Tuesday, May 27, 2008

In Pursuit of Dreams

What would you do if you knew you couldn't fail...

That sentence above has somehow embedded itself into my psyche, and I can't seem to shake it off....

However, I know that it is something I always have to keep with me, to consciously remind myself of the necessity of thinking big. That no matter how the circumstances in my life may change for better or for worst, the pursuit of ones dreams should never fall by the wayside.

I have felt it creeping up over me the past few years. That sickening feeling of complacency. The overwhelming sense of unwarranted contentment. The slow build-up of an aversion to risk. The increasing tendency to brush away any entrepreneurial idea as a mere pipe-dream.

I never thought that I would become like that, especially not so early in my life.

It seems so long ago that I was but a young, naive graduate. Short on finances, but big on hopes and dreams. Back then, nothing seemed impossible. Everything was within reach, and every obstacle surmountable. Complacency was the furthest thing from my mind..

..but yet, I have grown complacent.

It wasn't difficult. Being complacent. The combination of a good job, financial windfalls, position and stature is enough to lull any person into a false sense of contentment. It wasn't until a recent meeting with an old acquaitance that I realised just how different I've become.

Ahh...this person.

I first got to know him while competing in a local reality-show.

He is a programmer, one of the several programmers who responded to my online post during the time when I was frantically searching for people to help me realize an idea that I had.

We met up, and instantly we clicked. There was something about him that I found very refreshing. His ability to see things from an entrepreneurs point of view, his willingness to take risks, to forego the comforts and security of life in the pursuit of the next big thing. They all made sense to me back then.

Those were qualities sorely lacking in most of the corporate flunkies you meet and I'm sure you'll agree.

After chatting a little and catching up on what each of us have been doing over the past few years, he asked me this question....

"What happened to you?".

To him, the person he was speaking to hardly resembled the person he knew a few years ago. Where was the fire? Where was the zeal? Where was the dogged tendancy to ignore conventional wisdom?

I initially thought he had gone bonkers. Surely, I am the same person. My expectations of life can't have changed that much i just a few short years.

It was only when I got back, and thought about what he said that I realised just how far I've deviated from my original goal. When I look at him - at how he is going about doint things his way, sacrificing for his dreams - I feel a pang of envy.

Money isn't everything. Comon sense isn't it? But how often do we forget that nugget of wisdom. While money can be a great motivating factor, it isn't the end goal in itself. The process of getting there, the journey in itself, those things are ultimately more fulfiling and rewarding than any five or six figure paycheck.

I now know what I must do.

Don't worry, I'm not going to quit my job and live off the land.

What I need is a serious realignment of my goals and objectives in life. To refocus, where I've wandered astray. To remember, what I've since forgotten. To rediscover, joys of walking the path less travelled.

That paragraphs above have embedded itself into my psyche, and I won't ever want to shake it off....

Here's to dreams.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Family, Friends and Taxes

Pray Along

My girlfriend's father went to Singapore last week to undergo an operation. It was quite major, hence the decision to perform it in Singapore instead of Malaysia. So far, he is recovering really well, which is great news for everyone.

Can't wait to see him up and about on his feet again.

I went down over the weekend to visit and to lend some support. Although the bus ride to and fro was horrendous, I'm really glad I did. It's at times like this that you truly realize the importance of having family and friends.

A blinding flash of obvious? Perhaps, but it's one of those things which we think we know, but honestly, do we actually really know it?

Walking along the streets of Merlion

I didn't spend much time sight-seeing, not that I'm complaining. Most of my time was spent in the hospital and in the serviced suite which we were all bunking in.

I did however manage to catch up on some much-neglected-clubbing by paying a visit to Attica on Saturday night.

Oh, and I also visited the Night Safari. It was my second time actually, the first was several years back. It was still as fun and entertaining as I remember it to be. Now why can't we in Malaysia, with our abundant flora and fauna, come up with something equivalent, if not better?

