Saturday, October 22

Human Conscience?!

*naviety seems to be the name of this game*

been running about these few months trying to put together two community projects as part of our Corporate Citizenship drive. in all our earnesty, we had manpower, some limited resources and moolah to contribute, and plenty of heart, in the short time we had at the destinated places. all we need are the directions and a plan to move.

so i thought it will be a relatively straightforward plan to execute.

quite the contrary. situations and intentions take an about-turn when you are branded as a cash cow, waiting to be milked. while waiting for the simple proposals that never seem to arrive in the inbox, i met up with a good number of professionals who specialize in corporate citizenship programs. the insider picture is unplesantly bleak. for an industry, if they can be collectively grouped as one, that forwards the cause of humanity, greed is the hurdle that is encountered at every corner. naturally, distrust and deceit tag along. in places where basic needs are sorely lacking, any hint of money is exceptionally glaring.

through the discussions, i learnt that a good amount of the money and the services donated in kind never reached its intended beneficiaries. orphanages, half-way houses can be set-up one day and gone, the next. poor children dragged off the streets to populate these places to create the perfect facade. even experienced professionals sometimes find it difficult to see beyond the front. for a corporate citizenship project to proceed, thousands of hours have likely been spent to verify the credentials of the respective NGO as well as establish the necessary accountablities. the beneficiaries could have likely received a trickle of what was originally set aside due to the amount of resources spent, in reaching out to them.

and then, there are the hidden agendas of the involved parties that has to be managed. religion and social standing are some of those i have encountered. these agendas sometimes surface, if you are lucky, on the day of execution and you are pretty much left standing alone like a foolish pawn used in someone's game. others hear of their shocking involuntary participation through third party channels.

it is quite enough to sour and disencourage the drive and gusto one had in the beginning.

i sat at my desk last evening, reflecting on the progress and the next steps to take. an incoming email from the Senior Vice-President (wtf???!!!) of a certain large foreign NGO. great. they want a year-long commitment from us instead of the half-day effort that we can currently afford. also attached ---> laundry list of wants.

this is just great.

Tuesday, October 18

Monsters in the Dark

sometimes i jolt awake
ramrod straight
in the still of the night
shaking uncontrollably
battling anxiety attacks
worried about mom

for a while
just a flash
i cant tell when dream state
cold reality
old familiar fear
clenching grip
a whisper audible be,
always that shadow at the corner of your eye.

i dont want to be in that state again.

Saturday, October 8

Chum Reap Suor, Siem Reap!

Picture of serenity over the centuries - the faces at the Bayon Temple.

Siem Reap, Cambodia. 4 - 6 October 2005: Business trip to a quaint city of smiles & sincerity.

It was a good trip in all sense. Official matters were completed smoothly, with much thanks to the efforts of the khmerian team. Two days is definitely a tight schedule, with numerous decisions made mostly on the run. Capacity issues cropped up repeatedly throughout the trip. Siem Reap is a small city with most places like hotels, restaurants built for small-sized groups. Trying to fit a mid-sized event in a small city took quite a bit of ingenuity and a lot of sleep!!!

On the personal front, this trip was a trip of many fulfilling firsts. First step on the Khmer soil, first visit to the awe-inspiring Angkor, first taste of how different an unhurried pace of life can be, first appreciation of khmer cuisine, first sight of a village well, first very pleasant experience of courteous driving...My first interaction with the Cambodians or as they corrected me, khmerians, was pleasant & humbling. Most of them have left the horrors of the war years behind. Those unfamiliar with the history of Cambodia would have little inkling of the holocaust and the civil strife which ended as late as 1999. The people I met in the village of Puk, some short distance away from Siem Reap City, went about life at a pace that they have always knew. While viewing the youth community project in Puk, we were also given a more initimate understanding of how impoverish life generally is in the villages.

There are many good memories of the two short days. Perhaps what strikes me most, other than the majestic Angkor, is the orderliness and self-discipline of the khmerian driving. I have seen only two sets of traffic lights in all the drive around the city. Yet, grace and courtesy prevail among the drivers, even in changing lanes or taking over the slower ones.

