Journal #253 – Documenting my Monday

After spending the last half an hour struggling to narrow down a decent thought to start writing from, I decided to give up. Documenting my day shall be the default mode rather than wasting any more time trying to find a perfect topic to talk about. And part of my decision process included me writing something on Facebook that got me settled down.

So what’s my day like?

I went to work slightly earlier today because there is a company-hosted dialogue session for new employees. The best part of my morning was I was melting as I made my way to office from the MRT station. In other words, I was basically sweating non-stop until my shirts (I wear two layers, one to absorb sweat) got soaked through. My body for some reason felt exceeding warm and just keep sweating. Yesterday was fine actually. The worse was when I was getting my daily Starbucks and I was just standing there waiting for the barista to make my coffee.

At the dialogue session, the person conducting was one of the department manager introduced himself and got us to introduce ourselves. Then he talked about how the company is transiting to building products instead of just providing services and doing projects.

After the whole talk, I am not even convinced because I have been lied to so many times by company management about building products and Singaporeans in general always think in terms of project. It’s almost like they are incapable of thinking in terms of product development. That’s just my conclusion from what I have seen. I want that conclusion to change and in order for that to change, I need to see actual Singaporeans doing product development.

I would like someone with way more experience in product development to share what are some of the most common approaches to product development in a company. Whatever I know right now is theoretical (I think closer to be naive) and I have never got the chance to experience it. And by theoretical I mean some of it is based off this article by ThoughtWorks. I also have an idealistic view of how products should be built.

One aspect of product development, which I think is important, is the process has to be design-driven. To me, without being design-driven, it will be very hard to lay down the foundations for future growth because you don’t get the chance to ask the right questions.

The other is having a team of product developers, not just developers who think short term and simply want to get the project done and over with.

One last very important thing is funding. I believe that you need to have a delicate set of funds to support the process of product development. You can think of it as an upfront investment. I don’t know how correct I am on this part but I have experienced enough where the company simply don’t have the money to support product development because the money comes from existing projects. All the research and development, trial and error, etc. simply couldn’t be done properly. All that tend to make me doubt the company about its ability to build and sell products. Again, I could be wrong. Someone please correct me on this.

After that, I went back to my desk and continued to implement whatever features I need to do and fix any bugs found. Tomorrow is when we will be deploying a proper set of applications for the actual use by the customer over the holiday week. So we will be testing it heavily over the next few days to identify any further issues and fix them fast.

Thus far, I hadn’t been enjoying the process of working on this project. The biggest gripe that I have is with the project approach the company is taking despite their claim of wanting it to be a product. But it’s not up to me at this moment because I’m not in that position. And I have no intention of being in that position because I never want to manage people. I just want to focus on doing what I am doing to the best of my ability.

The other gripe I have is with the design side of things. Design just wasn’t done properly and every developer is just implementing stuff their way just to meet the basic use cases. Our team lead did try to ensure whatever we implemented is useable and perform well but that’s about it. It’s not his fault really because his plate is pretty much full too. At my company, one person will be responsible for more and more projects over the years. So with that kind of multitasking, I don’t think it will be possible for that one person to think of the future of a so-called product.

For me, I did try my best to think of the future—think about how the user will want to use the application and what will happen if I don’t do certain things. Within the short time frame, I did whatever I could to add certain kind of controls, ensure certain kind of interaction the user can have with the application. But I also know that I could be completely wrong with what I implemented and will need to change later. I have also tried to ensure code reusability by introducing more layering.

By around 5.45pm, I was done gathering the latest client code from source control and compiling the codes into a deployable application for tomorrow. I put the compiled files into a folder on the share folder where my other colleague was preparing the server stuff. I waited for my colleague to finish putting everything onto a thumbdrive before leaving.

So tomorrow, I will go to the customer office to do the deployment and testing the applications. I do hope it goes smoothly.

I went home to rain and then join my mom for dinner at the Legendary Hong Kong restaurant. I ordered Seafood fried rice with XO sauce, pineapple drink (basically canned pineapple with syrup), and steamed shrimp dumplings.

Nothing too fancy but then the price tag is just not worth it. The food is just too average and I could get them cheaper from elsewhere. I think I will avoid going to this restaurant in the future.

