Garfieldhug's Blog

This & That Including What Ails

Weird Hang Ups

I confess I have weird hang ups. I must have two or spares of things, anything of use. I found that I had 2 electric jug kettles, 1 electric iron, thermos flask, pots, shampoos, toothpaste, detergents for clothes, toothbrushes etc.

I like the feeling of having anything replaced immediately when one gives way.

The same goes for food items – canned foods, biscuits etc.

Colleagues tell me that should there be any sudden food rationing, I would survive.

I have another unique habit. I tend to put freshly cooked food into the fridge, only to eat it days or weeks later.

My colleagues laugh and called this fridge worshipping!

I just feel that I buy stuff and then change my mind about eating it and hence I put it aside to eat it another day 🙂

I am unsure if this is a bad habit and so I shall just call it A WEIRD HANG UP!

An enjoyable but unique hang up that does not inconvenience me nor give me down time to rake a meal or replace a much needed household item immediately ha ha…

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A Kennedy Named Ambassadress To Japan

If JFK could see his daughter’s achievement, he would have been proud!

The Kennedys have always been politically driven – I allude to their passion for politics or political genetic make up.

It is not easy being a politician mind you! You must be thick skinned, well connected and endowed with a great public relations etiquette.

I sigh as I can never be a politician. I am thin skinned, hate being photographed and certainly dislike the public limelight. I am happy to be working behind the scenes to drive policies. Besides, I do not have the stomach to wheel and deal politics as a means to a political end.

Black or white without grey areas is my motto and being a good politician is unfortunately about grey areas and how you achieve to make it right to suit your party line.

The Kennedy Daughter will have challenges in the Land of The Rising Sun. Historically, Japan is male dominated and being a woman in the eyes of the leaders of Japan may be tough to swallow. Whilst she may hinge on her late father’s goodwill and political backing of Obama, she will need to build bridges to make in roads to the politically elite to garner their attention.

A fine balance between an American woman who believes in gender equality may work against her in a society like Japan. I suppose she will know how to bend like the bamboo in the wind to get her political agenda ahead for America.

It would be a blue ribbon achievement if she serves her term well and fosters the strong links between Japan and USA given the China factor.

The political arena has lean pickings as many who are good in what they do will not run for office as it means the sacrifice of their private life to public scrutiny. Worst, papparazzi chasing for latest juicy morsel of one’s life.

I often wonder why office politicians do not aspire to go further in their strive for power in the office. Office politicians are not a gifted bunch, hence they indulge in office politics to get ahead and negate the ones who can do a good job.

Office politicians are savvy in currying favour to get ahead or muscle into the inner circle of trust.

I feel that office politicians would make savvy politicans and can develop their career better than wreaking havoc in a small office pool!

Good leaders may not be office politicians but hey, they can bait good support and run a good show.

So, office politicians why not stop playing office politics but run for political office? This would give office politicians the glamour, recognition that they desperately seek and perhaps can achieve.

As for JFK’s daughter, her tenacity and love for politics is admirable and I would be keen to know the legacy she will carve and leave Japan with after she concludes her tour of duty there.

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Ill Again

I have a massive headache and I do not suffer from migraines!

It all started with nose bleeds before finally culminating into this awful headache.

My GP was apprehensive and prescribed anti biotics. He said that one had to have courage to treat me much less if I found a surgeon brave enough to operate on me, I must keep this surgeon! Ha! He has a point!

It is hard to be my surgeon. Of course they tend to disbelieve my allergies but, in time, they learnt but at my expense!

I have 56 known drug allergies to date. I have food allergies and other allergies to materials such as adhesives or clothing materials too.

Yes, I first met this GP decades ago and he was fresh from Gleneagles, opening his own practice. He was careful and brave as I had been turned down by other GPs in the area. Yup, they would not touch me with a 10ft pole!

I am a medical challenge and I am one whose surgeon would pile odds against me for eg for others 0.1% failure but for me, a whopping 1% failure. Sigh indeed odds are against me!

