Saturday, May 28, 2016

Be On The Ball, Be It At Work Or Play

The recent happenings around the football world and in Singapore and at work makes me realise that our eyes must be on the ball no matter what we do.
  • LVG leaves Manchester United
    • The FA Cup win on last Saturday was not able to save his job at my favourite team. As much as I liked the fact that he gives the youngsters playing at the club a chance to play in the 1st team, he was not able to deliver the Champions League spot or the EPL title. I must say in some matches that I caught on Singtel TV, I actually fell asleep watching them.
  • Jose Mourinho appointed at Manchester United
    • As much as I have doubts about if he is going to use the youngsters at my favourite team, and the uncertainity surrounding Ryan Giggs' future, I feel that he could be the man to bring back the swagger to the team.
  • Finance Minister collapses at Cabinet meeting
    • This has something to do with the stress levels of working in Singapore. Being a Minister is not easy as the nation's well being is at your hands, therefore policies need to be well thought out. However, as the saying goes, work always cannot finish in Chinese, therefore one has to learn to pace oneself.
  • Whether the company survives requires everyone in the company to pool their efforts together
    • One should not be too selective about the tasks assigned by the boss, If the company does not pull through this economic slowdown, everyone in the company, including the families of employees will be affected.
  • The need to upgrade
    • Whether the company gives you study leave to study or not, it is always good to upgrade oneself so that we will not be outdated and perform our jobs better
This week, I overcame my phobia and decided to chat via the OKCupid app again, 2 years after a depressed gal had stalked me after I have known her on the app. However, I could be wrong, or maybe I may be too sensitive. The chat had started well, but when it came to the topic about my educational qualifications, she started to misunderstand me, and feel that I am boastful. The fortunate thing is that I have not met her yet, and what she said, have put me off a little. To think that she holds a job that I feel that I respect. It left me wondering if single child families are a little more self-centered, as this is not the 1st one I encountered like this. I agree with 2 of my friends who said that Singapore or Malaysian gals are more suitable for me, and I must be forthcoming about my physical disability. What she said was a little hurting, it prompted me to post this on my Facebook
Imagine if you are a new product, how would you market yourself, you will sell your good points, I believe. For me, I will do both, say the good and bad. Someone whom I met in the virtual world, who has not seen me in person, feels that I oversell on the good. Maybe so, but I think my life is a unique, difficult but positive and happy journey, despite the failures I had, what I went through. The same applies to everyone.
My friends who know me, will know that I have been through a lot to be where I am today. My own brother said that some of the things that I do surprised him and he is proud to have me as his brother.


I had the opportunity to catch up with Grace, my long time ICQ friend who has migrated to Perth and happily married with a child. It was good to catch up with her again after a 2 year hiatus.Hopefully the next meetup will not take so long to materialise.

Monday, May 02, 2016

What Do I Hope To Achieve In Life

The title of this blog entry is a question that has been asked by my parents, myself & my peers for quite a while now, as they felt that I have been devoting a lot of my time to my work & community work, but less time for myself and my family. The question of settling down and starting a family did cross my mind, but with myself being physically challenged, it is tough to find someone who accepts me for who I am, although I am still positive & confident that I will find that special someone someday. I prefer to take a step at a time.


Someone asked me why I devote myself to community work, despite getting not so positive response on certain activities that we try to implement sometimes. I had always received assistance when I was young due to my disability. In fact, to date, I still do as bus captains who know me through my commutes to work and school always keep a lookout for me when they see me walking towards their bus or boarding the bus. I am thankful for all these, especially the care & concern that my teachers & lecturers showered towards me during my school days.


I had tried my hand to obtain the ACCA qualification. This was a natural progression for me after I completed my diploma studies. In fact, I was forced to start late as my army officer had not granted my request for time off on some days for this. The nasty treatment that I had received during my NS days and my first job have changed my outlook in life. It made me not to trust people so easily. This includes my own family members. Till this day, there are still some relatives who still looks down on me and my family members, just because we had lower qualifications than them & my physical disability. Not that I am bothered by it, as some of them do not enjoy the strong family bonds that I have, or went to relationships where they are not supposed to.


I have been lucky. My current bosses have helped me to obtain my SIATP qualification in 2010. I was disillusioned by my failures at the ACCA Level 3 that prompted me to stop. I had never thought of opening an audit firm or be an auditor in the first place as my physical disability would be an obstacle to this. It seems that I made the right decision as the FRS & auditing standards have been changing day in day out, making it hard to follow. Not that the tax industry did not undergo changes, it changes every year too, but the changes are easier to swallow.


