Thursday, March 25, 2010

Puts a stake in the ground and says..."Let's try again"

It has been 2 years and 9 months since that last post.

And I do believe I must be the "housemate" from that last blog post. :D

The time is 2010, March 25th.

I believe life must be good. We all have jobs, we have our health, and we have our friends. (I think the circle stopped shrinking)

I'm going to bust some cobwebs, might see you guys around more.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

A sad neglected corner with cobwebs...

Time flies... things change and we see people come and go. I've been busy with work and I guess so are my dear friends. I've also spend considerable time fixing up my place to an ok condition and in doing so I've neglected quite a few of my friends; especially friends who stayed in the city.

Even though my workplace is fairly close to the city (gabba), I just couldn't find the time to try to arrange for a gathering/lunch/dinner of my favorite friends in the city.

Ok ok I admit I'm lazy, I promise to try my best to meet up with my city friends from now on since most of the house stuff is pretty much done.

I'm also pre-occupied with things happening in my personal life and taking things one step at a time. Sad to say, I've lost touch with quite a few of my dear friends and seriously I don't know what's happening in their life.

Alas! All is not lost! I do try to keep in touch with my 'housemate' once in a while and boy does he give me very shocking news!

Just learned that one of my city friends have skipped town for Perth! Well, I guess that's what happens when you're offered better perks from a rival company which your current company cannot match. Hopefully, opportunities will open for everyone of us?

Also learned another of them have put his plans into action and got his own place! Welcome to the mortgage club! :)

Sadly, it also seems like a few them are now making plans to either move on elsewhere or return to their roots. If that indeed comes true, the circle of friends will just keep shrinking... Hopefully, it wouldn't happen but that's life. Sometimes, we just have to move on and make a new start.

A new start... maybe I need one too?

Thursday, February 14, 2008

A lack of social grace

I was reading this post online and while I thought it was interesting, it was reading the first few comments that made me think. Some of the comments describing MM Lee in my opinion are unnecessarily cruel and I think many Singaporeans are quick to criticise and forget all the great things about our country.

I have my share of gripes about Singapore, but I also firmly believe that it has much to offer. I think Singapore is a good place to be, especially when you think of the bigger scheme of things. Singapore is a developed, first world country with great infrastructure. It is safe, and its people are taken care of in a sense that basic necessicities such as housing, healthcare and employment are met.

At the same token, there are many things about Singapore that I find frustrating, such as expensive housing, the corporate culture and a seemingly uncultured society. Educational and racial marginalisation are my other big gripes.

Still, it bothers me when I hear people bash the country and put it down. Never have I met people of other nationalities harbour such great disdain for their own countries (and make this known) no matter how bad things may be at home. I have only ever met people of other nationalities who are proud of where they are from. Yes, there are a lot of things that are frustrating about Singapore, but there are a lot of things that are great about it too. And at the end of the day, that is where my family is. I could say I was born in Singapore or I grew up in Singapore, but there will be those nitpicky few who will grumble that they weren't born in Singapore (even though they grew up there) or that they spent their adolescence somewhere else (even though they were born in SG).

Many families, loved ones and friends live there, even though we may not. It's like saying something negative about the house your friend lives in or the suburb in which they reside. It is just unkind. We are all entitled to our opinions and while there are things we may dislike about a place, that doesn't give us a right to put it down. We all know people like this and doesn't that bother you?

When we go to people's homes, they may have tacky furniture or a poorly co-ordinated colour scheme. But we don't declare how much we dislike it. That's insulting. The same way I find it insulting when people put down Singapore. You can raise your grievances but you don't have to be rude.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Eyes Towards Home This Festive Season

The smell of "Bakua" fills my nostrils with heavenly aromas.
The smell of incense along the street sides fueled by offerings for a Prosperous and Fortune-filled year ahead.
The noisy streets filled with shopping-crazed people waiting for a bargain.
The mad rush to buy snacks and biscuits from the street vendors immediately after the clock strikes 12 on Chinese New Year.
Televisions blasting all over the neighborhood with variety shows celebrating and welcoming the lunar new year.
The clamoring of mahjong tiles deep into the night.
All things that I will miss this year again while I am away from home in a different and foreign land.

