In today’s news…

It’s been slightly over a month since I’ve been working in news. Well, sort of. My job is to go through the day’s papers that I’ve been allotted to, and cough up related news synopses for the ease of the client/s. While it may sound fairly simple, it’s actually much harder to do because:

  1. My standard daily paper is the 联合早报 (Lianhe Zaobao), which means it’s written entirely in Mandarin and I have to do a translation-cum-synopsis. AKA ” so much s l o w e r”…
  2. I have less than 3.5 hours each day to complete my work. So I get up at 6am daily or earlier (depending on projected news volume).
  3. National events are the worst. News go on for days and days on the same topic/s and it bores the hell out of me re-reading – and rewriting – the same background info.
  4. SPH is a pain in the ass and constantly conks up the Zaobao server, leading to inability to access the day’s news. A printed copy works, but unfortunately fairly inefficient as my eyes have to toggle between paper and PC at a neck-straining angle, and there’s no ability to copy & paste when I need to research a featured person’s proper English name.

The good thing about all this is, the salary is pretty decent for a home-based job and I finish work by 10am daily unless there is an exceptionally high volume of news. That said, based on some other similar job positions advertised, I have a niggling feeling that I’m being slightly underpaid… You see, I saw a job opening for a “news clipper” working 7.30am to 9.30am daily. The job scope was to simply scan relevant news articles and email them in. The listed salary for this was a FIXED $700 per month. Right now I’m taking in a couple hundred more than that, but I have to write + translate?! As far as I know, translation work is not something that pays little, so I will probably be asking for more after I’ve “settled in”.

In other news, I’ve recently picked up a sewing hobby!! It has an amazing ability to clear my mind in a meditative sort of way as I scheme how to turn cloth and old clothes into… clothing pieces. It started as an waste-minimising attempt to refashion a HUGE pile of old clothes thanks to pregnancy and growing kids, but evolved into using actual flat pieces of fabrics. Unfortunately in Singapore, fabric prices aren’t the cheapest so I probably wouldn’t go into making a ton of handmade clothes. (Even though I really want to.) But I’ve found a few great places to shop for cheap fabric, so I’ll be compiling a list and putting them up on a blog page!

Chinatown area is SO NOT the best-priced fabric market like what everyone says. I’ve encountered similar fabrics going for much lower elsewhere!

Satisfaction.

It still warms my heart to read the appreciative comments that some readers had left on one of my articles that was published on TheAsianParent in October 2008. Technically there are only four comments expressing their gratitude towards the article echoing their exact sentiments, but these four comments will stay in my mind (and heart) and shall lead the way I write anything else for public consumption (blog excluded).

A good article – to me – should educate the unaware and reinstate the confidence in those who are aware but under judgement.

I never want to do anything else but that.

Watered Down

This feeling is way too familiar.
This estrangment
sparked by children’s demands.
Romance
watered down by responsibilities.

I count down.
To the day they both settle down
to a new routine of four family members
instead of the previous three.

Counting
Waiting
Praying
Hoping

For the day we can date again.
To bask in each other’s affection
without distractions.

I thank God this is not more than what I can handle.
At least,
the boys take turns to defy their schedules.

In a day of the jobless.

Strangely, before I had started the work that occupied almost all my time for three consecutive weeks, I had no inkling that I actually had that much time on my hands.

I had never felt busy, but neither had I felt “free”.

But after settling in nicely with Joshua in the day, and working until the wee hours of the night, I found myself struggling to occupy myself with something last week.

Suddenly it’s like I had too much time on my hands and I had nothing to do.

Thus the overzealous cleaning that prompted pelvic and ligament pain. And 2 hours spent making risotto, oven-baked salmon and lime jelly for Monday’s dinner. And today, I am looking for something to do again.

Somehow, idling my spare time away online just isn’t peachy anymore. I want… more. So thus I started gaming again on Hubs’ Windows, the DS and the Wii.

God knows why, but I was actually starting to enjoy clearing up a pile of work slowly – knowing I’ll get paid for it eventually – and planning my time nicely to fit everything in.

The only part I didn’t enjoy was not being able to spend family time with Hubs and Josh over the weekend.

I think I may secretly be a workaholic. 😆

Reminders to self:

4.16am, 22 March 2009

Obviously still up doing work, because I had to fulfill my promise to Joshua and go out with him (and Daddy dearest) as a “family outing” to Orchard. I haven’t gone out with him beyond a 1km radius for weeks.

So that took us about almost 4 hours out of the house. And yes, it also means I have been pretty much confined in this living space for the past few weeks. (So poor thing hor?)

Reminder #1: Specify the preferred route to prevent being swindled.

No thanks to an unscrupulous cab driver who took a very obvious detour route to Wisma when we have the bloody CTE just a turn away. A trip that would usually cost us no more than $10 skyrocketed to $15. Business must be real bad.

Reminder #2: Stock up Redbull from Value$ shop downstairs.