But I am not afraid. I am philosophical. Que sera sera…I believe it is written in the books how I will pass so I will not fight fate!

To my doctors..you are a brave lot keeping to your hippocratic oath. Thank you!

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As Shakespeare Would Quip…How Now Sot?

I admit, I am a sentimental fool!

I have kept things that brought me good and bad memories!

Good ones, most can understand but ermm…bad memories?!

Well, the truth is – not all good memories last to stay good. I shall call these “feel good” moments. Feel good moments give me a sense of euphoria as if one describes as “7th Heaven of Delight”.

I had many feel good moments with people I once knew or interacted with. Knew as in people come and people go.
In today’s rat race, people know who is who for the moment and not longer. Still, I valued and discerned these as just feel good moments – alas nothing more, nothing less!

I can allude to relationships being the same. I met people. I fell in love and out of love as quickly but the longest experience turned out the most bitter sweet experience. Hmm kinda like 72% cocoa content in a bar of Whitaker’s Chunky Almonds with almonds making it the “rocks” in the journey call “love”.

Sooo…”Romeo Romeo..wherefore art thou Romeo?”

Heh heh…in the dumpster unfortunately 🙂 Romeo was nothing more but a figment of my imagination. Funny thing this feeling called “love” could manifest!

Just like Starbucks…which is merely stars and you fork out good $ for that cuppa java just like Dean & Luca for that dining experience which is replicated in our own backyard’s Jones the Grocer dining experience!

Sentiments are for fools. I am but a fool. I have decided that letters, cards and gifts have meaning for the moment.

Honestly, most if not all, these items hold little worth unless of course it is an item of jewellery that can be hocked for good dollars ha ha!

Looking back at the whisperings of sweet nothings, I have re-weighed those I thought I knew. Not much weight but deadweight mostly.

My rubbish piled and I have started to throw these out. All except my precious collection of Garfield stuffed cats! Creations of Jim Davis and happily kept by me. Yes, I was told Garfield turned 35 yrs old yesterday. I love my cuddly Garfield…always there for me heh heh!

To the guy who gave me my favorite Garfield…cheers! and to the men who wooed…all I can say is…fair is foul and foul is fair.. hover through the fog and filthy air…where the place? Upon the heath…there to meet Macbeth…

Tongue in cheek….my Romeo is lost in the woods I say 🙂

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Reasonably Great Shampoos

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I used to pay alot of money for shampoos but found them not as I expected.

There is Dove which touted soft hair. Each wash, I found alot of hair strands on the drain covers. It did not agree with me as I shower no less than three times a day.

Sunsilk, Pantene, Clairol etc all failed in giving me the economic use or value!

I chanced upon the Kao Feather range from Japan recently at a heartland mall. Skeptically I bought a few. I tried them and it was not bad. I did not lose as many hair strands and it was great.

Apart from FairPrice’s own Nature’s Organic Green Apple brand from Victoria which is not Kao, these 2 Brands are decent buys!

Economic and value for money, I bought 6 bottles as I use a lot of shampoo! Give it a shot and guess what, the black label Kao brand does indeed blacken hair 🙂

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Good Mood Syndrome

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Differences Between An SME & MNC

Singapore is an island state or I prefer to call nation state that uses a lot of acronyms.

For our highways or freeways as Americans would call in their country, we have PIE, AYE, ECP, KJE, TPE etc etc. Being a local, I get frightfully lost in these acronyms I must add 🙂 but I confess, I am directionally challenged and so, I tend to stick to usual routes for fear of getting lost.

An SME is an acronym for Small Medium Enterprise whilst MNC is for Multi National Corporation.

I have worked in 2 SMEs to date and an MNC. I mused to myself this morning when I was driving to work. People, culture (nationalities & work), spending habits, infrastructure, business methods are like chalk and cheese between the two with one commonality – make $!

It is really the same end goal – some call it top line, others call it bottom line. I call if pure profits!

