I took leave on a Friday and the following Monday was a public holiday. Naturally, with a four days long break, people would think that I have taken the opportunity to visit overseas. When I replied that I planned to visit Sentosa Island on Friday on my own, they thought I was joking.
Most of the time my wife and I take leave together. We would likely end up chilling in our new home. Since my wife had to work on Friday and the weather was nice – not too sunny and no rain – I have decided to take public transport and visit Sentosa Island.
Two train stations from my home and I have reached Harbourfront. Directly above the train exit and on the third floor of Vivocity is the monorail station to the island.
The difference between driving to the island and taking public transport is that when we drive, we tend to visit the area not too far away from where we park (and there ain’t that many parking facilities in the island). Since I was taking a monorail train, I had the opportunity to explore the island.
There is an exhibition at the Siloso Breach. A history of Singapore back in the WWII era. The exhibition is well above my expectation. A strong recommendation for those who visit Singapore. The indoor exhibition ‘Surrender Chamber’ is amazing.
Leaving Siloso area was a nice walk by the beach followed by a short hike to the Sentosa Imbiah trail.
I could have taken a monorail train from Imbiah Station back to Vivocity. Instead, I walked towards the Resort World and took the monorail from Waterfront Station. That concludes my visit.
Most of us spend a vast amount of our life working. How many of us are happy at work? Are you doing it day in and day out on a job that you don’t necessarily enjoy but you need to because someone needs to pay the bill?
I have worked for decades. There are moments when I enjoy what I am doing. Majority of the time, I don’t. Looking back in all the years of working, I wish I could put more emphasis on looking for a role that makes me happy at work. Rather than focusing on job security.
Take me as an example. My last role was horrible. My career back then was stagnant. I was not learning and hence, not growing. The team was not supportive. I just did not enjoy my work at all. I left in the end. Never look back.
My current role is very challenging and demanding. Long working hours. Lots of stakeholders. But I enjoy the work. I don’t have anyone that I dislike interacting with on a daily basis (unlike my last role). The only time I feel unhappy at work is when I let myself down, when I knew I could do much better but I did not, and when I felt humiliated by my own mistakes.
But that is a good problem to have. It is not about falling. But how fast one is able to get back up.
The key to happiness at work, I believe, has got to do with the people around you. Are they cooperative? Are they supportive? Are they good people to be with?
And when you are surrounded with good people, naturally, you are happy. Bottom line is, when you are surrounded with not so good people, do yourself a favor, find another job or role and do something else. Life is short. There is no point in dwelling onto the negative vibe.
I have been a fan of Taylor Swift since her very first country album – a self-titled album released in 2006. Back in those days, there were listening stations in HMV whereby discovering music was one of my favorite pastimes. That was 13 years ago when she was 16 and I was … let’s not go there.
I have always enjoyed watching Taylor Swift live. Every word seems to be carefully crafted and rehearsed. Every dance and every move down to the very facial expression seems to be meticulously choreographed. My wife was used to find her kind of fake. I see Taylor Swift as someone who puts in lots of hard work to be the perfect performer.
She has a few concert or film recordings.
CMT Crossroads: Taylor Swift and Def Leppard (2009)
Journey to Fearless (2011)
Speak Now World Tour – Live (2011)
The 1989 World Tour Live (2015)
Reputation Stadium Tour (2018)
CMT stands for Country Music Television. I have #1 on DVD. I used to like Def Leppard and I like Taylor Swift. Putting the two together – the old (or legend) and the young, the rock and back-then country – seems like a weird choice. But it works. I love the live performance. I love the interview pieces even more. Taylor Swift received her education from the road as she toured. And it was fun to watch Def Leppard giving her the advice to life.
I do not have #2 but I do have #3 on Blu-ray. She was 22 when the concert was recorded. It was an amazing performance. I struggled to recall what I have accomplished when I was 22. I was one year away from graduating for my Master degree. When I was 22, I debated the existence of alien with my friend over late night study. We had toast with butter and sugar. We would go to bed in the early morning. Our favorite place in college would be the pub. 50 pence for a pint of beer. When Taylor Swift was 22, she had held a concert!
Fast forward to the Reputation Tour, many have changed. She is no longer a young girl but a grown woman. She is no longer the country artist that was introduced to me back in HMV. She embraces different genres of music. At the age of 29, she looks healthy on stage full of energy (you know how some artists these days look really slim and unhealthy). Still the same artist that gave an amazing performance from start to finish. So I have finally watched her Reputation Tour on Netflix. And I am loving it!
Ever since we have moved to near town, our driving pattern has changed. We don’t drive during the weekdays and we struggle to find reasons to drive during the weekends. It is that convenient to stay in our new apartment.
Yesterday my wife and I hiked at Mount Faber here in Singapore (and it is more like a hill). I overheard one tourist from China commenting something like, “For such a small country, why is there no traffic jam?”
