Friday, September 18, 2009

Physical and spiritual training

Since I started my new job early this year in February, I signed up at the fitness centre near my place, TrueFitness (and I purposely stick the words together so they have less chance of googling this and find me crapping about them a bit. Hehe.). Which was kinda funny coz' before that when the place was new and somehow they got my number (you know how they get members to give their friends contacts so they can call people up and bug them to join the gym), so of course they were calling me a few times to bug me to join too, to the point where I got sick of getting their calls and saved their number as TrueFatness on my phone, so I would know when they're calling and not pick up. And get a good laugh at the same time. But anyway, since my new office is now super near my house, and I no longer waste precious time sitting around in traffic jams, I decided to join the place after all.

Few months after I joined, I got approached by one of their fitness trainers, his name is Danny, who noticed I was wearing knee support on my right knee. I wear it due to my taekwondo accident some time ago, and I explained that to him, so he was went on to suggest that I needed some personal training (PT) coz' of my knee problem, blablabla, and also since I'm a little on the prosperous side, more blablabla.... :P To cut the boring story short, I ended up signing up for some PT sessions and also some kickboxing sessions (supposedly good for burning off extra prosperity), a bit against my better judgement coz' it's pretty pricey.

Thankfully, I haven't really regretted it coz' Danny really knows what he doing (I've heard stories from a friend who took PT but got a back injury coz' of it. Lousy trainer!). He's really professional but fun at the same time, we've gotten along very well. Signing up for PT has since turned me into a gym freak... now I go almost every day (even when I have no session with him) just coz' I want to make the most of the money I spent. Haha! And though in the initial sessions I was feeling some sore muscles here and there, I've pushed myself so far now that I can pretty much take whatever torture he dishes out to me, and he's had to be more creative with me. And he even recently said I'm his strongest client, and mentioned that he shares stories of my progress with other clients as an example. Woo hoo! I'm so proud of myself! :D I think he pretty much considers me his pet project now, and if he can get me to lose quite a few pounds, he will be very proud of himself too. Unfortunately I'm still not dropping as much weight as I hoped, and I can only presume that my fats are as stubborn as I am. Bleh.

But even more importantly is that Danny, although from a Buddhist family and supposedly being a a Buddhist, he told me he's interested in learning more about Christianity and even asked me to help teach him more about it. And since I've started training under him, he's been visiting his friend's church and also reading a bible borrowed to him by a friend. I also lent him my New Living Translation version of the New Testament, which he said he likes better than the old one his friend lent him (easier to understand). He told me he's actually finished reading the whole book of John and finishing the book of Matthew (probably already finished it by now), and even I'm inspired by his desire to read the Word of God. I don't really get much chance to really sit down and share with him coz' other than our sessions together, where he's too busy torturing me for me to really teach him anything about my faith, he's usually busy with other clients. But I tell him whatever I can and have given him Christian booklets and music CDs to encourage him along. As much as he would like to see me to shed the pounds, I think I would like even more to see him come to know Christ. So he's kinda like my pet project too now. Haha! I'm actually glad now that I signed up for the pricey training, since because of this, I have more chance to share my faith with him. Which I'm really bad at doing most of the time coz' I can be quite antisocial and don't really make the effort to spend time with people anyway. Bad of me, baaaad.

To my fellow Christian buddies, do keep Danny in prayer. And while you're at it, you can pray that I lose more weight and become a hot hoochie mama. ;-)

Thursday, May 14, 2009

A good week...2 weeks ago :P

Another overdue post! Yargh! But only by a week or so. Just wanted to thank God for one pretty good week (which started 2 weeks ago) coz' of a few things:

1) 2 Sundays ago, my mum, who all my life calls herself Christian but has never really believed in God (and this is due to some bad experience with Christians and people in general, so can't blame her) actually came back to Christ. She had been attending my church services for a few weeks, and that Sunday, she came up to me after church and said she wanted to talk to my pastor. So I went and stole my pastor away from whoever he was talking to, to see my mum, and she told him she wanted to come back to God. So my pastor did the whole Sinner's Prayer with her, and she was crying and all, and I was there with her pretty happy and kinda like "Whoa!" all at the same time.

So now she's an 'official' believer, which is great!... but of course that's only the first step and she need to be discipled as a new Christian and all. And since I'm pretty much the only Christian in the same house as her, that discipling role probably falls on me, and unfortunately life has still been the same since and I'm not quite sure how to about it. As in, I know the technicalities and what I should be doing... but you know, it's my MUM, and though I appreciate her being my mum and all, honestly I'm not super close to her, soooo taking up the role of a Christian mentor is kinda weird for me. I did get her a nice new devotional Bible for women (it's in pink, what s surprise) and gave her one of my old learning guides... it's the just sitting with her and going through all this stuff part that I feel weird about. Trying to get

Anyhow, the fact that she has taken that first step is a great thing already. Now I just need to work on my part. heh. Pray, people. Praaaaay for me. And my mum too. Yeah.