My 1st volunteering experience came about when I was on my 2nd job in 2005. I had started to volunteer as I did not wish to lose my practical experience in personal tax. Till today, although I still do personal tax, but my boss still prefers me to work on corporate tax, which I believe stems from the fact that corporate tax generates more revenue.


Grassroots came about later, after I was asked by some of my fellow volunteer friends to join to contribute more to the community. I was also attracted by the fact that there are interesting courses that I could attend for self-improvement purposes.


So if you were to ask me what I would do if I do not have volunteer work to do, I would say


  • More time for family & friends
  • More time for travelling
  • More time for CPE courses



Busy Mar to Apr

It has been a while since I last blogged. I had busy with the community tax filing initiative that I have started in place of the Volunteer e-filing Service by IRAS. As the cancellation was done at the last minute, it had made us the volunteers and the taxpayers who used the service pretty unhappy as taxpayers do not know where to seek for help, and have to take leave just to file their taxes?


I am sure that some of you may have read through the major newspapers before the filing deadline that there were long queues at IRAS as people had been queuing up for hours to e-file their taxes. It is fortunate that my grassroots adviser had given her support to me & my friends to start this program for our fellow people. I am happy to say that I have exceeded my expectations and helped these people e-file their taxes.


It gives us a sense of satisfaction that we have managed to help these people, despite the limitations placed on us.


I personally feel that community service is what we should cultivate in our young and not “the not in my backyard” syndrome. We all grow old one day. Does this mean that when we are old, we deserve to be written off by technological advances?


This makes me feel that we still have some way to go when it comes to community bonding and how to help these people when they need help?

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Busy Period For Paul



Hi all, sorry for not posting any entries recently as I had been busy recently with my work and a new community project that I have been tasked to lead, which had been forced by unfortunate developments. It has been stressful for me to lead and co-ordinate for this project that I have fell sick. My doctor issued me with an enforced medical leave for 2 days.


The project that I am leading is named Community Volunteer E-Filing Project. The reason for this project is because the joint project by IRAS & People’s Association has been ceased at the last minute and I have received feedback from my fellow volunteers and taxpayers that taxpayers may find going to IRAS is a hassle to some of them, especially to the senior citizens and illiterate. Not forgetting that some people do not enjoy visiting government agencies at all.


It has not been easy dealing with all the relevant agencies involved to get this project going and given the short time frame that I had when I knew that the program had been ceased. I am thankful to my MP, my RC members and the fellow volunteers who have supported me for this, with them assisting in little details for the project, while I did the negotiations for this, which I must say was tough.


My feelings about the cessation of the VES is a mixed one. I have expected the program to cease after last year due to the drastic cuts in the number of CCs involved in the exercise and unlike what it is claimed, although tax filing has been made simpler, the seniors and illiterate are always forgotten as these are the people who have problems embracing new technology. I am doing the tax filing for all my family members as I happened to be tax trained. Most of the young adults are not, therefore they have problems helping their family members to e-file. The good thing that I have picked up when I was volunteering in the VES is the friendships that were created and strengthened as the years went by. Also, the trust and faith that the taxpayers have in you, when they come to look for you to help them. I have met by a few of the taxpayers that I served over the years recently, they were unhappy that the VES had been ceased and find that going to IRAS is a hassle for them.


Nonetheless, it has been a fulfilling 11 years journey for me, having won 10 outstanding volunteer awards, 2 long service awards. I guessed without the strong support of fellow volunteers and the wonderful taxpayers that we served, winning these awards will not be possible. But the best reward is still seeing the smiles on the taxpayers’ faces after we e-filed for them.


Looking forward to the start of the community project from this Saturday till 17 April.



Friday, February 05, 2016

Unbelievable January


It has been an unbelievable January for me as although my work has not been smooth flowing due to colleagues potlicking and a muted pay increase this year due to the economic slowdown. Although all these happenings made me have thoughts that are my efforts in helping the company in the times of need unappreciated and set me thinking about moving on to greener pastures. My family and close friends have advised me to stay and solider on.

At the same time, the IRAS volunteer e-filing exercise could be undergoing some major changes in 2016 and 2017. I am glad to say I am part of the committee. I am sorry that I cannot reveal too much as I have a gag order slapped on me. I am glad that IRAS, as a Government statutory board adopts a “gathering of ideas” approach before implementing out. I certainly hope the taxpayers and fellow volunteers will get to see the benefits when it is progressively implemented.

I would like to take the opportunity to wish everyone a Happy Chinese New Year, May it be a Prosperous Year for You.

