Sunday, January 28, 2007

Hard to see value

Last week during Sunday service at my church, our pastor gave his usual good message, this time about refraining from talking bad things about others. I'm hopelessly bad at remembering the details of any message, but I do remember him saying that we should not 'DEvalue' people or 'Evalue' people (I dunno where he came up with that word, but basically means something like judging people by the wrong things they have done, which leads to thinking that we are better than them) but we should 'SEE value' in people. And I understood what he was saying, that no matter what wrong things people have done, we still need to show them love instead of judging them or thinking we are better than them. But understanding that and actually living that out are two completely different things, as I have found out since I started working.

Most of the time, including at work, I am nowhere near a shining example of a Christian, and when it comes to annoying, pain-in-the-rear-end colleagues, it makes it even all the more difficult. Last time it was my supervisor who gave me and everyone else problems, but now he's gone overseas. Lately we've taken in two new female instructors who have been doing a great job so far. They know how to work independantly and take the initiative to help out whenever they can. But we're still stuck with this other female colleague, whom I took the liberty of nicknaming Miss Problematic coz' of she 'seems' to have one problem after another. First, she told us her mother is wheelchair bound and her father is diabetic, so she has to go home right on the dot at 6pm so she can care for them. A week after she started working, her grandma supposedly passed away, so she had to take a lot of leave. Then she to work crying one day coz' her boyfriend left to Taiwan to work so she broke up with him, and also because she has just found out her friend was diagnosed with Huntington's Disease. Then she later on told me she herself has Huntington's Disease (which is kind of suspicious coz' after the day she found out about her friend's conditions, she claimed she was online in the office to read up on the disease. Why would she do that if she already had the disease herself?), and told another colleague that she has a hole in the heart (and she smokes like a chimney, btw). Then she said she cannot eat spicy food, but she ate spicy food while we were out for dinner once, and the next day she claimed she had pain in her appendix or something after that, so she had to go for operation. Recently she claimed one of her friends passed away too, so she was crying in office again. And all the time a problem comes up, she ups and takes leave, leaving the rest of us having to take over her work. And even when she IS around, she's always busy sms-ing people in the office or taking smoking breaks. Plus she's careless and lazy with whatever little work she actually does do. In summary, she has given us problems since day one, and my colleagues and I are quite fed up with her and all her sob stories, half of which we suspect to be untrue. Not to mention that we suspect that she has stolen stuff from the office and even our wallets.

With a person like that around, it's pretty hard not to lament about our issues with her to other colleagues. I tried to give her the benefit of the doubt at first, but after hearing problem after problem after problem from her, and putting up with her taking so much leave and leaving the rest of us in the lurch, I've reached my limit too. And when the new colleagues came in, I couldn't help but warn them about her suspected money-picking behavior. And yet, even though the stuff about her being lazyand problematic is true, I do think that talking about her behind her back isn't the right thing to do. But it's difficult to just sit back and tolerate such behavior. And I wonder, is it really wrong for me to tell others that we suspect her of stealing, even though we haven't proved it yet? I mean, if we're right and she does steal, we would be preventing our new colleagues from losing stuff to her. But if we're wrong, then we give them a super bad impression of her. If I were to do 'the right thing' and not tell anyone else about her behaviour, and instead I allow them to find out her character for themselves, that might potentially make it easier for Ms Problematic to steal from them. So what is the 'Godly way' in this situation, I wonder?

Not that I can really do anything about it now, coz' I have already warned by new colleagues about her. But it is something to think about, for the future. Gossip does go around my office quite a bit, and much as I know I shouldn't get involved in it, in my superbly small company, it is hard not to. And I'm not proud to say that usually I don't really stop to think about 'What would Jesus do?' in each situation, but I just react based on how I feel about the situation. And usually I end up being resentful of the people whom I think has done me wrong.

My pastor preached that we need to learn to 'see value' in people. To not just see the wrong things they have done, but to see them for the good they could potentially become in Jesus Christ. And though I've tried and prayed many times that I would learn to love and show that kind of grace to others.... I have always fallen short. I guess it is only human to think badly of people like my annoying colleague.... Right now it would be much easier to strangle her than show her love. At the moment, I am just tolerating her until she stops working with us (which is end of this month, which is just a few more days. Woo hoo!). After that, my inclination to make sure she never ever steps foot in our office again. But if I were to do what I think God would want to do, I wouldn't just be 'tolerating' her, but I'd really give her the benefit of the doubt and try to help her through her problems. Whether her problems are real or not shouldn't be my concern, but rather, if she says she's having problems, I should be there for her. But right now, I really just want nothing to do with her, and now whenever another supposed 'problem' of hers comes up, I really couldn't care less. I just continue with my work.

