| December 2004 |

Hilarious Quotes

Whenever I watch TV and see those poor starving kids all over the world, I can’t help but cry. I mean I’d love to be skinny like that, but not with all those flies and death and stuff. — Mariah Carey

Smoking kills. If you're killed, you’ve lost a very important part of your life. — Brooke Shields

I’m not going to have some reporters pawing through our papers. We are the president. — Hillary Clinton

It isn’t pollution that's harming the environment. It’s the impurities in our air and water that are doing it. — Al Gore

I love California. I practically grew up in Phoenix. — Dan Quayle

If we don’t succeed, we run the risk of failure. — Bill Clinton

We are ready for an unforeseen event that may or may not occur. — Al Gore

Traditionally, most of Australia’s imports come from overseas. — Keppel Enderbery

Your food stamps will be stopped effective March 1992 because we received notice that you passed away. May God bless you. You may reapply if there is a change in your circumstances. — Department of Social Services, Greenville, South Carolina

16 December 2004 · Fun · Comments (0)

Movable Type Upgrade

As you might have noticed, SG Watch was down for the past two days while I updated to the latest version of Movable Type. The reinstallation took longer than expected, since our wireless router at home decided to go on strike and refused to upload my files. It took the utility CD and the implicit threat of dismantling it with a menacing screwdriver before the router decided to cooperate again.

Although MT version 3.0 was released more than four months ago, I’ve resisted updating my CMS until now. The company that produces MT, Six Apart, turned corporate recently and started charging for the full version of MT, which used to be free. But unlike most popular freeware turned licensed software — one of the most infamous cases being Invision Board — Six Apart kept its promise and continued to provide a free version for personal use. Of course, the functionality of the free version is severely restricted. How else is Six Apart going to entice users to pay $60 for a product that used to be free?

That said, I have no qualms about Six Apart charging for a good product, and am actually relieved that Melody and Nelson — the creators of MT — kept their word about the free version. Those freeloaders who criticized Six Apart from turning its back on its diehard supporters are hypocrites; why aren’t they willing to fork out some money for the full version, if they’re really the hardcore fans they claim to be? Everyone has to eat, and that includes Melody and Nelson. There are no free lunches, least of all for freeloaders and hypocrites.

The free version allows only one author and a maximum of three blogs, which suits my personal needs just fine. One of my primary goals when I started SG Watch was to turn it into a community blog where everyone shares their opinions and views on all things Singaporean. As the free version allows only one author and a maximum of three blogs, it seemed a little too restrictive for the purpose.

But as time passes by, SG Watch slowly morphed into my personal website, a place where I share my thoughts on issues and complain about my life — the latter more often than not. Upgrading to a newer version of MT started to become a more appealing idea since the free version suits my personal needs just fine.

There are still some issues that need to be addressed before SG Watch is fully functional again. I did a clean install of MT, instead of just an upgrade; hence certain files including photos have to be uploaded again. Stay tuned for more updates.

15 December 2004 · Site · Comments (0)

Integrated Management Challenge

To describe the past four months as busy will be an understatement. Looking on the bright side, at least I’m not wasting precious time allotted to me in the world and am living life to the fullest. On the other hand, I don’t even have the time to stop and smell the flowers under a hectic schedule; and by the time I can sit back and relax, all the flowers have already withered in the harsh Toronto winter. How ironic.

My final year wasn’t supposed to be tough. I’m supposed to do a normal course load of 10 modules to graduate, rather than complete a FYP like most other students; but I’ve decided to take up a pseudo-FYP course called Integrated Management Course anyway.

Students formed into teams of four or five and each team was assigned a fictional watch company to operate. To make the simulation more realistic, we have to report to our respective board of directors, who are indeed real directors who volunteered to mentor and grade us in this course. We were also involved in labour negotiations with real union negotiators.

Sounds fun? Not if the directors expect us to perform at the standards of senior vice presidents of a big firm and grade us according to that and the union negotiators were veterans with more than 20 years of experience that literally squeezed every incentive out of the labour contract.

The course was originally designed for MBA students, and the Commerce department decided that it might be a good idea to offer a modified version to fourth-year students. However, what the department meant by modification was to compress a full-year project into three months without much changes to the course content.

We were only the third batch offered this course, but word has already spread far and wide about its brutality and only 50 students enrolled in it. The turnout was so low — 150 students were expected to sign up — that we moved to a smaller classroom for our lectures. And despite repeated assurances from the professor that the workload will taper off after mid-October so that we have time to catch up on our other courses, another 20 students decided to drop out after the first lecture.

It sufficed to say that the course workload was crazy, which was not helped by the fact that we had a three-person team after our last member backed out. We spent every waking hour doing regression analyses on available data, compiling reports and preparing presentation slides for the board meetings and conference calls with our board of directors. The workload didn’t lessen after mid-October as promised, and we had our last board meeting last Sunday, three days before our final exams started.

After all is said and done, it’s definitely a great experience. In any case, exams are now over and I can finally relax for a while.

It may be too late for me to smell the flowers; but at least now I can enjoy the beautiful snow-covered scenery, before passing vehicles and pedestrians turn the white fluffy snow into brown dirty slush.

13 December 2004 · My Life · Comments (0)

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