Great (Aussie) and Pesky (UK) Hawthorn

It was a weekend of mixed fortunes. Sat we had a barbie lunch at our place and about a dozen people were there. Despite a windy, rainy day, the barbie lunch was great and of course, Hawks’ flag was absolutely fantastic. I think we converted a few to AFL – Jason and Mel have already started donning the brown and mustard – and while Gerry and Tim/Kenji remain true Cats followers, Uncle Marloney has been a Hawks fans for years but I think we got A Hooi across the line too!

After the game, as we were saying our goodbyes to our guests on the driveway, the other homes all Hawks fans, started coming out and celebrating. Tress and I then took the little fellow for a walk and the parks and open spaces had families kicking the footy and it was a wonderful way to end the day.

That night however, United lost again – this time to lowly West Brom. I guess it was a day for Hawthorn as the EPL Hawthorns pulled one over us. It would be long climb up towards CL qualification and that is all I dare hope for this season. Moyes would be given his chance for sure. After all Fergie had something like a 6 year drought before winning his first title. I guess it is back to becoming accustomed to a non-title winning United for a little while. May it be a short spell.

Yesterday arvo, partly to stay away from the tele with repeats of the United loss, I worked on the garden nearly all arvo. We came back from church and lunch close to 2 and from about 2.15, I trimmed the back James Sterling, mowed the side and back lawns, mixed some plant food and watered the flowers and shrubs, and generally cleaned and raked and tidied the side and back gardens. It was nearly 5 when I sat down to a cold one, before taking the little fellow with Tress to the oval where loads of dogs had gathered.

He had been working on a piece of lamb neck the whole time I was working on the garden so the walk would have been good for him. He looked happy and bounced around as we moved from oval to oval (there are 4 playing fields all in) and then walked around a couple of blocks.

We got home and nibbled on Sat’s leftover barbie food, watched a Nicholas Cage DVD (Bad Lieutenant or something like that) before going to bed. It was a typical cagey – near psychotic – Cage playing the role of a coke addicted, corrupt, manipulative but smart and result delivering policeman who despite all his flaws, looked out for the little guys and sought justice. Typical heroic but flawed cop story. I don’t care – I had fun watching it and it was a good way to wind down a really good weekend. Especially when as we prepared to snooze, Kiddo messaged us on FB and we spent a few minutes “talking” and reading her blog posts.

Here’s to another great next season for the Hawks and a fighting season for United…


Mother of Comebacks

I had never heard of the Americas Cup until I came to Australia. I first heard the names John Bertrand and Ben Lexcen when in Uni, colleagues joked about the winged keel – the legendary and at that time revolutionary secret weapon that saw Australia win it in 1983 for the every first time. Bob Hawke then said any boss who sacked an employee for not showing up for work that day is a bum. What a clever populist PM he was.

After that Americas Cup slowly faded into Aussie folklore and the country hasnt approached anywhere near passing interest. Certainly there has been negligible interest in the media in this competition with the oldest trophy in the world – the Auld Mug. Until now of course.

No doubt there would acres of column inches typed up to record all aspects of this most incredible of comebacks. How NZ managed to lose 7 matchpoints to lose after leading 8-1 is really the stuff of sporting legends. And it is a legend Aussies would love to dwell on. Other than celebrating a NZ no-win, it can also gloat about how Aussies made up the bulk of the crew which constitued Larry Ellinson winning vessel. Or maybe the modern day vehicle is less a vessel. The Oracle has been termed something test pilots would man. Not the traditional yacht associated with this competition. John Bertrand himself paid tribute to the modern day cutting edge catamaran which look like they are just flying across the surface of the seas off San Francisco bay.

I have near zero knowledge or interest in this sport for the rich. It is only in the context of competition which spruiked my interest. To come back from 8 races to 1 is probably akin to being 2 sets to love and trailing 1-5 in the third, only to crawl back and win 7-5 and the next two sets 6-0 6-0. Or maybe trail 0-4 at half time and scoring 5 in the last 5 minutes of regular time. By any measure it is a mind boggling comeback. The sort United thrives on. The sort that makes me watch sports on TV.

unRevolutionary Road

It was a weekend of mixed outcomes. It was my birthday on Friday but I had yet another battling Friday at work, right up to a few minutes past 5pm. So the little footy party Tress and I had organised took on a different complexion. I felt sombre and tired, stressed and stretched. Even when we drove to the pizza shop to pick up the pizzas I was quiet for the most part.

Our friends came around 7pm, and we started dinner soon after. Jason and Mel brought a great salad and a cake, Tim and Kenji brought a delicious cheese platter and Auntie Hooi and Marloney brought a magnificent spread of fruits. There were sweet white wines for the ladies, Guinness from Mel and Japanese dry beer which we had bought. After dinner we had the cheeses washed down with a very nice red I took out from my “cellar”.