An SME can be described as frugal to the point of being stingy. It is managed in owner centric fashion. If the owner does not benefit, then probably it will not be considered as quickly. Do not get me wrong here! There are great and kind-hearted owners, but these are few and far between. I remember hearing nice things of Mr Goh Cheng Liang. I have not met him before but those who have shared with me that when Wutherlam was being re-organised, he set up another business to cater to the older serving employees, making them economically viable at their acceptable pace whilst Mr Koh Boon Hwee took Wutherlam to new heights! These types of personalities are truly benevolent and are people I admire. Loyalty and respect is gained and earned.

I guess an SME is as good as the personality of the owner. I knew of one owner who is flashy and talks down to employees. He is the boss and he is King in his kingdom. Little one can do except bow down to his Royal Highness, unless of course one chooses to vote with their feet.

Another owner that I knew of had his entire family running the business. Wives tend to manage the finances whilst the men go out and garner business. If an employee is liked by any wife, it becomes a bone of contention between the siblings. Such is the bane of working in such an environment.

An MNC is equally interesting. Not only is it a gargantuan or monolithic in size, it is non personable. Rarely the founder does the day to day as this is vested to a CEO, CFO and capable people etc – the founder would usually sit at the helm.

A typical MNC will have different folks in the management or work force and with it, comes their individual country’s methodology, cultural traits and or personal preferences. Key management holders will be bold and brass, seeking the best compensation package for self as their time in the driver’s seat has a limited time frame. As they say in American culture, “hire and fire”- with little room for non calculated mistakes.

MNCs have better benefits than an SME. An SME can have heart, depending on the owner’s taste and preference or who he brings in eg a relative, a friend or extended family members. An MNC tend to have blockers to ensure there is transparency as it may be listed on NYSE and there is SOX compliance to abide to by.

SMEs are also listed and in Singapore, it is either on catalist or main board of SGX. True, there are compliance issues too but often this is left to the mercy of how accountants tend to be creative in managing disclosures and deeming what is material or non material.

I have encountered horror stories of how criminal breach of trust was discovered by HR and a CFO disallowed any other party than self to manage the audit! The CFO was not implicated – but you would guess correctly, CFO manages the auditor and auditor reports to CFO. Such can be the case of how a cover up may and could happen.

Is there any perfect organisation? I believe there is or else how can the likes of giant firms come about? I guess it is the fine balance of things that makes any organisation great, big or personable in a way. The people make the difference and it is the people who drives an organisation. Without people, there can be no organisation. Without organisation, there can be no profits.

I guess businesses come and businesses go. The difference is if the CEO or person owning the firm leaves an impressionable mark on the lives of human resources for them to perpetuate their legacy (positively or negatively) and sustainability of the business.

 

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The Rains Are Here Again

At the crack of dawn this morning, I left home in the blinding rain. Traffic was slow despite the few cars on the road at 5.30am and I drove extra cautiously throughout my 21 km drive to work.

Nearing my office, I saw the foreign workers huddled with their umbrellas at the bus stop seeking shelter as they waited for their ride to the factories along Penjuru Road. Some who could not be sheltered had their brollies opened as they stood singularly in the drenching rain.

These are sons of parents and I felt truly sorry for them. Besides making their way to Singapore to eke a living as a foreign employee and living in dormitories with 9-14 others, what privacy had they?

Singaporeans are blessed comparatively speaking – but of course there are some who are worst off but the good thing is, squalid conditions are not exhibited in Singapore as most if not all are economically viable earning a meagre sum if any. Only the old and destitute are left forlornly at home, waiting for social aid or care. Yes, we have stories too of the elderly dying alone in their flats only to be discovered by bad stench to alert people of their death! I believe I will become such a statistic as I am single and alone. I suppose someone will alert the authorities when they smell a bad stench coming out of where I may be living. Sigh!

