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(no subject) [Jan. 5th, 2013|12:11 am]
Wow it's been more than a year! I guess writing on a blog has really gone out of fad for the commoner like myself, huh. I mean, unless one has an large number of followers and makes money for these, everyone's one facebook these days sharing stuff - and even that is slightly passe possibly.

So anyway, since that last post, we eventually didn't make it for the SEA Games - a cost effectiveness thing for the Olympic Council, I think, but the official reason was absurd. At least to me it was. They said that we didn't have sufficient achievements to prove that we were capable of winning something at the Games. This was even after we topped the country in our category, and won a gold medal at a regional championships. However whilst the same countries did take part, different pairs of people than the pairs who competed at the last Games competed. And because of this, our win was 'not indicative'. Which to me, is absurd. A win is a win.

Oh well. But this being 2013 its a SEA Games year again, and this year we do hope to make it so that we'll have some experience before Singapore hosts it in 2015. And then we'll probably call it a day - let others have a chance to shine.

Work wise I've left my previous job, a local bank. It was getting to be a bit too much, killing my social life and family time in one fell swoop. Plus I had lousy colleagues who made me dread going to work, so I just left. What I stupidly did though, was leave just as I was going for a long reservist training stint - 3 weeks in total. That made it hard to find a job, and I ended up sitting around for slightly more than 1 month - new job interview included - before I started work again. Not an unwelcome break i might add.

What this helped me though, was to find out how lucky I am to have the people I have around me. There was this friend of mine whom I consider close though we don't talk, but y'know, sometimes you feel like you can click very well with particular people and can share anything with them. Anyhow, she tried to help me with finding a job in the company where her husband is working in - a investment bank major - and even helped me with reviewing my resume. That would've been a dream, but I didn't have sufficient experience and it didn't work out. But I'm eternally greatful to that friend.

This episode also showed me how well connected my parents are - they have tons of friends' kids in pretty decent positions! I don't have to say this, but I'm eternally grateful to them, too. Benefits of running your own business, perhaps. Or maybe it's the skill that they possessed that allowed them to run their own business. Either way it's a good thing to have, these connections.

On a random note I've recently been curious about dressing well - and by well I don't mean flashy or fashionable, but in a business kind of well. That means somewhat traditional, and in the eyes of many, boring. But I think it's important to dress well, and traditional is a good place to start. I've also learnt many things from this forum that I read, and am eager to put the knowledge to use. Money will be a concern however, but nevertheless it's good to have some reference, and then get what I can afford that's as close to the ideal.

But this is a fairly long post, and that's a story for another time.

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(no subject) [Nov. 15th, 2011|10:20 pm]
Argh. I need to have a picture hosted somewhere online, and I seem to remember that I signed up for a free hosting service somewhere.

And after looking back 100 posts here, I still haven't found where it was. Bleah.
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Tomorrow and beyond. [Aug. 22nd, 2011|03:06 am]
Sometime during the course of tomorrow I will find out, or at least I'm supposed to find out, if my partner and I will have made it to the SEA games, representing Singapore in the Nage No Kata. This is following an appeal, the result of which we were initially supposed to find out on the 15th, but which got postponed.

I'm having mixed feelings to be honest. On one side, If qualified, this could potentially be the only, and at the most significant level of representation of the state in Judo, something I'd only dreamed of previously. It's not the way I envisaged it when I was younger, but I'm happy nonetheless.

On the other hand, though, making it to the SEA Games in November would mean that I would have to go to Japan on a training stint for 2 weeks, as well as be in Jakarta for at least a week for the competition proper, and this is over and above intensified training sessions. As can be imagined, that is substantial time out of the office, and this is even worse given that I'm in a sales role.

From here there are two ways to go about getting this resolved, I think. Been thinking about it for awhile. One, that the employer is supportive, and says, go ahead, but try to hit as much of your targets as possible, and all is good, or two, that the employer says no, please prioritise and choose between the two. Now that would be a little bit of a problem. Having played this in my head over and over again, I would perhaps take the opportunity to look for another job, since I can't say I'm perfectly happy, much less adept at the sales role. But yet that small little part of my mind is a little afraid, mainly of changes, but also because my current company is not exactly a bad place to be in, even with the imbeciles I suffer at work.

So whats a indecisive, worried boy gotta do? On one palm I've got my career, and on the other I've got my dreams, and I potentially gotta choose one.

I guess tomorrow we'll know.

How wonderful life is, really. And I'm not being sarcastic.
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(no subject) [Aug. 7th, 2011|12:39 am]
Just back from a dinner engagement with Jeane at her friend/colleague's house. Some dude was going away to Sudan for a work trip and they were worried about him never coming back, given how guns are easily obtainable there. But really it was just an excuse to get together to have a cook-over, i.e., we come over and a group of them cook. We'd go dutch with the cost of course. There were 19 people in total I think, and each one of us had a 3 course dinner, i.e., mushroom soup, a main of either lamb, steak or chicken, and a serving of http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Panna_cotta for dessert. The crowd comprised mainly of people in, or who were in the company that Jeane is in, and the dinner was decent. Not spectacular, but decent fare given that it's all home-cooked. I had lamb, which was a little too fat for my liking, and Jeane had the steak, which was unfortunately slightly overdone. Each main also came with a serving of some spinach thing, and mashed potatoes. The conversations were polite and I was mostly quiet since I didn't know anyone there. We both tried to help out in the kitchen with what we could, but realised that we were more in the way than anything, and so decided to help with the plating and the serving.

