Thursday, December 30, 2004

Tsunami != Type of Sushi

Quick entry before leaving.. It was tragic, yes. It was shocking, yes. I'm sure thousands of others have sent out e-mails or blogged about the incident, and my comments will only reiterate their pleas for donations or prayers. I would like to write about the incident, but from a different perspective..

Warning: My comments will probably stir up some controversy but that's the whole point - I want *you* to think about it and come up with your own conclusion. I don't mean to be disrespectful to anybody, especially to friends and families of victims in this tragedy. I hope that they can pick themselves up from the rubble that remains, and look forward to rebuilding their homes. I'm merely using this opportunity to point out other inefficiencies in our society today..

Here's a thought, the death toll in the region is now at 130,000, with many more still missing. I am certain that it will most likely climb close to 200,000. The world has poured in money and resources into the region, and now they are talking about planning an early warning system for earthquakes and tsunami in the region because, quite frankly, they have NONE at the moment.

Two points I'd like to make:
1. Why are we, as humans, so reactive instead of proactive to handle situations? Often times we have to wait for something tragic to happen before realising, "Hey, perhaps we should do something about this EARLIER." A perfect example is the 9/11 incident. Before then, the attitude is "Yeah, yeah, we know about terrorists. They won't dare to do anything near the US, so we'll just ignore them because they don't exist in our world." The intelligence system was flawed, and the president dismissed any previous warnings about terrorist activities. Smuggling weapons onto airplanes was like stealing candy from a corner store. After the incident, everybody calls for tighter control on airport security. The world demanded a better intelligence system, and everybody is crying foul to the terrorist attack.

The Asia Tsunami is another good example of this. Before this, there were no formal warning system of unusual earthquake movements or activities in the region. Heck there wasn't even an old man living in a lighthouse with a paper-telephone watching the waves! Now they are saying that we need a better warning system? After 130,000 people died!? Don't you think that's a little too much sacrafice of human life for somebody to realise this?

2. Should we now declare a war on tsunami and all natural disasters because they have killed so many citizens of the earth? Perhaps we should also get rid of sushis and terriyaki because all those words end in "i". That's enough evidence to me that they are linked in some way!

I'm not pointing fingers at anybody or any organisation.. just want to illustrate some subtle points for you to ponder about..

Now off to Amsterdam!

You Get What You Paid For

Please remind me next time not to be cheap and take the 6am flight from an airport situated an hour away from central London. Now I have to wake up at 3am, take two buses, and an airport shuttle, not to mention the actual flight. Maybe a more decent hour next time would make the journey a bit more pleasurable.

Visitor from Home

Or closer to home, at least. Adrian flew in from Calgary on Saturday, and there's nothing better to cure homesickness than to have a friend visit from home. He brought me some wonderful icewine (which I cannot buy here because nobody knows what it is.. they are missing out!), and another bottle of red wine. After a grueling three hour walk to the train terminal, he had just arrived from taking the coach from the airport. Without diving into too much details, we ended up taking a taxi for half our way back to my place, and walked the other half. Well that's my exercise for the year. Haha..

I showed him central London on Sunday, after having dim sum in Chinatown. Unfortunately I have the work for the rest of the week, so he's been exploring London on his own. Luckily, I managed to get a long weekend so we're heading off to Amsterdam and Paris for a bit of weekend travelling.. Oh the trouble that Adrian and I will cause.. haha..

Monday, December 27, 2004

Bank Holiday?

What am I doing in the office when the entire country is on holiday? Oh right, Europe is not, and I happen to do business with European countries..

Saturday, December 25, 2004

Merry Christmas!

I'm off to meet Adrian at the station.. be back in a few hours or so.

What kind of city is this? No public transport AT ALL? Estimated time of one-way walk to station: 2.5 hours.

Lonely Christmas..

I cannot believe I don't have to go into work today! It was a last minute decision from the management that there was no point to bring in the team today. A friend called me for lunch in the same restaurant I had dinner on Wednesday night, which I did not mind at all. I wouldn't pass an opportunity for good food (and of course good company)! Tagged along with them for shopping in the afternoon..

I headed home on an almost empty bus after a late dinner with friends.. feeling a bit lonely now. It is especially sad at these times of the year, when I see families and couples alike on the streets.. and here I am, in a foreign country that I still don't feel any belongingness.. it is nights like this that I question my decision to constantly move, from one city to another, from one country to another, from one continent to another..

Not a single phone call either.. *sigh*

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Dinner in Chinatown

It was Simon's birthday on Monday, so I suggested that we meet up for dinner tonight to celebrate. Of course, I had forgotten that his girlfriend arrived yesterday.. I asked if it was a good idea to meet up still, but he didn't seem to mind. I didn't really want to be the third wheel! In the end, we met up in Chinatown for dinner. We went to a new restaurant that was recommended by a friend - it was expensive, but it was worth it! It reminded me of food from home.. oh how I miss the availability of good food. It takes me an hour to trek down for decent food, and I took such convenience for granted at home.

I guess it's true when they say that you only really learn the important of something when you lose it..

Monday, December 20, 2004

Christmas Party

There was a Christmas Party that I organised today, and I think most people had a lot of fun. It was difficult to plan activities for many different age groups, but I think I managed quite well! The general feeling was that most people had a good time, either by participating or watching others participate. After dinner, a bunch of us went carol singing in Chinatown. It turned out much better than I had thought! A lot of people even took video of us using their digital cameras or camera mobile phones. It was chilly outside, but my heart was warm..

Saturday, December 18, 2004


When I get too comfortable in a situation, I always forget about the risks and danger I put myself into. I'm usually very cautious, knowing that anybody at anytime can stab me in the back. Heck, I used to walk around with my back to the wall, until I realised that the wall could be rigged and somebody could still stab me from behind.

So I guess I forgot about that once again.. and then when the stabbing came, I didn't even see it coming.

Unfortunately, these people don't know who they're dealing with..

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

One more to go!!

Ugh.. one more exam to go.. I really hope I pass this one. Out of all the exams I have written, this is the one where I felt the least prepared.. which is probably true, considering that I didn't take a single day off from work to study. Actually, I haven't even finished reading all the chapters yet and the exam is in 5 hours..

Sunday, December 12, 2004

Home-Cooked Meals

Last night I had the pleasure of enjoying some home-cooked meals with some friends. We even had wine and dessert afterwards! There was so much food.. It sparked my interest in trying to cook at least one decent meal for myself every week. Given my current job situation, I barely have time to eat. Most of the time I eat something quick and healthy (or unhealthy, depending on how you look at it). In fact, I often go to sleep feeling hungry, but I still try to stick to my "no eating after 9pm" rule..

Today I went shopping (window shopping, I can't afford much in this city even with my salary). Then trekked all the way to Ikea to look at a few things, and decided that I definitely need to plan better before venturing all the way out there next time. For fun, I decided to take the bus home from there. It turned out to be much better than I thought, only having to change buses twice. On the other hand, it DID take 2 hours to get home..

Saturday, December 11, 2004

Christmas Party

Recovering from my sickness, I was back at work yesterday. I also went to the Christmas Party hosted by the big boss of my desk. For my career sake, I should really show up even if I wasn't feeling too well. It turned out to be quite an affair! Located in the middle of the "upper-class" party district, it was a cozy house/bar famed for their cocktails (both in selection and taste). Several funny stories occurred throughout the night, and I became the topic of discussion during work today!

The CEO of the company was there, talking with my boss. The rumor going around is that I "disrupted" their conversation, when in fact, it was the CEO who saw me and initiated the conversation with me. (I just happened to be there at the right time) Many other seniors on the desk were shocked that I made such a bold move, and everybody thought I was insane (and also ending my career prematurely). Furthermore, I went and talked to the Global Head of my division, as well as the VP of the group company. The conversations all revolve around how I was the new graduate hired onto the desk, and the fact that the Global Head was also an engineer (from Queens), we had a common bond between us. He noticed the iron ring on my finger when I shook his hand (and likewise, I noticed his too). In fact, during all those conversations, my boss introduced me in such a positive light that I almost felt that he was saving his face more than mine. Afterall, it was him who decided to hire me all the way from Canada to work here..

Was it a bad move? Did I really end my career by being friendly? Was I supposed to have stopped talking, turned my back, and walked away?

Only time will tell..

Thursday, December 09, 2004

Emotion and Body

Does the emotional state of a person affect the person's body state also? I cannot believe how quickly my body had deteriorated from the beginning of full-time work. Perhaps it also had something to do with my relocation, or the fact that I eat 1.5 meals a day, or I work 14 hours a day including weekends..

Or maybe my emotional state is making my immune system weak.. I have no idea anymore.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Almost Died..

Literally, I think I almost died last night. So I was still terribly ill last night, and the doctor didn't exactly give me the best news yesterday during my visit. Apparently I was heaving and squealing a lot when I breathe, and he suspects that my asthma is about to make its return to haunt me. Furthermore, my chronic stomach pains are not exactly a good sign that my body is in good shape. As I was trying to sleep last night, I felt a sudden lack of air. I tried breathing harder but my throat just clamped up. I had no idea what I could do.. I felt like I was going to die that instant..

Then I remembered that in this situation, relaxing my body is the best way to release the tension in the muscles. So I tried to stay at calm as possible - knowing full well that if the symptoms continued, I could have fainted and lost consciousness, potentially losing oxygen to the brain, etc. I must have been knocked out for a moment, because what I remembered next was breathing heavily but feeling much better.

