn’t cordoned before I could walk to the cab. It would have just taken me probably an extra 1minute. But just as I reached the end of the block and entered the carpark, I saw the driver driving away. Thinking he might be driving around the carpark trying to search for me, I didn’t give it much thought and attempted to walk faster.

Sadly, the cab exited the carpark. I ran. And called the driver. But he/she didn’t pick up. (Could have been my fault as I didn’t call using the number I used to make the booking.)

Being the good tempered me, I was waiting for the driver to cancel my booking (which most drivers do by indicating a no-show). Interestingly, there was no booking cancellation but a valid taxi ride showed up instead. I was charged for a 0km ride. I thought.. “hmm ok. at least the driver indicated payment was by cash. if it had been charged to my credit card (which was indicated as payment method when I booked the cab), I’ll definitely lodge a complain!”

So I booked another cab again. To my horror, I couldn’t use my regular promo code! Turned out that the code can only be used once a day and my quote had been used up by the previous driver who “charged” me for the 0km ride.

I managed to book another cab – without the promo code. And it was another 10mins of wait.

Feeling indignant in paying the $3.30 which I could have saved, I wrote in to the cab provider telling them my encounter (but didn’t specifically ask for the waiver). Had not received reply from them for 2 weeks, I’d long forgotten about the encounter. Finally received a reply email today, informing me my incident has been recorded in his service records.

While they didn’t offer to waive the $3.30, I can only remind myself that not everything will go as planned. You always need to have a give-and-take attitude, a mindset that helps to keep you in a happier mood.

The Singapore Landscape

Night Landscape of Singapore

Sometime in December last year, we brought the APG Boccia international referees out to discover some parts of Singapore.

While we were sending them back to their hotel, I couldn’t help but to stop and admire our beautiful landscape.

Welcoming the 2016 year of the Monkey

January 2016 came and gone in a flash.

Work was busy with the Future of Us Exhibition, and.. there seems to be nothing else worth mentioning. Doesn’t sound like a good sign, but well life still goes on.

I was contemplating a resolution post a while back, but I’ve come to realise that I’ve never fulfilled any from those that I’ve made in the past years.

Nevertheless, after a year of delay, I’m finally taking my guitar LCM Grade 3 practical exam this April! Feeling excited coz it’s my first time taking music exam!

When life has reached some form of stability, one needs to constantly find things to look forward to. Time to relook at priorities and possibly shift the focus somewhere?

Looking back at 2015, I’m glad there were no major hiccups. Counting the blessings that I had been having at work. Seriously can’t wish for more, it’s more than what I have asked for.

The year of Monkey will be good, if not better. It’s only 2 days away!

This year I decided to DIY some decorative items.

Red lantern for the office
Tangerines for the tv console at home