You are vistor #...
lala @ Wednesday, May 21, 2008
Okay, it’s time to blog again. Means that I’ve got nothing much to do now.

I just returned from KL over the vesak day holiday. It was a little let down cos rol fell sick on the 2nd day. Blame it on the bus air con which was blowing directly at rol. Poor rol didn bring his jacket and was sneezing away. And I couldn’t lend him my jacket cos you know, my resistance level is much lower. His temperature shot up on the 2nd night and I got so worried, I thought the fever was going to burn his brain. He didn’t eat anything for more than a day and we skipped breakfast on the 3rd day too. What’s weird was that he miraculously recovered after lunch on the 3rd day. Then he complained of not recovering earlier and missing out on all the good food. But at least we managed to see whatever we planned to see and shopped wherever we wanted to shop.

First day we reached KL at abt 3pm. The first thing that struck me was the heavy pollution and dirty streets of KL. The air was bad with all the smoke from cigarettes and cars’ exhaust fumes. Taxi drivers were calling out at the entrance of our bus offering us taxi rides. The bus terminal was crowded with people pushing around. People were sitting along the streets and stairs waiting for god knows what. Our hotel (Ancasa) was only 2 roads away from the bus terminal, but it seemed like an eternal walk. Okay maybe not that bad, but you get what I mean. After we checked in, we took the LRT to KLCC to shop. It’s as if we stepped into a different world. KLCC is posh and clean and huge, nothing like the dirty streets of Puduraya. We proceeded to Aquaria KLCC, to see KL’s collection of sea creatures and weird animals. Their collection is so much better than our Sentosa, REALLY! Wait til you see the photos I upload onto facebook.
But it’s a high class shopping area, so there isn’t much to buy. Guess what I bought there.. Body shop and Giordano stuff. HAHA.

Second day despite running a fever, rol and I went to Bukit Bintang (smth like Orchard Road) where all the malls are located. We popped by Sungei Wang (smth like Far East Plaza) and Lot 10 (there is ABSOLUTELY NOTHING in there, PLS AVOID GOING THERE). And of cos Times Square. Did I mention that it’s gigantic, with about 10 levels of shopping area? It’s easily the largest shopping mall in Southeast Asia. Yes I know it still can’t beat Shoe Mart in The Philippines. Bukit Bintang area is where we spent most of our money and I satisfied my A&W craving finally!! I loved their curly fries. Did I also mention that there’s a lot of trans around in KL? They come out early in the day, my goodness. I saw two in Body Shop as sales assistants and a few along the streets of Bukit Bintang and in Sungei Wang. Ultimately GROSS!!!

Third day we just stayed in our hotel room, packed our stuff, checked out at noon and went to walk around Chinatown. Because the weather was scorching hot and humid, we settled ourselves in a Chinese restaurant and spent our remaining money on simple Chinese fare. That is the only Chinese restaurant in Chinatown and it’s fully air conditioned! And the food’s pretty good too.
Then we went back to the hotel to collect our luggage and left for the bus terminal to go home. The worst part was the traffic jam at the MALAYSIAN CUSTOMS. The bus slowed to a crawl at about 1 km or less away from the customs. There we stopped and crawled for about 2.5 hours. It was so heavily congested that many other passengers from other buses couldn’t take it and so they left the buses and walked to the customs. By the time I reached Kovan bus terminal, it was 11 plus already.

Hmm come to think of it, KL wasn’t this bad the last time I went. Rol had lots to complain abt too, like the structure of the LRT, the lack of traffic rules, the pollution, the weather etc. Im so glad Sg is not like that.

Where shall we go the next time? Hong Kong again? Maybe Taiwan.. Japan would be even better.. haha.. dreaminggg


---------------------------------------------- ------------------------------------------- lala @ Wednesday, May 07, 2008
AGD Staff Meeting (ASM)

Today I attended my first ASM and it wasn’t what I expected at all. Initially I imagined it to be a sharing session attended by all staff to report on what they have done for the past month, important issues to update everyone. It turned out to be presentations by different people about just anything under the sun. Something like case studies in which lessons can be drawn from the cases and applied to our organisation. I feel like I’m back in sch where the AG asks for comments and questions after each presentation. A couple of times I felt like saying something, but I’m not sure I am in any position to make a comment, so I thought I’ll just wait until she calls upon me. I initially thought that I am not permitted/ not required to attend the ASM because I’m not a permanent staff there and I thought they were going to talk about serious and confidential stuff. Until Weiqiang came to ask me to join them.