This is another year when I am not home during this Festive season. When everyone is getting ready for the new year. Getting haircuts, buying new clothes, cleaning out the house and preparing for a "feast" with family on the eve of the new year.
Another year when we (the ones without family here) have to make our own plans to gather with the 'family' of friends that depend on one another here to get that sense of 'closeness' that we get back home.

I miss being back home. How many of you feel the same?
It's never about the amount of time you spend there during your breaks or holidays, but it's about being there. It's about being part of it all.
Over just feels different somehow.
Even amongst the Lion Dance and Firecrackers you can experience in Chinatown or eating the same food you can get back home, I still look fondly towards home this season...hoping I was there.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Happy New Year from the Motherland

Hey Hey!
Happy New Year folks!
Good wishes from the homeland in the early hours of the new year!
Good luck and good fortune for everything you do.
Love one another and make this year a nicer time to remember.

Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy New Year! Last Day Of 2007!

A Happy New Year to all friends out there for this forgotten little corner. Cheers!

Monday, November 05, 2007

Contact Singapore V2?

The recent 'brain drain' of talented Singaporeans from Singapore have finally caught the attention of the SG government. With that a revamp of the official reachout group "Contact Singapore" will now focus on getting Singaporeans back to Singapore in addition to reaching out to talented individuals who are non-Singaporeans.

However, it raises more questions than answers. So will we be appreciated when we give up our overseas lifestyle and return to help our home country? What prompted this 'sudden' U-turn in policies? Straight-forward answers are far and few. The civil service personnels are all trained to 'follow law' and will just skirt the question or present us with a standard template answer with no meanings. Sad indeed.

There have been a few recent articles in Straits Times (yes I know it ranks as the 141th media in the world), which interviewed quite a few overseas Singaporeans. The major consensus was, the grass is indeed greener on the other side and when forced to make a decision to choose most will not return to Singapore. I still remembered one of those interviewed was a lady, who is a engineer schooled in NUS, and followed her engineer husband (who is a Singaporean and whom she met whilst studying in NUS) to US. When she was there, she took up a course to be trained as a nurse! Talk about mid-life career changes!

So does all these bode well for Singapore? Bad news i must say... those who got out will enjoy life overseas and may or may not return. It all depends on the policies of the SG government. If it makes it rosy for overseas SG residents to return, it will definitely attract them to return. But if they maintain the current policies, I will pray for the future of Singapore.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

A Feeling Called Nostalgia

Had an interesting dream/thought the other night that reminded me of the times I spent in Singapore as a teenager.
It was so...nostalgic (for a lack of another word).

Many things have happened since I last wrote but many of them pertained to me going back home. Well...a place I still feel the most at home anyways.

Like some people I know, I am still in Brisbane because I have my future in mind. Going back to Singapore right now might not be a good thing for my future. A lack of good jobs in the IT industry as well as a lack of proper work experience deters a bright future for myself. A friend of mine told me I can actually try for a position at a local polytechnic as a tutor. An idea that has been on my mind for the longest time.
But I think I am still not ready for that yet.

The lack of a Masters Degree and sufficient working experience will leave me wanting if I returned at this time. So what are my plans? Stay at my job for another year (which will total my time spent there to 3 years...a respectable length of time), get my Masters either via part-time or a short full-time stint, and then move on.

But of can never plan your next step THAT precisely. Something might happen that will compel me to leave earlier OR make me stay here longer. You never know.

And if I do go back, can I pick up where I left off?
My friends have moved on with their lives, mostly without me being in the picture.
I am no longer as used to life in Singapore as I was in the past (proven from my annual trips back home, which I cant last 2 weeks without clawing at the walls).
The lost 'connections' in Brisbane if I do go back.
And the heartaches (well...not THAT many) I left in SG when I came over.
Can I resolve all that?

I wish things were simpler.
The world needs to be smaller.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Contact Singapore?

The week started off great! Couldn't have it any better as i had a special guest arriving for a short visit. The gang was talking about a Contact Singapore event, which i don't remember i had an invitation to until the day before. My good ol' pal Mervyn dropped me a call telling i had already accepted his invitation previously.

The event was a dinner with the 'Contact Singapore' assistant director and senior manager held on Wednesday (23/05/07) night. Guests invited are the 'usual gang', like Bernard, Lindsay, Mervyn etc the professionals working here in Brisbane. However on the hind side, there are alot more professionals, i know of in Brisbane whom i've talked to, who can't be bothered and who chooses to remain under the radar.

