Saturday, October 18, 2008

Tanjong Balai

Welcome to Tanjong Balai..

life crabs for dinner.. =)

unlike the durians you get around Singapore, these are not cultivated.. heard something abt the fella going around picking the durians.. but really good still.

Long Beach anyone? =P

that's dinner.. a whopping 8 course meal including some herbal chicken thing, sour/spicy fish, pork knuckle, lobster and claypot curry crab.. happening.

the cool thing is that mu jie (the chef; 3rd from the right) has got 3 woks. now I know this is probably common, but it's seldom that you get to go into the kitchen and watch the chef prepare your dinner, and then zip out immediately when its done to eat it. Nothing like that in Singapore.. =)

and that's brunch the next day.. really good assam fish..

Friday, October 17, 2008


Any student from NTU doing EEE would be familiar with the name: Michael Heng. At the brief mention of this name, students will flee and screams can be heard waaay over at changi point.

At some point of his life, an NTU EEE student would have chanced across the horrendous encounters that would be associated with this name, just like a Right-Of-Passage Week known to special forces around the world, no matter how innocent or lost the student may be, he’d eventually come to know it and would have to go through it.

I’m no different. For me I didn’t exactly hear of any horror stories, neither did I know much about this subject innocently entitled Human Resource Management. Even when I did eventually come to hear about it 6 months ago, I thot “what the heck.. it can’t be that bad”. So perhaps I was wrong..

Unlike any typical modules that I’ve taken and will take in the coming semester, this one is uniquely different. Right from the start we’re told that everything we know and once knew, will be changed. A ‘life-altering’ module as described in his very own words.. so I looked out for chances where I may start to see things differently.. I’m not sure if it’s his intention to make us have a paradigm shift purely in terms of the business models and stuff but for me, this whole Reality Learning took quite a turn early this week.

Zip by from the first lecture all the way till this past Tuesday.. and for me, I have indeed gotten a few valuable lessons.

My first lesson was that the true test of a person’s character is truly revealed in times of immense pressure and hardship. Sure this must be ur 461st time hearing this statement, but I’m telling you that it’s one thing to hear it, it’s another to watch it unravel before ur very eyes.

At 2330 hours, after 5 hours of trying to sort the report out, 3 folks out of the team of 5 decide that they should leave so they may catch the last train. Note that at this point in time, the report that was due in 10 hours’ time was barely 30% completed, neither was the presentation sorted out in any way.

Fine by me, I know where my priority lies and at this point, sleep is of the least. Fast forward 9.5 hours later, after only 2 hours of sleep, and 30 min away from the big presentation, I stroll into the computer lab and realise that the report wasn’t printed.

Instead of printing it, our dear ‘Team Leader’ was busily trying to amend the peer review to make it such that it reflected that everyone had an ‘equal’ amount of work done. It’s weird when you think about it, we have 30 minutes to sort out the presentation slides, which were at this point non-existent, and to print the report, and instead of doing any of these, the peer review and the individual marks that you get takes precedence.. I just don’t get it. Don’t mind me saying but it just speaks of what shallow character you have. To have the cheek to say that you will distribute equally then it’s ‘fair to everyone’.. I don’t know about you, but if your definition of fair means that you leave 2 team members to stay up to 5 in the morning to sort out a group report, then I rest my case about ur character. I'll just take the past 11 hours of work to be an exchange to find out who you are on the inside.. and to think you’re supposed to be the ‘leader’?

Which leads me to the next lesson that I’ve learnt, that an incompetent leadership can literally tear the entire team down. In the army it’s all about leadership and delegating work and ensuring that the work gets done etc.. any trooper who’s ever donned the green would be familiar with these terms. But much as the army has tried to inform me about what a good leadership is meant to do, it failed to let me see what an incompetent leadership will do to the team.

In the case of the army, if you screw up or show that you have a negative amount of leadership potential in you, the solution is simple. You get replaced. So those in the top always keep an eye and make sure that the day doesn’t come where you mess things up bad; before that happens, you get booted.

So for the last 10 weeks, I’ve taken a back seat, since the leader of the team was appointed by the nominal roll, I had nothing to say. And since the leader would typically get more credit if the team excels, it doesn’t make sense for me to be doing the job of the leader only to let him get all the credit. No, on the contrary, commandos are not all muscles and no brains.

