of soaring & dreaming

December 1, 2008

cool breeze, falling leaves

Filed under: Events,Work life — carnationzky @ 8:55 am
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yes, for many days now it’s been like this. nice eh? i keep going out of my office just to feel it … and to take a deep breath and inhale the “holiday” season … alas we do not have a holiday here just for that so … we will still be in office. we can take leave though. i am still thinking about it. gonna bake those oatmeal cookies for giving away. i still have to get the recipe from my friend who baked some a couple of weeks ago and they tasted nice. i hope they will taste the same when i bake them. soon there will be plenty of parties – christmas, year-end/new year, farewells, retirement, etc.

below are photos taken during our farewell party for phaung who left to work in singapore. good for her. these were taken months before, though!

lei, phaung, me

lei, phaung, me

with laksiri & pop

with laksiri & pop

cida-ait/sea-uema project team

cida-ait/sea-uema project team

August 26, 2008

Field trip to Bangkok

Our first field trip during the recently concluded training on Sustainable Communities was to explore Bangkok using the different public transportation modes, especially the modern ones. First we went to the Bangkok Metropolitan Authority (BMA) Transportation Division, then later to the Metropolitan Rapid Transport Administration (MRTA) Office. In both offices we met AIT alumni both from the older (70s and 80s) and recent batches. We were shown what they are doing regarding mass public transport and their plans to better the situation in Bangkok and nearby areas, regarding transport system for the public. It was nice to listen to their dreams and they really are sincere in trying to make things better. It would be good to have a seamless transport system in Bangkok and we do not have to drive our cars but just hop on at the nearest train or bus station near our home. We were shown the plans of BMA for a Bus Rapid Transport (BRT) System and hope this will be successful. Also MRTA’s expansion plans which include going even to AIT/Thammasat. Wow that will be the day, when we do not have to drive, with the train station just next door and we can go all the way down to Bangkok. That will be good also to the environment, and our pockets.

Smile! We were all camera crazy inside the train!

Smile! We were all camera crazy inside the train!

After the meetings, we went to the nearest MRT station, at the Thai Cultural Center. All of us were excited, even me, as I do not use the subway really. The last time I used it was a long time ago. If I have a choice I would use the sky train. But actually I did not have any qualms using the same thing in London, Manila, Netherlands, Singapore, Tokyo and Toronto . Except here because of some safety issues. But maybe it is better now. We used the subway to go to Chatuchak Market/Mochit Station so we could transfer to the BTS/sky train. We were quite a big group and so it was quite a worry maybe for the guides in case some of us got lost! It was quite easy in the subway as there was not much crowd there. So we got to the Chatuchak Station and we went up to connect to the sky train. We noticed immediately that the two stations are not connected as one has to go out to the road to get up to the sky train station. It would have been better if a connection from the inside goes directly up to the sky train. With our big group joining the outside crowd, it was hard keeping up. Some of us were already up in the BTS station while the others were still walking on the road trying to catch up with the first group. Anyway we finally got together and my, what a crowd! We waited for the card tickets and some of us were given the coins to experience the use of the card machines. Nice. Some went to the mini-mart nearby to buy some cold drinks and gum. Another convenience. We were on a field trip so we had to observe these things that will make transport system in Bangkok more efficient and effective. Once everyone had the card, we went up to wait for the train.

)

Some of us had to stand. Some were shy to look at the camera 🙂

There was one waiting already but we did not take it. So we just moved to the side to wait for the next train. Unfortunately those in our group who came up last thought we were already in the train, and so they ran into the train. The train was about to leave and there we were, shouting, “come out! come out!” They had to hurry to come out or else they would not know where to go once they were on the train, and they would probably not know how to contact us. If that happened, probably they would just go shopping! Anyway, one of them said that the way we were screaming “come out! come out!” was so frightening!!

When the next train came, we got on. It was good to get seats and a relief as inside was so cool. Even cold. We got off at the Victory Monument, where we really felt lost in the crowd. We had to keep our eyes on our leader, Amorn, a PhD student. But after some time we lost him. But I knew we were going to look at the Victory Monument and the transportation dynamics there, so I just kept on. The others followed. After that we saw him again so we knew we were on the right track. We continued also to take photos. It was fun for me to be in Bangkok and not in the car for once. I get to see and experience some other different things. Anyway, time was up and our vans were waiting under.

Traffic was ok at this time but could get worse during rush hour and heavy rains.

Traffic was ok at this time but could get worse during rush hour and heavy rains.

Our next stop was the canal for the boat transport in Pratunam near the Central World. It was a short drive and surprisingly there was no traffic in Petchburi Road. We got off our vans and walked up to the bridge and observed the boats with passengers. At first we thought we would ride the boats but we just observed it. Even looked around as there were many other things to see, such as the sidewalk vendors and the pedestrians. It seems the water in the canal is cleaner than before and there was not much smell. Anyway, it is surely a cheaper and faster means of transport but people can get wet from the water spray.

We did not try the buses, taxis, motorcycles and tuktuks, but I bet that everyone had a chance somehow to experience them during other times, esp. when they went out to go shopping!

