Ria Bintan Club Med (Fortis)

Friday, 20 May 2005 | link | tag | / Trips / Indonesia
Took the ferry over to Ria Bintan, in Indonesia, with the whole office from Singapore.

A groovy weekend of avoiding monkeys, sitting by the pool, SCUBA diving, turning up early for lunch, getting to know work collegues and generally doing very little.

A clockwork schedule kept the rain exclusively to during lunchtime (time is an illusion, lunchtime doubly so -- Douglas Adams) and generally provided awesome weather other times.

The happy clappy Club Med experience tested my patience at times, but being in a large group, we were spared the worst of it.

The main objective, to get to know my work collegues better, was definately a success.

Truths to accept for a happier working life in the office

Wednesday, 18 May 2005 | link | tag | / Jokes
  • Don't work for short people.
  • Never apply for a job that has exclamation marks in the advert!!!
  • Left over food from meetings will provide you with the greatest thrill per dollar value in your entire working life.
  • If you are male and get your haircut, however respectable, you will be the subject of ridicule for the following day.
  • Asking for leave, even if you are entitled to it, will provide you with the greatest pain in your entire working life.
  • Don't listen to anyone who tells you different, it is true that the higher up the chain you get, the less actual work you do.
  • A couple of lagers after work is a far more effective way of teambuilding and bonding than any expedition to climb mountains, any shooting people with little balls of paint or any 'game' involving teams in coloured clothing. Unless you are allowed some beers afterwards.
  • Don't work anywhere that doesn't have a pub within walking distance
  • Sometimes the purpose of meetings is just to remind everybody what it is everyone else does.
  • Of all the meetings you attend, at least 98% will be utterly pointless.
  • The number of people in a meeting is inversely proportionate to the worth and effectiveness of that meeting.
  • Anyone who doesn't drink, however nice they are, should not be trusted.
  • The more someone uses phrases like 'out of the box', 'imagineer' and 'blue sky thinking', the less they actually know what they are talking about
  • Anyone who says their job is 'based on relationships', does little of consequence
  • If someone has worked in a company for more than 10 years they should not be trusted
  • Always carry your CV on a diskette in your pocket
  • Beware; 'over performance' is a phrase that always matches with 'rod for own back'
  • Pay peanuts, get monkeys.
  • The Accounts department will have the most over-inflated view of their importance and sense of humour in the office
  • The Sales department will have the most over-inflated view of their individual worth in the office
  • Managers will have the most over-inflated view of their popularity in the office
  • HR will have the hardest job making up stuff to look busy
  • Marketing won't even pretend to be busy, but will hide behind a veneer of 'science' ('that looks quite nice, but maybe a little to the left?') that 'you wouldn't understand' (we can't explain in a convincing manner) and are always in 'brainstorms' (forwarding emails to agencies to do the work for them). That is until a recession hits and they go 'travelling' (go to Ko Samui to get pissed).
  • Over the last 15 yrs the role of the "secretary" has gone from 'those who type' to "PA's" 'those who manage the entire business when the boss is absent'. The same thing happened when Stalin took over the Politburo. Beware the PA.
  • The greatest use for email is to facilitate office banter without the hushing.
  • Google images. Brilliant.
  • You'll always get a little thrill out of coming back from the loo to find you have that little envelope symbol in the bottom right of the screen
  • Photocopiers will keep getting bigger as everything else gets smaller. Soon the office will be placed inside the photocopier.
  • Accept it, it's like the tides or the setting of the sun, there is always someone in the office who gets away with 25 sick days a year, but if you have one Monday off you WILL be taken to task
  • After you have resigned and left a company you will be blamed for everything that goes wrong for the next 30 days.

A Blast from the Past

Wednesday, 18 May 2005 | link | tag | / Science
Mum and Dad found this image and forwarded it on for me. Those of you that were there will remember this well, those that were not might, well I like to think they'll be dissapointed that they didn't do stuff like this when they were a kid ;)

This was the last flight of my 1/6th Scale AMRAM missile - it came down a little hard and crushed the tail section.

It was flown at my brothers 18th birthday party I think, not long before we moved away from our property where you do this sort of thing int he back yard and no-one minded in the slightest. Happy times...

Out and About in Hong Kong

Friday, 13 May 2005 | link | tag | / Trips / Hong Kong
Got up early and jumped on the Queensway tram going east, and kept going till it stopped, in this case out near the cricket ground.

Walked back to the central part of the city, winding my way through the buildings, shops and back allys. I eventually found my was to Hong Kong park and took in the bird aviary which was delightful.

A short walk from the park to one of the Peak Tram stations, I took to the tram to the very top. The view of Hong Kong is truly impressive, if a little hazy due to the low cloud.

Not wanting to join the 100 odd 'random european tourists' that they manage to squeeze onto the peak tram, I decided to walk down from the peak. Lots of paved walkways have been provided, they wind their way through the rainforest preserves and the mansions on the mid-levels of the peak. I was struck by the contract of being in a rainforest where you can't see any buildings at all but you can hear the roar of the city.

