Category Archives: Living

Expectation

It has been a good day today.

I mean, I expected something to happen, it didn’t, so I should feel disappointed. But I am not. I just felt relieved. Relieved in a weird way, because I am not at a point that I can fully relax (for example, I wish to go to a float tank session soon, but I bet my mind will go crazy in there if I go now with my unsettled mind).

Nonetheless, I also realise I can hack how I feel by adjusting my expectation. You see, the classic service satisfaction model states that satisfaction equals to the gap between perceived values and the expected value. If I can use my resilience to control my expectation to the lowest, then I’ll always have a happy life.

Based on this gap model, I am able to stay very calm and smooth during the day today.

And perhaps for the same reason, I also have a very enjoyable evening as well. I am at Jac’s school for his string orchestra concert, and I would say by far this is the best school orchestra I have ever encountered. The orchestra at the old place provided me a very effective reference to boost up my satisfaction here tonight. I am glad that we are here but not there.

Nice Pic Goes Here

Why we are here?

This is always the biggest and deepest questions that we are trying to avoid to answer.

Seriously, what if the answer is “Nothing”?

How can you tell? You cannot. I have tried to answer Chester this question myself the other day. My answer to him is simple. Just like Buzz Lightyear won’t have a clue that he is merely a toy if he is still in the game, or Neo is still Mr Anderson until Trinity broke him free. The catch is, you will know if any only if you have left the game.

I am trying to jot down the log as it goes. Just in case one day I leave the game but for some reason my consciousness links to this world would still be working, then I know where to show off my proof to the being at the next dimension.

Let’s get started. Feel free to join me.

And I can promise you that my log tomorrow would be more funny and joyful. Stay tuned.

2018, Happy New Year, Happy New Start

Happy New Year everyone.

As part of my new year resolution, after 1,284 days of halting, I am starting to write again, regularly (well, that’s the plan…).

I will explain the reason for this change in the coming days. But before that, let me introduce another simpler change prior to that bigger change: I have updated the English name of my site to “Alley-oop Station“, for the reason that fit my theme of the new year.

That’s it for now. I need to get on to my flight now. Cheers.

American World Cup

Traditional Wisdom: If South American is the host, then South American has a higher chance in #WorldCup.

So far in #WorldCup2014, almost ALL teams from South American region go to the next round: Brazil, Argentina, Colombia, Chile, Uruguay, except Ecuador, which is now 2nd in the group (but since they are facing France tonight, although they have equal points as the Swiss, their chances are slimmer).

You might say, what about Honduras? In geography, you are correct, but in FIFA, they are counted as the member of the North and Central American region, which is the same group with USA, Costa Rica and Mexico. And yes, most of them are in the next round (USA can proceed to next round as long as Klinsmann is able to at least get a draw from his motherland Germany).

South, North & Central American, combined 2 regions, out of the total 10 teams go to the World Cup, 7,8 or even 9 teams can make to the next round. Amazing.

How about other regions as a comparison? Europe seems bad, but they started with 13 teams, and still have Netherlands, France, Germany, Greece and Belgium. Swiss has a good chance, Russian needs to beat Algerian, and Portuguese has 2% chance. Nonetheless, it is still almost half of the region.

African and Asian are worse. Out of the 9 teams combined, it seems that the only reasonable hope is Algerian to beat Russian for one spot, and Iranian to fight the last spot with Nigerian (but they are not playing against each other).

Of course, the WORST region is the Oceania. There were 12 teams to fight for 0.5 spot. At the end New Zealand was the one, but they lost to Mexico at the play off game and so the region has zero presence in the Brazil 2014 (Australia is counted as Asian country now, just so that you know).

A Man Turning 40

Believe me. This is the 21st draft of the same article.

When you are asked to write a report about some other people / or company stuff, it is (relatively) easy. You just report it. Word by word. That’s it. You are done.

When you ask yourself to write something about your real self, for real, then it takes more than 30 drafts (I still got 9 spare) in order to get it close. Coz it is about YOU, coz it REALLY matters.

About ME. What is that latest about me? Within the past 4 months: I broke my leg. I travelled around the world (literally & physically) (and I’ve promised I will update you about that someday). I almost got killed by DVT. I quitted my job. I lost and then gained some weight. I’ve started a new venture. And I turned 40. All in an assorted order.

Depends on who you are, you might pick up a different focal point, all alarming. Say for example: turning 40. I still remember twelve years back when Jacky Cheung had that movie about Man Turning 40, and I was completely lost. Now I still don’t get those girls that he got in that movie, but I understand the feeling about that life stage.

