Tony’s Reality Check

•July 27, 2010 • 1 Comment

Mr. Hayward the recently disposed CEO of BP, asked how he felt about the oil spill given that he pledged to improve safety standards in light of the Texas City explosion, said he “was determined not to have a repeat” of such an accident but “sometimes you step off the pavement and get hit by a bus.”

My view on this?
He didn’t step off the pavement and get hit by a bus. He was walking in the middle of the road, thinking it was the pavement.

Guess what, the cars gave way to him… until now.

The Ow family

•December 24, 2009 • 1 Comment

I realised I haven’t written anything in a very long time.

It could very well have been attributed to the lack of meaningful things to write about that I can think of.

Somehow, it just seems like the ever long complaints about the government and policies do not elicit any form of  response from the people responsible, and when that constant writing just seemed like writing into a dark void of oblivion..

It just seemed like its pointless.

But that is really another story for another day.

Continue reading ‘The Ow family’

Hero

•December 1, 2007 • Leave a Comment

No, I wasn’t about to discuss about some enigmatic being in black cape driving a bat shaped automobile of any sort, nor someone in red cape and underwear worn on the outside.

I just happened to return from a movie outing with the missus, she; in her usual movie buff persona (and a fan of Takuya Kimura) had been pestering me to watch the show for the past week, so I guess I had to oblige her, although I’ll really prefer some mindnumbing violence in the likes of 30 Days of Night after a dreary long week in the office. To be honest, I know pretty much next to nothing about the show except for the fact that this movie was actually a popular Japanese TV series, with a nice theme song by Utada Hikaru.

Not being a follower of the TV series franchise, kinda makes one feel like a reader trying to understand the life story of Harry Potter just by reading Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Nonetheless, the main idea of the story managed to pull through while leaving me (a first timer to the franchise) in proverbial dust trying to grasp at loose ends at secreted jokes and storylines.

          

The lack of understanding immediately shows at the start of the movie while Kuryu Kohei (Takuya Kimura) was watching some TV ad with a pseudo spanish soccer star promoting a spanish soccer review, a delivery man sent a package of you guess what? Yes, a box containing that review along with the soccer star’s figurine and a learn-spanish-as-you-go-along CD. Much to Kuryu’s dismal, the review is actually written in spanish, then realising that the CD is meant for the purpose to learn spanish in order to read the review. (At this point in time of the movie, my brain was actually screaming INANE! I am not exactly sure what other followers of the franchise might make out of this portion of the movie, but for me, its just a pure vacuous segment).

The inanity of meaningless (to me) plots continued with Kuryu and the rest of the public prosecuting team, watching a social dance competition with two of their colleagues participating in it Misuzu (Nene Otsuka) and Takayuki (Fumiyo Kohinata), with them crashing out of the tango competition after Takayuki attempted an ill-fated jump in the midst of their sequence, with the result of him being carried out on a stretcher with a sprained ankle; much to the consternation of Kuryu and the rest of the gang (and me; while pondering cluelessly if this had anything to do with the main plot).

The story finally moves on to the main plot, relating the return of Kuryu to the Tokyo public prosecutor office after six years of exile to the Yamaguchi prefecture, with Kuryu quickly picking up a manslaughter case after it was transferred to him from his colleague Shibayama (Hiroshi Abe) whom was embroiled in a divorce case. From the onset, the case looked straightforward with the suspect already confessed to the crime during the interview with Shibayama, while all Kuryu needs to do is to step forward to prosecute him, though little did he know that the suspect Umebayashi is going to be the key alibi for an ex-transport minister Hanaoka whom was being investigated for corruption in the background.

The prosecution then snagged on tripwire as the suspect denied involvement in the killing of the victim, pushing the case from a simple prosecution of a confessed suspect into a full-blown litigation. The story then proceeded apace, while drearily prancing through its steps as the prosecution were continually foiled by the expert defense of the virtuoso lawyer in the likes of Goma (Koshiro Matsumoto) – whom was actually hired by Hanaoka. While the prosecuting team, Kuryu and Amamiya was forced to travel to Korea, in order to find new evidence to prove Umebayashi’s manslaughter case.

