"Malaysia Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad and the Sultan of Johor are seen in a blue Proton Saga... "When asked whether there is any tension with the sultan, Dr Mahathir said: “No, I don’t see anything because I went to see him and he drove me to the airport. I don’t want to comment on the sultans because if I say anything that is not good then it’s not nice because he is the sultan”"

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Tuesday, December 16, 2003

A post before I join Nigel, Daniel and Melvin for watersports.

Word of the Day: "oubliette"

This year, we actually have to do work for our WITS (Work Improvement Team Scheme) project, unless last year when we managed to stay under the radar. Thus, we have been introduced to the horror of yet another product of the New Age Management rubbish that pervades and hinders modern organisations in the name of productivity.

The concept of WITS is actually a laudable one - to improve the way things are done by getting staff to examine how processes can be enhanced and overcome organisation inertia. However, much of the process of WITS itself is redundant - they expect us to document everything (just like ISO in fact), including thinking processes, something which is normally difficult to do, since everyone thinks differently. To solve this problem, they force everyone document their thinking extensively in the form of thinking tools like the fishbone diagram. Now, thinking tools are good for people who aren't good at thinking, but for those who have mastered this skill, trying to force themselves to think in a specific way actually hobbles their thinking, especially when the thinking tools are not applicable or otherwise unsuitable for the situation. Charts and graphs have to be included for their own sake, together with meaningless text, resulting in a flood of meaningless, useless and plain false information. WITS is also jargon filled, perhaps to make it and the people in charge of it seem important and arcane. In all, what the judges want is for us to squeeze our project to fit in their mould, probably for easier judging and comparison. But if that is the case, we should all just fill in MCQ answer sheets for our WITS project.

I am inspired, nonetheless, and if I ever have to do a WITS project again, I shall suggest "An overhaul of WITS" as my team's project and plan a trimming of the fat, redundancy and general stupidity. Perhaps then WITS will be able to live up to its original aims more truly, rather than stall due to people doing it for its own sake. But I cannot forsee it succeeding in the SAF, for it calls for a dynamic culture and change in a place where change is abhorred.

A few weeks back, we finally called in the pest exterminators, after being plagued by our resident horde of rats for far too long. Traps were judged too expensive, so instead poison was used, with the result that for the past few weeks, our pantry has reeked of the smell of decomposing rat carcasses. However, it now appears that the extermination was not total for, due to among other things, the refusal of many sickbay duty medics to throw unconsumed packets of dinner away, the rats have returned. Seeing three baby rats in the pantry dustbin on Saturday was really upsetting, for I thought we'd been rid of the menace. May the remaining rats all enter that dustbin in search of food, only to die when I pour in my toxic cocktail of Sudol and Marinpol!

TVs are now banned in my company, thanks to my CSM. I bet all of them will come out again when she leaves, though. At any rate, it makes no difference to me, since I do not watch TV, especially not Chinese TV and especially not Taiwanese variety shows with sweet young things parading around, being ogled and groped, or having their breast sizes guessed by slavering hordes of males.

I was in a Chinese restaurant, and the staff were all relatively young, and very few of them were PRCs. One waitress looked like she was around my age, had multiple earrings and piercings, one of those irritating strings tied around one ankle (which looked ghastly under stockings and which, despite enquiries, I have never found out the name of) and spoke to us in English. There were even the ultra-rare young male waiters - 2 of them in fact, also around my age (one with a spiky fringe, probably due to the fact that the restaurant disallowed a totally spiky head). One manager even spoke to us in non-cheena accented English. What a change from most Chinese restaurants these days, where the staff are 90% PRC, or the few, rare old skool ones which are staffed by geriatrics.


Some more, now is the school holidays. [Me: Go and pick up shrill, anorexic, chinese-speaking ah lians] Someone else is already doing that
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