29 April 2005

The Fountain Head

I read this article about the 'UGLY' buildings in India. I have always admired and been proud of the architectural variety in India. This person seems to be another one of those people who blindly favor western culture. I was purely shocked at the venom of his words. He wants to change India into another of those 'monotonous cities'. I feel there should be a proper blend of old and new, such that it gives a completely different view and people are enticed to visit India purely to admire this beauty.

PS: What does the title have to do with the above - just that I got reminded of Ayn Rand's book when I read the above.

27 April 2005


How many years has it been now? 2 - 3? That's when I last attended a full-fledged training in a classroom setting. So it was with a trepidation that signed in for the course. It was an interesting subject, one that I had longed to attend for a long time and it was related to my line of job.

The first day was really good. I managed to attend the full day without drifting off even for a minute. Now that's an achievement!

The second day started with another guy coming to train us and he had a vast experience in "Teaching" - being from a famous university here and had a good knowledge of the subject. This is where the problem began...Since he knew a lot, he was very enthusiastic about passing on the whole chunk to us...we the poor souls who were expecting to get a bird's eye view of the subject where subjected to a whole dose of technical jargons and calculations, such that at the end of the day, the trainer couldn't complete the course. So he left the last bit for us to go through. As my luck would be, this chapter covered my current scope of work and I had joined the course with the aim of getting a better understanding of it!!

So end result was -- I'm still a layman in that area.

21 April 2005

Uniquely Singapore - Contd

Continuing from my previous post.

4. The way the government embraces different religions and their festivals. I was pleasantly surprised when I saw Serangoon Road decorated for Diwali by the government. Infact this was something that created a very good impression of Singapore on me that it was the first article I blogged about.

5. Neat City - by this I am not trying to highlight the more common, "Clean City" line. I'm referring to the neatly planned city. There are a large number of flyovers, but none of them are an eyesore. They beautifully blend with the surroundings. Another mention is the electric wires. They are all underground ones and hence you don't find ugly dangling ones from electric poles. Incidentally I noted both these features of Singapore only after visiting Bangkok. The moment I saw Bangkok, I wondered what was wrong with it and these things hit me right inbetween the eyes. Its interesting to note that none of these came to my mind when I had been to India....think I was more occupied at revisiting old memories :))

6. Singlish -- something really "Uniquely Singapore". Unless you are a Singaporean or had lived in Singapore or had a Singapore friend, you would not understand this. Although they claim to speak in English, you wouldn't be able to understand what they speak until you get to listen to it quite often. :)

Those are few of my observations about Singapore's uniqueness, although I'm sure that STB would have another list such as the shopping, food, its zoo and airport.

20 April 2005

Uniquely Singapore

This is the adage given by Singapore Tourism Board to promote Tourism in Singapore...and the lengths they go to, to attract tourists is really amazing. The recent one being the Casinos. But they don't want to name it a Casino...its an Integrated Resort!!!

Coming to think of it, what would I call unique in Singapore?

1. The greenery (but this has a sore point with me. Singapore is touted as the garden city...for me a garden means beautiful, colorful flowers spreading their fragrance. Singapore has only green trees, plants and grass all around. So I feel it should be called a green city.)

2. Moving from a third world country to a first world country within a decade (that's some achievement!!!)

3. With only 632 sq kms available and four million people to accommodate, Singapore has managed really well, by having almost 40% of undeveloped land still at its disposal!!! All thanks to the HDBs.

...getting late today. Will continue with this tomorrow.

19 April 2005

Pope and Prophecy

Read this interesting article about the Pope and their fate. According to it, there would be only 112 Popes and the one to be elected now would be the 111 th pope. Hope I live to see if this comes true!!!

13 April 2005

Iniya Puthandu Nal Vaazhthukal!!!

Anaivarukkum, yen iniya puthandu nal vaazhthukal!!!

11 April 2005

Indian Vs Chinese

Some things that I noted -- mostly superstitions

1. No: 8, 13 are lucky for Chinese while not for Indians.

2. When going for an important function (mostly auspicious ones) go in odd numbers --3 or 5 as per the Indians and its the vice versa with the Chinese.

3. Tortoise, owls, frogs and cats are lucky for Chinese. Its just the opposite for Indians. "Aammai puguntha veedu" , "poonai kuruka poochu" are some examples.

Think the higher officials should keep this in mind, now that there are talks for closer ties between India and China.

07 April 2005

Govt offices are better

I was working for a MNC in Chennai for almost three years after which I got a transfer to their Singapore Branch. I was with them till last year, when I quit to join the current company. As per the practice of the Chennai company, once a person gets transferred to another branch, whether in India or abroad, the person's name is retained in the database as an active employee but transferred. They update the database once the employee returns or quits.

Its more than 5 months since I had resigned from the company and I had called the HR in Chennai to check out something. That was when I got the shock! The HR person informed me that I was still an active employee as per their database! This, when I had tendered my papers a month before quitting as required by them. I have also received my experience letter from the Singapore Office.

So how did this happen? Were the Chennai HR people not informed or was there some misinterpretation? (I don't know what or how they can possibly mis-interpret a resignation). How would it have been if my current employer had called them to check on my previous employment history? Would the HR have accepted something similar if done by an employee? (I remember the number of calls and mails sent to a person if he/she was not able to submit some paper or detail as required by the HR on time....that too with a CC to the person's manager!!!)

If a popular MNC that proudly proclaims itself as a PMM level 5 company with global standards can do this, then I feel that our government offices should be given an award!!!

PS: Is there any way I can get the salary for 5 months from them? :))

04 April 2005

Food in Singapore

I chanced upon a conversation in the lift today. It was between a Singaporean and a foreigner who had come to Singapore just a few days back. The Singaporean was asking the new fellow if he had settled and the usual things about Singapore. All was normal, until this guy said, "Oh everything is fine except for food in Singapore. It sucks. There no variety here".

This was something new for me. Normally foreigners to Singapore appreciate the different types of food available in Singapore. Also there would be food courts almost everywhere, malls, cineplex, housing units, beaches, etc. In most of these food courts you would be able to find a variety of Chinese food, atleast one Indian food, a malay food and a fruits and drinks stall. Below our office we have one of the finest food courts and world famous food chains like McDonald, Burger King, Tony Roma, Starbucks, Dome, Pizza Hut and what not. There are also exclusive Thai, Indonesian, Japanese and Indian restaurantssss. I wonder what this guy was meaning when he said that the food in Singapore was lacking in variety.

When I first came to Singapore, I couldn't stand the smell of the food courts. I used to avoid going anywhere near a food court. Being a pure vegetarian, I was also frightened to try out the various cusines. I had to restrict myself to the few Indian shops around. But now after some experiments and advise from friends I have found quite a few places to enjoy food. We have Veg Burger, Veg Sandwitches, Vegetarian Chinese food, around 7 Indian food outlets and lots more. So eating is a joy now :))