Friday, 15 January 2016

Keeping Up With the KimKs

Working title.  I've just renewed my subscription to this domain. Gosh! Has it been 2 years already?

It's 2016. New year. New problems. We're living in uncertain times.  But this shouldn't really be news to us. It's more a case of denial and skirting around the issue all this while, rather than taking the bull by the horns. Yes, the bull is what we need right now. It's time to buckle up. Pull our socks up. All those clichés and a bag of chips. Suddenly we're having to come up with creative ways to overcome the situation. So, just how bad is it?

Pretty bad. As a civil servant, I can attest to this. Not only does it affect my day-to-day work on a professional level but even more so on a departmental level. The silver lining, though, is that we're a lot more accepting of the situation. Acceptance, not complacence. As government employees we've had to devise ways to make the most of our, shall I say, constrained resources. Perhaps this, if anything, will be the biggest lesson and test for all of us. 

We've gotten so used to everything being provided for us, or at least being heavily subsidised, for which we're ever thankful. It's interesting to see the shift in looking more towards the private sector for career opportunities and SMEs sprouting left, right and centre.  Even more inspiring is that these businesses are set up by the younger generation, Gen-Y, the savvy. 

Some government departments may even be moving towards privatisation. This could help improve the quality of services, but surely for a price. It all depends whether the consumer would be ready to pay more for services that they've been so used to getting for free or at such minimal cost.

Having lived abroad and experienced various types of healthcare systems, I was often reminded how fortunate we are here. Spending hours on end in the waiting room is not "Brunei-Government-Hospital" specific. But spending just a mere BND1 to be seen by a Consultant to be prescribed a list of 20 medications (not mine), is. Let's hope it stays that way. But if it doesn't, then we'll take that pill and swallow it. So to speak.

For those who see the glass half full, (well maybe not quite half for now) the best thing we can do now is to improvise. Suddenly MacGyver's back in vogue! Yea, you Millenials can Google that. What it means is making the most of what we already have and roll with it. 

We're now being taught to reduce waste, in any shape or form. Resources, money, and most importantly, time: that we can never get back. 

Facing these challenges at work, it's inevitable that it translates to our own personal habits in terms of spending and frivolous indulging. Now we do consciously think twice about that new car or those expensive holidays. Things that would be nice to have, but we could live without. At least for now.

We all hope and pray that things will start looking up eventually. Sooner rather than later. But until then, we'll have to suck it up and ride this one out. MacGyver-style ;)

Sunday, 19 July 2015

Rollover Raya

With each passing year I find a different meaning in celebrating Eid. Ours will be somewhat subdued this year, which seems to be the general feeling with everyone else.  My goal is just to get past Day One, and then I'm happy. I've realized that all that pressure building up towards Hari Raya creates so much unnecessary stress that we tend to lose sight of what Eid really should be.....

.....and it's a friggin' 5-day long weekend! 😄 We're ever so blessed. 

Here's wishing you a lovely Raya, be safe on the roads or wherever you are and whatever you get up to.  I apologize in advance for not keeping up with the (work) group chats. 

I've gotta catch up on some sleep! 😴😴😴

Thursday, 28 May 2015

Head Over Heels

So, apparently DHL delivers at 10pm. I actually thought it was a joke, but I wasn't complaining.....Especially since this arrived 2 weeks early!

I had always wanted to try out Shoes of Prey, and I finally got around to it. Just for sh*tz & giggles! I've finally landed a pair of pink suedes! And I've looked EVERYWHERE!

The many times I've absolutely fallen in love with a pair of heels, only to find that they don't come in my size, or colour or height.  Frustration central. Until I stumbled on the genius that this is. Shoes, made-to-order delivered right to your doorstep (in your PJs!). 

And they fit. Perfectly. True to size. Flawless workmanship. And it only took less than 3 weeks instead of the estimated 5. I love how they constantly update you on each stage of the shoe-making process. I'm all "Shoe-Geeked"-out! 

I have yet to debut my Hot Pink suedes.  If anything, I wished I had been more adventurous with the design, but I know they're just the 1st of many more already lined up for the shopping cart.....

Oh, Shoes of Prey. You are evil!

Saturday, 2 May 2015

A Birthday, a Wedding, and a Funeral.

It seems wrong to put those words in the same sentence, let alone a title.  Not so wrong as it was what actually happened.  All in the space of 2 weeks.  10 days to be exact.

8th of April.  This was the first time in 12 years of service I had not taken the day off.   I was blessed, though, to have celebrated it in full-scale luxury.  At the Palace, no less. That being in the form of attending one of the functions for the Royal Wedding, the Istiadat Malam Berbedak, or "powdering" ceremony, after just attending the Istiadat Majlis Pertunangan DiRaja or Royal Engagement ceremony the day before.  It was going to be a full week of Royal Wedding festivities, and the highlight was to be the Istiadat Bersanding Pengantin DiRaja held on the Sunday that I, eventually, would have to miss.

Just the week before, my family and I visited my grandmother in Singapore who was ill and had been admitted to hospital.  Her condition seemed to have improved towards the end of our short visit, so we really hoped that she would pull through.

Unfortunately, that wasn't the case.  We flew out again that following Saturday as her condition had worsened.  She was getting weaker by the day and she had expressed how she wanted to see all her children and grandchildren the soonest possible.  She was pleased that everyone had come to see her. We were glad that she was still able to communicate with us those few days.  Doctors said that she was a fighter and that she had seemed to bounce back.  Perhaps it was from seeing her family.

But a week later she left us. Peacefully.  Inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi raji'un.