Well, no one ever said doing the Godly thing would be easy. I've failed like a gazillion times and I've sort of reached a point where I don't even bother to try and change myself coz' I don't wanna feel bad about it. But somehow or another, something keeps making me want to try to change again. Even though I know I will fail again, I still need to try. Maybe one day I will finally learn to see value in everyone, even the people who I think are completely gone case.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Reflections on 2006 and the future (plus a little gossip)

It's ten days into the new year already, and I still have yet to do my customary reflection of the previous year. Well, not that I ever made it customary, but last year was a pretty important year for me. First and foremost, it was my first year out in the great big working world, and for the first half of the year I was a lab demonstrator. Now I have the dubious honour of being able to tell people that I'm a Mad Scientist. Trust me, it doesn't get any less weird. Just today I was going around to various colleges and universities to post up some job vacancies notices for my company, and I went to Monash where I met some of the student services people that I know. And of course they had to ask what I'm doing now, and when I explained my job to them, they had that kinda look on their face that said they are thinking something that they're too polite to say out loud. Haha, not that I really care what they think anyway. I enjoy what I do, even though my office has had it's fair share of problems. When I first came in, I had to deal with my supervisor breathing down my neck all the time, til finally I had a nice long discussion with him telling him to cut it out (in a nicer way, of course), then he lightened up. Then I had to deal with another colleague who's the office gossip and tells every little detail about what other colleagues say that he doesn't like.... the 'other colleagues' mainly being our supervisor. Then I had to, and still have to, deal with a recent addition to the company who claims she has all sorts of family problems and she keeps falling sick and taking leave. And she's quite careless and lazy in doing things. And her science background is poor so she can't even teach properly. And we suspect that she has stolen office money, but we can't prove it. And the only reason she's still around is coz' we're short of people and are trying to get new blood in, but our company seems to be plagued with job applications from people who love to 'fung fei kei' or FFK us. The first FFK fella that Jehovah's witness who refused to come to work after only one week, and had the nerve to divert office phone calls to MY phone coz' he didn't want to talk to us. We thought that was bad. But that wasn't the worst. At least he worked for us for a few days and he still had the decency to come back to the office to return our keys and hand in his resignation letter. On the first day of work in the new year, we had a new girl come into office. Apparently, she's doing her masters degree, and so she could only work on Mondays to Wednesdays but not other days. But my boss was ok with that too, so we took her in, and she came in to work for the first day on a Wednesday. I was on mc that day so I didn't get to meet her, and I didn't see her the rest of the week either coz' she wasn't going to work on those days. Monday came around, and though she was supposed to come to work, she didn't turn up. My colleague tried to call her but she didn't answer. It was only that afternoon when we got a message from our boss that the girl's FIANCE sent an sms to our boss saying that she didn't want to work for us anymore. Reason being that our job involved us meeting clients, and she didn't want to do that. Like, HUH? We didn't hear anything from that girl herself, and she didn't even come to office to return our stuff. She posted it all back to us. Good grief...a person doing her masters but not even professional enough to talk to us herself and explain why she wants to quit. *Sigh* No doubt the FFK crown goes to her. I can't imagine anyone doing worse than that. Anyway, for the past month of so, our supervisor was also becoming a pain in the rear again towards everyone... I think it was because he was about to quit the job and he wanted to boss everyone around as much as he could before he left. And he stopped working at the end of last year, so now the office is left with only 3 instructors, which is me, the office gossip (who fortunately, can really do his work well, so I don't mind the gossip so much) and Miss Problematic. And we have quite a number of classes starting soon, so we need new RELIABLE blood in our office in case anyone reading this is unemployed and interested in becoming a Mad Scientist, do gimme a holler. :) Don't worry, not everyone in my office is a source of headaches. Our accountant is a very nice fellow who is very good at avoiding the gossip and just happily doing his work. And our boss is probably the nicest boss on the planet. He's very friendly and never scolds any of us for anything, but instead he praises us for our good work done. And he's hardly ever around the office coz' he runs other businesses (so no boss breathing down our necks) but when he IS around, he pays for our lunches when we go out to eat. How cool is that, eh? Your boss sure kenot beat my boss wan. Pth!

