Posts about life

Life lessons you ought to know

Good article from LifeReboot on 10 lessons you ought to know. It’s never too late to learn from it.

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A humble beginning to 2010

An old saying goes along this line:

“If you fail to plan, you plan to fail”

To a certain extend, I’ve got to agree with the above quote after I’ve had bad experiences of being unprepared previously and ended up paying a huge price. Although many will point out that the plan may be subjected to changes, I thought it is better than having none. This is why I make it a point to pen my new year’s resolution though I missed it last year unknowingly.

It is not so much of listing the items and announcing it to the world but rather, I felt that this method serves as a useful tool to keep track of goals I’ve set out to accomplish for the year – with a repercussion effect of pressure and reminders from friends and strangers whom may be interested with the progress.

Hereby presenting the 3 resolutions I hope to achieve by the end of 2010:

1. Visit the gym and exercise regularly
I have not been visiting the gym and exercising regularly since returning from Australia in 2008. As usual, one of the main reasons I’ve always managed to convince myself is work commitment and feeling lethargic. Of course, this is not entirely true and I realised I’ve just been getting lazy.

Before things get out of shape and I begin to fail my annual physical proficiency test, I’ve decided to live a healthier lifestyle by visiting the gym at least once a week even during busy work schedules. I’m pretty sure I can afford to sacrifice at least an hour during weekends with the exception that I’m being deployed elsewhere that has no access and privilege of working out.

2. Resume reading of non-work related books and articles
An apple a day keeps the doctor away. I figured that by resuming my hobby of reading and completing at least a book a month, I would have expanded my horizon and gain a better perspective of various subjects. Though there’s probably so much more to read and absorb in the course of my work, deviating and reading on other subjects, be it a novel or biography is definitely refreshing.

3. Better time management and remaining focus
Procrastination is the art of living with yesterday. Given the amount of work to complete daily and personal agenda, it will be disastrous and unforgiving if things started to snowball and get out of hand because of procrastination. Thus, I hope to work on my time management and task prioritisation skills in terms of administratively and getting things done without distractions.

In short, by achieving the above, it should put me in a better position – both physically and in character.

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2009: A year in review

As I rewind and reviewed bits and pieces of 2009, I was amazed at how it arrived without any anticipation and past at the blink of the eye. I realised that I did not even write any resolutions for the year though I survived unknowingly. I thought that it was a relatively smooth ride for me having achieved a couple of milestones and achievements.

For one, I’ve finally realised my childhood dream of being a pilot and earned my aviator wings and began my career as a military pilot after 3 years and 2 months as a trainee. To top it off, I was granted my choice of platform that I’ve always wanted to fly and the opportunity to return to the states for short stint training. Before I knew, I was being re-stationed to the states once again, this time for a good 2 years!

Not forgetting the advancement with technology and the numerous gadgets I have acquired over the last couple of months. I’ve finally took the leap onto the Apple wagon and this includes being a proud owner of a 15″ MacBook Pro and an iPhone 3GS! This has got to be one of the biggest and fruitful changes after being a loyal fan of the PC for almost 20 years!

In short, I’m thankful to have sailed through 2009 peacefully with tremendous support from my family and a bunch of great friends whom I have met along my life journey thus far.

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Hosed

It’s been 3 weeks since I’ve arrived at Fort Rucker and settled down administratively! You can never imagine how much time and effort is needed just to square away all the domestics, settle down and be comfortable with the environment.

The course has officially started last week and my mind still seems to be idling. It has been pure academics till this week and I’m already feeling overwhelmed by the loads of knowledge and information delivered by the experts. A good way to illustrate the feeling would be imagining a water hose being shoved into your mouth and turned on at full blast — at least a good 50% of the water (knowledge) is flowing away.

I thought the limitations and emergency procedures (EP) during my rotary wings course days were daunting, until I started reading and memorizing those we are expected to know of here — it’s at least twice of what’s back home! Before I could even square out the limits and EPs, simulators have started and now, I have the flight check-list to be familiar with as well! Since the course duration is so short, things are expected to happen fast and furious. Naturally, the stress level has started to accumulate now that there’s so much to learn, so little time and capacity to absorb as well as maintaining the country’s image.

Probably I’ll just have to take it easy and pace myself well to gain the best out of this deal. This is one of the best training one can get and the instructors are all experienced and professional. What I like about this course is the style of the academics being conducted as well as the training aids available.