2) At work, I was pretty happy about two things that week, one is that I got a request from a potential client asking to do a project in Thailand, which is the project I really wanted as it would be a great learning experience for me, and upon completion, it would really help to put my company on the radar for the area I'm specializing in, since now we're pretty new in it and my company isn't getting many requests for the area I'm handling. Though the project is not confirmed yet and I have to come with a proposal to get the project, I'm pretty excited about and reeeeaaallly hope we get it. Chances are pretty good, I think.

Another good thing is that I've passed my probation period and recently been confirmed! Woo hoo!!! And better part is that my pay goes up a bit too! DOUBLE woo hoo!!! I'm tempted to say "Up yours" to my ex-boss for not confirming me for dumb reasons.... buuut I won't.... although technically I just did, but that doesn't count coz' I said I wouldn't. Haha.

3) That same week, I also attended my church's monthly prayer meeting, where there was a guest speaker for that night (whose name I can't remember now, but it's some black dude, I think. :P). Anyway, I actually didn't really feel like going for the prayer meeting coz' that day I was feeling really crappy with myself and thinking that I probably wouldn't be able to honestly pray anything good in that kind of mood. But last minute decided to go, and listen to this guy... and one of the first things he said during his message was that by the time we all would leave church that night, we would be filled with joy. And when I heard that I was kinda like "Yeah, right!". Yeah, I was feeling that crappy. Also didn't really help that the same dude spoke so excitedly that he would be yelling instead of speaking more of his message, in this rather high-pitched and grating voice that was getting to me quite a bit. I mean, it's great to be excited for God and all, but yelling about 80% of the time was... em... a bit much. Honestly, I was considering leaving the church, but wasn't a nice thing to do.

Somehow or another I managed to ignore the yelling after a while and listen to what he was saying underneath all the yelling, and what he said was actually good and encouraging. And in the end, he went around praying for quite a number of people in our church individually, still in the same gung ho spirit. And it was an awesome session, where a lot of people who got prayed for by him were so filled with joy and Holy Spirit that they fell over on the floor and was just enjoying the joyfulness. And I was one of them! Yeesh, if I had to choose between feeling crappy and having God's joy, then the option is kinda 'duh'! And since then, I've been feeling much better, and I think a lot of other people there were blessed too.

So yay, thanks God for a good week... two weeks ago. :P

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Reflections on the D-word

Today's blog post was inspired by...

A dead rat.

... as well as other things in between, but mainly the dead rat. I saw in a rather contemplative mood today for some reason, and after coming back from the fitness centre nearby, I was just sitting in my car for a while in a dark alone and talking to God about stuff, which I haven't really been doing in a while. So when I got out of my car, I noticed this dead little bugger lying smack in the middle of the road at my apartment's basement. Poor thing probably got roadkilled by a passing car, and even though I realize it's a pest that can cause all sorts of diseases, I still have some sympathy for rodents considering I keep a gerbil family of my own.

Anyhow, it just reminded me about a few recent conversations I've had with friends about... well... death. Yeah I know, not exactly cool dinner topic, but seriously it's the only other thing certain in life asides from taxes, so I find it rather funny how some people just totally skirt the topic, preferring to pretend like it will never happen to them. I know someone whom every time I or anyone else says something along the lines of "You should do (so-and-so) just in case next time you pass on...", he'll get all fidgety and ask us not to say it like that. So we have to be creative and say "...when you're not around anymore..." or something like that. Or even better, just pretend that it will never happen at all. -_O?

I suppose it's a typical reaction of people who are afraid of death... and the only reason to be afraid of death is because they don't know what happens to them afterwards, if anything at all, so they'd just rather not think about it. Which to me is kinda weird, coz' thinking about the possibilities of what could happen to you in the afterlife is a VERY important thing, especially if there is a chance your spirit will continue existing for a long time (like FORVER) after you die.

I, on the other hand, as well as most people of my generation who are less bogged down by the mental and cultural taboos of just mentioning anything pertaining to death, have few qualms talking about it. In fact, I will happily tell you that when I die, I hope that all my reusable organs will be harvested and given to people who really need them, coz' I certainly won't need them anymore, and you all know I'm into recycling, so why waste a perfectly good organ? I just haven't gotten round to signing myself up as an organ donor yet. Dum de dum...

There was also this quote I heard on the radio once, supposedly from some famous dude (I *think* it was Ronan Keating), who said that he's not afraid of death but was afraid of dying. And the radio dj who mentioned that was like "Huh? What's that supposed to mean?" but I was thinking that that makes perfect sense. To be afraid of dying, I figure, means to be afraid HOW you would die. Like I'm totally freaked out at the possibility of going though a slow and painful death, like if I got into a really bad accident and most of my bones broken but still not dead, or if I came down with some debilitating disease and was stuck in a hospital for months or years, or if I was being eaten alive by a lion... well, you get the idea. But I'm not afraid of what will happen to me AFTER I die, just coz' as a believer in Christ, I have a pretty good idea of what's going to me happen to me after death. Therefore the fear of the unknown of the afterlife does not apply to me, as it would to most people who have no such reassurance and might be worried about whether their spirit ends up in some form of limbo-land after death... or whether they've done enough 'good' in their lifetime to earn a place in heaven or to avoid being reincarnated as a cockroach... or whatever their belief system is. I don't mean to sound like one of those pompous Christian pricks (unfortunately, there are some) who think they are better than everyone else coz' we going to heaven... Christians (myself included) are really just about as screwed up as the next person, and we don't get into heaven through anything we did particularly better than anyone else, but only coz' God is just too good to us. But anyhow, the explanation of that is another long story, which I would be happy to share if you asked, but I won't go into here.

