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Sunday, February 25, 2007

hello!

I came back from an awesome camping trip yesterday evening, managed to get myself into trouble last night, and spent the whole of today sleeping. After tomorrow, I will be on the road for the next month or so with occasional updates when I have the time (and more importantly, the Internet connection). Still, I thought it would be nice to let you buggers know that I am still alive by letting a buddy of mine say a quick hello!




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Monday, February 19, 2007

paying drones

Being the first day of the New Year, it should be fitting that today's topic of discussion shall be about money. Actually, this concerns the mental health of society in general and family development as well, but that would be for you to decide at the end.

These days, a lot of engineering firms (I say engineering because I am an engineer and shall be a little selfish today, but I am sure it applies to most industries) tend to overwork their engineers. They get them to work till late hours (anytime after 8 on a daily basis IS late) and get them to work most weekends too.

Of these, I noticed, some companies start their freshies off with a very tempting base pay, sometimes 50% more than the average pay for fresh grads. They work these guys to the bone and don't pay the engineers any overtime. Other companies compensate for a lower pay packet by paying their engineers overtime.

The thing with engineering is when you actually use your brains to do REAL engineering work, you can't work more than 6 hours a day. Very recently, we sat down to do a technical brainstorming and analysis session for a few days. It was very apparent that by 3 or 4pm each day, the ideas and the analysis were drying up or becoming inane. The brain is a delicate matter and you just cannot overwork it.

Which then leads me to question - what exactly are those engineers doing? I mean, those who work more than 10 hours a day - surely it is not possible for them to use their brains the full 10 or 12 hours? Which makes me think that they are actually doing work that is mundane and do not require the technical expertise of an engineer. You know, the random stuff like paperwork and data logging. Why do you need to pay engineers OT to do shit like that when even a sloth in the zoo is capable of doing it?

And that is talking about cost and cost alone...

What about the other 'smaller' stuff like actually having a life?? Sure, sometimes projects have deadlines that need to be met. Sometimes, some activities cannot be planned. But otherwise, with proper planning of activities and distribution of manpower, surely managers should be able to ensure that nobody works past 6pm?

If I had a choice as a boss, I would have it that nobody works past 7pm
on a daily basis. Go home. Go see your wife. Go see your kids. Have dinner with them, dammit.

Don't be a drone.

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Monday, February 12, 2007

before the new year

I like travelling, I really do. I only have an issue when I get cut off from my Internet connection. Starting tomorrow, I shall be on the road for the better part of the next one and the half months. I will try to fit in some posts every now and then, but the posts will be more scarce than they already are.

Chinese New Year is coming, and the only part of Chinese New Year that I am actually looking forward to is the 3rd day when I go camping. This year, we are going to this nice little secluded place called Halak, where hopefully, we can catch a few chicken-sized frogs. No kidding. I'll show you pictures if we do get them. But the point is that I am really not looking forward to much else this Chinese New Year besides the humongous frogs.

I wanted to tell you the other day about how awesome I think it is that those folks up in high places are proposing a camp for school-going kids to learn about the other races, but I forgot. I think it awesome that some Chinese kid is going to have fun eating with his hands, as will the Indian kid with the chopsticks. The other day, over Christmas, somebody wished me Merry Christmas, and I said thank you. She then asked me why I didn't go to church with the rest of the Christians and I replied that I wasn't one. After which, she apologised for her festive greetings. Another person asked me whether I celebrated Christmas, and when I said no, she said, "Ah, so you celebrate Chinese New Year then?" She seemed puzzled when I explained that one was a religious celebration while another was purely cultural.

Over the (English) New Year, I happened to be travelling east and stopped by the Temerloh rest house for lunch. Coincidentally, there were bus loads of kids who had just checked in for their National Service. And as they sat in the rest house to have their lunch with their new friends, there couldn't have been a clearer example of racial segregation. It seemed that the rule of the day was that you had to sit amongst people with the same skin colour. I hope that after the 3 months or so, and on their way back home...they had learnt enough to know that skin colour isn't a criteria for trust and friendship.