The pictures I took (yes, despite the challenges with batteries & a full memory card!) will speak better for themselves. Thank goodness for TVP and his suggestion of the k750i! Phew!

And, oh yes! Chum Reap Sour means hello in khmer.

The roots at the ruins of Ta Prohm.

The majestic Angkor Wat - Temple of the Gods.

Stone sculpture of the Aspara inside the Angkor Wat.

At the Angkor Wat, it is said that every sculpture of the Aspara wears a different costume, expression and hairstyle.

A very brave lady attempting to climb down the one of the temples...on the unaided side.

One of the houses in Puk Village.

A lady in Puk posing for a picture. Through gestures and smiles, she showed me the fish she caught for dinner from the nearby village river.

On the way back to Siem Reap City, we saw this interesting sight! This is how pigs are ferried to the slaughterhouse - caged and restrained belly up in rattan nets. Yes, these pigs are still alive, just merely sleeping after the inital struggle.

One of the 4 local markets in Siem Reap City.

The hustle and bustle of the afternoon market scene.

Sunday, August 7

To My Warcraft Addict,

Happy happy happy happy happy happy happy happy Birthday, my dearest!

Tuesday, July 12

Stuck in My Head

much to the annoyance of tvp, Mr Blunt's ditty is playing on repeat mode in my head...
You're Beautiful...
You're Beautiful...
You're Beautiful...
It's True

My life is brilliant.
My love is pure.
I saw an angel.
Of that I'm sure.
She smiled at me on the subway.
She was with another man.
But I won't lose no sleep on that,
'Cause I've got a plan.
You're beautiful. You're beautiful.
You're beautiful, it's true.
I saw your face in a crowded place,
And I don't know what to do,
'Cause I'll never be with you.
Yeah, she caught my eye,
As we walked on by.
She could see from my face that I was,
Fucking high,
And I don't think that I'll see her again,
But we shared a moment that will last till the end.
You're beautiful. You're beautiful.
You're beautiful, it's true.
I saw your face in a crowded place,
And I don't know what to do,
'Cause I'll never be with you.
You're beautiful. You're beautiful.
You're beautiful.You're beautiful, it's true.
There must be an angel with a smile on her face,
When she thought up that I should be with you.
But it's time to face the truth,I will never be with you.

Something Happened During the Little Hiatus II

the dust has finally settled! never felt relief that good.

spent the last few weeks getting back into the normalcy of the period B.W. (Before-the-Wedding ). re-adjusted the home furniture to its original place, found the old pace of life, and slumped back into the old habits. hey, life is good A.W. oh yes, perhaps try to refrain from asking us abt the now, at Day 17, tvp and i would hv made our second million dollars...if & only if, we could charge a dollar each time the question is asked.

it's funny how fast everyone's life pulses outpace ours. u crossed one major life milestone, and everyone else has already moved on to the next milestone. barely 72 hours later, that inevitable baby question pops up - WHEN??? every little ailment is symptomatic of something to come... right...

oh well...that's something that remains to be checked! hee hee hee!

Sunday, June 5

The Knocking Creed

Our credo to complete strangers knocking on our doors:

If you are selling,
We are not buying!

If you are collecting,
We are giving!

Friday, June 3

Some things are embedded in the mundane
What you don’t say, you lose

Ironical that the good will always need a foil to reveal its essence

Passion rises, passion falls.
What happens when the story ends, and reaches its terminal?
That hindsight is better than no vision?

Monday, May 30

Happy Birthday, Capitalism!!!

My birthday is around the corner.

So reminds, the credit cards, the shopping malls, the confectionary shoppe, the skincare specialists, the mobile phone service provider, the cosmetic brands, the shoes folks and the bedlinen homecare range.

"here's a voucher on us! go enjoy your day! Happy Birthday, from all of us!"
"how sweet..." i thought.

BUT, terms and conditions apply, yes, even on birthdays, especially on birthdays! Want the $100 voucher? Spend a minimum of $200. Care for a 20% discount? Must go beyond the $300 mark. How about a free dinner? Sure! Bring a partner - you get to dine for free! Redeem your surprise birthday gift? Go to the far end of Singapore, open only on weekdays, during office hours.

"how sincere," i thought. captialist-coloured sincerity.