Honey, I’m home

Why hello.

So my blog got attacked the last time and I accidentally deleted all the files without a backup (hence images won’t be showing up in archived posts now). Thankfully, the posts were still restorable as they were still on the database.

I put off rebuilding the site for a while because blogging was getting a bit drawl for me. It seemed that I had become one of those ‘bloggers’. I was blogging and hoping to gain the attention; to increase my visitor rate and to seek a bombardment of comments. Those Malaysian instincts must have kicked in and evolved my initial goals (of using this as my dear diary) into what it became – A monkey performing for an imaginary audience.

I want to use this website as a hub for discussions of issues marinated in my ideas and opinions. Something that I can come back to in the future to relate to or even reiterate.

Here’s to a new blogging life. A blog where I hope my motives stay on track this time. Need I mentioned this is the third or fourth reboot of my blog? :)

My take on Inception

Inception-poster-2-21-12-09-kc

So I finally got around to seeing Inception. After all the hype and talk about it – I have to admit, it was worth it and I can only regret nto having seen it earlier to partake in the discussion with my friends.

Having being told a lot about how it is confusing and one has to pay lots of attention while watching, I analyzed just about every scene trying to formulate the different possible endings and explanations behind them. Upon reaching my car, I immediately Googled the different theories on my iPhone because of how curious the movie had made me.

NOTE: Avoid the following if you have not yet seen this movie as I am not holding back on spoilers when it comes to theorizing!

My theory throughout the movie was that the entire thing was a dream. Clues are littered all over the screen and I will go through a few that I can remember.

We first note how  Cobb’s father (Michael Caine) continuously tells him to wake up and re-join reality. This is an obvious hint to the fact that Cobb is still asleep and needs to wake up. Cobb himself mentions wanting to “go home” and so-forth instead of repeatedly saying he wants to return to America.

Another questionable issue was how his children had not aged at all towards the end of the film when we finally see their faces. Who was this grandmother they referred to on the phone too – This quite possibly could be a movie error, or maybe a contribution to this theory too.

One thing that really caught my attention was reference to the COBOL corporation (It also can be noted that this coincidentally sounds a lot like “Cobb” too). There is little explanation behind the organization and why they are hunting Cobb down. Towards the end, Mal also mentions “being chased around the world by anonymous corporations, like projections chase the dreamer”. The reality of this idea is also very far-fetched – Armed with just a pistol (that remarkably is never used in ‘reality’) and being chased across the globe for no apparent reason.

The main give away was when Mal herself talks about how Cobb is unable to perceive whether or not his reality truly is what it is. Mal in the film seems to be a creation of Cobb’s regret of his inception – But then again, inception is also never proven except in Mal’s case which can also be argued against. What if, jumping off the hotel window really did cause Mal to wake up to reality? How were they so sure that what they had previously woken up to was reality (in this case, the world is in which the entire movie is in)? This then makes it possible that Mal is not even dead and just awake and unable to wake Cobb up.

The loss of Mal has then caused Cobb to continue projecting his own world of action and excitement including the COBOL corporation and this job.

Another strange idea I had was what if they never actually had children? Cobb mentions in limbo how they moved into an apartment after Mal got pregnant. This then hints to them having children during that 50 years they spent in limbo. If this was so, how was it then possible for them to wake up to children and for Cobb’s main objective of the plot to return home to his children?

Now, I could go into more evidence into how this could possibly be a dream including the similarities to a anxiety nightmare when he got stuck in the alleyway, Arthur’s precision with weaponry and hand-to-hand combat (taking out a guy twice his size with a kick?),  Mal sitting on an opposing hotel window sill, the impossible chances of Saito coming to the rescue when Cobb was being chased by COBOL, the spinning top at the end of the movie and more. However, several articles go into this and I think just watching the movie again with the idea everything is a dream will let you pick up on these moments.

The biggest argument against the entire movie being a dream is seeing the top toppling when he spun it in the so-called reality space. The idea of the totem was very unbelievable to me and only seemed to be useful if you were in another person’s dream. Being in another’s space, objects on you may also have been created and hence may not have the same flaws as what they did in reality. However, when you are in your own dream, knowing the flaws yourself (the movie itself makes it clear that you are not supposed to let others know the secrets behind your totems) would result in creating an exact replica of that totem too. So throughout the movie, within Cobb’s dream state, we see that replica of Mal’s top that topples over.