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Unsettled

Lately, I have been neglecting this blog not because I have lost interest in blogging but the energy state and time is simply not enough as I have been so pre-occupied with other priorities in life! There’s so much that I want to pen down, not to mention the draft entries awaiting to be published since my return from Australia.

In short, I’m currently into the last phase of my flying training and I have been posted for helicopters flying. I guess it should be fun since it’s totally different from fixed wings flying. For the past week, I’ve been occupied with ground school – studying rotary aerodynamics and aircraft systems. This only translates to less personal time, more notes to read and preparing for exams! Not to mention that I am trying to get back in shape after gaining that extra pound back in Australia!

I hope to get back in action as soon as I’ve sorted out the other priorities. For now, things will be a little quiet here with occasional post whenever possible!

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Twenty Four

One year older as the days goes by with the number increasing and wrinkles growing . Like any other day, I woke up only to find someone knocking on the door. To my surprise, it was my colleague greeting me with a can of green tea — my favorite drink at the moment. I didn’t really expect anyone to remember the day but it certainly starts my day on the right track.

I don’t usually celebrate with candles and cakes because it’s just like another normal day. Nonetheless, thanks for the greetings from my family and friends who remember this day.

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Welcome to the new year

Welcome, 2008!

Barely a minute ago, we’ve all bid farewell to 2007. For me, it was a great year coupled with fun, exciting activities and memorable experiences. For the new year, I look forward to many more events and opportunities. On top of that, there’s a list of resolution that I hope to accomplish:

Health

I’ve been going to the gym lately and I hope to be able to kick start my gym routine once again and build some solid muscles — though it’ll prove to be challenging when flying starts again. Still, I’m sure I’ll be make sacrifices and find free time to lift weights. Since my eye surgery in late 06′, I’ve been maintaining 6/4 for both eyes. I hope to maintain this excellent vision and this means spending less time on the computer and caring for the precious eye.

Work

Another 6 months and I’ll have completed my basic flying training. I certainly look forward to the day I complete my officer-ship training and put on the ‘golden bar’ on my shoulders.

Social

This should make up a big chunk of my resolution for the year. First and foremost, I want to improve my communication skills, interpersonal relation, patience and character. I realized that I’ve been lacking in these areas and hope to change for the better. As shown in the infoporn, I’ve only read a total of 3 pathetic books for last year. I hope to beat the record and improve on my reading list this year!

This should sum up what I wish to attain for 2008. Easier said than done but I’m up for the challenge.

Happy holidays!

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Hello, world

I’m finally back, not from any sort of vacation nor time-off. To be honest, ever since news broke on the departure date for my flying training, my schedule has been somewhat hectic and unpredictable. I can’t seem to gather enough energy and time to do self reflection, less to say sitting down to pen my thoughts in this blog. To my loyal readers whom have been constantly checking my blog for updates, please accept my sincerest apologies.

So, here’s a quick update on what has happened since last month. Just before National Day, my laptop decided to quit on me abruptly and I had to send it to the service centre for repair. Turned out that it was a hard drive failure after multiple diagnostics and the problem seems to puzzle the technician as well. As a result of the failure, I suffered some data lost and files were corrupted. Luckily, I managed to recover most of the files from my backup set though I still lost a few files along the way. This incident has taught me the importance of data backup and automating the process.

It has been three months since I’m supposedly to complete my national service had I not signed on. Most of my friends are either pursuing their further education in university or enjoying civilian life. I’m not implying that I’ve regretting making this choice but I must admit that there are times where I missed being a civilian and the freedom of life, especially after experiencing military life and its workings.

In exactly one week’s time, I’ll be departing to Australia for the second phase of my flying training. This will be a nine months course should I successfully complete the requirements. Based on what I’ve gathered, this training will be a huge difference from my previous one as it is very demanding and challenging. I guess I’m ready to pick up the challenge and I’ve cultivated my mindset to accept things positively, though I’ll be missing my family, friends and food back here.

For the next few days just prior to my departure, I’ll be busy sorting out all the necessary preparations and events that will occur. I was hoping to be able to clear my outstanding vacation leave from last year but that seems impossible now with the tight schedule that leaves no room for discussion. All this is credited to some “brilliant” individual who is demanding and has demonstrated a lack of foresight, understanding and compassion.

Enough said for now. Till the next time I write.

