Posts about life

Time's up, now get back to work

Having spent 2 weeks at home from my PRK surgery medical leave, honestly, I dread of going back to work tomorrow. Although these 2 weeks have been a stay home to rest boring period, I appreciate the break and personal time I’ve gotten. I wonder how much have I missed out from work during these 2 weeks since my fellow course mates must have studied quite a bit from the thick stack of notes for ground school — not that I’ve missed out a lot since ground school have not officially started.

Gone are the days where I’ve been sleeping past 7am on weekdays for the last 2 weeks, taking afternoon naps and not having to think of what to expect for the day while on the way to work. It was definitely great though I feel that I’m getting lazy and unfit — things not within my control since I can’t take part in any strenuous physical activities and that the weather is not favorable anyway. I hope tomorrow will be a great day as my colleagues have been telling me there are many changes (again) to the work environment and have advised me to sit tight for the changes.

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The keep in contact dilemma

Very often, we would find ourselves exchanging contacts with one another and asking one to keep in contact. We are so used to keying in names, phone numbers, email address or even address into our cell phone and PDA without a second thought. Unknowingly, we would soon find ourselves buried with a long list of contacts and unsure of how to go about dealing with it.

When I say to deal with it, it means deciding how to go about keeping in contact with friends from primary school to polytechnic, colleague and many others. Are you guilty of looking through your list of contacts thoroughly only when the need arises — such as marketing etc, or do you really call for social purposes? As I was looking through my contact list few days ago, I realized that over these few years, I’ve somewhat established a wide network of friends and associates.

I realized that not only have I encountered difficulties in trying to maintain the list, it is also not easy to track which number is still valid as some may have missed out a few contacts to inform when there is a change in their cell phone number and the list goes on. This means that one would not know about the change until you make the call one fine day. So, how should we actually go about keeping in contact with one another? Is it really necessary to call each other up every few months or even years just to say hello? I believe there are many ways of going about maintaining contact and it all depends on individual preferences.

It would be interesting to hear your say. Feel free to leave your comments and even share your experiences on this subject.

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In pain

Yesterday, I went for my second eye surgery as mentioned earlier. Everything was fine except that I was tearing badly and in great pain a few hours later after the surgery. I had to constantly pop in painkillers — under doctor’s prescription and spent the rest of the day sleeping to overcome the pain.

As compared to my first surgery, I was more prepared and know what to expect this time round though my body did tensed up while water was being used to clean my eyes. The entire process took slightly longer and I overheard the surgeon saying that my left eye is tough. I wonder what does that means as he took a longer time to prepare my eyes for the process.

Guess that I’ve got to cut down on computer usage as I’m starting to tear every now and then. For now, sleeping is the best medicine to cure the tearing and pain!

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My PRK experience

Now that I’ve gone through the PRK surgery for my right eye, I thought that I would pen down this once in a life time experience, which will serve as a form of wonderful memories for me as well as general information and knowledge for those who are interested in knowing more about it.

To start off, I would briefly explain the differences between Photo-refractive keratectomy (PRK) and the commonly known Laser-assisted In Situ Keratomileusis (LASIK) surgery. Because of my job requirement, I’ve no choice but to opt for only PRK surgery. The PRK surgery is a procedure that permanently changes the shape of the cornea using an excimer laser to ablate a small amount of tissue from the front of the eye, just under the eye’s outer layer or epithelium. Due to this procedure, there is generally more pain and visual recovery is slower as compared to LASIK. As for LASIK surgery, basically what happens is that LASIK retains the epithelium from the corneal flap which will be replaced and used to act as a natural bandage, thus creating what we call a ‘flap’. According to my surgeon, there’ve been pilots from the USAF whom have undergone LASIK and encountered post-op injuries while flying missions. What happened was that the ‘flap’ came loose (also known as dislocated corneal flaps), perhaps due to high altitude and air pressure.