Not all foreign workers are bad – of course we have bad hats but generally, these are people coming to our home land as foreigners with nothing more than the shirt on their back and shoes on their feet. They would be saddled with a debt to the agent that brought them here and the next two to three years, they would strive to work and provide for their family they left behind and make payments for their loan to the agent to get here in the first place.

I have interacted with the foreign workers in my workplace. They seemed “accepting” of the condition of their life and Mustafa was the highlight of their weekend (whom I found out for some, it was once a month outing as getting there and spending hard-earned dollars was a constraint for them).

We or I at least, take the humble roti prata meal as a given! To most of them, it is a luxury as they subsist on the dormitory food that they fork out $90 a month for. No matter how tired they may get eating the same food daily, they have to continue to dine there to subsist.

For the more senior foreign workers whom I call supervisors, their overtime monies have given them a better life at home as they buy land and build homes for they and their families with livestock to boot.

Yet, Singaporeans are ungrateful in a way as they take their homes for granted and what they have as a given. We have ugly Singaporeans too. The recent hackers and graffiti incidents show a generation living much on IT and the ability to garner to strength and courage to do mischief. I shudder if we sank to the standard of graffiti covered walls in the ghettos of USA and fear the night as one may be mugged riding the subway home.

Modernisation has given naughty Singaporeans the courage to do things they could not ordinarily do and I do wonder what steps can our government take to manage such spate of outbreaks against the norm.

It is increasingly difficult to manage the young these days. I suppose parental care and guidance is the base point. If parents spared the rod and spoilt the child, they feel it is government’s role to manage the “adult” in the future.  Sadly ownership is passed on.

Such is also the state of working matters. Employees these days fail to take ownership and tend to hide behind “I do not know” and avoid extra responsibilities. I had a chat with a colleague yesterday and shared an incident of an employee seeking a maximum number of hospitalisation leave and taking the opportunity to go for a holiday too. I asked this colleague what would be the action if any to be taken.

This colleague’s reply stunned me as he said, “of what concern is it of mine?” – in a way this colleague was not wrong! Why bother as it was the boss’ loss and not others! This is how the generation differs as we have become employees without responsibilities.

I have also seen employees having secondary business outside of being a full-time employee and using company time to do their side line businesses.

The rains are here again as the monsoon season for the year-end is here and it gives me a moody feel to reflect on life and how much it has changed from the days of nationhood in the 1965s, moving to 1970s, 1980s, 1990s and today in 2013 where an IT age is bringing with it a new breed of Singaporeans who are vocal in an electronic world. This is the challenge for the authorities as we innovate and grow as a nation.

 

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All About Patrick Jane, The Mentalist

The Mentalist is a series that I do enjoy after missing Monk. Both characters, Adrian Monk and Patrick Jane are unique personalities with some form of disorder. As I watch Patrick Jane in episode after episode, I find him indeed talented with acute observation skills.

His social skills are odd though. Painfully blunt and to the point, he uses this to rile the suspect to evoke an answer, often times, the right answer. His confidence is really intriguing and I stay riveted to the series faithfully.

So what keeps me glued to the goggle box? The funny characters of course!

There is Cho who hardly speaks and always looks so solemn but he is always the “go getter” ie the runner, the chaser or the one that socks it to the bad guy. I have learnt that he is a great marksman, besides having an iron clad face that is expressionless and makes a fantastic sting operation – I was misled once when I thought he had betrayed Patrick Jane.

The Supervisor, Lisbon is another unique character. I believe she has uneven set eyes and she is seen as the “mother hen” of Patrick Jane. She is the only person who can supposedly “control” the antics of Patrick Jane. The character she plays shows her loyalty and trust in Patrick Jane. I hope when the series end, there is a happy ending whereby she and Patrick Jane make a fine couple.

Wayne is a bulking tall guy and the latest episode showed him dating a district attorney and unwittingly became a dad. This is a bit complicated as the district attorney is aware that Wayne does not love her as much as his female colleague, whom they had dated previously. Unfortunately the female colleague shot dead her fiancé as he was a baddie. This is one strange twisted tale as I believe the two are drawn to each other like magnet but consciously they avoid being a couple. I would be curious to know if they both end up together in time.

