Jackoatsmon's Blog

January 24, 2012


Filed under: Musings — jackoatsmon @ 11:49 am

‘The only thing constant in life is change.’  This is something that has been said over and over again but remains true nonetheless.

Change happens every day and some are sudden and some happen gradually over time.  The gradual changes are easy to handle as they tend to creep up on us over time and we simply adapt to it until one fine day when we look back and realised that things have changed.  We may feel happiness or regret at that point but in all likelihood, we would have adapted and accepted the changes.

Our reaction to sudden changes are more varied.  I suppose it depends on whether we are the ones who desired the change or it has been forced upon us.  Changes that we desired, such as starting a new job or moving to a new home can feel us with excitement and energy.  To embrace the new that is lying in front of us.  Conversely, changes that are forced upon us, such as retrenchment or death in the family can cause us to loose energy and focus or even devastate us emotionally.

I anticipate having to move out of the home that I have been staying in for more than two decades.  It is the home that I kids know.  Unfortunately, this change has been forced upon us and barring unforeseen circumstances, will take place.  Besides the concern about logistical matters that need to be addressed, I find myself waxing nostalgic over the regular places that we frequent in the neighbourhood.  The supermarket which we have always thought to be one of the best around, the tuition centres that my kids go to, the market that we buy breakfast from once a week,  I have not even settled where I will staying in the future but am already missing some of the places.

I naturally try to tell myself about the positive points such as getting away from the madness that is the weekend traffic, getting away from the stray cats the neighbours feeds and other things.  There IS two sides to the coin.

Change – can live without it, must live with it.


December 7, 2011

Merry Commercial Chri$tma$

Filed under: Musings — jackoatsmon @ 1:35 pm

Christmas is coming again.  While the world talks about goodwill to all men, the meaning of Christmas and all that, for many it is a commercial christmas and is about getting presents, attending parties, eating, drinking and being merry.

Nothing truly wrong about having a commercial christmas.  In moderation.  Its going to help the retail industry and the economy after all.  Then again, look at all the stress we put ourselves through trying to find the perfect gift (I’ll settle for finding a decent gift), rushing all over and fighting with the crowds – all in the ‘spirit’ of Christmas.

All in all though, I am grateful that I am able to fight with the crowds and buy gifts for friends and family.  It means that I have loved ones to share the holidays with. It is always good, as well, when people really like what you’ve gotten them.

So to all who celebrate Christmas in whatever form and for whatever reason – Merry Christmas.  May you find joy and happiness during this festive season and the year ahead.

November 29, 2011

Who am I?

Filed under: Musings — jackoatsmon @ 3:56 pm

The same old question that crops up every now and then.  Who am I?  What defines me?  Then again, does it really matter?  In a hundred years time, I will be dust and at best a faded memory.  I do not have the ambition to strive for the immortality of fame and history.  I live, I die and I am forgotten.  So what matters the answer to the question ‘Who am I”?

We all wish to have significance but in the end, do we really have any?  Even if we do, it is perhaps only in the significance of our species.  Do all other life that we share our planet with really care about what we view as our achievements?

Who am I?  I suppose I am a consumer.  I consume the work of others, their ideas, their inventions.

Who am I?  I suppose I am a cog.  I am part of the machine that we know as society.  I play my part and turn accordingly in the right direction and, in my own small way, keep society moving along.

Who am I?  I am what I am.  I am a product of my parent’s genetics, my upbringing, of various ideas and thoughts that I have absorbed from my environment and experiences.  In the end, the reality is that I am here with responsibilities to those around me.  There is naught to be done about it but to strive ever onwards and make the best of what I have.  To get what fulfillment I can with the time I have here.


A stray thought has crossed my mind.  There is the famous quotation “I think, therefore I am”.  No one ever mentioned what was being thought. . .

November 6, 2011

Kids and Technology

Filed under: Aspergers,Musings — jackoatsmon @ 3:15 pm

I was one of those that grabbed the iPhone 4S when it was released.  I actually had to queue twice as my spouse wanted one as well.  Took me hours to get it done.  We were both happy to get the new iPhone as both of our phones were starting to act up and it was time for a change.

The features have already been discussed over many forums and media reports so I won’t bother to go into them.  (This is not a technology writeup anyway.)