Enough of theory explained. Prior to my surgery, I had 2 detailed pre-op screening each lasting for a few hours, which includes very detailed test to check if my eye is suitable for the surgery. They have been cases of unsuitable candidates due to various reasons and this caused them to lose their employment contract. Thus, it was a risk that I took in return for this surgery. I was given some eye drops and was told to use it 2 days before they actual surgery. For the first time, I actually had a taste of what eye drops taste like and boy, it was bitter! Somehow, the chemical travelled through my nostrils and ended up down into my throat.

On the actual day, I was led into this preparation room where the nurse applied anesthetic drops and cleans the exterior of my eye as well as put on the green gown. Then, I waited anxiously in one corner while the surgeons prepared the machine. Before I know, I was lying on the bed while the surgeon began clipping my eyes wide open with some sort of a clipper and washing my eyes with water. Little did I know that the anesthetic drops wasn’t enough and had not completely numbed my eyes and this caused me to flinch. The surgeon had to calm me down and I was kind of embarrassed. And so, various kinds of liquid and chemical were being applied to my eye and the next thing I knew, I couldn’t see a thing. Then slowly, my vision became and I was the laser being projected to my eye. Within 15 seconds, I saw the laser beam being shot into my eye and it slowly turned into a ball of fire. At the same time, I can smell a stench of something being burnt. When the process was over, a bandage contact lens was being placed over my eyes. When I walked out of the laser suite, my right eye seems to have perfect vision. I tried looking around and everything became so clear — just like when I had my glasses on. It was an amazing experience!

I’m thankful to have been given an opportunity to regain perfect vision once again. I thank god for his guidance and arrangement and most importantly, those whom have helped and enabled me to undergo this surgery. As for my left eye surgery this coming Tuesday, I’ll make sure the nurse applies enough anesthetic drops before I actually lie down on the laser suite’s bed to save myself from further embarrassment!

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Just some thoughts and updates

It has been almost a week since I last blog. It could be plain laziness or simply because I’m too occupied with other issues on hand, which I have no idea what exactly it is. Somehow, ideas and thoughts have been popping up in my head and I have been trying to write it without success.

Recently, there have been many changes in terms of regimentation and environment at my workplace. In the past, regimentation was not really enforced strictly and the way of life is very much relaxing and easy going. However, we have been told that things are tightening up due to that fact that someone apparently “burnt the bridge” and pissed off some senior folks. This in return sparked a chain of events that led to everyone’s dissatisfaction and frustration. So, what exactly has been enforced at this point of them? In short, here’s a list of some of the changes:

  • Marching from point to point, includes booking in or out of camp
  • Half-marching when moving within buildings
  • Wearing of head-dress within buildings, etc.

If you have not realized, these rules actually mimic the standards of OCS. As a cadet, I’m so used to such regimentation that it does not really affect me when the rules were being enforced. Of course, this does not necessarily means I like this kind of regimentation having seen a place that was once so carefree turning into an OCS like. Still, there’s still more freedom as compared to OCS. I felt that perhaps it was time for such regimentation to be enforced and serve as a form of wake-up call for those who thought that military life is easy-going and slack. However, there must be a balance between the need to strictly enforce the rules and go by the book as well as knowing when to have fun and relax. If you try to rule like an iron fist, not only will your ideas backfire but people will also rebel — part of human nature.

Likewise, as the course sergeant major, discipline comes under my watch — not that I’m perfect but it’s my duty and I try to perform it well. In one of my previous entry, I mentioned about the dilemma and difficulties faced as a course in-charge back then. Somehow, this seems to have returned now that I’ve being appointed with a new role to play and at the same time, the need to maintain interpersonal relations among colleagues and yet being professional while serving my duties. At times, human just can’t seems to understand the rational of things being done and make things even more complicated than ever before!

Enough of regimentation said. On the brighter note, I finally secured my first IPPT silver award today. Surprised you might be but I’ve got to admit that this is my ever first silver award attained in my life. I’m proud of this little achievement as there is some form of significance in it. For one, this will be the last IPPT I’ll be taking at least for the next few months due to the fact that I’ll be going for my eye surgery (vision correction) next week, and will be barred from participating any form of physical activities for at least 3 months. Yes, it is going to be miserable as I can’t swim and I feel crippled without exercising.

