More Thanh Words

"My name is Thanh and I'm a Blogger". Now that I have admitted to that, I can say that I'm a stereotypical "geeky" Engineer who enjoys sci-fi books and movies and into all things technological. I also love music and have a passion for FOOD. I'm a social person and like to talk to people. I hate people who are fake or overly aggressive. If you're also into some serious discussion, with a pinch of sarcasm and a dash of real emotion, then please read on.

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Movie Review: Hostel

I went and watched Hostel at Chadstone tonight. Firstly contrary to the blatant misadvertising, this film is not directed by Quentin Tarantino. He only "presents" the film, whatever that means. The film is like the American version of Wolf Creek. Basically its about two American backpackers, Josh and Paxton, travelling through Europe on holiday. They meet a guy named Oli and all three travel together. The boys are basically in search of girls and hear about this great hostel in Slovakia where there are lots of girls who will do anything.

So the film takes quite a bit of time to set up to this stage. There's quite a bit of pointless story at the start and it doesn't really help to make you like the characters that much. The characters are pretty one dimensional and so is the plot. You know whats going to happen a mile away, there are not twists or anything clever at all. One of the villains is obvious and you know something is up with the two main girls.

The movie boiled down to one thing, totally gruesome toture and violence. The whole movie is scene after scene of the most horrific human toture you're likely to see. I had watched Wolf Creek and thought that was violent but this is ten times worse. However you just feel squeamish and disgusted without feeling any suspense. Therefore I don't think this really qualifies as a true horror flick. Wolf Creek did it much better as the characters were more likeable and the villain (John Jarrett, a host from play school) totally freaks you out and makes you hate him so much. It also strung out the suspense so that what would happen next was always unknow. Little clues here and there were left for the viewer to piece it all together. In Hostel, everything is in your face and you just sit and wait for the next bit of violence. The villain in this case is probably humanity itself, how can some people find such pleasure from causing physical pain to others.

Overall I would rate this movie only * 1/2 stars and say that its not my type of movie. Although Wolf Creek was also gruesome, I think that was a much better story and liked it much more. If you love gore and violence, then this film will be perfect for you. Otherwise I recommend those with weak stomachs to stay away. I was feeling a little weak in the knees when I was leaving the cinema.

Overall rating: * 1/2 out of 5

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Blogs To Riches

Ok so I've become slightly obsessed with blogs lately since I just started one (shout out to Kin who was right, for now anyway, that this blog will be the death of me). Anyway, I was reading an article called Blogs To Riches about how some people were making a lot of money from blogging. However, the main point of the very long article was that A-list bloggers were creating an incest type of relationship where they were linking to each other exclusively so that small bloggers couldn't attract much traffic.

In scientific terms, this pattern is called “homeostasis”, that is, a tendency of networked systems to become self-reinforcing. In other words, the rich get richer, just like out in the real world. People who started blogging early are obviously dominant in the field and attract the most viewers. The articles says its still possible to make a popular post, but it depends on public relations. It then recounts stories of how small bloggers got huge amounts of traffic when an A-list blog linked to it. This situation is basically like your high school social group situations in my opinion. Less popular kids suck up to popular kids in the hope to get accepted by them and hence all the other kids.

There is still hope for small bloggers because content will always be king. Blogs that are going to stand out are the ones who break news and have credibility. However, just posting witty entries and hoping for traffic won’t do it, you have to actively seek out attention.

The path that blogging takes into the future will be interesting to monitor. Will the current democratic art of blogging remain that way or will the future mean professionalisation of blogging into meadia so that once again the lone person loses that voice to a larger audience.

To finish off, I think the quote by Peter Rojas, whose blogging company was sold for $25 million sums up blogging best. “Anyone can start a blog, and anyone can make it grow. ...But to keep it there? It’s f**king hard work, man. I’ve never worked so hard in my life."

Playing Tennis

I love to play tennis but usually its hard to find other people to play with. Recently I found that my work mate Jessie's husband Alan played. So I have been playing tennis with Alan lately. He has a good solid game with a great serve. This week we played again with my other friend Justin (Justin A, another Justin not to be confused with the Justin I went to dinner with yesterday at Ocean King) and his friend Khuong.