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IBM employees may take as many vacation as they want, or maybe none

Take as many vacation time as you want, even on short notice. This is what IBM has offered to its employees. It is definitely a refreshing experience, though in our context, there might be abuses to this privilege.

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Day ride

It has been a while since I last cycled and this afternoon, I finally had the opportunity to meet up with my cousin for a ride to somewhere further and not within the good old Bishan Park where we usually hang out. Since he had this cool new mountain bike which cost quite a bit, I was able to ride on the other cheaper version and test the limits of it.

We set off from his home and started cycling to our intended destination, which happen to be Lower Seletar reservoir. Honestly, I was in a state of mixed emotions as it was my first day ride and the distance that I’ll be travelling is much more than what I usually clock. I was excited and a little worried as I’d need to pay attention to the road conditions and terrain. The feeling is similar to driving a vehicle except that it is safer to ride on the pavement with little traffic.

During the journey, my cousin was taking the lead with his powerful bicycle and I tried to keep up with his pace. It didn’t take too long for me to realise that cycling on a cheap bike as compared to the better ones makes a big difference. The amount of energy exerted and distance covered is significant on a low end model. Just before we turned into the road leading to Seletar airport, my bike decided to quit on me. Apparently, it had enough of my high speed cycling and the gears extension derailleurs dislodged. Luckily, we were near some private estate neighbourhood and managed to borrow the right tools from a family to fix the bike. Speaking of this, I think Singaporeans are generally helpful and friendly (of course I’m not judging from this incident alone) when one is in need of help.

So off we go and continue our journey after the little misadventure. From here, I dared not test the limits of the bike again and decided to slow down the cycling speed. It didn’t take too long to arrive at lower Seletar Reservoir. We managed to stop by the side to catch a breather and enjoy the magnificent view but it wasn’t too long before we decided to head home as the sun was scorching. I managed to test ride his bike during the journey back home and it feels great. The ride was smoother and the amount of energy needed is much lesser.

Overall, it was a great “sight seeing” experience and workout. I would not have realised the remote areas of Yishun and appreciate the beauty of the surroundings if not for this day ride trip.

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The last 12 weeks

This entry was supposed to be published last week but I didn’t manage to complete the draft until today.

Unknowingly, 12 weeks seems to have come and gone in a flash. It wasn’t too long ago when I had to carry loads of personal stuff and prepare to stay in camp for the duration of my ground school course. I was apprehensive and doubtful if I’ll be able to survive and pass the 7 modules (8 papers) as laid out.

At least for the moment, gone are the days of mugging for exams over weekends and late into the wee hours if the paper is on a weekday. I dread of the many presentations that had to be prepared and research on, not to mention the tight deadlines. Certainly, there are advantages of living in camp and cool moments. This includes being able to wake up at a later time and avoid the morning rush hour traffic to work, group discussions and studies, LAN gaming and the list goes on.

It has been a great experience and most importantly, an accomplishment to have successfully cleared all modules and pass out from the ground school course. Although there might have been bad days and rough times, I’ve managed to overcome it with the help of my fellow course mates. On second thought, this is the just the beginning of my Basic Wings Course. There’s still a long way to go but before the next phase, I hope to be able to take a good break and gather my thoughts.

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Life is great

I came across this quote by Lloyd Biggle Jr in a vegetarian restaurant few weeks ago. I must say it serves as very good reminder on why everyone should be a vegetarian.

Life is life’s greatest gift. Guard the life of another creature as you would your own because it is your own. On life’s scale of values, the smallest is no less precious to the creature who owns it than the largest.

What are you waiting for?

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Selfless or selfish?

Just weeks before, I’d this impression and thought to myself that something nasty is going to occur if no one takes the initiative to sort out the mess. Last weekend, as I returned to camp on a Sunday night, I went to sign the attendance book. True enough; the pages that were nicely drawn with lines to separate the different columns were used up. As expected, everyone started to ignore the fact that lines were not drawn and simply pen down the details. I was tempted to pick up a pencil and ruler to tidy things up but somehow, my heart and mind rejected the idea.

It didn’t take long enough for the duty officer to inspect the records and realized the mess. Before we all knew, the school sergeant major fired out an email to our wing sergeant major and instructed us to be confined over the weekend for not drawing lines. Now, it may seem that I was selfish and had I initiated to tidy the records, this would not have happened. On the other hand, I thought that why must it always be me taking the initiative to sort things out and get everyone out of trouble? Can’t someone else just have the same mentality? I’m not trying to project myself as a “hero” or whatever you term but when it is always the same old few who have to get the job done, you’ll realise you’ve had enough of it.

