by Chief Alchemist a.k.a Wiley Chin - February 28, 2005 Posted: 5:33:34 PM EDT
Do you want to make a difference to others and yourself, change the world, or do you just want a job to provide for your daily needs until you die?
What is meaning of education without an ideal to sacrifice for? What is the use of knowledge if not guided by values beyond self-gratification? What is the meaning of success if it's all about taking and not about giving? What is the use of getting all the money when you are finally left without one shred of your soul to appreciate the meaning of your existence in this world?
And you, why don't you take work as a mean for self-discovery and self-fulfillment? Why do you look at work as a demon you will wrestle with in the day time and a ghost that must keep you awake at night? How long can you run away from your own shadow?
I was down with something you may call 'Jobstreet-ivitis', a mild case of clinical depression caused by exposure to nausea-inducing resumes of young job-seekers in Malaysia. My doctor prescribed me rest and taking everything with a pinch of salt.
Nothing taste good for a while now...it's bitterly salty.
'Work is about a daily search for meaning as well as daily bread; for recognition as well as cash; for astonishment rather than torpor; in short for a sort of life, rather than a Monday-to-Friday sort of dying.'
Studs Terkel (American author and radio broadcast personality)
Good Luck, Mr. Gorsky!
by Chief Alchemist a.k.a Wiley Chin - February 25, 2005 Posted: 11:43:07 AM EDT
My ex-colleague from SFO emailed this to me. Enjoy!
On July 20, 1969, as the commander of the APOLLO 11 LUNAR MODULE, Neil Armstrong was the first person to set foot on the moon.
His first words after stepping on the moon, 'That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind,' were televised on earth and heard by millions.
But just before he re-entered the lander, he made the enigmatic remark, 'Good Luck, MR. Gorsky. Many people at NASA thought it was a casual remark concerning some rival Soviet cosmonaut. However, upon checking, there was no Gorsky in either the Russian or American space programs.
Over the years, many people questioned Armstrong as to what the 'Good Luck, Mr. Gorsky...' statement meant, but Armstrong always smiled.
On July 5, 1995, in Tampa Bay, Florida, while answering questions following a speech, a reporter brought up the 26 year old question to Armstrong.
This time he finally responded.
Mr. Gorsky had died, so Neil Armstrong felt he could answer the question now.
In 1938, when he was a kid in a small Midwest Town, he played baseball with a friend in the backyard. His friend hit the ball, which landed in his neighbor's yard by the bedroom windows.
His neighbors were Mr. & Mrs Gorsky. As he leaned over to pick up the ball, young Armstrong heard Mrs. Gorsky shouting at Mr. Gorsky.
'SEX! YOU WANT SEX?! You will get sex when the kid next door walks on the moon!'
In truth, I am angry with God...
by Chief Alchemist a.k.a Wiley Chin - February 24, 2005 Posted: 8:36:20 PM EDT
Quoted from the New Straits Times 24/02/05.
The mother of IT analyst Canny Ong Lay Kian said justice had finally been served and that she was glad the murderer would not be able to harm anyone else.
'But it can't bring Canny back to me,' Pearley said. 'Frankly, I don't want anyone to die, but I think he has done this before so perhaps it's better for other people's safety.'
She said, however, the verdict had done little to ease her bitterness and anger.
'In truth I'm angry with God. I feel He has not been fair to me. I don't know what I have done,' she said, citing the loss of two children decades ago...
When gently prodded about her feelings on the outcome, she said: 'I sympathise with her (Ahmad Najib's mother). This is funny and strange. It is part of the plot of fate, like a trap for her (Canny) to come back,' she said, relating how Canny had ended up at Bangsar Shopping Centre on that tragic night.
Pearley said she could not believe the chain of events that had begun with Canny's return from the US to see her father. They had changed the dinner venue three times before deciding on the BSC that night, she recalled.
'It was so strange, almost like leading to her death. At the parking lot she stopped and said she forgot the parking ticket, but then decided it was better to leave it to the end as she did not want the rest of us to wait.
'And my feet hurt, so she went to get the ticket. Then it was so fast, she disappeared.'
Pearley, my heart goes out for you and your family. Life doesn't always make sense. Sometimes all we have is our pain. God doesn't explain. You said it, we must move on. My thoughts are with you, prayers too.