The whole Korean segment, beyond the scenes that they were searching relentlessly for an evidence, it was more about setting up both Kuryu and Amamiya together as a couple than anything else. With Lee Byung-Hun being thrust into the cameo role as inspector Kang, with scenes lasting no longer than a few minutes in the final quarter of the movie, him being there was just so to provide a catchline for the main casts’ final scene. The final part of the movie had Hanaoka being thrust into the limelight as he was being summoned as a prosecution witness against Umebayashi, where he had his own statement given in his own corruption case turned against him as he had named Umebayashi as his alibi; which was proven to the contrary.

The story ended with Kuryu and Amamiya sitting in a restaurant, where Kuryu had the parting words of inspector Kang translated by a Travelmaster (a translation device), telling him not to leave Amamiya. He then said in spanish promising her that he wouldn’t, with the ending scene stopped at the frame where the both of them were locked in a kiss.

I would have to the say that the story is entertaining with its very own saccharine sweet silliness coupled with a crowd winning working class hero in the likes of Takuya Kimura, I mean, he is extremely charming in his own peculiar sense. While I do not even honestly believe that an actual courtroom scene in Tokyo could even be enacted as such as in the movie (or even perhaps the TV series). The main plotline is followable with the main characters chasing around for key evidences to convict the suspect while imparting the message that the truth is out there and justice is always available should one is willing to push hard enough for it. What is hard to follow, was the numerous apparent subplots that are only accessible to followers of the TV series such as the travelmaster thingy (from what I was told), while the rest of us (the newcomers) are left scratching our heads in apparent confusion.

The Price of Competency

•April 9, 2007 • 3 Comments

There is always a price to pay, no matter what you do, what you eat or drink, what you buy, or even the distance that you walk. 

Yes. 

Even the distance that you walk could be computed into simple dollars and cents by the meter. Such as the deterioration or depreciation of the Nike sneakers that you wear, the water moisture and energy expended on such an endeavor, and the cost of replenishing it could all be calculated and be slapped with a price tag. Humans have became such economic creatures that we have started to calculate the intrinsic value and cost of whatever we do in order to place a proper price tag for the jobs we do, food we eat, time spent in the toilet and even the cost of making a pass at the babe across the street. All for the sake of efficiency and cost effectiveness, such is a phenomenon that we could not avoid. 

Even when I was a production planner back in my previous company, the process engineers that I work with, would tirelessly attempt to create ever more efficient production layouts, system designs, and even  new walkways just so to ever decrease the time spent by the operator to walk to the toilet and back from the production floor. Everything has a price to them, something which I have seen magnified by the most inane proportions by such companies. Even to me, the cost of hiring those process engineers for the sake of redesigning walkways, production floor layouts and making suggestions to acquire newer machines simply outweigh the small savings that the company could possibly make from such implementations.

Who implements them you might ask?

In any of such scenarios, the management would have the ultimate decision to implement any of the above said changes. Therefore, the capability of the management to know what is presented before them, to be able to recognize and properly access any of the proposals submitted to them are thus important in the implementation of any policies. Otherwise, it would result in flawed policies, and in turn result in increased costs, and therefore loss of revenue for the company. Depending on the impact of the implemented policy, it could result in perhaps nothing more than arrears of more than a few thousand dollars in the balance for the company, which the accountant would probably dismiss as calculation variables, or more drastically, resulting in the redlining of the company’s profits, resulting in major restructuring of the said company’s policies.

What is the price tag for these people in management positions to make such decisions then? 

Our tendency to put a value on every single activity in the bid to reduce cost and increase effectiveness (productivity you might call it), has to be balanced by capable leadership. And even such leadership comes at a definite price, the average CEO of a Standard & Poor’s 500 company, they received $14.78 million in total compensation for the year of 2006. Yet, question that begs us is, are they truly worth that amount of humongous payout year after year? Do all of them make ingenious strategies every year that allows their respective companies to make another record profit making year? Even as we look at Forbes ranking for most efficient of CEOs in comparison to their pay scales, for the fiscal year of 2006, the most efficient CEO John Bucksbaum of General Growth Prop earns a measly 0.23 million, 491st on the money list, while Lawrence Montgomery of Kohl’s earn 10.05 million, 141st on the money list, while languishing at the bottom of the efficiency charts. 

What does all this tell us?

A standard simply do not exist on the proper valuation of leadership competency. As we have seen in the example which I have listed above, even as we try to put a value on the ability of a person to head a company, one could still pay a humongous sum of money to attract top talents or supposed competent figures to do a job, yet, one could still find themselves ended up with monkeys. 