There were quite a number of presentations today. Here’s a brief summary for each ppt.

Information handling and disclosure issues
There has been great public outcry about the loss of public data in the UK and this has brought our attention to the importance of how data is handled and disseminated to the intended end user. Also, in the case of data loss, who should be responsible? The data sender or the company relied upon to make the delivery? Law issues like due diligence and contractual relationships come into play. We also discussed how such cases are applicable to us in that in our daily working lives, do we take care in the information we have, how are important doc transmitted within and outside of this building etc? AG calls some people by names to ask for their comments, and it’s pretty evident that most of them are taken aback. Sounds like smu eh?

WOG-SO (Whole of government – strategic outcomes) based budgeting
Currently, the annual budget is based on each M’s budget for the year compiled and submitted to Parliament. In the near future, prolly in a year or two, such a system will be abolished. In place would be WOG-SO based budgeting, in which different Ms would be allocated a certain strategic outcome and as a team, they come up with a budget for that particular SO. I can’t remember the exact names of the SOs, but I recall them to be along the lines of higher productivity, stronger families, racial harmony etc.

The presenter shared with us about the myths of creativity eg time pressure fuels creativity, money motivates creativity, creative comes from creative types etc. Then AG asked for our opinions on the myths, whether we agree or not. Stories about Japanese innovation and culture came up, as well as comparisons between Japan and US etc. AG also asked if accountants are boring people, whether we can be creative, not in the Enron sense, but do the right things creatively. She also brought up an important point about passion. We need to be passionate about the work we do, take things in our stride. The work may be mundane and filled with obstacles, but if we have the passion and determined to achieve the ultimate goal, failures should not deter us from trying again.

The ASM forces people to read up on the articles and slides prior to the presentations to facilitate discussions. Once again, smu style ;) I find the discussions very thought provoking and necessary to make work more interesting and more productive, which I’m sure the private sector simply has no time to conduct. Such is the culture distinct from the private sector. I’m not sure how my other colleagues think about the ASM, but I personally felt empowered and enlightened about life and about my work. I’m not sure if I’ll appreciate such sessions again after I enter the workforce, when there’s piles and piles of work for me to finish, but at this instant, I’m absorbing the information put forth with much enthusiasm and intensity.

---------------------------------------------- ------------------------------------------- lala @ Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Okay, a little update about my work so far.

As I’ve mentioned, I’m in the VFM review section, which deals with looking into the budget expenditure and cost efficiencies of the various processes in Ms and SBs. Last week, I helped my colleague research on data on the topic of uni tuition fee loans. The problem with this is that as the tuition fee increases, the max amt of loan (reflected by the percentage of the tuition fee) has also increased over the past few years. However, the terms and conditions of such loans have not been revised for many years. Some of these requirements include guarantor requirements, max repayment period, min repayment amt etc. So we’re trying to investigate whether the current t&c are up to date and correctly reflect current economic conditions. To write this paper, we need a lot of data and cold hard facts to substantiate the paper. So what I did was to get data on diff types of financial assistance options available to a typical uni student like loans, bursaries and scholarships, the wages of Singaporeans over the past years, tuition fee revisions, how long it takes for graduates to find jobs etc. I feel like a RA (research assistant), more than an accountant. You prolly can’t see how this is audit right? My sentiments exactly.

The next project which I’m currently involved in is about judicature review. For this, we are looking at the different courts in sg and deal with a few issues:

  • Whether the court fees are under priced/over priced
  • What the court fees are for
  • Whether facilities in supreme court are well utilized
  • Whether there is scope for more collaboration between the 2 courts (supreme and subordinate) to optimize resources

Ah, this sounds more like audit. Internal audit. Something that is more interesting than vouching of documents.
What I did yesterday was to go through the courts’ websites to gather data about court fees. There are quite a lot of fees to pay to the courts: for every document you file, the costs is about 0.80 per page; filing a notice of appeal is few hundred dollars; hearing fees are the most ex, ranging from $2000 to $7000 per day, depending on the type of courts you visit and the no of days of hearing.
I also have to understand all the law jargon and terms they use like writs, affidavits, subpoena, summonses etc. Don’t understand? Check And I read through the whole statute on the rules of court, which took me the entire day. It’s just like going through companies act again, but much simpler.