One interesting question posed to me recently is "What would you do if you only had 24 hours to live?". Frankly, I really don't like these kind of questions where you won't have the answer to it unless you are actually in that situation. Like seriously, who the heck would actually know what they would do if they had 24 hours left? But there's another aspect of this question that makes it even more interesting... Whatever it is that you would do in the last 24 hours of your life, why aren't you doing it now?

Ooh, bugger.

The friends I were talking to both felt the need to accomplish something worthy within those 24 hours. But I think that in that situation, if you haven't accomplished anything worthy before that, doing so in your last 24 hours is kind of a bit too late. So what I would do is most likely be tying loose ends... writing letters to family and friends to clear up any bad feelings and give them final encouragement, going up to that dude I like and maybe try to weasel a smooch out of him... and THEN once all that's settled, I'd go bungee jumping coz' I've never tried that before and really want to. And THEN I would die in peace. Har har.

And then I think about the question I brought up earlier, which is "Why aren't I doing these things now?". After all, you never know when you're going to die anyway. I could get mowed down by a truck tomorrow. Unfortunately, answering this is much harder than the first question, coz' truth be told, I and probably 80% of the world hold off doing stuff that is important to us for reason that are pretty lame.

So yeah, that's just my few random and rather directionless reflections on death. Cheerio!

Monday, April 06, 2009

The money-spinning blog

I went for Barcamp KL at Inti College over the weekend, which is an event for young entrepreneurs to get together and share business ideas. Basically people come together, whoever wants to talk about something is free to book a slot and present his/her stuff during that slot to whoever wants to listen, and whoever gets bored can just leave and move to another room to hear another speaker. Lots of interesting topics were flying around, from 'How to Date a Japanese Girl' (apparently by a Japanese Girl), to 'Sex and Business' (needless to say, this one was interesting, but nothing to do with porn, people!) to a swing dance lesson from a group called KL Swing.

One talk I particularly liked was about making money from honest blogging. As in, you don't need to blog 'slanderous' stuff that's interesting to make money, but bloggers who write their own uncoierced opinions about things, without being paid off by companies to write something 'good' about their company/products, for example, can actually make a pretty good living off it. Example of this dude I'd never heard of before called Liew C F who actually makes a more-than-decent living just sitting at home in his underpants (or maybe less) blogging away! Of course, his blog is sponsored, but apparently they don't sponsor him to write good stuff about them. He's sponsored just coz' lots of people are interested to read his crap and it's a good place to advertise. Apperently he recently bought a very nice new Honda using his blogging income. How cool is that?

So yeah, I figured since before Barcamp that I would probably make a sucky enterpreneuer/ business person just coz' I don't like the risks associated with starting my own business, I don't have the passion for it and starting businesses involves good networking which I totally suck at as well. Like I didn't really bother to chat much with anyone new at Barcamp, just mainly hung out with the people I already knew. Which defeats part of the purpose of attending it. But one thing I can and do enjoy doing is exactly what I'm doing now, which is BLOGGING. And yeah, I heard of the idea of making money from blogs before, but I didn't really take it seriously til I went for that talk. So after getting that inspiration, I decided to get into the bandwagon of turning my blog into a money spinner. Woo hoo! Well, I'll probably earn a miserable amount from it, if anything at all, but hey, doesn't hurt to try. :P

However, my money spinning blog isn't going to be this one... just coz' if I'm going to get a high influx of unknown readers, I'd rather keep my personal life more private. Thus, I'm saving this blog for blogging more on personal stuff, ie. anything involving family, relationship issues, work, etc. And my 2nd blog shall be all the other stuff...except politics, but I explained that on my first post on my other blog. You can check out my new blog here. As you might expect, it's also in RED. Hehe. I wanted to named it The Red Blog, but that URL and practically every variation of that name was taken, mostly by people who only posted one or two posts like 5 years ago, which is highly annoying. I was tempted to email them and tick them off for using up cool blog URL's for nothing. *Ahem*, anyway, my new blog background looks even cooler than my current one, so I'm pretty stoked. :)

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Ode to Australia, Japan, Selina, Gavin, Wai Keet & everything in between...

