Monday, June 20, 2005

Happy Father's Day

My dad's birthday coincidentally falls near Father's Day. We are not used to celebrate father's day or mother's day, just recently that since I stay in Singapore that it seems that these days are celebrated quite openly. In Indonesia, mother's day falls on a different date, if I recall correctly, it's on 22nd December. AFAIK, there's no father's day back there.

Anyway, happy father's day, dad. And also happy birthday.

Just some story about me, I do not call my parents like any other children to their parents. Usually people call their father: father, daddy, dad, pa, papa, papi or ayah. And their mother: mother, mom, ibu, mommy, mami or mam. Nope, I do not call them any of the above terms. I call them with special term due to my 'special' condition at my birth. And I ain't gonna mention it now, save it for when I'm ready to reveal myself.

About my dad, he is stern, very stern. I still remember when I was caned until my thighs were blue-black. Friends and teachers back then in primary school asked what happened with my legs. I fell, I said. The fact is that it's due to child-play went wrong. When me and my brother played with the cotton buds, we slot those things halfway into our ears. Not really sure what was inside our mind. Can't really recall what happened, but I think I hit my brother at the ear and caused one of my brother's ears to bleed. Yeah, that's when my thighs changed colour to blue-black. It was lucky my brother's ear drum not damaged.

Apart from that, he also love his children. Well, maybe he does not put in words, but I believe he does. Remembered when I was so tempted to get a toy advertised in a newspaper, if not wrong was Voltus robot, I frowned to him, beg and beg. Could not stand it, he then took me on his bike late at night to a toy store, Hoya (it was quite famous then, now no longer exists), to buy it. Mind you, that kind of stuff was not cheap, especially for us as our parents were not well off. Since then, whenever I was tempted with some interesting toys, although my parents asked whether I wanted it, I answered no.

Although you might not be perfect, but to me you are the best dad. If not because of your teaching, I will not be what I am now. Again, happy father's day, dad. And happy birthday.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

So, it's true!

It's true!
After the online news and geek sites were flooded with rumors of Apple planning to switch to Intel's processor, currently the internet is now buzzing with the aftermath of the ol' Steve's keynote confirming the rumor in this year's WWDC. It's just too bad that I am not there this year, it will be refreshing to see him live again. But, this year's WWDC focus is not really related to the field of the company I am working with.

Alright, tagging along with other sites offering their own opinions on the news release, I also would like to give mine. I say, "It's GREAT!" Well, shocking at first although it is quite expected with all the leaks from the rumor mills, it is something refreshing for Mac users. Other Mac fanatics might not have the same feeling as me, but that's just human. They might prefer the Macs to stick with PowerPC processors, while I'd say, "Bring it on! Get the best for the platform."

With the move to Intel, Apple is no longer tied down with Motorola or IBM. As mentioned in some tech sites and also by Steve himself in the keynote, the PowerPC has been stucked in it's current speed. The advancement all this while is not that great and the 3 GHz target that he mentioned 2 years ago cannot be met. Finally, my question has been answered.

Some facts on this transition thing:
- Apple is moving to Intel processor starting June 2006 and the transition will be in phases in 2 years
- Mac OS X has been living dual lifes. All OS X releases have been compiled for both PowerPC and Intel in the last 5 years
- current applications will be able to run on the new MacIntels with the help of Rosetta, the dynamic PPC 'translator' for Intel. It will be transparent to the user
- developers are expected to create Universal binaries of their current and new apps so they can run on both processors. This can easily be done with the help of XCode.
- difficulties: Scripting languages and widgets, nothing need to be done, just works. Cocoa, a little tweaking and some XCode settings. Carbon created with XCode, some tweaking and XCode settings. Metrowerks Carbon, move to XCode.
- paying ADC members (Select and Premiere) can get the Transition Kit for US$999. Time to bug my boss, hehe
- Apple most likely won't let the Mac OS X run on the normal Intel PC, only Apple produced ones. As mentioned by Phil Schiller, Apple's VP of Marketing
- let me know if I miss anything

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Friday, June 03, 2005

Bi-Week Summary aaarghhh...

Another 2 weeks just passed. Lotsa happenings.

