Sunday 27 February 2011

My reservist days - from men to boys

During my reservist days in my 30s, I noticed one strange phenomenon.

Whenever we put on our green army uniform, somehow magically, we are transformed back to 18 years old!?

It does not matter whether we are balding, have difficulty buttoning the last button of our pants, or whether we are already married and father of kids….

This is especially for rank-and-file soldiers like us. Officials have to pretend to be more “grown-up”.     

This is very evident when we are sitting at the back of 3-tonners.  All of sudden, like never see girls before, we would wolf whistle any “mei mei” that pass us by. 

Some of the more sporting girls will smile and wave back.  Some were pretty shocked!!!  Imagine a bunch of “uncles”…..  Ha ha!

I love to tease some of the more “havoc” uncle soldiers.  “Eh!  You already father of two! Wait your wife or children see you like that how?”

Ah!  I miss my reservist days…….  It’s the only time in Singapore where we can sleep under the stars during field camps (great for astronomy fans).  Hate the mosquitoes and ants though.  Also pray hard that in the dark of the night, your buddies don’t do their “business” next to your basha!  Other than that, I am fine.

Memories are always much sweeter looking back.

Wednesday 23 February 2011

A tale of 2 cities - Athens and Singapore

Today it's a 24 hours general strike in Athens - that means no buses or metro trains.  Walked 1 hour to work today.  It's now a great time to walk, with temperatures of 11 degrees.  But when it comes to summer......  Maybe on bright side, all the walking may help me in my forever resolution to reduce my waistline?

On Monday when I touched down in Athens, got a rude shock to find the bus and train tickets have gone up by 40%!!!???  In the past, a 1 way trip (regardless of distance) on the bus or metro will cost 1 euro; now it has gone up to 1.40 euros.

Can you imagine it happening in Singapore!?  It's a big contrast with the Singapore's budget announced last Friday.

And I was thinking when I was in Singapore that the 1.80 SGD metro ride from my home to Changi airport was a bit expensive (but much cheaper than taxi which cost 20 SGD) .......  I tried both for my recent side trip to Guangzhou.

In Athens, the "GST" or sales tax is 23% for normal items, and 13% for the staples.  I really hope Singapore's GST never goes more than 10%.  Imagine buying a car with GST 23%?

All things are relative.  And I am glad to have this perspective.

In Greece before the current crisis, certain civil servants can "retire" at 45 or 50 with state pensions - depending on the conditions of the employment contract when they joined.  But of course the rules for retirement has changed now.  No German tax payer will allow Germany to bail out Greece so that  Greek civil servants can retire early when in Germany, the retirement age is 65 years old! 

I remember a time when some Singaporeans were complaining we have too much reserves. Government should give "free" this or that.  I think financial prudence is only "evident" when skin meets the road.  We are not like Australia with lots of natural resources.

I am thankful I am born in Singapore by pure dumb luck!!!  I am a proud Singaporean who does not have an "entitlement" attitude.  And I think that's why I am mostly contented, and grateful for my blessings. 

Majulah Singapura!

Tuesday 22 February 2011

My first journey companion!

I've come back to Athens from my one month Chinese New Year vacation in Singapore and Guangzhou yesterday.  What a wonderful surprise to see I have my first journey companion!  A wonderful nick - Golden Egg!

Kim, thanks for joining me in my blogging journey.  Your 2 blogs are very interesting:

I am impressed you can say so much with just a picture or video!!!  Especially in your future money blog.

You have a very large and international group of Google Friends.  I am guessing you are not residing in Singapore.  It's nice to get to know a new blogger friend outside of Singapore :)


Update: 1st March 2011

Opps!  I guessed wrong..... Kim is residing in Singapore, I think!

Friday 18 February 2011

Japanese singer/song writer Miyuki Nakajima

This japanese slow rock number blows me away when I first heard it.  I don't understand japanese; but each time when I feel despondent, exasperated, or hurt, she seems to be telling me not to give up...... STAND UP and MOVE ON!

Another song - this time a ballad.  This one from her earlier days.  It somehow gives me a gentle assurance that time will solve everything.  Notice a woman's beauty never wanes if she continues to shine forth her beauty from the inside?

DJ from a child of the 70s, and teenager of the 80s

Saturday 5 February 2011

Another role? - Be there as a father or mother?

What coincidence!  This was what I was thinking when I posted Jiang Hui's youtube below.  About the changing roles we took as we progress through our life cycle.

In today's Straits Times (05 Feb 2011) on page A2, there's an interesting article from this journalist who shared his views on having babies.

He "quit" a job he liked to be a free-lance writer to take care of his first born.  His role as father takes precedence over his role as a tech journalist.

And his wife took a "slower" career path by taking 4 years off to take care of their 2nd child.  Being a teacher is a noble profession; but at the expense of our own kids?  Respect!  

Imagine this teacher telling other parents they should spend more time to with their children to create the "right" home environment to support learning; and this teacher instead focus on her own fast track route to be principal; and "outsource" the child care of her own children to maids, creches, and day care centres?

On a similar vein, I've decided to "drop out" next year.  My new role will be to be a "child" again.  It's 100% self-centred, selfish, self-indulgent, irresponsible, and narcissist.  Nothing noble like the couple above.  I've no goals or ambition to search for meaning in life.  Just hungry eat; tired sleep :) 

My reasoning is simple.  If I am happy, then people around me that I cared and love will be happy too.  No? 

Are you happy?  What's stopping you?  (You may want to read my previous post on "when a man gets tied up to the ground":

Wednesday 2 February 2011

Life's a stage - would you exchange yours for another role?

I would like to share this Hokkien song on this CNY eve to all.  (Doing my bit to keep dialects alive in Singapore) 

It's also a time where I am thankful for all the trials and tribulations I've experienced in my life.  It sure makes living more interesting!

Ai yah!  Just found out she is coming to Singapore in March 2011 as her first overseas stop..... Can't attend :(

Same song but with Chinese subtitles.
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