Let us not forget that the top isn’t even Cobb’s. There has been some speculation as to what Cobb’s real totem was and apparently his wedding ring only appears to be worn in reality.

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The main thing to note is that this movie is excellent and teases our minds to think (and over-think) about it. Watching it again will be just as fulfilling, to try and figure out the theories behind it. Unfortunately, Chris Nolan does a marvelous job in making just about any theory out there on the movie viable – So there really does not exist a perfect theory as of yet.

Aus. Gov. fail at deterring Smokers

So it all began when our good old Prime Minister was being pressured to increase cigarette prices:

The Prime Minister last night outlined the looming threat of an ageing population, warning that the rising cost of health would outstrip the states’ ability to raise taxes within two decades.

Quit Victoria executive director Fiona Sharkey told The Australian Online today that lifting the price of cigarettes would save lives.

“It is the single biggest thing we can do to bring smoking down. It cuts consumption and it cuts the number of people who smoke,” she said.

Source: The Australian (25th January 2010)

And the results…

The excise increase, which will help fund the government’s health reforms, will be short of that required to lift the price of a packet of cigarettes to $20, as recommended by the government’s Preventative Health Taskforce.

There was speculation last night that the excise increase would add at least $2-$3 to a pack of 25.

The excise increase, which will help fund the government’s health reforms, will be short of that required to lift the price of a packet of cigarettes to $20, as recommended by the government’s Preventative Health Taskforce.
There was speculation last night that the excise increase would add at least $2-$3 to a pack of 25.

And even more results…

From January 1, 2012, all brands of cigarettes will be sold in plain boxes. The boxes will be the same colour and carry large, graphic health warnings. The brand of the cigarette will appear in a small font. The font style and size, as well as the position of the brand will be uniform.

Source: SMH (29th April, 2010)

So to sum it up, the Australian government is fighting smoking by

  1. Raising prices of all cigarettes to up to $20 (RM60!) per pack
  2. Making all cigarette packaging plain

So let’s look at this objectively.

First of all, raising the prices to curb smoking seems to be one of the most inefficient methods ever. Not only do smokers have other options (such as rolling their own cigarettes or purchasing from illegal markets) but this ‘solution’ will also have an negative effect on several non-smokers.

The first of which are shopkeepers of tobacconist stores or  convenience stores: I think it’s obvious that the profits of these stores along with their job security will be affected. Instead of stopping smokers, this will just make the majority of smokers turn to another source which is usually illegal and from an external market – It’s interesting how the Government has not looked at the effects of this decision on these small Australian businesses.

Another obvious issue is the matter of freedom of choice. Smoking can both be a social choice or a personal preference. It is not unheard of for a person to feel a sense of confidence with a cigarette in their hand, hence the social smoker. Nor is it a sin to enjoy the flavour of a cigarette. By using cost as a deterrent, the raised taxes on cigarettes seems to only be targeted on those with less money anyway.

Finally, this is like increasing the price of contraceptives to curb pre-marital sex – But the consequences of this are much more obvious, an uncontrollable increase in the population. Increased cigarette prices on the other hand, may not scream consequences immediately. But a smoker has two choices: (a) continue buying cigarettes at the new increased price; (b) stop smoking. With option (a), those that do not have much money will sacrifice their spending other everyday requirements (which can be food, drinks, leisure, etc.) hence the Government isn’t curbing and is rather punishing. Option (b) will result in smokers being forced to stop their addiction – Everyone knows that the most effective method of quitting smoking is when a personal choice is made. It is not up to anyone else to decide whether or not they should quit and by doing so, there will definitely be friction in this process. Being cut-off from this addiction will incur negative feelings such as stress, fatigue and/or frustration – Will this not affect the workforce of Australia?

The change to the packaging is just plain silly. It limits cigarette manufacturers from marketing their brands hence saving them money. The government feels that people smoke due to the colourful packing – Yet have they not realized that within the packaging, every cigarette looks practically the same (with the exception of Pall Mall having some designs on it)?