As for Patrick Jane, Red John is his arch nemesis! Red John killed his wife and daughter and the latest twist is that FBI thinks he is working for Red John.

Well if you are reading this, you must think I am kooky! I love American sitcoms as well as good mysteries. I used to enjoy Murder She Wrote and when the series ended, I got caught up with Grey’s Anatomy, Boston Legal, Magnum PI, Monk, ER, Bones, LA Law etc etc.

These days free T V hardly provide me with good American serials that I can find a new niche and so, if The Mentalist gets canned, I wonder what I can watch next.

Whatever I watch, I tend to find the funny side of things and use it to reflect on how it is relevant to my daily life.

For Patrick Jane, I can understand the trauma he went through when he lost his family but the strange calm that he exudes is mind boggling which is why I can agree on the description that the FBI gave him – “sociopath” on one aspect. But his kindness and behaviour to help is contrary. Hence, he makes an interesting case study to psycho analyse!

Deep within each of us, I think we are all a bit mentally hung up. Whether or not, one snaps is dependent on the situation and how one manages. Often times I find myself pushed beyond limits and I have to drawback else, I fear falling into the abyss of no return to sanity.

If there is any sane person out there who says they have no kooky hang ups, I will find it hard to believe. Some call it deep thought, oddball or eccentricity – I call it plain “kooky” 🙂

 

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Being A Sister, A Daughter, A Wife & A Mother

My sister leaves for NZ this morning after a fortnight’s stay. She visited as my mum was feeling poorly and her visit was helpful to me as I had to cope with work and it was taking a toll on me, given I was not in the best of health myself.

It is not easy being my sister I guess. She is holding many portfolios which is namely, a daughter to my mother, a sister to me, a wife to her husband and a mother to her child. Her roles are diverse as I found out her job description of her life in NZ.

NZ is not a country where you can easily hire a live in maid. Having lived with no less than 3 hired help in the house (yes, my sister used to be a tai tai) and a driver, she has had to change her life to manage chores, cooking meals, being the family chauffeur, gardener and landlord of her properties.

She moans that life in Singapore where cooked food is concern is a luxury as it is cheap compared to the lack of food courts in NZ and the higher cost which does not necessarily transcend into good food. A lot of the meals they eat would have to be self prepared and food preparation takes time.

Being a full time landlord is not easy too as she is developing her properties (commercial and residential) and dealing with different tenants is ulcerating as it is not easy to get handymen such as plumbers, electricians and or builders. Besides she has to contend with Town Council a fair bit for the legal side of matters to pursue development. Further with union rules, hired help can choose to stop work anytime they choose.

What was annoyingly sad to me was that she displayed no good sense of being a professional well studied person. It would seem that she has lost her degrees in education and is now relegated to a “house wifey” role – this is not bad but it was sad to me as it was a waste of her degree that my parents invested in for her Canadian education. She seemed more intent in shopping for household things, looking intently into nutrition  and basically just being domesticated.

Do not get me wrong – I did appreciate her being the “house wife” for 2 weeks as she pandered to my mother’s needs and bore the brunt of her wrath as my mum was not the best of patient to be nurtured back to health. Mum was grumpy, difficult and refused to take her meds. Sigh I know that when I get old, I would probably be cranky but on the bright side of things, I have no one to be cranky with ie no husband ( my ex boyfriend Beng left me to go back to his life with his Bimbo), no children and certainly no friends!

It is hard enough being a sister and a daughter. I shudder at the latter 2 roles of a wife and a mother. If I were a wife, I would still pursue my career as it is always good to have a dual income household. I would not be beholden to my husband and open my palms for monies. I believe in going out there and earn my own keep and have spending power to augment meals, frills and what I took delight in.