Which explains why I'm at home today. I haven't been this sick since a few years ago, where I cannot get rid of my sickness within 24 hours. Ugh.. just hope I get better soon so I can get back to work.. sitting at home all day is booooooring.

Monday, December 06, 2004

I can hear again..

I cannot believe how loud things are! After a little less than two years of semi-hearing abilities, restoring to full hearing capacity is overwhelming. Today's visit to the GP was a pleasant one. After all those ear drop sessions every night before bed, my hearing became a bit better throughout the week. I'm not sure whether it is because of the drop or because I had gotten used to the muffled sounds.

In any case, it turned out that I had an abnormal amount of ear wax. Eww. Disgusting. The good doctor syringed my ears with his water-pressurized device, and now I can hear perfectly. More than perfectly, actually. When he was done, I could hear my shirt ruffle against itself, and every sound is exemplified ten times. I can even hear my own typing now, which I had not been able to before. Perhaps it's been too long since I've had normal hearing, or perhaps I had just gotten used to the sub-par hearing.

Everything sounds so loud now, it's almost giving me a headache.. which is another reason that I'm home at the moment. I was sent home by my boss because I was "dangerous to the others on the desk". I have been sick for the past little while, and today seems to be the worst so far. I'm not sure why I have been so weak ever since relocating to London, but I sure hope my body gets better soon..

Thursday, December 02, 2004

Time Flies

Would have been a milestone today.. but now it's a non-event. Life changes too fast for my liking.

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Lend me your ears!

I literally would like to borrow somebody's ears right now - mine are deaf! Okay, not exactly deaf, but hard of hearing. It actually happened back about one and a half year ago, when suddenly my right ear started to "lose hearing". The sound became quite muffled and faint. Being a regular university student (and according to my friends, "a typical male"), I refused to get it treated and thought it would "go away in a few days". Well it ended up lasting this whole time. I have trained myself to rely on my left ear for most of the hearing, and although it took a few days, I eventually adapted to it and felt there was no need to have it checked.

Then the inevitable happened - my hearing in the left ear started to become muffled and faint yesterday. All I can hear is ringing and "silence", which is sort of like standing in an empty cave with the wind blowing. I often had to ask people to repeat themselves, and couldn't hear anything around me quite as well.

I have decided that it is quite dangerous to my health (the fact that a car can be coming towards me and I can't hear it), so I went to visit the GP today. He told me to get some ear drops and see him again next week.

Now I know how it feels not to be able to hear.. talk about perspectives!

Saturday, November 27, 2004

Weekday outings

So right after I complained about not having a life here in London, I went out both nights for the past two days. On Wednesday night I attended a friend's band show. It was held at a club near King's Cross Station, and was held by various Chinese student associations around London. My friend played in two bands, both appeared at the beginning at the show. He basically played nine songs, non-stop.. and his drumming skills were excellent! Although he mentioned to me later that he felt that he made many major mistakes, it wasn't noticeable to the untrained eyes and I thought it was amazing nevertheless.

Thursday night was a dinner gathering followed by some kareoke action - yes, I found kareoke in London of all places. It wasn't ANYTHING I was used to, of course. It was pretty much what I used to do at home, playing videos on my TV and singing to it. It was really fun singing with a bunch of friends, especially when we've all longed for a bit of singing relief.

As a result of those outings, I have been getting sub-minimal sleep for the past few nights. On the other hand, I think being away from work and enjoying company of friends gave me the energy to move forward. Perhaps this is the balance I need to strike in order to stay sane..

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Lack of update = Lack of life

It's been a week since I last wrote! To start off, I'm sick (once again) and hence, I'm still home in my jammies trying to fight the flu. This is also the reason how I found time to post this up. The week basically consisted of work, and more work, and a bit of time off during the weekend because the office building was closed for maintenance. Work had been absolutely draining - the learning curve is steeper than I could ever imagine! The amount of reading and learning I do is equivalent to being in school the whole day.

Other than that, I really have not done much outside of work. I leave for work in the darkness of the earning morn, I return home in the darkness of the late night. I fix something quick to eat, and then I sleep. The routine repeats itself.

On Saturday I went to visit a friend after shopping in Chinatown. Together we went to meet up with her friends near the waterfront for a drink, and found out that this city does not have a nightlife, even on Saturday, if you are away from where the mainstream "party" district is. We were literally forced out the door at 11:30pm. The night was still young! Unfortunately a few of them lived quite far, so we called it an early night.

Last but not least, I *really* need to get some sleep. One reason why I think I'm sick is the lack of sleep and the irregular eating patterns..


Miracles do happen to regular people.. I hope this luck doesn't run out anytime soon!

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Will I ever get through?

Now that training is over, it is time for the real work to begin. Although I still have an exam next month, and another training programme in the following year, the fact is that work starts now. It is definitely much more challenging than I thought.. as much as I would have thought that I have prepared myself for the worst, nothing prepares me quite enough for what I have experienced in the past few days.

Hectic schedules combined with unfamiliarity with the work make the worst combination. I haven't been home before 9pm this whole week, and it looks as if it will continue until much further down in the future. Getting yelled at is a norm during the day. I just feel so tired.. so drained out..

Saturday, November 13, 2004


It's 8:30pm on a Friday night, do you know where your children are? I know I'm still at the office! I can officially brand myself as lifeless. I am not asking for much, just one night where I can go home before I am starving.. this diet is not good for me either. A banana and a coffee for breakfast, a sandwich with paper-thin steamed chicken slices (and no mayo, because it's fattening) for lunch. Oh and literally no dinner until I get home, which of course sometimes would mean after 10pm, in which case I will not eat. I am trying to abide by the "no eating after 9pm" rule.

Which means, I better get home soon (or get something from a supermarket next door) if I want to have dinner. *sigh*

On the lucky side, I got the results of the first two exams I wrote internally at the company.. and I did pass! (although not up to my standards, but hey, what is ever up to my standards?) If only I pass the one I wrote yesterday, then I would only have one more to sit and pass..

Friday, November 12, 2004

Miracle only happens once..

Ugh, don't even want to talk about the test today. It went just like the other two last week, but I believe that miracles are called "miracles" for a reason. It's an extraordinary event. I don't believe it can happen twice, but we shall see..

Met up with a friend after the test, and went grocery shopping so we had something to cook tonight! Made some fried rice noodles and soup.. mmm.. haven't had proper soup for a while. I didn't know there was a difference between Cantonese rice noodle and Taiwanese rice noodle until today! It was a good stress relieving exercise to cook and eat the final products..

Tomorrow is another day.. *sigh*

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Another exam today!

I just got back from the office (yes, the timestamp is correct, it is 1:14am) after a long night of studying. I had once again forgotten to have dinner, but it occurs so frequently that I'm no longer surprised. Earlier in the day, I spent hours sitting at Starbucks revising and doing mock exams. This certainly feels like school again.. except nobody is reminding me to eat.

Wish me luck later today!

Sunday, November 07, 2004

Is this all there is to life?

I spent yet another day in the office today revising for my exam next week. Sometimes I think I should know when to give up trying, because I know that history will just repeat itself. It will be as if I went out and partied all day, because the end result will probably be the same.

Bumped into some interns at work today, and we laughed at the fact that we're all at work on a Saturday. One of them jokingly asked, "So is this all there is to life?" Now that I sit down to think about it, that is rather depressing. I spend the whole week at work, and then on weekends I go in on both days (with a bit more flexible hours, but I still go). I sure hope there is more to life than just work..

Saturday, November 06, 2004

Manipulation of Statistics

I would have to say that the usage of statistics in our society can almost be described as abusive.

Gambling is bad for your health

Although I found that really funny (I'm posting it SPECIFICALLY for one friend.. and you know who you are), I cannot help but question what methodologies they used to conclude that "Gambling is bad for your health". Too often the media portrays "scientific studies" in such a way that it creates almost an instant fear of that subject. The fear is either used to (a) make a political statement or (b) boost sales. Sometimes I really wonder..

(As a side note, it was published in the British Medical Journal so I am sure it cannot be totally unsound)

Friday, November 05, 2004

Fashion Night

I decided that tonight was not a good night to start revising for the next exam (yes, there is more to come). The defeated mood definitely doesn't motivate me to study. Instead I went to meet up with a friend in Covent Garden for dinner and some shopping. He had some VIP tickets to a private function for some fashion company, and so we went after eating a light meal while chatting about our workload for the next few days.

Upon entrance we were pampered with ice cream, alcoholic beverages, and lots of smiles. What a contrast between the basement (which sells men's clothing) and the first floor (which sells women's clothing). There were only two or three people wandering around in the basement, while the first floor is packed with ladies perusing through the new line of clothing they just introduced. They also had some hairdresser and make-up artists to help the ladies with a make-over. Mmm.. maybe I need a make-over.. haha.

I didn't end up buying anything, but my friend bought a few items symbolically. (come on, it was 20% off everything in the store!) It was a fun night out nevertheless, because at least I wasn't reading my study guides. Ugh.. speaking of which..

Thursday, November 04, 2004

History Bounds to Repeat Itself

History likes to repeat itself, especially when they are full of failure and disappointment. Just came home after sitting two back-to-back exams, and I feel as though I wasted two weeks of studying. Am I approaching this whole studying incorrectly? Why am I having such difficulty in concentrating on what I am doing?

