Thursday, January 01, 2015

My Year 2014 In Review

Frequent readers of my blog would know that I would usually do a review to usher in the new year.

The year had been fraught with air disasters. The disappearance of MH370, bombing of MH17 & the crash of QZ8501 were partly the reason that made me not wanting to fly for holiday. The other reason was my work, which I will elaborate later.

Work

It has been a busy year for me at work, due to changes to the PIC Scheme. Some clients have chosen to take advantage of the generous PIC Cash Payout that our government has put in place, but end up doing the form themselves wrongly, thus we are spending more time than usually budgeted to correct the errors.

We are already so busy that we had no time to play office politics, but I am surprised why some people choose the time when we are busy to sow discord among colleagues, try to make boss angry or unhappy by giving issues at work. Everyone in the working world should know that you should do whatever job that your boss has assigned.

The atomsphere at work was pretty bad this year. I hope it will be better in this year as one of the key factors to the disharmony has been removed. I shall not go into details as to what happened as we have been placed on gag order not to disclose anything. Personally, I do not wish to say anything further, otherwise there would be people who would misinterpret and I would get the brickbats again.

IRAS Volunteer & Grassroots Work

This year marked my 10th year volunteering for this exercise. I decided to take it upon myself to set up a tax queries team among the volunteers to get fellow volunteers in the tax industry to help the others as I felt that the IRAS helpline was a little difficult to get through, and they had to serve 22 centres of volunteers. I also took it upon myself to conduct additional training session for volunteers who are keen to learn more. It was certainly good to see returning volunteers continuing in the exercise. The high take up rate resulted in the exercise being closed for registration in 4 days after it was opened.

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Grassroots work took me to a new arena, as I decided to take up the Certificate in Community Development. I thought it will be good for me so that it will be able to help me more in my community work.

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I am also glad to share that I have been appointed as treasurer of my RC again for a 2-year term starting today.

Friends

I just have this to say about the friendships that I have in the last year. You win some, you lose some. When you are in need, those who stick with you are those who have faith in you and will walk the path with you.  I am glad to say I have quite a number who have been standing by me when I am in need.

Family

A year where my brother graduated from the university and stepped into the workforce. Although his first job did not turn out well, I certainly hope it will be better when he starts his new job on coming Monday.

BGR

I always get asked this question since I was 25. Last year drew a blank again. I have been asked by friends and family to try to get myself attached. After a nasty experience of giving out my number to a possessive gal last year, after just chatting with her for 15 minutes, I prefer to take my time to know the other person better before plunging into a relationship. I would like to thank my friends for their efforts to pair me up with close friends.

NDP

I had the opportunity to attend the NDP at the Float last year. Although it was only the Preview, it was indeed a fun experience catching the NDP live. I would like to thank my friends, Angela, Meiqi & my brother for accompanying me to attend the NDP with me.

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I hereby wish everyone have a fruitful year ahead. May the year be filled with good tidings ahead. =)

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Thanks for The Birthday Wishes

It has been a long while since I last blogged. I had been busy with work, no thanks to the corporate tax deadline. It was fortunate that I have asked my boss to participate in the Form C e-filing trial. I was quite glad that she actually agreed to this, given that she was a little apprehensive about e-filing when I joined in 2008, and put me in charge of all the liaison works with the IRAS officers.

The year has been tough as companies tend to be aware about the PIC Scheme. Some companies felt that they have grasped the concept of PIC Cash Payout and tried to save cost by getting the so called consultants to do the claims for them. Some even did it themselves. These people ended up making mistakes in the PIC Cash Payout claims, thus making us spend more time in working on the tax computations as we needed to amend their mistakes.

It did not help that my department was embroiled into some office politics, which meant that some time, meant for more productive work was wasted on this.

Despite all these, I am glad to say that I am still enjoying my job, despite the seven year itch approaching. This year will mark my 11th year in the industry.

Despite having to work on my birthday, I decided to keep my spirits up by buying a cake for my colleagues to share my joy for reaching 35 years old. I am glad that most of my colleagues enjoyed the cake. =)

I would like to thank my friends, colleagues & relatives for the well wishes and gifts. =)

 

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Seeing Fruits Of Labour

It has been a while since I last blogged. I have been busy with my work & grassroots volunteer work.

Today, I am going to share a story, or should I say my thoughts about working life. Maybe after reading this, you guys will understand why I am still in this company after 6 3/4 years.

Here it goes:-

In 2003, I was a fresh NS Man, having gone through the rite of passage as an Admin Support Assistant, despite my disability. I was always being misunderstood by officers in the course of my NS stint, perhaps due to my disability and this was the first time that SAF had people of my disability in their ranks. I am glad that I managed to fulfill my obligations as a male Singapore citizen, although I got a satisfactory grade at the end of my service. The stint would actually allow me to look at things from  different perspectives.

My first job, which I found in 2003, lasted half a year. I left the company after feeling stressed by one of the management level staff, who kept pushing me a lot of work and giving me a lot of stress by scolding me. It did not help that another management level staff felt that I should not be employed due to my physical disability.

