Tuesday, February 17, 2015

New rims

Rather than focus on what could have happened when I got a punctured tire on the road, I'll concentrate on what did happen.

When M2 began limping, I knew exactly which tire had gone flat because I'd felt the same thing happen before. Fortunately, the nearest service station was just on the other side of the road. I made a careful u-turn, got myself parked and waited for opening time. Meanwhile, I went back across the road for prata and grading papers.

When the mech arrived, he said he didn't have tires my size. So he directed me to limp down to the next tire shop down the road.

Long story short, the tire shop convinced me to trade in all four of my existing rims for new and lighter RSW Racing rims and Bridgestone tires for a special festive season discount price of only $750 (normal price $1k). They gave me a choice of silver or black rims. I chose silver, they said 'silver no stock' so they gave me black instead. Black works with M2's body paint, so no regrets there.

They also threw in the special socket tool to remove the hub nuts, gratis.

I'm kinda' sad to lose my stock 17" rims, but the RSWs actually feel lighter and does improve acceleration by a bit. Cool.

I suppose it could have been avoided, but I'm short of cash again this month due to today's expense. But considering my existing tires were kinda' old already, I guess it was better to change them sooner rather than later.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

What's Tsupp?

After a 2-year hiatus, The Supplementary Paper (a.k.a. Tsupp) is making another go at publishing student reviews of what's new in the worlds of whatever they're indulging in outside of schoolwork.

Our current roster allows us to publish one story every weekday, as long as the contributors' interest holds up. *fingers crossed

Be nice, click on the link and give the kids some encouragement, 'k? Thanks!

Friday, February 06, 2015

Excuses, excuses

I wonder if my excuse would be considered 'valid' if I were a kid and had to explain why I was late for school this morning?

Y'see, Sir... just as I was leaving my house, I stopped to say 'goodbye' to my cat who was sitting at the door. I bent over double to pat his head, but he took the opportunity to jump on my back, proceeding to settle himself down by kneading my tailbone area, a feline activity sometimes referred to as 'making biscuits'.

As I was working out how to get him off without startling him and consequently getting stabbed in the back with his claws, my other cat approached for his morning head-rub. So there I was, one cat nicely settled on my back and the other around my ankles soliciting tactile attention. If you can picture it, I am in quite an undignified position, like Liang Po Po being mobbed by a couple of furry, over-familiar autograph hunters.

Suddenly, from behind me, there was a gurgle and a splat. The cat on my back had upchucked his breakfast -- right onto my shirt and pants. Some had got under my waistband and was trickling down my butt-crack too.

That called for an equally Liang Po Po-like hobble -- claws be damned --to the bathroom to seek human assistance in cleaning up areas of my person beyond the normal reach of my own arms. Then a quick shower and a change of clothes before returning to clean up the mess remaining on the floor at ground zero. And only after that, could I leave for school.

And that is why I was late today.

Wednesday, February 04, 2015

Pioneer Generation

It's good we can recognise our 'pioneer generation' with some kind of tangible tribute. What the old folks went through, and what they had to be prepared to do to put us where we are today was no mean feat. They deserve what we taxpayers are awarding to them, all $8 billion of it, so that they can have a better life in their twilight years.

What I worry about is that we start thinking of that generation as the only pioneer generation. That today, because of their efforts and their sacrifices, we have it made. We haven't. Every generation has its share of struggles, and especially for our little island, every generation is its own pioneer generation.

The generation we hail as 'Pioneer' is the generation of immigrants that made our multi-ethnic, multi-cultural fabric work. They created a sense of belonging by embracing and cooperating with each other. It was a sense that they, regardless of ethnicity, background, or opportunity belonged to the place.

If we really want to honour our 'Pioneer Generation', the money is good -- but it's more important that we don't undo the good they did by turning it around and start acting like the place now belongs to us.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

The Singaporean dream

According to the kids, the Singaporean dream goes like, study hard; score straight As; land a good job; make lots of money; and you'll never have to work another day in your life. Obviously, there's some screwed-up logic going on in the conclusion, But they believe it -- it's the lie we tell them. 'Cos as far as schools go, we're only interested in the part up to the 'score straight As' bit. Mission accomplished!

Now, I wonder where their sense of entitlement comes from?

(Links available for a limited time only)

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

The power of 'give'

The ideal motivator for work is to be in a situation in which we are able to give and keep on giving. We give our time; attention; compassion; or whatever else we have in so much abundance of, that the only thing to do with it is to give it away. It also helps that we strongly believe that what we have to give is what others lack but really have to have, no exceptions.

Everyone has the ability to tap into this abundance, each in their own way. To identify what we have that there is overflowing abundance of, just look for what we love most to do. It's the one thing we want to do to the exclusion of every other activity. That which we do or exercise most often is the thing we become best at. We would even continue to do that even if we weren't paid for it. Thing is, when we work hard at something enough to get really good at it, people will pay us just because we are that good.

Being employed, however, is a 'take' scenario. We do our job because we want to take our salary. Employers take our time and effort, and anything else they can squeeze from us because they damn well can because they paid for it. In a 'take' situation, everyone in the relationship runs dry pretty quickly because they are taking what no one is prepared to give without getting something back in return. As such, everybody gives only the minimum effort possible commensurate with the minimal wage one is given.

Because we put down our tools as quickly as we possibly can and go find something else we would rather be doing (which is clearly not the thing we are being paid to do), no one stretches, grows, develops or becomes good at their job. We hit a plateau, our career stalls and our employer starts to consider other options that may prove more value for money -- a machine, perhaps; or a hungry, young foreigner willing to give a little more.

So the best job to have is the one in which we are prepared to give without expectation of return. Not of the money sort, anyway. The return we should expect to get is the learning through daily experience, making us better at our jobs than we were the day before. I'm not saying that slaves have the best job in the world because for them it is all take and no give. I'm saying that if we can see ourselves doing it better and better every day, this is the job we were meant to do, salary notwithstanding.

... I've always dreamed of driving a delivery truck across country. I think I could get real good at that.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Corrective lenses

Wearing progressive lenses for the first time. It's gonna take quite some getting used to. Looking right down the middle, vision is sharp and clear as a bell. Being able to read text just by shifting the gaze down slightly is certainly more convenient than having to adjust my normal lenses for the correct focal length, or removing them altogether so I can read whatever is pressing up against my face.

However, to compensate for some amazingly high myopia, even with expensively high index glass, the lenses are super thick, making peripheral vision totally crap. With these babies on, I can categorically confirm that the world is curved around the edges. And if I happen to turn up my nose at you, it's not like I don't respect you. I'm just trying to read what's printed on your t-shirt.