One of the reasons I set up this blog was to help me learn – learn to write better and learn through processing experiences.  And so I’ve been thinking about setting up a new blog focusing on lessons and happenings at work.

But till I do, I’ll be blogging about stuff at work here.


I’ve been blogging irregularly and infrequently.  I’m not certain about the reason; it’s probably related to how busy I am at work.  Or maybe it’s the one-dimensionality of what I can blog about, since most of what I experience and think about is work-related.  (And I don’t want to seem one-dimensional?)  Or maybe it’s the lack of time I’ve have to think about things.  (Or to think about them deeply enough to come up with things worth writing about.)  It’s a curious thing: what motivates my blogging?

I note down things I want to blog about on my E71, and then transfer them to a virtual Post-It note on my desktop (via this application called Stickies).  And since I haven’t blogged for a while, I have some stuff that’s been on that Post-It note for a while.  Time for some culling.


A while back, I shifted seats from one directly perpendicular to the corridor facing the rooms of some senior colleagues, to one further back, separated from the corridor by one or two work-stations.  I miss the proximity to the corridor traffic, the saying “hi” to more people.


My work trip to Hanoi in November last year was an eye-opener.  While the views from my hotel – the InterContinental Hanoi Westlake, a beautiful hotel/resort overlooking Hanoi’s largest lake – at sunrise and sunset were quite sublime, the most memorable moments came during the trishaw rides we took amid Hanoi’s rush hour.

I can no longer remember the trishaw rides I must have taken in Singapore.  In any case, I’m not sure they would be a comparable experience.  Not when the trishaw-man was manoeuvring haphazardly through steady streams of cars, motorcycles and other trishaws, all the while keeping up a conversation with any fellow trishaw-man within hearing distance; not when part of the route was a roundabout where the traffic lights were observed only through blithe nonchalance and where the streams of cars, motorcycles and trishaws mingled and miraculously sorted themselves out without significant incident; not when, to turn right, an impatient car-driver would go round the trishaw’s left and cut in front of it, all the while without any sort of visual signal whatsoever, leaving the chap manning my trishaw to mutter darkly under his laboured breath; not when the pollutants in the air left tangible evidence in one’s respiratory system; not when the air itself reverberated with the rhythmic pulsing of car horns – yes, instead of bland blasts, car horns here pulsed almost musically, perhaps because instead of acting as alarms (“watch out!”), they served more as a constant reminder of where a vehicle is (“I’’m here, I’m here, I’m here”) – which would make them an innovative adaptation to a situation where near-accident proximity to other vehicles is a given.


On 7 December 2009, I travelled to work on the MRT, and someone smelled strongly of lemongrass.


Some time in January this year, I was in a meeting at which we were trying to describe to some overseas guests how tripartism (dialogue, consultations and collaborations among a country’s social partners i.e. employers, unions/workers and the government) works in Singapore.  I explained that it was a framework that Singapore’s social partners worked in.  Another colleague said that tripartism was Singapore’s modus operandi.  And in between us this other colleague said that it was in Singapore’s DNA.  And as I sat there listening to the discussion, it struck me that either “modus operandi” or “DNA” – more the latter – was a better, more easily identified with illustration of the way tripartism works in Singapore than “framework”.


Recently, I dreamt I was in a nail spa.  Disclaimer: Having never been to a nail spa, I can only guess where I dreamt I was at, but it looked like what I expected a nail spa to look like.  Why I was in a nail spa in my dream, I have no idea.  I do recall that a couple of days before the dream, I had seen a lady with an elaborately manicured set of nails on the MRT.  Maybe I just needed to cut my nails (which were long-ish when I had the dream).  For the record, I didn’t get a manicure in the dream… probably because I didn’t have the imagination to dream it.


Just last week, or maybe the week before, on the way to work, I saw a lady wearing really beautiful shoes – classic oriental design, like something you’d see on a cheongsam – but with bloody scrapes above her heels.  The shoes were the unforgivingly hard sort, and that might have been her first time wearing them.  I could so empathise with that, and with the realisation that she was stuck with those painful, heel-raking shoes for the rest of the day.


And just last Wednesday, I ate at Breakthru’ Cafe with my mum and my dad.  I really enjoyed that  :)  And we enjoyed the chilli (with spicy dried shrimp) that came with the glutinous rice.


Recently I have been thinking about my influence on people I manage.  Someone thanked me for being a “nice and appreciative” boss.  And my instinctual reaction to that, was that I don’t want to be known as nice and appreciative – I’d rather be associated with competence, with intelligence, with industry… and then I thought, would I really, as a boss?

Author: lichone

Ethics by Enid Blyton; physique by deep-fried things. I think we all have an instinct to tell stories and to build things and relationships,

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