All Good Numbers Must Come to an End

Received a letter from Singtel today.  In conjunction with the full number portability that telcos are rolling out in June (instead of the simple call forwarding that telcos do now when subscribers change from 1 telco to another), I must now decide if I want to retain my Singtel no. as my hp no… or do I want to switch to my Starhub no. that’s being forwarded to my Singtel no..

It’s a tough decision for me… ‘cos the Starhub no. is a lovely no… and we all love nice numbers don’t we?  My Starhub no. is something like 92052006 (you do realise this is a made-up no. I’m using as an example and not my real hp no. I hope!).  See the pattern there?  Easy to remember right?

On the other hand, my Singtel no., while it doesn’t have any easy to remember pattern to it, is my first hp no. after all… and it’s been with me since Nov 1997!  That makes it really hard to just chuck aside.  It’s almost like shedding part of my identity! 

That said, selfish old me doesn’t want anyone to have my recycled Starhub no..  Sigh.  Thinking if I should ask my mom to switch from her pre-paid card to my Starhub no.?  That means I’ll have to sign up a new plan for her… hmm…

I’m torn!!!!  :'(  *Sniff*.

Human Char Siew

Went for the first ever Formula Drift race in Singapore on Sunday.  Didn’t put much thought to it so I didn’t bring any sun block with me.  I applied sun block on my face as I normally do… but didn’t bring any for my arms & legs… and I got really burnt!  My shoulders are "char siew" red and you can see a line where my skirt ends on my thighs.  Sigh. 

I thought it was just a hot day in a hot month… but I think after the heavy storms in March, this April is hotter than usual.  Well, at least that’s what I concluded after I opened a tube of body moisturiser just now and the moisturiser just spilled out of the tube!!  I was just using this Bath & Body Works moisturisers a couple of days ago and it was fine!  Not watery or anything!  Which means the moisturiser literally just melted on my dressing table.  It’s bad man!!

I just stuffed both my B&BWs moisturisers into the fridge… hope I can salvage them!  Sigh.  🙁

The weather is just WAY TOO HOT!

Australia – Part 3

Since this was my first trip to Australia, and given that I probably won’t be going back there for some time, I figured it would be good to check out more places.  So before meeting Iceman in Adelaide, I went to Hobart (Tasmania) with my mom, aunts and cousin.

We were warned by everyone that Tasmania was going to be really really cold.  "Prepare for snow", were my Australian cousin’s exact words.

So we went to Hobart prepared for really cold weather.  Good grief.  The temperature hit 32 degrees Celsius the first day we were there.  I nearly died of heat stroke.

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At the Hobart Airport – managed to snap a quick shot of this Virgin plane.

 

 

 

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Took this pic from the shuttle bus en route to the hotel.

 

 

 

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Hobart’s Post Office

 

 

 

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Qantas served this yummy Kellog cereal in this same packaging on the plane for breakfast.  First time i saw this sort of "cereal on the go".  Just had to take a pic.  Hehe.

 

 

 

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My mom & aunt posing on a really cool car.  The owner wasn’t quite so cool about it.

 

 

 

 

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More old cars…

 

 

 

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The harbour/pier was lovely.  I love yachts & boats & ships.  🙂

 

 

 

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SEE?  It was 32deg Celsius in Hobart!!!!!

 

 

 

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Port Arthur (where the Brits dumped the convicts in Hobart).

 

 

 

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The front of the church at Port Arthur

 

 

 

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Loved the blue water.

 

 

 

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I think this was the granary or something at Port Arthur.  Don’t quite remember.  😛

 

 

 

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Saw this photo on my aunt’s wall.  It was taken during my grandma’s birthday!  I was only 3 years old then.  Hehe… any guesses where I am?  😛

 

 

 

Well, the temperature dropped below 10 degrees the day we left… and that’s Tasmania weather for you (or so I’m told).  It’s really a lovely place to visit… but you really need to devote more than 3 days to it!

When the Going Gets Tough

This week has been a stark contrast to the idyllic holiday I was enjoying just 3 weeks ago.  The first signs of it being a tough week appeared on Monday.  A flood of enquiries suddenly came in – new potential deals, dormant deals that got revived, price benchmarking checks by some bankers, etc.  Things got a little panicky on Tuesday when a client needed an urgent endorsement to their policy to be effected by Friday and the only underwriter in the Australian office that issued the policy was away for holiday.  Managed to sort that out by going directly to the insurer’s head of underwriting in New York so thank God for that.

But things got incrementally worse… yesterday, another client informed us that they needed to bind a policy with a particular insurer today.  However, the only underwriter who could make a decision, was away on a biz trip in China!  And he was uncontactable till he came back to Singapore.  The good thing was that he is back in Singapore today… but the bad thing is that ‘cos we lost 1 day to work on the policy, we have yet to get final confirmation from the insurer’s French head office on whether the premium rate required can be approved.  Will definitely need to rush this tomorrow.