AWAS : Mencetuskan keselesaan ekstrim
by Chief Alchemist a.k.a Wiley Chin - February 23, 2005 Posted: 3:02:25 PM EDT
Check out this billboard along the Federal Highway, opposite of Megamall. I am tickled by its smirking, 'tongue-in-cheek' tone.
In English, it says, 'BEWARE: Triggers extreme feeling of comfort'.
Some bright sparks did a great job here. This ad contrasts sharply with many others that make bold claims and take themselves too seriously.
Hrm...makes me want to try that checked shirt.
Ahem...whose lovely hands might those be...?
One up for Snails Originals!
I was Bangalored...
by Chief Alchemist a.k.a Wiley Chin - February 22, 2005 Posted: 7:12:16 PM EDT
I just came back from a voice conferencing with Infosys. If you don't already know, Infosys is a huge software company in India.
XiMnet has been invited to be a part of a consortium headed by an International IT consulting firm to bid for an e-Banking Portal project with a local bank. The IT Consulting firm is the Project Manager. Infosys supplies the e-Banking application know-how. XiMnet provides consulting and development work on Interactive Marketing, Online Branding and User Interface design.
OK, back to the voice conferencing thing...
On the word go, the three of us, 2 from the IT Consulting Team (Project Leader and System Architect) and myself, hunkered down and stared intensely at the Avaya Voice Conferencing set, our minds transformed into phonetics juicers, our ears perked-up and twitching (I felt it...) like bats and our consciousness went off-road, to a level I would call 'trancendental concentration'. Yes, higher realms of concentration...
Over the other end of the line were four Indian engineerers.
The 'part monologue', 'part-mime', 'part mind-over-matter', 'part telepathy exercise' was over in 30 minutes. But it was as intense as the 'human soul seeking rebirth'. OK I exaggerate...but 30 minutes of 'conversation' after, the three of us were weary of Life and its lack of coherence.
Let me be honest, I grew up with lots of Indian friends. I can put up an Indian accent and fool anyone over the phone to mistake me for a Malaysian-Indian fellow. I ate roti, chappati, thosai, idli, vader, chutney, lassi, thairoo, everything that you can bring out of an Indian kitchen. I can even say 'Yes...amaa...' by shaking my head from left to right.
But this time round, I was defeated by a flavor of India I never knew.
Try as I did, I was having a hard time trying to understand my Indian partners and what they were saying over the other end of the line. (I am certain at least one of them is blogging about his nerve-fraying experience with people who speak English with crude, staccato abruptness).
They spoke differently from my Indian friends here. My friends rolled their 'Rs' and swallow their 'Hs' too, but my partners in India, their intonation and sentence construction were totally mind-shattering. Mid-way through the conference, I found myself wondering if they were really speaking English, or was that Hindi or something else.
So I know now.
My Malaysian friends were Tamils, Punjabis, Malayalams, Telugus, Singhalese, etc. My 'new encounters' are from Bangalore and they speak only Hindis. And Hinglish. I guess they are as different as a Beijing comrade from a Shanghainese sleeker. Well true, I find it hard to understand the lilting, sing-song speech of Deng Xiao Peng too even though I speak Mandarin.
Here's a theory. The possible thing is, our Malaysian Indians ate lots of nasi lemak and Hainanese Chicken rice and that probably would have damaged their tongues in some ways, to our advantage. :-)
I have more conference calls and I need a crash course on Hinglish phonetics. Ermm...maybe eating more dosai with chutney at Bombay Palace might help tune senses and sharpen my ears for the missing 'S' and 'H' and what not.
I will try that.
You have a good suggestion?
How do you make sense of Life?
by Chief Alchemist a.k.a Wiley Chin - February 19, 2005 Posted: 10:57:03 AM EDT
How do you make sense of these, all in a week?
- A 5 year old girl drowned after falling off a broken bridge in Kelantan. Parents lamented that the authorities do not care enough to fix broken bridge despite repeated near misses. Girl's father saved another 5 year old before this. He wasn't there to save his own 5 year old this time. Distraught Mom asked why it had to be her child.
- Student from China, couldn't say 'Mantin' from 'Banting'. Lost her way, assaulted, raped, murdered. Red Proton Iswara.
- 78 year old Chinese man knocked down a couple at a traffic light at Melaka, killed Malay woman pregnant with twins. Husband pleaded for help but nobody stopped.