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Journal #241 – Kick back Saturday

Today is the 15th of the 10th month on the Chinese calendar. I chose to go to a Chinese temple nearby with my parents to offer some prayers and after that, we went to have vegetarian food at the nearby coffee shop.

Every religion has their specific days to do certain things. For us taoist, it’s the same. On the 1st and 15th of the Chinese calendar, the devout will go to the temple to offer their incenses and donations. After which, they will proceed to eat vegetarian and local vegetarian food tend to include quite a lot of mock-meat.

After that, my parents and I spent sometime watching a local Chinese TV production call Happy Can Already on my Apple TV through the Toggle app. It is actually one of the only shows in Singapore that feature Chinese dialects primarily.

Now that’s what I call spending time with family.

After that, I went to download an app call Sky Force: Reloaded on Apple TV and spent some time playing it. Drudgery is involve too. Patience is required. It’s a vertically scrolling shoot ’em up game that more closely resemble a roguelike due to its persistence of the plane upgrades. It reminds me of Everspace, which I throughly enjoy playing too.

You know, in the past, I never had the patience to play such game. If I keep dying in a game like more than three or four times, I just give up. Now, I suppose I have outgrown the traditional FPS games for their instant gratifications and moved on to something else. Or maybe it was companies like EA, Activision Blizzard, and Ubisoft that ruined games for me- excessive micro transactions, franchises milked dry, lack of innovation, and overpriced. And I find fault with their lack of investment in the lore of the game. The games these company make doesn’t scream investment or quality anymore unlike the old Westwood-made RTS like Command and Conquer…

Oops…sorry, I digressed. Ranting about video game should be a blog entry on its own.

After playing that game for a while, good thing that it also sync to my iPhone via Game Center, I went to watch Tokyo Ghoul on Netflix. If I remember correctly, I’m already on Season 2.

After that, I went out with my family to eat dinner at Hot Tomato. I had fish and chips while my parents and sister had salmon mango salsa. Then we went shopping at NTUC to get grocery. It was one just half an hour ago that we reached home and I got down to write this journal.

On the way home, I found myself enjoying Hollwood Undead’s album called Five 1 with the Apple AirPods. The bass and mid-range is just good and the music doesn’t sound cramp together.

So indeed, tonight is a kick back Saturday.

Journal #220 – Singles’ Day, Just another chilling day

Today is actually marked as Singles’ Day. It’s a festival that originate from China celebrating single hood. It is also a day where irresponsible consumerism rules because things will be on massive sales and people buy these things en-mass. Just like Black Friday or any other day where companies make compulsory consumption a thing.

To me, it doesn’t really affect me. It’s just another Saturday. I woke up much later today, at around 9.45am. After brushing my teeth, I went out with my parents to have breakfast. After we came back home, we made our respective coffees and I proceed to start up my desktop to play Everspace.

I played for quite a while consistently and for the first time while I was playing through Sector 5 to 6, I didn’t die. I had been very very careful with my resources and the battles I got into. My longer than usual sleep and the coffee definitely helped with my reaction time and calmness.

Then I finally reached Sector 7. There was a moment when I felt excited. It was the last sector of the game and also the end.

After several nerve-wrecking situations in sector 7, I managed to finish the game by early afternoon.

I took 35 tries just to reach this stage. Talk about patience and drudgery.

After that, the game was about collecting 8 DNA pieces. I played for the next couple of hours but by then, I got pretty tired.

I had my late lunch and was waiting for the rain to stop. These past few days, the weather in Singapore had been rather wet. The rain can get pretty heavy.

Once the weather cleared up for a bit, I went for a 5km run. That actually wore me out but it was good.

I went for a shower and decided to just lie down and read the Jony Ive biography until my family members are ready to go out for dinner.

We went to Crystal Jade and ordered a whole bunch of dishes, including meat. I didn’t eat the meat but it doesn’t mean my family don’t.

First dish, steamed buns and Po Lo Pork.

Second dish, Xiao Long Bao.

Third and fourth dishes, stir-fried french beans with minced meat and sautéed vegetable with three kinds of eggs (scrambled, salted, century).

I want to note that the fourth dish was the worse due to the strong ammonia from the century egg. At first, we thought the food was spoilt until we narrowed down the ammonia. So, next time we will not order this dish.

Fifth dish, sweet and sour fish.

