Saturday, February 25, 2006

Poor Kaiser. Took him to the vet for The Operation. June had to work this morning so it was left to me to handle him and Mimi who had a dental appointment.

We felt quite sorry for Kaiser because the last tom we took for fixing came back quite bloody and looked like he was in pain when we released him back to his hangout place behind our usual coffee-shop. But Kaiser doesn't seem to be feeling much of the after effects of such a potentially traumatic procedure. Apart from sleeping a little more than usual, he seems quite like his old self. No blood, for one thing, and he can already jump to the top of the TV by himself. Maybe it's because he's still technically a kitten and doesn't know what really happened to him this morning. Well, we've got 3 days' worth of pain-killers for him just in case.

Mimi's dental health is quite terrible. She had to have 5 teeth extracted, and unless she gets a regular dental regimen she's going to become a toothless little old lady soon. We got a small package of doggie toothbrushes and toothpaste from the vet, and I hope when Mimi goes home, someone will actually take the trouble to see to her brushing "at least 3 times a week" like the doctor ordered. He will review her progress in 3 months' time.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Finally, after a month and ten days since I placed my order, I finally collected my new contact lenses from Mr Leow. About time too, as my current pair are starting to feel quite grungy. While at the shop, I got a spur of the moment SMS invite from Anthony to join him at Yishun SAFRA for a spot of bowling. Since he was already there on business, he thought of using the lanes as well.

So it was that only 2 of the Boyz only had time to bowl only 2 games each, just for old times' sake. The reality is, looking at our present schedules, I'm quite pessimistic about the Boyz ever getting back together and staging a comeback at the Ministry's bowling league this year. Too many duties, too many commitments, to much responsibility. I guess in 2006, the Boyz finally grow up.

Of course, I didn't realize how much I've personally grown up until I returned home after dinner -- and realized that my brand new contact lenses had gone missing on me. I searched everywhere for them but they'd vanished. I thought that perhaps I'd left them in M2, but M2 didn't have them either. $300 lost, and still having to wear grungy lenses for another who knows how long. Then it all came back to me. I'd stuck them in my back trouser pocket on my way up from the parking lot in the first place, for safe-keeping. And there they still were, safe and sound.

Somewhere along the line, I've jumped past middle-age and gone straight to senility.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

In the dim recesses of my memory [no lah, actually I looked it up], I recall a number of 03A2 people were part of the PUS team in '04. As a PUS newbie, I'm shouting out for any advice you guys can give me from your perspective as actual participants in the event.

Advice on how you feel you should have been prepared, the stresses you faced, how to keep this year's batch motivated and happily working together, group dynamics, equipment and other logistical requirements , pretty much anything that can help me recruit and gel a team of diverse roles, interests, genders, and talents together will be much appreciated.

Let's see, Mei, 'rah, 'sif, Fifi, Iqbal and Drama Club alumnus, Sam W, a little help over here, please?

BTW, the latest issue of NY conneXions is online with a new look and a new server! Still got a few design issues but I guess it's going to have to be a work-in-progress. The news don't wait for nobody! Credit for the cover photo goes to Amy :) which got me wondering if we should offer a small token every week for any NY student who submits the 'photo of the week'? Just thinking aloud. Click here.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

The task for my other co-curricular activity has finally come to light. I'll be taking 30 kids into NUS during the June hols to participate in the PUS. Yes, the annual week-long JC presentation attended by big shots who want to know how our youth view the upcoming future for themselves and for the nation.

At a briefing session this afternoon, our college got the part of the presentation that generally focuses on how we can:
1) adapt ourselves to meet the challenges of the 21st Century,
2) shape our foreign policy to open up new frontiers of exploration and make new friends along the way (shades of Starfleet!),
3) take advantage of I&E and R&D to keep ourselves relevant and in tune with meeting the needs of tomorrow's markets,
4) keep intact our ties with our traditional values and heritage, and
5) leverage on education to prepare our young for the future.

But the main question for us is to see how traditional businesses can continue to survive and thrive in the new KBE. Yes, the question seems to stereotype our college, considering the old running joke associating us with oil lamps. Whatever.

My problem with the question is that there isn't really any particular business that we can call "traditional." We might associate a product, or a process, or a business model, or even a management model with being "traditional," or some combination of the above; but the business itself either keeps reinventing itself -- it moves with its extremely fickle customer base -- or it dies, plain and simple. So why beat ourselves up over the loss of "traditional" businesses? In the capitalist (open/free) market that we have chosen to deal in, there is no room for sentimentality; only the fittest will survive.

The kids will have to resolve this dilemma, framing their solution within the 5 main points above. They only have 15 minutes to make a presentation and 30 minutes to address questions from the audience to do it in. This task will prove quite... challenging. Especially since I haven't got 30 kids yet and the presentation proposal is due in 9 days or so.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Attended an investment seminar organized by CitiBank this evening. The fact is, our savings are meagre and we're spooked that if we continue to keep our spare cash under our pillows (not literally, of course) instead of investing it for higher returns than the bank's fixed deposit or CPF, there just won't be enough for us to retire on [yes, we're thinking far in advance for once] and still maintain our current lifestyle.

Ideally, what we should have is a stash of wealth that will last till the day we croak, and perhaps some left over to tidy up the mess we've left behind. We also have to hedge against the inflation rate and the GST, which won't stay at a mere 5% for long. Then there're those geriatric medical expenses to think about; and for the moment we don't even have kids to plan for and already the finances look like there won't be enough to go around if there were any more of us.

When you talk to an insurance agent, as we did sometime in the past week, your financial life is always going to look bleak.

Hence, today's seminar which we decided to attend to evaluate our options apart from buying yet another life insurance policy. We heard about building a portfolio of investments that balances risk with growth. That, for best results, we should diversify our equity as far as possible in terms of the proportion of stocks and bonds we own; across different industry types; and across different countries in the region and worldwide.

In other words, bet on a whole bunch of horses so that the winnings of at least one horse will cover the losses of the other horses and leave a fat profit besides. The bank's fund managers are there to help us to intelligently pick which horses to bet on so that we don't risk all on a stupid, random crap shoot.

Too much info to absorb all at once. Didn't help that both June and I zoned out during major portions of the presentation. Still, the idea of putting some money to work to generate more money seems like an idea worth considering...

Alternating between high energy and being wiped out. Last night I was brain dead. Watched my first ever “Desperate Housewives” and “Grey’s Anatomy” while in that state.

Meantime, June busied herself in the kitchen baking fruit tartlets and banana cake. My fellow staff (and hers) are going to be happy!

Sunday, February 19, 2006

JY was sick today, so she didn't go 'blading at Bish Park like she usually does. That left Mr and Mrs Popular 'blading solo; no, make that Mr Popular 'cos Mrs Popular was still resting her injured knee and decided instead to walk Q-tip around the park.

So none of the other 'regulars' turned up either, except for Chewy who, likewise, was still resting her injured knee. The 2 girls and dog ended up chatting under a cafe umbrella at the 'blading rink. I believe they were swapping horror stories about the service at local bridal boutiques.

'blading solo meant that I could pick up the pace a little, and in 3 orbits I was about as tired as our usual 4-5. Must have been daydreaming too 'cos a kid on a bike rang his bell once to warn me he was right behind me, and I totally lost control, wiping out as he overtook me. That was embarrassing, just as I was thinking I was getting good, too.

Oh, and on an unrelated note, it's M2's birthday today! How quickly they grow up!