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29 July 2011

Superstition

I would like to pride myself to be a man of science but there are quirks here and there where I would made that irrational exception.

Those whom I have met and known in real life would be familiar with the two watches on the right. The Citizen and the Tissot. More Citizen than the Tissot since I have not worn the latter for quite a while already.

The Citizen has been with me for 10 years. I bought it at a City Chain store at Great World City mall in Singapore and was the watch I bought since I first worked on Taobaoland shores.

My worjk required me to deal with both the factories locally and the customers in the US, hence the need to keep track of multiple time zones.

Then business started to take off and we were doing very well in the few subsequent years.

Now that I have a few extra dollars in my pocket, I bought the Tissot in a watch shop in Tsim Sha Tsui in Hong Kong to celebrate the good fortune in 2003.

2006 was the start of the decline as the USD rapidly depreciated against the RMB, making exports increasingly difficult. Then there was the knee-jerked labour laws that when into effect overnight, resulting in scores of factories closing down and leaving the country to cheaper locations e.g. Vietnam.

We followed suit in 2008 as Dad decided to call it a day to his business and career. I hit the ground running, starting work at the new place in Singapore 3 weeks after my return.

All I could say about the new job that it had no future (read: brain dead boring) as far as I could see. So when the project was completed, I left the company to take a proper break.

I enjoyed my break initially waking up to Kopi-O every morning, followed by gym and a leisurely lunch with friends.

However, as the days wore on and the next job nowhere in sight, anxiety sets in as the numbers in the bank book starts to dwindle.

During this time, I noticed the coincidence of the watches I wore with the rise and fall of my fortunes.

Next thing you know, the Tissot is off my wrist and the Citizen back on as I boarded the plane for Taipei on the 5th day of Chinese New Year 2010.

3 days of negotiation and I got the job. I was back in Taobaoland, starting work a week later.




The company here in Taobaoland is a family business with the Alpha-Male, the patriarch of the tribe.

He conducts his meeting as though he is talking to his children and one wrong step means you are going to get a dressing down in front of everybody at the meeting, regardless of your rank/position.

I would like to think that I am holding my end of the fort fairly well but I cannot claim it to be perfect. There are the occasional lapses from time to time and that means getting bombed at the meetings or worse, stepping on invisible landmines and getting yourself blown into pieces.

The above is a Tiffany pen given to me as a gift, a nice upgrade from the black cheapo plastic pen (the clip has broken off and the Marina Mandarin logo faded) that I koped from the hotel back in April 2010.

Again, I noticed that whenever I leave the meeting room in tatters, it was this pen that accompanied me into the meeting earlier.

A switch back to the modest plastic pen and it seemed all subsequent meetings became smooth to the extent of being uneventful.

Then there was this one other time, when I rushed into the meeting, forgetting to leave the silver one behind. No prize for guessing the outcome of THAT meeting.

So the question remains.

Jinx or just pure repeated coincidence?

You decide.

- Voxeros

28 July 2011

Singapore Presidential Election 2011



It is heartening that the political scene in Singapore has taken a change for the better. The people are getting less apathetic than before and actually taking an interest.

Gone are the days where despite the Constitution stipulating that the Elected President having powers albeit restricted somewhat, to carry out certain tasks and duties, the Elected President more often than not, chose to just cruise by.

We now have a fresh batch of presidential candidates to ACTUALLY want to execute these powers to ACTUALLY do something for the people of Singapore.

Here's the million dollar question or rather four million dollar question or less, subject to recommendations of the ongoing president and cabinet salary review.

Do you seriously think for a moment that it will ACTUALLY happen?

I am not saying that the eventual president will renege on his promises but rather I feel that perhaps the Gahmen will pull another "Ong Teng Cheong" to cockblock the president one way or another.


"Better be a good boy and go play your charity golf. Arh bor, later no state funeral for you, then you know."


Following that train of thought, it would mean that at the end of the day we will have yet another Elected President who accomplishes nothing.

Does that mean that we shouldn't be bothered to vote for our next Elected President?

The answer to that question for myself is NO but my reason may be ridiculous to some of you but alas, I am penning this in jest.

I'd go for the cheapest president. One that would cost the taxpayers the least amount of money.

How is that possible since there is no salary negotiation involved for this position.

Well, Mr Tan Kin Lian has declared that he will donate more than half the salary accorded to the president if he is successfully elected. That would make him the cheapest president to hire at the moment since the other candidates have not touched on this topic.

Sidenote: Yes, with that donation, Mr Tan will enjoy a substantial amount of tax rebate. I wonder if that would be donated as well?

So for someone who will be on the taxpayers' payroll for doing possibly nothing of significant value, wouldn't the one that cost the least be the best candidate?

Tan Kin Lian for Singapore Elected President 2011?

Image Credits: http://upload.wikimedia.org; http://thefinance.sg; http://sin.stb.s-msn.com; 

- Voxeros

16 July 2011

The Singaporean Free Lunch




I chanced upon this excellent blog entry about a group of girls embarking on a social experiment with heart-warming results.

People often say that the Singaporean are an un-gracious lot. While I agree with most parts of what the people out there say of us, LeeLee Lim's entries showed us that we are not beyond redemption as there is that sliver of hope.

I am known to put up my hand and say NO, to the flag sellers on any given Saturday. It is not that I am a scrooge. I am willing to make that donation when I know exactly how and where my money is being utilised. I want to be assured that the benefits from my contribution will be maximised to as much as it can possibly go.

Lest I be the person who blindly throws money at charities only to have them mismanaged like that of the NKF scandal.

Lest I be like my mother many years ago, giving money to a street beggar with a burnt arm in Shenzhen, only to find out later in the same elevator as the said beggar, escorted by the police, in handcuffs, holding on to the rotting flesh, which turned out to be a big piece of char siew.

I wrote an earlier entry where I touched lightly on syndicated beggars. Read here.

As I had written in that entry, I support the RunForFunds project.

This entry however, is not about that. It is about another project where a very dear friend of mine, Tony Tay, is running it.

Today, I would like to introduce Willing Hearts. A charity project where food is being distributed to those who are in need.

If you would have read my entry on Tony, circa 2006, you would have realised that the Willing Hearts project is simply the next level of what he has been doing all along.

I last visited Tony when I was back in Singapore during the Chinese New Year 2011 and I was glad to see him in good health and spirit. He mentioned during our meeting that he was short of volunteers and I thought I help him give a shout out here on my blog.

Please click their link to find out more.


Willing Hearts


Click Here To See Enlarged Photos In This Entry.


Image Credits: http://www.willinghearts.org.sg

- Voxeros

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