we went to a a temple where one half was a tiger and the other side was a dragon – hence the title (subtext aside).

it was mostly raining while we were there (not at all typical for that time of year). my wife presented at Kenting (going there was a long , wide, and straight highway – our driver explained that the dividers can be removed and as a contingency can serve as a makeshift runway), a beach town (which we were unable to enjoy because of the weather and time of year – December isn’t exactly an ideal time), which was still about a two hour drive away from Kaoshiung airport. we were able to go to the night market – we would have enjoyed it more had it not been so windy. we had a cheap meal there – luckily the menu had pictures because we didn’t speak Chinese an they didn’t speak English at the restaurant. that said, most of the cuisine has a pronounced star anise or 5 spice smell and flavour – so if your not a fan of liquorice or aniseed be careful what you order.

the wi-fi at our hotel was very “efficient”. when we left the room that network disappeared. when we were at the lobby it was different, and when we were downstairs at the conference area another one took over. moreover, they had one on the tour bus they helped arrange.

among the tour, we were able to see a “shelled” beach where people are no longer allowed (as some tourists kept taking away the “sand”). we also visited the southern most tip of Taiwan (where you can supposedly wave to someone in the Philippines – it’s a “nice”, if highly implausible story). A very kind stranger got out of his car and helped my wife push my wheelchair up as the road was inclined upwards (it must be because we encountered a lot of Hindu temples).

we spent the last few days in Kaoshiung so we changed hotels. I was delightfully surprised that it was also highly accessible (and in my experience, second only to Australia and well ahead of several Western nations i’ve visited). honestly, i didn’t have great expectations as most Asian countries have what Hofsteder refers to as high cultural (adjective my own) power distance – case in point, ramps in other parts of Asia are quite steep and assumes there is someone at the back pushing the wheelchair instead of being self-propelled (which wasn’t an issue in Taiwan – at least the places i visited). that said, our driver said that a person in a wheelchair couldn’t just hail a cab off the street and special (read as: prior) arrangements need to have been made)

anyway, we were also able to go the night market in the city (it was obvious it was Japanese designed as the architecture and layout reminded us of Tokyo) but were not able to find the stall driver recommended – it’s really difficult when you can’t read or Speak Chinese. serendipitously, we ended up in a restaurant were another Filipina worked so it was easy ordering food.

our driver took us around the city before dropping us at the airport. we were able to visit the temple i mentioned previously. there were a lot of Japanese tourists and i noticed a heap of flights back to Japan at the airport. it was a “hidden” gem – we wished we had a few more days to explore it “properly”.

it’s been over a month since my last entry – this post is not an excuse but an explanation.

for nearly the first fortnight of December we were overseas: Taiwan-China-Hong Kong. my wife had to present a paper so we took the opportunity to explore afterwards

it’s true that i had my phone with me but condition were not “conducive” for blogging for me. never mind our nearly full-schedule but the “small” on-screen keyboard is extremely challenging for me – this requires significant time and effort, not to mention my frequent mis-hits. i prefer a full-sized physical keyboard and “big” screen so i can “easily” type.

the second half of December was mainly allocated to my wife’s sister. seeing as she went through a long and arduous journey from America to spend Chrissy with her family in Australia, we had to make the most of her “short” time here.

now that she’s back home, i will endeavour to get back to the swing of things and try to post more “regularly” ( sometimes life gets in the way and i have a tendency to “process” things before i post – “overanalyses” is my proclivity i’ve been told numerous times).

that’s my story and i’m sticking to it!

strange bedfellows

March 20, 2017

they recently showed the Theory of Everything on free-to-air tv.  While Stephen Hawking is an inspirational figure, he’s not necessarily aspirational for me.  I’m nowhere near as smart.  We need people we can relate to.  I accomplish things because I’m not dumb and work really hard.

I know Dr. Stephen Strange is fictional but I could weirdly relate more to the film Doctor Strange.  I’m not a surgeon but I guess it had to do with embracing the unexplainable despite bring logical.

Strangely enough in the movie Logan, I could relate to both Professor X and Wolverine –   this was the first time I saw myself in two characters.  Maybe it was their “fall from grace” so atypical of a superhero flick or maybe it’s because I’m such a comic book nerd.