I had a great hit up session with Alan but he had to go home early as he had something to do. I also decided to go home early as I had hurt my wrist when I framed a ball so didn't want to play anymore. Hopefully next time we can get in a proper doubles match.

Below are pics of the court at Blackburn Tennis Club. Clay courts provide a very different feel to hardcourts as the ball just sits up and slows down. Its much harder to hit a great winning shot and forces you to play more consistently.

The guy in the white t-shirt and Roger Federer style white headband is Justin. Personally I thought the head band was a bit over the top, how many social players do you ever see wearing a head band, but hey thats always been Justin's style. He's always decked out in full gear for any sport he plays, you should see him at INDOOR soccer with his shin pads, hilarious.

Food Review: Ocean King Chinese Restaurant

Since I have proclaimed myself part time food reviewer, here is another review from my dining experience this weekend with my friends Justin, Kevin and Dennis.

Ocean King Chinese Restaurant is located in Kingsway in Glen Waverley and is your typical Asian style restuarant, from the look of the place, to the food they serve, to the service style of the staff.

The interior has that usual look, pink walls, cheap table cloth and chairs and tacky ornaments on the wall. The atmosphere in there was noisy as in all Asian restaurants. Asians just love to shout really loudly when they talk, I don't know why, maybe because they're used to having to do that back in Asian countries where there are so many people and you have to shout to be heard.

The service was ok without being great. The waitress wasn't rude, a nice change, but just went about her work efficiently. She did take away the soup when my friend Justin hadn't finished with it yet though.

The food was run of the mill stuff. I think there is a standard Chinese menu that all restaurants copy from. The dishes looked to be catered for Australian clientel as it was all stock standard popular Asian dishes without anything risky. There wasn't really anything out of the ordinary on the menu so we went the safe option and orderd beef with honey pepper sauce, scallops and vegetables, roast duck and roast pork. The food arrived so promptly (in under 10 minutes from ordering) that we joked that it must have been some else's who didn't want it and they reheated it in the microwave. To the right was the roast duck and roast pork beautifully modelled by our resident hand modeller Kevin.

The food tasted ok, there was nothing wrong with it but tasted similar to many other places that I had eaten at. The roast duck and pork weren't that good and their sweet chilli sauce didn't taste nice.

As you can tell from the recurring theme, overall the meal was ok, with service being prompt, our meals arriving quickly and tasting ok. The only slight drawback was that I thought the prices were too high for the quality of food they were delivering. Maybe their location in Glen Waverley meant there was always lots of customers and they could get away with those prices but they were too high in my opinion.

Overall Rating: 11/20, Food ok but too expensive
Scores: 1-9: Unacceptable, don't bother. 10-11: Just OK,some shortcomings. 12: Fair. 13: Getting there. 14: Recommended. 15: Good. 16: Really good. 17: Truly excellent. 18: An outstanding experience. 19-20: Approaching perfection, Victoria's best.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Why Do People Blog? - Another Analysis By Dr Thanh Ph(aic) D(octor)

In a case of timing, I was actually going to write an article about why people blog and in particular why I blog. I had just read a blog called The Diary of Princess Chloe where Chloe had gone through some hard times and "...thought that writing a blog could be a step towards the new Chloe". This made me think why I was writing a blog. Then I was reading The Age newspaper online as I do everyday when I read this article called A Blog's Life by Roulla Yiacoumi. Roulla writes

"Why do people blog? At the heart of the exercise is the premise that other people care about what you might have to say.

A blog might tell family on the other side of the world what you've been up to, comment on a political issue, or rant about any given topic.

The notion that anyone can self-publish is a powerful one.

The real beauty of the blog is the ease with which you can publish a random thought in a sentence or two, or take a more considered approach. Unlike a structured written piece, a blog often takes a less formal and looser format."

I agree entirely with what Roulla writes. I think when it comes down to it, the main reason I write a blog is because it gives me a forum to express my opinion on a variety of subjects and hopefully that others will care about what I say. The fact that you can self publish is a freedom that was not available in the past. You may write hundreds of letters to newspaper but if you view is not supported by the editor, the letters probably won't get published. However, a blog lets you write exactly what you want without and lets others see it. Some blogs are now so influential that even Government pay attention. Recently in the latest Australian Federal Elections, a political blog whose opinion is so well regarded that one of the electing parties "supported" his blog with money for him to write about them.

Another self indulgent reason for my blog, as my friend and part-time psychologist at work John (a pool of knowledge, see Feb 24 post) says, deep down I'm probably seeking some attention and hoping people will like me more through my blog. Thats probably true, else I wouldn't be bugging everyone I know to read my blog. But hey, you have to be selfish sometimes and seek attention, so keep reading everyone. Haha.

Food Review: Seamus O'Toole Irish Pub

Well here's my first attempt at being a food reviewer.
Seamus O'Toole Irish Pub is located in the Knox City Shopping Centre O-Zone complex with all the other restaurants. Its the tiny place wedged between the cinema and Dragon Boat Chinese Restaurant (never go to Dragon Boat, its one of the worst dining experiences I've ever had).

Paul (below left), Kin (refused to be photographed) and I (below right) went for a "cheeeaaaapp" meal as Kin would say and some drinks. The pub is fairly dark (as most old style pubs are) and with its low wooden rafter ceilings makes you feel like you are underground as Kin noted.

The atmosphere inside is as expected, very noisy and raucous. The dining area is better lit and separated from the rest of the pub where you can't smoke. That's good since I hate the smell of smoke and don't want to taste it all in my food. The service (or lack of) is to be expected. The waitress behind the counter was less than warm, asking us "What do you want" like she was really annoyed.

As for the food itself, its pretty standard pub fare with the usual steak, pasta, pizza, chicken parma etc. We all ordered the steak, which at $12.90 is cheap for steak. I had my steak medium and it was still nice and moist. The powerful grill they used gave it a very nice charred flavour. Washed down with my beer, the meal was enjoyable without being special.

Overall Rating: 12/20, Good value for money while still quite nice
Scores: 1-9: Unacceptable, don't bother. 10-11: Just OK,some shortcomings. 12: Fair. 13: Getting there. 14: Recommended. 15: Good. 16: Really good. 17: Truly excellent. 18: An outstanding experience. 19-20: Approaching perfection, Victoria's best.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

My Desk Is In The Newspaper

I was reading this article in the newspaper about these minimalistic desks from Poetic and how beautiful they were. They definitely are very beautiful as you can see below.


This promoted the writer to say "I look at my desk (at home) and it's just chock full of crap - and that's after a big cleanup about a fortnight ago." He then asked viewers to send in photos of their messy desks. I could totally understand what he was saying, having just cleaned my desk a month ago but everything seemed to just pile up again. I sent in my picture of my desk and it got published. At the time of writing, my desk was definitely the messiest shown on the webpage. I really must clean it up.


I think the following comeback quote from another reader sums it up best. Person A: A cluttered desk is the sign of a cluttered mind. Person B: So what does an empty desk mean?

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Numa Numa

I saw in a forum this hilarious link to Google Video of all these people miming to the Numa Numa song by O-zone. You can check out the videos of all the people acting stupid HERE, with my personal favourite being the chubby Asian guy and his two friends (below). You can download a trial mp3 version of Numa Numa, but please delete the song after 24 hours and buy the cd.

I must say the song is very catchy and I have been singing it all day. Even though I have no idea what the lyrics area about, I've posted them below so you too can sing along.