I hope the surgery will be a smooth process and hopefully, things will change for the better when I return to work in the next few weeks.

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One year as an officer cadet

Today marks my one year as an officer cadet. You might be wondering why am I still an officer cadet after a year when one is supposed to have commissioned within nine months of training. Actually, I was supposed to have commissioned as an officer three months ago but because I joined the Air Force midway during my professional term back in Engineers, the plan was abandon. As such, it’ll be a long time for me to officer-ship — not at least until I’ve completed my Basic Wings Course.

Reflecting upon, this one year has been tough until I joined the air force and pursue my passion. I’ve been through high and low moments and the numerous tough training which I did not appreciate, especially during my infantry service term back in the Officer Cadet School simply because I wasn’t interested in the stuff I was doing and found it to be off no beneficial to me in future. This was also one of the reasons why I choose to give up commissioning with the rest of the folks in my cohort and join the air force to do something which has always been my child hood ambition.

If you were to ask me have I ever regretted having not chosen to commission as an officer before joining the air force, my answer would be no. I believe that it is more important to pursue my passion and enjoy doing what I want to do rather than charging up a hill or forcing myself to go through the motion. In this manner, you would find that whatever you set out to do would ripe fantastic results and you’ll find that you are actually enjoying the process.

To sum it up, life is pretty quiet now though it could get quite hectic at times due to work. I pretty much enjoy myself although I will still be a trainee and officer cadet for at least another year and a half. On the other hand, I’ve learned to accept things or ideas with an open mind and tackle it one step at a time, thus filling my life with excitement!

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Teachers' Day

The last time I participated in a Teacher’s Day celebration was in 2001 — that’s exactly five years ago! Can’t believe time has past at the blink of an eye. If I remember correctly, at that time, there isn’t any kind of “off day” on this day and school’s as usual — except that it’ll be celebration and dedications to teachers. I guess nowadays, the youth are getting more pampered with the increasing number of additional school holidays. Of course, the teachers deserve a break as well!

Reflecting back, I must take this opportunity to thank all the teachers whom have guided and helped me in one way or another. There may be times where we may dislike or be afraid of a particular teacher due to the demand and expectations, homework or even punishment melted out but now that I’ve grown up, I realized that all these are part and parcel of a student’s life. If not for the bunch of dedicated and caring mentors, I may not even be where I am today.

I believe it is demanding being a teacher. One needs to be dedicated, caring, patience and know when to be stern when necessary — all of which are part and parcel of personal and character development. However, the advantage of being a teacher is that you are always in a learning process, that is, you’ll never forget the basics that were being taught to you once and I think this is a very good way to stay ahead.

To all my fellow teachers, mentors and friends who are in the education industry — A very Happy Teacher’s Day!

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Back home

The past ten days or so seems like a dream but in reality, it is one of the most physically and mentally challenge I’ve experienced thus far. I wasn’t really looking forward for this trip as mentioned in my pre-departure post but I thought it would be a good experience and I might as well learn something out of it. Furthermore, I was mentally prepared for the environment and living conditions that I’ll be expecting based on past experiences. However, this time round, things were not as bad as I thought. Instead, we had a warm welcome from the host and it was a smooth transition except for the delay in our luggage.

Most of the exercise went smoothly and I’m glad I was excused from having to skin a quail. It’s part of the requirement but the team of instructors were compassionate for that I’m a vegetarian and my religion does not permit me in doing so. Anyway, I managed to survive 4 days 3 nights out in the field with no fresh water and food. Even then, though my stomach groans now and then, food didn’t seem to cross my mind. The only thing that demoralized me was the constant rain in the area where we were inserted for survival training.

I realized that I was very lucky as I just managed to scrape through and pass the requirements. I don’t really wish to elaborate on what happened but all I have to say is that I’ve learnt many valuable lessons and seen what true friends are from this exercise. Nevertheless, I’m determined not to let past mistakes happen again.

To sum it up, I’m glad everything is finally over and I’m home safely! Right now, there are many things on mind which I hope I’ll be able to get it done as soon as possible and take a break from everything else.