Another point about quitting my job vs. gaining weight: I have to admit that I had proven the direct positive relationship between the relaxedness (without the crazy and nonsense job) and the weight.

But this is not the point. The point is… I don’t know… I just feel that it is all different now. It has to be different this time. A difficult time. Coz there is no other time. Coz this is 40.

What about 40 anyway? I know. you heard about 80/20 rules? You can apply this to anything. Everything. In this case, so, there is 20 something you can’t and you ain’t gonna control, so it leaves remaining 80 to you. 40 is exactly the half way. And if you draw a bell curve discarding that 20 outliner, then the point of “40” would end up to be placed at the peak.

So, what’s so wrong for being at the peak? Bad News. All things are going downhill from now on. What a shit feeling! So depressing. But you know what? I won’t settle with it. I won’t settle with this feeling. I am looking for something else. Something else from my family. I got my lovely wife, I got Jacob and Chester, and they are doing better than me. And it seems that it is meaningful to work towards them. So the curve goes up again, and again, and again, against the bell curve.

If I extend that logic to the outer world, the direction is that I am caring about the next generation in general . My mission is to enable + empower the next generation to do their best. (For example, let’s stop using Windows / Microsoft for the next generation…)

Suddenly, I feel so good about my future.

Hope you feel the same. Hope you will support me. Please. This is why I started KeptMe. Partly to help the next generation, and partly to save me from going down the depressing side of the bell curve. Tell me how you feel about this. Tell me if you buy in or not. And if you are, please send me your blessing. And if you don’t, please send me your comments. Appreciate it. Million Thanks.

Day 2 — Din Tai Fung & Lufthansa

I promise the story for Day 2 would be shorter. After all, I don’t think there have been too many people who had finished my Day 1 story anyway, given it was a bit too long as a “first chapter”.

As you would imagine, after all these crazy fight, I managed to sleep till next morning 9:00 AM. Meetings and works as usual. But not much to look around as a tourist. Not that I knew Singapore inside out already, but just that there were more important things for me to crack which require my present in front of the screen.

I stayed the whole day indoor except lunch at Din Tai Fung at Raffles City, again. Yes I already had my dinner there at the previous night. I have to confess that I have an obsession with Din Tai Fung. Like a curse. So if I know there is a Din Tai Fung near by, then I have to go. I have to. No escape. I used to go to Taipei for a weekend just for this reason. Now I don’t have to. There are in Hong Kong, Singapore, California, Japan, Sydney and more. The only regret is that it just has no store in Melbourne yet that’s all.

Let’s cut the crap. I promised to stay short. So let’s jump on it. I did a late check out from the hotel at late afternoon and when towards the airport. There was a bus waiting outside going to the airport. The driver said 10 Sing Dollars. Fair enough. A taxi trip would cost me almost 30. But I told the guy I didn’t have cash, in Mandarin (yes, as the story in Day 1, I never had Singaporean cash). But he said “don’t worry, just get on the bus first.” It was just one more proof of how poor my Mandarin is: they must had heard me saying “no change” instead of “no cash”. I ended up paying the mainland China driver a HK$100 note. He was extremely happy, and I am still better off. Win win.

It was lucky that I was early at the airport. The KLM early check in counter just opened at 7:00 PM as I arrived. Perhaps I arrived too early, they decided to traded me away. You see, I bet there must be around 100,000 people going to Barcelona for the Mobile World Congress. Anything connected to Barcelona was overbooked. So as my fight (and my accommodation). They offered me USD 75 as the bait for me to say yes. I said yes, not because of that cash, but because of the fact that I was then with Lufthansa’s A380 (still economy) and was one hour earlier to leave Singapore and one hour short in transit waiting. I took it. It sounded good. But after all I wasn’t sure if this was the best idea. You see, midnight flight, early arrival in the airport, you knew the story, and it ain’t pretty.

Just to jump to the end of the story as promised. It turned out just fine. The only thing I missed on Day 2 was that I didn’t get the chance to taste Din Tai Fung again, as they are in Terminal 1 (so as KLM), but I got transferred to Lufthansa in Terminal 2. Damn. What a close miss.

Day 1 — Zombie @ Singapore

This was how I started my first serious blog post way way back: I went on to a trip to Bangalore, and I thought I might not be able to come back. So I decided that I had to write down my story somewhere online so that other people can know my story somehow.

I am not saying I might have the same adventure this time. At least not as miserable as the Bangalore situation. However according to my schedule it seemed like it was not too far either.

Let me tell you what just have happened on the Day 1, and later on I’ll come back to talk about my amazing schedule.