Now I’m reading up on some of the publications of supreme court, which has stuff about the sg judiciary structure, the supreme court bench, the law and technological reforms they underwent, the key cases that shaped sg law etc. These cases are really interesting, which include those I read about in company law, like Lim Weng Kee v PP, Show Theatres v Shaw Theatres and Intraco v Multi-Pak.

I see some meaning in the work that I do and although the pay (I should say allowance) is pretty pathetic as compared to those interning in banks, I enjoy my work here very much.

Okay, I’ll try to blog more often now that sch’s over. :)


---------------------------------------------- ------------------------------------------- lala @ Tuesday, April 29, 2008
To avoid sensitivity issues, I shall just use acronyms. Too bad if you don’t understand.

The AG is so cool. You can tell that she has been working in this sector for quite some time already and I thought she would be too busy to care about interns and new staff. I thought her job was to liaise with other high personnel from other Ms and SBs, have meetings with them as well as internal directors. Turns out she knew I was an intern and even invited me to attend today’s forum open to all Ms and SBs. Okay, maybe because I had nothing much to do too. BUT HEY AT LEAST SHE KNOWS ME. Haha. Well, today’s forum is really an eye opener. The public sector is really working hard to improve on policies and regulations to make operations in all Ms and SBs as cost efficient and effective as possible. Although some of the changes they proposed seem to render more work in itself, I believe we will see long term benefits. But one thing to note, we are still lagging behind the private sector by quite a bit. The questions posed by representatives from Ms and SBs were quite enlightening too. The AG asked me and another guy how we found the forum. I was taken aback by her sudden question. I told her I’m interested in the Assurance section but it was not mentioned in the forum. She commented that I was too young to be involved. Haha.

Okay that’s all for today. I’m getting off work. Another slack day again.


---------------------------------------------- ------------------------------------------- lala @ Monday, April 28, 2008
It's been a long time ya.

Ivy mentioned abt my stagnant blog when i met her a few days ago. Yups ok. Ill try to write smth whenever I have time.

Now's the time.

Today is my first day at work at AGD.
This place looks really cool, but cold. Everyone seems friendly, but I guess there's alot of work to do, so they seldom talk. Or is it just so in my department?

Im posted to assurance and reviews, doing mainly reviews. Reviews here refer to Value for Money reviews which were recently introduced in the Budget 2007 I think, to access the various Ministries' budget expenditure and look into cost efficiency issues, to ensure that departments don't overspend etc. Pretty cool work it seems. But I don't really know what my job scope is exactly.

The HR officer, Fiona, brought me around AGD. Welfare here looks good. There's a pantry, a recreation corner with ps2, a pool table and a table soccer, a gym situated on the 11th storey. They also have a few seminar rooms to cater to meetings (both internal and external), but I don't think I'll get to use them.

I just realised that the AG's (Accountant-General, who is the highest ranked person here) office is just in front of me. I better watch my actions. haha.

I didn't do anything the entire day. Envy jen and jy who get to intern with other smu ppl. At least there's somebody to talk to when you're bored. And that is exactly the reason I am able to blog, yes after so long and yes out of boredom. I hope I get some work to do soon, otherwise I'm just going to rot in here.


---------------------------------------------- ------------------------------------------- lala @ Sunday, December 16, 2007
im back from gold coast!! yay! it was a great holiday! yoo all should visit gold coast.. and it's not for small kids only. in fact, i think older kids like us will enjoy it even more!

here's wad ive done over the past week.

1st day
this was quite disappointing because of a flight delay due to maintenance requirements.. shouldn't they already have anticipated the maintenance issues and set away sufficient time for maintenance? and guess how they compensated us for the flight delay? $20 meal vouchers at changi airport for each person 1 hr before take off. some compensation. and because of this flight delay, the first day is essentially wasted cos my flight was orginally scheduled at 11pm.

2nd day
after we touched down, we proceeded to direct factory outlet for some shopping and guess how much time we were given.. 45 min!! it's not even enough to walk ard the entire factory outlet. there's like 4 malls connected and i only managed to walk ard 1 mall.. and we weren even realli shopping, we were jus rushing abt and racing against time. after that we went to have some wine tasting.. im not reallie a wine lover, but still can take a bit la.. so we tried different kinds of wine they produced, red wine, white wine, the whisky, the bailey.. cant tell the diff much. haha. australia turns dark at ard 6pm and most shops close at 5pm.. so theres not much to see then. at that point i was kinda disappointed with the trip and i tot the rest of the trip was gg to be boring. but the fun begins on the 3rd day.

3rd day
we visited dreamworld. ok, i must admit that theme parks and crazy rides are not my cup of tea, but my cousin and sis were so excited abt the rides so i jus followed. we did all the rides which were considered to be the most thrilling except for the vertical drop cos we didn have time.. i must say the queues are kinda long. anyhow at dreamworld, besides the rides, there is the wildlife experience, it's sort of a mini zoo, where we can see koalas, kangeroos, parots, tigers etc.. i even carried a koala and took a photo with it!! the last time i carried a koala was abt 13 yrs ago!! and i didn even physically touch the koala then cos the koala was sitting on a cushion and i merely cuddled the cushion. but this time, it was hugging me!! it was so comfortable cuddling her, her name's lola by the way. so after we left movie world, we went back to the hotel situated in surfers paradise, which is along the coast. did i mention how beautiful the waters are? i see the horizon and theres nothing in the sea, no ships, no ferries, no islands across, only people along the beach and people surfing in the sea. awesome view!
when we're left on our own, we went shopping ard the area and we had to settle dinner on our own. guess wad kinda food they eat.. pizzas, pasta, fast food.. poor me, cant take pizzas. and we had to eat fast food everyday!! oh man, can you believe it?! im so sick of western food now.. never gg to touch fast food for at least 1 mth. haha.

4th day
we left gold coast early to travel to moreton island to stay at the tangalooma resort.. (think it's spelt this way). we went for a 4 wheel drive on sand, trust me it's a real bumpy ride. all the kids on board were enjoying themselves so much at the bumps... we travelled all the way to the desert!! ooh la la. you would have been awed by the surroundings. everywhere was sand, and mountains of sand. vv vv little grass or plants grow there. of cos, it's a desert. each of us was given a wooden board and we waxed it smooth and carried it up 80m high of the 'sand hill' and we slide down lying tummy flat on the board.. it was so fast and exciting that i tried it twice. this is called sand taboganning. (spelling again is uncertain). but anyways, i was travelling like 60km/h. and down the steep sand hill.. how shiok is that?! it had been tiring climbing up the hill and everything was worth it for that 10 sec of thrill. ill like to try it again!
sand taboganning ended at ard 3pm and dinner only started at 530pm, so we jus hung ard at the beach.. after dinner we tried dolphin feeding. at ard 7pm, dolphins automatically swam ashore and thats where we walked up to them and fed them with small fish. the dolphin i found was silhouette, shes only 3 years old and shes so pretty!! that was the most exciting day for me!!

5th day
we visited movieworld this day and it was another day of thrilling rides. this world had more exciting rides than dreamworld.. but first we went to catch shrek 4d and the police academy stunt show.. they were pretty good.. and we also caught the parade where stars and movie characters like catwoman, batman, shrek, looney tunes etc paraded down the main street. they were so cute and sooo real.. finally we went to queue for the rides.. but due to the lack of time, we didn try many.. thereafter, we went for dinner at this malaysian restaurant before we were left on our own again.

6th day
this was a free and easy day for us, so after some checking out at the hotel, we took bus 750 to pacific fair (a shopping mall).. the bus driver was soo polite and the passengers too. they greet the bus driver everytime they board and thank the driver as they alight. they tell the bus drivers their destination and the drivers tell them the bus fares, then they give the money and the bus drivers will issue the ticket and return the change. but because australia is quite sparsely populated, the buses aint crowded. we chose to take bus cos taxis are super ex in aust! the meter jumps at nobody's business!! inside pacific fair was all the branded stuff and we didn manage to get anything!! we managed to find some stuff in the shops situated outside the mall.. some of the clothes and shoes were reallie cheap!! like $10 Aussie.. not bad ar.. that's where the shopping really started for us and thats where i spent all my A$150.
at night we signed up for this glow worm tour where we travelled up to the national bridge national park and all of us were each given a torch to shine on the ground to guide our path. when we reached the cave, we were amazed by the beautiful sight. we were told to switch off the torches so that we can see the glow worms better. they are so small, like stars and they shine brightly in luminous blue. can you believe it.. blue light!! and so numerous! these glow worms can only be found in australia and new zealand and they are vv fussy abt their living conditions, the temp, the moisture must be right.. and they shine to attract insects for food. so if we shine light on them for some time, they will disorient and cannot differentiate day from night. and if they didn know when is nighttime, they wont glow and wont be able to find food as a result. then they die of hunger. so poor thing!!