Then it was Hawks v Cats and we all settled down to a very exciting see-saw game which saw Hawks going into the fourth quarter 20 points behind. Somehow we kicked a few and when Burgoyne booted us ahead even the non-footy fans in our home cheered on. It was great to see. Everyone was so excited they all wanted another party on Grand Final day. So I guess this Sat arvo is now agreed.

Sat Tress and I went to the Boroondara market near the corner of Toorak and Monash. The organic stuff was all over the place. We picked up some veg, fruits, some cakes and I also bought a bottle of Pinot. We then got home, and I waited for the buyer of our old TV to pick it up and then we went to Madam Kwong’s as usual. After that we picked up a few videos, went home and took the little fellow for a walk.

Tress then went to catch up with some friends over coffee and I stayed home and mowed the lawn and tidied up the garden. Just on 4pm I put the tools and everything else into the shed, got a shower and settled into the couch. I put on a DVD and was just watching it when I got a phone call from someone from the old church. Strangely he accused me of something I knew nothing about so it got a bit heated. I told him to stay away and continued watching Brando, Duvall, Pacino, Cann et al, only to receive an email later on from the same person accusing me of the same thing. David Chiang, stop being a pest. Go away and stop being a fool. 

That night Tress and I watched one of the DVD’s we picked up. Di Caprio and Winslet teamed up again for Revolutionary Road – a story about a couple dreaming of an exciting life but trapped by reality and the mundane daily grind. They seem to deal with the grind like many – they’re lighting up every other minute and the grog was constantly flowing. No one talked about it – they were just smoking and drinking all the time while talking about getting away to live in Paris, dealing with a job he hated (since he was a kid when he saw his father in the same job with the same company) but stuck to because he was promoted and had more money. Their neighbours too were constantly turning to the stimulants. These habits caused all sorts of issues, Leonardo’s character (Frank) started an affair in the office and his wife slept with a neighbour. All this while, Kate’s character desperately wanted to leave the suburban trap. When Frank finally decided not to leave, things erupted. A visit by the deranged son of another neighbour brought out these ugly truths into the fore. In a nasty fight, Leonardo said to Kate that he wished she had aborted their child she was carrying. The next day a very calm Kate prepared breakfast for Leonardo – one he said was the best breakfast he ever had. After he left for work she did a self-administered abortion. It went badly, she went to the hospital and later died. The house on Revolutionary Road was sold and the deranged man’s mother (Kathy Bates) who was the estate agent who sold Leonardo and Kate the house in the first place, started to sing the praises of the new owners and derided the previous owner. Kathy’s husband turned off his hearing aid when she carried on. Leonardo in the meantime, moved to the city. His life continued apparently – he has moved on from Revolutionary Road and someone else is there now.

The credits showed it was a Sam Mendes film. I had watched and was so disturbed (moved) by American Beauty and this was not as piercing but it brought out deep hidden aspirations and frustrations of daily living all the same. I really enjoyed it.

On Sunday after church we chatted to a few more people and got to know more new faces. We’re slowly rebuilding. Then it was lunch at M Kwong again. We then had a really relaxing afternoon – gave the little fellow a treat: lamb neck which he gave back out a half hour later, all over an old rug and on the lawn…

We chatted with Kiddo later than evening and then went to bed early. Another weekend gone and back to face another week at work…

Delta Force… :-)

About a week ago the company big boss sent a circular to everyone, saying a senior management person will be leaving. The circular said there was a restructuring of the organisation which resulted in the position disappearing into thin air. There had been 8 of those senior management staff (called executive general managers). Less than 6 months ago there were actually 7, and my current EGM was added on as a corporate governance person having oversight of areas such as risk management, compliance, internal audit and of course legal. So my boss had a new boss and suddenly the dynamics of interactions changed.

Also, just over a year ago, the company had a new chairman who after starting her tenure, became focused on governance issues. I guess my new EGM boss was appointed as a result of that new focus. Since then, partly as a result of changes in areas of responsibilities and reporting lines, a bit of morphing process had taken place and that created waves which made a few of us bump around, tossed to and fro.

As it were, things in my company had never been stable. Changes were happening all the time. I guess this is partly due to the ever changing environment of the industry – both from the regulatory aspects as well as from the perspectives of changing landscapes on investments and expectations of the average saver/retiree. The overall state of flux (feels perpetual) is the flavour and the zeitgeist I guess. Being in an industry such as this necessitates dealing with constant change. Maybe that’s the crux of it all.

All these elements of dynamism have caused a few headaches for me. Not that I wasn’t expecting them but then I guess I was involved in a couple of projects where as a result of numerous factors and circumstances, no one knew which end was the head and who was supposed to be doing the wagging. Change is the only constant, so they say. Cliched and pained slogan bandied about so often but I’m actually living it every day. I have to say I don’t quite enjoy it.

