I must confess that I don’t get Bailey all the time. Like why he puts his paws onto mine when I cuddle him. He seems to really enjoy it when I rub his chest and the back of his ears. He would freeze and put his paws onto me.
Bailey wakes up really early. If it was up to him, he would want everyone in the household to wake up at 5 am every morning together with him. Do things together.
I often wonder why. Today I have an epiphany. And that kind of makes me feel sad.
The average lifespan of a dog is perhaps 12 years. That is not really a long time on Earth. If I were to live only 12 years, I would have made every day counts. Like waking up early every day and making the best out of every single day.
In that way, I kind of got it why Bailey wants to wake up so early every morning.
I have lived in Hong Kong for 17 years, Singapore for 26 years. I can tell you with certainty that Singapore cares less about customer experience. In Hong Kong, I feel that customers are kings and queens. Here in Singapore, I feel that those who are taking my money are doing me a favor. I have to bow and beg as I am spending my hard-earned money, for food and what not.
Tonight I craved for steak. But I didn’t feel like spending a fortune for one. Just a good-enough steak. So I headed to Common Grill® by COLLIN’S® @ 26 Jalan Membina. 8 minutes walk from my home. S$20 for a ribeye steak at a hawker center. Outdoor, literally just next to a drain, with old men drinking beer playing loud Chinese music. The ambiance is – for lack of a better word – shit. Yet I endured. Collin’s is a decent brand here in Singapore with outlets dotted throughout the island. Personally, I feel that they charge way too much at such an ambiance.
I was alone. After placing my order, I bought a bottle of beer. Seated right next to Common Grill® by COLLIN’S®. I have got a digital device upon placing my order. One that would ring when my food is ready for collection. I was literally just 2 steps away from the stall. As seen in the photo below.
Super long queue, so I waited patiently. Halfway through my beer, the digital device rang. To be honest, I was so tired of waiting whereby I didn’t even notice the device was ringing. Next table, one old Chinese man was playing some really loud Chinese music through his phone. I waited so long till I was near death from my hunger, mummified.
Such a strange moment. My food was ready at the counter. The two staff were just looking at me, and the digital device that rang. We starred at each other. They knew that it was my order but did nothing. If I were one of them, I would have served the food – despite the fact that I was supposed to collect my food at the counter – to score some positive client experience, in the hope that the same customer may visit again soon.
I mean, I was just a stone’s throw away.
Even shorter than that.
But alas. Here in Singapore whereby positive customer experience is at the bottom of the list. Really. Think about it. It is us to be blamed.
Because we Singaporean and residences accept this sort of lousy customer experience and yet, throw money at them.
Well, Collin’s. Let me tell you this. Your steak sucks. It is dry. Thin. Chewy. Not medium-rare as I have ordered. Cost way too much when I have to eat right next to a drain.
I wish karma exists, if only. Or perhaps, it does.
I have recently learned that my mother-in-law in Indonesia has developed some sort of breathing problem. Upon diagnosis, it has been concluded that it was due to her being a passive smoker in the office when back then, people were allowed to smoke in the office.
That got me thinking. If those smokers back then were to be aware that their action has a consequence to others in the future, would they still want the do the same thing?
I would never know. Because I still believe that human beings are self-centered. We create problems and expect the future generation to solve them.
Like plastic usage. Fossil fuel. Space junks.
And yes, noise pollution adds stress to people. I used to have neighbors who were inconsiderate, disturbing my sleep so much so that I was sleep deprived for a prolonged period of time.
Prior to the pandemic, I must confess that I was a traditional manager. I wanted to see my team in the workplace within the same area. There were perks in this working style. First, I got to build rapport with the team. More importantly so, I got to see if anyone in my team was struggling. By walking the ground, you could detect when a team member is under stress and need help. So yes, I miss that.
Working from home has changed my perspective. I am really enjoying the flexibility while being able to live my life the way I want. Answer the door for home delivery. Bake sourdough bread. Dine in the neighborhood, which is way cheaper than having a meal at the CBD. Eliminate time waste due to traveling. Look after the dog. And many more.
I enjoy working from home so much that I wish I could stay that way.
In reality though, in my line of work with the financial industry, once we put the pandemic behind, I reckon I would need to be more present in the office, which is a bummer.
I envy those who are able to work from home. Like streamers. They can earn a living by being in front of a webcam at home. Some play games in front of an online audience. Other sings. Some make videos on all sorts of things like cooking or sport/esport. If I could restart my career, I would definitely explore how I could earn a living without working in an office.
The year 2022 could well be quite a significant year. Age-wise, yes. Career-wise, I am taking on a new role. Cognizant of the fact that all things are in cycles, I can only hope that it will be another upswing. But I would never know. During the pandemic, many are switching jobs. I thought of it. I don’t feel a particular urge in doing so. But I’d never know how 2022 would turn out to be.