7th day
return flight to sg.. i watched like 3 movies on board etihad airlines. didn like their food at all, but i jus glued myself to the movie screen. i watched high sch musical 2, stardust and transformers again.

it had been a great trip and im definitely gg back to gold coast again!! :)


---------------------------------------------- ------------------------------------------- lala @ Friday, December 07, 2007
ok huitian complained that my blog has too been stagnant, so i thought i should post smth since now im waiting for my hair to dry and theres nothing else to do online..
alot of things have happened lately and im overwhelmed by the state of things myself..

first of cos is the end of my exams. aft a long and tiring chain of mugging and projectworking, e term is finally over and all we are doing now is to wait for my results..
my exams ended last thurs so i had quite some time to enjoy myself and relax.. of cos i spent lotsa $ in the past wk.. i think i should reallie go get a tuition assignment for some income. shopped with roland last sat and bought like bags, make up, facial products, tights, slippers etc..

i ran into some complex issues yesterday and decided to take a break to cool down and think abt stuff.. i hope i made e right decision and i hope time will help me make my prolly dun understand wad im talking abt, it's ok. ive been quite blur and gibberish these days..

today i met up with ivy to watch the golden compass, it's quite a nice and exciting movie, but the ending was sooo abrupt!! jus when i thought they are gg to screen the next adventure, the movie ended and it wasn as if the movie was gg to end jus there! me and ivy were taken aback. haha. oh well, by the time part 2 comes out, we'd prolly have forgotten what part 1 is about..
we had so many things to talk abt!! abt sch, exchange, our lives, relationships, friends, everything under the sun! i havent seen her for so long, but we are still as close. im soo glad to have her as my sister. nothing beats having a sister like her.. too bad jen didn come today. busy shopping in msia. haha. dun worry, were gg to meet up more often this hols.. me and ivy have decided to have some stayover at her house one of these days!!cool!
thereafter i met huitian and shuping for dinner at marina sq.. ate kenny rogers, hmm feeling a bit hungry now.. haha. huitian is still as crappy as before.. it's great keeping in touch with your besties, knowing that they are always there for you when you need them, even if one of them is already attached!! haha. shuping! spend more time w your bf la! he needs your attention more than your friends!
then we shopped ard at marina sq but i didn buy anything!! haha. controlled myself not to spend alr. i have alr bought 3 pairs of earrings earlier in the day when i went shopping with ivy at bugis village. couldn't resist those dangling earrings which are selling at 3 for $5..
rafael wanted to go for some midnight shopping cos esprit is having 20% storewide for esprit members so i jus joined him at abt 930pm.. i didn't get anything either this time, jus followed him around.. although i saw another esprit bag other than the one lionel pointed out to me e other day.. both costs $90, dunno which one to choose. sians. we also went to a few other places too in raffles city, like topshop, dorothy perkins, river island and robinsons..ultimately we shopped til 12am and levis was the last stop. rafael bought a pair of jeans there for $130.. rich kid. hai, cannot compare. yar so it's abt 1am after im done with my shower.. damn shag now. i think i should go sleep alr.

it's been a loong week for me.

---------------------------------------------- -------------------------------------------
belinda or bel or lala
yzps, cedar, vjc, smu

September 2004
October 2004
November 2004
December 2004
January 2005
February 2005
March 2005
April 2005
May 2005
June 2005
July 2005
August 2005
September 2005
October 2005
November 2005
December 2005
January 2006
February 2006
March 2006
April 2006
May 2006
June 2006
July 2006
August 2006
September 2006
October 2006
November 2006
December 2006
January 2007
February 2007
March 2007
April 2007
May 2007
June 2007
July 2007
August 2007
October 2007
December 2007
April 2008
May 2008