2008 – my year that was

January 5, 2009 at 1:05 pm | Posted in All, Blogging, Life et al | 1 Comment

Oh boy, how long has it been?
Too long a time since my last post was seen
I have been slack in updating this blog
As slack as one can be when Melbourne’s in fog

Six months? What have I been up to?
Quit my job of four years to start anew
Had a two-week break, t’was all I needed
To get away from it all, and feel rejuvenated

Began my new job on the 1st of July
Remember everyone’s name, I thought I should try
At first, work load was overwhelming
“Take it easy”, I was told, “you are still learning”

I still learn now as I go
The range of instruments is too diverse in a short time to know
Each day is different, it’s ever challenging
New stuff to learn, it’s never boring

The work I do, I actually enjoy
Happy with my boss too, whose name is Ploy
The eight-hour days don’t seem that long
I feel this company, is where I belong

Enough of work talk, let me move on
Though there is not much really, on the home front
Same ole, same ole is what they say
Not much happenings, not much hooray

I thought 2008 was a year of boom
Then came the credit crunch, the world’s in gloom
US carmakers crashed, while some banks folded
Stockmarket plunged, downward we were all headed

US Government came to the rescue via some bail-outs
It might have helped but don’t we all still have doubts?
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not being negative
It is the reality of our world today, let’s not be naive

While Kevin Rudd guaranteed all Australian bank deposits
Some business survived, some called it quits
Job cuts here, reduced work hours there
Everyone was affected, nothing was as-you-were

Christmas and new year was spent with family
Lots of laughs, lots of cheers, days went by merrily
Had too much to drink, when red wine kept flowing
Did not heed the warning, I ended up chucking

Golf is always a part of our holidays
It is the craze, not just a passing phase
I may not be good at it, but I will keep trying
I have improved my swing, will do more with putting

Once, my ball went in the bush beside a tree
Tried my darnedest to get it back to the fairway
On the follow through swing I hit the tree trunk
Broke my No. 6 Callaway, my game stunk

Holidays are over, now I’m back to work
Load is light, not much in the lurk
A bit quiet as everyone’s not back yet
Might take another week  ’til we all get back to it

Before I end this post and hit publish
A good year for everyone, is all I wish
Look forward positive to what lies ahead
The call to frugal living, let us all heed.

Made-in-China products recall, what’s next?

September 7, 2007 at 4:01 pm | Posted in All, Life et al, news | 3 Comments

June 2007. R2C Corp voluntarily recalled 1.5 million wooden railway toys and parts from its Thomas and Friends wooden railway products line. The surface paint on certain toys and parts contained lead.

July 2007. The Philippine government ordered the pull-out of White Rabbit candies from store shelves. The candies tested positive for formalin, a formaldehyde solution well known as an embalming agent.

August 3, 2007. Mattel recalled Fisher Price toys worldwide. The toys contain excessive amounts of lead. In Australia alone, 43000 toys were recalled.

August 14, 2007. Mattel announced its second major recall of Chinese-made toys contaminated with lead paint. At the same time, it recalled millions of other toys whose small powerful magnets could come loose and be swallowed by children.

And then the owner of Chinese toy factory killed himself just days after his company copped a temporary ban from exports. He committed suicide. Or did he?

There was also the recall of cheap toothpaste which apparently contain unsafe levels of diethylene glycol (DEG).

September 2007. For the third time, another major recall from Mattel. This time in its Barbie accessories, including Barbie Dream Puppy House. The recall also include Big Big World 6-in-1 Bongo Band toys and Geo Trax locomotive toys.

With China being the manufacturer of 80% of toys worldwide, it wouldn’t be a surprise if there are more products out there that are not safe for children and adults alike. Even the much-loved McHappy Meal toys are made in China!

It seems inevitable not to have any China-made products and/or produce. From food to clothing to shoes to home appliances to electronic gadgets to anything-you-can-think-of, products from China abound.

Made-in-China equates to cheap and low quality and poor workmanship. I have proven this over and over again in electrical and electronic products. As an electronic technician, I have time and again witnessed how poor is the workmanship of products from this country. Almost always, the product is inferior. Disposable.

This is where I am proud of us Pinoys, as workers. Having worked in manufacturing for over eight years, I can proudly say that the workmanship of Pinoy workers are way beyond that of their Chinese counterparts. We pride ourselves in our skills. But I digress.