Numa Numa by O-zone

[Intro] x 4
Mi-a-ha ha

1) Allo, salut, sint yel, un hydook, she teraw, youbeera mah, primesh der, vericheera,
2) Allo, Allo, sint yel, Picasso, Tiam dat beep, she sen voynic, un dar sege ti notes cher nimeek

vrais a pleche dar numa numa i-ay
numa numa i-ay numa numa numa i-ay
kipul tow she dragosta din tay, ma mintesc day oki ti-ay
vrais a pleche dar numa numa i-ay
numa numa i-ay numa numa numa i-ay
kipul tow she dragosta din tay, ma mintesc day oki ti-ay

3) Desoon, set spoon, cheseet, ah kum, Allo, youbeera mah, sint yel, vericheera
4) Allo, Allo, sint yarshio, Picasso, Tiam dat beep, she sen voynic, un dar sege ti notes cher nimeek


[Intro] x 4


Sunday, February 19, 2006

Chapel Street

I went to Chapel Street on Saturday with some friends because the organiser chose the venue there. Chapel Street is suppose to be Melbourne's version of Rodeo Drive, with all the expensive shops. Whenever any overseas celebrities come to Melbourned, they're always reported to have gone to Chapel Street to shop.

I think Chapel Street is just overrated. The atmosphere there isn't that great at night. Compared to the night atmosphere of cities in Asian countries, it feels like Chapel street is the poor cousin. None of the shops are open at night and since most of the street is comprised of shops, immediately that means most of the street is deserted. The scattering of restaurants there are tightly packed with people but with most being on the expensive side, this discourages a lot of people to go already.

The biggest problem with the street on Saturday night is the parade of cars there. I don't understand why some people enjoy riding along the street all night in their "hotted" up cars, honking their horns, driving crazily, music blaring on full blast and shouting out their windows. These cars cause major traffic problems on an already crowded street and also add an intimidating tension to the atmosphere. If some other drunks in the bars took offence to anything being shouted, a fight would probably break out or at the least, lots of chest thumping and shouting. Many people who just want to go out for a night of fun don't want to get caught up in any violence, especially families with little kids, so hence will be less willing to go to Chapel Street.

Left: Como centre on corner of Toorak Road and Chapel Street

Right: Traffic jam on Chapel Street

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Death of a Faithful Servant

My servant had been serving me very well for about 5 years now. I had bought him at a market place for a cheap price and he had been a very faithful servant. Today when I asked him to do something, he suddenly refused for the first time and just would not move. At first I thought he was having a case of stubborness and needing a push along as sometimes required. But ordering him to do the task repeatedly resulted in nothing. That was when I knew something was wrong.

My slight anger turned into worry for his health. I quickly diagnosed him to see if anything was wrong, but apparently he said nothing was wrong. I tried improving his health by giving him the newest available supplement, but to no avail. My last ditch effort was to open him up and perform surgery, but still no help.

Alas I had to accept the fact that my faithful servant, the LITEON CD-RW had finally died. I had updated the drivers and tried a reinstall but that still didn't work. I had bought the CD-RW at the computer swap meet years ago and it has helped me burn many cds, either music or data which has enriched my life. I already have a new Pioneer DVD Dual Layer RW but I still kept the Liteon to use as a secondary CD-ROM drive for copying from CD to CD because I still felt it could serve a purpose. But now since it no longer works, I will replace it with an even older CD-ROM drive I have lying around in the garage as the secondary drive.

Above: My faithful servant with his tongue hanging out in a last sign of life

Mahjong For Beginners

Mahjong is a traditional game that originated in China and is a very strategic game. The game is very addictive (ask anyone who has played) because it contains so many variations and requires the player to make lots of decisions. The game is played with 4 people, although 3 people can play but in my opinion you shouldn't bother playing unless you have 4 people. The number of tiles and just the general rules mean its tailored for 4 people. Here is a picture of a recent mahjong game I went to. From left to right are Johnny ("Let's play faster"), Kevin ("Someone get me a drink") and Justin ("Decisions decisions"). I think my mahjong nickname is "If you don't risk you don't win".