Ugh, this feeling is worse than after sitting my engineering exams. I really need to re-evaluate myself and my study methods. Oh well, I'll just let myself feel down for today.. tomorrow is another day (and another exam to study for).

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Cramming Days

This morning I was woken up by a thump near the door, and on the floor was a small little silvery-wrapped package. Thank you so much Lisa! The gift is wonderful and I'll make good use of it.

I spent the whole day yesterday cramming for my exams, and will continue to do so today. The past few days (uh, weeks) have been really stressful, and I've been a real pain to everybody around me. Ugh, something to work on. (adding more things to my resolution list)

Sunday, October 31, 2004

Drained Out

The intensive 6-day preparatory course for the exams I'm writing in the upcoming week ended yesterday, and I cannot be more drained out. I thought school was bad, but that was much worse. Not in terms of difficulty (I really cannot think of anything more difficult than designing a linear-quadratic regulator for a floating magnetic ball, but that's just me), but the intensity of it. I never had to sit through an eight hour lecture about the same topic for six days straight.

Now I have a few days left before the exams themselves.. I spent the entire day studying in the office. Somehow I have turned into this anti-social being that only knows to study over the weekend. I *really* need to get a life.

At least I'm working on my procrastination problem..

Thursday, October 28, 2004

Happy Birthday to me! (Part 2)

This marks the third anniversary of this weblog. I know I say this every year, and each year it just gets more and more convoluted. Sometimes I am not sure why I continue to pour my heart out to the world to hear, considering that it resembles a 16-year-old drama queen who cannot stop talking about her life problems involving the decision on the colour of her prom dress. Just doing a quick survey of all my entries in the past year, and I realised how insignificant some of my concerns were.

I wrote in my birthday entry last year about retribution and how it always comes back to bite you when you least expect it. The theme of this year is relatively similar. Although circumstances are different, as there were many significant changes to my life throughout the year, but I feel the underlying person is finally emerging. I had long forgotten who I really was, or where I was going in life. Somehow I had steered off-course, and became what I really did not want to become as a person.

So I paid for it - dearly. It prompted me to change, to recognize and identify what the problems were and to correct them. There were just way too many overdue problems that I had ignored for far too long. Progress was made, and I started to see how wrong I was and how truly I deserved what I received.

By no means that I think it is complete. I see it more as a transformation of character, which is only the beginning of reforming myself. There's still so much to learn, and so much to improve in. I get discouraged easily - but thankfully there happens to be people always around me to point me in the right direction.

Thanks for those who remembered.. at least some people cared. To quote myself, "There are people whom I once thought would be there for me regardless what happened, and now I don't even get a simple 'happy birthday' from them.. "

C'est la vie.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Happy Birthday to me!

Happy birthday to me,
Happy birthday to me,
Happy birthday to meeeeeeeeee,
Happy birthday to me!

Monday, October 25, 2004

Weekend = Studying

I spent the entire day yesterday in the office, revising for my upcoming exams. Yes I know they're not until the week after, but what's wrong with being prepared? Oh right, this is out of character. Perhaps I'm finally working out my procrastination problem and starting early. I'm quite surprised myself that I am working this hard, but perhaps the horrible incident last week had really changed my views on that.

Sunday, October 24, 2004

Vacuum Cleaner

Woke up quite early this morning even though it's Saturday. (a side-effect of having to wake up at 5:45am every morning) So I thought, "Hey, maybe I can finally start unpacking my last piece of luggage and put my clothes into the closet!" Then I discovered myself surrounded by bunnies.. DUST BUNNIES.

Then I realised that I haven't cleaned/vacuumed the flat since I moved in.. o_O

So I either need one of those "wonder mops" my friends were selling in Vancouver, or I would need to buy a vacuum cleaner. The fact that I don't have a permanent residence here brings upon another problem: I may or may not move around throughout these years. So buying anything bulky would be quite a burden. I started looking up handheld vacuum cleaners that will do the job just fine.. anybody have any experience with them? Please leave me a comment and let me know what you know.. because, quite honestly, cleaning was never a strong suit of mine..

Saturday, October 23, 2004

Taking Life Seriously

Sometimes I feel that I'm not really taking my life seriously enough. In some weird and strange ways, I'm living just like a student. Not only that, but my mentality is still very much like a student. When am I ever going to grow up and stop worrying about little things that are insignificant? When am I going to see the big picture for good?

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Revision Day

I wonder why they put a revision day *after* the two exams had been written? Not that I'm complaining, because at least I get to revise for my OTHER exams coming up. I spent a good portion of the morning reading the manuals and listening to lectures on CD. Now I just got back from a bit of grocery shopping. Today was really sunny outside! Come to think of it, today is probably the first day in a week that I've seen sunshine. *sigh*

Back to more studying!

Why do I put myself through this?

It's been a well-known fact that I procrastinate too much for my own good. Throughout the years, "it" never fails to take a blow at me when I least expect it. Much like.. today. My loyal readers will know I'm about to complain and bitch about the two exams I wrote today, and how unfair it was, or how horrible I performed. Yes, I don't think I did very well. I think I would be lucky to pass (mind you, the pass rate for these exams I wrote were 70%!). It was long, tedious, testing on material that a) I have vaguely seen in the notes but not covered in lectures or b) I never thought they would ask because they are so insignificant.

So why was I so ill-prepared? I seem to forget that I spend a disproportion amount of time doing nothing. I need some "reminders" once in a while that I need to watch what I do with my time. Unfortunately, the exams today matter - I could potentially be fired for performing poorly! That would certainly bring a sad ending to my adventure abroad.

I'm hoping for the best (at least a pass) and let this be a reminder that I should really watch my procrastination habit from now on. Two down, four more to go!!

Saturday, October 16, 2004

Am I prepared for this?

Somehow I am finding a parallel between my five years in my engineering degree, and the atmosphere surrounding my graduate class. I feel the sense of high competitiveness and I can even define different types of personality that matches in both classes. Perhaps it is because both classes consist of people selected from a large group of highly qualified people. In the case of my degree, any high school students that aspire to become an engineer applies for my school. In the case of my company, it is one of the more well-known firms in the UK. They also have a very vigorous selection process (which I was not part of, thankfully), so the people selected were also of a very high caliber. This is not an attempt to up-play the prestige of my company, but I'm just trying to illustrate how smart these people are in my graduate class. (minus me, because I got the job through some weird coincidence)

This is when I start worrying - Do I put myself in these highly competitive situations for fun? Or am I slightly sadistic? I have been told that I tend to put myself through painful situations, complain about it, and then repeat it next time. (I'm looking your way Evelyn, Adrian, Prish, Lisa, etc.) For example, I absolutely despised a certain type of course in school. Yet, I keep enrolling myself in them term after term.

The main point is, I feel that this competitive environment is getting the better of me. It's really beginning to drive me crazy. I am starting to feel the pressure from my class, because it's full of achievers. I need to work twice as hard just to keep up! On the other hand, I have learnt a lot from my five years in engineering school, dealing with the ever-increasing competitive pressure. The bottom line is, am I ready for more of this?

Friday, October 15, 2004

Public Speaking

Thanks for all your kind words about my sickness. I have gotten much better over the past few days. Still really stressed out and tired, but at least I am not throwing up anymore. *sigh*

These two days I have been attending a public speaking and presentation skills class as part of my training at the company. I pulled out some of the skills I learnt from my last semester in school, and all the experiences I had doing presentations. It was.. ahem, for a lack of better words, "presentable". I was quite disappointed with myself actually, because it was not up to my usual standard. Perhaps I got a bit too nervous and I just blanked on the spot. Still have a lot to learn I guess..

Today's presentation was much better. The instructor was impressed with my style, and gave me yet another few pointers to improve my business presentation skills. I realized that there are slight differences in presenting for different reasons, and I am glad he was willing to walk me through my presentation and correct the small mistakes for me.

What really annoyed me today were these two classmates.. I made a presentation about the qualities of a good salesman. I thought, hey, why don't I make it interesting by doing it from a viewpoint of "the best salesman", and talk about how *his* qualities make him a good salesman. So I took on this persona, and delivered the speech. I got comments back from these guys ranging from "You sound like a used car salesman" to "You're suck a loser". Uh, constructive criticisms? I had thought this kind of behaviour would have been long gone, especially in this professional capacity.. guess not.

Oh well, I guess I have more important things to worry about than these jokers..

Wednesday, October 13, 2004


Woke up at 3am, rushed into the bathroom for a little "chunking". Rinse, repeat every 15 minutes. The end result is that I didn't go to work/training today. Must have been something I ate last night. I spent the rest of the day sleeping and tidying up my flat.

It was nice to receive some SMS throughout the day from my colleagues asking if I were doing okay. At least now my flat is becoming more tidy (it's all relative), and I had a nice and relaxing afternoon. I made a small dinner for myself tonight, and drank a lot of water.. hopefully I'll feel better tomorrow.

Monday, October 11, 2004


If it hasn't been obvious that one of my hobbies is singing, then you haven't been reading my blog enough. I don't think I sing very well (unless you think William Hung sounds great), but I truly enjoy the act of singing. Perhaps my inability to play any musical instruments had some influence on my feeling towards singing, but I see that as my only way of producing decent entertainment for myself. This also explains why I enjoy going to karaoke so much - I get to sing with music accompanying my voice (hence covering my terrible singing voice).