If I were a mother, I would not bother nor pander to my children’s needs. I believe in tough love, ie teaching them the moral value of life and teaching them street smart values and survival instincts. I detest the Strawberry Generation of children today whereby parents shower them with designer togs, luxury items when they cannot even earn their own keep. It is easily given. I have heard horror stories of children turning tricks to get the luxury items they want when parents stop their cash line!

Do not get me wrong, I will indulge in my children if I had any – giving them a good education and the basic principles of a decent and fair life. If they are not scholastically inclined, I would not force them to pursue an overseas education as it means squat! Look at my sister as an example – what good did an overseas education teach her except to dislike Singapore as her mother land and become redundant?

Not all children can become scholars. We need a good mix of people with trade vocations or tools of the trade. I would tend to promote a skill if they are not scholastically inclined. My sister’s son is being groomed to become a commercial lawyer as they have a solid foundation of properties and would need a lawyer to manage it. My sister’s son is not motivated to excel as he said to me, “I have enough money to last me a lifetime” – hence he coasts through his exams without need to truly strive. He is a bright lad but he no intent to use his ability to the maximum as his performance at 20% capacity suffices for his needs. They probably have enough wealth to last through to his children too.

As I age, I have become increasingly cynical. I have gone through hardships of life, seeing how people turn on each other and how relationships can become asunder as a result of wealth and greed. There are no guarantees in life and how it all turns out.

I am glad as I am nearing the half way mark in life. Any longer on this earth, is suffering really as I work on my karma. The faster I conclude on this karmic cycle, the lesser pain I shall feel.

As for my sister – ignorance is bliss as her worries are centered on simple tasks for e.g. is the lawn mowed? Has the meals been made? Is it time to pick her child? Her role as a daughter is simpler – I am not in Singapore, what can I do? I have come to learn a new facet of my sister’s mindset. She is not a bad hearted person. She is simplistic. She just does not care. She does not verbalise things and take on the approach of solving her own issues without saying. I wonder how she blows off steam? In a way, I see her tolerance and ability to shoulder the inner demons of her own without spilling any beans to me. It makes her happy to have the life she has, without need to work for any other person but for herself. NZ has taught her to be selfish to others where culture is concerned.

But she is kind in that she would be civic minded and I marvelled at her taking a paper towel to clean the public toilet of T3 Changi Airport basin counter top as it was wet and messy. As a Singaporean, I would not do that as (a) it is not my job (b) why should I do it?

In seeing her action, I realised that she sees things differently. She cares about the environment and keeps asking the waitresses to return food we could not finish! This is where I felt her education has eluded her. She simply forgot that hygiene standards do not allow food served to be returned. Further, she did not believe in wasting food.

So much for having children – I do pity my parents. They have 3 children. 2 disliked Singapore and chose to move to HK and NZ respectively. I know they both will not return and I have made my position very clear to my siblings that should anything happen to my parents, I will make the final decision and close the matter without waiting for them. I do not have the energy nor health to manage and wait for their “timely” arrivals when death waits for no men!

As to why 3 acorns grew out of an oak tree and fell so differently apart, I will never fathom an answer! Filial piety is dependent on many factors and one of it is, if a child dislikes the country they were born in and chose to leave their motherland, there is little to be done. I wish my siblings the best in their life’s decision. They do not have the courage to tell me in my face that they do not intend to return to Singapore ever – the silence speaks for itself and I know it in my heart.

I suppose when my parents move on in life to the other realm, I will lose touch with my siblings. I have no space in their lives and neither will I in turn provide space for them in mine. Thus ends our little family – small yet not cohesive nor familial.

Do my parents know it in their hearts? Yes, I can see their silent tears and I can feel their pain but neither of their children in HK or NZ chooses to see it nor make an active interest to re-locate to Singapore. My nephew would love to live here but it is not a decision supported by his mother, my sister.

As for my brother in HK, he has a pet lizard that he cannot be without – overtly and firmly stated. Such is the prerogative of their adult choices.

Yet people wonder why I am cynical in life and why I feel life is not worth journeying……..

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