All in all, there are a lot of disadvantages in making this decision. The government has not considered several issues and I am sure that eventually these will come up.

Keep up the good work, Rudd. First the Internet Censor and now this. Why did I vote for you?

Interview Tip (Yeah, just one)

It was a busy day in the office when I received the mail from Company X. My application was being considered and I had an interview with someone from HR. I was ecstatic and excited to discover such wonderful news… Until the realization of my fear of that 3-syllable word of doom – “INTERVIEW”.

I had never been for a formal interview especially one involving applying for a job. With my academics not being that strong either, my first instinct was to flee… To decline the interview and tell myself that I “didn’t really want that job anyway”. Obviously the sensible part in me took over and I scheduled the interview 2 weeks later. These 2 weeks I decided would be long enough for preparation.

2 weeks down the road and I was in the lobby of Company X. I had done no practicing in front of the mirror, no memorization of great speeches nor any reading on interview skills or body language. The only thing I’d done was read about the company and it’s goals to show my interest.

Following the interviewer to the interview room led me to think of the numerous possible ways at which I could make an idiot of myself during this session

I answered nervously as she asked me questions on past situations where I had demonstrated my abilities and the decisions I made. All of the questions she asked, I had predicted – each of which I had already prepared rough answers for… Ofcourse things did not continue to go so well when she finally asked me one that I had no idea how to answer.

This was when I had a decision to make

  1. Lie: It’s not hard to make up a story about a time in University. I am good at (but not proud of) lying too.
  2. Be honest: Explain my inability to answer

When someone is nervous they tend to just blurt out a blatant lie or pure honesty. So, eventually the stress got to me…

“Honestly, I am unable to answer the question as I feel I lack the experience in what you have just asked about. However, I do know of a similar experience that may be appropriately considered…”

And then I told of a true story that was most aligned to her question. +points for honesty and +points for having another story that I could sell myself with.

It was from this point onwards that my confidence rose as I realised it wasn’t about being able to use big words or throwing in great stories that of me being the hero of the day. It was about explaining who I was and why I was suitable for the job – Yes, I’ve been told this before, but I never believed it… Companies suggest you to ‘be yourself’ in every interview because they ‘want to get to know you’ while the rebel in each of us will always be thinking  ”yeah right, they’ll never want me if I be myself”. Have we ever stopped to think that different companies genuinely look for different types of people?

So to sum it up, there is only one interview tip that I have:

Be honest and be yourself

Yeah, yeah, you’ve heard it all before. But take this as something coming from someone who experienced the true relief and boost of self confidence by telling the truth.

If you are honest, confidence will grow because you have nothing to be afraid of. If you are forced to say something negative about yourself then just be tactful in the way you say it. If being yourself results in your rejection then it just really might be that you weren’t suitable for the company. Some companies prefer those that have leadership skills while some prefer those that efficiently work alone; some companies prefer those that can solve problems quickly while others prefer those that can pull a problem apart and take their time to carefully decide on the solution.

Obviously with this tip I am assuming you are competent enough to dress formally, not to ramble when you answer questions and to have a great handshake – All “skills” that can be mastered in a day.

Good luck!

Ambitions

Quick Update:

Again, I have pretty much gone missing due to my lack of access to the Internet. I apologize if my post sounds extremely ‘professional’, I have been writing cover letters and answer job application questions so I’ve picked up this annoying habit – it’s temporary, don’t worry.

Anyway, I have recently moved to a much nicer suburb than Kingsford and am definitely enjoying the peaceful environment hence the lack of Internet. I still don’t really have Internet because I can’t find a network cable long enough to cable up my computer with the router.

Alright, Now it’s time for the post.

As I’m in my final year, this is around the time when me and my peers apply for graduate positions. Every time need to fill out a preference of area to work in when I apply for a graduate position it is always focused on IT pretty much because of my degree. Over the past 3 years I have thoroughly involved myself in Event Management and/or Marketing. At first it was for fun – to get myself some connections and free entry into clubs. However, now in my fourth year, I am waiting for my Industrial Training placement to finish so I can once again get involved. With the experience and exposure I have gained from my past involvements, I believe it’s time for me to bring something to Sydney. It has always been organizing or marketing an event to fulfill the purposes of others (which is most of the time, revenue) but now I think I want the be the one that makes the decisions so that I can finally bring something fresh and new to Sydney. I have waited for so many things to happen in Sydney, but now I just feel like it’s up to me to do it.