There are simply too many factors to relate to the computation and calculation of the proper remuneration for competency at management levels. It could base on the company’s directors valuation of their CEO, the company’s profit margin, share value, productivity, administrative efficiency, relationship to the board of directors, approval ratings, and so on. We could try to focus on a single aspect of job valuation based on the company’s valuation and shareholder returns for that company, to rate the leadership performance of the captain. Yet, while this might be applicable in a dedicated business on creating wealth, would this model be equally applicable to other organizations where leaders requiring a uniquely different set of qualities are needed to man the helm? 

Indeed, it is question that could continue to beguile us all for many years to come. Try as we might while we continue to solve the world’s mysteries and its many wonders. Sometimes, it is the very solutions that we created, that heap more problems on our common sensibilities. Till the next time.

Of insurgence and inconsequence

•February 7, 2007 • 2 Comments

Many people would probably have heard of the news by now, whether its through the mainstream papers or have seen it in on some of the notable blogs. That the ruling party have finally decided to answer their online critics from a pro-establishment view.

 There are many other personalities on the net whom were already conducting their own witchhunts with regards to this news report. Most of which unfounded, serving nothing but to add perceived chaos to the blogosphere over its announcement. As of the moment to date, I would have figured that Kway Teow Man had probably had the distinction of the web personality as been the most pro-establishment centrist figures that had been targeted for as a suspect for a ruling party activist. It is perhaps true that Kway Teow Man might not be the most popular figures on the web for his mostly nonchalant and perhaps pragmatic views on most of the issues pertaining to government policy. Yet, of course, there were points which he did raised as simply nothing more than what a practical and pragmatic Singaporean whom would perhaps agree on. Pardon me, I’ve digressed, for this is not a post to discuss about KTM’s rhetoric or position, nor am I planning to. What I was trying to make aware is that, based on whatever that has been said or reported, there is no reason nor stimulus to carry out a witchhunt on whom is a PAP supporter or activist.

There are probably alot of rumourmongers, churning their mills with their doomsday stories with regards to ruling party activists posting pro-PAP comments while impersonating other popular personalities, or spreading insidious rumours and inciting the netizens against the moderates on the web by painting them as pro-establishments. Most of these rumours are unfounded, nor are they credible in the face of technology and political reality. Lets face it, its one thing to post anonymously, writing in and stating pro-PAP comments and providing counter-arguments on the net, and another to incite insidious actions as those I’ve described above. The web is not as secure a place to make insidious comments and expect to extricate oneself fully from the scene, the possible political backlash that might result from any of such insidious actions, would only serve to justify the majority anti-establishment sentiments, and tarnish their advertised squeaky clean image. This is not the kind of gamble nor a logical move that I expect the incumbent to make.

 Looking from the ruling party’s viewpoint, it probably serves their best interest to have party activists, especially those of which who truly believed in PAP’s doctrines, and one whom understands their viewpoints and positions to provide counter arguments against those that might surface on the net, whether its on popular forums or blogs which netizens usually gather to comment on issues. Serving to provide a counterbalance to the already saturated anti-enstablishment viewpoints, information gathering for the PAP with regards to the netizens views on major policies, and perhaps trying to convert the moderates to their side with a new batch of anonymous reformed evangelists.

Pondering about the possibilities with regards to their anonymous foray into the net, are the ones that I think could only prove more exciting in the upcoming days as a netizen, and perhaps partially as a disillusioned citizen. If there is anything I agree with Mr Baey Yam Keng that was stated in the report, is perhaps that the identity truly does not really matter in this particular move. What is going to be debated are going to be the issues presented upon the blogs and forums which are already there for all to see. It does not matter to me if the person whom is going to rebut me with regards to my views have a vested interest on the issue or not, its a matter of whether that person’s views held up against mine, and the rest of the blogosphere.

Men are not prisoners of fate, but only prisoners of their own minds.

– Franklin D. Roosevelt

Apologies and dreams

•January 24, 2007 • Leave a Comment

Well.. it seems that I had been away for a long time, which infact I have, I do have to apologise to those who still keeps track of my non-existent blog (mindfully taking note of the counter tracker).