The answer is pretty straightforward. Because cars in Singapore are outrageously expensive. When I bought a new car three years ago, it cost around US$100,000 (with a 10-year car license). It is a regular Japanese salon car with 5 doors and a 2-liter engine. Because we no longer have the need to drive to work, converting my car from a normal car into an off-peak car makes sense. The savings in road tax and from rebate received per year are S$503 and S$2,200 respectively. Should I need to drive during peak hours (7am to 7pm on a non-public holiday), I just need to pay S$20 per day for a day license.
To convert the car into an off-peak car turns out to be a rather tedious process. In order for the authority to tell between a normal car and an off-peak car, off-peak car displays the front and rear number plates in red versus the black color plates. In order to deter people from switching the name plates and to trick the systems – yes, we humans always succumb to temptation since the days of Adam and Eve, figuratively speaking – the authority has derived a system whereby it is almost impossible to switch the plates at will. To do so, a new industry is born. You will see why.
First stop obviously is to visit the Land Transport Authority (LTA). There is only one office in the entire country that processes this sort of request. Administrative cost is S$100. Waiting time was half an hour. I have to submit a form at the counter. The staff at the counter has to call upon an officer inside the office to verify and sign-off the transaction. Very much like most of the offline government services I have seen.
Then, I needed to change my car number plates from black to red. The workshop fortunately was just opposite LTA office and it did not take long to hunt for one.
The cost to create and fit a set of car number plates is $130 (inclusive of a front bracket that my car did not have). Could I do it on the spot? No I could not. I needed to buy two pins from the Inspection Center behind the workshop.
What are the pins for, you may ask? Well, the front pin has to be welded onto the front part of the car. The rear pin pierces through the car door at the back. Once the front pin is secured and the rear pin hole is prepared, the staff at the Inspection Center would secure the pinheads onto the car number plates. Each pinhead comes with an engraved serial number for tracking purposes! The cost to create and fit a set of car number plates is $130 (inclusive of a front bracket that my car did not have). I drove from the workshop to the Inspector Center and bought two pins for S$22.
I returned to the workshop and was told that the process may take up to one hour.
So we had a cold drink at a coffee shop nearby. Today was a very warm day.
The workshop called and yay! We picked up the car and drove to the Inspection Center for “sealing”.
The staff at the Inspection Center took a look at the front pin and has commented that it should have been welded deeper into the car. If he was to put the pinhead now, the car would look ugly as the pinhead would protrude unnecessarily.
I took the car back to the workshop and expressed my ‘personal’ opinion (the staff has asked me not to mention that the comment came from the Inspection Center). The mechanic reworked the welding. It took half an hour.
Finally, I drove the car with the brand new red number plates into the Inspection Center so that the staff can seal the pins with the serialized pinheads (around 1+ cm in diameter and in depth).
Are we done? No! The staff at Inspection Center has to make further inspection and to create more paperwork to ensure that the number plates are secured according to the standard set out by the authority. (As a side story, I saw an Audi R8 sports car thoroughly inspected by the staffs at the Inspection Center and the driver was a young girl whom at first glance I thought she was a boy).
After received the certificate that my number plates are done up to the standard, I took the car back to the workshop so that the mechanic can install the bits and pieces of plastic taken out from the door at the back (remember, a hole was drilled so as to fit the rear pin?). By the time we were home, I was exhausted from the heat and from how tedious the conversion process is. It is indeed an industry on its own.
Since I am not taking an oversea holiday during my 2-week long holiday, I thought it is a good idea to start a journal. Otherwise, two weeks would go by and I would have done … nothing.
Since last Monday, I have not been feeling well. Doctors said it was viral fever. That is to say, no antibiotic required.
I am not a fan of antibiotic. But I have to admit the last time I was sick – not too long ago – and I was given antibiotic. I had recovered within days.
The perk of being sick – if I could even say it is a perk – is that I get to sleep a lot. My work is demanding (whose isn’t in fact here in Singapore?). The hours are long. There isn’t much time to unwind. And even in the middle of the night, I would wake up stressing over something at work. Since I am not feeling well and I am on a 2-week long break, I get to sleep a lot. So much so that my head it aches.
And that feels so good.
Long story short, I woke up in the morning feeling terrible. I went to bed at night feeling fine. So it was a day of recovery, a reminiscence of that feeling of feeling hopeless when you are in a tough situation and when you get out of it, you don’t even recall the hard time.
Last entry I have talked about Hellgate: London getting a release in Steam. It is a 11-year old game – one that I was used to play in between jobs. I did not get to finish the original game. Since its recent release, I have spent close to 90 hours playing it. For a game that I have paid less than S$10, it is money well spent.
This version of the game does have it issues. But by and large, it runs. And it is perhaps the best and the most complete version that this franchise has, which includes: