Tuesday, September 30, 2008

J.B Jeyaretnam passes away at age 82....perservering to the end

I know I said I probably won't have time to blog till 2 weeks later. But I feel like this is important enough to put everything I have aside for a couple of minutes....

Today a friend of mine shared with me that J.B Jeyaretnam had passed away last night. He commented that he found it strange that this was NOT front page news. Instead, a piece of news that DID hit front page was regarding senior Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Balaji Sadasivan having surgery last Tuesday to remove a cancerous tumour in the colon.


I confess I don't know that much about Jeyaretnam. But for someone who is really not in-tune with the political scene (and I confess I am), I know more about him than I can say about certain ministers that are currently in office. One thing that was always clear to me was J.B Jeyaretnam was not very often on the "same page" as the party in power and for that, he was heavily,heavily penalized. Despite that fact, he never cowered but continued to fight for what he believed was for the good of the country.

This is a trait not found in many of us today.

C'mon admit it. Today, whether on a professional or personal level, at one time or another most of us will choose to turn our head the other way or keep quiet even though deep down we know that something is not right because we are told that it is the politically correct thing to do.

Why go looking for trouble? Therefore, even if something seems like the right thing to do, smells like the right thing to do, feels like the right thing to do and probably IS the right thing to do, it is not done because the path to get it done is so difficult and more often than not, it is such a thankless job.

Case in point.....At work, I've seen careers of really smart, dedicated, hardworking people being stone-walled because they had a different opinion with the higher ups and voiced those opinions one too many times. It didn't matter that in the end, it turned out that those people were right because by voicing their opinions, they were deemed as challenging authorities and had therefore, unwittingly signed their "death" papers of career stagnation for as long as they stayed in that company (or their boss stay in that company for that matter).

To add to that, I've also seen certain persons who are not as bright, not as dedicated and not as hardworking as others but lasted far longer than they should in a job simply because they were a "Yes" man to their boss.

Sure.....being a Yes-man would probably always be the safest path but in my mind, a "yes" man can never really become a leader or exact change. Never mind the fact that a "Yes" man will probably hold position of power simply because he is always saying the right words at the right times, never mind if it is not true or he doesn't really know what he is talking about.

Just sheep...baaaah.

But I digress...

After reading up on Jeyaretnam online, I found myself questioning a few stuff that I had always taken for granted or simply because I was just too ignorant.


I still love my country but loving it was so much easier by being ignorant....

But at the end of the day, I still won't walk the the path of ignorance....not by choice anyway.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Thoughts on melamine saga and HELLO hokkaido...

I'm sitting in front of the telly. CNN playing at the background. Thinking about what I should blog about....my mind drawing a blank. Well, its not that there is nothing on my mind, in fact, there are so many things that I simply don't know where to start.... The past few weeks have proven to be pretty exciting (and I don't necessarily mean it in a good way). I'm still trying to get used to the idea that yes oh yes...the world is a pretty crazy place AND surprise surprise, this idea of craziness seems to know no boundaries.

Let's talk about the recent contamination of dairy-related foodstuff from China. This contamination has spread from milk powder to other related food stuff and it has impacted Taiwan in such a way that we simply don't know what is safe to eat anymore. The other day, I unwittingly caught myself going through the contents of every grocery that I was putting into my food basket. And before you think that I'm being paranoid, do know that the very next day when I was back in the supermarket, alot of foodstuff was already taken off the shelf for suspected melamine contamination. It sent a little shiver down my spine.

Anyway, I was talking to a couple of friends from China and despite my whining and complaints, deep down inside, I know that they are certainly the most impacted by this disgraceful matter. Out of curiousity, I asked them how the masses was reacting to this affair. Let's just say that I notice 2 major types of reaction.

Firstly, everyone agreed that this was a sordid matter and no one in the right frame of mind was going to consume large amount of dairy contents during this period and until this situation blows over. But that was just where the similarities ended.

I had pretty entertaining conversations with some friends who commented that the culprits should just be literally dragged out by the hair and shot. And on the other hand, there was also a group of "positive thinking people" who were just happy enough that this matter was no longer covered up and that active steps were taken to rectify the situation.

I admit that I was abit surprised about the "positive thinking-ness" in this and could not understand why they would be so contended with the situation. Being a very argumentive person (I admit! I admit!), I found myself challenging their view on this matter, not just for the sake of challenging but really hoping that I would finally be able to understand their views and gradually become a more "postive thinking" person.

To me, I would summarize my opinion as such:.....OK, the authorities are finally "right-ing the wrong", but damnit, its BLOODY HELL TIME THEY DID SOMETHING ABOUT IT!! After 2 months of cover up and 53,000 infants taken ill, am I suppose to be grateful that the authorities have decided to act on it AFTER this matter has blown up in everyone's face.

I admit that the idea of getting kidney stones because of some greedy corporate dude trying to boost up the nutrient level of watered down milk infuriates me. I think that there is no excuse for the people in the business to NOT KNOW the effect melamine has after consumption since we already had a simlar case in the past where people discovered that the reason many pets were dying unexpectedly was due to melamine poisioning which was also used to help "boost"' the nutrient percentage in animal foodstuff. Needless to say, I managed to get a couple of peace-loving people riled up after our conversation. Naughty naught me....:P

Anyway, I thought I would share something quite funny about the impact this has in the office. The office lady noticed a big drop in the number of people drinking coffee recently and she attributed it to the fact that most of us were not drinking because we were not certain that the creamer or milk provided was safe. I ,for one, get extremely grumphy if I don't get my coffee fix in the morning and apparently I'm not alone because the office decided that they had to send the materials to the health authorities to check for contamination.

The results came back certified as negative i.e. FREE of melamine content. Once this information was disseminated, the coffee addicts were back in the queue. People....typical. :P

On a more international front, with the financial troubles of Lehman brother's and AIG, I have had more than my fair share of concerned inquiries on whether I was very impacted since I also work in an insurance company. For the record, NO...I do not work in AIG AND fortunately, the company that I work for is apparently doing well, if not better *winks*, during this troubled times.

Last but not least, let me brag that I probably will not post another blog for at least 2 weeks BECAUSE I'm OFF to Hokkaido for a couple of days to celebrate my birthday and if I may unabashedly say...enjoy a well-deserved break from a helluva challenging time at work. (Just when you thought things can not get worse, the world always seem to prove you wrong).

Certain things just make you want to crawl under the covers and shut out the world. But hell, you already know by now, I'm just not the type to do that..... :P