Sunday, May 29, 2011

Survey or Surveillance

This is either a freakish coincidence or I am just being paranoid.

After the election day, the lackluster results that was not according to my expectation prompted me to post my take on it... knowing full well that I should not step on spats of hot lavas that may lead to a full volcanic eruption that might incinerate my livelihood.

Threaded carefully with my words because of my limited interest on the subject, thus limited knowledge as I wrote my disappointment and the general helplessness.

Late last week, I received a call from a company that does surveys for corporations. Normally I do not entertain such calls, replying a spontaneous answer of "no, I'm not interested. Thank you" after the first breath of the caller's "Hello. I am from... and we are doing a survey..." bit.

But that night, apart from that sweet sounding young lady's voice introducing herself and the survey, the word "post election" sparked this paranoia ablaze.

So I excepted the request for my time to answer loads of questions pertaining to the recently ended general election and my take on the whole process, as well as my knowledge on local politics.

My acceptance to sit through the twenty minutes of questioning was more of wanting to find out if my posts had any repercussion... an ill effect that was "brewing" as a result. I was giving my paranoia its validation.

I set through the entire session a "professor from NUS" set to study the local take on the election. I could hear lots of voices and questions of the same kind in the background, so I know it was a legitimate survey for that "professor."

The entire survey was quite a fulfilling experience for me since I learned a few things about politics in return and the questions politically inclined people would ask for answers to and are passionate about.

I thought that was that. I dismissed that little unsettling feeling away.

Then yesterday, the door bell rang just after noon. Sonny answered the door. It was a man from the Ministry of Health, who wanted to talk to "your parents" to do a survey. What! Another survey?

Now my paranoia is fuming again and erupting like the volcano I wish to stay far away from and avoid getting burnt! That last man standing at my door yesterday was the last straw. The last third survey that I had encountered.

Third, because, the first survey I had "participate" was inf the form of a letter I received earlier in the week. It was from the Ministry of Manpower stating that this household had been selected to take a "Comprehensive Labour Force Survey, 2011."

A compulsory participation survey, under Section 5 of the Statistics Act (Chapter 317) conducted by the Manpower Research and Statistical Department that had to be taken between 25th and 31st May 2011.

With the given username and password, I took the survey online this morning. It was not as intensive as I had initially thought it would be, given that it was my first time being involved in such surveys.

Why the paranoia?

Well, I figured, after shaking hands with the then Managing Director of Monetary Authority of Singapore, or MAS Mr. Heng Swee Keat, during his door-to-door rounds during election period, his casual comment on featuring our corridor garden had somewhat been taken seriously by me when his "people" wrote my address down after that. Gulp!

Then, for the life of me, after forty years of living without event the slightest graze with authority, I was suddenly confronted with three government-related surveys within the span of about a week or so. Yikes!

Are these surveys or am I under surveillance? Yes, that is my paranoia questioning me. I watched too much TV and conspiracy theory movies. I am too insignificant to waste good government funding and time to dissect on. Then again... I can any time become the little frog killed at the science lab during a biology class.

Having said all that, I should have taken a photo of Mr Heng, who has been newly appointed as Education Minister, shaking hands with me during his rounds then. He is somewhat a celebrity now who is also the MP for Tampines' GRC.

Monday, May 16, 2011

iWant, iOrdered iPad

After so much contemplation and with the "blessings" from Wifey, I finally ordered an Apple iPad 2 tonight.

The first batch of iPad 2 that was launched in Singapore received an overwhelming response. I was sold out in the stores within the same day, similar to other parts of the world, I read.

Contemplating on purchasing mine online for a few days was not to my advantage. After getting Wifey's "permission" to invest on one, and with Sonny's more than enthusiastic support, I finally logged online to Apple's local website to place an order for one... only to find that the "Select" button was disabled... then totally disappeared from the website.

It finally was sold out online too! The website then indicated that it was no longer taking orders. A very sad outcome for my few days hold-off... hesitance.

That led to the frantic search by phones to all the major and authorised Apple distributors for an iPad 2 Wifi-3G 32GB configuration. 16GB was just too little a space while 64GB, too much.

The primary choice of the white colour was chosen but we came to compromise for black, if it was available anywhere on this island. He could not find any.

Weeks past but the desire to own one never simmered. Sonny called one Friday to inform that Challenger IT shop at Tampines 1 was still selling but the ones available were of 16GB capacity. That call started the "frantic" search, this time on foot, all over again.

All three of us went on our search for the 32GB version on foot. As suggested by Sonny, we left for the hunt after lunch at Al Salam, right after casting our votes on Polling. Funan IT Centre did not bear any "fruit" and so we went to Sim Lim Square, the notorious electronic shopping centre in Rochor Road.

There, we found so many of the exact model that we wanted. Only catch was, most shops there prized it it ten to 30% more... before GST or Goods & Services Tax of 7%!

The only decent one, the last shop before actually gave up, was charging it at S$980.00, just over a dollar from the actual retail price by Apple... but before 7% GST. It would have cost S$978.00 with free delivery from Apple Store, we would need to fork out an extra S$70.00 more if we were that desperate.

Fortunately that time, Wifey talked me out of it and we went home empty handed and defeated!

A little patience go a long way...