For those who were at the party: No explanation required. Just enjoy the vid. :)

For those who weren't: Here's a little diddly I wrote and performed with Sonia for my good buddies from church, Sel and Gav who are migrating to Australia, and Wai Keet who's going to Japan to study Japanese, and performed it at their farewell party. I somehow managed to throw this song together in about 4 days (after working hours, of course), and it came out pretty good, so I'm pretty stoked. :) By the way, Wai Keet loves to cosplay (that's Costume-Play ie. dress up in costumes, mainly for Anime fans) while Selina loves pink, so our party's theme was 'Costumes/All Pink'!!

Just to give credit where it's due and for those who are curious, some lyrics were ripped off the following songs:

1) The Australian National Anthem, though in all honesty, I think Adam Hill's version is MUCH better!
2)"I Come From The Land Down Under" by Men at Work. Makes me think videos in the 80's were so much more entertaining than the half-naked-people-prancing-around vids they make these days... though I wonder why there are electricity poles in the middle of a desert at the end of the vid??
3)"Sukiyaki" by 4PM, though originally it was a Japanese song sung by Kyu Sakamoto with lyrics of totally different meaning, and apparently that song has been remade a gazaillion times, but I guess most people, like me, would know the 4pm version. :P
4) "Turning Japanese" by the Vapors. This song is classic and some punk rock band seriously needs to remake this!!!
5) The Doraemon Theme Song. And no, I have no idea what the lyrics mean. But that didn't make singing it any less fun! XD

I have photos!!!!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Adam Lambert is a freakin' genius!!!

I mean, c'mon, anyone who can take this...:

And turn it into this...:

...and perform it on American Idol during COUNTRY week, must surely earn a place in genius land. ;)

Monday, March 02, 2009

Poetic inspiration comes at strange circumstances...

In the garden of Sel, Gav & Terk
I took this most fascinating pic,
Good enough, I would hope,
To be on National Geographic!

Though it may be their nature,
To mate amongst the blooms,
It was my nature too,
To yell out "Get a room!"

To this Coleopteran hanging on
A leaf for her life so dear
With her male partner's appendage
Stuck up her...*ahem*

And to entitle this photo
Between choices, I'm torn
To name it 'Insect Procreation'
Or more simply, 'Bug Porn'?

Saturday, February 28, 2009

AI takes for 2009

Oh, how I forget about my annual American Idol post? Yeah well, this time round I won't be making such detailed predictions of who's going to get through week by week coz' 1) I'm too lazy, and 2) most of you fellas reading this probably don't watch AI anyway, so you wouldn't know what I'm talking about... but for those who DO watch it (or at least read about it), here are my takes so far:

1) Thank God Tatiana Del Toro didn't make it through to top 12 last week. Not that she's a bad singer, in fact, I concede that she's a fantastic singer. But for one thing, I can't stand her drama queen antics, and I can't stand her hyena-like laughter either. Buh bye, Tati!

2) I'm sad that Nick Mitchell/Norman (or Normund? No one seems to know how to spell his name right!) Gentle didn't make it through this week. Not a great singer, but certainly the most entertaining idol contestant ever. Certainly more entertaining that what's-his-name who sang 'Man in the Mirror' and managed to get through to the top 12. You certainly can't disagree after watching this:

They better bring him back on Wildcard night!

3) Dunno where this dude popped out from, but as soon as he started his rendition of 'Can't Get No Satisfaction', I fell in love with Adam Lambert:

I hope he wins American Idol!!! But it's more likely that...

4) Danny Gokey will win the whole show. He can sing darn well, he's pretty cute, and his pretty wife just passed away recently. So he'll get the good-singer votes, cute-guy votes AND sympathy votes. How not to win like dat??

Sorry the vids are rather crappy though. Apparently Fremantle International removes any videos of original clips from the show for copyright infringement. Yeesh, like they're already earning gazillions from the show, they could at least let people enjoy the real vids on Youtube for free. >:(

The Un-traumatizing Process

I'm kind of sitting here not really sure what to write about and kind of updating my blog for the sake of assuring people who actually bother to read it that I have not disappeared off the face of the earth. Unfortunately I've been going through a phase of kind of wanting to keep a low profile and not my usually blab-about-whatever-I-feel-like self here... as weird as it may sound, I'm pretty sure it's the side effects of my experiences at my previous job, where I got nitpicked on by my boss for so many stupid things that I became rather withdrawn, tense and paranoid that anything I do would somehow or another turn out to be wrong... and even now at my new job, where far as I can see my bosses and the culture is much better, I'm still having trouble 'un-traumatizing' myself from past experiences. Fine example is sending emails... one of the things I got into trouble for before was sending emails to 'outsiders' (which includes people WITHIN the company, but not under my bosses' team) without going though my boss, which ticked him off coz' he was afraid that I would say stuff that would ruin the image of his team, and he was also mad coz' I refered to him as 'my manager' instead of by his correct position in one of my emails. Later on, I realized that this culture of fear and image protection isn't just his problem, but really stems from people at the top. Anyhow, after that, I was super careful about whatever I wrote in my emails, and was always wondering if I should check with him first before sending anything... even for small minor things that bosses shouldn't even be bothered about. Naturally, repeated scanning through emails for mistakes or anything that could 'ruin company's image' was quite a waste of time when I could be doing more important work. Certainly, being paranoid is far from productive.