To learn the basics of Mahjong is extremely simple. Each player has 13 tiles and take it in turns to pick up the 14th tile and keeping or discarding it. The main aim of the game is to make combinations of of your tiles before everyone else. There are 3 patterns of tile in Mahjong, so with 4 players, inevitably at least 2 people will be fighting for the use of the same patterns. Sometimes the whole table may all be after the same patterns, which means lot of strategy and caution is needed, as discarding the wrong tile may mean disaster. Below are the different types of tiles in the set of 144 tile, with 4 tiles of each type. The 3 types of patterns are (in order down the picture) bamboo, characters and balls. Then there are honour tiles known as dragons (red, jade and white), winds (east, north, south, west) and bonus point tiles flowers (1, 2, 3, 4) and seasons (1, 2, 3, 4).

Above: All the different types of tiles in the mahjong set

The aim of the game is to get your 13 tiles and the 14th one you pick up into 4 sets of 3 tiles and a pair of tiles. To get your tiles into combos of threes, you can either chow (a straight in poker i.e 2, 3, 4 etc of the same pattern), pong (triple of same pattern), kong (4 of the same pattern). So basically thats all that the games boils down to. You begin by mixing up the tiles properly (below left) and then you build the wall where players then take turns picking up tile from (belwo right). You hope to get 4 sets of those 3 combos and a pair of tiles before the others to win.

Left: Mixing the tiles. Right: The wall, with some discrete product placement for Jim Beam Bourbon and Cola.

However to REALLY learn how to play mahjong, there are many other things you need to learn, such as where to start picking up the tiles to the how to replace and order of play. The hardest thing to learn thoug is the scoring system, which will dictate how you CAN and WANT to play. To explain the scoring system would take a whole book so I'll leave it to you to borrow a book from the libarary yourself. But there are many intracacies in mahjong, for example if you pong the correct wind for you seat you get an extra point, if you self pick a tile to win you get an extra point etc etc. Points are extremely important because with each additional point, you get a doubling of the money that you win. So winning a game with 8 points does not equate to winning two games of 4 points. Since each point is a doubling of winnings, 8 points is actually 16 times the money of 4 points, hence the need to know how to extract every single point possible.

The winner in each round either gets paid from the person who threw out the tile that gave the winner the winning hand or everyone pays if the winner self picks the tile from the wall (the stack of cards in a square as shown in the picture above). The game gets really tense near the end of each round as usually everyone has a chance of winning and so when you discard tiles you have to assess whether the rewards of winnning your hand is worth throwing out something that can cause you to lose.

Anyway I hope I have piqued your interest in mahjong so you go and grab a 3 friends and learn how to play this very enjoyable game. Mahjong sets nowadays can be bought at a number of Chinese book shops or antique shops or over the internet. Have fun and always remember, "WINNING IS EVERYTHING, ITS THE ONLY THING".

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Sounds Good To Me

My old computer speakers were starting to crackle so I bought some new speakers today. After doing a bit of research on at the Whirlpool Forums (an extremely good website for ADSL plans and general computer stuff), a lot of people were recommending the Logitech x530 5.1 Speakers. The speakers look quite ugly in my opinion and I was actually expecting them to be quite bad, but never judge a book by its cover. The sound from the speakers are great and for only $95, they are great value for money. Its amazing what electronics manufacturers can produce at such cheap costs nowadays. The 5.1 speakers are actually rated at 70 watts RMS and I can confirm that they do pack a punch. I only turned the volume up to about half way and my computer desk was shaking. I think the Sound Blaster Audigy 2 sound card that I have also helps to produce a better output than just using the motherboard sound. Overall I am very pleased with my purchase and would recommend the speakers to anyone who is looking to buy some mid priced computer speakers.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Quote of the Day

Scenario: I was talking to my friend at work, John. He was giving me a quick lesson on religion. He was saying how people in the past believed in the sun and the comets whereas now we know the scientific explanation for those things. Nowadays people are still mystified by death, whether you go to heaven or hell etc. Maybe many years in the future when there is a scientific explanation for that, there will be something else for people to believe in. So I then say

Me: "You're just a pool of knowledge aren't you......a shallow wading pool hahahaha"

John: "At least I won't drown"

Monday, February 13, 2006

Torino 2006 Winter Olympics

Its been 4 years and the Winter Olympics have rolled around again. I can still remember the last Winter Olympics back in ..., actually I forgot where it was held. But the lasting image from that Winter Olympics was Steve Bradbury winning gold in the short track speed skating after everyone fell over.