I thought that the punishment was a good opportunity for everyone to do some self-reflection. It has come to a stage where due to human nature; people will allow things to be taken for granted and have the mentality that someone else will get it done. Take a few moments to observe and you’ll be surprised to see the same scenario happening almost everywhere. If everyone were to behave in a selfless and selfish manner, trouble will come knocking at the door. As my course commander mentioned the other day, all it takes is for everyone to have a little initiative and share the burden. With this, things would have turned out much better and work gets done.

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Life of a student and working adult

Within the last few years, I’ve experienced and slowly drifted away from the relatively carefree life of a student into the world of reality — a truly competitive and challenging working environment. It wasn’t long before I realized the difference and came up with a few comparisons between life as a student and as a working adult.

Student

  • No worries on what to wear for school. It’s the same old uniform that many dread of wearing
  • You look forward to meet your friends in school and talk about anything under the sun
  • Before you know, it’s time for recess and a game of soccer at the field
  • Forgetting homework = Detention after school
  • If there’s no extra class, you’re free to go home or hangout at the mall

Working adult

  • You open your wardrobe and start deciding what to wear for work
  • You look forward to be at your desk and start clearing the amount of emails that have accumulated overnight
  • Before you know, you’ve spent almost 2 hours responding to emails and more work starts coming in
  • Unable to meet project deadline = Overtime, negligence of friends/family and risk of no performance bonus
  • It’s time to knockoff but your boss calls for a meeting that last late into the night

These are just a few typical example of life as a working adult. Of course, it isn’t like this everyday (at least for me) but it’s a great difference from life as a student. Thus, for those still studying and have always wanted to join the workforce, my advice is to forget about it and enjoy your youth to the fullest! Ultimately, you’ll still get to experience life in the working society for many years to come.

Happy holidays!

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Peer Influence

For the past few hours, I have been hesitating to install the newly released Command and Conquer 3 game on my computer. Ever since my colleague purchased the game and loaded on his laptop, I’ve seen him played for days now and the game play somewhat captured my attention. I’m not who’s into computer games but occasionally, I would play one or two. And so, I’ve finally installed it and within an hour, I’ve completed two missions!

On a side note, the Nokia E61 mobile phone seems to be selling like hotcakes. I’ve seen too many of it both at work and on streets. At work, almost one would purchase the phone after another and I guess it could be due to the fact that they may want to keep up with trend and technology or otherwise, it would be peer influence. Of course, I’m tempted to new gadgets as well but time and time again, I’ve always restrained myself because I know I can and would never be able to catch up with technology. Furthermore, I’m not one who will buy things on impulse and normally, before I make a purchase, I would ask myself if I really need it. I’m not criticising anyone here but personally I feel that one should have values and should not be so easily influenced.

Anyway, this week was a great week to catch some breath as there were no exams or time pressing projects. All I had was a presentation on Avionics and IPPT in the morning. Still, I was rather annoyed with some issues at work but I’ve learnt to live with it and let things be. From past experiences, I’ve learnt to be wiser and sometimes, it’s better to observe and react as accordingly.

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What's been happening lately

So it has been awhile since I last blog. Life have been getting a little hectic these few weeks with the commencement of my ground school studies that consists of endless projects, presentations, reading, physical and psychological training and not to mention, mugging for weekly exams. I had my first paper on meteorology last week and I thought I wouldn’t pull through for part two of the paper as I could barely recalled what I’ve learnt and put it into words. The last time I took geography was in secondary 2 and I didn’t like it much back then.

Let’s see if I could recall what I’ve done for the past few weeks. 2 weeks ago, I attended a course on Aviation Psychological Training (APT). It was interesting and enjoyable, especially the practical session! I gained knowledge on how our body will be affected on extreme conditions in flight and how to manage it. I was amazed by the limitations of the human body in relation to flying. The practical session consists of oxygen system trainer, ejection seat trainer, turntable, vertifuge and centrifuge (also known as Gravity Flight Environment Trainer or G-FET in short). For the majority, you wouldn’t want to experience turntable, vertifuge and the centrifuge. These machines are what my colleague and I deem as “the torture machine” because they will make you puke if you can’t handle it.