The dinner conversation was light and easy in the beginning. I guess it was their usual way of getting us up to speed on certain things and also to provide us with 'fresh' news. They are also getting us psyched up by giving us sneek peeks into the policies of the Singapore government and making us feel 'appreciated' by the government back home.

Then the drop of the stone into the pond came. Contact Singapore is a government unit alright. From its name we would think that it is meant to keep Singaporeans in touch with things back home or even try to entice us back home. I couldn't be more wrong. They are contacting Singaporeans overseas to try to use us as proxies (or in a uglier word as pawns) to attract 'foreign talents'. They are trying to use us to entice professionals working side by side with us to go work in Singapore and the most important thing is that they must not be Singaporeans. The info pack given on the night seemed a bit more tuned for these 'foreign talents' than for us overseas Singaporeans. A true blue Singaporean would snigger at the numbers they put on the printouts! Ok ok... i didn't snigger i was actually laughing at the numbers.

When I heard of the actual objectives of the dinner i was getting a bit peeved. So overseas Singaporeans aren't talents? So like Singaporeans in Singapore we are now rated of secondary importance? So i dropped an innocent question to the assistant director, "Are overseas Singaporeans considered foreign talents if we were to go back to work in Singapore?". I got a cold, short and 'end of story' reply of no. He never even bothered to explain or entertain me and went on to his objectives.

From that point onwards, I've no interest in any further conversations with the two representatives from Contact Singapore. From what i can see, the others were enjoying themselves for the night. So i just let myself wallow into the true blue Singaporean 'boh chap' mode and just put up a front to entertain the hosts.

At the end, the dinner was paid for courtesy to the Singapore Government! Kudos to them and also thanks for the goodies which i have managed to grabbed!

Monday, April 23, 2007

A Forgotten Little Corner

This weekend marked a huge event that happened over in New York, Central Park.
The Singapore Fair was held there and was the largest overseas event ever attempted and it was a huge success.

I always wondered whether this little corner of the world, Brisbane, might ever be considered for an event of that scale. What are the requirements for a location to be considered important enough for selection?
Number of SG residents?
Number of Businessmen?

Events that are publicised and supported wholeheartedly by the home govt are always in the US or the UK. But as far as I can recall, never in Australia or any other part of the world.
Are we not worth the time and effort?
Some of us are actually proud of being Singaporean.
And some of us are even willing to put in a little more time and effort to run student clubs and statewide clubs just to be able to add our little Singaporean flavor to the local populace.

When will our time come?

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

The Bottom Line

I've been reading my friend Kay's blog and the last 2 entries she wrote were very interesting and relevant, which got me thinking. The latest entry was about postgraduate studies and the relevance of local postgraduate qualifications in Singapore. The issue is whether or not, there is a future for you if you have a local postgraduate qualification. She was worried about the threat of "foreign talent" and it's no big secret that the Singapore government clearly favours educated foreigners over educated locals.

Why? I'm not sure, but almost everybody has an opinion. This was the comment I left on her blog:

"I don't believe that postgraduate qualifications garnered from universities outside of Singapore are any better than those from Singapore universities. I think it's a relatively level playing field where all qualifications should be reviewed with equal scrutiny.

I do believe that the Singapore government does idolise foreigners to some degree, believing that they are better than locals or that locals aren't as good as foreigners - just because they're locals. I think this is completely unjustified.

I also believe that in academia, you go wherever the work takes you. If I had a PhD in social marketing (which I will in a few years) I won't get a job in Singapore, because Singapore is rubbish in the social marketing area. I'd look at the UK instead, which has great social marketing institutions.

Over here (in Australia) only 2% of the population have PhDs or are doing a PhD. I'm one of them. I feel a little special and I do feel that in the academic sense, I am better than most. But if I went back to Singapore, I wouldn't feel that way. I feel that the Singapore government will still look at me as a nobody, even though I would have legitimately slogged in the name of research and would ultimately receive a doctoral degree.

Why? Because to the Singapore government, I am a minority nobody who "quit" and left for Australia. It doesn't matter that I only left because the government did not give me the opportunity to pursue a degree locally. They see what they choose to see."