Regardless, we’re all different, relate to certain things, and process things at our own pace.  Despite people’s insistence, a single, magic, silver bullet  “solution” doesn’t always exist.  Some issues are divergent or require multiple things acting in harmony.  Narrowing it to one thing would be great but that isn’t always possible.

clusterf**k

December 30, 2016

At business school, I was taught about clusters and diamonds.  Given the “horrendous” traffic in the Philippines, I think we need to consider other models which may co-exist with these.  Sure, zoning is a definite constraint but we need to plant local opportunities:  where “quality” jobs are available nearby instead of the CBD (where people need only travel within or to directly adjacent municipalities or towns).

This might spell a boost in employee productivity and this will definitely improve the quality of life of people.  A ‘win-win” as it were: we need to move away from “zero-sum” thinking.

This may not be in line with “conventional” wisdom but we need to try something different.

what dreams may come

August 22, 2013

a former computing student of mine has a gig in America as a back-up singer to Lea Salonga – she has one of the  best voices I’ve ever heard.  It just goes to show you: it’s shouldn’t be about what the family thinks is best but rather about what the child actually wants.  Admittedly, it’s hard for any parent seeing their child struggle but they need to learn to be supportive and respect the child’s happiness.  Sometimes the best of intentions have unintended consequences.

It’ not always just about what they’re good at or what’s expected of them but truly what they’re interested in.  As a case in point, my son is strong in maths but he seems to us more inclined to the arts.  Anyway, it’s early days and his proclivities may still change – we just need to expose him to different things so that he can make an “informed” decision when the time comes.  They say if you enjoy what you do, you never  work a day in your life – I think you subconsciously put more effort in to what you do.  Not everyone is “lucky” enough to know what they want to be when they grow up.

I think my neurologist might be on to something with his “modified” gap year where his kids need to be gainfully employed for at least half of the time. If I were to “consider” it, there would be some mods.  I think 3 months should be spent in industry while at least 3 months should be involved with the community.  They should travel overseas to broaden the mind for some “informal” learning.  While there, they must partly support themselves and try to learn the local language or dialect. Ideally they should live in 2 countries:  one with a developed and another with a developing economy so that they can see the differences for themselves in everyday life. During the course of the year, they can take different topics online for free so that they can “better” determine which direction they want to take next.

I hope I don’t eat my words when the time comes – people and minds can change =)

sliding doors

August 12, 2013

a video presentation for my mum’s birthday was prepared by my younger brother and his close friend: an IT manager and a medical doctor respectively. I’m no “hippie” but it got me thinking about work-life balance again.  we place too much emphasis on work as a source of identity – I did not help, sometimes having two jobs.  Sundays were the greatest form of social legislation, no matter what religious tradition you hail from.  All work and no play not only makes Jack a dull boy, I believe, but an unproductive one.

Not only is respite needed but partaking in other activities may, directly or indirectly, benefit one’s “work”. According to the Harvard Business Review, prospective employers now look for Master of Fine Arts graduates to complement their legion of MBAs and to provide out of the box thinking.

I wonder what they could have achieved if the economic pressures were not so great and the machinery to produce “skilled” automatons for industry was not so dominant.

this does not come naturally for me and this is reinforced by force of habit. I am told to look at things instead of negatively as I am prone to do so – that’s my default setting. I plan for the worst and often make contingencies.  I should alternatively focus on ability than disability.

I’m often told to think about others who are worse off than me – well-intentioned as it is I’ve got several problems with this.  It makes me even sadder: I’ve never taken pleasure in the misery of others – cause that what effectively it is.  And although I can empathise, you can’t just lump all people with impairments together, we all have different stories – this is made even more difficult since they’re not sure what I have.  What one can still do should instead be emphasised – admittedly this is hard for me going from two jobs to none.  I try to use my “new found” time to better myself and become  more functional.  People say I’ve got an excuse from getting out of the housework – that’s little consolation for me since I’m used to doing those things.

As expected, I went through some of the stages of grief.  I’m sort of better now but I still grapple with my situation. It’s not about bravery nor courage as others understandably assume, but rather about acceptance and learning how to do things again (sometimes differently).

I’m encouraged to be thankful and to write down at least three things I’m grateful for everyday – although I can’t always jot them down, thinking about things that way does help me.  Being more optimistic does help but the 2nd law of thermodynamics can at times complicate things.