XM Week

Before I left house for my walk just now, I had things that I wanted to blog about. But now that I’m back home, sitting by the laptop, I had to think hard what exactly did I want to write about. Somehow that “feeling” to write disappeared with that 200 calories from the walk. 😉

So, I went to watch 7 letters last night. Consisting of short films by 7 local film writers, all the short stories talked about racial harmony and reminiscing the olden days. Such artistic films are not meant for everyone I’d say. Gets quite boring after a while. But in one of the short stories, there was an invisible ninja cutting onions beside me. 😛

This week had been an “XM” week. Met CF for dinner on Mon, Carolyn S for dinner + movie on Tues, Bee for lunch today. Now I’m thinking who to meet tomorrow. Hehe..

XM Family Reunion

Been a while since I updated this blog. Procrastination got the better of me for the past few months, plus there wasn’t any interesting stories to be shared.

August had been a good month – it’s always good when finances are cleared. Can finally heave a sigh of relief! Many people had been telling me that financial planning is important, but I kept ignoring it as instant cash deems more important to me. So two months back, I decided to take the plunge. Now I am finger crossing everything will work out smoothly in the years to come.

And (financial) luck had been good this month too! Been a while since I last striked Toto and 4D. Hehe :)

On a random note, if you’ve been a friend of mine for years, you might know the reason why I rejoined XM in 2007. There were several factors of course, but the main factor was that I had such a good time during my short 3 months stint with them in 2003. The culture and the environment XM had was something that I wanted then.

So you can imagine my happiness when the then-CFO initiated an XM Reunion! Initially I was skeptical, for there were many people whom I do not know since I was only there for a short while. I almost “abandoned” the meet-up for a JB-durian trip with the colleagues (which we abandoned the plan because we didn’t have enough sign-ups), and am so glad I didn’t!

It was so good catching up with the ex-XMers after so long! Some of whom I’ve not seen when I left in 2003 (and they had left when I rejoined in 2007).

It is indeed rare for co-workers to have such bonds! I feel so blessed to have been part of it.

So good to see everyone again! I’m now looking forward to the next XM Reunion!

XM Family Reunion 2015
XM Family Reunion 2015

Rest well, Mr Lee Kuan Yew

I have never met you in real life – you’re a figure I’ve read only in my Social Studies & History textbooks.

When news was out that you have been hospitalised since February 5, speculations on whether you were leaving us were flying around. When the Prime Minister’s Office started giving updates on a daily basis, we knew that time is nearing.

We knew that you will leave us sooner or later – death is part & parcel of life. Yet when news broke on March 23 that you passed away peacefully, we were all saddened.

Every year during the national day parade, I’d always look forward to your arrival. This year’s celebration will be different without you.

Throughout the week, I cried. Especially when articles about the other side of you were being shared on the social media platforms – a side that was unknown to many of us. Especially when articles on how strongly you fought for us ever since you took office in 1959 were shared.

“I have spent my life, so much of it, building up this country. There’s nothing more that I need to do. At the end of the day, what have I got? A successful Singapore. What have I given up? My life.” – Lee Kuan Yew

No words can describe my gratitude for the sacrifices you have made for us. I’ll never have the chance to thank you in person, for allowing me to reap the rewards that you have sowed.

“My definition of an educated man is a man who never stops learning and wants to learn.” – Lee Kuan Yew

One of your many quotes in your speech in February 1977 on education. It’s also a quote that I’ve been following – 活到老学到老 (translate – learn as you age). I’ll continue to stand by it for as long as I can.

Rest well Mr Lee. It is somehow a relief that you are now reunited with Mrs Lee, the love of your life. Don’t worry about leaving us behind, we’ll continue to stay united and become the Singapore that you have visioned.

2015-03-25 11.51.59-2

while queueing at the padang to pay our last respects
while queueing at the padang to pay our last respects
one of the beautiful sights part of his creation
one of the beautiful sights part of his creation

2015-03-28 02.08.55

after 7hrs in an orderly queue
after 7hrs in an orderly queue, we’re finally at the Parliament House

RIP XM

It’s official.