But anyhow, so far things have been good at my new office. I'm still enjoying the fact that it's only 7 minutes drive from my house (would be less if not for a patch of road at the shortcut that's not tarred and full of potholes, which I would rather avoid), I can wake up after 8am and be at office in half an hour, and when I'm sleepy, I can come back during lunch hour and nap in my cozy bed. Hmmm... So far no problems with bosses and colleagues are all great (no office bullies. Whew!) and the one of the German directors who only comes in once a month or so just loves going around, hugging and kissing all the girls (on the head, yeah!) everytime he sees them. He didn't do it to me the first time we met, of course, he just shook my hand hard enough that I thought it was going to fall off!

I can't really say everything will continue being hunky dory since I've only been here like 2 weeks. Usually I figure out whether I love the place or not within 6 months... so I hope and pray I can do well here and be here for a loooooong time. And even more hopefully, I get my groove back and post more interesting stuff here. :P

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Monday, February 09, 2009

If the China Chinese could sell their souls for $1, they probably would...

I got a link from a friend on Facebook to this site called Animal Saviours that are creating awareness on this trade of live skinning of cats and dogs in China for their fur. Skinned. ALIVE. And the poor creatures are left to die in agony after that. For what? $1 per pelt or some ridiculously small amount like that. Heck, even $1 gazillion a pelt doesn't justify this inhumanity. I have no reason to believe this is a hoax, and there's a even a video of the skinning being carried out on the site, which honestly I couldn't watch because I know it would give me nightmares after that. Just reading the description of what the poor animals have to go through is horrifying enough. I mean, seriously, the human race can-NOT get any sicker than this.

They have an online petition asking for signatures to get the Chinese government to end this trade. If you feel signing it will make some sort of difference, please go ahead. Fact is that most online petitions are pretty useless (as explained in this article here)... and I signed it only coz' there's really nothing much else I can do except maybe hop a flight to China and bash in the heads of the sickos doing this. A better thing you can do is:

1) Never ever EVER buy any clothes/bags/shoes/ANYTHING made of fur. Even if it says it's made of mink or some other animal, it may actually be made of dog or cat fur. And if it ISN'T a dog or cat, other animals shouldn't be treated like this either!!

2) Tell people about this and make sure they are sickened enough to decide to never, ever buy fur products too. Yes, people, I am telling you to go forth, be annoying and SPAM all your friends with this message!!!

Unfortunately people don't treat chickens, cows, pigs and other animal we eat much better either. One day I hope I have the willpower to become vegetarian.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Danger Zone

At my last cell group meeting, we were asked to share about times when we were in danger and God has protected us from harm. For the most part, my life has been relatively safe and boring, though there were a few times I recalled when I was sort-of in danger. Like apparently when I was a kid, I swallowed an eraser whole and amazingly didn't choke to death (it came out in my poop later, according to my mum. I remember none of this). Also once, when I was too young to remember, my parents left me and my brother at the car for a while and the car was on the slope outside our house. My brother was standing next to the open door of the car while I was sitting inside when the handbrake decided not to work and the car rolled backwards. I don't know the details, but somehow or another I think my parents managed to stop the car and my brother was unhurt. I imagine I was sitting in the car completely oblivious to what had just happened.

And then there were the times I was in danger because I sort of put myself into that situation. Like when I was visiting Brisbane and I was went canoeing on my own. I went too close to the mouth of the lagoon heading out to sea and might have been swept out to sea if I hadn't mustered the strength to row against the current and get myself back. It was a pretty good workout though. And in Brisbane, I went solo sky-diving and everything went great until landing when I was supposed to pull both of my parachute handles to slow down the parachute so I could land easily. But for some reason, I forgot to do that one important thing and I landed like a tonne of bricks. Well, not really. I DID remember that in case I was falling too fast at landing, I need to roll to reduce the impact, so I did that instead and somehow escaped without breaking anything in my body. I even got the video to show my rather hilarious, and potentially painful, drop from the sky.

Today I can add another dangerous situation to the list. I was driving my car, with my dad next to me, and we were waiting first in line at the traffic light near my house. Once the light turned green and I moved the car forward, my dad suddenly yelled at me to stop and I also saw it... this fella coming from the right was zooming past the same traffic light even though the light was red on his side. I think he was coming at at least 60kph and had already past the white line on his side of the traffic light. I hit the brakes and blared my horn non-stop, and only then did the guy stop his car and reversed back behind the white line. He looked kind of confused, so I'm guessing he didn't notice the traffic light or perhaps he just wasn't concentrating on the road. Anyhow, IF my dad had not been there to tell me to stop and IF I had not seen the guy coming and I had just kept driving, I'm 100% sure he would have rammed right into my car, into the driver's side where I was, and I wouldn've been badly injured or worse.

Either I was one dang lucky girl or someone up there has REALLY looking out for me. I like to think it's the latter.Thank YOU, God.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

What would you do...