Sixth dish, stir-fried prawns. And these prawns are frozen. Very obvious from their sheen.

So you see, even Crystal Jade’s standard isn’t even there. They can’t even use fresh prawns.

Seventh dish, was a vegetarian one. It’s the fried beancurd skin with mushroom strips.

Overall, the dinner was filling but in terms of quality, it’s just isn’t there. I expected better. Anyway, it was my treat.

After the dinner, my family went to the NTUC supermarket to get stuff for a vegetarian soup that my mom wants to prepare tomorrow.

By the time we got home, it was already 10.15pm. That’s when I got down to business and start writing this journal. I shall spend the rest of the night watching some show and turn in.

Journal #209 – Broke my vegetarian streak, Work was swarming

I went to work this morning and decided to order Veggie Delite sub from Subway to diversify my breakfast. Turns out I actually enjoy eating just veggies.

The morning at work was decent and I focused on fixing some minor issues and do up some minor features required by the customer. A part of me was feeling bored but I just have to do it. Part of the drudgery.

As it progressed towards the end of the work day, I got swarmed with stuff. There were some issues with enabling SSL for the web service. Then there was another issue with the authorization module where the logged on user didn’t have the correct set of accesses retrieved from the database. Following that was an improper implementation of the access control on the client side. Got quite frustrated. I gave up on trying to fix the first two as it was already 6pm. Time for me to go home and wind down for the day. I will fix the issues tomorrow.

At night, I had dinner consisting of porridge, fried vermicelli, and roasted chicken. The chicken part, well, it disgusted me when I ate it but I didn’t want to waste food and so I ate it. I ate a drumstick and a piece of chicken breast. The porridge did have pork belly and that I discard it. Tomorrow, I had to reset my diet back to vegetarian.

After dinner, I went on to do what I usually do at night. That’s winding down, clearing my head of work and focus on relaxing, and bring my mind back to the state of zen (somewhat).

Ok, that’s all for tonight.

Journal #185 – Meals with Family

The hawker center near my house opened for business about three days ago. So my parents and I decided to have our breakfast there.

We had rice with fish (Spanish Mackerel) slice soup.

For $5, the fish slices are thick, fresh, and there is quite a lot of them. The soup itself is clear, well seasoned with a touch of saltiness.

After breakfast, we went home after packing Chicken Rice for my younger sister who always sleep until noon on weekends before waking up.

By right, the afternoon was supposed to be spent with my friend, B, but he decided to postpone it because of IBS attack.

So I spent the afternoon playing Everspace. Because it’s a roguelike game, I spent most of the time grinding, slowly earning enough credits to upgrade my ship. I must have sucked at these kind of games as my game always end by the third sector, killed by my enemies.

Then my family and I went out for dinner at The Good Trio Chinese restaurant located at JCube, Jurong East.

We ordered our food and so we had to content ourselves with empty plates and unused utensils.

The first thing that arrived was Chrysanthemum Tea.

The tea itself is not well brewed and is almost tasteless.

Then came the Xiao Long Bao. Not particularly good to eat. The skin is a bit thick and the soup inside is not well made.

Next up is the Chinese Ramen with Seafood and some kind of milky white broth. It was one of the better dish with a balance broth taste. Noodles were a tad bit hard but not outright inedible.

Next up is the BBQ Pork Rib. This was the slightly better dish although it was on the salty side and the meat on certain part of each piece of rib is overcooked. I guess it’s my bias because I like to eat meat.

Then came the crispy pig intestine. This dish was ordered by my second sister because she found it nice. I didn’t eat this dish because the moment it arrived, I could smell it being not well-washed or cooked long enough.

After the pig intestine, while we were still scrambling to eat the rest, the main carbohydrate dish came. Funny how, it came mid-way through our meal. We were given the choice of white rice and mixed grain rice with beans during the ordering process. I went with the latter.

This is the only thing that I enjoy eating. It didn’t taste complex and is healthy. I like the balance between hard and soft.

After the rice, the deep fried yam chunk covered with maltose came.

The inside is soft as with all yam. I love the inside as I love yam. But the outside, with the maltose, it is too sweet for my liking. I don’t really take sweet stuff anymore. The yam taste and the maltose just don’t go well together. It’s like they are two separate thing.

Next up is the rice vermicelli with prawns. I ate this much later as it was on the other side of the table. My sisters and parents were eating it while I ate my rice and other dishes.

Instead of eating it separately, I took a mouthful and a prawn and dump it on my plate which still had the rice. Mixing it in and eating them together just made everything taste better.

The spinach dish came later but I ate it first because it was placed right in front of me.

I enjoy this dish. Like the rice, it wasn’t particularly overwhelming and tasted simple.

To conclude the dinner, the herbal chicken soup came. I took a bowl with two pieces of chicken and various kind of mushrooms.

Somehow, I found the soup to be a tad salty. I did ask my family About it but they said it tasted just right. I guess it’s just me. Or maybe it’s that I’m overly sensitive to certain kind of seasoning.

After the dinner, we spent some time walking around JCube before making our way to IMM. My family bought some grocery and some other household items. The latter I found to be a form of unnecessary consumption. Well, that’s the minimalist talking. I have reached a point where whatever in-store advertisement or sales tactics just won’t work on me because I keep training myself mentally to ignore them. I trained myself to think about what I need and the purpose. Impulse purchase I like think believe that it is a thing of the past for me.

Ok, that’s all for my update today.

Here I conclude my journal for today.

Journal #178 – Outing with Friends

Early this morning, I went out to meet my friends for a buffet lunch at a restaurant called 10 at Claymore, Pan Pacific Hotel. The purpose of this outing was to catch up, have some fun, and also in a way, celebrate my friend and my birthday. Our birthdays are just one day apart in October.

I would say it was a mixed cuisine buffet with Japanese, Western, and some Singapore dishes. From where I am sitting, I would say, I don’t think it’s very popular but then the ambience is pretty alright.

This is what is on my desk.

The restaurant attempts to be a fine-dining location but I don’t think the utensils are correct. I would say it’s nice that we get a cup of ice water first.

As for the food, there is some varieties and I went for the sashimi first.

I know, it doesn’t look very appetizing. The condiments, fake wasabi and soy sauce, I just took very little. It’s all about the intentionality and conservation. If I don’t need it, why should I take more?

The fish slices themselves are decent in terms of quality. They do have the firmness, not too soggy-like or have any fishy smell. But I have tasted better.

Then when it comes to the entree (not even sure if I should call it that), I also took very little. Very intentional with what I want to eat.

A couple of lamb slices, lamb satay, some grilled potato wedges, and half of a duck drumstick. With the exception of the potato wedges,

I did went for a second serving (no photo) consisting of three lamb slices, a few mouthful of fried kway tiao, two dim-sum shrimp dumplings, and two shumai, two slices of extremely salty smoked salmon and two slices of pork pepperoni.

I skip all the carbohydrates in this section. I don’t think it’s such a good idea to be eating so much carbohydrates at a buffet.

Then I went for a bowl of laksa.

The laksa was decent, not terrible or good. Just average.

After that, I took six slices of salmon belly sashimi, and two slices of watermelon and papaya respectively. I spent most of my time chatting with my friends, sharing my thoughts.

Guess what’s the final price?

Each of us pay $56.

I know what you are thinking if you read through all that. It’s a buffet and why the hell am I taking so little? And it’s so expensive!

Each of us adopted a stance with regards to buffets.

One said: I eat all I can
Another said: I eat all I want
Me: I eat all I need

I know what will happen to me if I take a lot and eat a lot. I will feel sick and I will waste food. I don’t want that and I see that happening so often in Singapore. It happened to my first friend. He felt bloated with some discomfort.

People waste food and they take just because they can. In Singapore, we are one of the few nations with the most waste food. This just show Singaporeans in general are pampered, wasteful, and lack gratitude.

After that, my friends and I went to the Apple Store at Orchard Road to shop around. While I’m there, I wanted to buy the AirPods so badly but I walked out of the store empty-handed. Why? Because I knew I don’t need it. I want it just so that I can complete my Apple collection. I also know that completing the collection doesn’t add value to my life. I don’t get any more joy from it then what I already have as I’m grateful for them.

After that, we went to Orchard Central to just walk around and help us with burning some calories before we went to watch the movie, Ninjago.

When the movie started, my friends and I were kind of surprised to see Jackie Chan and we wondered if we entered the right theater. I know Jackie Chan had another movie call The Foreigner and they were both released in Singapore around the same time. We double checked and yes, we are in the right theater. Jackie Chan was simply the narrator.

The movie itself was not that good. I give it maybe a 2.8/5 stars. The first lego movie was good because it was fresh and I don’t have any expectation of it. But as more lego movies are made, the quality dropped. It is just like how companies milk their franchises for more money and the quality just isn’t there anymore. Some examples are companies like Electronic Arts, Ubisoft and Activision milked their respective franchises dry. This is why I decided to stop buying their games all together.

After the movie, we made our way home, dropping by Jurong Point for dinner first. We had ramen but my friends aren’t exactly hungry. For me, I am hungry. Part of it was due to my gastritis.

Now you see? The choices you make even when it comes to food affect the rest of your day.

I also keep nagging at my friends to use payment apps and stop handling cash. Finally one of them installed DBS Paylah, an app developed by DBS Bank for the purpose of it being an e-wallet and uses QR Codes to send or receive payment. It stop the hassle of handling cash. So if you want to go out with me, please go cashless. I don’t handle or process cash unless absolutely necessary.

That’s all for now.

Here I conclude my journal for today.

Journal #176 – Going Through Drudgery Daily, Then A Decent Ending For Today

Why do I have writer’s block? Why do I not know what I want to write about today?

I want to say I’m tired. But that sounds like a fucking excuse.

But at the root of it, it’s really simple.

I didn’t put myself out there enough, exposing myself to brand new ideas, talking with people, sharing.

Everyday is the same fucking shit.

Wake up. Have food. Shower. Travel to work. Write code. Test code. Fix Code. Write more code. Have food. Do more code…

Sounds extremely boring isn’t it? In part yes. In part, no. The no part refers to my tendency to refactor my code even though they are not done or functioning yet. I moved my codes around, create more classes, break apart certain functions, etc. All part of the development process. The yes part refers to the process of writing code itself.

Just like the process of writing my journals. It’s a form of drudgery as it’s boring as hell. There could be a million (ok, not a million, maybe a dozen) of things that I could be doing. And sometimes, I’m tired. But I still write because that’s how I will improve.

My friend did tell me there is no need to write everyday. Generally, I will just say fuck off. But not today because I choose to ignore him.

You see, by forcing yourself to write everyday, you are training yourself. It is intentional training. Just like how some people go for music lesson in a consistent manner. That’s how they become good.

So in my case, because of me consistently writing everyday and putting out content, even now when I’m super exhausted, super sleepy, I’m still able write so much. See, I’m good at telling my own life story.

I’m just that good at it.

Now let’s repeat after me.

Ha! I’m joking. But I hope you get what I’m trying to say. Keep practicing and you will become good at what you do.

And today, I didn’t go home right away after work. My friend actually asked me out for dinner and so I did.

Met him at Orchard to eat at The Sushi Bar and each person pays S$38.60.

A cup of green tea for $2.

A bowl of steam egg (chawanmushi) for $4.

A regular sized Kaisen Chirashi Don for $26.90.

After dinner, my friend and I made our way to the Kinokuniya Bookstore at Takashimaya. At first I didn’t know what I want to buy, then I thought about buying Tim Ferriss’s 4 hour workweek. But I wasn’t sure I could find it. Then I thought about buying Steve Jobs’ biography until I came across a book about Jony Ive.

So I went to buy the book call Jony Ive: The Genuis Behind Apple’s Greatest Products by Leander Kahn.

Why did I buy it? My initial thought was maybe I could try and understand what’s going on behind the decisions that gave us the products that we so loved from Apple. I thought maybe it could expand my knowledge. And a part of me, I don’t know. It’s my first biography that I have ever bought.

Maybe after reading it, I could give a decent review. I shall see how that goes.

Here I conclude my journal for today.

Journal #156 – Tired Saturday

It’s one of those weekends that saw me waking up feeling extremely tired despite having what I believe to be a decent night sleep.

I went about with my morning routine and I found myself not wanting to do anything at all. Knowing that’s not how my day should go, I decided to power on my desktop and play some games. The game I chose to play was Sniper Elite 4.

I managed to finish the remaining two missions of the single player campaign by about noon. Or was it much later? I couldn’t remember.