Oh yes before I forget. The house was in this place called Oriole Crescent, which was off bukit timah and which I've never heard of before. But it was big. Nice place, really.

So anyway after dinner and bringing the plates to the kitchen, we adjourned to the living room, which was really just a short hop away from the dining area. Most of them also went to the games room and ended up playing with the WII, whilst Jeane and I was with some of the guys chatting at the sofa area. And here's where it got a little interesting. As it were, they started talking about how the markets crashed over the weekend, and about markets in general, and it turned out that one of their ex colleagues is currently with a FX trading desk of a big local bank. And as we chatted, i suddenly became aware of how interested I was in the conversations, listening when i had nothing to add and contributing to the conversation when I had an opinion. Stuff like how a natural arbitrage occurs between the CNY and the CNH and how it represents a chance for gains turned up, and the direction the dollar was going, and how alternative currencies were affected. We also chatted - without details of course - how pricing and whether or not unwinding costs were priced into each FX quote, and also how harsh the trading office can be, especially to a newbie, which was really interesting.

It was then that I sorta re-realised and turned to Jeane and told her: When i talk about quitting sales and going to do back office work, this is what i meant, and she just smiled. And all was good.

I hope I'll get the chance to.
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(no subject) [Jul. 16th, 2011|01:12 am]
I haven't been here in longer than I thought - don't blame anyone out there for thinking i'd abandoned this.

So anyway today was summoned to the HQ to take part in a training, followed by a test administered by the branch banking folks. Essentially I'd been earmarked for the next role in my job, i.e., Branch Relationship Manager, and i had to learn to deal with a forex product, namely the Dual Currency Returns.

The product and the training aside, this basically means, in simple terms, that my job is going to get harder. I will have my threshold - the amount of revenue above which one gets remunerated extra for - increased, and should my basic pay increase that will be an increase on both sides. My monthly targets will also increase, as will the amount of other 'extra curricular activities' that I have to shoulder.

On the positive side, though, this means that i've progressed, as this is the next step in the route of advancement. I think i'll enjoy the shouldering of more responsibility, just maybe not the fact that my targets will now increase, and it'll be harder to perform decently. And being in a sales job, essentially that'll be mainly what i'm measured against. Another positive is that I now have more bargaining power, having been actually promoted in this job, should i decide to leave and find something else relevant to do. Much as I would prefer a job with a more regular timing, I know for a fact that it will be difficult, given how relationships with clients and the staff here have been built..

But coming back to reality - I don't know for sure i'll pass the test, and if i don't then all these are moot.
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(no subject) [Mar. 5th, 2011|01:33 am]
A chair is still a chair
Even when there's no one sittin' there
But a chair is not a house
And a house is not a home
When there's no one there to hold you tight
And no one there you can kiss goodnight
Woah girl

A room is a still a room
Even when there's nothin' there but gloom
But a room is not a house
And a house is not a home
When the two of us are far apart
And one of us has a broken heart

Now and then I call your name
And suddenly your face appears
But it's just a crazy game
When it ends, it ends in tears

Pretty little darling, have a heart
Don't let one mistake keep us apart
I'm not meant to live alone
Turn this house into a home
When I climb the stairs and turn the key
Oh, please be there
Sayin' that you're still in love with me, yeah

I'm not meant to live alone
Turn this house into a home
I climb the stairs and turn the key
Oh, please be there, still in love
I said, still in love, still in love with me, yeah

Are you gonna be in love with me?
I want you and need you to be, yeah
Still in love with me
Say you're gonna be in love with me
It's drivin' me crazy to think
That my baby couldn't be still in love with me

Are you gonna be? Say you're gonna be
Are you gonna be? Say you're gonna be
Are you gonna be? Say you're gonna be
Well well, well well

Still in love, so in love, still in love with me
Are you gonna be?
Say that you're gonna be
Still in love with me, yeah

With me, oh
Still in love with me, yeah
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(no subject) [Mar. 3rd, 2011|12:26 am]
Wow. So is happening in my life now I really don't know where to start. I quite like it that I still have this cosy little place i can retreat to whenever I want. I was half surprised that it still exists, and that none of the evil forces have taken over it, though some have clearly taken over the comments section of the previous post..

So anyhow, everything seems to me to be in a mess. Work's shit. I don't seem to be selling anything, i got an email from my cluster manager ( that's my boss' boss) asking me if anything was up and noting that I went to reservist training but nevertheless had to catch up. My juniors are doing better than me, and i think i'm on the verge of being asked to leave. I know i have my value in the bank, and in the branch. I teach my juniors well, interact with people properly, and am capable of holding the fort when needed. I just don't know if the pros can outweigh the cons, that is, to sell, for much longer.

