11 January 2016

closing the 2015 chapter

Deliberate Unemployment

I have completed 4 months of 'deliberate unemployment'. When I tell people that I am currently not working, they usually respond with concern. They are often relieved when I share that I was not fired from my workplace, but I made a deliberate decision to quit my job and take some time to recuperate. While majority of the people are nice and sweet, most times I can't tell the fake concern from the true ones. There are folks who have taken pleasure in their snide remarks.

Many people responded with envy too. I told them they could do the same if they want to. They said it's easy for me because I don't have children and I could easily reach my hand out to my husband's pocket for cash. The truth is, like any married female who holds firm to her feminist roots, I have not taken a cent from my husband and I continue to pay my share of the household bills and mortgage. I was not silly to make the decision to leave a cushy salary without budgeting in advance how long I could hold out without a steady income.

They would also give recommendations on how I should lead my life each day. And since I do not have a household helper (a.k.a. maid), they decided that I should be keeping my house in great shape since I had 'nothing else better to do'. My parents educated me that you are responsible for your own mess. After 7 years of marriage, I know better than to mess around with Hubby's mess. If you do not wish for him to ask you where is every single item of his, leave it to him to organize his own stuff, even though it may take... quite some time. I tried organizing our Clementi home during our first few years of marriage, it didn't work out that well. I gave up.


In late October, I had the opportunity to travel to Taichung and Taipei with Hubby, marking our 10th trip to Taiwan. We withdrew our plans from Tainan due to an earlier dengue fever scare. We would be planning our 11th trip this end-March, and I hope to have time to visit Tainan and possibly Yilan. The more places we want to go, meant the less time we have to stay in each place. It's a balance that I strive to perfect when planning the itineraries. 

I often hear that you can tell a lot about a person when travelling with him or her. That is rather true, having such lessons during my business travels and leisure vacations. It can build or break relationships. You find out the good things about someone, and yet you can see the worse about some. 

What's worse is when you are travelling in a group of 5 women whom know each other since 1999. I made it to Bangkok with my JC 'clique' in early December, with the absence of the new mother in our group. This Thai trip took years of 'planning'. If I recalled correctly, it was supposedly to mark our year of turning 30. We are 33 this year. 

An excolleague pointed out that I was too softhearted and hence victimized with excessive workload. Learning to become more assertive meant that I was not as compromising (a.k.a. 'qing cai') as previously. I voiced out my thoughts when I find that something in the itinerary is not as right. And this doesn't paint a pretty picture at times. My other friends joked that this could mean that this will be our final JC trip together, and somehow after this trip and the Christmas party I missed due to sickness, I do hope so. I detest the disparaging comments.

I have another excolleague whom I've grown rather close to over the years. We are very different persons and yet have similarities in some ways. While we said we should find time to travel together, I am very much afraid to take this step, in fear that this friendship may sour. I learnt from my schooling years many a times never to have a best friend again, but she is a very genuine person. She is someone whom I dare to share unspeakable secrets and deepest thoughts with. I applaud her bravery as she showed no signs of weakness during her difficult year of struggles. She is someone I would want to keep within my radar. Because unlike many folks, she is someone who won't take you for granted.

I am definitely giving more thought to whom I would want to spend more time with. Life is too short to live miserably. 

And in a week's time, Mum and I would be in Hong Kong and Macau. I look forward to catching 'The House of Dancing Water' and of course feasting and shopping. The upside of travelling with Mum is that we can share our skincare regime, especially since both of us made the switch to Jeunesse Luminesce. My facial therapist of many years was impressed when my dehydrated cheeks became supple and moist after a few months use of Luminesce serum and moisturizers. The downside is probably having to hear repeated naggy stories and gossip in our 6 days' travel haha... 


The thing about travelling, now that I have pets, is how badly I miss my furry creatures. Returning from our Taiwan trip meant the departure of Peanut and Macho. I regret listening to Hubby's advice of leaving them to in-law's care. I was greatly saddened when I picked up Peanut's hardened furry body with flies in the cage. I was distraught when I saw the tall black mushrooms growing in Grey Grey's cage. I was heartbroken when Macho left us a few days later in our home. I was given the permission to let my tears flow like a broken faucet. 