I had my first G-FET training last week and I didn’t really like the feeling. It was an exercise to test my personal G-Endurance before weights training and there are many more sessions to go. I was afraid initially because if not properly managed, I could temporarily lose conscious or g-LOC as the aviators term it. To avoid this, I’ll have to hit the gym at least 3 times per week for weights, strength and endurance training. So much for wanting to be a pilot…the training is definitely challenging!

Military aside, I realized that I seem to have lacked confidence and there’s a mixed of emotions within me. I can’t exactly explain the feeling but it’s there. For one, I find it hard to focus and I get distracted easily. My mind is heavy and I feel that it’s preoccupied with unknown stuff and my brain seems to have reduced it capacity by half since it took me quite some effort to study for exams. It wasn’t like this back then when I was in polytechnic where I had an objective, am focused and alert. My driving skills have turned from average to bad and I can’t even manage things properly. There are many thoughts running through my mind and things waiting to be done but I’ve yet to take any action on it thus far. Perhaps, this could be due to stress, fatigue and many other factors. I certainly hope to re-align my thoughts, free up my mind and get myself back in shape quickly.

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Excuse me uncle

While walking to the polytechnic for a swim this morning, I came across a group of students who were playing soccer at the school field near my neighbourhood. As I continued to stroll down the familiar stretch of route towards the institute and glanced at the never-changing morning rush hour traffic, a soccer ball suddenly flew over the high fence and into the heavy traffic, threatening to be punctured by a fast moving vehicle.

Luckily, most vehicles swerved in time to avoid being hit by the ball but one vehicle was not so lucky and the ball hit its side door. The driver did not saw the oncoming danger and did not have any idea what hit the vehicle. Upon witnessing the incident, I thought to myself if I should lend a helping hand to retrieve the ball. I’d decided that if the ball is near me, I would not hesitate retrieving it. On the other hand, I wouldn’t want to risk my life dashing across the heavy traffic just to retrieve a ball.

Just then, the boys ran to the fence and shouted “Uncle…excuse me uncle, can help take the ball”? I looked around and realized that they were yelling for me to help them retrieve the ball. Since the ball now lies near the pavement, I decided to pick it up as the boys can’t possibility leave the school compound to retrieve it and to save another vehicle from hitting it. Then, the boys said to me “throw the ball over the lower fence” and after doing so, they said “thank you uncle”.

I can’t help but to giggle to myself after the incident. Am I really that old that they boys called me “uncle” or do they have difficulties differentiating a young and old man? And certainly, I’d known better to throw the ball over a lower fence but at least, they were courteous.

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On discipline

This topic has been discussed numerous times at work and each time, it is the same old reminders and enforcement. I’m kind of sick and tired of it not because I cannot uphold my discipline but more of having to put up with inconsiderate behaviour among the gang.

During one of the classroom discussions today, my superior once again reminded us to maintain discipline and stay out of trouble. I agreed with most of what has been said except for one particular point that in my opinion will send the wrong signal to the offenders. It was mentioned that most people would overlook things sometimes and it is only right for the others among the group to remind one another. I can’t helped but wonder how would one learn his lesson if the group is tasked to remind the person?

Supposedly someone constantly gets into trouble. Instead of accepting the punishment alone, the whole group will be punished simply because no one in the group bothers to help the victim avoid getting into trouble. Now, what message do you think one is trying to get across to the offender? I’ll simply put it that the offender will not be bothered since the group will get a fair share of the blame as well.

I think this is not the right approach for one to learn from the mistakes committed — not to mention that the punishment is ineffective. It is most certainly unfair for the rest to accept the punishment just because of the rash act of one, which is not within anyone’s control but more of self-discipline.

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2007 resolutions

Having spent the last few days of 2006 doing self reflection, I’ve came up with a list of resolutions which I hope to accomplish for this year. Before I list them, I thought of what’s the significance in listing out a New Year’s resolutions. Personally, I felt that resolutions are just like a roadmap that spells out what needs to be achieve for the entire year ahead. It also gives a clear direction on what needs to be done

When I initially penned down my resolutions for 2006, I was uncertain if I could achieve it but I made it a point to review it during mid-year to see how much have I achieved and how much more effort is needed.