... if you were in a company where:

1) Your boss is being micro-managed, has an oversized ego and is constantly picking on you for every little thing you do wrong in the fear that you are giving him a 'bad' image, when in fact most people you work with have no problem with you. And the nit-picking from the boss gets to the point where you become paranoid that anything you say or do will get you into trouble, and this of course affects your ability to do any work.

2) Big bosses in the company act like lords of the earth, and they are only interested in seeing you achieve the numbers they want but don't care to hear about the practical issues you or your team are facing. And it seems for the most part that the company operates out of fear of making the big bosses unhappy. And you are told that this is normal in any other company, but you think otherwise.

3) As a result of all this (and more), you are sick of the company's culture and have the opportunity to leave but your team members are suffering from work overload and everyone else, except your boss, wants you to stay in the company coz' they really need people, and most people in my team actually appreciate your work. And as much as you can't stand your boss and the management, you really don't want your team members who are pretty nice people to die of work overload. The fact that you have an overwhelming sense of responsibility to handle the tasks given to you, and right now there is no one to take over, kind of makes you feel rather guilty about leaving people in the dust too. Ideally, the company SHOULD be able to just bring in more people to take over, but for some strange reasons that are probably bureaucratic and political, it's just not that easy. Again, that comes back to crappy management decisions.

4) As screwed up as the boss and the management is, you actually do enjoy the work itself, plus benefits are good and it is stable enough to survive a rough economy. Changing jobs at this time is also probably not a good idea. Even though I believe God will provide, I still wonder if this is really from Him, or am I'm just doing what I want and taking for granted that He will take provide... only to possibly later on find that I made a mistake?

Yeah well, that's my dilemma now. I've already sent in my resignation, but I was told that I can still retract it, and some people in my team have asked me to stay. So now I'm wondering what to do. I spend most of my day thinking about all the issues I've had to go through at work, all the problems my boss has had with me, wondering if I was justified in the things I did, wondering if resigning is the best thing to do, wondering if I'll possibly face the same issues in my next job or God knows what new issues will pop up, and just thinking nonstop about it to the point where I think my whole head of hair will eventually turn grey if I keep on thinking about it. And I have one week left to decide. Hrmm....

My bro's wedding pics

I do remember promising some pics of my brother's wedding, and haven't had the time to post them yet. Fortunately, the wedding photographer saved me some trouble, so here you go:

Enjoy. :)

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Fun stuff to do in the US while waiting for my big bro to get hitched...

My bro is married today! Woo hoo! Congrats to him and his new wife, Keonghi da cool Korean chick! :D

Wedding pics aren't ready yet, so I'll keep ya all entertained with my list of fun stuff to do in the United States (or rather, in Knoxville, Tennessee) while waiting for my bro to get married:

1) Go 1120 feet under a mountain to see a waterfall!
The first couple of days of my trip to Knoxville, Tennessee were kept well busy as my bro and his wife took me, my mum and his wife's mum to go visit Ruby Falls at Chattanooga. Ruby Falls is a very cool waterfall located way underground in a mountain, and has a very interesting history behind it, which you can read about here. Basically we took an elevator 1120 feet deep down into a mountain, where we exited into an underground cave full of fantastic rock formations, and at some points were pretty narrow.

As my brother would attest to, it was quite scary. Fortunately, I am in no way claustrophobic, so I quite enjoyed myself. Some of the rocks resembled everyday objects, and were given names to match.

For some reason, I was rather hungry after the walk though the caves. :P Kidding!

At the end of the walk, we reached the best part of the whole place, which was the underground waterfall, Ruby Falls!

They had fancy colour-changing lights there to make it look even more awesome. And there was also a walkway around the pond where the water fell into, so I took a pic there almost directly under the waterfall, and this was what came out:

Not quite what I expected, but looked pretty cool nonetheless. After all that, we had to climb back out the mountain and my bro and I ended up like this.

2) Go see fishies!

Ok, so visiting an aquarium isn't a big deal, but I always like seeing anything wildlife-like and like taking good pictures of them even more, so allow me to indulge in showing off a few of my nice piccies of some of the residents of Tennessee Aquarium.

Aren't they all purty? The last pic isn't very clear, but I thought it was cool to show the mini jellyfish with the bright flashing coloured lights. It is, of course, much cooler to see them in real light, flashing away their multi-coloured lights like a...a.... bright multi-coloured flashing thingy!

3) Drive up a mountain (or two)!
My mum and I went to visit the Great Smoky Mountains yesterday with some of the other wedding guests who are my bro's wife's friends. I got the picture to prove it!

My camera does very littl justice to the mountains. Like seriously. They look much more awesome than this.

Close up shots, on the other hand, look MUCH better. It was so cold the night before that the leaves and branches totally froze over!

There are also lots of places with water running down the rocks, forming little waterfalls. I managed to catch a rainbow formation in this mini waterfall. Nice-ness!