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Recreational activities

I managed to roller blade for the first time today at Bishan Park during a cycling trip with my cousin. It’s not easy but I would say it’s relatively easy to grasp the concept once you get the hang of it. Less the occasional falls and attempts to balance myself at a public place.

It has been a long time since I last cycled. I remembered when I was young my uncle bought me a four-wheel BMX bicycle. Then, it was one of the coolest toys I ever had and as I began to ride and explore, I started removing the side wheels and eventually learning to ride only on two wheels. Of course, I suffered many bruises and falls and there were numerous times when I attempted to reconnect the bicycle chain every time it came off — not forgetting the scratches I left on the floor tiles.

I hope I would be able to enjoy such activities at a more constant rate as this can be another form of keeping fit besides regular swim and endurance run.

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Occupied

Apologies for the lack of constant updates to this site. I’ve been extremely busy and frustrated as I’m trying to meet my project deadline. It has been a long time since I’ve touch programming and it’s a challenge to think through the logic and processes in a software application.

I hope this ends quickly as I dread of looking through the thousands of lines of codes.

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Alt Tab Life

Things are getting a little quiet here as I’m busy with work, exams, projects and other things in life these few weeks. Last weekend, I burned my Saturday in camp performing regimental duties as well as studying for exams and only managed to book out on Sunday morning to spend a few hours at home before having to return to the camp in the evening.

This week is no difference as compared to last week except that I do have the luxury to spend more time at home but my personal time is still being occupied by projects. I hope this ordeal ends soon as I wish to have more free time to relax and doing non-work related stuff.

I’ll try to post the backlog entries (once again) when I have the time. Meanwhile, it’s back to work, work and more work!

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A confession with my soul

Dear Diary,

Since the existence on the World Wide Web, I have been able to write and share my thoughts, views, opinions and among others with friends and strangers all around the world. I thank you for accompanying and serving me by displaying the contents appropriately and attracting listening ears.

Time flies! I barely remembered leaving to Australia, Tamworth for my air grading course in February. Having successfully completed the course, I returned to Air Force School a month later. Had it not been my Individual Physical Proficiency Test (IPPT) results, I would have proceeded for my Air Force Service Term (AFST) course at the Officer Cadet School (OCS) in early April. Instead, I had no choice and all I could do was to start keeping fit and clear my IPPT. Ultimately, this led to a 4 months delay but it has brought me tons of knowledge and gained valuable experiences on subjects related to inter personal relation, human resource management as well as various scenarios that test my leadership qualities and capabilities. Unknowingly, something attractive triggered my mind and I somehow stumbled into someone’s life and made a mess out of it.

Perhaps, all of these were somewhat planned and arranged or it could be God’s gift. I may not see the roadmap planned for my life journey but I believe that there are many things that had occurred or will be occurring in the near future are not within our means and control. If I were to think about it, had I gone for the April 06′ AFST course, I would not have the opportunity to request for a re-examination of my vision that has helped me secure a place in the photo-refractive keratectomy (PRK) program. There may be many ups and downs throughout this 4 months but I’ve learnt to better appreciate people, things and my life.

To certain extend, I doubt a portion of what I’ve experienced will be replaceable or even forgiven. I’ve had regrets and there are many times I wished I could look back or even turn back the time and let everything occur once again but this time, I would handle the situation using different style and approach. Then again, what’s done has little chance of reversing it. As saying goes, let bygones be bygones. I’m one who is always deep into thinking about various issues and my mind never fails to come up with ideas. In fact, it is so preoccupied with trying to predict, forecast or even analyze thoughts that it makes me gets emotional easily. The only difficulties I frequently encounter are to express my views, opinions and get the message across to the other party. There have been many instances of this shortcoming, which has lead to misunderstandings, miscommunications and even subject of others’ gossips.

Looking forward, I’m glad this ordeal has ended now that I’m able to close this uneventful chapter and move on. For the next 2 month will be a good time for me to leave the bad memories behind, revisit my resolutions and goals which I’ve set out to achieve and start afresh in a new environment. Still, I’ll be honest about one particular issue that has been bothering me. Although it’ll be a good breakaway from the issue, it will not be easy for the little bits and pieces of memories and image to fade away, for it will always live in my heart and soul.