First, had NKF medical check and declared as an obese person. Blah! Have to cut down meal intake and monitor the diet. Not bad, I guess my waist line is a little bit smaller by 5 mm. No late night munchies after 8.

Gave another presentation to a potential client from US. Delivered fast and furious. Not sure if he caught the idea. Some automation tools demoed. Hope he buys the idea and engages our service.

A new fresh graduate will join our company soon to continue the project that he partially completed (yeah, the same person I ranted about the other time).

Couldn't recall about the rest of the week, mostly packing up for the move to new place.

Anyway, about today. Gawd! Please have mercy... I am going to fork out about SGD 7k for our wardrobe set. Have just paid the deposit for it. Thanks to credit card, the payment can be done in installment of 12 months. Still, about 600 bucks has to be put aside every month. I hope it's a worth the price. It's part the price to pay to spend a new life with someone ;).

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Monkeys and Tiger

It's been quite sometime since the last entry. I guess I still have a little bit humanity left before fully join the Dark side. I hope I won't totally abandon this.

Another long weekend with Monday a holiday to replace Vesak day that falls today. Saturday spent by lazing around at home, cooked simple meal for lunch and had dinner at Bukit Batok East hawker center, which we thought was good as it always looks crowded. Apparently quite a dissapointment, nothing special, only the normal hawker fares.

Today morning started with a jog. Had an encounter with a family of monkeys (pa, ma, bro, sis and maybe uncles and aunties) at the edge of Bukit Batok Nature Park. Maybe they were having some picnics observing joggers. Luckily they didn't decide to follow me to the gym seeing me panted trying to do a single abs crunch.

Talking about monkey, I though I met another monkey in the gym room that don't like the room's window to be open and requests for the room's aircon to be turned on. Monkey People staying in condo can be ridiculous sometimes, want to work out but don't want to sweat and like the stuffy gym room.

Move on to my Tiger experience, well, I chickened out. I already prepared my external hard disk to back up in case Tiger runs away, but in the end I cancelled the plan. I think I better to wait maybe until 10.4.2 comes out. I still have some important projects going on, and might not have time to troubleshoot in case some stuff breaks.

Anyway, I promise to post some stuff about how to utilize Tiger's features for blogging.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Blogging Hiatus

It's a crap life. Too much thing to do...

The last few days (can be considered weeks) were very packed and my mind was occupied with lotsa stuff. Starting from work, giving demo of product, attending FYP student's presentation, finding new place for stay (my tenancy is ending next month), and recently entertaining my parents (this one is not a complain though ;))

Probably this blog will be updated very unfrequently. I guess I will soon be another corporate drone, with not much time to do self introspection, current affairs analysis or do some critical thinking.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Financial advisers, sworn enemies?

The title of 'Financial Adviser' is cool, isn't it? If you're yet to know what the language for commoners is (probably you've just arrived on a time machine), it is also well known as insurance agent. Yes, the sometimes irritating insurance agents.

L just had a dinner session with one of them. Gosh, really didn't know what response to be given to them if you are really not interested. If you tell them upfront, they might put up the sour plum face. If you entertain them, but then in the end after their dried throat we reject them, still super sour plum faces.

Some other things that I also cannot stand are:

  • long lost friend who suddenly called you for meet up, which actually has hidden agenda (without really telling what's up), whether he/she is working as an insurance agent or asking to join MLMs
  • receiving SMS or phone calls from agents telling that one of your long lost friends gave them your contact no

No offence to agent's out there. My advice: try not to be pushy. Make your service to be available ONLY when people are looking for it. You can advert your service thru friends, but don't cross the line.

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Friday, April 22, 2005

Caution! Ignorance will make you look like a wuss (hope you're not)

Today's Today published 2 letters from its readers that are unhappy about MOE's explanation on heavy subsudies for future foreign talents studying in Singapore universities.

Before I voice out my own opinion as one of the foreign ex-students (now maybe considered as a foreign hopefully-with-talent), firstly I would like to apologize if it will offend some fellow Singaporeans. I acknowledge and appreciate the support (education, social and financial) given by Singapore (the people and the government) that enables me to pursue my higher education and career. Oh, and this one is a very long post

Ok, let me start. Mr. Rick Lim Say Kiong in his letter mentioned that the 'high' percentage of 20% in local universities that are occupied by foreigners has a link to complaints made by polytechnic graduates about not enough slots available for them. Personally, I do not have much to comment on this, but just curious whether the percentage is fixed, means that the goverment set the percentage first when admitting students, or just a derived number, means they get the number after the admission? If the 20% is gotten from the latter, I think it is fair enough as I believe the universities' admission criteria are not 'that' low and furthermore now they conduct entry examinations to filter only the best. I also know from friends that in recent years it is more difficult to be accepted to study here (for foreigners, at least from my country, Indonesia) compared to 6 - 7 years ago when I was admitted (which shows better students ought to be there now). Yes, I was just an average student. Anyway, in short this shows the fairness of the system, only they who are able to meet the standard and stand among the applicants, can enter, no matter whether you are a local or a foreigner.

Now, what if the system is the former? The government set the percentage first before the admission and try to fill up the slots available. Well, this does not really show the meritocracy 'ideology' adopted. But let's try to think the reason IF this is really the case. What I can think of is business. Business? Yes, business, money, green, moolah, whatever you call it. Education is a very lucrative business. With admitting a number of foreign students, you bring money in from overseas. From the very first time the students step into Singapore, the government is cashing in from them (airport fees from the airplane landings, also more gained if they are using Singapore airlines). Think about the lodging, the food, the transport, the books, entertainment and other students needs. They helped to create jobs (although they will be seen as a job grabber after they graduate, like me) and maintained when new batches of students come in. In other words, the government is quite smart in this money thing, so don't worry about it.

Ok, move on to the next item, un-talented talent? Well, simple, there tends to be bad apples among the good. It's just plain luck, that's why interviews are conducted before employing a person, again, whether local or foreigner. Nobody forces anyone to hire these bad apples. On the side note, people change. That's why some students who were good when they enter the school, transformed into slackers due to one issue or another (less parental monitoring???). Singaporean students should be lucky to have their parents nearby to monitor. Another thing, language does not really reflect one's intelligence, especially in technical fields. And for real, these students might only know their mother tounge and never use english before. Just imagine if a Singaporean who does not know Japanese studying in Japan. It's the same thing. To iterate, if you like him, then hire him. If you don't, then don't. Simple as that.

Next, Permanent Resident (PR) application. It is true indeed that we are offered PR as soon as we graduate. I was lucky my application was immediately approved after I landed on my job (I'm still with the same company until now). However, some also do not have that good fate as me. I personally know a few whose applications were rejected and have to work on employment pass. So, the approval is not by default as pictured by most people. The criteria for the approval I am not sure and better be clarified with Immigration and Checkpoint Authority (ICA).

Moving to the sensitive issues, money subsidization. I only have this: how come other big leagues universities do not differentiate the tuition fees for locals and foreigners? Both locals and foreigners have to pay the same fees, the difference only in bursaries.

The only irk comes from a letter by Lee Soon Bio mentioning that foreign students are guaranteed employment for three years. This statement shows how ignorant can some people be. The fact is that the 3 years are not a guaranteed employment, it is a bond that binds them to work for Singapore. Means, the students have to work with a Singapore based company for 3 years after graduation. It does not mean a guaranteed employment. If the student is unable to find any employment, he or she will have to repay the subsidy to the Singapore government. Bond-breakers will be discussed in other occassion, shall we? So, get the facts right!

Just a few last things. If your kid is not so bright and have to pay to (read: can) get a degree overseas, isn't it very fair compared to those whose kid is very bright but poor monetarily, denied place locally and unable to afford to send the kid overseas? This is what happened in other countries, just take a look at the neighbouring Malaysia and Indonesia. Do you know how difficult it is for Chinese to get entrance to the local non private university?

Finally, what is wrong with a diploma cert? Compared with an A lever graduate, personally I feel that a diploma holder who continue his study is better. Refer to my other post. I am so far believe (you can prove me wrong) that a person armed with diploma tends to be a better employee compared with those from JCs.

Now, will you pass the facts to the ignorants? Or should you whine again when the foreigner to local ratio is decreased causing only the topmost creme-de-la-crop foreigners admitted to the schools and causing the local kids lose again to them?

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