But I do remember feeling extremely exhausted and depressed at around 1400hrs. I suspect it had to do with the fact that I’m extremely hungry. So I went to eat a banana and then decided to play Watch Dogs 2. Half way through, the game crashed because of the display driver. Ever since I got the game, the game always caused the display driver to crash. I had since given up on trying to fix it. It’s not my problem. And since this game is considered quite old, I don’t really care about it anymore.

The exhaustion reached a point where I decided to take a nap, or at least tried to. But couldn’t fall asleep. Then my mom went to get me lunch at around 1530hrs. I ate that and tried to go back to sleep again. Still can’t sleep but I did felt better.

At around 1700hrs, I decided to go for a run but it was a painful one. My knees were hurting and then I had to deal with the toxic fumes from the cars and the irresponsible, selfish smokers along my run path. I kept coughing and felt sick. Cut it short at 6km and went home. Had a shower, watched some YouTube video on my iPad Pro and went out for dinner with my family at Jurong Point.

Walked around for a bit and they got some stuff. Half way through, I got so bored and tired. I went and listen to The Minimalists podcast.

We made our way home at around 2200hrs and here I am. I’m just waiting for my friend to call me or when he’s free to pick up. Whichever comes first.

Journal #135 – A visit to Singapore Night Festival

Updated (20 Aug 2017 1033hrs): Included additional thoughts Annabelle Creation, and removed intent of adding video.

I woke up at around 0730hrs with the intent to go for a 10km run. So I did went for it at around 0830hrs. However, half way through the run, I felt weird and whenever I stopped at traffic lights, my vision almost went white and I felt slightly giddy.

I suspected that my blood sugar has fallen to a certain level and that my body is telling me to stop. And so I did. I walked home and climbed the stairs, activities which are less strenuous than running.

After I came back, I had vegetarian fried noodles with white cabbage, braised beancurd sheets, and fried beancurd. While eating, I binge watched The Defenders, followed by the TV series, Dark Matter, Killjoys, and Zoo.

By then it was almost time for me to leave the house to meet with a friend. We went to Liang Court to have dinner. We ate at a Japanese restaurant and I ordered a 11-type sashimi chirashi, tofu, and green tea.

After that, we went to the Singapore Night Festival where we enjoy light shows and visit the museum which showcases stuff from Mr. Lee Kuan Yew’s house, Singapore history.

Here are some pictures I took while I was there.

After that, we decided to watch Annabelle Creation at The Cathay.

The movie Annabelle Creation is one of the better horror movies that I watched in years. While watching it, never had I felt so dreadful. I have watched countless horror shows, played survival horror games, and Annabelle Creation is one of those that make me want to curl up and stop watching. In terms of story, I thought it did a pretty good job too. 4/5 for the movie.

Here I conclude my journal for today.

Daily Journal – Jun 10, 2017

This is my 74th journal.

Today is the day where my family went out for a dinner to celebrate Father’s Day.

We ate at Beng Hiang Restaurant in Jurong East.

The first dish that came was what is known as Ngoh Hiang. As I got some minor issues with my throat from eating too much fried food and chocolate, I only ate one piece.

The next dish was Sea Cucumber with Duck. I ate a few pieces of the sea cucumber and a big slice of duck meat.

Next dish was Mayonnaise Prawns. I ate one too. So far the dishes, I find them to be neutral. I couldn’t really taste if they are any good. My depression somehow is suppressing my appetite. In addition, I had my lunch at around 4pm, so I guess I wasn’t feeling hungry.

The next dish was fried rice with prawns and Chicken chunks. Well, generally I love fried rice and this was decent actually. But I only had one bowl

Then came Black Hokkien Fried Noodle. The moment the dish came I could smell something was wrong with it. It smelled like urine. Then when I ate it, it taste burnt. It’s as though the cook used too much heat. So, it wasn’t good in my opinion. Actually, I would say it’s one of the worse of all the dishes.

Next is Stir-fried prawns with Chives. Well, I don’t really like to eat vegetables. So I only ate the prawns. It was decent.

The last dish was one of my favorite, Kong Ba Pau (Braised Pork Bun). But then I don’t feel particularly hungry and so I only ate one but it was decent also.

After the dinner, my family and I went out for a quick walk around JCube and went home at around 2230.

Here I conclude my journal for today.