Jackoatsmon's Blog

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 9, 2010

Between Jobs

Filed under: Uncategorized — jackoatsmon @ 2:00 am

I am currently between jobs.  I decided to take a break for a couple of days before starting my new job.  In all honesty, I am not sure what to do with myself.  I enjoy having a quiet time to myself but these days, with the house and even my room being constantly occupied, it is not possible to do so anymore.

Going out means spending money (which is not that great an idea when one is jobless).

I recall reading a quotation once (probably in Reader’s Digest) that the only thing a man can do constantly (besides sleeping) for eight hours a day is work.  I tend to agree.  I cannot imagine doing this every day.  I had actually handed over all my work before my last day of work that I was actually at loose ends and did not know what to do with myself at work.  It was driving me mad.  At least now, I can choose to do nothing legitimately.

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.

March 17, 2010

The Ugly Game

Filed under: Uncategorized — jackoatsmon @ 12:17 pm

There is an arcade game that is hugely popular with the kids in Singapore at present.  Its name is Animal Kaiser.  It is actually quite a cool game.  You basically collect animal and power cards and battle against the machine or another player by using your animal and power cards and stopping a spinner to determine the strength of your attack to see who wins.  My problem is more with the ugly side of people that the game brings out.

During the peak periods (e.g. weekends), you will see huge crowds of children standing there waiting for their turn.  The kids can wait for more than an hour to play.  The reason for this is because there will always be a kid at each machine who will keep playing many games without stopping.  I do not fully blame the kid for doing this because while they are doing this, there will always be an adult guardian standing behind them who constantly supply them with the needed credits to keep playing.  These parents are willfully unaware of the huge crowds of kids waiting for their turn.  If parents behave that way, how do you expect the kids to behave?  The irony of this is that the machine actually has a message asking you to give others a chance.  The message is as useful as a tissue paper in a rainstorm.  I was at Genting Highlands recently and my kid was waiting behind this child whose father kept coming to top up the machine with enough credits for several games at a time.  This was repeated ad nauseam.  We finally gave up and waited at another machine.

The game brings out the ugliness in me as well and I really dislike having to bring my kids to the arcade to play this game.  I normally ask them to stop playing after a couple of games if I see others waiting for a turn.  After facing the long wait, I end up with the kiasu attitude that my kids should play more games as they had to wait such a long time for their turn and just playing one or two games after waiting such a long time is not worth it.  This leads to a vicious cycle I suppose.  This is actually leading to times when parents actually encourage kids to play more games.  Considering that the game is quite expensive, it is actually quite amazing and the winner is the game operator who rakes in the money.

March 3, 2010

Sound Sensitivity

Filed under: Uncategorized — jackoatsmon @ 2:58 am

Ever since our daughter was diagnosed with Aspergers Syndrome, my wife and I have been looking at each other to see who has the same traits that she has.  At present, I am in the lead.

One of the possible traits of people with Aspergers Syndrome is a high sensitivity to noise that they did not cause themselves.  (e.g. they are ok with loud music that they are playing but cannot tolerate a similar noise level from the surrounding environment.)  Lately, I find that my sensitivity to noise appears rather high.  I get very frustrated in a high noise environment especially when many people are speaking loudly at once.  This is posing a problem for me as the kids and wife seems to have to talk extremely loudly at home.  I am finding it painful but if I say something, I will be painted as the bad guy again.

I was never one for loud sounds.  While people would love to crank up the volume of their computer games, I was fine with low or no sound.  Of course that is no longer possible in today’s games as sounds often offer up cues as to what is happening off-screen.

All this noise is making me bad-tempered.  The next thing on my list of issues will probably be having people tell me that I have anger management issues.    Arrgh!

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.

February 2, 2010

Of Responsibility and Cheapskates

Filed under: Work — jackoatsmon @ 2:29 pm

This entry is a bit of a rant. Just have to try and get it out of my system.

I would think that if a person signs out a piece of company property, said person is responsible for it. If it is lost (and I mean by negligence and not due to a robbery, burglary or other disasters), I would think that the right thing to do is to replace it out of your own pocket. Isn’t that taking responsibility for things that you are entrusted with? As an officer of the company, is it not your duty?

I have a high level officer in my company who has signed out for equipment with accessories.  He has lost one of the accessories and now expects the company to replace it for him.  After many hints that he should pay for the item out his own pocket, he still doesn’t get it. He had the audacity to tell me that he would use his departmental budget to purchase the item for him (that is still company money!).  He feels that such accessories (such as the detachable power adaptor) are ‘consumables’ and should be replaced if damaged or lost.  How can he not be able to tell the difference between damage from wear & tear and losing an item?!  He feels that is is ok so long as it does not happen all the time.  I finally had to tell him up front that I considered leaving things behind as being “irresponsible” and that I expect him to pay for the item himself.

The item in question cost less than $100.  If this was a junior staff, I would have had a little bit more sympathy but being one of the higher ranking officers and earning several thousand (?) dollars a month?  Perhaps that is how he expects to get richer, by making the company provide everything for him.  Still can’t get over what a ******* and cheapskate this person is.

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.” 😉

January 12, 2010

Wisdom of the Ancients

Filed under: Musings — jackoatsmon @ 3:45 pm

I was speaking with a colleague the other day and the topic led to the movie 2012 – mainly about how the world will end in 2012 because the Mayan calendar ends then. It makes me wonder about why we have this need to feel that others know more than we do even though our technology and research has progressed steadily though the years. No matter how advanced we get, we still have this feeling that people who lived centuries before us know more than we do collectively. From the Mayan, to the ancient Egyptians, to the lost civilization of Atlantis. It appears to me that we only feel that these ‘Ancients’ posseses amazing secrets only because records about them or records kept by them did not survive substantially till modern times. For thoses that survived, there appears to be no big secrets to hide. I would guess that we are always worried that the other guy knows something that we don’t.

My ‘theory’ as to why the Mayan calendar ends in 2012 (and this is just a flimsy joke) is that they ran out of rock to build more calendars.

December 24, 2009

Going Solo during Christmas

Filed under: Service — jackoatsmon @ 2:38 am

I never had problems going out on my own to shop, eat or watch a movie but recently, a night of Christmas shopping at Vivo City made me understand why some people do not like to do it.
I was at Vivo City doing some final Christmas shopping for my wife without much success. Feeling tired and hungry, I decided to go and have dinner. I decided to have a nice dinner at Shin Kushiya, a Japanese restaurant on the second floor. This is a restaurant that I had been to many times on my own previously and never had a problem getting a table. Things were different that night…
I was asked by the waitress whether I wanted a bar seat and I requested for a table. The waitress was leading me further into the restaurant when we met another waitress who was informed that I would like a table. The response given was that tables are for two people only. It is worth pointing out that at that point in time, there was no crowd yet and there was plenty of space. This was, to me, a decision to maximize the space available and discriminating against me because I was alone. At this point, I said “thank you” and left.
Here is the math of the situation. I would have taken perhaps half an hour to an hour tops to have my dinner during which time, the restaurant still had space to fill up. They chose to discriminate against me and alienate me. This result in a very unhappy customer who will now cease to patronize the restaurant regardless of the season unless there is no other choice. I will also cease to bring friends and family to the restaurant or recommend it to others. (Much the opposite). In addition, I do things like blogging about it and mentioning the incident to all my friends. Which is likely to be the larger loss? The lost of one additional seat for an hour or the lost of all future business from a customer that would have otherwise continued returning to the restaurant?

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