Yours truly,

Alvin

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My country, my home

As I was on the bus on my way to work today, I stand towards the rear of the bus and took a look around the people surrounding me. They came from various walks of life that range from students, working adults to senior citizens. As I looked upon, I suddenly sensed an urge to serve my country and protect these people. Maybe, it’s because I was the only one in military uniform but for unknown reasons, I felt a sense of duty as a soldier or even as a future officer to defend my country.

This is where I was born and brought up. My roots and love ones are here. To certain extend, it may be tempting to migrate elsewhere for a better career or lifestyle but this is where I truly belong. It is my homeland and where all my friends and wonderful memories resides.

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Culture differences

Before reading my thoughts for this entry, I would like to make it clear that I’m not pin-pointing any organization or person. References, if any, are simply quoted as examples. All of these are my personal opinions and thoughts and in no way it shall represent the organisation and/or views of anyone. In fact, if you observe closely, what I’ll be expressing in this article can most certainly occur in almost everywhere in our daily lives. Please read my disclaimer for clarifications.

Having served the military for a year now, I’ve had many opportunities to have an insight and learnt about the organisation, its management and people. I’ve come to realize that it is not easy to management a group of people, especially so if you are working in a big organisation. I’m sure many would agree that there are bound to be office politics in any organisation but in a military organisation, there’s simply more than office politics as there is a standard chain of command as well as the rank hierarchy to respect.

There are a few incidents which I’ve observed and would like to share and express my views on. As a trainee, one has to listen to the instructors and take orders without displeasure. Most of the time, these are errands out of your job scope but because you have no say and to avoid getting into trouble, you’ve got no choice but to do it. For example, recently, there was a donation drive. Instead of donating any amount (which should be the case) as wished, one is expected to donate a minimum amount. I believe that donation is one’s will of willingness and should not be forceful. In this case, because of pressure and orders, we have to adhere to it in order not to get into further argument or even worst, be invited to have a “sharing session” with senior commanders.

Next, I’ve seen what is known as “abuse of the system”. For example, there will be duty personnel scheduled to perform various duties in the office daily. The job ranges from picking up newspapers, cleaning the pantry to making coffee and many others. One may argue that this is a good form of training but personally, I may not have seen the bigger picture of how this will teach, cultivate and benefit the trainees in particular. Basically, one will rely on the “extra hand” and eventually it will be abused for personal gains and pleasure. I think all of these are not right and it instils the wrong teachings to the younger generation.

Compared to what I’ve seen during my internship at a renowned US company, it is a total culture difference. I see that US companies value their employees, are more transparent and this in turn give an impression of an open and relax working environment. If you would to ask me can Singapore achieve this kind of environment and cut the red tape? I think for now, the answer would be a no. Our bad habits have been around for too long that it’ll need a powerful sweep before we can see things change for the better. I presume this would be one of the factors why many decided to migrate to other places where one can taste the true meaning of life, work, family and fun without a stressful and yet political working environment we experience in our daily lives!

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Body language

I found a new interest while I was reading a book: Studying of body language. I was amazed by how it taught me to be more sensitive towards people — in terms of paying attention to own or even someone else body language even though their actions and/or speech says otherwise.

I have to admit that I’m those sort who is monotonous and not very good at approaching people. I’m more comfortable with close friends and thus, this make me unwilling to step out of my comfort zone when required. I’ve been trying to improve on this kind of feelings for some time and things are on track. I realized that by stepping out of one’s comfort zone and being exposed to various situation, one will be more daring and willing to take on new challenges/tasks, which can greatly help to boast the confidence level especially when conversing business associate, superior, strangers or even giving a speech.

In order to test myself to see if I completely understand what I read, I decided to do a mini observation by myself while on my way home this evening. I was on a bus and noted some observations right from the point when one board the bus till the point when he/she finds a seat or even a comfortable place to settle down.