So I was on the midnight flight to Singapore. When I say midnight, it really was. SQ218, 1:05 AM boarding on Melbourne side, arriving at 5:45 AM on Singapore side. 7.5 hours, not too long. Just enough for 1 dinner, 2 movies, and 1 breakfast, and you are done. Touch down and you got a bright new day in front of you.

You heard me right. Yes, a 1:05 AM flight, but still serve you dinner, and that must have been almost 2:00 AM when they literally placed the meal on my foldable table. And I did finish them all, while watching my movies.

The first movie was Gravity. Originally I was hoping that a movie about one actress talking to herself for 2 hours in space should help me dived into deep sleep right away. But at the end it was the shooting (like hell) scene by Matt Damon in the second movie (which in theory is located at one layer down in the atmosphere compared with where Sandra Bullock was) Elysium that did the trick.

But you could have done the maths and realise by now that not too long afterwards I would have got waken back up again to take the breakfast at 3:45 AM local time. And that’s it. Slept 2 hours max, and done. Time-wise, very efficient, but productivity-wise, not quite. I felt like a zombie when I stepped into Changi Airport.

So now I was in Singapore. Well, Singapore Airport to start with. It was a short stay for me there. Just 2 days. So I didn’t bother to get a local sim card. Instead I just stayed at the arrival hall connecting to the Wifi@Changi for my connection. One thing I learn when I am on the road is to always juice up my power whenever I have a chance, or else i need to use my devices one at a time and swap them one by one like how Rambo always chuck away his emptied machine gun and pull a (pair of) pistol from his back (instead of reloading).

So for that I found a power point on a pillar with the lock of its cover already hacked by someone else. Of course I thanked him/her and plugged myself all in. Seriously I wished I could do that on my zombified body but at least my brain and my soul were saved (for now, at least that’s what I thought I was) when I was connected and powered. But I also realised that there was after all not much use to have a fuelled mind if my body had already turned into a zombie.

And there was exactly what happened. By the time of sunrise (which often something zombies don’t go too well with) and I decided to take a cab to the city, my human brain was completely gone. I towed my body out the airport building without getting any Sing Dollars exchanged, got into a taxi without knowing it was cash only, and when I arrived my office front gate I was only able to use my autopilot mode to deal with the annoyed (and annoying) cab driver about the cash (or lack of) issues.

So, 5 minutes later, I got off the cab, wandering around the front gate in and out a few loops, and finally realised that I got dropped off at the wrong tower. Reluctantly I tumbled down the stairs and tunneled through to the other side of the road. Hmm, that felt so weird…. How come the trip down the stairs walked like a breeze… …?

And that’s the exact point where the magic a-ha moment kicked in, and I knew my human brain was back, with fears (well, zombies have no fear…): “Oops, where the hell is my luggage?” “Damn it is still at the trunk of the taxi!” Well, it seems that my autopilot wasn’t able to pick THAT up!

The next thing I knew, I was back into full gear fighting mode again, like the typical hero in those Hollywood movies got beaten up like shit for a best second half of the movie, but then in the second last scene magically stood up again and crashed the bad guys with the last bullet. My last bullet was my fully charged phone and the cab receipt. I called up the cab company and waited for their Lost & Found line to answer, for 25 minutes.

That was quite a good 25 minutes because I got a chance to stayed at the taxi stand and observed hundreds of people got dropped off and walked into the building, with all different faces. Something that I usually don’t had a chance to do in my normal life.

So, these incoming people: Some obviously had a very tough overnight OT work and needed a thick makeup to cover up her black eyes. Some you can tell they were very much in love, especially last night, just by how they did their goodbye kisses. And some, you know just by how she looked at you (but at the same time not really looking at you) when she got off the cab, and how she then shook her hair and hips, you knew that this was exactly what she was looking for: to enjoy being checked out by strangers, like me, at the office tower entrance.

I was having so much fun that I almost forgot I was on the waiting tone with that repetitive and flatted jazz music on. Finally someone picked up the line and hunted down that already annoyed taxi driver for me. Turned out he was already back at the airport waiting for the next pickup. I got the deal with him by paying the return trip back to me. Another 25 minutes later, I got back my luggage. Oh well, originally I had the chance to renew my entire wardrobe completely including underwears and ties. Now I just have to wait for my next excuse.

As you can tell, I was completely wracked by then. Subsequently after that I had 6 hours meeting including a business lunch, and all went well with good commercial outcome, but nothing really worth telling compared to my zombie story above.

Stay tuned for my Day 2 story.