When news of Covid in China first hit Singapore back in late 2019, in the office at MBFC Tower 2 where all the tech folks were – and my team is from the business – I vividly remember one particular day, I turned around and chatted with my female colleague ND. We both agreed that this was going to turn real bad, for Singapore and for the world. By March 2020, Singapore was in a “circuit breaker” whereby among the list of restrictions, working from home has become a default. ND then asked by when we could come back to the office, going back to normal. I said it would probably be by 2020 Christmas when we could be back together as a group, having a drink like the good old days. She was shocked, in disbelief.
Covid beats my expectation by one extra year, at least.
The year 2022 could see the end of most Covid restrictions when we can somewhat go back to the norm. It is not going to be the old norm for sure. Much like after 911, we are not allowed to bring liquid onto the plane, among many other travel restrictions. The virus may become less lethal and the world gets seasonal vaccination, similar to how we deal with the common cold. Until a decade or decades later, a new Covid virus hits us. Or virus of concern may continue to hassle the world while we adapt to it.
The last couple of years have been interesting on the technology front. Electronic vehicles (EVs) are getting more common. Remote working has accelerated video conferencing technology. We may see the next generation of chips featuring artificial intelligence (AI) in the commercial market soon. I really wish to see China as a major and competitive graphic card manufacturer. PC gaming is getting more expensive thanks to cryptocurrency farmers.
For me, I am very intrigued by non-fungible tokens (NFT) and the associated cryptocurrencies. Until you read deeper into NFT, it is hard to believe why some people are willing to pay up to millions of dollars for an image file, be it as a legitimate piece of art or just a screengrab like the first tweet post autographed by Twitter CEO.
I am not going to delve into the pros and cons of NFT as the technology is still maturing. As a gamer and as an aspired artist, I think of the potentials. Digital assets while accessed by many – think of the last digital art you have seen on the Internet – can be claimed by one owner whereby ownership can be passed onto or sold to another (though it is not enforced by law but rather through the blockchain technology and the community).
As an avid gamer, NFT becomes even more interesting when we could in the ideal situation play-to-earn. This concept is not new. For example, during this holiday, I have been playing Euro Truck Simulator 2 (ETS2). There is an ongoing event until mid-Jan next year for players to complete objectives and “earn” in-game cosmetic items that can be traded in the Steam marketplace for real money (caveat: you can only spend the money on games). On the record, these items don’t sell for a great deal of money. Most just worth a few cents. But some fetch more money than others like the one below.
To best describe NFT and its challenges without going into all the details, going back to the plush toy above, what drives the price is two folds. The rarity of this digital asset and the ongoing trucking community. First, this digital asset is rare because once the event is over, it cannot be earned. That is to say, as of today, there are only a limited number of Plush Excavator available for sales in the Steam marketplace (I personally would like to keep it). Second, the demand comes from the vibrant trucking community. This game has two versions. The European and the American. As of today and looking at the daily peak stats, the former has around 50,000 active players while the latter 10,000. Putting the two drivers together, you can understand why some of these digital assets may be worth more than the base game when on discount (currently, the American version is selling at S$6.50 while this particular in-game plush toy can fetch up to S$12.50). Today, this digital asset is traded through real money. I can totally see how this can be done through NFT.
The challenge of course is that the trucking publisher may choose to re-run the event and put more of the same digital asset into the Steam marketplace or in the unthinkable scenario, players stop trucking or Steam may shut down. Hence, the value of this digital asset may fall or even drop to zero. A similar challenge is faced by NFT when the same digital asset can be re-tokened or the underlying blockchain cryptocurrency may devalue to a point that lesser and lesser people want to farm it.
Are we thinking too far ahead? Does the above matter? I mean, how much of what we buy today really last … forever? How many of, say, the watches in today’s world have good resell value?
As a gamer, I am keen to keep a lookout for NFT and cryptocurrencies. What an interesting year 2022 may turn out to be.
My Personal Front
I still don’t have a new year resolution per se. But I have some personal goals for 2022.
I have been procrastinating for a health checkup and I have finally made an appointment in 2022. Fingers crossed.
I have lots of unread physical books at home. I am keen to dedicate some time next year to read them. Learn new vocabulary. Gain new perspectives. Write book summary for some. Donate some that I may not want to reread in near future.
There are a few things I want to sell off at home. Because they are taking up space and I don’t use them anymore.
I should save some money to upgrade my NAS. Tech obsolescence, you know.
I still would like to publish a book. Perhaps hire a professional editor. This will be my stretched goal for 2022. My potential retirement job (besides being a full-time gamer to earn through NFT!).