Since relocating myeslf to a city where karaoke is not as mainstream as back home, I haven't had a chance to visit any karaoke places. (partly because there's only ONE place, and it's 1.5 hours away by train) My only "outlet" is singing at home to the limited collection of music I have with me. Especially with me stressing out throughout the week, singing in the shower is the only time when I can really relieve that stress.

So today I made a bold move - I joined a small local choir to sing Christmas carols. At the same time I can maybe improve my singing a little, so I will be at least presentable when out with my friends singing again. Hehehe.. oh who am I kidding, all I really want is an opportunity to sing with other people. It's so much fun!

Sunday, October 10, 2004

A little time off..

Finally the weekend arrived, and I spent most of the day shopping. Not exactly shopping for clothes, but taking some time off and walking around. Bought some rice (finally), and a bit of general groceries to last me a week. I was going to walk around a bit more, but carrying 5kg of rice wasn't exactly a good time to walk around even more.

I know that I have been quite long winded with my blogs, describing everything I do in detail. Then again, I do it for the sake of my own self. I am usually quite forgetful, and having this blog reminds me of things I shouldn't forget. Much like what happened tonight.

In fact, I just got back from a party at the interns'. They have this really sweet pad, and they decided to throw a party (it was also because it's one of their birthdays). A few of my colleagues also showed up, and we had a great time talking. It's really good to meet my work mates outside of the work capacity, because these are all very interesting people. I mean it when I say that a part of the reason why I'm here is because of the people I'm working with.

In any case, after much drinking and chattering, the party died off when a few people got excessively drunk (and that would not be me). A senior colleague of mine got a minicab with his girlfriend, so I had to find a way home myself. I ended up walking across the Tower Bridge, and stumbling around to find a bus home.

On my walk across the bridge, I remembered the time when Evelyn and I walked across and took lots of pictures during the day. It seems to have taken on a different persona at night, a majestic and mysterious aura came from looking at the lit up tower. I started to sing to myself, seeing that nobody was around. Tears ended up flowing from my eyes, and I don't even know why. I stood there staring into the Thames, wondering if I would ever understand myself. I had a moment there - I reminisced about the times I spent walking along that bridge during my last internship, and how my life had changed significantly.

Took me about half an hour to find a bus that took me closer to home, and another fifteen minutes to wait for the bus. Eventually I missed my stop and had to backtrack a little bit. Bumped into a few post-clubbing chicks, which stopped me and insisted to tell me how good black girls are in bed. (They were black, yes) It was quite an interesting encounter, as they were very surprised that I had such a different accent and insisted on chatting with me. After about ten minutes, one of the girls got impatient and nagged the other two to leave. I proceed to walk home.

I think by being a bit more adventurous (walking home by myself at 3am in suburban London is something not many people would dare doing), I end up learning a lot more and seeing a lot more. This is what I want, to see and understand the world in different lights. I don't want to be narrow-minded and think on only one dimension.

Friday, October 08, 2004

Purchasing a Stereo?

Now that I have decided against buying a telly, I am thinking of a stereo of some sort. I figured that buying a telly might be too expensive, with the licensing and the crappy channels here. On the other hand, I would like some background noise at home when I'm studying or working. I suppose my laptop might suffice, but I would also like to listen to the radio and my laptop doesn't have a FM receiver.

Apparently digital radio is quite popular here, unlike back in Canada where it is barely visible to consumers. Should I plunge and go for the digital radio that comes with decent speakers so I can listen to my MP3s as well as the radio? Any good suggestions for brand or functionality? (I realized that I have *never* bought a stereo before!)

Thursday, October 07, 2004

Zodiac Sign

Does it actually predict what personality you possess, or do you shape it because you believe you are to behave like the zodiac sign suggests?

Discover your Zodiac Personality
Discover your Zodiac Personality @ Quiz Me

The funny thing was, I actually answered the quiz truthfully. Mmm.. maybe there is truth to this whole astrology thing.

Physical Exhaustion

I have not logged on to my e-mail or continue writing in my blog for the past two days, because I have been waking up, going to work, coming home, sleeping, etc. I barely found the time to eat in between, let alone go online and entertain myself with my own ramblings. It was especially worse on Tuesday, when I felt physically exhausted throughout the day. You know the feeling when you just cannot keep your eyes open for longer than a few seconds? Now magnify that a thousand times, and imagine that your clients are waiting for your instant reply within a few seconds. That might *begin* to describe my day.

Surprisingly enough, I don't feel as defeated as I usually do. My mentors and other colleagues have been passing on some responsibilities to me (read: work that nobody wants to do so now they can shove it to the junior person on the team), and I have been really keen on integrating myself onto the team as soon as possible. Although training + work is draining me out, it seems to push me in the direction that I need to look - forward.

Monday, October 04, 2004

All-Nighter Unlimited

Being out of school does not automatically give me the right to not endure all-nighters. I think I'll be pulling one tonight because of the morning presentation tomorrow. It's okay though, because I brought it upon myself. Procrastination + Desire to Help Others = Not Enough Hours in a Day.

I went to help a friend with her computer problems today, and she lived all the way out in Croydon. I didn't mind it too much though, because it was nice to get out of the city once in a while. Ended up having a really good talk with her. It was great to talk to somebody a bit older, because they have so much wisdom. No, she's not that much older, but certainly with a few more years of experience on her back.

I remember seeing a shirt that says, "Talk to old people. They know a lot of cool stuff you don't know." I start to see the meaning behind it.

Back to learning about the G7..

Sunday, October 03, 2004

The Meaning of Happiness

It's true that little things make people happiest, as I have always been a keen believer of doing "little things" in a relationship. I remember insisting that big presents were not necessary, but small and little gestures would make me much happier. In some strange ways, it shows that there is a certain level of caring and love. It all came very clear to me as I was taking the train home tonight, after having a full day of BBQ fun with some friends I met here. Everybody seemed to be at peace with themselves, even though they all have their lives on their backs that trouble them. It was a really fun day, which definitely gave my mind a rest apart from the hectic lifestyle I live.

Last night I took some time out and had a wonderful dinner with a classmate in my training class. It wasn't cheap, but it is to celebrate my week's work is finally over. I discovered that in order to stay reasonably sane, I need to "reward" myself once in a while. Perhaps this is the meaning of happiness - to strive a balance of neutrality towards life in general, when life shoves a lemon tree up your bottom.

Thursday, September 30, 2004


Today the training classes were cancelled, only to be replaced with a full day of "Senior Management Presentations". This is when the entire management team gives various talks throughout the day to all of us graduates. The most interesting speech was given by the CEO of the company. He had so much passion for what he does, and that really sparked the motivation in me.

I remember leaving Canada, thinking to myself, "I'm going to be the best talent in this industry, and my line manager will not regret hiring me!" Pretty ambitious, weren't I? Somehow it fizzled quickly and I slipped in the mode that I'll do what it takes to get by. What had happened to me? Where did my motivation go?

That was until today. After hearing the CEO's speech, I felt that I cannot just "get by" and answer to my own criticisms. Surely I made a lot of promises to loved ones that I will try to be happy while here, but as many of you can see it really didn't happen. I'm still the miserable and depressed self, only to be worsened by the situation. I am going to do this for *MYSELF*. If this is what it takes to be the best, then bring it on!

Tuesday, September 28, 2004


I spent the whole day staring at the screens, trying to decipher the meanings of all the various colours and numbers. Today I found myself dozing off at the most inappropriate moments (for example, on the phone with a customer). Somehow I just blank out, and the next time I remember is waking up to my customer talking to me on the phone. What happened to my concentration span?!

Supposedly I was to have today "off" as it is our "revising day", but I was told to go into work instead. Ugh. Oh well, I wouldn't have been revising the material at home anyway, so might as well make myself productive.

Saturday, September 25, 2004

Unwanted attention

I hate being misunderstood. Especially at this time in my life. Blah. Why can't people think past a certain misconception and see the truth behind it?

A seeminingly good night was ruined just because of that. I hate that. The only good thing was I met more Canadians tonight! Yay!

Party it up!

Last night I went to a social function hosted by the HR department in the company. It was at the London Dungeons, which is a bit of a weird place to start off with. It is basically a tourist attraction, sort of like Screamers in Toronto during Halloween. They have various figurines that depicts certain scenes of horror, and some "themed rooms". In any case, the only thing going for the place was that it was dark and "club-like". We were served food (which I was quite accustomed to, since it resembled what I used to eat as a student), and alcohol (which I was also accustomed to because it was all I could afford as a student). It was a good night meeting people, because it was the first time the entire graduate class got together.

In fact, I met this girl working in HR, and she's from Canada! How much fun is that? We spent the night talking about things we miss about the land of Tim Horton's. I also met this other associate who was also from Toronto. Seems like the brain drain from Canada is not only direct at the USA, but also other parts of the world..

Given that I had to work early this morning, I left the party quite early on. I heard some crazy things went down after the "official" part of the party ended, but it's probably all hearsay and I cannot confirm or deny anything that I didn't see with my own eyes. Ahh the gossips in the morning was classic - much like the gossips after a company Christmas party. (and those of you who know my theory on Christmas party would know.. and if you don't, check my previous blogs about Christmas parties).

Thursday, September 23, 2004

A Bit of Funny Reading

eBay Auction

Now that's some quality reading. I especially loved his amendment on why he chose the category to put this item in, and "So she had this friend, who I will call "Laura", because that was her name, who was very odd."


Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Sarcasm or conceited?

I'm sitting in class right now, and I just heard the funniest dialogue between two classmates when the instructor was explaining the details of a particular structure, namely, a revolving line of credit.