All I really want is to come in everyday and do my work and avoid all the posturing and contests. The jostling and aggression doesn’t do it for me. If my work necessarily involves those things I’d have to consider how best to deal with it without diving full bodied into it. I’d have to wing it I guess. I know sooner or later it would be very clear to all who care to look, that my heart is not in it at all. What happens that is something I have to deal with I guess. I might go and be a council worker in some light duty capacity for example J. I need to work. Just what sort of work I can put up with is a different matter I guess. Hopefully I can just do what I have been doing, minus the political aspects.

Stop talking to loonies

From: Teh, Ian
Sent: Tuesday, 25 June 2013 10:40 AM
To: [ ]; [ ]
Cc: [ ]
Subject: RE: Generational and Cultural Differences ? – DC !

[ ]

I have always suspected that in the minds of Tham Fuan et al, my emails on that fateful weekend, were what stirred the hornet’s nest. It is clear from David’s recent emails, that my suspicions were well founded. He still thinks those emails were the source of their problems and the cause of present turmoils surrounding your removal.

I have opted not to argue with him anymore (or any of them) because their blame game has obviously found a convenient scapegoat. It is clear as day, that they have refused to see the evil and folly of what they have done to you, and now choose to deflect blame onto me.

The fact that Kheang’ s opening gambit in that meeting (with Hooi, Marloney etc.) was to ask Pauline what she thought of my emails, also cements this. They/Kheang must have thought Pauline also was the best ally to express distraught over my emails hence he asked her. They were hoping to find more support for that view, which is frightfully laughable. Pauline’s answer must have made them swear a little. You can always trust an old hand I guess. I must think about buying Pauline some flowers too… LOL.

They have chosen not to see that whereas my emails were sent on the Friday before the AGM notice was sent out that Sunday – a mere 2 days – their actions have preceded those dates for months. The fact that they had numerous meetings for months before that – all of which you knew nothing about – was somehow seen as less responsible for what happened, compared to my emails 2 days before their decision was executed. They met for months, without you present or knowing, without the knowledge of people like CH and TT, and discussed your stepping down. All without notice to you. And they think all this has less to do with the current turmoil compared to my emails.

What do you do with this line of thinking? All those noises about your permission for me to send those emails, are just flutters to make people talk about those emails. If I continue to engage David, I would still focus on the fact of those months of meetings leading up to the AGM, and how the idea of your removal as a facility to the reconciliation is so UMNO’esque. But what would that do? Those things have already been said – by you, me, Jackie, and perhaps also a few others. Saying it a few more times would not make it any less painful for you and your family and would certainly bring them no closer to admission of guilt.

When faced with such obstinacy, it is best to withdraw and let them be. Otherwise we deprive ourselves of peace and joy. I will use Tham Fuan’s lingo – I will “release” them. Like David said, “enough said”. Very cockney and Essex of him. LOL. 



Couch Bookends

I was stretched out on the couch last night thinking it has been a wonderful weekend. We had caught up with Jason and Mel for dinner at India Delights on Friday night. After another long week, it was really nice to just sit down with friends for a meal. Sammy came along and after dinner we took a walk through the Chase and got some stuff, as well as having a chat with the owner of a choc shop which recently opened up in a new wing of the Chase. We then went home and I sat down to watch the footy elimination final – on the new tele set we bought the previous night.

In spite of a very busy week, for some reason I couldn’t sleep and so I woke early on Saturday morning. After the usual lazy coffee at home and a brekky of half boiled eggs and toasts, I paid a visit to Tress’ hairdresser in Mount Waverley and had a long overdue haircut. My usual place had raised prices – a hefty hike of some 30% – and the last haircut I had was in Singapore – more than 1½  months ago. So after a hiatus of several years – I had used his services years before when we lived in Mount Waverley – I had my hair cut by Simon again.

After the haircut, I got home and started on some gardening work I had planned to do. I finished trimming the hedge on the eastern rear end, cleaned the area and was about to start on the rear fence hedges when a couple of things caught my attention. The green bin was already  half full and I wouldn’t be able to trim the whole of the rear fence without leaving at least half the trimmings in one corner for the next round of green bin collection a fortnight later. Also, I noticed the miniature Japanese maple tree at the backyard was buzzing. On closer look I realised there were hundreds of bees working away on little flower shoots of the tree. It was such a beautiful thing so I decided to leave the serenity of the event and packed everything to move the work to the front lawn.

I trimmed the front box hedges which were starting to grow above the window lines, trimmed a couple of other plants, did some weeding mowed the front lawn and nature strips, and tidied up the place generally.

