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..