Instructor : A revolving line of credit works much like a regular line of credit with a few...
Classmate 1 : Uh, excuse me, but what is a line of credit?
Classmate 2 : Yeah, what's a bank? Why are we here?

Okay, now that I wrote it out I realized that it was a "You had to be there" moment. Hope you found that as funny as I did (I couldn't stop laughing). So was classmate 2 being sarcastic or just plain conceited?

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Learning to learn, again

I was handed a 23 page report to read for tomorrow's lesson, plus an engineering book to keep me company until next Monday. So right now I'm going through the report, highlighting like crazy and using up my only highlighter at home. Why am I still using up stationary after leaving school? Thank goodness I brought some over from Canada.

Now that I have been in my training programme for a few weeks, the groove and routine is coming back to me. I can now spent a considerable amount of time sitting in class, and pay attention to the lecturer. I vow to not complain about the instructors I had while in university, because compared to corporate trainers, they were a godsend. No, seriously. I never imagined I would say this, but it is true that professors at my university can actually teach! (despite all my groaning throughout my education)

My flat is really messy, and I have no time to clean it up. I really should start picking up after myself. Not that anybody else other than me will ever walk through that door, but coming home after a full 14-hour work day to a messy room just plain sucks.

Back to the report..

Sunday, September 19, 2004

Cooking at Home

It was raining sporadically today so it wasn't much fun walking around the West End. I had plans to buy a few hangers (because my wardrobe doesn't have any) but I couldn't find any that is both affordable and worth the money I pay for. I might end up going back to Ikea (so another hour and a half commute both ways) to get hangers. Ended up grocery shopping in Chinatown, and invited one of my classmates over for dinner.

Haven't really done much cooking at home since I have arrived, so I was a little bit on the clumsy side of things. Hopefully I didn't make a fool of myself tonight! I really do enjoy cooking though - just need a bit more discipline to force myself to eat more at home, and less outside. Plus it's more healthy for me anyway!

Saturday, September 18, 2004

Value of Money

Last night was definitely one of the more active nights I've had in London. Started with a few drinks after the training programme (who can survive a full day of analysing a company's balance sheet and remain sane is beyond me) at a nearby bar. A few is an understatement. We averaged two pints every half hour, and we were there from 5pm to 8pm before heading off to dinner.

We arrived at a Turkish restaurant just south of the river near Southwark, by a classmate's recommendation. I don't even know what Turkish food is! Apparently it is quite similar to Greek (I guess they have the same climate and are relatively close to each other), and the favourite is lamb and chicken dishes. A few of us started with some Yeni Raki, affectionately known as "Lion's Milk", a traditional Turkish drink. It tasted a lot like Sambuca, with a slightly harder edge to it. Definitely not for the faint hearted! I ordered a Lamb Moussaka, which was done to perfection. A few of the starters were great also, gratitude to my Turkish classmate. The dinner ended with a nice cup of Turkish coffee. It was served in a cup smaller than an espresso cup, and the edge is a bit more pleasant. It does leave a strange after-taste in my mouth which I was not too fond of.

Towards the end of dinner, we realized that it was raining outside and therefore it limits the locale of our next event. We stopped by another bar to wait for the rain to slow a bit. Ended up ordering two full bottles of Absolut and getting a good deal on it, and drinking it all within two hours. A few other blokes showed up from the other class, and we ended up going to another club after the rained stopped. Another two hours and several rounds of drinks (and some craziness that's rated R), a handful of people left while a few ventured onto an all-night club for more craziness.

The total damage of the night? Let's just say I didn't pay for much more than my dinner. The places we visited tonight must have made a fortune from us. I start to wonder what that money bought me? Eight hours of temporary happiness and escape from my everyday problematic life? Not to mention that my generous friends paid for a lot of the entertainment, and I didn't dip into my wallet for those. My classmates spent more than I did, more frivolously, and without remorse. Does the value of money degrade itself when you own a large sum of it? I hope I never become like that if I ever make that much.

Friday, September 17, 2004

Mind is numb

I must have been out of school for *far* too long. Four months without rigourous thinking results in one numb-minded person at the end of a two-hour accounting test. It is not that it was difficult, just crunching numbers made my head spin. I am glad that I did not choose accounting to be a profession. No offense to those who did, it is just not for me. Glad it's over though - tomorrow we start another module. Hopefully it will be more interesting and engaging.

Went to the pub because the company was apparently paying for drinks. A couple of pitchers, a few boat races, and a lot of trash talking later I was ready to leave. Didn't realize I already spent three hours drinking with my classmates. Ah well.. it's good to get out once in a while.

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Follow up on hockey

Congrautlations to Team Canada for winning the World Cup of Hockey 2004! Too bad I didn't get to watch the game, but I'm sure they played fantastic. The score being three to two, and the fact that each team only had ONE powerplay each leads me to believe that the game was highly skilled and less of the "NHL-type bullying" of bigger players.

Now, back to preparing for my morning presentation..

A Hockey Fan in Far Away Land

The puck drops in 5 minutes, and I am no where near a TV. In fact, I am preparing for my morning presentation tomorrow at the moment. It's a sad, sad day indeed.

This is when I am regretting the fact I chose to live closer to work than closer to the city. A bunch of interns are heading out to a bar tonight to watch the game, but I do have to be up at 6am tomorrow.. ugh. If only I were still in school - then I wouldn't be here blogging this.

Monday, September 13, 2004

Cardiff Re-visited

It had to be one of the more spontaneous decisions I have made since arriving here, but on Friday night a classmate from my training class asked me to go away on a weekend break with her. Without thinking too much, I agreed on visiting Cardiff with her. It was a city that I once visited when I did my internship term, but it was in the middle of winter. I heard Wales is quite nice during the summer months, so I decided to go see for myself.

Leaving bright and early on Saturday morning, we took a train into Cardiff Central. I quickly remembered the directions to the hostel I stayed at the last time, and booked us beds in a communal room. The first tourist sighting was the Cardiff Castle, and after going through the tour a second time around, now I have a much better appreciation for the artifacts left from centuries ago. (it is also because since then, I have visited many other castles/palaces and learnt how to appreciate them more)

After strolling through the Queen Street Arcade (shopping mall to us North Americans), we took a local bus to Cardiff Bay - the one tourist area I did not visit last time due to time constraints. There actually wasn't too much to see: Water, some buildings, some boats. Felt like I was back in Toronto near Habourfront. The atmosphere was nice though. We ended up sitting in a coffee shop right by the bay, sipping cappuccino and chatting away.. well, also being inside REALLY helps to stay away from the sporadic rain fall every 15 minutes. Dinner at a small local pub was a nice touch, and the rest of the night was drinking and talking about everything under the sun..

Sunday morning was a downer because it rained rather heavily throughout the city. Apparently I was snoring really loud (my Europe trip friends would DEFINITELY attest to that), and my classmate only got a few hours of sleep. SORRY! If there was anything I could have done to stop it I would, but it's not like I can control it. The whole day was just a combination of getting soaked, having a traditional Welsh breakfast (now I have had all three: Englsh, Welsh, and Scottish), catching the train back to London, and chilling at Borders for the remainder of the afternoon.

Found this rather interesting book:

Inside the book, they mentioned something I debated with a few people on numerous occasions.

State-dependent learning.. mmm.. does it really work?

Thursday, September 09, 2004

Morning Presentations

So every so often (every five business days) I have to make a brief presentation in the morning with a few other colleagues, regarding the current state of the global economy. On top of that, we need to come up with ideas how the firm can take advantages of certain situations. Today was our turn again. After a bad start from last week (I won't go into detail, let's just say, I made a lot of other presenters look good), I was determined to ace this one.

Does anybody remember Murphy's Law? "What can go wrong, will go wrong?"

One of the 'comments' we received last week was that we were not thorough enough. "Fine, " I said, "this time I will make sure I dive into every detail, into every business that the firm deals with, and be exhaustive about all my ideas." I found out today that overdoing the 'suggestion' is just as bad as not following them. Our presentation ran 20 minutes too long, bored half (read: most) the room to tears, and the evaluator said, "First of all, that was way too long. I wanted to yawn but to be respectful I didn't." Oh that sounded great. So even though we had concrete material, thorough analysis of each situation, it wasn't good enough.

Not only that, but I caught a few spelling mistakes in the slides during the presentation as I flipped the powerpoint slides. Hopefully nobody saw them..

Blah. I'm going to bed soon. Today was a bad day.

Monday, September 06, 2004

Another Week, Another Training Session

I started on the core of my training last Friday - so it proved to be a bit more involved and now I'm happy with what I'm learning. I never imagined myself to say that I *enjoy* the challenge, but I indeed do. Certainly better than re-learning how to multiply a few numbers together.

Spent the weekend shopping for my new flat - yes, I have finally decided to take the one further from work for a bit more space, and cheaper rent. Not that much cheaper, but the landlord was nice enough to furnish the place for me! So (a) I don't have to shell out the cash for furniture and (b) I don't have to worry about moving them if I ever decide to move out. I'll post some pictures when I get all settled.

The downside is that I will have limited internet access and telephone contact for a while. My phone line is not installed until the end of the month (talk about efficiency here, sheesh), and I don't even want to get started with internet. I'm posting this from my mobile phone so it is getting quite expensive. I'll get back to my blogging once I get some regular access to the net..