Grey Grey is now aging rapidly and he has started to look like Macho days before his departure. Every morning when I wake and every night before I sleep, I would check on him to see if he is moving. He is still happily eating. A lot. And drinking a lot too. 

CB on the other hand worries me as I haven't been seeing her drink from her water bottle. I start to feed her more vegetables at different times of the day, hoping that would hydrate her furry body. I am not sure if her 'grape' tumor is the cause of this, but it is probably not worth the vet cost with their short lifespan and me not knowing their age in the first place. 

As long as both of them are eating fine and having fun in their own ways.


It is ironic for me to talk about work since I am 'unemployed'. Having met with numerous excolleagues reminded me of my reason to leave. 

Many times I cannot comprehend how my peers could stay 'alive' in the workplace for so long when they cannot be bothered to find out what the company does and is performing. I mean, I take my personal time to read through company newsletters, minutes of meetings I do not attend, media news about the industry and company etc.. A few folks I talked to admit that they don't bother with this at all. 

I find this weird because we are from human resources. I thought we have the moral obligation of giving the correct and updated information to candidates and employees when we want to trick get them aboard the company, direction and policies. Maybe HR wasn't as strategic as they talked out to be. 

I spend 5 years in marketing and another 5 in HR. I don't know what's the compass pointing for in my next 5 years, although I have been dabbling with internet marketing recently. I have been wooed by the 'promises' of time freedom, but now I have too much time on my hand (opps) that I've finished catching up on Empress Ki on youtube after catching a few weekend episodes on Channel U. Bombarding spoilers to Hubby as he still catches the TV broadcast. 

While internet income is picking up, I sent in my resume last night for part-time or temporary jobs. It is difficult to get a permanent job since I have numerous upcoming vacation plans, and I read that this year might be a down year for most businesses. I earlier joked about queuing on behalf for the famous bakhwa this Chinese New Year since I live in Chinatown. Seems that not much queue this year either, and heard on the news of the expensive balloting of CNY bazaar stalls. Hubby and I would probably get our hands on the goodies after the clocks strike past midnight to CNY day 1.

I applied for HR administration or secretarial positions. I missed the times I have interactions with employees, helping the lost sheep make sense of the 101 documentation and policies. I am one of those 'weirdos' who don't mind doing data entry and filing. My ex-boss whom I met up in September shared that I did a great job managing her calendar and travel, as well as preempting and acting on the work that needs to be done. I guess I would make a pretty good assistant or administrator since I enjoy administrative work and getting things in order. But I don't really like phone conversations and entertaining guests. Opps..


As the 2015 chapter closes, I wonder what's in store for 2016. 

I completed my Advanced SEO certification in end November. My team of 6 are currently working on a group niche project under mentorship. While our group submissions haven't been perfect, I am pretty happy that 2 out of 3 submitted niches were approved in the first submission round, and all 3 niches were approved in the second round. We still need to work hard on our competitive analysis. 

In the meantime, I am also working on a niche site individually, and look forward to launch by end of this month. My body was giving me problems since Christmas, and last week was total downtime. And with the upcoming week' of travel with mum, I am not sure if I would be able to launch in time. I may have to cut back on the number of webpages so that at least I get this new digital asset live in the world wide web, rather than sitting in my hard drive. 

Additionally, I would want to launch several niche blogs and work on my affiliate marketing skills to increase my passive income. I have remained fiercely loyal to Agoda even though many marketers have told me to branch out to other sites. I guess I am 'stupid' for promoting only things that I do use myself. But that's me. I prefer to share my personal experience, whether I had a great time or a negative experience with the service provider or vendor. Talking about that, I am missing my 5 star experience in the 4 star hotel at La Vida Taichung!

I'm kicking off 2016 travel with Hong Kong and Macau this January. We've planned for our 11th trip to Taiwan this end-March and early-April. We're going to Bangkok for Hokkaido Robata Genshiyaki for my birthday in July (I wonder how many scallops I'll eat this time hehe). My maiden family might be going to New Zealand this August to reunite with my brother who recently completed his Masters in Brisbane, Australia. Hubby wants to go to a 'snowy' country at the end of the year, we're thinking either Finland for the Northern Lights, or Hokkaido, Japan. I've also been thinking of some short trips by myself, but Hubby would prefer he tags along... just that he may not have that much annual leave to take :P

And here's to hopefully a happier me in 2016 :)

You can read about my earlier updates at: