Archive for June, 2008

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Having spent slightly over a week in the Graduate Students’ Room in my lab and doing work here more or less all the time i’m supposed to, i really wish i could just tell the people here one thing:

Chill.

Honestly, the way they barge into the office as if there was some creepy mutated monster (think Doom3 or Quake4) was chasing after them, and the rapid banging of drawers and barking of instructions and hasty answering of phone indicates primarily one thing: you guys need to calm down.

Considering the amount of time one spends on their work(s), i’m really not surprised to see them all so agitated. Judging by most of their habits, they don’t seem to have very much of another life outside their work, and so they rushrushrush to get things done asap. It is really any surprise that they appear and behave rather grumpily most of the time, seeing that it’s only a rare few who know how to sit back and unwind. For the record, if what you’re doing the whole day is slacking then you don’t really need to find time to unwind and you don’t fall into the category of people that i’m talking about here. XD

I guess one of the more valuable lessons that one has to learn in his/her lifetime is how to balance the work and the time spent to relax, especially in the fast-paced society here.

In work news, we’re going to try and contact the prof personally now, because there’s no reply from him. It’s funny how people simply don’t reply mails, be it from colleagues or students. I’ve always wondered what the motivation for not checking or replying email would be, as it definitely has a most negative impression on the person who performs the inaction. I’m always reminded that in business dealings, if you’d don’t respond in time you’ve lost a deal.

So what gives, people? Anyone with any thoughts/explanation on how people just don’t reply emails?

Despite all the time i spend here, and all the things i get done, it still feels lonely.

Oblivion

I have a message to all the people out there in bloggerland who have blogged/are blogging/will be blogging/are reading blogposts about the “Ugly Singaporean” phenomenon. You know, the people who don’t move into the centre of the train when they board it, who get off the bus/train/escalator and then stand still only to cause a major sardine-packed jam in the people behind, the ones who throw litter around, or make a lot of noise in public places, or blow smoke into your face as you walk down the street, etc etc. You know how we always think “i don’t understand how they can be so inconsiderate” or stuff like that? Well let me first quantify that this didn’t happen to me today only, and that i’m honestly not pissed, it’s just that i think i’ve found something out that i’ve never put into words before.

NEWSFLASH! I have analysed the cause for one (1) full bus ride and come to this conclusion:

They don’t even know they’re doing it. Either that or they don’t care.

Let me present my case, starting off with a definition. From Dictionary.com:

ob·liv·i·on
1. the state of being completely forgotten or unknown: a former movie star now in oblivion.
2. the state of forgetting or of being oblivious: the oblivion of sleep.
3.
official disregard or overlooking of offenses; pardon; amnesty.

You see, the thing is that these people simply are unaware of their surroundings and the other people around them. (I refer of course, to the above definition number 2) They don’t know (or don’t care) that by swinging their umbrella they’re showering your pants with rainwater, or even hitting you in unmentionable areas. They don’t bother keeping their volume down because they don’t mind loud surroundings (i’m giving them the benefit of the doubt here) and thus assume that you don’t mind either. Or they litter because they don’t bother thinking about the effects that it might have on other people if they do so. Parents who don’t control their kids because they have no idea of the annoyance it might cause to some people. In other words, these people live in a world of their own and aren’t aware of what is going on around them, or alternatively, they’re so arrogant that they think the rest of the world is insignificant and thus they don’t care. But giving them the benefit of the doubt (though their actions are still inexcusable), they are simply oblivious to the world around them.

This is why i was very impressed when i went to Japan the last time. Nobody speaks on their mobile phones on the train or on public transport, and the phones are on silent so you don’t get unwanted ringtones sounding off. People look where they’re going, and greet you when you enter a shop. I walked down the shopping district in a rush once, and i didn’t get bumped into a single time, and i was really impressed – you go try that in orchard road without stopping and i guarantee you’ll have people bumping into you. I felt like a barbarian there, but i was treated like royalty, and i think Singapore has much to learn from the service sector over there.

That being said, i’d like to point out a few things on this matter as well.