Observations: 9 out of 10 would focus their attention to the rows of seats available. Most of the time, their eye would refuse to maintain direct contact with other passengers while their mind are working to decide a suitable seat — preferably one that is not occupied at all. 95% would go for seats that are empty and remain in a “world of their own” though there is a minority who would choose to seat with someone else. However, I’ve noticed that if there is a need for one to share seats with a stranger, its facial expression shows that his/her mind is racing to make up a decision on whether he/she should seat with that person.

Interesting as it may seem, however, I’m curious to know the cause for this kind of reaction. Perhaps, a psychologist or someone out there can enlighten me? What about sharing your personal experiences and/or observations?

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The lift

As buildings and skyscraper get higher, the lift is an indispensable option when constructing buildings. Nowadays, modern building and housing apartments features lift that travels at high speed and even stop at every level and this provide great convenience older folks and especially those moving apartments. However, we human would naturally refuse to use the stairways even if it’s we need to climb few levels.

My apartment was build in the 80’s and the lift is as old as the building — though the town council refurbished it a few years back while my estate was undergoing interim upgrading. However, it only serves the 3 common corridors and this means many residents would still have to use the stairways to get in and out. However, I noticed that the lift is getting retarded while I use it every morning to get to work.

Here’s an outline of what I have to bear through every morning:

Me: Looks at the lifts indicator and sees both lift stationed at level 1.

Me: Press the button and wait patiently for the lift to move up. There’s 2 lift (A) & (B). Either would do fine.

Lift: Both lift negotiate and decides to move up at the same time. Thus leaving level 1 with no lift service.

Me: Saw the lift moving up indicator and waits patiently.

Lift: Arrives at level 6. Both decides to stop, open its door and continue negotiating who should move further up to serve its passenger.

Me: Looking at the currently state, I would have to depress the button again to trigger the life to continue moving upwards.

Lift: After 20 seconds, one would finally give up the argument and continue moving upwards.

Me: After a total of near 1 minute, the lift finally arrives. This excludes having to bear with the lift stopping by level 6 to pick up any possible passengers on the way down.

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One year and moving on

During this time last year, I surrendered my pink identity card [1] in exchange for a green identity card (IC) [2]. My rather short hair was completely shaved to about a centimeter as I began another journey of my life. Gone were the days of personal time and freedom in exchange for a rather regimental routine.

Today also marks the day where I’m suppose to commission as an officer with the armed forces. This dream have been put on hold as my path changed abruptly when I crossed over from Combat Engineers during my professional term in Officer Cadet School (OCS) to join the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) as a Pilot Trainee. Many have asked when will I commission and my answer is no definite timeframe. This is because unlike the normal officer cadet training in OCS, I’m not guaranteed an officership until I’ve successfully completed my Basic Wing Course which will commence in June 2007, lasting between nine months to a year. Thus, I’ve sort of taken a risk by foregoing my previous training in OCS to pursue my childhood ambition.

I’m not due to return to civilian life as per planned because of a bond I’ve signed. Although there are moments I ponder if I’ve made the right choice, especially after seeing the insights of the organisation I work in. Nonetheless, the choice has been made and I hope I’ll be able to complete my course successfully because of the many sacrifices made.

[1] Pink identity card — All Singapore citizens holds a pink colour identity card as a form of identification.

[2] Green identity card — All Singapore military personnel surrenders his pink identity card in exchange for a green identity card (11B) as a form of identification.

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Trust

A few incidents over these few weeks have taught me to self reflect and learnt the true meaning of friendship, colleague and trust.

Here is a list of definitions that best fits my interpretation of these 3 words:

  1. Trust: Firm reliance on the integrity, ability, or character of a person or thing
  2. Friendship: The quality or condition of being friends
  3. Colleague: A fellow member of a profession or an associate

I used to be naive as I thought that it is alright to share some of the happenings in my personal life with friends or even colleague. I do not mind being the joke of one’s conversation occasionally but I will never make someone the laughing stock of a conversation. Sometimes, I wonder why human can continuously talk about others without realizing that they have past the limits even though one may claim that they know the “subject” can tolerate such behavior. What makes you think that you can read the person’s mind or even feelings?