Didn't get on the boat this time.

Didn't get on the boat this time.

After the trip we went up to cross the flyover to go to Central World to have our dinner. However, for me and two friends from Kenya (Edith and Lillian), we crossed back again to go to Big C, where food and other stuff are cheaper. We had about 1.5 hours before we got back to AIT. We had dinner at the Food Center and they were quite impressed with the taste of the food and the price, which was quite cheap. They ordered Thai fried rice which cost 30 baht per plate. For me I ordered Pad Thai. Then we bought drinks and our dinner was less than 100 Baht per person. One of them said that food was cheap, and wondered why the previous night they paid more than 1,000 Baht for their dinner. Probably they had it in a posh hotel? We then moved around the hypermart and grocery section to buy some stuff.

View from the flyover between Big C & Central World

Then off to the meeting place in front of Arnoma Hotel. It was a long wait for the vans to arrive due to traffic (as usual). It was indeed a long day and we arrived back at AIT at around 9 pm.

View from the flyover between Big C & Central World

August 4, 2008

Papers…waste not!

Filed under: Environment,Work life — carnationzky @ 6:46 am
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wonderful ... let us do our share in keeping the environment clean!

wonderful ... let us do our share in keeping the environment clean!

We use lots of papers in the office…for printing documents and the like, as well as cc’ing to relevant people. Everytime I print pages and pages of paper and photocopy more of them, I can’t help thinking about all those trees that have been felled, and the effect on forests and the environment, in processing and disposing them. One way to assuage my guilt of using lots of paper is to reuse them, i.e. if they can be reused. And once both sides have been used, what next? They go to a box next to my desk. Once full, I would carry them to the general junk shop to sell them. But it is still not efficient enough. We still use lots more. The best way is to reduce all the printing and keep the files electronically. I do that if it’s something I can control. But if it involves others and especially if required by the system, what to do? Gotta print them still.

August 2, 2008

have time? will travel …

It was in June when my sister in Manila informed me that she and my niece, Kate, will be going to Singapore towards the end of July. My niece, who is a student at the Shirley Halili-Cruz Dance School in Quezon City, is joining the school group for some ballet competition (the 10th Asia-Pacific Dance Competition). I was so excited to hear about it and immediately I started to check my calendar. It would be nice to meet up in Singapore, it being nearer and easier to go to (from Bangkok, that is) than to the Philippines.

Fortunately, I had so many days of leave credits which I need to use up before my contract ends in August. As the case here at AIT, as a fixed term contract worker, we could not carry over our leave credits to the next contract period, even if it is within the same project. And it could not be converted to cash either. So if you do not use them, you lose. After all the hard work … hmmm… It was also a surprise that I accumulated that many leave credits because there was no official announcement from our HRO that the monthly leave credit was increased from 1 to 1.5 days. I dunno even when it started. Am just so happy to learn that but I wished I knew earlier so I did not have to take leave without pay a few months earlier (in April) when I went home to Philippines for my holiday. So now I am left with about 10 days leave with barely 2 months to go in my contract. And with a 2 week training program to participate in the following month (August), I have few remaining days to work and so how can I use them up?

So there, the opportunity came up to travel. And I can choose to go as long as I want but it’s not only my own sked to consider. My DH has to come, too, and we have to check his sked whether he could take leave. Fortunately again, that period in July is graduation time at the university where he is teaching. In Thailand, graduation ceremonies take days to complete, so there is basically no work to be done during that period. Which means he is free to take leave as well and travel. So schedule wise, we are ok.

Now the time to check for flights and accommodations. We know that flights to Singapore from Bangkok have a wide range of prices and choices of airlines. Sometimes they really have cheap promos but during this period, there was none. So we had to check the budget airlines and we were able to book one with Air Asia. That’s ok. Next comes the accommodation. So expensive in hotels, that’s out of the question. In the meantime we contacted our dear friend, Lailin and she offered to find one for us among her friends. So that was solved.

So everything was set, we just had to wait. In the meantime, excitement is building up. We do not normally travel just for a holiday. Except for the visit to home in the Philippines, the travels we often do are work-related (professional) and with the ministry. And in times of economic difficulties, work related travel is a good enough chance to travel as a tourist as well. So no need to plan for expensive holidays.

I will be writing blogs on varied topics related to our Singapore trip in the following days. So stay tuned!

July 10, 2008

Slow week

Filed under: Life stuff,Work life — carnationzky @ 8:52 am
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I mentioned to my colleague today that this week has been going quite slower compared to the previous weeks. Dunno why, just a feeling maybe. But work has not slowed down. Still maybe there is not much pressure. Sabai sabai, as they say in Thai. Will see what the weekend holds. The following week we only have 3 working days as there is a long weekend due to a religious festival here. My husband and I were discussing where to go but since we are going to Singapore end of this month, we decided to just stay and rest. Take things easy. I bet not. There are lots of things to do. In and out of the office. So let’s see what happens.