And to top it off, 2 days ago, I emailed a 3rd underwriter to inform her that the deal we were working on will be moving ahead, and we need the policy to be in place by Friday.  I gave her Tue & Wed to review all the documentation and to read/ comment/ approve the first cut of my policy wording.  I didn’t hear from her at all… so today, I rang her to check what’s the status of the deal.  She has yet to read any documentation ‘cos her daughter was sick yesterday and so she was not in office.  Sigh.

She has promised to review everything by tonight (she’s based in Toronto which is 12h behind Singapore) and have a reply for me by the time I reach office tomorrow morning.  I’ve yet to place a policy that gets an "ok" on first draft so I told her to please please please let me know what amendments may be needed, and to do a conference call if necessary.  It’s quite scary that I’m not even sure if my policy structure, especially the part about premium payment terms, etc, will be approved. 

I really hate it when there’re urgent tasks that need to be done… and I need to deliver certain results by a certain deadline to my clients… but yet I’m unable to expedite anything because the hold-up is not on my work per se.  I think this sort of situation is way way way more stressful than having loads of work piled on me.  I mean, I can work till wee hours of the morning if need be… but if I need to rush for a deadline and yet things are out of my hand… it’s really bad you know? 

Sigh.  Going to sleep earlier tonight.  Tomorrow is going to be a looooong day.

So when the going gets tough… the tough… goes drinking?

I think I want my rum & raisin milkshake soon.

The Unviewable

A friend mentioned on her blog recently that it’s good to be "unsearchable" on the Internet.  Even more important than that, I think critical that people remain "unviewable" on Facebook.

I found some ghastly photos of some ladies in my finance dept on Facebook… trust me when I say there were worse photos than these.  Photos so bad that I can never see them in the same light again

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Thus, if you have a Facebook, Friendster, or any other social networking account, I advise you check your privacy settings, NOW!

The Evil Mom (Tried To) Strike Again

Sent my mom to collect a Coach bag she bought from the owner of the site https://pursuingbigpapa.wordpress.com and a Kate Spade bag caught her eye.  I told her the bag was unusual and striking so it was quite worth the SGD 390 price tag.  My mom was a little hesitant ‘cos she was going to pay SGD 422 for the Coach bag already but she really liked the Kate Spade bag.

After checking out the Kate Spade bag from all angles – back, front, inside, outside, bottom, top, etc, my mom suddenly turned to me and said, "Will you use this bag?"

"Er…", I paused.  "I might use it sometimes I guess."

Not that the bag wasn’t nice… just that that bag would only match a plain black outfit or a black+red outfit and I’m usually very lazy to change my handbags just to match 1 outfit.

My mom then said, "If you’ll use it, why don’t I buy this bag for your birthday?"

I saw through her evil plot right away!

"Wah lau!  You buy for my birthday then you use is it?", was my quick retort.

"I buy for you, then I borrow it to use lah", replied my mom.

"Wah lau!  You’re trying to cheat me of my birthday present!  Don’t think I don’t know!", I exclaimed.

This left the seller in peals of laughter.

Anyway, my mom bought the bag and no, it’s not my birthday present.

Hahahahaha.

Australia – Part 2

Ballarat / Sovereign Hill

My 6th aunt, who migrated to Australia 30 years ago, brought us to visit Ballarat, a old gold-mining town when we were there.  We also went to Sovereign Hill, an old gold mine, to er… mine for gold?

At Sovereign Hill, you can pay A$6 for a pan and a chance to "mine" for gold at this riverlet.  I refused to pay the A$6… I mean… not for tiny flecks of gold dust!!  Hehe.  My mom and my 5th uncle’s wife tried it though… and hammed it up for the camera.  😛

My 8th aunt had an even more practical solution – she paid A$8 and got a little container with gold flakes inside as a souvenir.  I got one as a gift from her too.  😛

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Ballarat Town

 

 

 

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I have an obsession with phone lines…

 

 

 

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If you bring a chisel…

 

 

 

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As we embark on our hunt for gold…

 

 

 

 

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The Great Pretenders.

 

 

 

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This is atop some mining structure at Sovereign Hill.

 

 

 

 

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A shop selling quaint old table-cloths.

 

 

 

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Living conditions of the miners.  The Caucasian version.

 

 

 

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Chinese miners’ living quarters.  Glad to know not all early Aussie migrants were convicts.

 

 

 

St Kilda

My 6th aunt (aka my Australian aunt) took us to Melbourne city centre to visit the Casino ‘cos my cousin works there.  I was bored to death ‘cos I don’t gamble.  Don’t know how… and am just not interested enough to learn.  Hey, even mahjong doesn’t interest me!  :P  That’s probably the most atypical Cantonese trait of mine.. heh. 

St Kilda was really lovely.  We had a leisurely lunch at one of the sea-facing restaurants, walked along the beach-side stalls, and had tea at an Italian-styled cafe.  Really wonderful touristy area.  Worth visiting!

 

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Melbourne city centre.

 

 

 

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A clock tower at St Kilda

 

 

 

 

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My mom wearing her newly bought hat.

 

 

 

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Good thing we had nice sunny weather that day!

 

 

 

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There were many pretty paintings for sale but I thought they were a little over-priced.

 

 

 

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I griped quite a bit about the poor photo-taking skills of the people I was with.  This is evidence of it – why the heck does it look as though my mom and I ar
e being chomped on by the monster?!

 

 

 

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The strawberry meringue was deliciously sweet and yummy.  My cousin’s choice of blueberry cake was er… nicer to behold than to ingest.

 

 

 

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I thought this painting inside the cake shop was very cute.

 

 

 

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This is how St Kilda is like… tons of cafes to help you grow fat.

 

 

 

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Saw this sign at Melbourne city centre when we were going back to my aunt’s place.  I just HAD to take a photo of it.  😛

 

 

 

Didn’t really get to spend much time in Melbourne due to time constraints.  We did visit Philip Island but you’re not allowed to take photos of the little penguins so too bad…

Part 3 – Hobart pics, will be coming up real soon!  🙂

David Tao Concert 2008

19042008421Went for David Tao’s concert earlier this evening.  It was 3 hours of solid singing.  I love his voice!  Such a talented musician, songwriter and singer.  Wanted to take more photos… alas I forgot to charge my hp last night and my hp died after a couple of photos and videos.  🙁

19042008430 I was very impressed with the entire tour.  The musicians and vocalists were really talented – the female vocalist from Taipei also played the flute, trombone and violin!

I think I’m going to get his "Best Of" album.  Hehe.  It’s kind of odd that I’ve been to 2 of his concerts but I don’t have any of his CDs.  Heh.

Here’s a sample video I took at the concert.  You can find loads of his MTVs on youtube if you do a search.  I must say that David Tao’s singing live is as good as his singing on his CDs!

 

 

A real musical genius!

Inefficiency is not all bad…

Thank goodness for inefficient Philippine postal system else I would be hot soup now!

Last year, during the inception of a policy I placed on behalf of my Phlippine office, the values of the properties came up to Php 49 billion. In Mar this year, my Philippine office sent a spreadsheet advising an increase in the value of the properties. I did a quick check of the spreadsheet and noted that the increase came up to Php 6 billion. I knew a couple of new assets were built in the last 8 months so I thought the increase of Php 6 billion was reasonable, and I sent the spreadsheet off to the underwriter.

I guess the underwriter didn’t bother to check the spreadsheet carefully either… because he agreed to the increase and signed off on it. 2 days ago, I sent the underwriter’s approval to my Philippine office via snail mail.

Thank God for SNAIL MAIL. Because today, some questions from my boss prompted me to look deeper into the values… and as pointed out by my boss… it wasn’t logical that the total values suddenly jumped from Php 49 billion to Php 759 billion!

Yup… it is a SERIOUS oversight on my part. I only checked the increase in values, but not what the new total values added up to. Argh. In my boss’ words, it was a “glaring mistake”.

Anyway, am getting it sorted out now… and thank God for the slow postal system because the underwriter’s written approval hasn’t reached my Philippine office yet and thus, they have not sent out or informed the client about the erroneous approval.

Sigh. 🙁

Australia 2008 (Melbourne-Tasmania-Adelaide)

Well, decided not to post the notes I wrote about Australia here.  Frankly, Australia didn’t leave that deep an impression on me.  I enjoyed myself thoroughly, as anyone would have while on holiday.  But while Australia is an above average country on many fronts, it didn’t have a fascinating enough history to enchant me, nor amazing architecture to stun, nor beautiful scenery to take my breath away. 

Here’re some of the pictures I took.  To sum it up, the best part about Australia was the company I was with.  (Wait till you hear my stories about my 8th aunt…).  Anyway, just to clear the backlog of content that I need to put here… I’ll just let the pictures tell the story.

Part 1: The Wedding

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The wedding venue.

 

 

 

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My mom & I.

 

 

 

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The sweetest (pun intended) wedding favours!

 

 

 

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Everyone had a good time on the dance floor.

 

 

 

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Sober or drunk…

 

 

 

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They had a good time…

 

 

 

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It was a lovely wedding.

 

 

 

Will post Part 2 another day.  Sleepy…