In my opinion, I would not be really bothered if I so happen to be a laughing stock of someone’s conversation. Instead, I would take it as a form of training of my character and patience. However, I would draw a line when it comes to personal life and work simply because I’ve gone through painful experiences of someone whom I thought that can be trusted but it turned out to be the opposite.

I’ve learnt to be wise in my choice of words and think twice before sharing my personal life experiences with someone I really rely upon. Remember — once you betray and/or break the trust of someone, you’ll never gain back the same level once placed upon you because the crack will always be visible no matter how hard you try to make up for your actions.

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06' mid year self reflection

At a blink of the eye, half of 2006 have past. While on my way to work this morning, I sat in the bus and thought about how I’ve fared for the first half of this year, whether I’ve achieved and/or tried to achieve what I’ve initially set out to do. There were also thoughts of how I can further improve myself to be a better person, in terms of character building and professionalism.

Let’s review my new years resolution for 2006. Then, I was looking forward to be transferred to the Air Force as a pilot trainee. It has been nearly four months (short of 3 days) since I was transferred to RSAF — something that I’ve really wanted to do. I’ve since completed my air grading course and am moving on to the next phrase of my training, which will commence in July back in Officer Cadet School.

In terms of physical fitness, it has definitely dropped drastically; especially after my trip to Australia for air grading. I only managed to pass my IPPT, though there is an improvement in my Standing Board Jump — something that I’ve always been weak in. Sometimes, I feel it’s a disgrace as people’s common impression is that officer cadet is the fittest among many other soldiers (less those elites & special unit). However, I’ve been regularly going for run, working out in the gym, weekend swim with my cousin and taking less carbohydrate.

I guess I’ve also learnt a lot about myself through conversations with friends, colleagues and a few incidents. I’ve learnt to think twice before speaking, better judge an individual and make appropriate comments. Many have told me I’m too serious (both at work and leisure) and can be hard and harsh on certain things. This makes me unsociable and “one that people doesn’t really enjoy being with”. I feel it’s appropriate to be serious when required but I agree that I’ll have to put in more effort to be more humorous, stay open and carefree.

In summary, these words below should help me better improve myself.

be more humorous, carefree, show more patience, think before talking, maintain conservativeness but open to ideas, reflect, less commanding and authoritative, sociable, work hard, street-smart, keep fit, professionalism

With these, I hope to be able to smoothly and successfully sail through the second half of year 2006. Till then, next reflection in 2007.

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Read for life

Finally found the urge to start reading again. The last time I seriously picked up a book to read was in the beginning of this year when I was motivated to read this book titled “The Da Vinci Code” as I’m curious to see how much the movie that is expected to be launch in May, would differ from the novel.

Reading can be fun and it helps one to imagine better. I used to dislike reading but I was sort of influenced by my cousin during primary school. He’s the sort who loves to read and you never fail to see him with a book wherever he goes. My reading collection includes the famous Enid Byton, The Hardy Boys when I was young till the now John Grisham, Dan Brown and many other collections. I realized that I tend to read more thriller / science fiction novels but that has since revolved into a wide variety of reads.

I remembered reading an article from the newspaper which mentioned that every year, a few thousand books are being published. Yet, there are 52 weeks in a year. Assuming we are only able to complete reading a book once a week, that’ll be about 52 books out of the thousands out there. That’s only less than 0.52% (assuming 1000 books are published a year).

On the side note, I’ve always wanted to start a book section on this site. Works are in progress while I figure out the best approach to design and present on this site books that I’ve read, waiting to be read and other recommendations.

Just as the government actively promotes a healthy lifestyle with the slogan “Keep fit for life”, I would love to add the following: “Read for life, knowledge and fun!”.

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Colorgenics

I came across this simple personality test while reading Shaun’s web log and decided to try for myself to see how true it is.

My results:

You are the sort of person that needs a peaceful environment. You seek release from stress and freedom from conflicts and disagreements, of which you seem to have had more than your fair share. But you are taking pains to control the situation by proceeding cautiously and you are right in doing so as you are a very sensitive person.