Some of my favourite sports at the Winter Olympics are ski jumping, speek skating, slalom and curling. The first three choices are pretty obvious, they contain so much skill and just look so exhilirating. But curling I love just for the curiosity factor. What other world class sport would use a broom?

Ski jumpers (below) must understand the freedom that birds feel. Its just such a spectacular sport.

Freestyle skiing (below left) and Slalom skiing (below right) require so much skill.

I just love how speed skaters (below left) glive over the ice. The curlers (below right) also glide over the ice whilst cleaning it with a broom as well. :-)

Computer Swap Meet Part 2

After going to the Malvern swap meet last week and coming home without PC speakers, I went to the Springvale swap meet on Sunday. After walking around the hall twice in case I missed seeing them, the two stalls that had the speakers I wanted were selling it for about $10 more than at the shops.

Since the speakers are so bulky and hard to transport, no one really wants to stock them at the swap meet. I will just go to the computer store and buy them there. So the lesson I've learnt is

Swap Meet + Required Speakers = Lost Cause as Little Profit for Vendors

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Sushi Sushi

After work on Friday, I went to the all you can eat Japanese buffet at Yamagata Japanese Restaurant (below left). As usual service there was totally awful. The buffet is an ordering style buffet where you fill out a card as you can see Jessie holding (below right) in the photo with Alan. But as always, they mix up the orders and bring out either food we haven't ordered or don't bring out food we have ordered. A trainee waitress was also working our table that night and she was probably responsible for mixing up most of our orders.

Below left is a not so flattering picture of Kin, who has now twiced not gotten his grape calpis that he ordered when we go there and on the right is greedy guts Jo with all the food.

Below left is Hien with a slight variation on her normal purple outfits, and right is a platter of the sushi that we ordered.

Below left is a citrine rock and the funny sign displayed under it on the right. The sign says "Hi I'm a Citrine. I know I'm pretty, Perhaps u Interesting About Me But Please do not Hurt me & Touch me thank u !!!". My Engrish teacher Would proud who Wrote this!!!

Race Against the Machines

I read this really interesting article in The Age newspaper called Race Against the Machines written by David Flynn. The article talks about how we're nearly slaves to our machines. The "always on" technology drives us to act immediately to every new situation and neglect real life events around us. For example, he gives this fake scenario

"You're sitting in front of your laptop downloading all those photos you took with your digital camera over the holidays, and because your notebook has wireless internet access you hear that little "ding" and see a pop-up saying a new email has arrived.

So you flick over to have a quick look and then a friend says "Hi!" on an instant messenging program, before you can reply the mobile rings but you know that even if you ignore the call it will go to voicemail so you can call them back later, and if you're getting out of breath by now imagine how you'd feel if you did this all day every day plus evenings and weekends."

I for one, can say that situation is very plausible. I admit that I'm slightly hooked to the technology. For instance, I've been known to be sitting here writing my blog, having three conversations over msn, trying to carry a conversation on the mobile and replying to emails. One friends checks his work email every half hour from home, while another is on the net all day.

The ability for everything to be immediate means we get trapped into trying to do everything at once. I know at work I have the email alert turned on so I get that "ding" when there is new mail. Most times I will look at the email right away and reply to it. I also check my other mail accounts each day as well, "in case I miss anything." What would I have done in the days before the internet and email. Also I'm a tragic who has to carry their mobile phones everywhere. If I get a missed call without a number, I think "who would call me" and worry I may have missed something. But really, if the call was important they will call back.

I guess I'm one of the growing number of people who not only use technology but rely on it quite heavily. What is it that drives us to be this way? Is it the fear that we will miss something and hence our lives will be less rich. As David Flynn writes

"An increasing number of critics believe we are paying too heavy a price for our digital lifestyles - that our dependence on always-on technology is killing our private lives. If it sometimes seems that the technology meant to help you live a richer life has itself moved to centre stage and sucked up all those hours it was supposed to free up".

