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.