You are looking for excitement and stimulation and you are ready to try anything — but be careful not to take too many risks.

Although you are, deep down, a very caring person, you are very particular in the choice of friends and indeed very demanding at times. You can be most quarrelsome and controversial and it is because of this argumentative trait you can at times explode into open conflict — conflict with even those you may care for and love. It is because of this inherent argumentative streak in you that may have resulted in broken hopes and dreams.

You are an emotional, sincere and impressionable individual experiencing frustration and unnecessary stress. You vehemently resist any form of pressure from outside sources, insisting on your independence as an individual. You want to be a decision maker — to make up your own mind without interference. You wish to be able to draw your own conclusions and arrive at your own decisions. You detest uniformity and mediocrity as you want to be regarded as one who gives authoritative opinions. Your favorite expression could well be that ‘I may not always be right but I am never wrong’. You’re a perfectionist and even though you may feel that the other person’s point of view may be right, you find it extremely difficult to admit that you could be wrong.

You would like to be respected and valued for yourself and this can only be achieved from within a close and harmonious relationship.

Mine is about 90% accurate. What’s yours?

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Signs of being impatient

As I was lying on my bed last night, I did some self reflection and realized that certain values I that was once part of me am no longer there. For one, I’m no longer tactful in handling situations and I’m becoming snappy and impatience over small issues and when I see the way things are done, it irritates me easily. So, I thought about it and asked myself what actually constitutes to this behavior and how can I regain the same old self?

The answer: I guess it was after my Pilot training that somewhat changed my character. This is partly due to the nature of my training — to be fast, sharp and decisive as you can’t afford to be slow up in the sky. Pilots are known to be proud and arrogant because of the tough training and how prestigious it is to be one. Thus, this kind of behavior will naturally be part and parcel of your life — even when you are not flying.

I’ve told myself I’ll change people’s perspective of pilots by being different. I don’t see why one must be arrogant and have “airs” over one. As for patience, it’s going to be a little challenging because one is so used to doing things the right manner yet swift and decisive. Maybe, I have to be able to change my perspective on ground and try to lead a normal life.

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Passion or money

There are many times when friends and relatives would ask me what is my currently vocation and when I reply that I’m a Pilot Trainee, the most typical reaction would be “Wow, you must be earning a lot of money huh”. Most of the time, I would either smile or give a polite gesture but in fact, I wonder why are human so money orientated? It is known for a fact that money is very important for survival but have it occur to you that it is also something sensitive?

When I decided to sign up as a Pilot Trainee, money was not the first thing that came across my mind. I know many colleague who decided to sign for the money rather than doing something they have passion in. I’m not saying that money is not of importance but I think it is incorrect to do something for the sake of earning big bucks. There’s even some who are here just to ‘give it a shot’ and earn that extra amount though they are not interested in flying at all. This is a very selfish behavior as you are depriving many out there whose passion is into aviation but yet they can’t secure a place due to various reasons.

Instructors have asked why I chose to be a Pilot — is it because of the money? My response was simple: I want to be a pilot because I have the passion for flying since young. For my case, I can prove it because I was once a member with the Singapore Youth Flying Club and this can help to justify my true passion for flying. As for the majority, it would be a tough to answer such a question because to many, money is definitely the main reasons that attracted one to sign as a Pilot.

I would say I’m not money minded but I would save and not spend unnecessarily. Money is not easy to earn but we must always remember that when we do something we enjoy rather than doing it for the sake of money, you’ll find that money will come in faster and not the other way round, which is allowing money to dictate your life.

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A kind act

On my way home today, I saw a lady chasing after a public bus which was about to move off from the bus-stop. In my mind, I was wondering if there would be anyone kind enough to step up and signal for the bus driver to wait. To my surprise, a young Indian gentleman actually did it! From this little act of kindness, I see that there is still a minority of folks out there who are willing to go the extra mile for others in need of help.

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A simple gesture

Thanks to everyone who wished me! Though it’s a simple card that was presented to me, it’s the thoughts and scenerity that counts! This would be the second year I’m celebrating my birthday in a foreign land and it’ll be something memorable.

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