Further up the mountains, we finally came to a point were snow had fallen, so we got to stop and have a snowball fight, and I got to practice my swing.
I also got to make a snowman! Ain't that even cooler?

Unfortunately the others I went with wanted to go off quick so I didn't have time to make the eye, nose and hat. And since it was only a 5 inch-high snowman, a hat would've been quite a feat to make.

4) Shop til you drop!
Well, actually, my mum was doing all the shopping for clothes and cosmetics and God knows what else. I was mostly walking around from shop to shop, looking for stuff at reasonable prices, but everytime I would calculate in my head the conversion rate from ringgit to US dollar and decide not to buy anything coz' I can get similar stuff in Malaysia for cheaper. So I end up like walking the whole mall in about half an hour and then coming back to my mum who's still stuck at the first boutique and asking "Are you done yet?". In case you're wondering, I am so not a shopaholic.

One fun thing about shopping for clothes in the US is that I have absolutely no problem finding clothes my size. Among Asians, I'm considered larger than the average Asian gal... but around here, almost every other American lady is the same size or larger than me. There are sections of clothes in departmental stores labelled 'Petites', and they all fit me nicely, which makes me very happy! :D And their clothes and shoes are mostly made of good quality stuff, not like in Malaysia, where most material is pretty crappy. If I were earning in USD, I would be quite happy shopping in US. Most of the clothes, shoes, and bags here looks really nice too, although I came across this monstrosity which made me wonder if I should laugh my head off or scream my head off.

Only in America, I believe.

Another fun thing is walking into shops with 'themes' and observing how the shop attendants. Like at a shop selling coats and suits for men, all the male shop attendants are wearing nice looking suits. At a shop selling only black and white coloured clothes, the attendants only wear black and white clothes. At a shop selling clothes for plus-sized ladies (all the clothes there were way too big for me, by the way. Makes me even more happy. ;P), all the shop attendants are... you guessed it... plus-sized! It was quite amusing... too bad I don't have the photos to show it. The shop attendants would've thought I was nuts to take their pics.

Of course, there is no lack of interesting knick knacks in American stores, and I just couldn't resist getting my hands on (*drumroll please*....) the Super Dooper Pocket Pooper!!!

It's a little toy reindeer that comes with little brown, round candy. The head can be flipped open and the candy poured in through the neck. Then the candy can be dispensed from the rear end of the reindeer, so it looks like POOP. Just the type of sick humour that yours truly can appreciate. :D And when you've eaten all the candy, you can replace it with other small round candy. But since it's hard to find small, round, brown candy, you could probably replace it with those white or green small round mints which are much easier to find. The you can say the reindeer is pooping snowballs, or even better, radioactive waste blobs... or maybe giving birth to green alien offspring! And the reindeer doubles up as a keychain too, so that makes it even neater. :)

By the way, I bought about ten of these pocket poopers to give away to people whom I really like or whom I think share the same sick humour as me and can appreciate a pocket pooper. But if you really want one and if you're fast enough to ask me, and I like you enough, I might give you one too. :P Might help if you offer to be my slave for the next couple of weeks or so...

5) Eat, eat, eat!
Aaaah, the infamous Malaysian indulgence... FOOD. Well, Americans seem to love food twice as much as Malaysians, coz' whenever we eat out, the food portions are practically double the portions of Malaysian food. Seriously. My mum and I went with my bro's wife and her mum to IHOP (that stands for International House Of Pancakes, for the uninformed), and we made the mistake of ordering individual meals for each of us. And we had to go through the delightfully yummy yet sinfully torturous task of having to wolf down all of this!

My mum had gigantico bacon and cheese burger with fries. She couldn't finish it.

That was my meal of sirloin tips, with two eggs, two hash browns and two of IHOP's famous buttermilk pancakes. Almost all went down the hatch, save for some hash browns, and I felt delightfully guilty after that. After that I decided anytime we ate out, it was best to order one meal for both of us to share. That rule has served us quite well.

Another dish worth mentioning is the spaghetti and meatballs from this Italian joint called Sbarro. I tried it the first day I landed in the US at the airport, but failed to take a photo. I totally fell in love with the meatballs. Especially the fact that they are BIG meatballs. One BIG meatball = about 3 or 4 Malaysian normal meatballs, and tastes really good. The spaghetti was pretty good too. So when I saw Sbarro's again at the mall, I got myself almost the same stuff, except I ordered ziti (or penne pasta) instead of spaghetti, to give it a try. And this time I got a photo of the ziti and BIG meatballs. Doesn't look like much, presentation-wise, and the ziti wasn't as good as the spaghetti, but the meatballs are still hmmm.....

I have a feeling I will slightly more prosperous than usual for CNY this year...

On a slightly related but not really related note, my bro and his wife ordered online some extra special Chinese tea for their wedding ceremony. What makes this tea extra special is that it's actually a bunch of long tea leaves woven with a flower, and the flower and leaves 'bloom' in hot water, as can be seen below!