So that's my opinion on how the Singapore government values our education. The majority of people who have been educated in Singapore would not have the opportunity to pursue a tertiary education there because it's so competitive and the standards are so high. It is a fundamental flaw of the education system designed by the government; a significant proportion of Singaporeans will never study in local universities. As a result, some will go overseas instead where admission is so easy, as long as you have the funds for it. But then when you do that, I feel that the Singapore government will vilify you to some degree for having left the country to pursue greener overseas pastures. The individual takes it upon himself to pursue personal growth in another country, because his own country has not provided adequate opportunities to do so, yet the individual is wrong for taking this path. This is what I feel is unjust.

This is my bottom line: Australia has given me more than Singapore has ever offered, and because of that it is not the right of the Singapore government to call me, or anyone else like me, anything that suggests I have turned my back on my own country for no good reason.

Monday, January 15, 2007

The Holidaying Child Returns to Adulthood

So here I am back again in the office.
All nicely dressed up (despite the pain I still get from my stomach illness; price of being an adult I guess) and ready for a new work year.

For the past 3 weeks I was given the best holiday I had for over a year. I felt like a child with no responsibilities again. Just enjoying my time, having fun, having a good time. There were of course moments when I needed to be the adult again but they were few.

I love to be back home. There was a sort of peace that I never truly found here in Brisbane. A sense that everything will work out fine. It's almost like God knows who I am there and takes special care of me when I am there. It's as if there is a magnifying glass that focuses on me when I am home. I loved it in Singapore; I loved being home.

It's different.
In Brisbane, I got my own little 'family' here as well, but it really is different back there. It is a place where I grew up, a place where my memories are, a place that defines me. I had my first crush there, my first moment of glory, my first heartbreak. Nothing can ever change that.

I now have this constant yearning for something that has been torn out of my heart again. Sitting here in my office, among the people I have grown to like and work with, I feel something missing. A sense of nonsensical bond betweem them and myself. I don't believe I can ever call myself Aussie. I am Singaporean; I call myself Singaporean, and that's what sets us apart.

This is a place where I work, where I live, where I spend most of my time, but it can never be home.(?)

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Happy New Year!

It's the new year, so I figured this is a good time as any to make my first post. Ever.

It was my first year celebrating NYE in Brisbane. I've always been in Singapore for the festivities, but this year I wanted to see how Brisbane parties. I must say it was pretty crowded in the city. Damien and I avoided the entire SouthBank area and beyond at first because the crowds were just massive. Our original NYE plans fell through and our friends were all over the place, so we decided to do our own thing and came up with our new basic plan: dinner, drinks, fireworks. Sounds good to me.

We went to the Valley for dinner. Wagamama at the Emporium was our choice. That end of the Valley was a little quiet and the restaurants were all closing early. The Brunswick Street end of the Valley was a different story. All the clubs seemed to be open and there were lots of people milling around by the time we were making a move back to the City.

The City was full of people, probably people who would eventually end up at South Bank to see fireworks. We went to the Casino first and it was bursting with people. After seeing the crowd and deciding there was no way we'd make it to the bar in the next year, we went to Jorge on George for some drinks. It was the best idea we had all night. Good cocktails, great music and lots of (but not too many) people all guzzied up for a night of partying.

At about 11.40pm, we made our way to South Bank to scope out a nice spot to stand. There were masses of people, but it wasn't as packed as I had anticipated. Maybe South Bank itself would have been crowded, but we found a spot on the Victoria Bridge.

And then at midnight, the fireworks lit up the sky.

It was so pretty...

So that's the story of my first NYE in Brisbane. No horror stories. No nasty surprises. All I can say, is that the best plan is a basic one and the best company is of the special kind. Happy New Year!

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Christmas time & New Year's round the corner~

Christmas is just 2 sleeps away and the year 2007 is just 9 sleeps away! A quick Christmas greetings to everyone and a Happy New Year too!

Wishes especially to Justin and to Mr the red white traveller on the upcoming trip back to sillypore for the holidays! Have fun guys and don't forget the presents! HAHA...

Kudos to Mr the red white traveller for the excellent Christmas get together on 22/12/06 Friday. It was an excellent, great and fun night. Hope the rest of you had just as much fun as i did!

Minus Mr Chester Freezer though... :)

Monday, December 11, 2006

Another year passing by...