After a frantic search for half a year, due to the recession and job interviewers who minded my disability and wanted to cut my asking price, I found a job which I stayed for close to 4 years. Although I was not allowed to use Paul as my name for my work at this company, as my boss at that time claimed this name is also the name of his son. In the end, I left the company due to the company’s management showed distrust & lack of faith in my work. Also, I felt that the pay I was getting did not match that of my peers that I was getting.

My current job took me about a year to find. During this period, I nearly lost faith on a few occasions as  prospective interviews drew a blank due to they minded my physical condition. When I first started this job, I was not thrilled by the prospect that I was losing out on annual leave and study leave, as it was definitely lesser than the previous job. But as the years went by, I am thrilled by the annual increments that I was given, the different aspects of the various types of tax cases that I was exposed to, the experience of my co-workers & partners. These are the factors that make me strive to work hard & go the extra mile for my bosses every time.

Although there is always office politics at play, I guess it happens wherever you go, wherever you work. It is how you manage it. For me, I choose to volunteer my services at the annual Volunteer e-filing exercise and grassroots volunteer, which I did not expect myself to be doing it for so long and so well.

I am always thankful for what has been given me & I strive to give back to the society more for what is given to me.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Oct VES Group Gathering

This is a delayed post, which I should have posted some time back. I did a major VES group gathering for the IRAS VES Group on 11 Oct and I was cheered that 19 people came and we celebrated the birthday of 5 of our volunteers, Jasmine, Juncai, Jianyi, Deqing & Meiqi.

Here are the photos. We must thank Jason for his selfie stick.

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This is a song that I wish to dedicate my nosy friend cum colleague now. Wish to tell her that TO MIND HER OWN BUSINESS AND STOP ASKING WHERE I AM HEADING TO EVERY PUBLIC HOLIDAY EVE OR EVERY FRIDAY.

It does not mean that I am special in my own right, that I cannot go out with my other friends. You are not my mum or girlfriend. I am not your boyfriend, so it means I do not need to report to you where I am heading to or who I will be with.

I think you should cut down on your lateness in work, your urgent leave & your “always take MCs antics and check your own professionalism & mannerisms before commenting that people ill-treat you or not giving you the benefit of the doubt.

This singer is special, just like me. I agree with the title of the song, which means “Leading My Own Life” and the lyrics. Hope I can find this song in KTV one day to sing.

Monday, September 29, 2014

My NACLI Course On Emotional Intelligence

I had signed up for this course about a month, with the aim to improve my emotional intelligence, and I am glad to say that I have fulfilled what I wanted to gain from the lecture, besides the 4 learning units that I gained for the Certificate of Community Development, which brings me 23 learning units to attain it.

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The 1st day of the lecture , we had to recite this success creed together in a group before we were allowed to leave for the day. This success creed, I think, I have been practising it, but I must apply more to my daily life, which means cutting out of negativity, or letting other people’s actions, which are negative affect me, and must be more lovable.

In the lecture, our lecturer also shared the importance of taking deep breaths when facing difficult situations or negative situations, and this techinque actually helps to connect your body to your mind, and the power to change the thought from a negative to a positive one.

Our lecturer also impart to us not to use the word “TRY” during the duration of the course. Those who said this were fined $1 for each time the word is said. I was given the task to be the treasurer. I must say this gave me the group closer together as I initiated to exchange the contacts of our course mates and create a whatsapp group to keep in touch together or going to other NACLI courses together.

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On the 2nd day, I learnt that the human body gets tired 12 hours after the midpoint of the sleep cycle. What does this mean?

Let’s say I sleep from 12am to 6pm, the midpoint of my sleep cycle will be at 3am. Therefore the zzzz monster will be setting in at 3pm. It is important to know this as you will then know how to schedule your tasks.

We also learnt to set goals & objectives and setting out to achieve it by being specific, measurable & making your goal stretchable. I am glad to say I have been practising it.

We ended off the course by all of us, singing this song, “The Power of The Dream” by Celine Dion, which I thought was an apt description for we have learnt in the two days.

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It was very nice to have known this batch of course mates, especially the 8 of them from Radin Mas YEC, which meant that I was not the only the young grassroots leader in the course. =)

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Eventful September

The fortunate thing about having a 5 day work week is I always look forward to my weekend. This is especially so after an eventful month at work.

Voice Art – 7 September 2014

It has been a while since I last sang, and this was supposed to be the location for the next VES volunteer gathering in October. However, due to the fact that they would be holding the singing competition at around the same time, we had to change our plans.

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Was there with Meiqi, Jasmine & Jia Jie. We did not manage to catch up with JJ’s mum, Linda this round. It appears that my friends enjoyed the experience at the KTV very much and am looking forward to the next one soon.

BBQ at ECP – 13 September 2014

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I would like to thank Chloe & Gonnie for organising this BBQ & inviting me along. It was indeed fun and I got to catch up with some friends whom I have not met up for a while, for example, Lance & Zhencong, and met up with some new ones, Li Gyan, Shirley, Dennies & Wayne.