Relationships are also in a mess. There's loads happening in that area. I was speaking to a friend about love being unrequited, and she said something to the extent of it not being worthwhile to continue to love someone whose heart is somewhere else. And I asked her back: Is it a requirement to be loved in return? Is it even love if one expects such? It's not. It's the ideal situation, but it's not.

That however, is the utopian concept of love, i guess, and in the world of bounded rationality it very often is limited to story books and fables. And maybe the Bible. (Which some will argue is a story book but lets not go there).

So anyway, everything seems to be in a mess now. Family finances aren't doing well, too, and i'm helping out as much as I can. I'm fully aware that in the grand scheme of things what i'm experiencing is basically nothing, i have food to eat, a roof over my head, and clothes to wear. I'm well aware of that. But for me, right now, in the way i experience my life, it does seem to be a little too much to handle. All I feel like i want to do is to sleep, and keep sleeping and not wake up till things are better. Honestly.
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(no subject) [Nov. 23rd, 2010|12:43 am]
I have for myself this little phrase that I feel keeps me grounded. No matter what happens, or how successful I become at a certain thing, this particular phrase teaches me to keep both feet on the ground. Similiarly when I'm down in the dumps this phrase becomes a pick-me-up, far better than any teh si peng can do - Today I will share it with you:

גם זה יעבור

The Hebrew phrase: Gam Zeh Yaavor. There's a nice little parable that speaks of it's origins, and i reproduce it here:

One day Solomon decided to humble Benaiah ben Yehoyada, his most trusted minister. He said to him, "Benaiah, there is a certain ring that I want you to bring to me. I wish to wear it for Sukkot which gives you six months to find it."

"If it exists anywhere on earth, your majesty," replied Benaiah, "I will find it and bring it to you, but what makes the ring so special?"

"It has magic powers," answered the king. "If a happy man looks at it, he becomes sad, and if a sad man looks at it, he becomes happy." Solomon knew that no such ring existed in the world, but he wished to give his minister a little taste of humility.

Spring passed and then summer, and still Benaiah had no idea where he could find the ring. On the night before Sukkot, he decided to take a walk in one of he poorest quarters of Jerusalem. He passed by a merchant who had begun to set out the day's wares on a shabby carpet. "Have you by any chance heard of a magic ring that makes the happy wearer forget his joy and the broken-hearted wearer forget his sorrows?" asked Benaiah.

He watched the grandfather take a plain gold ring from his carpet and engrave something on it. When Benaiah read the words on the ring, his face broke out in a wide smile.

That night the entire city welcomed in the holiday of Sukkot with great festivity. "Well, my friend," said Solomon, "have you found what I sent you after?" All the ministers laughed and Solomon himself smiled.

To everyone's surprise, Benaiah held up a small gold ring and declared, "Here it is, your majesty!" As soon as Solomon read the inscription, the smile vanished from his face. The jeweler had written three Hebrew letters on the gold band: _gimel, zayin, yud_, which began the words "_Gam zeh ya'avor_" -- "This too shall pass."

At that moment Solomon realized that all his wisdom and fabulous wealth and tremendous power were but fleeting things, for one day he would be nothing but dust.

- Recovery Thoughts and Parables
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(no subject) [Nov. 19th, 2010|01:08 am]
Just today in branch, on a (now) typically quiet day, one of my colleague posed an open question to two of his colleagues who were around - one of whom happened to be me.

It was an interesting question, really: 'How much do you think you should have in savings by the time you turn 30?'

At that point in time we sorta decided on a figure between 50K and 100k, with the sole girl amongst us three saying perhaps closer to 100k would be a comfortable figure. Some quick calculation, then, assuming that I am at zero now (which is really not very far) would mean that i have to save about 20k a year. How i'm gonna do that is another issue altogether.

Practically, though, I knew it was going to be very hard for me, given the outflows that have. As one who knows me will know, I often dish out sums of money to my parents for the support of their business, when they run into cash flow issues. To put it in perspective, in the one year i've worked now, I reckon i've given them about 1/3 of my salary to tide difficult times. I also pay for my internet bill, and part of the electricity bill. But that's normal.

So anyway, then i got really busy, and all these disappeared from my mind for awhile.

(cue: difficult customer)

And then on the trip home i was in the bus, when i suddenly thought of our conversation earlier today, and somewhat realised - how much is enough?

I mean, to me, honestly, its not that money is not important, but i see it merely as a vehicle to achieve some comfort in life. It is not, and should not be the be-all and end-all. It hit me that very often people get caught up with chasing money that they end up wanting it merely for the reason of having more, and the real reason - that they want to provide for a more comfortable home, for example - tends to become the excuse that they hold.

What's more scary is that in the endless and relentless pursuit of monetary excellence people tend to lose sight on the ground and become selfish and self-centred to the extent that everyone else becomes a stepping stone to their success.

Do i want that? absolutely not. For me, just as, if not more important, is the need to remain grounded, to never lose sight of the principles that keep me human.

I hope you're keeping well.
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(no subject) [Oct. 19th, 2010|12:53 am]
in the hot seat. my boss is pressing me. hard. gah.
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