Another year is going by very soon, how are you my friends? Friends in Singapore, friends in Brisbane, friends in Perth etc etc.

Has any of your 2006 New Year resolutions beared fruits? I know some of mine have! I've managed to get a place of my own and is now fixing it up. A bit old but hey, retro is in! Many thanks to the Aussie QLD state government for giving me AUD$7k FOC! Haha... suckers! :p

I've also managed to 'sien' (not sian as in boring ok!) a pretty, sweet, smart and loving girlfriend from Taipei, Taiwan. Interesting part is I've got to know her from a flight from Taipei to Singapore! And she wasn't even sitting right next to me... :)

So how will 2007 turn out for me? How will it turn out for you? Remember to always stay positive and many a doors will open for you. Look in places where you might not have thought about looking, and surprises might await!

Be positive! It's good to be alive and kicking! Of coz not kicking the bucket lah...


Singapore - Home?

An Interesting Read.
What are your view?

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Aims and Personal Target

I hammered out a few points today. And I'd thought I would share it with you.

1) To be a successful recognised businessman; In areas, of ethics, reliability and reputation.

2) To be a contributor and driving force in the community for change for the better.

3) To be a role model for younger businessmen, and young minds. To help mould them into citizens of good standing.

4) To achieve a further educational qualification in Engineering or Finance.

5) To strengthen Singapore my home, and ensure its sustainability.

6) To steer the Singapore International Youth Council into reality.

Why? I guess I need to put this down sometime, and perhaps one day look myself in the mirror and gauge my personal progress.

Where are you now?

Monday, October 09, 2006

Singapore Film wins International award!

Of course following the news of the local film "Singapore Dreaming" at the San Sebastian Film Festival, I was really pleased to hear that Colin and Yen Yen won the Mont Blanc New Screenwriters award.

No, I'm not related to them, neither do they know me. All they know is this bunch of fellas wanted to take the film and run with it in Australia believing it was a good film.

And we were right!! They rocked to 3 days of sold out screenings in Spain in multiple theathers! Perhaps now I will be able to catch it at a local cinema and bring my friends to watch it at a REALLY-BIG-LOTS-OF-FOODS+FRIENDS day out! Wait I forgot to mention, -IN-BRISBANE! :) Please, thank you and don't forget about us. And no, this time, we don't need to get 30 people to sign up first. *wink*

I still haven't seen it, but I can't wait to catch it!

Sunday, October 08, 2006


So what is home?

Some folks say that home is where the heart is.

Where would that be?

Is it in the place where you were born? Where your family resides? Where your friends are? Where love is? Where you have fond memories of?

These are questions that I have no answers to. In fact most of us don't really know. Sometimes when I say I am going home, I mean DC. Sometimes I mean Singapore. Both are home I guess. Or maybe both are not home. Maybe home is where I am. Where I choose to make a life and home in.

I could be in Kenya. That might be home. Or perhaps in Italy. That could be home.

Is home a physical place or is it a state of mind?

Friday, October 06, 2006

Singapore Community Day 2006 - Canberra

Ah! Here it is again. Singapore Community Day. Another weekend of makan(eating) and (sort of) celebrating being a Singaporean.

Unlike last year, I plan to purchase all the good food that will be sold at the Makan Besar on Sunday morning. It was so disappointing to miss out on a few local delicacies last year just because I didn't explore all the stalls available. SIGH.
Enough of my experiences, now onto the event proper:

The Singapore Community Day is actually a 2-day event starting on Saturday with a Golf tournament for the interested and a tour of the Floriade in Canberra's Commonwealth Park for everyone else.
On Sunday, a Makan Besar(Food Fair) is held at the Singapore High Comm for everyone to have a chance to eat food from home that seem to be so difficult to find over here in Australia. Together with a Raffles draw (hehehe...prizes) in the afternoon.

It is a community event for Singaporeans (together with friends and family) to gather together, celebrating our identity and the common heritage we share. It attracts Singaporeans from all over Australia, and in recent years, students from the different Singapore Student Associations to come down as well.

For whatever reasons or goals it has officially, it has been a great way for Singaporean students from all over Australia to meet in person instead of just correspondence via E-mail, phonecalls, or other independent organisations. It opens communication between the different groups of Singaporeans and of course, presents an opportunity for us to work together. It has done so last year for some of us and I am sure it will again this year.