So next time your out at dinner with good friends and the mobile phone rings, either answer it quickly and say you'll call them back later or better still, switch off the phone to begin with. I'm mean you're already at dinner with good friends, so why waste that time talking on the phone to someone else who probably isn't as important.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Does Being Nice Make You A "Carpet Mat" - Ask Dr Thanh, Ph(aic) D(octor)

Does the old saying, "nice guys finish last" really true. If you look at sportsmans, you would probably say that is mostly true. The majority of sportsman are quite aggressive in striving for success. Of course there are still people who are nice and succeed, but is that the exception rather than the rule?

In the business and professional world, do you have to a be a Richard Cranium (a saying my friend Justin uses, think about it, it abbreviates to something) to succeed. At this stage in my career, I'm still at a very low level so there's no need to be too aggressive yet as I am not seen as a threat. Anyway I'm not that type of personality and I don't think I ever will be. But I know that if and when I do move higher, I will need to learn to be slightly more aggressive so that I don't get pushed around.

I think there is a difference to being nice and being as Oprah calls it a "carpet mat". A carpet mat is someone who lets other people step all over them. They will agree to most things even if its not in their best interest or what they want to do. You can still be nice but be firm on your beliefs, morals and make choices that suit you.

In terms of work, I'm definitely not a "carpet mat". Like I said, I'm not the aggressive type but I will stick up for what I believe in. Sometimes it is quite hard to stay true to your beliefs when someone else may be very strong in their opinions and will just push their opinion through even if they are wrong. You have to decide whether its worth it to argue it and take on the battle. Argument is not the solution to anything, but just letting things slide everytime is asking for trouble. It becomes habit and the other person knows that they can shoot you down every time and walk all over you like a carpet mat.

Although I'm ok in work situations, I think where I do sometimes become a bit of a carpet mat is in my personal life. It occurs sometimes without me even realising it. I know I've always liked to be helpful, sometimes even too helpful. But thats my nature and it gives me satisfaction to help people. But getting too used to this habit of saying yes to everyone's requests for help has its drawbacks. Since I am so willing to help, sometimes people rely on you too much to help them and I feel like you have to say yes. I know I put this pressure on myself due to all the other times that I say yes. Another drawback is that others don't appreciate your help as much. Since it is such a common occurance, sometimes they don't even have the decency to thank you properly. Not that I need them to buy me a Rolex watch or anything but a heartfelt thank you wouldn't go astray.

I can remember certain situations where even though I'm the one who was asked for help, I'm the one who also has to make the effort to chase up that person. This has occurred a few times during when I was back in school and helping friends with their assignments. I remember one time back at uni when this friend had asked for help and we had arranged to meet at the library. Not only did he turn up 1 hour late, he didn't even call to say that he would be late and wasted an hour of my time that I could have used to study for exams as well.

Another situation was another friend used to ask if he could come over and use my PC to do his resume, burn cds etc. I had no problems with this, but it was always at inconvenient times like dinner time or really late at night when I was about to go to sleep. And he always said it was urgent. So I would always say ok and told him to come over. However, eventually I said to him to either call and give me more warning or go to someone else. What drove me to this was that I was actually quite mad at him. I was always so helpful to him but when he started up an indoor soccer team, he didn't even invite me to play. I knew at the time I wasn't the greatest player YET (hehehe now I'm much better after 4 seasons of indoor soccer) but you would think that since I had helped him so much he would invite me to play. I realised that I had considered him a friend whilst he had only seen me as something who would always help him.

When people step over me sometimes, I think, "why was I so stupid to let them do that to me again". I constantly say that I should learn from my mistakes, and I always do that in my professional career so why can't I apply that to my personal life too. Is it like Oprah says, it feels so much harder to get angry at people you know when you're not that type of person.