Anyway, wasn't I supposed to do some reflecting on my past year? Hmm... I really tend to veer off topic a lot on my blogs these days. Must be another sign of getting old. Kakaka! Well, all in all, I've gained some good experience working at Mad Science. In addition to learning lots of funky science experiments, I've also had to develop some PR skills when dealing with customers and teachers of the schools where we have our classes. At schools where we want to start new classes, I had to learn how to negotiate deals with them. And I also had to do quite a bit of designing of flyers and posters to promote our events. And of course, there's the administrative stuff to do. So really, in this job, I have to be a teacher, performer, graphic designer, admin person and customer service person all rolled into one. Thank God we have our accountant to handle the finances... I don't think I could be that as well. :P It's a challenge, but being someone who likes to do a lot of different things instead of doing the same thing all the time... I enjoy the challenge. And now that our annoying supervisor has left, I have more responsibilities, including trying to get in new instructors. So now I even have to look through job applications and interview potential candidates. Not bad for someone who's only been in the company for half a year. :P And now I understand why bosses usually only glance through resumes. Looking through CV's is a bit of a pain. Though sometimes I get a good laugh out of them when they write interesting things about themselves or their English is horrendous. One guy described himself as 'exceedingly gentlemanly'. Ah ha.

Geez, I've gone and veered off topic again. So enough about my work....last year was only important for me coz' it was the year I met my sweetheart Gerald! As of right now, it would be about nine or ten months since we officially got together. And it hasn't been the most smooth sailing of relationships, but then again, what relationship is completely smooth sailing? I'm just glad we've managed to work out our issues and we're still all lovey dovey with each other.
It's kinda hard though, being far apart from each other... and now at this point in my life, I wondering what's the next step for me, in terms of my work and my relationship. My parents think I should move on from this job soon to better prospects (and of course, bigger bucks), and they encourage me to try and get a scholarship to continue my studies. And though I probably could get a scholarship, I just don't think I'm all that interested in continuing my studies. And though I know I can get better job offers elsewhere, right now, I'm still needed at Mad Science, at least until we get more permanent people and have trained them up. But if I do decide to move on eventually, I would much rather work overseas like maybe in Singapore or Australia. So maybe I would continue my studies so I have more opportunities to work overseas. I mean, Malaysia is nice in some ways, but it still has a long way to go. And when we have certain nutcases waving around crooked swords in parliament claiming that they're willing to bath in blood to protect the rights of their race, well, one really has to wonder if they wanna stay in a country with a leadership who can say such things. Of course, there are other things that make me wanna hightail to another country if I can help it, not to mention my parents definitely wouldn't mind me working overseas and making bigger bucks... but then there's also my bf who is really happy right where he is in Malacca. And I know he wants me to be there with him too, which I do... but I can't really picture myself spending the rest of my life there. Maybe coz' it's such a old town and I'd feel funny going from a big bustling KL to little ol' Malacca. Not to say I definitely won't go there one day...of course I want to be closer to him. But right now I really not sure what the future holds for me, nor what I should do, except continue working until my company gets some really good people in and then I can cabut in peace. Unless my boss gives me really good pay raise and perks, then I might be here for the long haul too. Haha! Oh, decisions, decisions... I hate making them. Well, we'll see what 2007 holds for me.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

My lovely long New Year holiday!

Oh blimey, it's a whole new year already! Dang, they seem to be coming round faster each time, these new years. Well, at least with new year celebrations, I don't have to worry about what presents I should buy for all my family and friends. Don't get me wrong, I love Christmas and all, but the Christmas shopping part really gives me a headache. Thinking of the perfect present to buy people always sucks up my brain power. And walking around a shopping complex looking for the perfect present sucks up my energy. And making sure the price is within my budget sucks up even more brain power, lest it sucks up my finances. So all in all, buying presents is a very energy, time and resource-sucking process. Now isn't that sucky? :P

Ok, lame jokes aside, I did enjoy a good Christmas eve dinner party at my church, and I just came back from a very well-deserved long holiday in Tambun with my colleagues, and then in Malacca and Singapore with Gerald. My colleagues and I had a company trip to Tambun's waterpark on the 26th and 27th of December, which wasn't all that great coz' the waterpark wasn't half as good as Sunway Lagoon. We did enjoy going around Ipoh and stuffing our faces with the good food like chicken rice, fried kuey teow and meehoon, and dim sum. And we also went to watch The Curse of the Golden Flower, which really was not a good movie to me. Watching a gazillion people die tragically isn't exactly my idea of good entertainment.

Then I went to Malacca on the 28th of December, and stayed at Gerald's place for couple of nights before the two of us scooted off to Singapore on the 31st for our new year celebrations, where we stayed at his brother and sister-in-law's place. We visited the National Science Centre on our first day there, then the Singapore Zoo on the next day. Both of which I visited last year too, when I was at Singapore with my buddy Kooi Im... but visiting them with my boyfriend is, of course, a different experience. :) And of course, we took a ton of pics as well, which I shall share later on (if I don't procrastinate too long!).

