Sunday, January 23, 2005

5 Minutes of Agony

It was lunchtime and I was off buying lunch for my colleague and myself. I usually bought my meals from this hawker centre just opposite my work place, which has got quite a number of stalls selling good food. On my way to the hawker centre I had this sudden urge to use the washroom. I knew there was one at the ground level of the hawker centre and hence I quickly rushed there. I headed straight into one of the cubicles to dod my business, but later I heard voices, that of a female, talking outside! It was then I realised that I had went into the Ladies instead! So there I was, stuck inside the toilet. I could not get out as people kept coming in and going out. I don't know how long I waited, but it was like eternity to me. I kept thinking: How am I going to get out? What if there are people out there when I walked out? Will they shout? Will they beat me up and hand over to the police? What will they think? Luckily for me there are fine gaps on the planks of the door and hence I could peep out. After confirming that the toilet was clear, I quickly dashed out of the toilet, only to be greeted by the lady toilet cleaner. She was obviously stunned, whereas I smiled at her telling her I'd gone into the wrong toilet. I was actually very embaressed, but just pretend to be cool and walked off briskly...

Sunday, January 16, 2005

I used to be a seaman

I am a CD junkie, and almost one whole wall of my bedroom is reserved for my CDs. This morning as I was trying to do some housekeeping on my CDs, I found one VCD tucked away in a corner. It is one of my video-editing works for my previous unit in the Navy consisting of 2 clips: Miss Polliwog contest and Crossing Equator Ceremony, both filmed during an exercise trip to Darwin in 2002. It has been ages since I last touched that disc, and I almost forgot its existence till today. I decided to watch the disc as I have got nothing to do, and memories of my seaman life started to come back; those familiar faces, sounds and places onboard...

I was with the Navy for 6 years, starting from the moment I graduated from polytechnic. I was enchanted by the Navy because of it's aggresive advertising on the mass media back then. I wanted to see the sun, the sand and the sea just like what the advertisements promised. However things weren't that rosy, but I realised it too late. Life as a seaman is not easy. Not only do one have to under constant mental stress, working routine and time are always subjected to change due to exercises and deployments. This is not the kind of life I look forward to, and therefore I decided to leave once my contract with the force end. I left Navy in July last year, and months down later, my memories of ship life started to fade away, until this morning. On looking back now, although I do not like the stressful life of a seaman, but there were memorable times too. Ironic as it seems, I still miss the times whereby I was keeping watch on the bridge in the middle of the night and having a small "picnic" with the rest of the watchkeepers, as well rushing to the galley once the pipe for dinner is ready for fear of being the last and not having enough to eat. Not forgetting those times where I had to go into the dark mess to wake up the following watchkeppers but ended up waking the wrong person, or trying to compete who can get a bunk to sleep once the bridge team secured from the watch. That is the kind of life you won't get to live in normal civilian life!

In short, although I'm relieved to be out of the Navy and will never go back to it again, I'm glad to be part of it once...

For those who are not in the marine line, the Crossing Equator Ceremony is a ceremony which every seaman has to go through on his first cross-equator sailing, whereby one has to crawl from the aft to the foxicle of the ship on all fours, with the deck littered with gash and leftover food collected over the previous few days. Miss Polliwog contest ("Polliwog" is a name for those who had yet gone through the ceremony before) is a contest whereby all polliwogs have to go through a "drag contest", and whoever emerge as winner will be exempted from the Crossing Equator Ceremony.

Saturday, January 08, 2005

I love MadTV!

I've just finished watching all 4 discs of MadTV season 1 DVD which I bought from a few weeks ago and now suffering from "post-MAdTV" blues. I haven't seen comedy shows of such kind for a long time and now the voices and images of Debra Wilson, Phil PaMarr and Nicole Sullivan are still lingering in my head. For a start, MadTV is a series of late night comedy programme on the Fox Broadcasting network. It is loud, it is funny and at times stupid. In all, it is one kind of comedy show which one can never find in Singapore, or even make it into the living rooms of Singaporean households. I first got to know of this programme after I got hold of Mo Collin's parody rendition of Shakira's "Wherever, Whenever" MTV video clip. It was so funny that I just couldn't stop laughing for a long time. I had never seen such crazy acting before, and that made me curious about what MadTV's all about, and soon I was downloading more and more clips from this show, mostly from later seasons. I do hope that MadTV will release all their later seasons real soon, as it is a torment to just wait. Season 1 was first airred 10 years ago and they just released it for sale months back! I just can't wait to see my favourite Mo Collins in action, as well as Debra Wilson's impersonation of Whitney Houston. They're just wacky!

Friday, January 07, 2005

SUBWAY giving me headaches!

This evening I happened to walked past a Subway restaurant and decided to had my dinner there. The last time I patronised Subway, which happened to be my first too, was like three years back in Darwin, Northern Australia while on official duties. I can't remember what I ordered back then, but I remembered I had to make a choice as to what sort of bread I want for my sandwich. This time round I had more decisions to make: what kind of salad to put, what kind of salad dressing to add and what snack to go with the meal. I was totally stunned as all these questions are alien to me. I'm not really well-versed with the American food culture and how the earth would I know what goes well with what and what's not! All I wanted was a simple dinner but turned out to be a headache for me. I told the counter staff to put just anything he has, and I think you could have guessed it: my sandwich tasted weird!

Saturday, January 01, 2005

Gloomy New Year

New Year has never been this gloomy. The recent Tsunami disaster was part of it, but another reason was what happened in my company: restructuring exercise. In an attempt to cut down costs and expenditure, the top management decided to downsize the organisation by half, retrenching many counter and management staff. It was a double blow for us, as we were already facing a shortage of manpower, and the rest of us spared of the axe would have to work even longer hours and more secondary jobs if more were to be ordered to go.

Today is the last day at work for those being axed, and many only got to know it today. It was harsh fact, but there was nothing we could do. It was hard to accept, as we were so used to seeing each other daily, no matter how new he is or how bad his attitude at work was. There was this particular guy whom I disliked a great deal as he always mess things up, but seeing him go made me feel somehow sad. We had a chat while walking out of the company, he heading back home while me going out to buy dinner. He joined the company barely two months ago, and though his performance was nothing near good, he did afterall contribute to the company. He seemed to have accepted his fate rather well. Perhaps he finds it a release from agony, I'm not sure. But I sort of envy him; he's now free from the company, whereas I am still stuck in it. What lies ahead of my career is still an unknown: with the current manpower status, it'll mean that longer working hours will be inforced, and everyone will have to cover all aspects of work, including what used to be "other people's business". On looking back, I really wonder if I'm considered lucky to be retained, or unlucky to have not been axed...