My previous company, where I stayed for 6 months before I left for further studies in 2003, and 6 years as my first job after graduation in 2007, has been merged with many other agencies worldwide to form a new agency.

I remember being excited when an ex-colleague from iT21 sent me a jobstreet link about an opening at XM Asia Pacific Pte Ltd. Back in 2003, after 2 years being a multimedia programmer, I wanted to move on to doing something related to the internet. Something which I was very interested in as it was an IN thing and I had a Diploma in Internet Computing. So when this job opening came about, I hopped on. After 2 rounds of interview, I finally fulfilled one of my dreams of working in the advertising industry – as a webmaster.

It was a short stint, as I decided to go for further studies (which was in my plan after graduating with a diploma in 2001) when NTU offered me a place. Even as an undergrad, I often went back to do freelance. You can imagine how passionate I was about the internet. And how I love that place – the environment, the culture. Sadly, when school workload increased (plus I had many other commitments), I stopped working freelance for them (partly also because the person I usually liaised with left the company).

Because I had such great memories at XM, I connected with my ex-supervisor few days before my final exams. So I rejoined XM as an Associate Consultant (Technology Solutions).

At the blink of the eye, I spent 5.5 years in XM – including a short 9 months stay at Hong Kong working on an overseas project.

Bittersweet memories I have of XM. Though I was worn out (as early as a few months into the job), I stayed on due to the passion towards it. I love the place. I love the colleagues.

Yesterday, it was officially announced that XM will be merged with many other agencies to form a new network.

Even though I’ve left for 2 years (decided to move on to pursue my other dream of working in the education industry), I still feel connected to XM in a way or another. It’s like once you’re a student of a school and takes part in many activities, you become attached to it. Though I have my grouses about this place, I’m still proud to have been a part of it.

RIP XM. You will be greatly missed. No matter what, you have a special place in my heart.

Who will be there

Logged in to the blog, hoping to get some inspiration and write something.

At the corner of the admin page, lie the many drafts that have left forgotten. Neglected.

And this caught my eye.

因为你的出现,我的生活有了小小的转泪点。

It was dated all the way back to 2013 September.

And I wondered why that line went unpublished.

I can’t remember why, but I can deduce why.

  • Some topics are within a stay-away zone, regardless within the blog or in real-life conversations.
  • I was (still is) concerned about how people see me as.
  • There was no inspiration to continue after writing that line.

All three are valid points, and possibly it was due to these factors combined.

For someone who thinks that she has always been doing the right thing (well, all humans do, don’t we?), it takes a lot of courage to face the negative side of ourselves. When people surrounding her points out the issues that she has been refusing to acknowledge, she tends to stay away from the topic. No one likes to admit they are wrong anyway.

For someone who likes to portray a good image to other people, sometimes it takes a while to decide if the boundary should be stepped on.

Some topics, though mentioned, were pretty cryptic in some of the blog posts. No I’m not trying to hide anything. I’m fighting very hard to resist the urge to share my thoughts, my feelings. It’s like having a secret that I want to share, but can’t because it’s supposed to be a secret. (Possibly why I have another blog locked up for such topics.)

And I’m keeping mum not because they are anything confidential. Because I don’t think anyone would be interested to know.

Or possibly because I’m embarrassed to share them.

But I guess as you grow older, the tolerance level of embarrassment goes up. Or simply 看开了.

Though sometimes I wonder, who would really be interested to know your inner thoughts? Who would be interested to know why a particular decision was made?

Possibly no one, except the one who is interested in you, as a whole.

2014 Reflections

It’s the time of the year where people will start posting on their reflections 2014 and/or resolutions for 2015.

Being an irregular blogger over these 2 years, I can’t remember if I did anything similar in 2013. Goes to show how irregular I’ve been blogging! (edit: I found a Goodbye 2013 post!)