The little fellow had a grooming appointment at 12.15 so just after 11.30, I finished my gardening work and took him across the street to the oval for a little run around before he got groomed. He had been mucking around outside the house, mainly just lying on the flower beds under the camellias. Just after 12, from the oval, I saw the groomer’s mobile unit pulled up outside the house so I got the little fella home. While he got groomed I continued tidying up the front lawn and driveway.

Tress had been to Gerry and Jess’s place to look after their newborn while they were out at the doctor’s and some other errands. She came back when the little fellow was being groomed, went to a nearby property auction.

With the little fellow as well as myself cleaned up after a fun filled morning working around the house, Tress and I went to Madam Kwong’s for our usual Sat lunch spot. After that we went to a couple of furniture shops – still on our quest to make the reconfigured lounge look or feel more homely. We couldn’t find anything suitable, and Tress remarked maybe we could just think about yet more reconfiguration.

We got home and did some rearrangement and we both liked the result. So we decided to leave it be for a while.

Later that night we went into the city to have dinner with Tress’ cousins and other relos. It was great catching up with them, and it was particularly pleasing to see Adam’s 2 kids growing well. Alden, their older one, has become a lively, bright and thoughtful boy. We took the train/tram in and Marina dropped us off at Spencer St to catch the train home. We got home just before 10.45pm – and I settled down to watch United play and win its first home game under Moyes. In truth, the opposition wasn’t a stiff test – Crystal Palace has always lost to United – and it was a pedestrian game, with both our goals coming from set pieces (a RVP penalty and a Rooney free kick). I went on to watch the first half of the next game – wanted to see how Mezut Ozil fitted into Wenger’s team – before heading for bed.

Sunday we listened to Brian Rosner from Ridley College preach. Jason, Mel and Joyce came long to St Alf’s and after church we went to Malaysian Kitchen for a big lunch and a good chat. After lunch Tress and I went to Bunning’s and I picked up some “feed and weed”,  a new plant (polygala something – a milkwort) and some potting mix, and some weed killers. We came home, I planted the new buy, applied the lawn stuff, sprayed some weedkillers at the front around the pine tree, and then went back in to really put the feet up and enjoy the rest of the weekend… only a few hours left. I fixed the cabling behind the new tv and the splendour of the new technology became a lot more obvious.

Kiddo rang via skype, and because it was early (around 7pm) we chatted for a bit and it was really good. After fixing my lunch, I settled on the couch again. It was a wonderful weekend.

Nothing to see, move on

After another busy week, we ended last week by sharing very good meal with a few friends, at the Old Kingdom in Surrey Hills. After dinner we headed home and had an early night.

The next day we had our usual coffee, eggs and toast at home before starting some work around the house. We had booked a hard waste collection and were planning to throw out a few pieces of furniture and appliances which had broken down. The council used to designate hard waste weeks every few months and for that week or so, everyone would be busy with this and nature strips would be strewn. Now, there are no more designated days and anyone with large items to be disposed had to ring council to “book” a collection. We made our booking early last week and the pack – with instructions and a label sticker – came in a couple of days later.

Tress and I removed a couch, cleaned the room, rearranged the remaining furniture and cleaned the place some more. She then went on to do the laundry and other housekeeping and house cleaning stuff while I emptied an old wobbly shelf in the study, to get rid of that shelf. Along with the shelf I also threw out a slew of old stuff, which then freed up some space in the study.

I had also taken a couple of old suitcases from the shed and so took the opportunity to reorganise and clean the shed a little bit.

We went out for our usual errands around noon, and after a spot of lunch went back home and I reorganised the study to attempt getting all books and files into the remaining bookshelf without getting a new one. I barely succeeded and after taking the little fellow out for a walk we came home and Tress prepared some a fruit platter for dinner at Alex’s. Alex appeared to have returned to his old form, throwing a dinner party with several families all at once, making it awkward not to connect with everyone.

Sunday was Father’s Day but nothing was happening on the home front – after church we went to lunch with Jason and Mel and their kids, and then went and bought some stuff for a friend who’s sick and wanted to have some Chinese soup of some kind. We then got home. I did some work while Tress brought that stuff over.

Later that night I realised it was getting increasingly difficult to have good communication with Kiddo. Her hours are different to ours and I am always mindful of an early night on account of early starts, and a whole week of silence in terms of emails/messaging, just didn’t warm up to a good conversation – especially when I was caught by surprise with her summer plans which ruled out some stuff I was hoping to do. I guess such is the nature of grown up kids – their own lives take on more and more centre stage. I guess it is only right I withdraw more and more for her to have her own space and do what she likes. Like John say of Jesus, he (she) must be bigger and I, smaller. My life is on the other side of the hill now. She on the other hand, still has peaks to scale from which she would savour the sight and breath of being on top of the world. There must be little I do which thwarts that process I guess.