A Song

there couldn’t be a sadder day
than the one that i am in today;
the life that i once knew is gone;
and all that i have left is this song.

i couldn’t believe my eyes
when i saw you with another guy;
i thought i was mistaken
but it seems your heart was taken
and i thought, i’d just stand there — and die;

but the rage inside of me
broke out, flew up and soared free;
without knowing anything
i stormed toward him
and his balls met my knee.

the scream he let out —
more a whimper than a shout —
made me feel like laughing.
but as his eyes met mine a-staring,
i suddenly had my doubts.

i’d seen this man before,
standing at your door
asking you to come out for dinner;
he is your dad! and i am a goner!
blasted away into folklore.

there couldn’t be a sadder day
than the one that i am in today;
the life that i once knew is gone;
and all that i have left is this song.

Finding Faults

One of the most important things I’ve ever learned about life is that we should look for faults within ourselves.

I mean really look for faults.

In that way, we will know what we can improve on; what to change.

If we find that we procrastinate too much, we should learn to be more action-oriented.

If we are greedy, we should learn to be generous instead.

When someone finds fault with us, we may feel upset.

But shouldn’t we, instead, thank that fault-finding person for making our job easier?

Faults are opportunities — opportunities for improvement.

Removing .Mac Sync Icon

I just updated my Mac OS X 10.5 (Leopard) to 10.5.2. What I noticed was that two new icons appeared in the menubar, namely one for (.Mac) Syncing and one for Time Machine.

Sync Icon in Mac OS 10.5.2

The removal of the Time Machine icon was straight-forward, the option being plainly obvious under the Time Machine tab in System Preferences.

What wasn’t so obvious, however, was the removal of the .Mac Syncing icon. As I do not use Apple’s .Mac service, I would rather not be reminded of it.

The removal of the icon can be found in the iSync application (which can be found via the Finder under Applications > iSync).

iSync Screen

Uncheck the checkbox that says “Show status in menu bar”, and the icon will be removed.

Update: For a quicker way of removing the icon(s), you can hold the Command key and drag the items off the menubar.

Posted in Mac

Long Faces

Though he looked Chinese and spoke somewhat like a Singaporean, he wasn’t from around here. He had been, in fact, living in Australia most his life.

“You know,” he told me, “I realised that the people here on the MRT all look so glum. I mean, that’s their problem? What I don’t understand, is why the people here all have such long faces. They should learn to lighten up.”

I felt quite insulted. Though he wasn’t talking about me per se, he was giving me the impression that he felt Singaporeans (and by inference, me) lesser people because they didn’t smile on trains.

But who smiles on trains?

I shrugged my shoulders and changed the subject. Though I intuitively disagreed with him, I wasn’t quite sure why. I wanted to say that not everybody in Singapore was like that, but I did agree that most Singaporeans did look rather uptight on trains. But why?

I knew that there was a reason why, but I just didn’t know what that reason was. Until now. At least, it’s a theory, and it’s a theory that I think makes plenty of sense.

I found this theory after reading an article entitled Why So Angry, by Kevin Hoffman (Men’s Health, May 2007).

Below is an excerpt of the parts that made me realise that I may have found an answer to the long faces of Singaporeans on trains.

(The author is talking about IED or intermittent explosive disorder, a sudden inexplicable rage that occurs in certain people, particularly men.)

Kessler is now studying IED rates around the world to find out whether significant differences exist that would suggest environmental causes. “Anger may be one of those crosses that comes with success in the material world,” he says.

Statistics seem to support his theory. U.S. population density has almost quadrupled over the last 100 years. Today we squeeze 80 people into each square mile, on average. (In New York City, 23,700 people now live in each square mile.) The closer people live, the more likely they are to rub one another the wrong way, according to researches at Cornell. They demonstrated that higher population density increases levels of the stress hormone cortisol in our blood — it’s cortisol that readies us mentally to fight or flee.

Singapore’s population density stands as one of the highest in the world. At over 6,000 people per square kilometre on average, with plenty more concentrated in the city centre and on public transport, is it any wonder that we are a sulky bunch?

The Beautiful Moon

With reference to the lunar calendar, she mentioned to me that on the 15th, the moon would shine beautifully.

I thought about it for a while, and smiled. Then I laughed and looked away.

She looked at me, curious, and asked, “what?” knowing that I had just thought a thought that she probably would like to know.

I already knew that I was going to tell her, but what fun was there in telling it to her straight away? So I played coy, and said, “nothing!” while grinning all this time.

After some cajoling (and threats), she finally managed to persuade me to dispense with the secrecy.

“You know,” I said, “when you said how beautiful the moon was going to be on the 15th, the first thought that came to my mind was to ask, ‘as beautiful as you?'”

I paused rhetorically for a second or two, scanning quickly over her from top to bottom, and then continued, “but then I took a second look at you, and realised that… maybe I better not.”

She was, to put it mildly, a tad upset.

I Love You

Saying “I love you” to someone still alive, other than a romantic partner, is difficult. Though I would gladly admit that I love my parents (and family), and would say so to anyone else who would bother asking, I would not say it directly to them.

However, if I do imagine any one of them on their deathbed, perhaps as an invalid, or if they were institutionalised due to a severe case of senility, I would be more willing to tell them that I loved them more directly.

The difficulty in proclaiming love, when knowing that one still has a long way to go with another, is in integrity.

By saying “I love you” to another, it gives the other a power over you.

Here is a little scenario for you: Imagine that due to other commitments you were not able to attend a family function.

“What do you mean you can’t come? You promised!” they would say. And even before you can get another word out, they continue, “don’t you love us? You told us so. And yet, here you are rejecting our request for a short get-together! What a cheat!”

Of course, it probably won’t be as dramatic as this. Most times, the other person would just be thinking it inside his or her own heart, “he says he loves me, but look what he has done. I wonder what other lies he tells us.”

But when a person you love is on his or her deathbed, and you know that the future you have with him or her is short, saying “I love you” gives little chance for it to be a lie. There is simply not enough time or opportunity for those words to become untruths.

The End of a Journey at Hypovereins Bank

Tomorrow (or technically today) marks the end of two and a half-months of my working at HypoVereins Bank (HVB). Much as I have been looking forward to this day, as it shall give me some mental and perhaps physical respite, I shall leave with a very heavy heart.

I have enjoyed thoroughly almost every day that I have worked there, learning much not only from a technical perspective, improving my skills in MS Excel considerably while dabbling with plenty of other, more obscure software, but also from a human perspective, learning much from the way people behave and handle themselves, as well as having insights into the viewpoints of people very different from myself.

I would never have expected myself to actually like this job, initially even rejecting it because I thought it was going to be boring and not much of a learning experience, but also because I thought I would never fit in with a mainly mandarin-speaking bunch of colleagues. I have been wrong in many things before, but this takes the chocolate cake with a cherry on top.

Tomorrow shall be a bittersweet day, with the relief of finally getting some chillout time mixed with the sadness of leaving a job filled with some wonderful and interesting people.