But why do people still patronise or buy products that are made in China? Because of the dollar factor. In these times where interest rates are sky high, an average Joe Smith is struggling to make ends meet. Besides, if you go to a shop (any shop for that matter), over half of the merchandise will be imported from China anyway. The choices are narrow.

I’m just wondering, if an average Joe Smith is struggling to make ends meet, how much more an average Juan de la Cruz? But that’s another story.

So China, what’s next to be recalled on your inferior list of products?

One fine weekend

August 20, 2007 at 5:14 pm | Posted in All, Australia, Environment, Life et al, Travel, Weather | 2 Comments

Dark clouds enveloped the skies to the west while the sun is bright and white clouds hugged the skies in the east. Melbourne was not its normal miserable winter morning but it was still awfully cold as we drove out of the city going to Euroa. It’s Saturday, the 17th of August.

Billy, mum’s big ball of fluff.The two-hour trip became more enjoyable with Billy, (a 5 month old Bichon Maltese dog) restless in the back seat with mum, trying to move to the front seat to co-pilot the car. Such a gorgeous, lovely ball of fluff.

Views of green and live trees and bushes abound. Although the state is still officially in drought, the surrounding mountains and bushes have somehow recovered. Winter temperature and rains have helped re-surrect the ailing flora.

It was a beautiful day in the country town. Skies are blue with just a few patches of white cotton-like clouds. The motel was going to be quiet for the whole weekend with only 3 reservations for the night. After an hour or so of rest, we took to the creek and stroll along the walking path. It is a bit of a relief for the townsfolk to see water flowing into the creek now. A few months back, the creek was as dry as an autumn leaf. The bank has cracks all over.

Billy enjoyed the walk the most. New surroundings. New smell. He was all over the place, running in all directions. So restless. So much energy for a puppy.

Dinner was a belated (second) celebration of my birthday. A three course meal starting with a heartwarming tomato soup. Main course was a medium grilled eye-fillet steak with black pepper in cream sauce in a bed of mashed potatoes served with steamed fresh pumpkin and green beans. Mouth watering. A generous slice of pavlova at the end was hard to resist.

The saying about Queensland “Beautiful one day, perfect the next” was an apt description for the weekend. Saturday was beautiful. Sunday was perfect. Temperature was in low twenties, no wind, no clouds, fresh country air, just one lovely day. Another opportunity to go out for a walk.

One highlight for the day was my first sighting of alpacas (some spell it alpackers) . At firstAlpacas in our midst! I called them sheep with long necks. shane called them giraffe – sheep owing to their long necks and sheep looking features. The wool of these domesticated animals are apparently expensive.

All in all the weekend was very relaxing. The sun aided to relieve some muscle aches from the cold weather and the fresh air recharged tired bodies of us city slickers.

Ten Commandments of Driving

June 20, 2007 at 4:40 pm | Posted in All, Australia, Environment, Life et al, Melbourne, So You May Know | 3 Comments

The Vatican has released a document called “Guidelines for the Pastoral Care of the Road”, part 61 of which is the Ten Commandments of Driving. Read full contents of the document here.

Drivers’ “Ten Commandments”

61. In any case, with the request for motorists to exercise virtue, we have drawn up a special “decalogue” for them, in analogy with the Lord’s Ten Commandments. These are stated here below, as indications, considering that they may also be formulated differently.

I. You shall not kill.

II. The road shall be for you a means of communion between people and not of mortal harm.

III. Courtesy, uprightness and prudence will help you deal with unforeseen events.

IV. Be charitable and help your neighbour in need, especially victims of accidents.

V. Cars shall not be for you an expression of power and domination, and an occasion of sin.

VI. Charitably convince the young and not so young not to drive when they are not in a fitting condition to do so.

VII. Support the families of accident victims.

VIII. Bring guilty motorists and their victims together, at the appropriate time, so that they can undergo the liberating experience of forgiveness.

IX. On the road, protect the more vulnerable party.

X. Feel responsible towards others.

Victoria is averaging 176 (in 5 years) road fatalities a year. TAC has a daily road toll update here.

This is a very timely reminder of how people on the road behave now. Speeding, among others, coupled with stupidity kills. Isn’t that irresponsible?

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