One, i’m a singaporean too, so whatever i say that is in general, encompasses me as well. IF you’re not part of the group that i refer to (or maybe you are and you just don’t realize it – in which case if you might happen to fall into this group it’d be better just to learn from other’s or your own mistakes) then you’re safe.

Two, i never said all Singaporeans are like this: i merely pointed out that there are some who are, and now i shall make the statement that there are also some who aren’t – in fact, some of us (them) really are quite nice. But no one has a problem about those who are nice right? so if you’re reading this, do make an effort to openly appreciate those people who are. Give a smile to them on the MRT or something; no one’s gonna call you a pervert.

Three, it’s not always Singaporeans doing these things i know. But i speak only for those who are. Sure there are inconsiderate foreigners as well, but that’s their countries image they hold, not mine (ours).

And lastly? The whole Ugly Singaporean Phenomenon thing? It’s not really a phenomenon. It’s been around for ages. MESSAGE TO SINGAPOREANS: let’s help get rid of it please? Stop pushing to get on transports, rushing for sales, etc. Think about the next person. And think about how you’d like it if someone did it to you.
Update: CCH just pointed out to me that the word for “don’t care” is “apathy”.  So it’s either oblivion or apathy in place. heh.

Reflecting

It’s rather coincidental and appropriate that with all the thinking i’ve been doing, especially over my mentor’s mail, my iPod randomly chose a song that i haven’t listened to in ages – “Smile” by Take 6.  It’s a nice acapella song that not many have heard, and i think it’s appropriate not only for the fact that i’ve been frowning almost all the time i’ve been thinking XD

For those of you who have been reading my blog, yes i have been bothered by a great deal of many things, more often than not in relation to my faith or the people in it.  I do have a short fuse for those who claim to be what they’re not, and who are two-faced, and all that, but it’s kinda weird that i would purpose to not let such things bother me as much.

Don’t get me wrong – i still believe there is a thing as justified anger, and i do believe that what goes around comes around/you reap what you sow (and obviously there’s nothing wrong if the anger is Godly and justified as even Jesus got angry too), and so all of us people who are proud and judgemental and two-faced and hypocritical will have to answer for it too.

That’s right, us.

In the midst of it all i had forgotten – I’m one of them.  I had been so damn blind to myself, and i let my pride get in the way, that i thought i’m definitely better than these people i thought were below me.  Maybe some of you might disagree, but i know at the least i’m on par, and this pride i discovered probably makes me worse.  You got that right, i’m worse than those people i thought were bad.

To be honest i don’t really know how to put the rest of this post.  I initially thought it would be a cold, calm, collected post as always, simply analytical and perhaps to some insightful, but i’m sorry folks, this time i don’t really have that.  That thought alone is just too disturbing for me to be as scientifically analytical as i normally am.

But i guess how i can deal with this thing is to realize that although all these things get on my nerves (those particular others, as well as myself at times) some or most of it is really not mine to judge.  At the end of the day or the world, i’m not the final count in the jury.  There is no jury, and each man will have to answer for himself (man that sounds like a line from the movie Mortal Kombat).

So, back to the song i mentioned at the beginning, guess i’ll just have to learn to smile, even with things annoy the hell out of me, especially when it’s not really justified that i should get angry or anything.  I’m not sure if that’s a conclusive solution because it sure doesn’t feel or sound like one, but i suppose it’s the best i can do at this point.

And we all know that we can only do our best with what life brings us ya?

Fun.

And so i’m told that the BBQ food was great, with many people enjoying it.  That’s really one of the best compliments a chef could get.  At the same time, BBQ food generally tastes great anyway unless you overcook it immensely.  But then again, i’m no chef XD

We all had fun i hope, what with the putting up (and removal) of the deco and getting the middle finger sliced at the tip in the process (how appropriate), the horrendous starting and maintaining of the fire that didn’t seem to want to pass the heat on to the newly placed charcoal – it was almost as if the dying charcoal was desperately crying “noooo i need it to survive! it’s mine! ALL MINE!” – and blackened hands in the process, and the many many many repeated questions about what i’m doing now since i’ve graduated….it was all a great time.

And i hope you enjoyed it too. ^^