As I've gotten older, I have also gotten wiser and have been less inclined to let people walk over me as much. However I still have a way to go before it totally stops. I don't want to change who I am too much as I like being nice to people and having them mirror that to me. I just have to learn to recognise certain situations when people are abusing my help or do not acknowledge my help. Such a thing happened today when I said that I was in a rush to go and the other person said they needed my help. So I said I'll pack up and come back here and wait for them. When I arrived back, they saw that I was standing there waiting for them and instead of simply excusing themselves from another conversation, they expected me to stand there and wait. Well I just thought, "stuff this" I'm the one whos suppose to be helping you and if you can't even be bothered to make an effort, forget it, I'll just leave. Which is just what I did. I was only upset for about 5 seconds, but this incident helped to give me a kick in the butt and wake me up to the same old bad habits that I had fallen into again. So I really must thank that person for giving me such a valuable reminder. I think I'm learning everyday. There's hope for me yet. Oprah would be proud, hahaha. I only watch the occasional Oprah show when I'm sick or on holidays. Her show is becoming too self help. There can't be that many things wrong with us, or am I just in denial?

Thursday, February 09, 2006

And the Award Goes To......

Just for a bit of fun, I thought I would do an award type thing as a way of introducing some of my friends at work.

And the "I'm not at my desk, leave a message award" goes to.... Tin (below left), with second place going to Thanh (yes another Thanh, below right). Tin can normally be found in the electronics surfing for Real Estate. He's a very rich man. Thanh can be found running around between his desk, the factory or the store. P.S. Spot any similarities between the two of them?

And the "Late stayer award" goes to.... Jessie (below left), with second place going to Emmanuel (below right). Jessie and Emmanuel both regularly stay well past 5:30pm and sometimes past 6pm. However, Jessie spends her extra time at work doing "research on the net" while waiting for her brother to finish school, whilst Emmanuel gets into work somewhere between 9:30-10am.

And the "Best Desk Award" goes to.... Hien (below left), closely followed in second place by Esther. Note how many tools (*cough* *junk*) Hien and Esther have at their desk. You always find some wonderful thing lying around on their desk. Note1, purple is Hien's favourite colour as you can see from her head to toe purple outfil. Note2, don't get too close to Esther's stuff or she gives you the evil eye as in the photo.

And the "Fitness Award" goes to.....

Tawfeeq (below left), with Tafazal (below right) coming in second. Tawfeeq goes to the gym religiously each lunch time while Tafazal is a more casual believer and attends the gym some days only.

And the "Lunch award" goes to.....

Jeffrey (below left), with Wei (belwo right) following in a distant second. Jeffrey's lunches are so extravagent that no one can match him. He has about a 5 course meal for lunch, with a variety of foods in his compartment lunch box, soup and dessert of fruit usually. Throw in a coffee and there you have a great lunch. Wei got the award for totally different reasons. Each day you will find Wei eating either her Chinese pork buns, her Vietnamese pork buns or her instant noodles.

And the "Postman award" goes to.....

Mark (picture to be added). Mark never goes anywhere without his postman bag over his shoulders. He is always immaculately dressed in his suits with a bright shirt and tie, and then across his shoulders is a blue postman like bag.

And the "Come into my shed so we can talk award" goes to.... Trung (picture to be added). Trung works primarily in a testing facility comprised of a shed with PCs and lots of our fire products. He is located on the other side of the car park so its a bit of a walk to visit him, henc you need to go inside the shed and sit down for a while to recover.

And the "Quiet achiever award (a.k.a the Loch Ness award)" goes to.....

John (below). John goes about his work quietly, efficiently and without too much fuss. He is occasionally spotted (much like Loch Ness) around the building, but no one can confirm for sure. Here is a rare snap that I have captured. Questions over the authenticity of the picture are just pure rubbish. All those doubters who disclaim my findings just want to sell their pictures to the magazines.

And last but not least, the "Hard worker award" goes to..... Me (below). I'm working so hard that I didn't even have time to take a photo of myself. Instead, there is only a photo from my point of view of all the work desk that lay ahead of me, physically and metaphorically. Also from the number of emails I send out each day, I must be working very hard to pass on all the information that I have researched. Hehehe

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Waiter, There's a Fur Ball in My Fruit Salad