So, what do I have in mind this year? To start off, I’m about to start my driving lessons having passed the theory tests. I hope to achieve my driving lessons before leaving for my basic wing training next year. Next, I want to achieve gold standard for my physical test as well as hit the gym more often to build up my body. Since my eye surgery, I’ve not been able to exercise and keep fit but this will change next year when I’m certified medically fit by the doctors. The amount of books I’ve been reading have somewhat decline over the past few months. Hence, I hope that I’ll be able to keep up on reading with at least one book a month.

As my Chinese language has worsened over the past few years, this year, I hope to be able to pick up the language and at least know how to read and write properly. Last but not the least, I wish to spend more time with my family and to have a successful and smooth sailing career and life!

What about you? Have you pen down your resolutions yet?

Have a great year ahead!

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Year of blessings

This year seems to have come and past in a flash. I recalled that it didn’t seem too long ago when I choose to leave my engineers’ officer cadet training to join the air force as a pilot trainee, departed to Tamworth, Australia and successfully completed my air grading course before returning to OCS for my Air Force Service Term. Then, I dread of touring the Brunei jungle once again but eventually survived.

Before I knew, I managed to obtain my first and only silver for my physical fitness test (IPPT) before going for my eye surgery. It was then that I realized the convenience and wonders of life without spectacles. After due considerations and with a little effort, I’ve managed to take the first step towards obtaining a driving license. Then came the wisdom tooth surgery I had to go for due to work requirements. Fortunately, it quickly went by but I must say it was one kind of an experience.

Looking back at the resolutions which I’ve set in the beginning of this year, I glad to say that most of it has been accomplished with the exception of one, which is getting certified as a Cisco Certified Network Professional (CCNP). Indeed, there were many tough challenges along the route but it has also been a great year for all the luck, blessings and wonderful “gifts” that I’ve received from my family, friends and most importantly, god.

A year of ever revolving life changing experience indeed!

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Building a gracious society

I was catching up with some reading on current affairs a few days ago and I realized that there were many issues that concern the society being debated. It ranges from drink driving to little bugs, manners and etiquette — you name it, it’s being discussed. This made me wonder why those involved continues to commit the act without hesitation or thought.

Statistics have shown that road accidents in Singapore that occurred due to drink driving are on the rise, compared to 2005. Despite reminders from the police and stepped up patrols, accidents involving drink driving continued to escalate. It seems to me that either the punishment for drink driving is lacking or whatever campaign the authorities have launched to curb drink driving is ineffective. I’m also curious to know why people can’t be more responsible.

Perhaps, I would like to take this opportunity to suggest a better approach to tackle the drink driving issue. For every patron who drives, the keys to his vehicle will be handled over to the pub/club’s security for safekeeping. Those who drink are required to take a breath analyzer test before leaving the club and should the person fails; he/she will have no access to the vehicle and will have to take public transport instead.

As for the little bugs, I don’t think it’s appropriate for law enforcement personnel to patrol and play the hide and seek technique of trying to catch the culprit. Instead, the responsibility lies on the parents whom should have taught their kids and cultivating the correct behavior and habit from young. I remember when I was in United States, people there seems to have better etiquette. One will not see used serviettes or even a dirty table in the food court. The people are responsible enough to clean up before leaving for the comfort of the next user. I thought this was a wonderful and gracious act which I hardly see it back home.

So, this brings the question of how can we as individual help to contribute to build a gracious society. To start off, we can set good examples by doing the right things. For those young parents, teach your kids well so that the next generation will not repeat the same mistakes made. Of course, I’m not saying it’ll be 100% effective or we’ll see a perfect society but it should be a good starting point. After all, we all know that there isn’t a perfect world out there isn’t it?

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Down with flu

I’m down with flu and fever and I’ll be staying home to recover. I thought I could have recovered after a good night’s sleep but it seems otherwise. It’s not that I enjoy going to work but it’s more of personal pride. I’ve never reported sick and/or took any medical leave (except for my PRK surgery, which was a required rest) since my enlistment into military and today, I broke the record. Hopefully, this would be the first and last time I’m taking medical leave.

On the brighter note, I’ve managed to complete writing and have published a list of entries which was marked as draft since early November. The entries are back dated to Nov 07, 2006. For the convenience of those who wants to catch up on what I’ve wrote, here’s a list of the entries fresh from the oven:

  1. Does public image matters
  2. My classmate’s wedding
  3. FireFox 2 reviewed
  4. Context menu hacks
  5. Stumbling with Chinese
  6. The route to obtaining a driving license
  7. Experiencing gravity effects

Wow, a long list of entries and the effects of snowballing. With this in mind, I’m left with 2 entries to complete as well as any upcoming entries for the month of Dec 06, before a new year arrives!

