Saturday, October 31, 2009

Music and Dance

I sense a ramble coming on.

Just had the thought about how people constantly compare the good old days of music to the "trash of today". Classical aficionados frowned upon jazzing wailers, jazzing wailers frowned upon guitar-wielding rockers, guitar-wielding rockers frowned upon disco dancers, disco dancers frowned upon 90s poppers, 90s poppers frowned upon techno bobbers.

At this rate, I am almost certain of the day when our generation reminisces nostalgically about the "good old days of Crazy Frog".
"Tell me 'bout it, music never was the same after that age was it?"
"Everything sounds like a lightsaber battle nowadays."
"Fucked up."

The truth is, our lives are just really long photographs, exposed for 80 years to create the most amazing image ever seen. But a photograph is after all only a single capture of a particular time, whether it's 10 milliseconds or 10 decades. It won't move with the fourth dimension, and so similarly, to oversimplify it, it is very hard for us to do so as well. The speed of the advancement of technologies today has helped us get more used and be more open to constant (if rather irritating) changes in cultures, paradigms, norms and... well unnorms. But we will have to accept that because of the numerous influences we have been so deeply steeped in through our lives, there will be some changes that will unsettle us, even if it's only for awhile. And we also have to accept that just as we rebelled against our parents by secretly listening to rock, metal, techno, rap or R&B, future generations will be wholly convinced of their love of whatever trend comes up from the ground, and short of leaving our kids to slowly rot, we must try as much not to interfere with it, for who are we to say what is good art and what is not? And after all, how will you advance but by breaking boundaries and comfort zones?

Just don't play your crap on my expensive sound system. :)

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Generation Zero

You probably know by now that for every NSF whose pay was supposed to come in at the stroke of midnight of the 10th of October 2009 did not get it until a (arguably) harrowing 18 hours later.

I woke up today to angry tweets and FB statuses. I was myself quite aptly pissed too - payroll is a clockwork procedure. Surely such a simple process can be easily automated. How the hell can such a huge screw up happen?

There are plenty of arguments and counter-arguments, but what I wish to discuss is this. If such a problem occurred to NSFs as little as 3 years ago, I don't think there would have been as much noise and panic. Everyone yesterday was broke and worried. There were some pretty strong reactions, to the tune of "how do you want us to give our lives in war when in peace you can't even get a simple payroll done on time", to "we stay and slog in camp so much and come out to find that we don't even have our pay on time for fuck", to "O MY HOW AM I GONNA PARTAAAAAY WHEN I HAVE NO MONAAAAAYYY".

But my fellow esteemed paid prisoners, let's back up abit now. Whatever happened to the concept savings? Contingencies? Reserves? Our lives are so planned by the hair of our income that when it doesn't come in smack on time, our lives are brought to a screeching halt, or worse, thrown right off the cliff. It seems to be common sense to everyone else except those in our years that we should save some money for situations such as this. Is this a trend we should start worrying about? Wait no scrap that, it shouldn't even be a question. This is a trend we should be worrying about. If this isn't immediately curbed, we could be facing a whole generation of loanshark-plagued young men. Let's not kid ourselves for one moment that when we get a "proper job" we'll get "decent pay" and won't comparatively spend that much. If you spend 95% of your income, you're spending 95% whether its 95 cents or $950. You are still leaving yourself with that same negligible margin to fall back on. While it's definitely arguable what a safe margin is, I'm quite willing to argue that 5% is nowhere near it, wherever it may be.

For starters, those of you with iPhones and iPod Touches can download this useful app. More than anything else it does the math and the logging for you - the onus is still greatly on you to key in every single transaction, deposit or withdrawal, to get an accurate track. If you can't find the right app for your device, you can always go back to the good old days of collecting receipts and entering them into an Excel spreadsheet when you get home. That I'll tell you from experience is even harder to keep up than having a balance sheet follow you around in your phone or iPod.

We cannot let this lifestyle attitude take over us. It will ruin our lives, our families, and quite possibly, our nation. Or even worse, foreign employees who know what they're doing will bear the weight of the Singaporean economy on their shoulders, and shift it around their way. If you have so much time to complain about foreign talent, then don't let them get your job.