And so as I looked back at that final 30 minutes where nothing was done, I can’t help but wonder what would happen if I didn’t step in. No, don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to blow my own trumpet or anything, it’s just that I rarely get THIS freaked out in school. It’s JUST school we’re talking abt, nothing life threatening, but for that minute when I realised what was going on, I got that cold shudder and the sudden feeling that we’re really not gonna make it this time.

In short, I really lost my cool for a bit there.. totally stunned, with a kangaroo-see-spotlight face.. And that’s where I realised that an incompetent leadership can really tear down all that hard-work and tens of hours of endless meetings and headaches. I thot all along that taking a back seat and just letting it ‘unfold’ won’t harm anyone/anything.. but I was so wrong..

So to me, that’s my Reality Learning take-away for this HRM project.. the semester hasn’t exactly ended yet, but I can safely tell you that I’ve learnt a pretty good deal of lessons and seen through some characters from this short span of 10 weeks than I ever did over the past 100. Something that perhaps I’ll take with me for some time to come. what's your Reality Learning take away..?

Monday, October 6, 2008


..If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.
If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.
If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.
It is not rude, it is not self-seeking it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.
Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

1 Corinthians 13:1-7

Read the above this morning and it’s pretty timely.. it was like a pre-cursor for me, a still small voice that reminded me to love no matter what.. no matter what would happen later on in the day.. and it started to get difficult the moment I stepped out of my room.

Honestly I feel it’s impossible to achieve the above. It’s not humanly possible at least.. but that’s just my flesh speaking, somehow it has to be done and it probably starts with the right mindset and the right heart.

How timely.. teach me to love.. for without love, I am nothing.

Saturday, October 4, 2008


Oxymoron, n.
1. Rhetoric. A figure of speech in which a pair of opposed or markedly contradictory terms are placed in conjunction for emphasis.
2. More generally: a contradiction in terms.

That’s what oxford gave for the definition of the word. Another way to see it would be at this link.

So I came across this site (thanks to SQ and Sam for sharing) and it’s a Microsoft initiative to provide “Professional Developer and Designer tools for students at no charge”. See? Microsoft’s giving away FREE development kits.. Free Microsoft Products. Now that’s an oxymoron for you..

It sorta makes me wonder since when Microsoft started to align themselves to be lesser of a profit-making organization and to actually encourage students.. somehow, in the deepest darkest corners of my heart, even though I’d like to believe that they’re starting to be more community-minded, I still feel that perhaps they’re just losing too much of the market share to the open-source community and other penguin-friendly development kits and environments.. thus needing to create some awareness.. and who better than to target students.. once you hook them and they graduate, they’ll be suckers purchasing ur faulty, buggy and malfunctioning softwares.. haha..

So anyway, if you’re gonna use it, u better go download them quick.. not sure when they’ll stop providing this service.. =)

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

when September ends..

Happy Children’s Day everyone; young-at-heart is more important.. =) Today marks the end of September and it’s quite scary honestly. Time’s zipping by at the speed of c and before I know it, it’s back to school this week after the seemingly transparent term break and I’m now 5 weeks to the exams. *scream*

Today’s also the day that I left safti 3 years ago.. still remember how we’d play the song over and over again in anticipation of 1st October and our dear parade.. especially so in Brunei.. bitter-sweet memories =)

So anyway, I’m thankful for a break from school today cos our dear muslim friends are celebrating Hari Raya; at least this break’ll help me run in and get the engine started after the term break.. back to school and the usual routine tmr.. yuck.

Decided to cook something this evening, since cooking usually makes me happy.. chicken chop this time.. didn’t turn out too bad. Quite happy with the way it turned out. =)

total cost, probably under 3 bucks =)

Oh and following up from the previous entry about my shiny new phone.. I got this cool new application that triangulates where you are, without the need for a GPS module.. check out this youtube video Gotta love google I tell you. They make life so much better that what they do is starting to get scary. Haha.. imagine life without google.. *gasp*

Wake Me Up When September Ends

Summer has come and passed,
the innocent can never last.
Wake me up when September ends

Like my fathers come to pass,
seven years has gone so fast.
Wake me up when September ends

Here comes the rain again,
falling from the stars.
Drenched in my pain again,
becoming who we are.

As my memory rests
but never forgets what I lost,
wake me up when September ends

Summer has come and passed,
the innocent can never last.
Wake me up when September ends

Ring out the bells again,
like we did when spring began.
Wake me up when September ends