Friday, September 03, 2004

Insanity by Numbers

Spent the last two days doing financial mathematics at the training centre. Now I must clarify one point - having an engineering degree does not mean financial math is easy. Sure, it's nothing but multiplying and dividing numbers, and simple statistics. (even if you look at a financial calculator, they often lack the scientific functions like sine or cosine!) The most difficult concept I had to face was only the limiting case of a binomial distribution (which happens to be a normal distribution). The challenging part, is understanding the concept behind the math and bare with the amount of number fudging that they introduce.

I don't pretend to be like Adrian, but I require a little more convincing than "We divide by n-1 because dividing by n makes the number seem a bit too small." It just does not quite sway me to say "Oh okay, I get it".

On the other hand, the first lesson in Rates Trading starts tomorrow. Hopefully it will be more uplifting than the past week..

Monday, August 30, 2004

Life's Big Changes

After catching the final episode of Fraiser on the telly tonight (yes, I know I'm behind, forgive me for being in school for five consecutive years with no television access), I had this insight about the big changes in life. To quote Frasier (whom quoted from Ulysses, written by Lord Alfred Tennyson),

It may be that the gulfs will wash us down,
It may be we shall touch the Happy Isles,
... and though,
We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are:
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.

It is true what he also said in his departing speech, that "while it's tempting to play it safe, the more we're willing to risk, the more alive we are. In the end, what we regret most are the chances we never took." How true, that I have often regretted things not because I had done them, but what I did not do.

Well, I'm taking my chances here..

Saturday, August 28, 2004

Drink merrily.. and then pay for it.

My training yesterday was a waste of time, to put mildly. Excel/VBA skills for a recent engineering graduate is quite a joke, considering we all have a love-hate relationship with the spreadsheet program upon our graduation. You would too, if you had lost hours of data collection or nights of data shaping because the program "crashed". I spent the entire day re-learning how to enter formulae and drawing graphs with Excel. At least I'm getting paid for it.

After training a bunch of us went for a TGIF drink. Maybe we all have something in common (recent grads), or just that we know we're going through this together, but we all got along quite well. I had been in quite a depressing mood throughout the day, and so I think I drank a *little* too much too quickly. Surely that made me forget about a lot of the down thoughts I had, but not without the consequences that followed. The rest of the story wrote itself after I was sent home by an acquaintance from the training programme, barely making to the bathroom to hurl everything I had eaten the whole day. In the end, I had nothing left to release so I started giving up blood and bile. Not to mention the painful roll-around-the-bed for the entire night until the early morn. (Of course that's not the whole story, but the whole story might frighten some of my more tamed readers..)

There were only a few moments in my life thus far that I have felt a literal "heartache". Poetically I often hear people speak of the feeling of heart breaking.. and to actually feel it, is quite surreal. It is something not easily explained, but those who have felt it will be able to relate. I suppose last night's binge drinking is the result of such pain?

Sometimes I find myself quite irrational.. definitely need to work on that. Maybe that should go on my new year's resolution list.

Friday, August 27, 2004

What do you mean school is over??

Somehow after the first day of the graduate training programme, I do not think that my schooling career is quite over..

Yes, I have to finish studying all three modules in the Securities Level 3 Certificate within these two months. (what about Levels 1 and 2?!) Oh, and of course pass the regulatory exams.

Not to mention that I still have full-time training internally at the company, as well as periodic assessments (read: exams) that will directly affect my evaluation, which we all know affects the year-end bonus.

On the other hand, the ratio of male to female in finance is comparable to engineering. How great, I pick careers or subjects that minimizes any distractions.. yeah, that's it.

By the way, thanks for those who took the time out to e-mail me. Your support and encouragement is much appreciated. You people rule!

Thursday, August 26, 2004

Pre-Training Jitters

Lately I have been quite restless (even more so than I normally am), partly due to the fact that I no longer reside in my comfort zone. Okay fine, it is also because tomorrow begins a new chapter in my life. (how cliché!) My official start date, the beginning of my training programme.. looms over me.

To describe my current state and help me cope, Adrian would say that I am simply "on tilt", while Tania would most likely say that it is normal to be anxious before a big day. Chris would tell me everything will be okay and it will just be another day, Gloria would comfort me by telling me how much work she needs to have done by Friday. Lisa and Prish would be supportive by reminding me how I always overcome obstacles and hurdles. Yiffie would tell me that I can most certainly deal with it because I'm "da man". Of course, Evelyn would remind me to lessen on my Type A behaviour so as to not get everybody to hate me on the first day, get a good night sleep, drink water, and don't forget to eat lunch.

It would have been nice to hear their voices, but being five hours ahead and barely enough to eat for the next month really cuts on the budget to call them. Let's check e-mail.. nope, nothing. Ahhh why am I in such a restless mood? I'm usually much better than this..

Maybe I should just forget about it and go sleep. Yeah. That's what I'll do.

Hostage Taking in Toronto!?

I leave the city for a week, and this happens?

CNEWS - Canada: Police kill hostage-taker

I *worked* there! Scary thoughts.. and they had to be so graphic and his "brain fly all over the place". Ugh.

Wednesday, August 25, 2004


Actually sat down to watch the show tonight, and surprisingly it was captivating. Sure, it lacks much common-sense and too much co-incidental encounters, but entertaining nevertheless.

I especially enjoyed the split-screen parallel showing of the two protagonists, and their actions from their perspectives. Perhaps the saving grace of this show is the great and refreshing way of directing this mini-series.

By the way, upon a little research, the synthetic material Nylon was believed to be named from the short form of the two cities which it was invented in..

Here is the official website for the show : Channel 4 - NY-LON

That'll Teach 'Em

Just flipping through the channel tonight and saw this rather interesting show..

That'll Teach 'Em (Series 2)

A group of GCSE students were put through a 1960 secondary modern, which teaches subjects like car maintenance and home economics. The kids these days - mouthing off to their teachers, getting "friendly" with the opposite sex, etc. They are not adapting to the traditional schooling very well.

The most surprising thing is the fact they don't know how to spell words like "technical", "pursue", or "tongue".. what has the world come to?

Tuesday, August 24, 2004


I've been meaning to convert my blog page to use CSS, and now that I'm all done school (and waiting for work to start), I started to fool around a bit. Right now I have just made a conversion of the current page layout, but I'll be making some modifications on the way.

Let me know if something doesn't look right..

Sunday, August 22, 2004

I think I lost some instincts..

Lately I have been watching TV while doing some computer work, and I have been hearing this advertisement about a new show. "Nylon. A transatlantic romance." I thought to myself, "Nylon? Is that the newest kink for people in a long distance relationship or something?"

Until I walked home from grocery shopping today, and saw the big billboard that read "NY-LON".. it suddenly hit me. Duh, it's been staring at me in the face all along!

I still cannot believe it took me so long to get the play on word. I have lost my instinct to be lame, and perhaps even the ability to detect lameness.

Saturday, August 21, 2004

Food in London

One of the perks of being here is the vast amount of choices in food - not just regular food, but junk food that are not found in North America. Take crisps (chips for the rest of the world) for example:

Especially the one in the middle, with all the Chinese writing over it. Peking Spare Rib & Five Spice? What about that Roasted Chicken? Actually I've had Roasted Chicken in Canada.. tastes like a certain brand of chips I used to really like in Hong Kong.

Of course, my favourite dessert would remain this:

I don't understand why they don't have these in Canada!

Anyway, these are fattening food that I will soon have to ban.. after I start work.

Housing.. Housing..

So I went to another apartment viewing today, and the place was quite small. It has a fold-out bed that looks like a closet, and a separate kitchen and bathroom. Compared to the other apartment, this is much closer to work (I can even see where I used to live when I was on internship at the company). On the other hand, it is far to walk from work, but too close for transit. For comparison, it would take about half an hour to walk and five minutes on light rail (plus transfer time, because I need to switch trains). It is also a slight bit more expensive..

Why does choosing an apartment involve so much logically reasoning? Should I just go with my heart and make an impulsive decision?

Friday, August 20, 2004


So I saw the place today and it's absolutely stunning. Perhaps I had a bad perception of housing in Europe, but I thought it was gonna be rather rundown like the days in Waterloo. (just to think that I already had it good in Waterloo!) To my surprise, it was very nicely furnished and everything was very modern. Although the place wasn't very big, but it felt really cozy and the best part is that the rent is *somewhat* affordable.

The only problem is that it is a bit far from work (15 minutes of traveling time on the light rail), plus it is also far from the fun part of the city. Furthermore, the place is south of the river. Maybe it is my perception being a silly nut again, but don't people associate 'south of the river' as the 'inner-city' for every city?

Tomorrow I am seeing another place.. this time it's north of the river.. a bit closer to work (maybe only 10 minutes on the light rail). The only thing is that it will be a little more expensive, and I am not sure if it will be furnished like this one..

What to do? Dilemma.. dilemma..

Thursday, August 19, 2004

Housing Hunting Frenzy

I spent the whole day yesterday house hunting, flipping through newspaper after newspaper.. it wasn't exactly fun. There's nothing on the telly other than old shows that I have already seen twice (I watched "America's Next Top Model" both in Canada and in Hong Kong, and now they are playing it here). So I was good and made numerous phone calls to arrange for viewings. I'm heading out to see one today, and have another one scheduled for tomorrow. The turnover rate seems pretty quick because a few places were already taken.. and the ad was just posted on the day.

Oh and I realized that I have lost the ability to understand the accent!