 Indeed, I have been busy, busy with keeping the more practical needs of my life within this hectic sphere of economic success (or failure to some), that I had to constantly ensure the dough flowing into my bank account, or I’ll have the banks, insurance agencies, phone companies, LTA, HDB, the town council, or even Durex screaming after my ass. Why yes, such is the real world in the life of a typical average working Singaporean. Hmm.. Singapore Dreaming anyone?

 We seemed not to be working for the embetterment of our lives anymore, to enrich our souls, where extra dough simply means a way to enjoy better, to allow ourselves or our dependents to sleep in a relatively better comfort. Such is just a mere dream, where work for the average Singaporean, becomes a daily struggle to ensure survival, to keep up the race to ensure food on the table, roof above our heads, or even water to flush the toilet bowls.

Unfortunately, I have not been exaggerating, that is a fact of life in Singapore. One could no longer hope that his or her meagre savings, such as the one which we have in our CPF accounts to survive us once we are well over into our retirement. We have to look 20-30 years into the future, and work towards a minimal amount of dollars and cents that could help subsist us beyond retirement.

Though today, I don’t really intend to go into a lecture to teach people on how to ensure their survival in Singapore. Trust me, I don’t wish to, since I hate thinking that far ahead. Personally, I am one of a more insouciant nature, believing that there are hardly any constants in nature, people, like many things are subject to and of changes. And I, like half of the young people in Singapore, don’t wish to stay here.

So many times, I had to constantly revisit my dreams, ensuring that they are up to date. Looking back at my previous sentence, I seriously couldn’t help chuckling out loud. Yes,  I understand that this is supposed to be my serious blog but, could we really have a dream that could survive the rigours of changes and the passage of time? I might have believed that persistence and hard work towards a goal would reap its rewards perhaps 15 years ago. Now I believed that maintaining a clear head, having a vision and constantly keeping your reality checked coupled with hardwork and persistence could you ensure that you have a viable dream.

 I probably understand that many romanticists will probably scorn me for my previous paragraph. But let me tell you something..

Get real

So after all that rambling, do you know what my dream is? =)

 

And yes, time for me to go back to my real world. Till the next time people…

Azmodeus

Keeping my promise.

•January 22, 2007 • Leave a Comment

His comment to Zagy –

Our forebears and our leaders had adopted a “first to worry thine country’s woes, last to consume thee fruits of labour” view, expressing their concern of the nation’s wellbeing by putting one’s honor and glory on the line. Have you ever considered about the future of the next generation? Such that when you leave this world, that our nation would be better than the one you had arrived in? For a lotus blooming forth from the earth, it still needs to survive the rites of the various challenges, of societal changes, in order to stand tall; only through everyone’s hard work, contributions, and relentless self-improvement, with added value and recognition, creating our own feelings of rootedness, will there be a better composition for tomorrow.

My comment to his entry –

It’s a pity, should everyone holds true to such views, perhaps there would not be chaos that runs rampant in the world, no conflicts, corruption of power, personal greed, or hatred.

From the perspective of Singapore, our current prosperity, is indeed gained through the hard work of our forebears, yet, people in their moments of wealth and power, have a tendency to forget to return part of their success back to the society. Either that, or in the bid to gain more power, more advantage, and through that, forcing the less priviledged to provide more.

 The people do not mind contributing more, putting themselves on the line, as long as that could allow the rest of the populace, its next generation, to live a better life. But when these people realised that, the resources which they have helped garnered had been used to distribute to the hands of a few elites, yet seeing some within the society dropping behind, unable to utilise the resources which they had contributed or enjoy the fruits of their labour, there was a sense of disillusion, and disenchantment.

The old, or those found wanting, would constantly hear those sitting atop their pedestals, making proclaimations that they would not be forgotten, that they would not be abandoned. Yet, when the country’s resources were not disseminated to them, and still expect those, some of which, might still be struggling; to provide more love, care, and concern to aid them.

 How hypocritical..

That which the ruling elite do not wish to commit to, wants the citizenry to pick the burden, while at the same time, do not wish to hear their pleas.

We all wish for a united, peaceful home that is filled with warmth, a place where its citizens are proud to recognise themselves as one. Yet, when the country gets more affluent, there are those whom could not see the light at the end of the tunnel. When the ruling elites asked for more from the citizenry, one could see no end in sight of the calls for more.

 This place.. is it still our home?