Monday, January 11, 2016

First Post For The New Year

Hi to the readers of my blog. It has been a while since I last blogged. Let me take the opportunity to wish you guys & gals a belated happy new year. Hope that all has been smooth flowing for all of you so far.


I managed to find a new app that allows me to blog freely, although it is not as user-friendly as the Windows Live Writer, I guess we just have to make do with this for the time being.


Finally, the year 2015 had ended. The time had come for me to clear my leave. You might have thought that my boss would be okay with me clearing a few days since it is my lull period and I still have a fair bit to clear for my 2015's entitlement, despite clearing some for my grandma's wake & 49th day.


I did not expect her to say things like why should I use my leave to go back to my school's open house. My leave is my entitlement, therefore I am allowed to do what I like. That's the reason why I hate to put the reasons for my application sometimes.


Granted that you may be pretty well off, but I feel that sometimes when we do volunteering, the help is more direct, rather than you give them money, they do not know how to manage it and spend it as they like, and they will be back to square one, asking for help again.


It was a good trip back to school, catching up with my lecturers, especially those who taught me in Year 2 & 3. At the same time, it was good to dish out advice to prospective students who are confused by the numerous offerings at the 5 polytechnics.


Besides this, I took the opportunity to attend the Grassroots Appreciation Night on Friday night.

A drawing of me at the event


Photos from the event

Caricature Art at the event

At the same time, I went to learn Malay for the next two days. I must say that learning a language is never easy but it was fun!!! 











Saturday, December 26, 2015

2015 In Review

I am still trying my best to adapt to use the old Blogger Template to publish my blog. It seems like my Windows Live Writer is really walking out on me, causing me to blog by using the Microsoft Word Template. Frequent readers of my blog would know that I would usually do a yearly review of my year as it draws to a close.

2015 has been a taxing and tiring year for Paul, and not as smooth as I would have liked it to be.

Work

The year started off on a new note as my company welcomed a new associate company to be one of our new auditors. There had been problems with the previous audit associate. Due to a gag order by my bosses, I am not allowed to reveal too much in here. Working with new people means starting new working relationships all over again. I must say it is not easy but I am glad to say that I have been doing my best to achieve it, since taking over from my colleague, who threw out the task of coordinating work with the auditors to me in late June. This means more work for me, not that I am complaining, but it means I need to have more hands to look after my tasks sometimes.
My manager was on long leave in the early part of the year due to illness. As it happened unexpectedly, all of us were taken by surprise. This incident also made me realized that
1.       One should always go for your regular health checks, no matter how busy you are.
2.       Never recommend a friend to work at your office, even if he/she needs a job desperately as you would never know when she would take the opportunity to stab you in the back or always take advantage of your presence in the company and be late for work, always on MC, push aside work when requested by superior or fellow colleague.

It is unfortunate that the friendship turned bad after the incident and the person left on her own accord sometime after the incident.

Volunteer Work

RC Activities

It has been a busy year on the volunteer front as well as our country celebrated its 50th birthday. This meant that many RC activities were themed based on that, and required our active participation. It also marked the start of my 2nd term as the treasurer of the RC. I have a new assistant to assist me. I must say she has been of a great help to me.


The IRAS Volunteer e-filing exercise

There was a drastic drop in the number of e-filing centres from 21 to 7 this year. It was fortunate that I have managed to gather some of the old-timers to form a team at my liaison officer’s request as he felt that the new volunteers are coming in with many requests for letters of PR application, request for ECA points & nomination for awards. Volunteering should be from the heart, and not because of the benefits. I would like to congratulate my team as each of them played a part and won an award for their contribution. I feel proud to have led this team to success this year and look forward to replicating the success next year.

For all my above efforts and past efforts, I was awarded Outstanding Volunteer Award, Long Service Award (10 years) and Slient Heroes Award.






Family

My grandma passed away on 31st October 2015. I personally feel that it is a relief for her as she had been struggling for quite a while with her illness. My mum, as usual has been hoping for me to settle down with a mate. In recent times, she has even asked me to plan for a roof over my head. We shall see how it goes when the time comes.

Friends

I am happy that my friends, Chloe & Gonnie & Jonathan & Serene got hitched this year. Also, Raymond welcomed a 2nd addition to his family.

KTV Group

The KTV group had a change in its venue for its KTV events after the members felt that the service standards at Partyworld Liang Court had been dropping. The new location is Voice Art at Bishan. It is opened by local singer, JJ Lin’s mum. I am heartened by the support for the new venue and hope that 2016 will be better.