Looking back, 2014 was eventful. Earlier this year, I wished for the ability to continue flipping the book. Though I didn’t get the opportunity to continue flipping, things were good while it lasted. :)

Earlier in the year, I started classes on classical guitar. Music has always been a passion. Guitar wasn’t the first instrument I wanted to learn (piano is!), it is an instrument that I think is easier to bring around when the occasion rises. 10 months now and I’m getting ready to take Grade 3 LCM Practical exam in April 2015! Prepared to fail but I’ll still try my best.

2014 was also a year of a few trips. As Jiawen was on an exchange at Bath (a 2 hours bus ride from London) in the first half of the year, 2 cousins (Jiayun & Wanxin) decided to make a trip to UK/Europe before Jiawen comes back in July (the main agenda of the trip was to help Jiawen bring her stuff back). Itinerary for this trip included London / Bath, Germany (Berlin / Munich) and Switzerland (Zurich / Lucerne / Jungfrau). We purposely included Germany because Leemei (another cousin of ours) is living in Berlin and we’ve not seen her since CNY! And I thought we can save a bit on accommodation if we bunk in at her place. hehehe 😛

I’ve yet sorted out the photos (procrastination wins), but the browsing of the photos is enough to make me want to go back again! Goal for 2016 perhaps?

That was the highlight of the year which happened in end May / June.

And in July, I was overseas again! Went to Malacca with J-Kai & his sister. This time round (I went Malacca with J-Kai & Jem in 2013 too), we covered new places that included the Peranakan Museum and popular eateries that were strongly recommended.

Sometime in August, there was a decision made to take on a 3-year gym membership with True Fitness. Few weeks later, I made the swop to become their lifetime member. To-date, I have been going for their classes regularly (grateful for the companion of my zumba khaki!). No regrets so far!

November was where I went Langkawi for the first time. It was also the first time I went overseas with my parents and the extended family via plane! Knowing how much I love kids, this trip allowed me to have some bonding with the 3 year old nephew and 7 month old niece.

It was also a month where I bought my own bowling ball. Thanks to peer influence of the colleagues.

In Dec, I went on to take up the (self-issued) challenge of running 10km at Standard Chartered Marathon Singapore. Despite not having done any training since the registration in Aug (I think), I still managed to clock 1:33:56 (compared to the last run in 2012 – which was also my first attempt – at 1:35:xx). Slight improvement in timing and I felt less lethargic after the run compared to 2 years ago. I guess the regular zumba classes helped!

As I did some searching on blog posts on resolutions for the past years, the one posted in 2013 for the summary of 2011/2012 sounded very sad. As I read the summary, I felt sorry for myself for not making the right decision earlier. The me now is definitely much healthier and happier! Whatever that had been killed in 2011/2012 are all coming back – photography, blogging (still not regular but at least better?). I love my current life! :)

Resolutions

I vaguely remembered I wanted to have some resolutions this time last year, but I think I didn’t jot it down because I knew that I wasn’t going to fulfil it/them. When I read that post in 2013, I realised that the resolutions listed there weren’t fulfilled (yes NONE at all!). So this year, I thought I’ll put some wants / wishes that I hope I can fulfil this year. Note the keyword – HOPE.

First on the list will be the driving license. It has been on my list since university days. I think I want to strike it off the list while I still can.

I also wish to have a highlight trip of the year. The HKG trip in Jan has been confirmed. Tentative plan for other trips are Penang in March, Bandung in June, New Zealand in Dec.

I don’t think I will have time for my language classes this year, especially if I want to continue with my guitar classes. But if time permits, I would like to resume either Japanese or Korean class. I can’t decide which one I prefer. Or I might want to pick up a new language. German perhaps?

Overall, 2014 was good. It was definitely better than 2010 – 2012 combined. I’m hoping 2015 will be awesomer!

Halloween Horror Night 4

So I did another first this year. Paid $ to get scared at Halloween Horror Night 4 at Universal Studios.