And as for elitism on my side, I have since learnt that if you give some people a chance, you can actually begin to like their company a lot. A bunch of us went out clubbing the other day (incidentally the first time for me since I came back from the UK) at which one of my friends remarked, "Never did I think I would be out clubbing with so many Malays." Don't get him wrong, he meant it in a good way. 5 years ago, I would never have thought so either. But we all grow up, see and experience things that are new. Some of them maybe bad, but they usually work out awesome ONLY IF you give it a chance to be.

While everybody seems to think that the recent issues about Chinese building their own mosques are a good thing, I disagreed. Religion is a common demoninator here, and therefore race should be irrelevant. We have enough of racial segregation in our society. We already have vernacular schools which I believe should be totally abolished because they do nothing but tear this nation apart from the very roots - the kids. Children in Chinese schools are taught from Standard One that they are superior to everybody else because well, it is a Chinese school and they are supposedly awesome in Maths. Kids put two and two together and shit happens.

I sat in a Tazkirah session recently. It is sort of a motivational session based on the teachings of Islam. At which, we were encouraged to ask questions and challenge issues pertaining to the religion. I had only one question for the speaker - I asked his opinion on the IFC, to which I could sense the uneasiness of his face and the reluctance to discuss such a sensitive matter without first phrasing his words properly. Still, it was an open discussion and he gave his opinion to which I fully agreed with. But I still had to comment on the whole situation.

DEMI AGAMA, BANGSA DAN NEGARA!

Somewhere along our sad miserable lives we have heard that phrase screamed into our ears. And I have to question the validity and the sequence in which those three powerful nouns are arranged. Surely they have to be arranged by order of importance - and the only thing ALL Malaysians have in common is the place we call home - the country. After which can come religion (although I am not a fan of it, many people are and I have to respect that). Race can be deleted from that sentence because it should bear no relevance.

And so I questioned this imam on his opinion, on whether he thought it was reasonable for a country to ask that reservations be made and exceptions be allowed in his religion, or any religion for that matter - for the sake of the nation and the greater good. I am not a religious person and therefore I cannot be counted on to make a fair and unbiased assessment of my own question. Judging from the shrug of his shoulders and the smile he gave me, I reckon he had no idea too.

You can call these idealistic day-dreams of a kid who grew up absolutely despising the other race, abhoring the other religion simply because of ignorance and prejudice that ran through our society, and then later having his words and actions shoved down his throat as if karma was trying to teach him a lesson. But I believe if it can work for me, it can work for anybody.

There are a lot of things I can talk about for which you can nod your head and ignore, or read and contemplate about. This is my Chinese New Year post, but before you click the little red X on the top corner of your screen, indulge in a briliant article written by one of the most awesome people I have ever met in my life.

Happy New Year, folks.

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Friday, February 09, 2007

assumptions

"We are who people think we are. People think he's a great doctor, so they give him stuff.

He is a great doctor!

The reality is irrelevant. People who know me see me as an ass, treat me as an ass. People who don't know me see a cripple, treat me like a cripple. What sort of selfish jerk wouldn't take advantage of that?" Dr Gregory House (Episode 204 - TB or not TB)


I take it upon me to conduct myself properly outside the cyberspace, and especially when it comes to work. The curses and the sarcasm are generally non-existant. The arguments about general issues take the same course and logic as they do here, but only with less critisism pointed at idiots.

It would therefore be awesome to list a few noteworthy comments made by people recently. These was before they really knew me and ff course, in time, some assumptions fade away and you get to be quite 'the buddies' with people, but some killer quotes do remain...

Eh this Vincent ar, good boy la. Let's corrupt him - we must take him out drinking one day!


Don't be so modest la, Vincent!


Vincent, it was nice meeting you and listening to your opinions - you should blog, you know.

Which reminds me of one of the stupidest things this maths lecturer in college tried teaching me. Don't ASSUME things - because ASSUME makes an ASS out of U and ME. Eh, go to the die la you stupid cow. How to solve maths problems without making assumptions about equations?!

Okay, that served no purpose but to make you laugh a little (just a little). I was away the whole of last week and pretty much most of the coming two months. Still, I am in the process of learning what a bitch it is to label my entire archive and fit tags to them so that you buggers can conveniently read through the blog by the categories.

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