Maybe its coz we Malaysians are just not 'civilized' enough to sit quietly in the tram while the safari guide narrates. We don't like being idle. That coupled with our total disregard for personal safety (as evidenced by our road... *ahem* ...manners) would probably see us leaping right off the tram, into a pit of wild hyenas in a heroic effort to get a closer shot for a photo with which to show off to our friends.

Malaysians are funny in that way.

Death and Taxes

On another note, I recently appointed a personal tax consultant to handle my tax related issues. Yeah, I know it's a bit too late to help with my 2007 taxes, which by the way are in the process of sucking the life force out of me, but based on the tax bracket which I am so 'privileged' to fall under (urk!), it is a must for 2008.

Hopefully with some expert guidance, I can trim down the amount of my hard earned moolah which has to go into the pockets of the tax man.

Paying unreasonable taxes pisses me off.



Friday, April 04, 2008

The Curse of Shopping

Guy go shop *grunt grunt*

Let me first say that throughout most of my life, my shopping habits were that of a typical male. And by 'typical male' I mean half-yearly trips to the shopping mall where we'd proceed to blow several grand of our hard-earned moolah on enough shirts, pants and shoes to see us through the next 6 months.

We'd then proceed to spend the next half a year doing whatever it is 'manly' guys do (burt, fart, tweeze each others nips) before repeating the whole shopping cycle all over again.

That was all there is to it, simple.

I didn't see the need to have a zillion pairs of shoes, nor did I see the need to desperately refresh my wardrobe everytime GQ featured yet another impossibly-sculpted model wearing yet another gay-looking outfit which wouldn't look out of place on Elton John.

That was then though....

It starts...

It all started innocently enough.

In a rare stroke of 'genius', I thought that instead of spending a huge chunk of money every 6 months on clothes, I'd spread out my shopping throughout the year. I figured that by doing so, I won't end up buying lots of stuff which I do not need, instead limiting myself to just one or two critical items a month.

Surely such an approach would allow me to save more money right?

The first trip started pretty well, I got myself a new belt to replace the ratty old, limp mee-hoon impersonating leather strap that I was using as a belt and a couple of new cuff links to go with some of my other shirts.

On the way out however, I noticed a sign saying that some of the shirts were marked down by 50%. Oh wellllll, since it's alreadyyyy on sale, I might as well take advantage of it. Why, by buying it I am actually saving money! Who can argue with logic like that?

As I was paying at the cashier, I spotted a nearby rack of jeans with one particular pair which I thought will look great with my new shirt. Hmmm...something to aim for next month then.

...and grows...

As any girl can tell you, once you've spotted an item you like, it will bloody dominate all your waking thought! Haunting you for every second of every hour until you take the plunge and actually purchase the bloody thing.

Needless to say, I didn't even last through the month. The very next week, I was back ringing up yet another purchase on my Amex. Oh, and since I'm here, I might as well pick up some t-shirts as well. And that cool looking pair of slacks too.

True, I may have spent more than I intended to, but I figured that I'll just treat it as an 'advance' of next month's clothing budget.

Feeling pretty good about my superb budgeting skills, I went home.

Guessssss what I have for you!

Only a couple of days have passed when a friend asked me whether I wanted this special discount card which entitled me to a discount for any item purchased at a certain boutique in Pavilion. Although I didn't intend to buy anymore stuff this month, I thought that since this card was still valid, I might as well make use of it.

Why, am I not saving money by using a discount card? I am right? Alrightey then!

After selecting a few pairs of pants, shirts and the odd bag, I realised that the total figure was a bit steep. Ah-hah! Nothing a discount card can't fix!

Brandishing my card triumphantly, I cackled gleefully as the figure was revised.

Bernard Yong - 1, Big multinational retailer - 0!

I am becoming a woman!

The very next day, I realised that I didn't have any shoes to go with my new pants.

As I rushed back to the shopping mall in a shoe-buying frenzy, I suddenly stopped and realised that I was becoming one of those obssessed, crazy-eyed woman you usually see hanging around Isetan during the Christmas sale, arms loaded with shopping bags with smoke wafting from their purses as a result of overheated credit cards.