- Gorgeous 26 year old May Goh Lee Fang was assaulted and stabbed to death at her classy boutique at The Curve, Damansara Mutiara. She loved cars, drove a Merc, BMW and a Harrier. Collected many speeding tickets. Dead with a mystery unsolved for now. Her dad said ' A girl shouldn't be so beautiful'.
- A 19 year old mother passed out while bathing her little baby at Puchong. She regained consciousness and found her baby drowned in the basin.
- School Bus-driver parked at emergency lane to take a 'leak' at Melaka. An old couple on a motorbike slammed into his bus and the bike burst into flames, killing the old man rider and seriously injuring the pillion-rider. Bus driver was also knocked down by another motorbike while trying to pull the couple away from the flames. Broke both legs.
Back from Chinese NY
by Chief Alchemist a.k.a Wiley Chin - February 15, 2005 Posted: 1:24:13 PM EDT
After a week of family fun and daily feastings, I am back.
Have you ever wondered how seriously people take Feng Shui and numerology into consideration when they are getting back to work after CNY?
I was told, last Saturday was a good day to 'kai gung' and Monday wasn't a good day to start work, etc.
I don't know.
Are Feng Shui masters getting away with mindless prescriptions because we are all getting all too mad about getting rich?
Yester-years CNY Revisited : A brown paper bag of Good Wishes
by Chief Alchemist a.k.a Wiley Chin - February 2, 2005 Posted: 2:52:01 PM EDT
Every CNY year, we give gifts to our relatives, friends, partners and clients.
It's a great ritual.
But you must have noticed gifts-giving have become a little impersonal. Perhaps quite meaningless sometimes. It's become 'giving out CNY gifts for the sake of giving them'.
You get boxes and boxes of mandarin oranges, hampers 'celophaned in' with stuffs only your kids will eat (but you won't let them) such as junk foods, 'sparkling juice', cheap wines and more junk foods...
So I've wanted to rediscover to the real reasons for gift-giving during Chinese New Year.
I started by asking, 'Why did people give out gifts during CNY?', 'What did our moms give out in the 70s'. 'What did she receive?' and 'Why?'
I remember my mom used to have brown paper bags that she would put angpow, food items, clothes and sometimes 'live chickens' inside as gifts. She would give out according to the needs of the people she cared about, brothers, sisters, nephews, nieces, etc. And 2 or 3 days before CNY, she would visit them on foot and pass them the paper-bags of goodies. It was meant to help loved ones celebrate the beginning of a New Year and to ease the burden of the poorer ones who can't afford it.
And every year, without fail, my grandma will bring 2 brown bags. One with a live, blinking chicken inside and the other with lots of foodstuffs and sweets.
In the heart of all of this, is the act of giving and sharing and wishing our loved ones, relatives and friends a good year ahead with 'symbolic, luck-bringing goodies'.
SO for this year, we at XiMnet hand-made (all of us, designers, programmers, everyone) our gift-bag and handpicked the symbolic items and goodies (mandarin oranges & sweets) at PJ Old Town for that reason. Deborah started with the bag-design idea and we explored the items needed to be placed inside.
We hope you get into that 'mood' with our gift-bag and have a wonderful celebration this Rooster Year!
Gong Xi Fa Cai!
And here's a message from the government, 'Pandu Cermat Jiwa Selamat'
From Wiley Chin and the XiMnet Team.
If you unwrap the little scroll bound with a sliver of red paper with gold droplets, you will read the message reproduced below:
Dear John Tan,
Gong Xi Fa Cai!
May the Year of the Rooster bring you and your loved ones Health, Wealth and lots of Laughter. I hope the celebration this year will be extra meaningful for you and your family.
Chinese New Year has always been special to me. I remember what it was like…it used to take a lot of preparations.
Mom rearing chickens for the 15 days of celebration, Ah-Por, wearing her shimmering sam-foo steaming “nien-gao” (kuih bakul) with rubber-wood, the cleaning & painting of the house, sunning and frying keropok in the afternoon, buying new clothes and extra large shoes that can last for 3 years…Yes, it used to be so…rich and beautiful.
I wish you will truly enjoy this one.
This hand-made bag (designed by Deborah Sze) and its hand-picked goodies from PJ Old Town are our good wishes for you. We hope it will bring back those beautiful memories for you, like it does for us.
Thank you for being our partner and friend through the years.
Xin Nien Jing Pu, Wan Shi Ru Yi.
Wiley Chin & the XiMnet Team
Read about my experience of CNY here : http://www.ximnet.com.my/thelab/post/view_post.asp?id=42