Special Events

I attended the SG50 NDP at the Float this year, followed by JJ Lin’s concert.



Wishes for 2016

I look forward to a smooth flowing 2016 with an advancement to my life. =)




Sunday, December 20, 2015

My Birthday 2015

My apologies for not being able to post for quite a while as I had been busy with my work as the corporate tax deadline was 15 Dec 2015 and I have not been blogging that much as Microsoft Live Writer has decided to walk out on me since my 2 posts ago. I am currently using the default typing screen from Blogger to type this blog, which is a challenge to me as I have been used to using Windows Live Writer.

My birthday this year was unique as it happened to be the 49th day of my grandma's death. It gave me an opportunity to take leave on my birthday for the 1st time in 4 years. This marked the 1st time that my relatives had celebrated my birthday for me, which was a surprise to me. I enjoyed the celebration as my birthday cake was selected by my cousin's daughter, who is only 6 years of age and was able to open the box of cake with much ease.

Dinner was with my family at a Chinese restaurant at Nex, My brother was only able to join us at home for the celebration with a cake as he had been on reservist training.

Before these actual day celebrations, I had been invited to try out the new KTV outlet of Teo Heng at Ci Yuan CC by Grace, Jasmine & Zhong Wei, a usual birthday gathering with my KTV group buddies at Paris Baguette, a dinner with Connie, a dinner with my KTV buddy Yi Feng & a birthday cum Christmas celebration with Xiuling, Angela & Jia Jie. The VES group had also made my birthday a memorable one in a birthday & Christmas celebration held a while ago at Voice Art.


I guess it is a good time to learn this song by JJ Lin as I was tested to sing this song but I could not as I was not familiar with it.

Volunteer e-filing Group Gathering on 19th Dec

Celebration with my uncle's family on 18 Dec



Group photo with JJ Lin's bro, Lin Junfeng
Celebration on 13 Dec with Angela, Jiajie & Xiuling
The Passionfruit cake for my colleagues that I bought to office on 17 Dec

Birthday Celebration with Jasmine, Grace & Zhong Wei 4th Dec





As I reach the 36th year of my life, I hope for my life to be more smooth flowing after a hectic and not so smooth year in 2015.May what I wish for come true.

Please do not ask me what I wished for as it is always shared that if your wish is revealed, it is unlikely to come true.



Saturday, December 12, 2015

Busy Nov & Dec

I had been rather busy, which is good, in a sense, as you may have read from the papers that Singapore is experiencing an economic slowdown, but recently I do not feel appreciated in my work, although I still have a burning interest in my job. This could be due to too much work and office politics playing a part. Maybe it is a sign that I should move on after this economic slowdown, but my mum & myself had some reservations about this.

I took a week off from attending social gatherings in November, in the week after my grandma’s passing as my way of respecting her and to thank her for treating me well as her beloved grandson. After all, Nov & Dec had always been my busy months.

It did not help that my mum was still harping on the issue of me owning a flat under the Singles Scheme. To stop her from going on this issue further, I told her I will be doing so but I needed her support. She has agreed to do so.

I attended my manager’s grandson first birthday and my KTV buddy’s wedding. I am happy for them.


As for myself, I feel that there is no point rushing over things that do not happen now as if it happens, it will happen.

Friday, November 06, 2015

Grandma’s Passing

The colour of my blog serves as a good background colour to break this news. My beloved grandmother had passed away on 31 October 2015. She was 91.

I certainly saw this coming, as my family had visited her the last weekend before her passing. She was in pain, therefore she was not able to talk much. Her passing was actually a relief to her, as there would be no more suffering for her. As her eldest grandson, I have been doted upon by both of my grandparents since young. It is all the more so when I am born with cerebral palsy. Therefore I would certainly miss her.

Her funeral wake which lasted from Sunday to Wednesday, saw all our relatives and friends gathering to pay respects to my grandmother.

The happenings at the wake made me realized several things as I went through the course of the wake.

1.       You should not withhold the news of one’s passing from a fellow family member, regardless of any bad blood between family members.

2.       Compassion, understanding and respect for one another’s religion, physical challenges faced and work exigencies must be shown.  It does not mean that since you are doing this, you demand everyone to follow what is to be done.

3.       Filial piety should be shown when the person is alive, and not in death, as the dead person is not able to see and feel it.

4.       It is easy to spend money when you are not the one paying for it.

5.       The wearing of “xiao” can be within the wake period nowadays. It is up to each individual to decide how long they wish to carry on after the wake period.

I pray that my grandma is enjoying her time at the better place, but at the same time keeping watch over us.