From my tone and the words I use, you can tell I am very ambitious with this project. And from there, I am sure you can tell where this is going… That’s right, the Crossroads…

Crossroads

Uh… No. Not that shitty movie. Something that explains the situation more clearly would be this:

Crossroads2

Yeah, that’s me. Analysis of this image will tell you about the emphasis on decision making. I stand there at the crossroads staring into the horizons as I realize “Shit, I have to choose quickly. The Sun is setting and I need to find my way home”. That’s how I epitomize this situation – Me trying to find my way ‘home’ – a future of (at least mediocre) success.

So a war between Education vs. Interests, eh? Heck, don’t get me started on my education – I wanted to do Design of some sort when I was choosing my degree. But ‘they’ always know what’s best for you, right? Don’t get me wrong, IT is definitely the field that most suits me and I do like all that computer stuff, but it’s just not something I am passionate about.

What I hope to do is walk along both paths in parallel and hope that they meet. If they diverge, my choice will probably be with IT because I went through 4 years of studying to get that “paper with my name on it”.

I guess it’s too early to decide but these are just some thoughts I’ve been having.

Missing in Action

So yes I have been away due to reasons I will explain in a sec’. I have been pretty much missing from the internet scene for about 4 weeks due to a problem that I was afraid would affect both my blog posts and general social networking posts.

I guess this is a weakness or flaw of mine. Being unable to hide my feelings (especially negative) in anything I write. This normally leads to a post failing to narrate what I intend it to and ending up as a post that rants like Kanye West with ADD. I’ve known this about myself hence the avoidance of the Internet as I really do like to keep my problems to myself instead of broadcasting them across the world like a socialite. I guess when I started blogging, deep down, I wanted to be a socialite of some sort – but with this characteristic I hold, I doubt that’ll ever happen.

Anyway, with the problem now resolved, I can finally talk about it. At the end of January, I took leave to go to Malaysia for Chinese New Year with my family and friends. Unfortunately, I went about getting approval for this leave in the most unprofessional and unintelligent way possible. The miscommunication then led to a confusion of my leave dates. When I didn’t show up for work, CCA tried to contact me – by this time I was eating my nasi lemak and shouting over the noise polluting modified Kancils in KL.

Due to my limited access to the Internet (and by limited I mean being unable to check my mail via my iPhone – technology pampers us so…), I checked my mail to find out my scholarship was suspended. After numerous attempts to clarify the issue, it was concluded that I could do nothing overseas. It had to wait till I came back to Sydney and attended a showcause meeting.

So that’s how I spent a lot of my holiday – thinking about this issue and dreading the worst.

I will skip the details and get to the results. The showcause meeting resulted in CCA taking me back. I have begun work again today and will be under probation for a month also due to what my manager has called ‘unsatisfactory performance’ – another rant, another day.

I cannot deny that I had heaps of fun in Malaysia thanks to my awesome family and friends. I also got to meet a lot of new people this time around that are all very worthy of my entourage (“nice people” in James-speak) and hope that they will welcome me into theirs. I would firstly like to apologize especially to those I just met if I came off whiney or depressed. I guarantee that behind that emoboy mask sits a cheerful and friendly little boy.

Thank you for reading. I know my absence was uncalled for but I do hope you will still return to learn more jah-mez!

See you soon.

Shouts to the infamous Khai Ron, shuffler Keith, badass Michelle, tomatoface Stacy, timid Jacqueline and what-a-small-world Jin Li. I definitely forgot some people and I apologize but I typed this up in the bus!

Super Busy

Oh man, I totally forgot about my Newsly Fridays last week! I have been really busy doing things like cleaning up the house and packing stuff for my move in March. It’s not me deciding to do these things, it’s more like my wallet disallowing me to do much else :( . Industrial training at CCA has been hectic too – I have gotten pretty deep into the projects so there really has been a fair amount of work everyday.