Ain't that neat? I thought that was so neat, I want to get the same tea for my wedding too and make all my guests go "Ooooooh! Blooming tea!". Of course, I'd have other things to get for my wedding first... like a poor sod who's willing to marry me. Hur hur.

My bro and his wife had a wedding rehearsal followed by a nice dinner at a Korean restaurant the night before the wedding ceremony.

Yeah, I know that's not particularly interesting. I just needed an excuse to put this pic up.

Now you know where I get it from.

Wedding pics coming soon!!!

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

He will provide

I've been halfway around the world in the United States for the past few days, counting down the days til my big bro's wedding. Of course, I'm really happy to be here to celebrate with him, to finally meet his fiance who is a really cool chick, and of course I have photos of us and our respective mums who are here going to visit some fun places in the first few days. I haven't edited the pics yet though, and I'm saving it for next time, as I have other stuff to blabber about that I haven't had the chance to do til now.

I've resigned! AGAIN! I didn't really intend to do it so soon, at least not til after I returned from my trip, but something happened a couple of days before I left that made me decide enough was enough. Won't go into the details of that coz' as fun as complaining is, I think I've already done enough of it to anyone around me who was willing to listen and I don't feel like I need to add any more to the plate. It was a very tough and rather bittersweet decision for me. Tough because resigning means giving up pretty good benefits, and now with the economy kind of in the pits, it's not really a good time to be jumping ship. And there's no guarantee that I won't have a fresh bunch of problems in the next company I join. Also, while I relish the fact that I am now *almost* free (still have one month's notice to serve. Ugh) from having to put up with the company's crap, I've also gotten quite close to some of my colleagues, and I regret that my leaving means they will have more work to do. And right now, they already have a lot of work to do. Unfortunately for them, staying in a company for the sake of my colleagues is a lousy reason to stay. But still, I had a lot of things to consider when making this move.

Something I didn't really tell anyone (probably coz' I was too busy complaining about my company) is that after the first incident in November 08 when I got sooooo frus that I told my boss I was going to resign, after cooling down and considering the points above, I was having second thoughts about whether it was a good idea to resign after all. And I was worried that my chances of getting another job offer now are low due to the bad economy. So I really prayed about it and ended up being so unsure of what to do, that I just did up my CV and sent it out to four different companies and asked God to decide for me. After all, if anyone knows what's best for me, it would be Him! Basically, I asked Him that if I am to stay at my company now, then keep the doors shut, don't let me get any job offers, and puh-LEEZE don't let me go through any more crap with my boss. But if I'm meant to leave the company, then I prayed that He would open the doors and I would get at least one good job offer.

Since then, God has opened the doors wide and I have not just one, but two other companies wanting to hire me. One is a German certification body, doing environmental auditing, such as I what I do now, and they need my experience in a specific area (Ceh-wah! ;P). I went for two interviews, one with the director who is a German dude, and the other is a manager and my future immediate boss, and both interviews went super well, so they're going to make me an offer. And the office is only 5 minutes away from my house! How cool is that??

*Ahem*, anyway the other company was one I didn't apply to...but a very interesting one nonetheless. My old boss at Mad Science heard that I wanted to leave my company now and asked me to meet him up to discuss whether I was interested to return to work at Mad Science. And as he thought I did a very good job when I was working there previously, he wanted me to return not just as a normal instructor teaching classes, but in a sort-of managerial position where I'll basically be running the whole company in my boss's absence (and he's away, like, ALL the time). Needless to say, I was like "Whoa!". The prospect of being the manager of my old company and having a lot more freedom to do things how I would like is... pretty cool. But it is also very daunting, coz' there are a gazillion challenges, like I would have to deal with a bunch of issues going on at the company now and I would have to handle EVERYTHING from planning events, HR issues, bringing in more business to the company on top of teaching classes. And right now, the benefits are still blah, which is why I left in the first place. BUT if I am miraculously able to handle all this and the company does very good business later on, the benefits will definitely come then. But that's a big IF... this company is basically still a small business, and running small businesses are always risky.

Nevertheless, my old boss is still going to make me an offer, and then I will have to decide between two job offers... most likely going for the German certification body that's only a heavenly 5 minutes drive from my house (petrol not cheap, MAH). Even then, with two prospective offers, I still wasn't totally sure if I was supposed to leave my company now, and I asked God for another sign... This time I really had no idea what kind of sign He could give me, so I just prayed that if I'm supposed to leave the company, that my boss to do something else really unreasonable to push me over. Something like refusing to approve my leave for the US, which I applied for weeks ago. I didn't think it would actually happen, especially since my other superior was ok with me taking my leave, but lo and behold, two days before I'm supposed to go, I found out he actually didn't approve my leave. Again, long story, don't feel like explaining the details, but it was enough for me to finally decide to fly the coup. And that's the way the cookie crumbles.

I guess it sounds pretty dumb to resign before I've even gotten the job offers in my hand, but after all this, I do believe all will be well. My church is repeatedly saying that even though many people predict 2009 will be a bad year economically, we should trust and believe God will provide for us. From what I've experienced so far, I'm pretty sure of He will.