In the afternoon after a bit of a break and hopped on the Star Ferry over to Tsim Sha Tsui (TST) to take in the sunset over the harbour, and to take some photo's of the city skyline. I stayed on till 8pm and enjoyed the lightshow which was quite spectular - syncronised lasers, spotlights, colourful sequences covering entire buildings.

Finished the night with Chili-salt prawn, and a couple of beers at 'Bulldogs' in Lan Kwai Fong. An amzing day.

Lavatory Turtles in Hong Kong

Wednesday, 11 May 2005 | link | tag | / Trips / Hong Kong
Ok, now I've seen something thats worth noting down. An aquarium full of baby turtles in a bathroom in Hong Kong. Yes. Yes, I know, very strange.

Well, my first 24 hours in Hong Kong was pretty good. Met the crew from the office here, finally, some of them I've been working with for 5 years. Had Yum Cha for lunch, in China. Slick.

Had a quite beer in Soho, followed by some knock-your-socks-off Sechzwan chicken, and a visit to a very secluded jazz bar with no outward signs of even being there (no, I'm not telling you where it is).

There hasn't been much of a break in the fog / smog / cloud / haze that seems to be permanantly hanging on the city, and I'm told that its always like this, this time of year. Still, I might get lucky on the weekend and get a nice photo afterall.

Blackdown Tablelands N.P.

Thursday, 21 April 2005 | link | tag | / Trips / Australia / Queensland / National Parks
Andrew had the day off to go diving with me, but 0.5m visibility and 1.5m swell meant that we changed our minds pretty quick and went for a drive instead.

I hadn't been to the Blackdown Tablelands since I was a kid, so we headed out west of Rockhampton to the 700 metre-above-sea-level escarpment. Its about a 2 hour drive from Rockhampton, and then a rapid climb up onto the plateau on very slippery pea-gravel roads.

The tablelands flora changes very rapidly as you climb, from the grasslands and sparse trees on the plain below to tree-ferns, and lush green forest at the top.

The park is littered with oddly erroded sandstone boulders and vast golden orb-weaver dens. One group of rocks looks like something a party of travelling hobbets might find a particularly pleasing spot to spend the night, boulders strewn around in a great circle with ferns and grass at their feet.

Majestic views of the Fitzroy River basin are on the winding 4WD track through the forest, and at the end a 2km walk to the Rainbow Falls, stepping down through lush rainforest, the path all but overgrown with tree ferns at some spots. Unfortunatly the falls were but a mere trickle.

Ballina to Hervey Bay

Sunday, 17 April 2005 | link | tag | / Trips / Australia / Queensland / Hervey Bay
What a way to start theday, breakfast at a beach side cafe, watching the dolphins play in the surf.

Some images of the storm and the Urangan Pier.

Kurnell, The Steps.

Friday, 15 April 2005 | link | tag | / Diving / Australia / NSW - Sydney / Kurnell
Went diving with Andy del, practically straight off the plain from Singapore. THe sky was blue, the water warm (ish) and the weedy's were out.

The mission was to test my new underwater enclosure out, which was a success and a lot of fun. I think once I get the hang of it, it will be amazing, the improvement I can already see - with the old Sony Cybershot I'd have to throw away about 50% of the images because they were out of focus or something else was wrong with them. With the 300D, that ratio drops to a about 10%.

There wasn't a great deal to see on the dive really, a coupe of weedy's and a few nudi's were out, but thats about it. It was just good to be diving again.

Most Gratuitous Use of the Word Fuck in a Serious Screenplay

Tuesday, 5 April 2005 | link | tag | / Jokes
My good friend Warren sent me a pearler MP3. Enjoy.

Rogue Trader

Tuesday, 5 April 2005 | link | tag | / Movies
I've just watched the 1999 film, Rogue Trader Staring Ewan McGregor and Anna Friel. Rogue Trader explains the story of Nick Leeson, a british investments trader who single-handedly caused the collapse of the Barings Bank - the UK's oldest investment banking firm.

The movie had previously escaped my attention. Working in IT for a large investment bank, in particular, a clearing house, I've been interested in movies about the industry I work in for ages, such as Boiler Room (2000) staring Vin Diesel and Wall Street (1987), staring Michael Douglas and Charlie Sheen.

The movie dipicts the City of Singapore, largely as it is now. In particular the city-scape which has barely changed. Notable landmarks include semi-famous joints such as Harry's Bar on Boat Quay where Nick Leeson was arrested for indecent exposure (He got drunk and mooned some local ladies. The police take a dim view of that sort of thing). It was interesting to see familiar sights prior to the cities recent binge on land reclaimation projects that are gradually making Singapore bigger (not nessesarily better) than before.

Of particular interest to me was the trading floor at the (then) Simex exchange, now the SGX. I've been lucky enough to visit the SGX trading floor during trading, sadly it wasn't as dynamic and bustling as the movie shows, but very close. You aren't allowed in without covered boots. There is a good reason.

Nick Leeson got himself into trouble trading futures and options straddles on the Nikkei 225. The open outcry market, in particular, the Nikkei pit is slowly dying in favour of electronic trading. I'm glad I got to see it before it goes. I'm can't help but think I'm playing a part in its demise... I'm sure Singapore hasn't forgotten Nick.