Undergoing MyBlogLog Verification

July 9, 2008

Feeling something

I feel something here where I am… Is it embarrassment? Disappointment? Shame? Sadness? Rejection? Something like the carpet being removed from under my feet. Couldn’t really put a finger to it. I could not voice it out. I just want to curl up and cry. My face might break. Oh God, let me look up to You for strength to battle this one out. Maybe this is just a humbling experience. This happens. Kulabog! Never again. To trust. Better keep to myself. I should have known. But I never learn. I just keep giving. But the world just keeps getting. Until you are drained. And nobody cares.

Sakit lang buut ko … mapatawhay run lang ta gani.

July 7, 2008

Be Happy. Not? Be?

Filed under: Spiritual,Work life — carnationzky @ 9:51 am
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Some changes are occurring in the workplace. Can’t say I am overjoyed with the turn out. I want out actually but the wisest thing to do now is to wait it out. Hmmm lots of outs here. Some say just be happy with your lot. My mind tells me something. But what is God saying? Glorify God in whatever you do. Wherever you are. So I think as long as I am here I just have to do my best, until that best won’t be good enough for all concerned. That depends on what standard they will base it on. I think when that time comes, God will make a way for me so that I can continue doing my best, for Him. Be it here still, or somewhere else. I have to keep my eyes, heart and ears open for His green light.

July 4, 2008

The wisdom verse

Filed under: Life stuff,Spiritual,Work life — carnationzky @ 3:32 am
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Photo courtesy of Nonoy Nietes

A timely verse for me here in the workplace. Lord, yes, please give me wisdom so I will know how to deal with difficulties and complications that arise as I do my work here in the office. Help me to be Christlike in my reactions and responses to harassment and other forms of oppression. I thank You for Your presence that reminds me to look up and soar beyond the situation, and to see the big picture. Thank you, Lord, for life is not just confined within the four walls of this office. There is a higher calling, and I need your wisdom to guide my thoughts so I will not be bogged down by the mundane things of everyday life. Open my eyes and heart to the many opportunities to bring glory to You by living as You want me to. Thank You that I am not alone here. You are with me.

“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives to all men generously and without reproaching, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting,for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways, will receive anything from the Lord”.James 1:5-8

June 20, 2008

When tyres go flat …

Filed under: Life stuff,Work life — carnationzky @ 4:28 am
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Unlike what a certain book has said about the world being flat giving us endless and countless opportunities, when your bike is flat, you can go nowhere! Such is the case now when the concessionaire for bike services on campus moved out and a new one is yet to come, leaving a period (of more than a week) of no bike service. Many, including yours truly, are not able to add air into their bike tyres. In a community where more than 90% of the population uses bicycles, the absence of a bike service center is as noticeable as the absence of a Thai restaurant in a faraway land. If this situation goes on, we have to start thinking of a strategy to get to office still feeling fresh and nice, i.e. walking. Not bad in the early mornings or late afternoons, but other times, forget it. Either you sweat too much from the heat, or you get soaked by the heavy downpour. Thus, it’s welcome news when just now we received the announcement that the new bike shop concessionaire will open tomorrow, with a special mention that an air pump will be installed immediately. There, we do not have to walk to office anymore and arrive there all sweating and out of breath. But walking is good, but not when the sun is up there smiling in all its shining glory, or the skies frowning down and drenching us with the rain! Maybe we really need to walk more, then, to be fit.

June 6, 2008

Handling noise pollution in the workplace

Filed under: Work life — carnationzky @ 3:51 am
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Human noise is inevitable in the workplace. Indoor noise pollution is the end result of activities created by humans in disturbing the peace and quiet of a certain space. It has been well-known among users in a certain room here on campus that the level of pollution is high, affecting physical health of almost all users. Yet nothing has been done about it. It is also well-known in the past that despite the large number of users in this particular room, there is still quietness  as everyone concentrates on his/her own work. When there needs to be some discussion, everyone can talk and participate. However, recently, a certain occurrence of indoor noise pollution has been observed. And the level is rising. This has led to others who are disturbed to do any of the following:

1. jam their ears with earplugs and listen to music, sometimes at a high volume to drown out the noise pollution;
2. leave the room and abandon whatever work that needs to be done;
3. transfer to another room such as the meeting room (if available) to do some work there – this is only possible if the person has his/her own notebook computer;
4. go for a coffee break (but you can only do this at most twice a day)!

There might be other ways to handle this issue. The best way is to let the noise polluters know that they are polluting the environment and to reduce the level of their noise. The dilemma is how to inform them in a way that will not create misunderstandings and other ballyhoo, leading to misinterpretations. To let them know that if they want to talk about things in their own language, or if they want to argue noisily, they can go out of the room and discuss it there. It is assumed that as professionals, people have to be considerate of the others especially in a tight space as this particular room, as all are here to work (hope so), and as a team people are working to achieve the same goals (hope hope so).

Can indoor noise pollution be a solid ground for leaving the job? If so, it’s now time to find a better job where people’s health is not endangered, and where there’s peace and quiet to be able to work efficiently.

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