We spent the night of the 31st enjoying a great home-cooked dinner at Gerald's brother's place, together with his neighbours and some of their friends. They called it a barbecue... which for me just means bringing out the slabs of meat and some sausages, throwing them on the grill and that's about the best food we get. I experienced quite a different version with them, coz' in addition to the 'normal' barbequed food like chicken and sausages, we also got some really high class stuff like oysters, mussels, scallops, pasta and some other fancy foods which I'm not even sure what they're called. And they also brought out God-knows how many different types of alcohol, and different glasses for each type of drink. I'm pretty sure I've never drank from so many different types of glasses during one meal in my entire life. Just look at this!

The big glass on the right is for red wine (I drank two glasses of that), the one next to it is for white wine (drank one glass of that), the middle one is for juice (3 glasses), the second one from the left, I can't even remember what it was for, but I drank it anyway, and the smallest one is for Snapps, which was to be drank all one shot and supposedly helped to burn away the pasta we ate. Well, I had two rounds of that. And even after drinking all that, amazingly I still wasn't drunk. Now a lot of people tell me that I might think I'm not drunk when I actually am, but I seriously think I wasn't drunk at all. Up until someone brought out the champagne and filled it into the second glass from the right. After a couple of glass of that, that's when I started to see the world spinning a bit. But I could still walk properly and I didn't throw up, which was good. Cheers, mate!

Well, in addition to celebrating the arrival of a new year, we were also celebrating the birthday of one of the guest's sons. This Swiss guy named Dennis was there with his Chinese wife and 3 sons, and so we all celebrated the birthday together. So here's pic of Dennis at the end of the table, with his wife on the right and 3 kids on the left. The guy on the left is my boyfriend's brother's neighbour (who also cooked many of the yummy dishes for us) and the lady on the right is my boyfriend's brother wife. Yes, I know it's confusing. Don't hurt yourself.

And here's a pic of the 3 boys. Cute little buggers, aren't they?

Now I usually wouldn't bother to put up pics of people I barely know, except that one of the sons had a very interesting ability, which you can see in the next pic...

The little fella has a magnetic nose! He can actually put a spoon on his nose and it will just hang there without dropping off! It works with a big spoon too...

Man, I bet that kid could get on an episode of Ripley's Believe It or Not. Haha! Anyway, it turns out the mother could do it too, so we know where he got it from. Some of the other guests tried to do it, including me. The spoon sticked on my nose for a while, I think it was coz' of the oil on my nose and not coz' of magnetism. LOL! Anyway, I didn't manage to get any nice group pics with all the guests (which now I wish I did), but here's a pic of me with my bf's brother's dogs, Kimmie (left) and Tuesday. Kimmie's a Shih Tzu and Tuesday is a Maltese mix.

And here's a pic of my bf's brother's neighbour's dog, Hesky, which is a silky terrier. He also has another dog called Mango, another Maltese, which I didn't manage to take a picture of. It's kinda cute coz' my bf's brother and his neighbours have no kids, but both have two dogs, so their dogs are like their 'kids' and the kids get to play with each other every now and then. Haha!

Anyway, we ate our merry fill until it was time to countdown to the new year, after which we celebrated with (what else?) more wine and drinking, before we all decided to call it a night. And early the next day, on the 1st day of the new year, Gerald and I went back to Malacca, and then I came back to Subang on the 2nd. Was supposed to go to work today, but on the way back from Malacca yesterday, I think I had some nasty food poisoning and I felt like throwing up several times on the way back. Fortunately I didn't throw up on the bus or on the KTM back to Subang. And though I thought of taking the bus from the KTM station back to my apartment, I was asked my dad to come pick me up instead. Which is good, coz' I ended up puking in my car. Well, not good for my car, but certainly would've been better than puking in a public place like a bus! Of course, I had to clean up my car when I reached home, and my dog as well coz' my dad brought her along when he picked me up, and the poor blighter was sitting on my lap when my tummy decided to purge itself. So anyway, I visited the doc after that and he said that the floods down south might have contaminated the water there, so I probably drank some contaminated water. Yippee. So I took medical leave for today, which means I get another day off. So that means I've been off from work from the 24th of Dec to the 3rd of Jan, a total of 11 days! Whew! I don't think I'll get a long break like that again anytime soon. *Sigh* but unfortunately it's back to work for me tomorrow. All good things must come to an end. But anyway, Happy New Year, people!