This is ridiculous.

As I now sit in my room, looking at all the paper bags lying around filled with stuff which I probably will only wear once or twice, I saw how far I had fallen. I needed to redeem myself! I needed to nip this in the bud!

And I will!

.... as sooooooonnnn as I get that black jacket which will look absolutely snazzy with some of my new threads.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Guess Who's Back?

Return of the Jer-Die

I'm backkkkkk!

Feels like a long time eh. In fact, it has been pretty long! I haven't blogged for 4 months, and truth be told, I was beginning to miss it.

I miss being able to rant and rave to my heart's content, to post rubbish which would otherwise never see the light of day, to foist upon the Internet all manner of poorly edited photos and to check on my blog's traffic rating and feel a warm glow in my heart and a great sense of achievement when the number of daily visitors painstakingly creeps above 10 a day.

Ah, to be part of the blogosphere again.

You Gotta Do What You gotta do

One of the 3 main reasons why I temporarily stopped blogging was because of work. Although work is still as hectic as ever, I felt that reviving my once 'glorious' blog was something that I simply HAD to do! I can't simply let HodgePodge I Am die like that? After all the blood, sweat and tears I've poured into it? Never!

Besides, I had to think of my fan (notice the absence of plurality)! What will he (yes, it's a He) do now that he's being deprived of the one thing that brought meaning and joy to his life? Nooo!!

So it is with a renewed sense of purpose that I proceeded to dust off the virtual cobwebs from my blog, fire up ye ol' Adobe Photoshop (which I only ever use to edit photos for my blog) and sit with my fingers poised over the keyboard, ready to unleash a barrage of witty text at a moment's inspiration.

Which brings me to the second reason why I stopped blogging...inspiration. Or to be more exact, the lack of.

Ol' geezer Yong

I found that after my gazillionth post, I basically ran out of things to say. And everything thereafter seems to be a limpid repetition of what I typed eons ago. Why, even this sentence gives me a strange case of deja vu.

Which is very sad.

And which led me to the conclusion that I'm a doddering old geezer with a penchant for repeating himself.

And which led to my decision to stop blogging, at least for a little while.

You follow me thus far?

BUT (yes, there is a but)...that was wayyy back in 2007! Now, with 4 months gone by, I'm bubbling with ideas and inspiration, a veritable geyser of pent-up blogging energy! I feel like I could just sit here and type out genius-post after genius-post without even breaking a sweat! Why, Kenny Sia's posts will pale in comparison to mine!..muahaha.

Even as I smugly sit here and fantasize about what it'd be like to write a blog which attracts more than 10 people a day, I realize that it's all a pipe-dream because...

..and that brings us to the third and final reason why I stopped blogging.

I'm just too lazy.

So lazy in fact, that I'm going to stop my post right here and show you a bunch of photos (poorly edited mind you) of the stuff I did during my absence.


Stuff I did...zzzzzz

While I was busy not blogging, I....

...went on a road trip to Melaka....

...celebrated Christmas and New Year in London...

...got my arse handed to me at BlackJack, no thanks to a person whom I shall not name *cough* *Kok Leong* *cough*....

...spent time with my family during CNY...

...had a blast in Hong Kong...

...bought myself another piece of property...

...celebrated Leonard and Eleena's wedding...

...watch my friend blow-up his turbo in a drag race (and spent half the night standing around a deserted highway waiting for the tow truck)...

....and attended another wedding, this time of my old college mate Ken Ong.

The End...*tan tan tarra!*

Friday, December 07, 2007

Another week goes by

Uh uh uh, another week bites the dust

I just got an SMS from a friend saying that the new movie by Disney, 'Enchanted' is really good. Hmm....must make the time to catch it one day. I've always been a sucker for Disney movies. Yes, even the mundane ones like Tarzan.