That certainly was a lot to take in over a span of 10 days.  In between the messages of condolences, my unrelenting work group chats were off the hook.   Part of me wanted to switch off and shut it all out, but another part of me needed to keep track on what was going on back home while I was away. True to form, no sooner had I got back to work than it was full-speed ahead onto our upcoming event. In a weird way it was good to be back on the grind after my "roller-coaster" week.  There's a certain comfort in routine.

I never thought I'd say this, but I'm relieved that April's finally over.  It really did seem like a long drawn out, albeit eventful month for me, personally.

I really do hope the next few weeks will be kinder.  The last few months have had us all burnt out. So I'm just going to take it one day at a time......

Thursday, 1 January 2015

Turn the Page

Here's to a clean slate. Let's hope this year will be better than the last.
I just needed an excuse to put up a new photo on this dormant page.

Great! Now back to bed.  Been partying all night.

And by partying, I mean, having a quiet night in! Who am I kidding?

Have a great one, folks! 2015.  Bring it!

Saturday, 4 October 2014

The 6th Sense

It was the first time I had ever purchased anything blindly, so to speak, only having seen scant pictures and articles online, which themselves were quite elusive.  I think Apple did that on purpose.  Curiosity breeds desire.  The less you know, the more you want it.  Genius!   And I did genuinely want this. Only 'cos my Camera Roll kept denying me any new photos, as I had apparently run out of space! Serves me right for getting the entry level 16GB, thinking "Who needs all that memory?!"  I DO! And, mind you, this was the 4S, so I thought it was high time for an upgrade.  Not that my 4S was faulty in any way, except for the battery, which has served its purpose for a heavy user like me. And I'm admittedly an App Hoarder.  In the attempt to create space just so I could install iOS8, I had to go through the whole bargaining  process of deleting photos, apps. Oh the apps. Some of which I probably only ever used once upon a time. If ever! My excuse is always, "But, didn't I buy that?!"

But no, my 4S still wasn't giving me enough free space for iOS8.  Seriously, who actually has 4GB of free space lying around?!  About a week after the launch of the 6 & 6 Plus, my BFF offered me a 128GB for £699.  Hmmmmm, not knowing what sort of prices we'd be seeing here, I didn't exactly jump at the offer.  In hindsight, I wished I had.  Well, I could have saved a good BND 100, at least.  But I really wanted it in gold.  He had it in silver.  It got snapped up in no time. 

I was surprised at how easily I managed to get my gold 6. Yes, just the 4.7" for me, thank you, 'cos I think the Plus would be a tad too big for me.  Still not having seen or felt the device physically, and just basing everything on online reviews, I pre-booked it at one of the more reputable mobile phone stores.  Reputable here meaning: I bought my 4S from them 2 years ago. Initially I had only planned on getting the 64GB, but seeing as another BND100 would get me the 128GB, I thought, I might as well go for it. The store had sold out its first shipment, so these things were selling fast. Despite the "bendgate" and all the other smartass jabs coming from the Android camp.  You've got to hand it to Apple for taking a quietly dignified stance (and smirk) in all this publicity, be it positive or negative.  Any publicity is good publicity.  

Mentally preparing myself for some delay in shipment, I was pleasantly surprised to receive this beauty the very next day.  

Slim and smooth, it kept slipping from my grip.   I needed to get a case ASAP!  As much as I hated to cover up it's sleek nakedness, just the thought of dropping it or (yes) bending it, gave me palpitations!  It's safely covered now.  Not my first choice for covers, though, but it gives me peace of mind, at least. It's too bad the ubiquitous mobile accessory stores haven't stocked up on novelty covers yet.  They're probably gauging the actual phone sales.  I'd say bring them in right away, 'cos those babies are flying off the shelves!

My review so far?  I'm loving it!   The size is just perfect for me, without feeling too awkward in my hands.  I can still pretty much do everything single-handedly.  That's what the "Reachability" feature is there for, where the screen pulls up only halfway so everything is still within your thumb's reach.  I can't get over how much slimmer it is.  Of course, the difference is a lot more obvious, upping from a 4S. The first thing I couldn't wait to try out was the camera.  So it only packs 8 megapixels, still an improvement from its predecessors.  But it was love at 1st shot.    My main peeve with most phone cameras was that you could never get the true colours that you want captured. 

Quite a non-descript sunset, but this was what I actually saw, and it was beautifully captured.  The image is crisp and detailed.  

I really wished I had more exciting pictures to take that evening.

As expected, the foreground appears dark, but that sky.....I need to start sunset-chasing again!

Based on the camera alone, I'm sold! I have yet to explore the other apps and features.  In the meantime, I'm just savouring the feel and look of it.  No bending required. 

Friday, 4 July 2014

Time Out

After suffering months of writer's block, I've finally found some time to get back to this.  Truth be told, I've had a lot to say, but I've had to refrain from the inevitable "foot-in-mouth" reflex. Certain opinions are best kept to myself (and my tight circle of the same wavelength, of course!)

Some things might have changed over the past couple of months, but not quite in the way people had imagined. As with anything new, we've had to adapt and roll with the punches, so to speak.  Other than that, it's pretty much business as usual.  Bruneians are, and will always be, a happy bunch.

There are certain things I miss, though, like my usual hang-outs, letting my hair down.  It's taken a lot out of me to go through this change, I won't lie.  I'd like to think of it as a natural progression rather than a drastic 180° flip.  But as hard as it may be to transform yourself on the outside, it's even harder to change from the inside.  And if the change doesn't come from the inside out, it could also come from the outside in.  We're all human, after all.  And change takes time.

It's Ramadan again. Alhamdulillah. May this month bring us peace and fulfillment. And most of all, I pray for strength to go through this change.  Slowly, but surely. Amin.

Have a blessed Ramadan!