Apple Store is now taking orders again and this family finally will own one white iPad 2 Wifi-3G 32GB together with a green Smart Cover when shipment arrives end this month! Yes!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

All About Mothers

Mother's Day had passed and gone. But the celebration is still ongoing as far as this family is concern.

I did not get to celebrate it on the actual day that was on 8th May with the rest of my siblings, but I got to celebrate with her a little later and all to myself today. Moreover, I got to celebrate this special day with two of my favourite ladies!

Took leave off work to accompany Mom to TTSH for her routine checkup this morning. The first appointment was at 10:40AM at the Geriatric Clinic with Dr. Ian Leong... Mom's favourite specialist, just because he is a pleasant and patient person who is always generous with his smile.

All went well. Mom's blood pressure was normal... the first time I had witness as such! Her ECG was normal too.

She put on over a kilogram of weight unfortunately... the downside of happiness, I suppose. Now that her diet, housework and general well being at home are all taken care of by the maid. It helps too that she has religiously taken her medications exactly as prescribed.

Dr Ian was happy that all was looking good. He gave a four-month interval before Mom's next follow-up.

Next appointment was at 11:45AM with Dr FC Yong, Senior Orthopedics Consultant. Mom's right wrist was weak and often felt numb. With several therapies at the Occupational Therapy Clinic and the night wrist brace that she wore everyday for the past two months, the normal functions of her hand is now restored, though not fully. Dr. Yong said eventually since she had shown a marked improvement with his test during the consultation.

Mom will see him for a routine follow-up in three months time before he finally releases her with an open date.

All is well at the hospital. It was then time for the planned celebrations.

Mom, myself and her maid made our way to Harbourfront Mall after our lunch. We took the MRT and Northeast Line to get there, since Mom wanted to got o Sentosa. Wifey joined us there from home.

We made our way to Sentosa Resort Island via the Sentosa Boardwalk. We spent hours sightseeing on the island. It gave me a warm feeling to see them both interacted with one another so lively and lovingly. Between them, they had so much to talk about, so much laughter the whole day. I just relished at the sight.

I am truly grateful for the opportunity given to me with these two favourite ladies in my life. Happy Mother's Day my dear ladies!

Sunday, May 08, 2011

The Morning After...

Wifey and I really tried to stay up after eleven last night but we just could not stay awake.

I was the loser, I dozed off while the hotly televised results were under way. I knew that because Wifey kept waking me up and finally woke me up the last time to tell me to get into bed... which I did.

Woke up early this Sunday morning just like any other weekday and was surprised the newspapers were not already slotted between the grill of my front door gate. I turned to my iMac instead to get the full results... Wifey was still sleeping soundly.

What I saw was not a surprise at all. It was expected of, as it was for all those terms before...

Eighty-one out of eighty-seven seats contested were won by the incumbent party. The opposition won a Group Representative Constituency or GRC and a Single M Constituency or SMC. That was a change... a small change, but nonetheless, a change.

What really surprised me was the losing of Potong Pasir constituency. A stronghold of the another and only opposition party since 1984 was "returned" back to the incumbent. This party lost everything as far as holding a ward is concern but being given a seat as a Non-constituency Minister in parliament is anything but a consolation.

With that, life moves on for all citizens. Yesterday's polling day was just another routine mandatory motion for most of the voting mass, I think. This island is just too small a pool of people to really have credible political parties from both sides, or from all the sides for that matter with the 7 parties in total that had contested in this general election.

It is now time to see how much the promises both parties had promised can be delivered. Life goes on after much huh-ha had unfolded for the past few weeks leading to the election day.

Tomorrow is a holiday for some work places but not mine. I get an annual leave credited as a replacement holiday, so I have to go to work on Monday... Life goes on.

Monday, May 02, 2011

I'm Going Wireless

After more than three years, the mighty mouse that came with the iMac had finally picked its last straw that breaks my camel's back.

Well, enough about these animals. It is my Apple mouse. Its scroll function which stopped functioning for the past few months has made me frustrated enough to call it quits. It was just too cumbersome without the scroll function to do anything from surfing to actual work on my iMac.

I finally made up my mind to replace the mouse with a wireless one... a wireless Magic Touchpad. With that significant change, I decided to replace the white, transparent-bottom keyboard that came with the iMac with its new equivalent, wireless one too.

So off I went with Wifey to Nubox at Tampines Mall to get the sleek appendages for my white iMac and blew off S$240.00 for both wireless keyboard, touchpad and a rechargeable battery charger.

Come to think of it, I have been updating my iMac to keep up with the times, it seems...

I maxed out its onboard RAM from the original 1GB DDR2 667 SDRAM MHz to 4GB. Bought the pair at Memory World in Sim Lim Square for S$65 each and self assembled it at home. That was when my prized possession had become sluggish when I ran my iPhoto or Aperture. That was less than a month ago. The problem has since been resolved.

l aso upgraded its original Tiger OS to Leopard. I spent S$248.00 for that last December. The many features and improvements over Tiger were just too wasteful if I had not upgraded. I treated myself that with my year-end bonus money.

With the new keyboard and touchpad, I finally have peace of mind... no more little irritable here and there. I feel the same rush I got when I first got my iMac out of the box and turned it on. Everything works fine again!

A perfect end to Labour Day celebrations.