In the BBQ, I got to know that Roy used to work in the People’s Association & knew my liaison officer, Juncai. As the saying goes, “The world is small, Singapore is even smaller, you never know who knows who, therefore it is advisable not to do anything wrong. “

Meet Up With My Poly Mate – 20 September 2014

This was arranged in super quick fashion as it has been quite a while, several years in fact, that I met up with my poly mate of Year 2, Xinhui. It is always good to catch up in person, as I have only managed to catch up with most of my school friends through their Facebook status updates as some of them have moved on to the next chapter of their lives. It was a good catch up session and hope that we can catch up soon again.

Catching F1 Qualifying Round with my IRAS volunteer friends – 20 September 2014

A yearly event since last year, where I caught the F1 Practice session with Elsa at Penisula Excelsior Hotel last year. This year, we changed our location to UOB Plaza 1, Si Chuan Dou Hua Restaurant as the hotel pricing for the buffet was highly marked up due to F1.

This was my 1st time up to the restaurant and I must say the food is not bad, and the price was quite affordable considering the number of dishes we ordered and we really had a good window seat to catch a good view of the action. =)

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I hope my friends enjoyed themselves, because I did. =)

How To Play A Political Game In Office?

I am having a busy month in September. It did not help that my work deadline is coming up in end November. Yet some colleagues are still either taking MCs & urgent leave as they please, leaving people needing to clean up their work for them, or indulging political moves to drive out a colleague, who was requested to come back to work for the company 6 months ago, as the “politicians” claimed that they were too busy and could not cope & it was to help us to have cover for a colleague who always take MCs or urgent leave with shocking regularity, only to kick this returning colleague out of the firm by saying they cannot work with her due to “communication problems” when it is pretty obvious that the person who got kicked out was not aware that she was about to be kicked out until she was in my boss’ office.

I wonder the so called “communication problems” was masked by the fact that her superiors have made mistakes in their work & it was discovered by this colleague. To cover up they used this to ask my boss to kick her out.

To think that these “politicians” have told my boss that they are monitoring another colleague, with similar punctuality,taking MC & urgent leave with shocking regularity as mentioned above, that if she does not improve soon, they will ask my boss to get her to go soon.

My take on this is hopefully the person mentioned in the 1st paragraph of this article wakes up from her routine, otherwise it will definitely adieus to her soon as well.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Interesting Happenings Since I Collected My SG Enable Pass

It has been about 2 months since I collected my SG Enable Public Transport Pass, which allows me to have unlimited bus & train rides capped at $60 per month with a hybrid pass and discounted bus fares for certain bus services.

Since getting the card, I have cutting down on unnecessary taxi rides, taking cabs when I felt that it was necessary as my transport bill is about 75% of what I spent previously.

I have used the card on Express services, Bus 74e & Express 502. My bus captain friend, Mr Lim, who drives Service 74e showed me that when I tap my card, it shows that a senior citizen has travelled on his bus. That’s funny, as it means I should have my hair bleached. Another interesting thing that I discovered was if I were to travel for more than 7.2km, the fare is capped at 7.2km.

I found that hanging a lanyard to display my pass helps, as the bus captain is able to see my pass clearly & also some people will automatically give up their seats to me. However, it has to be said, those people who gave up their seats to me are the senior citizens or Pioneer Generation Package recipients. The youths are mostly engaged in their tablets or smartphones.

The card is also my saviour at some traffic lights, as if I tap the card to the sensor, I am given more time to cross the road.

The card has allowed me to add on to the list of bus routes that I know too. I recently mastered Services 105, 106 & 190 and enhanced my knowledge of Express 502, as I had been stressed at work recently and wished to be alone. This was definitely a good way to destress by looking at the beautiful environment. I hope to cover Service 123, the amended Service 853 & Service 85 soon. =)

 

 

Saturday, August 23, 2014

My Enjoyments For The Week

 

The IRAS Volunteer Group Gathering – 16 Aug 2014

Our once in  two months gathering arranged by me & fellow volunteer, Meiqi was at Marina Square. It was a gathering of multiple firsts.

  • A gathering that has us moving from place to place. We moved from Manhattan Fish Market at Marina Square to TCC Citylink then to the open area outside Citylink Mall.
  • It was the 1st time we chatted till 1am plus and we would like to thank Helen for sending us home with her car.
  • A multiple celebration for gathering, Pauline’s birthday & advance celebration for Mooncake Festival

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Till our next gathering on 11 Oct =)

Liquids Café With Xiuling & Wendy – 17 Aug 2014

We continued the café adventure where we left off in 22 Jun. This time, we explored Liquids Café, which was located opposite Nee Soon Camp. I thought the food was great and we were virtually left undisturbed for about an hour plus as we had the whole café to ourselves. It was definitely nice catching up with them.

Some of you asked me for the address, it is at 56 Sembawang Rd. Buses 167,169 & 980 will take you there.

Performance By The Pipa Quartet with Angela – 22 Aug 2014

I was glad to be invited to catch this performance by The Pipa Quartet by Angela to end off my hectic week.

It is definitely a good form of relaxation, and I never knew that a pipa can play latest hit songs from our favourite singers too. I must say I am impressed especially on the front row seat of the performance on my first visit to SOTA. =)