Speaking of time, gosh is it Friday already?? I know I should be doing cartwheels of joy right now in the middle of my office, but I've grown so jaded when it comes to weekends. Sure, you are literally walking on air when you leave work on a Friday night, but before you know it, you're stuck in a traffic jam on a Monday morning, inching your way back to the office with a severe case of Monday morning blues.

Better to just work right through the weekends eh?

Acckkk....I can't believe I said that, but you have to admit that there is some sliver of truth in it.

Heresy, I know.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Halo, is it me you're looking for?...

I can see it in your eyessss....

Quite a number of people have been bugging me to update my blog. They accused me of gross 'blog' negligence and threatened to mogok in front of my house if they did not see a new post within the next 7 days.

Well, those threats were made weeks ago and I still do not see any placard carrying loons on my front porch. But better not take the chance eh.

People who actually enjoy reading my rubbish blog must be a bit otak-tak-center. And who knows what otak-tak-center people may do when deprived of the only thing which gives them joy and meaning in life?

I can see it in your smileeEEee...

I have a confession to make.

I told people that the reason why I put my blogging activities on hold was because of the mountain of work I have to wade through on a daily basis at the office. I told sob stories of how time-strapped I was, and watched as their eyes glistened with tears as I shared epic stories of how I heroically struggled to meat dastardly deadlines.

Ok, I may have exaggerated a little there.

Yes, my workload is bordering on the insane. But I am such a productive worker (cue laugh track) that I somehow manage to miraculously complete everything on time. So what is the reason then?

My absence from the blogosphere can basically be traced to the presence of a shiny little disc with the magical words 'Halo 3' inscribed upon it.

Ahhh, just saying those words gives me goose-bumps.

"Halo 3"


You're all I've ever wanted, and my arms are open wiDeeEeEe....

For those of you who do not know what Halo is, I would like to thank you for taking the time to crawl out from under your rock to read my blog.

Halo 3 is THE defining pop-culture icon of the 21st century! The biggest video game franchise ever! The MAIN REASON why 85% of the American male population decided to put off marriage (and for some cases, even sex) so that they can finish collecting all those elusive little skulls!

Even during one of my recent clubbing outings, my mind kept wandering to gravity hammers, beat-downs and macho, helmet-wearing super soldiers. This, in-spite of all the scantily clad females milling about the dance-floor (ahhh...who needs em' when you've got Master Chief)

Cause you know just what to sayyYyyYy....

If you still don't know what this Halo thing I'm referring to is, let me explain it to you in more simple terms.

Halo is basically this video game right, where you play this genetically enhanced super soldier called Master Chief right, who like never takes of his helmet and is super cool right, and whose task is to run around the game shooting anything that moves.


Somehow it sounds strangely mundane when I put it that way eh.

Ok, how about this, you also get cool little grenades which you can 'stick' on your enemies...ermm ... and you also get to ride a 4-wheeled quad-bike, so that you can y'know, get around the map .... faster.

Still sounds mundane? Oh well, at least I tried.

And you know just what to dooOoO...

I guess mere words can't explain the fun to be had from having a match against friends and players from all over the world. It really IS fun, trust me. The thrill of victory, of solidarity, of unity!

Ahhh...if only we could get the President Bush, Ahmadinejad, Putin and Osama onto the same team for a round of Halo Team Slayer, why...we would have world peace!!

Maybe, maybe...we can even do away with wars entirely! All national disputes will be settled in a no-holds barred round of Halo where each country will send their 4 best players to do battle to the virtual death! How cool is that?

And I want to tell you so muchhh, I love youUuUUu!

So not only does Halo have what it takes to keep millions of people enthralled around the world, it could possibly be THE answer to man-kinds suffering.

Now how cool is THAT :)

Monday, October 22, 2007

Oh Raya, How I Miss Thee

Monday Morning

'All good things must come to an end'

How true that saying is - and that's precisely why I hate the holidays.

Short, single-day holidays are never long enough for you to catch up on all the goofing off you've been planning to do, and long festive holidays only serve to highlight the contrast between the freedom of holidays and the drudgery of work when they inevitably end.

There's no win-win situation I tell ya.