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Landed, and Panicking

I have safely landed - the flight was smooth and I slept the whole way. (missed Starsky and Hutch too!) Corporate housing is sweet! Although I'm gonna have a tough time moving out in a week's time. I have two rooms with double beds all to myself.. I think I'm gonna sleep in the two rooms on alternate days.. just kidding.

Now to look for a place to live for good..

T minus 5 for Departure

Passport, work permit, airplane ticket : check
Business clothing : check
Laptop : check
Summer clothing : check
Winter clothing : check
Iron ring: check
An open mind to face new challenges and hurdles: .............

Time to look for that lost mind, brb.

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

T minus 20 for Departure

Leaving for good in 20 hours or so.. I don't think I can quite explain the feelings that are running wild in my body right now. The rush of being somewhere that I've wanted to revisit is overwhelming me. I haven't felt this rush since my last internship assignment abroad..

All my bags are packed, I'm ready to go
I'm standin' here outside your door
I hate to wake you up to say goodbye

But the dawn is breakin', it's early morn
The taxi's waitin', he's blowin' his horn
Already I'm so lonesome I could die

So kiss me and smile for me
Tell me that you'll wait for me
Hold me like you'll never let me go

'Cause I'm leaving on a jet plane
I don't know when I'll be back again
Oh, babe, I hate to go

Monday, August 16, 2004

Habits, Routines, and Growing Up

I have a lot of bad habits. Habits are things that I do regularly that I sometimes don't consciously think about. Some people are convinced that I have OCD, especially when I like to do things a certain way *all the time*, like which shoe I put on first, or how I like to place my stationary during an examination.

I am a firm believer that some habits are hard to break. Not because I subconsciously don't want to break them, but because it had been ingrained in my head for so long they become almost autonomous. I also believe that some habits come from the character within - that is, your core character. As much as I can rationalize myself out of situations, my gut instinct remains the same - and often I let my heart rule over my brain. That's dangerous.

Really don't mean to dig up the past, and re-examine the old wounds and scars.. but history is bound to repeat itself if not understood completely. After dissecting my life's events, I can only conclude that I haven't really grown up (other than in size, and it's the kind of horizontal growth that we've grown to hate).

I put myself in this routine, this constantly-shifting life to avoid sitting down to think. I used to do that, back when I was still naïve about life. Sitting down for hours, constantly pondering and thinking over my actions and my words.. it became a routine for me. Alas, I was not content with the way my life was going - so I became more active, met new friends, and broke my routine. This became another routine, one that I am familiar with right now.

I'm rambling, but this constant flow of incoherent speech is helping me cope. This is why I blog, to let out some steam that's been building up inside my head. Looking back, I hope I can laugh at this entry and remember why I wrote this. Perhaps at that time, I can finally learn from my mistakes.

Birthday Note

Happy birthday to Dominic! (although I know he doesn't read this)

Hope he lives a better life than his stubborn, know-it-all brother..

Saturday, August 14, 2004

Pre-Departure Jitters

I'm only four days away from relocating myself completely away from this country (and the continent for those who care), and I'm finally feeling the pre-departure jitters. Yes, I have been to London before. Twice. Once for work, and the other for pleasure. Yes, I did live there for four months. This is different - this is rather permanent and my stay there is indefinite. At least for my internship, I *knew* in the back of my mind that I'll be back. Now, I'm not so sure anymore..

Been trying to take care of things before I leave. Driver's license, car, bank accounts, etc. Not to mention that I need to figure out how to pack all my clothes into two suitcases and move myself over. I suppose I've been spoiled when someone used to pack everything for me (and even wrote me a list of things I need to bring).. it's time to make mistakes and stumble a few times! Let the packing begin!

Thursday, August 12, 2004

Another Interesting Billboard

Those who have looked at the last post about the billboard by EA should appreciate this one too..

Adrian, I'm looking your way to figure this out..

I Thought Only English Names Are Common..

For those who can read Chinese (or care to learn), take a look at this..

They took 30,000 people's names in Hong Kong and tabulated the frequency of the names. My name appeared 6 times, what about yours?

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

I'm Back! (Not for long)

Due to some complications, my relocation plan had to be modified.. resulting my presence in Toronto for two more weeks. Just stepped off the plane not too long ago, and now I'm getting ready to step back on again.. packing, re-packing, sorting out my pile of junk at home.. ugh.

Monday, August 02, 2004

Final Days of Partying

Just got back from meeting up with Arthur for one last time before I leave Hong Kong. It was also because he asked me to bring something back to Toronto for his friend, because it is her birthday soon. Played a couple rounds of arcades (of course, I lost miserably still), had water drip on us while having bubble tea, we caught the very last MTR train back home.

Last night was *craziness* though.. Arthur's friend had a birthday party in TST, at the karaoke lounge. I originally told my grandparents that I'd be home that night.. well, I did eventually make it back to Fairview Park, but it was close to 7:00am when I got back! The night was just filled with drinking, singing, more drinking, talking with a lot of people, and more drinking. I was told that apparently the crowd is already smaller than usual, but there were already enough alcohol to power a small third-world country for a month.

Better party it up before I go back.. before joining the rat race..

Friday, July 30, 2004

Soho in Hong Kong

There seems to be a Soho area in every major city on this planet, even in Hong Kong. Got together with Lisa and Annette for a movie yesterday afternoon, before meeting up with Arthur after work for dinner. He suggested that we visit Soho and pick the restaurants as we travel up the world's longest escalator to the mid-levels in Central. I think eventually the two ladies got sick of going up the escalator, because they quickly picked the first restaurant they saw on a small street. It was a fusion-Indian restaurant, which was something I have never had before.

Come to think of it, everything in Hong Kong is fusion-cooking. Pizza Hut and Spaghetti House are good examples of the HK-Italian food. Even the so-called traditional Hong Kong tea houses have food that were inspired or influenced by other countries. Steak and eggs for breakfast, sweet and sour pork with rice for lunch, and spaghetti bolognese for dinner - only in Hong Kong!

The bunch of us went to Lan Kwai Fong after dinner for a bit of drinking and chillaxing. Originally the girls wanted to stay later, but I think they didn't see any "reason" to. (read: no cute blokes) We left shortly after midnight..

Monday, July 26, 2004

Tour of Tourist Attractions

I have transformed from a resident (when I was still 12) to a visitor (when I was 16 and my only mission in Hong Kong is to shop), and now I'm a tourist. I have decided that I need to see the sights here, not only because this is my birth place, but I really haven't seen any. Plus it gave me a good chance to spend some quality time with my relatives..

My dad said that Stanley was a good place to visit, so I took a trip down there with him for lunch and walked around the beaches for a bit. It was surprising to see such a beautiful area in a city filled with smog and high-rise buildings. We had lunch in a restaurant that faces the beach, with the patio outside and the warm summer breeze blowing. It is hard to believe that half an hour bus ride from Stanley is the busiest place in Hong Kong on weekends!

Later that night, I went to Lan Kwai Fong with my cousins and my uncles. Although I've been to the area many times, my cousins haven't been during the night time so they wanted to see it too. We also went back near Stanley to Repulse Bay and Deep Water Bay - there were so many people BBQing near the beach, playing group games, and having a blast. We took some pictures (although it didn't quite turn out) and then called it a night.

Saturday, July 24, 2004

Members Only?! Sure.. I'm a member..

I was supposed to meet up with Arthur again for dinner on Thursday, but he was suddenly forced into OT so we rescheduled for Friday. Ended up eating with Candice and a few of those friends I met on Wednesday night at Sushi Tei (which we had to walk through a Watson's to get into). Afterwards, Arthur and I went to relive our favourite pastimes back when we were younger - arcades. He still kicks some serious butt in driving games! I swear, one of these days I'll need to get revenge.

Candice then suggested we go for a drink at a lounge, and of course I wouldn't refuse any opportunity to drink! We walked into a side street (which turned out not to be a side street after all, it just looked that way), and headed to a business building.

I thought to myself, "Why are we going into a commerical building?"

The nightview from the 5th floor is pretty amazing. It said "Members Only" on the door, and we just waltzed in.. After chatting with the owner for a bit, I even got a personal invite to visit the "member's only lounge" in the future. After a few hours of heavy drinking, Arthur and I stumbled back to the overnight bus stop and took our respective buses home. (the rest of his friends stayed for a little more karaoke fun)

Thursday, July 22, 2004

Night Out With Old Friends

Finally had a chance to meet up with Arthur last night! He used to live in Toronto and went to UT for school, but promptly returned to Hong Kong after graduation. (he claims that he was 'forced' to come back for a job) In any case, it's been over three years since I've seen him! The first words that came out from our mouths were, "Wow, you gained a bit of weight eh?" Hehe..

Also met some of his friends at the same time, as they were hanging out at Green Box in CWB. Actually, I knew Candice back from Canada, but haven't seen her ever since she moved back to Hong Kong five years ago. She looks exactly as I remembered her - which I suppose is a good thing for a girl!

I discovered last night that people may speak different languages, have different cultural backgrounds, but the ways to bond, get familiar with each other, and have a good time, remains the same.

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Clothes and Maturity

I finally had a chance to meet up with my friend Lisa today, as she just came back from a short vacation with her father. We were supposed to meet last Friday, but the typhoon stopped me from leaving my house. In any case, it took me a little more than an hour and a half to arrive at our meeting point. (sorry for being late again, I know how much Lisa hates it) We walked around Causeway Bay a little, and then we went shopping for clothes.