Everything was done in a rush – almost everyone was scared while in the haunted houses and quickly walked through. Would have been better if there was time to walk through individually instead of as big groups. (There are storylines for each of the houses but as we were walking through, we were mostly concentrating on where is the next scare coming instead of the story itself.) But with the crowd of 15,000, I guess crowd control was the horror for the organisers. I had fun at the haunted houses and the scare zones though, by putting my happiness on other visitors’ fear (literally translated from 把自己的快乐建在他人的痛苦上). I was laughing throughout when I hear other visitors screaming. And much more amused when people get scared by Carolyn coz of her voluptuous hairdo.

Jing's Revenge
One of the recommended haunted house – Jing’s Revenge
Jing's Revenge
Jing’s Revenge – banner outside the “school”

I went with the agenda of just watching the stage show which Carolyn wanted to watch this much as she missed it few weeks back (yes she loved ‪#‎HHN4‬ this much she visited it AGAIN). Ended up visiting all the rides that were available and completed all the haunted houses too!

Yes you didn’t read it wrongly. ALL the available rides that were opened at night. Including the Return of the Mummy ride which I was so scared of previously. Reason being I didn’t want to waste the money spent on the express pass. Hahha! Imagine entering and out all within 20 mins! Including the always-got-long-queue Transformers!! I’ll go back again just for this!

Thankful for the express pass that allowed us to skip the horrendous queues!
Thankful for the express pass that allowed us to skip the horrendous queues!

Nevertheless, it was a night well spent! I learnt to overcome my fear by setting the right expectations and be well prepared for what’s to come. That can definitely be applied to other things in life as well.

Will I be back again next year?

No I probably won’t coz I’m still not a fan of Halloween. Yet.

Yes I probably will do it for the rides as taking them at night is much more cooling as compared to day time.

过去也只是个回忆

心情不好的时候, 总会想说要把它记录下来。也算是一种解脱的方法吧?

今晚的心情, 只能说一般。就像平常一样。只是突然发现, 三个月前的伤心, 我已经彻底的放下了。

人总得往前走, 不能一直徘徊在过去吧?

But sometimes, the mind refuses to let go.

And now I can finally say, 过去也只是个回忆。

Move-In Martin

Move-In Martin!

Something that passengers who rely heavily on buses understand (or probably not). It irks me when people do not move in, or lean against those poles, when there are still people outside the bus, at the entrance, waiting to board.

Who is to blame?

Bus providers for not providing enough buses to cater for the “crowd”?

Government for trying to push for a 6.9mil population?

Or simply the passengers themselves for not putting in that little effort that helps to help themselves? How much does it cost you to move your feet for 50cm? Even a tiny 10cm matters when it comes to crowded buses. Only when the buses are truly fully packed that we as passengers, are able to convince the bus providers that they NEED to provide more buses.
You don’t want to be late, other people don’t want to be late either. From my few years of experience of taking buses to school / work (I don’t stay near any MRT station nor bus interchange, and I usually board the bus either at the last bus stop before it hits the expressway – BKE, or the first bus stop after the bus exits the expressway. Where in both directions, the buses are already packed with passengers.), if you don’t board the bus from the bus interchange (if you are lucky enough to stay near it!), chances are, you won’t be able to board the bus until the peak period is (almost) over and you will be late for school / work!

And why is that so? Because passengers on board are not moving in. A “crowded” bus is deemed to be crowded when the first half of the bus is packed like sardines. But when you take a closer look, the passengers at the second half of the bus generally have their little privacy zone of radius 30cm. Sounds illogical but this is a scene that I have seen many times – if you know the amount of time I spent travelling on buses everyday.

So my little plea to fellow passengers, please make the little effort of moving in. If you are too engrossed looking at the tiny screen of yours (i.e. handphones) to watch out for the crowd, at least try to make sure that you do not have a big gap between you and another passenger.

Buses are public transport, so let’s play a part in making bus journeys more enjoyable (or tolerable). For only then will your bus journeys be more tolerable (enjoyable)!

(This is a video produced by the Land Transport Authority, as a campaign to get passengers to move in. Weird as it seems, but it does bring the point across.)