Friday, November 21, 2014

Embrace whatever you encounter

I quote from Rachel Naomi Remen:
Most people have come to prefer certain of life’s experiences and deny and reject others, unaware of the value of the hidden things that may come wrapped in plain and even ugly paper. In avoiding all pain and seeking comfort at all costs, we may be left without intimacy or compassion; in rejecting change and risk we often cheat ourselves of the quest; in denying our suffering we may never know our strength or our greatness. 

Embrace whatever you encountered because only then, you will know your strengths and weaknesses, and how you can use them to overcome the blockage.

Visit Rhinestic's Knick Knacks @ Etsy for handmade goods and supplies!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Under Happy?

Usually I do not take much notice of the happiness survey because it doesn't really matter much to me. Only I myself know how happy I am and it doesn't really matter if someone else is happier than me. However, what caught my eye was this word "under happy". What the heck is under happy?

I tried searching high and low for a definition of under happy. I thought it was some new term that i was not aware of. However, that came to naught. I could only draw to one conclusion. It's not valid at all and it is "made up". A person can only be happy or not happy. How can you be in-between?

However, back to the crux of the question. Are we happy? Based on my past experience, unless you have a very understanding boss that knows you have a life outside of work, your work will always seem to be never-ending. Why? Because there is no labour law that governs official working hours for white collar workers. It is assumed we sold our life to the company, and we're paid even less than peanuts for that effort because there is no such thing as overtime pay for white collar workers here.

Recently I have also read an article where the US employees put in 34.6 hours a week on average, up from 34.5 hours in August and the most since May 2008. 34.6 hours??? I have never worked only 34.6 hours a week in my life. My typical work week is between 42-45 hours in my previous job!  There were a number of times I worked more than 50 hours a week straight.

With no law protecting us, we are given loads of work to do with no way of getting additional wages. This will also prevent us from spending time on doing the things we love, be it with family or with your hobby. Without any spare time for ourselves, it's also difficult to come out with any innovative ideas. You're too stressed most of the time!

All this is a chain reaction and seriously, you cannot explain it away just by inventing a new term called "under happy".

Friday, November 14, 2014

Creativity cannot be sustained by approval

I quote from Will Self:
When anyone starts out to do something creative - especially if it seems a little unusual - they seek approval, often from those least inclined to give it. But a creative life cannot be sustained by approval, any more than it can be destroyed by criticism - you learn this as you go on. 

Creativity usually require things to be done in a different way. It will not exist if every creative thing we do requires a stamp of approval.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Estimating wealth using GDP is useless

GDP, otherwise known as Gross Domestic Product, reflects the flow of goods and services a nation produces in a single year. It says nothing about wealth of the country and the wealth of the citizens.

How do you estimate wealth then using GDP? I could be buying goods from other countries but reselling it at a lesser profit due to the high rental cost for example. Where is the supposed wealth?

You might not be able to track wealth easily in other countries, but in Singapore, it's a different case altogether. Why? That's because we have something called the CPF.

It's compulsory for companies to contribute to CPF if your earnings are above a set threshold. Using the estimates from the CPF contributions tells more about the wealth of a nation then the supposed GDP that only tells other countries how good your business can flourish in Singapore.

There's a big difference between companies making money versus citizens getting a decent wage. Unless you have strong labour laws which unfortunately we do not have, profits from businesses do not necessary flow down to all. In fact, it may even flow out of Singapore to enrich others.

If GDP must be used, then the wealth of a nation should also be used in conjunction with the gini coefficient and the percentage of millionaires and HNWI in the population. This will also tell you how much of the supposed actual GDP flow down to the citizens.

It's like the US elections. All the economic indicators are very good. Low unemployment rate, high number of jobs created... But why did the incumbent lose the election? Personally, I think the reason is quite simple. The citizens did not see all this happening at ground zero. If everything is really as rosy as painted, I don't see why the citizens are not voting the incumbent party back to power.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Life is about family and friends

I quote from Vanilla Ice:
The most valuable lesson I've ever learned in my life is that life is about family and friends, not about material things or any of that. It's about enjoying your life. If you have no family, no friends to enjoy it with, it don't matter how much you have, how much success you have, how much fame you have, how much money you have, it doesn't matter. 

Thursday, November 6, 2014

How can power fluctuations cause the entire system to go down?

Seriously, how can a power fluctuation cause the entire system to go down? Usually, there will be facility managers taking care of the data centre. They will do checks on the servers daily, and look at all the indicators, include monitoring all the lifespan of the equipment.