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The route to obtaining a driving license

Many Singaporeans would know how expensive it is to obtain a driving license as compared to elsewhere in the world. It is known for the fact that one have to fork out a pretty sum of between S$800 for private coaching and up to S$1500 for professional school lessons — all of these does not guarantee that the candidate would pass the driving test on first attempt. So, one would asked that why does it cost so much to obtain a driving license in Singapore? One of the good reasons which I can think of is that this could be a good preventive measure put in placed by the governing authority to ensure that the drivers are professionally trained and accessed before allowing them on the road. It could also help to curb the number of people getting involved in accidents.

Now that I’ve reached the required age for obtaining a driving license, I’ve decided to start off with the theories (Basic and Final) before setting aside some time to take the practical lessons and eventually go for my driving test. Most of my friends obtained their license while studying in polytechnic but at that time, it wasn’t a priority in my list. So, what made me changed my mind? Well, I thought that since I’m now in military service and might need to drive in future, it seems logical to obtain a driving license now as I wouldn’t have any idea when I would need it and how to find time to learn driving when I have greater commitments in the near future.

Having passed my Basic Theory Test today, I’m looking forward to clear my Final Theory Test in less than a month’s time. Although I might not be able to (or will never) own a car, having a driving license is like an investment and it might come in handy, especially when travelling to a foreign country where public transport may not be as accessible compared to Singapore and driving may seem to be the best alternative.

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Does public image matters

While on my way home from the hospital after my PRK review, I decided to ride a bus over the train as I thought it would be more peaceful during the hour when school’s out and it’s just after lunch time — the bus will be near empty. However, the peaceful environment was ruined after a few stops when there was this large group of students whom boarded the bus. Initially, I thought it was fine since they were young adults and wouldn’t be an issue. Turned out that I was wrong. These group of about forty students behaved like a bunch of primary school kids going out for an excursion.

The first thought that came through my mind was when will they be alighting? I’m still an hour away from my destination and it’ll be a pain in the ass having to bear with these group of students for an unknown duration. I know it may seem that I’m being selfish and unreasonable as I’m taking public transport and should have known for the better that these are expected behaviors. Luckily, the uneventful occurrence lasted for less than 15 minutes and as they alight the bus, I realized that they were actually being led by a few lecturers. To my surprise, they were indeed on an excursion or at least some kind of gathering.

I would have been able to tolerate such behavior if they were individuals but to see that they were in fact being led by lecturers and that it was such a big group, I have reservations over their actions and behavior. This made me wonder if public image for individual or even representing an organization is indeed important? Although it was heartening to see that the school was practicing the concept of “learning out of the classroom”, which our education ministry is actively prompting, it was disappointing to note that the school somewhat did not even have the courtesy and budget to hire a private bus for such purpose. This also makes me wonder what if it happens that there were tourist on the bus at that moment — what will their impression of Singapore and how would they view our society and people?

This may not bother some out there but I felt that public image is certainly important. Not only have the students gave the wrong signal to the public, they have also damaged the school’s image and certainly brought great inconvenience to other passengers.

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Life without glasses

Is simply fantastic! It has been a month since I went for my PRK surgery and the experience is unique and satisfying. During this one month, I realised many benefits of not wearing spectacles and this includes:

  • No worries about glasses fogging up when leaving an air conditioned room/bus to a warmer environment.
  • No more cleaning of glasses and worrying about scratches, fingerprints.
  • Losing of spectacles, damaged etc. and many more.

However, I must admit that I felt a little uncomfortable initially without spectacles as my eyes are small and most of my friends noticed that. Furthermore, I have the habit of feeling for my glasses to make sure they are still properly fitted as well as adjusting it. This caused me to feel for my spectacles every now and then before I realized that I’m no longer wearing one. The only short-term hassle I face for now is the need to apply eye drops every few hours to aid the recovery and avoiding glares.

Nonetheless, no words can describe how amazing this surgery has done to my life. I cannot be more thankful to the doctors whom have made this possible, in particular to Dr. Lim from my air grading course as well as god for his guidance and arrangements.

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