The most notable feature was, of course, the SIRI.  We got home and started asking it all sorts of ridulous questions (just like everyone else).  As adults, we knew that it was ultimately a piece of software and limited our questions accordingly.  What was amusing to me was having my son ask SIRI how to do certain things in all seriousness.  As his enunciation isn’t very good, I doubt that the question was ever properly captured in the first place and he finally gave up.  😦

What I did not expect to see was the situation which arose when my daugther, who has Aspergers, tried to give instructions to SIRI.  She had apparently tried to get SIRI to play a song for her but as SIRI could not really catch our local accent, it kept giving her the usual replies like “I do not understand” or “I am not able to”.  This upset my daughter so much that she broke down and cried because she felt that SIRI was being very rude to her.

Aspergers problems aside, it seems as though technology is finally starting to get to the point where it is able to appear to be an intelligent entity in its own right where humans expect that it would response to their words the way another person might.  Where will this leads us?  On one hand, we can look at the future as shown in the various Star Trek and similiar shows where the computer can execute commands given verbally.  On the other, we can look at shows like the Matrix.

Fortunately for me, I am likely to be dust before such a thing happens and I can still treat it as an interesting piece of fiction.  🙂

There is a podcast by the mr brown show spoofing SIRI that is very funny to those who know the culture for Singapore.  View it at http://clips.tojsiab.com/?w=simi or at http://mrbrownshow.com/ (6 Oct podcast).

October 26, 2011


Filed under: Musings — jackoatsmon @ 2:12 am

I was reading a friend’s blog and facebook entries recently and was quite amazed by the number of activities she was having with her old friends, some which were apparently out of touch for many years.  It takes a fair bit of time and effort to be doing this.

Her activities reminded me of the opening lines of a poem which I used to read and treasure long ago but have now mainly forgotten.

Make new friends but keep the old,
Those are sliver but these are gold

Looking back, I realise that most of my friendships have been transient.  They have lasted only slightly longer than the circumstances that had thrown me together with them and faded quickly after that.  When I was young, I suppose that it was because I did not truly consider them to be true friends as they would often choose others over me when the time came.  Another reason is that I did not make a real effort to stay in touch.  Then again, real friendship does not truly require a constant string of activities to keep up although the occasional touchpoint is still needed.

Now that I am older, I am glad that I have at least found friends that have stood the test of time.  We may not get in contact regularly and a couple of years by pass without seeing each other but when we do, it is always good and we enjoy catching up with each others lives.

Old friends, like gold, are indeed precious.

(I just googled the opening lines and found the lyrics to a folk song that starts of with the same lines.  I am not sure whether this is what I read originally though.  The lyrics can be found at http://www.songsforteaching.com/folk/makenewfriends.php.)


October 23, 2011


Filed under: Musings — jackoatsmon @ 1:18 am

Growing up during a time when the country was rapidly developing has given me a chance to grow with it as well.  Looking back in the past, I can compare what I have now against what I use to have and  be grateful that my lot in life has improved.  I was fortunate enough to be able to study in the University, get a good job and provide some of the nicer things in life for my family even though we will never be living the lifestyle of the rich and famous.

I was talking with some friends the other day though about how I am sometimes worried about what will happen to my children when they grow up.  While they are enjoying a nice life now, will they be able to afford the same when they grow up and have to pay for it themselves?  As parents, we try to provide them with the as much advantages as we can in terms of education and experiences but that is no guarantee of their success in life.  Looking at the grades the kids bring back at times, the fear exists that they will have problems down the road.  Of course, being able to afford the material things in life is not everything but I just hope that they will not have to do with less in the future.  I sometimes wonder whether I should give them less so that they will be able to better appreciate the finer things in life later on but that doesn’t feel right as well.

There is the concern as well that whether they will be happy from the social point as well.  That they will have good friends, a good life partner and a good job.  Basicallly, that they will be happy.  Many of these aspects are not within my control.  I can only give them the best I can and bury my fears as deeply as I possibly can and hope for the best.

October 15, 2011

Origins of Languages?

Filed under: Musings — jackoatsmon @ 4:04 pm

Every now and then, I would encounter an article or have a friend tell me about how a particular word originated from Latin or from another French word, etc.  I have at times pondered on the origins of certain words and came up with my own ideas on where it may have originated from.  I recall reading about the story about the Tower of Babel where God scattered the peoples and confused their language thus resulting in the creation of the various languages (or their predecessors).