As we started picking out clothes, I couldn't help but realize how much older I have grown since the last time I shopped in Hong Kong. Now that I think about it, I don't even recall myself walking into G2000 or U2 and say to myself, "Hmm, that looks pretty good." Back in the days (as if I'm so old now), I used to think that I would only consider wearing collared shirts because of the dress code at work. Now, I actually consider them stylish and 'does not make me dress like I'm 16'.

Perhaps I have grown much older without realizing it..

Saturday, July 17, 2004

Typhoon Attack

Woke up yesteday to the news that they have issued a Typhoon 3 warning.. which they raised to a Typhoon 8 warning shortly after. The fact that all public transportation were at capacity, and that the entire city shuts down after the signal had been issued, meant that I had the whole day at home.
The weather actually wasn't too bad, considering the entire typhoon struck HK directly and passed by.. guess it wasn't a strong one. I spent the day at home reading magazines, watching television, and talking with my grandparents.
I guess it's good to have a day of rest.. time to think things through.. and "stop to smell the flowers", as I always said when I was younger..

Thursday, July 15, 2004

Unexpected Encounters

I was taking the MTR today (the equivalent of subways and metros in major cities around the world), and as soon as I stepped into the train, I heard someone calling my name. It was my aunt - what a coincidence. The chances of meeting somebody on the MTR is slim to none, given the frequency of the trains and the amount of people it carries each day. In any case, we met up for lunch near her office after she ran some errands, and caught up with each other's lives.

During lunch I received a phone call from a former classmate in university - apparently she arrived a week ahead of schedule! We agreed to meet up in Mong Kok to shop around for a bit after lunch, before she meets her relatives in Shum Shui Po later for dinner.

Surprise encounters x 2 in one day.. wonder what else is in store for me during my stay here?

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Reflection of my view

I was reading the newspaper yesterday and found out that one couple in the showbiz just divorced. Normally it's not a big deal, but they both released a letter explaining the situation for the media, and this verse from one of the letters caught my attention:

Love is a rush of wild wind
The sun to the summer rose
Or it's a blowing on a distant trial
And when it goes, it goes..

For some reason, this verse seemed to really reflect how I view life at the moment..

Monday, July 12, 2004

It's All Relatives..

One of the benefits (some may disagree that it is actually a benefit) of being in Hong Kong is the big family gatherings and dinner. Last night I experienced quite a humourous moment that I thought was.. cute. The last time I saw my cousins, they were still short and running around like little kids. Now they are all grown up and talking about finishing secondary schools. Well, the fact that I remember them being born tells how old I am. Hehe..

In any case, for my graduation, the two of them gave me a self-made card - with a picture of a pig wearing the graduation gown. Cute. They also bought me this bracelet (yes, guys do wear them) with an engraving on it. On one side, it said "Best Wishes".. on the other side, it says "For Your Diet". I didn't know whether I should strangle them or hug them to death.

My aunts gave me this crystal paperweight for my new job, with a small stuffed monkey in a box. It was really simple but elegant, which I am sure I'll find a use for when I start work.

Dinner was the usual affair, except now I get to sit with the adults. As kids (and there were many of us), we were made to sit in a separate table because there just weren't enough room at the big table. Suddenly I realized how much older I have become, and that life is passing by me faster than I could keep up.

Seize the day, I say.

Friday, July 09, 2004

I Think I'm Melting!

Even as I arrived in Hong Kong at 5:30am and started to walk towards the bus station, I felt the infamous 'stuffy' smog surrounding me. It only got worse throughout the day - at about noon I felt I was going to collapse. I thought Toronto was bad, this puts Toronto into the 'clean' category.

I'm now sitting in a internet cafe, next to some punk kid (he cannot be more than 13 years old) playing Counter Strike. I guess this is the summer holiday for kids in Hong Kong too. The past few days I have been spending some quality time with my grandparents, and walked around my neighbourhood.

In any case, I should find something to do here.. this will get boring very quickly..

Monday, July 05, 2004

Leaving Vancouver

After spending the past couple of nights selling mops at the night market (I manage to sell quite a few with my.. ahem.. superb selling skills), and hanging out with the staff of my friends' business until 6am each morning, I'm ready to leave Vancouver for Hong Kong. It's quite funny how quickly I got to know them all, to the point that I was made fun of continuously throughout the weekend. Example here..

[Sitting in a very old Dodge van, which only supposed to have two people sitting in the front but somehow we managed to fit a box between the two seats for a third person. Marvin is driving, Janet is sitting in the middle, and I'm sitting on the front passenger seat.

Janet: Is this van equipped with air bags?
Marvin: I think so.. [looks around] okay, maybe just my seat. But that's all good.
Louis: Who needs air bags anyway? Marvin knows how to drive, we won't need them.
Janet: [points to me] It's okay, I have my personal air bag right here.

Except for that, it had been fun! I went to Stanley Park, Deep Cove, and all these other great tourist places in Vancouver. Today I'm taking the bus downtown, and walking around the shopping/business district. Hopefully meeting up with a few more busy friends before taking the flight tonight.

Sunday, July 04, 2004

It's Just Like Toronto.. Except It's Not Toronto!

I spent the last two nights at the Richmond Night Market with my friends whom I'm staying with, because they have a booth set up there to sell mops. After watching the soccer game on Thursday, my friend took me out for a driving tour of Vancouver. We drove through UBC (the campus is much, much nicer than what I'm used to), downtown Vancouver, and parts of East Vancouver. Afterwards we headed to the Night Market for setting up.

This night market reminds me of shopping on streets of Hong Kong. Small booths, selling things that you don't need. Oh and there is a lot of food stands also! I ate so much of those little snack food - fish balls, bubble tea, dumpling, etc.

Later on that night, my friend Emmy took me out to a club because it was her friend's birthday (and quite honestly, the night market got a little too boring after several hours). We first went to The Plaza, but because it was a Thursday night (disregarding the fact that it was Canada Day), it was pretty dead. Then we went to this club called Caprice. During the whole time, her friend seemed to know each and every single bouncer in the city as we could walk into clubs, bypassing the queues outside, and not having to pay cover. Suddenly I feel like a VIP! Hehehe..

On Saturday, my other friend took me on a tour to West Vancouver and North Vancouver. The contrast is definitely apparent. It looked more working-class in East Vancouver, whereas in West Vancouver, they have garages the size of houses back home. Of course, it also overlooks Vancouver and Richmond, and it has an extremely beautiful sea view from the top of the mountain. Only if I could afford a house here! (they run upwards to a few million dollars)

There are still a few places that I would like to visit in Vancouver before I leave. One thing stuck out as I was driven around yesterday.. that this city is just like Toronto, minus the smog and the heavy traffic jams in the middle of the day. Maybe it's not such a bad idea to move here after all..

Friday, July 02, 2004

EuroCup 2004 Surprises

It just happened! The Cinderella team - Greece, just made it to the finals in the most dramatic soccer match ending this whole series. Just incredible.

Thought I'd share that with all of you. Hehehe..

Arrival in Vancouver

Just arrived in Vancouver last night, and now I'm spending a few days here with some friends I met when I visited Taiwan five years ago. On the plane, I was asked to give up my aisle seat for some elderly person whom needed more room. Of course I obliged! After all, it was only a four hour flight. In return, I received several 'complimentary' glasses of wine on the flight.. mm.. I didn't realize that drinking on the plane makes the flight time seem so much shorter!

After I landed in Vancouver, my friend Emmy came by and picked me up from the airport. We then went to hang out with Jason and Marvin for a little bit, before Jason took me to another friend's place for a bit of drinking. Didn't get back to Jason's place until 4am - which was 7:00am Toronto time! Ahhhh..

This morning, Jason's mom was being extremely hospitable and cooked me some eggs for breakfast. Mmm, haven't had a proper 'breakfast' in a while. Now we're just hanging out at his place, watching the soccer game.. hoping to see more of Vancouver during the day today.

Tuesday, June 29, 2004

Election Day

As the election day is today in Canada, I am going to give it some room in my daily ramblings to discuss the importance of voting. I am sure most of you have seen the newspaper article from Korea that could not even identify our prime minister. On top of the platforms, the lies, and the scandals, I feel that it is necessary that our prime minister is visible both inside and outside of our country.

Therefore, here's a quick summary to the most shallow analysis of each candidate - based purely on looks.

Paul Martin
He needs to wipe that silly grin off his face if he ever wants my vote. Maybe he should tint his hair also - perhaps something drastic, like hot pink or something. That would definitely get him the votes from the younger crowd.

Steven Harper
Much younger looking than the other candidates, which is a good thing. At least his hair is not grey yet. Maybe he should get a fashion consultant with his proposed balanced budget if he wins.. definitely need to lose that suit/tie combination he's wearing all the time.

Jack Layton
As much as he looks like a grandfather or your favourite high school teacher, he does not look like he can run the country. He looks like he will get bullied around by the big boys from around the world, or he will start to act like the UK prime minister and wag his tail at the United States.

Gilles Duceppe
He looks too much like a French president, that having him run Canada would hint at the world that it will be taken over by France any time soon. Not good if you want to maintain good foreign relations.

Conclusion: I would abstain my vote if it were based on looks. Now only if they have Katie Holmes running for prime minister.. that'd be a different story..

By the way, I already voted earlier today.. and I voted based on a much more thorough analysis than what was presented above. However, being shallow is funny and entertaining, n'est pas?