Jhin Seong (apparently, world re-knowned foosballer) came over on Friday night to keep me company (because the cobwebs in my wallet reminded me not to go out). We played some computer games and drank some beer (Jhin hit his limit of 1 so we had to stop soon) pretty much like our childhood GIS days.

So yeah, nothing really has been particularly interesting in my life. However,  there are two things I really want to post about.

  1. America’s Best Dance Crew Season 5
  2. Car Loving (deciding what car to aim for)

Will definitely try to do write-ups asap.

Australia Day

So what did I do on Australia Day (26th January)? After a long and intoxicating night of Karaoke at Mamba down on Sussex St., I woke up at about 4pm because of Serena panicking at the sound of someone knocking on my balcony sliding doors.

It was my brother equipped with a broom sweeping up the balcony and accidentally hitting the doors. It was less of a oops-sorry-to-wake-you kind of whack and seemed a lot more like a wake-up-and-help-me-you-lazy-prick kind.

I got up and grabbed a bucket – Me and my brother cleaned up the balcony for about 2 hours. I then was called to help a friend move stuff to his new house which (seeing as I am such a nice guy) me and Serena gladly obliged to. This took about an hour.

Did I mention it was actually our 1 month anniversary today? Hah, well, tired as hell we headed over to Bondi Junction for a Japanese dinner I had planned. Parking inside Westfield meant we had to walk a bit to get to the restaurant… Which was closed when we got there. F-M-L.

We finally ate at another Japanese restaurant nearby and had a feast.

As bad a day as it seemed, I got to spend the whole day with my girlfriend, which ultimately was what I wanted to do for our anniversary (even though we didn’t get to do anything that much special).

Happy Anniversary, dear :)

…Sorry, no photos – I am getting less cam-whore-y these days…

The Australian Sickie

Although I do not have actual working experience in Malaysia, I have plenty of friends who do.

Let’s take one of my mates for example:

  1. He wakes up at 5.30 AM to get ready and leave his house by 6.30 AM;
  2. the drive is from Subang Jaya to KL city and due to jams, he gets to work between 7.30-8.30 AM;
  3. sure, work starts at 9.00 AM but trying to get to work at 9.00 AM on the dot is impossible with the distance and the jams he has to travel through.
  4. At work, he does plenty, there is hardly any social conversation between employees (unless they’re looking to get chucked out;
  5. he finally gets off for lunch around 12-ish when he finishes whatever he’s on.
  6. After an hour’s lunch, he works his butt off again till 6.00 PM if he’s lucky but usually gets off at 7.00 PM.

So that’s almost 12 hours spent on work – Ouch.

Now, in Australia, the typical (when I say typical, I refer to what is definitely the major population) day at work would involve the following:

  1. Normally, it takes a max 1 hour to travel to work and with public transport it’s easy to consistently arrive at work around 9 AM;
  2. after a little bit of e-mail checking/replying, it’s then common to grab a coffee with your fellow employees to catch up both on work matters and socially;
  3. work starts again until 12 PM when you can head for lunch;
  4. taking a full hour of lunch means you arrive back at 1 PM;
  5. and after 4 more hours you can leave. Legally, 5 PM is the time all employees are allowed to leave – the slightly more ambitious may want to stay longer but again, this is referring to the major population.

So it’s pretty obvious that working life in Australia is more laid back and heck, more enjoyable. The sickie is what Aussies have dubbed as a day off work due to (supposed) illness and has become part of Australian culture. So much so that you can hear jokes that relate common Australian behaviour to it too – Kind of like those “Chinese are cheap” jokes you hear on Russell Peters, it’s offensive but you know it’s true.

dilbert1

The reason I am writing about this is due to this article, ”Australia’s biggest ever sickie”. Tomorrow (Tuesday, 26th of January) is Australia Day hence a public holiday and everyone seems to be pulling a sickie today (Monday) to get that 4-day weekend. How has pulling a sickie become Aussie culture when working life is so much better here in Oz’? In Malaysia, trying to take a sick leave so blatantly fake just to get a long weekend is asking to get sacked.

It’s disappointing to say that I think Aussies are really taking their job security for granted.