I can’t help wondering however, given the situation of improperly spoken languages nowadays, whether they had broken languages at that time.  How did they determine the proper grammatical structures to be used?  How did they determined the proper spelling (or hieroglyphics) to represent each word?  How long was it after God scattered the peoples did each group decide to form a committee to decide what is the ‘proper’ language that is to be spoken and look down their noses at those who do not speak it properly?  Did they have language classes then?

Today,  we have various forms of English that deviates from the Queen’s English.  We have Cockney, Japlish, Chinlish and my own favorite Singlish among many others.  Wouldn’t it be amusing if some time in the far future, Singlish becomes a ‘proper’ language and there are books on the when a Hokkien word should be used within a sentence.  😛

April 5, 2010


Filed under: Musings,Work — jackoatsmon @ 1:48 am

I have tendered my resignation to my current employer and am serving out the last couple of days of my notice period.  This is the first time in my life where I can actually hand over all the items before I leave.

I am giving up quite a bit by leaving.  My annual bonus, my friends and colleagues, my nice office, my secretary.  In return, I am going to a job where I am likely not to have a office but more likely a cubicle, no personal secretary and where I am no longer the top guy in my department.  Makes one wonder why I am leaving.

Part of it is longer term planning as I decide to resume my professional career instead of remaining as a administrator and people manager.  Another part of it is a chance to start afresh and perhaps reinvent myself again to be better.  It is an opportunity to improve without any baggage from the current job.  When I took my current job, my work personality underwent a tremendous change to the extent that where I was once considered grouchy, I am now more of a people person (at least compared to the past).  Moving forward to my new job, I hope to become more efficient and improve further on my management skills.

Looking back, I do not regret having taken up my current job and even deciding to switch careers from accounting to administration.  I have had a chance to try doing things here that I would not have been able to otherwise.  The chance to oversee administration and to manage a huge team of people.  Nevertheless, it is time to move on.  I am always reminded of the song at the end of each episode of “Bear and the Big Blue House” whenever I have to say goodbye.  “Goodbye, goodbye.  Good friends, goodbye.  For now its time to go.

I can’t tell what my new job will be really like.  Whether my new boss will be one that is easy to work for or whether my colleagues will be nice people.  For now, however, there is hope.

February 17, 2010

Coming Home

Filed under: Musings,Singapore — jackoatsmon @ 5:59 am

My spouse is a Malaysian and we often have to travel over to Malaysia to spend time with her parents.  I used to hate it as I have to drive for many hours and stories abound about accidents, staged accidents where robbery follows, corrupt cops, etc.  Over the years, I have come to accept and even welcome these trips.  At the very least, it gives me a period where I am out of touch from the office and need not do much beyond vegetating at my in-laws house.  Nevertheless, it is always a joy to reach back to Singapore at the end of the trip.  For some reason, it always revitalizes me to cross the checkpoint and get back on to Singapore soil even though it may have been a really long and tiring drive back.

My spouse being Malaysian however, always gets a bit upset over how happy we are at leaving Malaysia and would exercise her right to be in a bad mood for a day or so.

January 23, 2010

My Way

Filed under: Musings — jackoatsmon @ 9:42 am

Was thinking about the song by Frank Sinatra titled “My Way”. Used to think about it quite a bit when I was young and hoped that I would be able to say the same. A few lines are on my mind these days:

Regrets, I’ve had a few
But then again, too few to mention
I did what I had to do and saw if through without exemption

Looking back on my past, I realize that I have regrets – too many to mention. So much for being able to say that I did things my way. Do I wish I could change things? Sometimes I do. Then again, if things were changed, I would not be the person I am today with the family that I have today. So perhaps changing things may not be the wisest of decisions either.

Will I have more regrets as time moves on? Unfortunately, I believe that I will. Nevertheless, this is the only life I have and I have to make the best of it. I may strive to be better but more often than not, I end up doing the things that I shouldn’t do like losing my temper with my kids, eating too much, etc. (Just look up the seven deadly sins. 🙂 )

I found the full lyrics for the song at the following link

Two other things I remember when I am reminded of this song. One is that a friend of mine stated that she hated this song as it insist that things were done the singer’s way when it should actually be done God’s way. I have never commented on that even though I personally like the song out of respect I have for her. The second thing that comes to mind is more juvenile. I remember the guys in school singing the song as “I did it sideways.” 😉

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