UPS batteries have a fixed life and you will need to replace it at a certain frequency. Was the monitoring being done for the equipment? Was there enough investment in purchasing of good UPS system with regular maintenance being done? UPS does not just fail. Either they bought the "cheapest" or they did not maintain it regularly.

Either case, this seems like again the issue where people at the top don't understand that investments need to be made in IT or such things will definitely happen again. I don't understand why they can spend so much money on marketing where sometimes you cannot even measure the ROI, but refuse to invest in the infrastructure to ensure operations can continue smoothly. Sometimes I think they forget that if the infrastructure is not working, no matter how much marketing you put in, it's of no use because you cannot deliver.

Sadly, this happens almost everywhere.

Visit Rhinestic's Knick Knacks @ Etsy for handmade goods and supplies!

Monday, November 3, 2014

S.E.A. Aquarium

The Singapore S.E.A. Aquarium™ is home to more than 100,000 marine animals of over 800 species, across 49 different habitats. The habitats included within the aquarium include the Strait of Karimata & Java Sea, Strait of Malacca & Andaman Sea, Bay of Bengal & Laccadive Sea, Persian Gulf & Arabian Sea, Rea Sea, East Africa and South China Sea. Of course you cannot forget the dolphins and sharks.

Once you enter the aquarium, you will be mesmerized by the scene below.

Yes, you can spend some time here but do not spend too much time. There are more things to see within and you'll spend a lot of time turning left and right, going into all corners of the aquarium. Yes, don't let the size fool you but it is actually quite big.

Below are some of the pictures I took around the area. The aquarium is huge.

Leaving the aquarium will reveal another the big tank which contains many different kinds of sharks. That mark the end of the journey within.

Hope you enjoy the pictures. :)

Friday, October 31, 2014

Passion unleashes creativity

I quote from Yo-Yo Ma:
Passion is one great force that unleashes creativity, because if you're passionate about something, then you're more willing to take risks.

Risks and creativity goes hand in hand because to be creative, it means you're doing something that has not been done before. If it has not been done before, there is definitely risks. Therefore, to be creative, you have to be willing to take and accept risks.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Food in Tokyo

Last but not least, I have dedicated my last post for my trip to Tokyo to ... ... food! Yes, lots and lots of food. For this trip, I decided not to scrimp on food and that we should eat some normal Japanese food when we're there instead of sandwiches and stuff. Other than the extravagant dinner and breakfast we had at Yama no Chaya, we ate a mixture of bento and set lunches in restaurants.

One thing I did notice is that the price of food has increased. For a reasonable meal, it will cost about 400 - 500 yen per meal (e.g. Beef bowl rice). Set lunch in restaurants ranges from 1,080 yen (yes, 8% GST) to about 1400 yen per person. Drinks are about 250 - 500 yen.

Anyway, enjoy the photos and that's all the posts I have for my trip to Tokyo. :)

Tengu Soba at Mount Takao. 1,300 yen

Beef rice with eggs and onions at Matsuya. This is the bigger bowl, costing about 680 yen. Smaller bowl costs 420 yen

Red bean Manju! Cannot remember the price. This is from Hakone though.

Seasonal Set Lunch from the Limited Express Romance Car. 1,080 yen if I remember correctly.

The romance car bento! 1,080 yen if I remember correctly.

Romance Car Bento unboxed. There are also noodles inside and some meat underneath.

Beef bento dinner. 500+ yen if I recall correctly.

Pancakes from Eggs n Things cafe. Part of the Omelet set for an additional 400 yen

Today's special omelet from Eggs n Things cafe, with vegetables, mushrooms and sausages. About 1,450 yen.

Eggs Benedict from Eggs n Things cafe. One of the poached eggs was slightly over-cooked but the other is perfectly done. About 1,200 yen.

Shoyu spaghetti from Hoshino's Coffee. This is delicious and its only 880 yen.

Hoshino's Coffee pancake with Maple syrup and it only costs 550 yen!

Close-up of the pancake and this is definitely better than the one in Singapore. It actually tastes more like a pancake than muffin!

Dorayaki from the shop opposite Mitake station.

Nana's Green Tea Salad cum rice lunch set, costing 1,080 yen.

Macaroon from FabCafe

Cafe Mocha from FabCafe. 500+ yen.

Bento Set Lunch from Tokyo Sky Tree. 1,000+ yen.

Bento vegetarian set lunch from Tokyo Sky Tree. 800+ yen.

Sushi offer from Seibu. Only 1,000 yen.

Karrage, dumplings and meatballs from Seibu. Only 400 yen thereabouts

Mushroom soup. I believe it is 200+ yen

Daifuku. Unsure about the pricing.

Close-up of the red bean daifuku.
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