$2 for 3 cans is way cheaper than $1.80 per can from mamak stall. Dammit.

But since my brain doesn’t seem capable of formulating grammatically correct sentences without the sweet adrenaline provided by Redbull, I have no choice but to pay the rather exorbitant amount lor.

And obviously, neither can I stay awake without the energy boost.

Reminder #3: The designer I like is Helmut Lang.

I wish my preggy brains would stop erasing all these bits of hyper-important (bimbo) information. Hubs had to google for list of male designers and read them out to me one by one so I can strike them out. Double dammit.

Reminder #4: Get a haircut before going Batam.

I don’t want to take photos with crazy stupid ugly auntie hair. ‘Nuff said.

Reminder #5: Pick up tickets and whatever other documents.

Otherwise don’t even need to go to Batam liao.

Reminder #6: Must.spend.family.time.with.Joshua.

Even though I know he wants the 3 of us to be out together, I cannot help it that I’m up to here *points to neck* in work… For the next 2 weeks, I must remember to take a few hours off each weekend to go out and have “family time”.

*sigh* JIAYOU to me! Uncle Henrie please dabao lunch when you come over next week, thanks! (And you can bring J to the playground also.) :mrgreen:

Practice makes perfect?

I can’t deny that juggling work, toddler and house chores gets somewhat easier with practice. But it certainly doesn’t get any less tiring over time.

In fact, I think with the compounded lack of rest, my motor is starting to run less and less efficiently. Case in point: my memory is undoubtedly getting worse as the days wear on.

On Sunday, I had made an appointment to meet someone on Tuesday, only to clean forget it until Wednesday. Talk about being senile. 😕

My Wii has been sitting sadly on its own – untouched and obviously unplayed – since I embarked on this month-long assignment. On the bright side, I can easily afford the band kit for Guitar Hero: World Tour with my payment for this job.

Although… I am still neow-ing the (approx) $300 for it. After all, we only have 2 adults here and can’t fully rock out as a “band”.

Night Owl for the sake of work.

After spending 3 consecutive nights – Friday to Sunday – being wide awake and productively doing work, I am somewhat pissed off to find out that my body clock has swiftly adapted itself to that of a night owl.

Oh well, since there’ll be more work coming in, I guess it wouldn’t hurt to be more mentally active at night. I can always use the Batam retreat to sort back my body clock.

But damn! Now my timing’s all screwed up again. I’m feeling sleepy and tired in the day, and my mind is raging at night. Pfffffft.

And if you’re wondering why I can’t work in the day like normal people do, you try having a toddler bug you for little things every 30 minutes or so.

The brain simply cannot focus when someone’s tugging your shirt every little while. And if he’s too quiet and not bugging me, I feel a compelling urge to check on him to make sure he’s not getting into trouble.

So whenever I get somewhere with my work, I get distracted and then pretty much start from scratch because my mushy preggy brains can’t remember where I last stopped.

You know, nowadays I feel as though I’m 60 and senile or something. 😕

Fortunately, all this is just temporary. Or so Hubs keeps reminding me it should be. I just hope my normal brains will be reporting for work somewhere late 2009.

The guilty conscience of a mother.

How you would feel if you woke up in the morning, and your son asks you “Mama, go gai-gai (walk walk)?” and you have to say no?

No amount of money is worth my time away from my kids, but yet I have to do it to make sure they can have the best of what I can offer.

As much as I am eternally grateful towards my in-laws, my uncle and Hubs for offering their babysitting services while I take time off to complete my work, the money is just not worth it.

Not worth seeing Joshua’s disappointed pout when I have to delay our daily walk around the neighbourhood; or the disgruntledness when the walk has to be cancelled because it started pouring just as I was wrapping up my work.

Not worth it seeing how deliriously happy he is when I spare some time to cuddle, read and just spend time with him; when otherwise I can see he is struggling to not come and bother me for little things.

I am only glad for whatever help that is rendered, and for having such an independent and understanding little boy. He is truly no longer a baby. He is a boy who can understand what I am working for, and tries his best to accommodate my need to work in peace.

I could never love him enough, and I can only try to look further into the future when I can afford to give him (and Keegan) more out of life with the hard work I am putting in now.

But meanwhile, I just want to cry for not being able to be there spending his favorite weekends with him.

CHUI!

If the last few days have taught me anything, it is that I am quite the drastic failure at juggling short deadlines along with my staple of domestic chores.

And also the fact that Murphy’s Law couldn’t strike at a less opportune time; with our Starhub internet connection slowing down to a snail’s crawl for the past few nights just as Joshua goes to bed and leaves me 100% free.

Nothing was wrong with the modem, nor the router, and no one was intensively uploading or downloading anything. Starhub just decided to suck and kill my already tedious work process.

I could only resign to fate and go to bed early – waking up the next morning to juggle the boy’s 1001 little requests, the neverending mahjong noise from our lovely neighbours, pregnancy-induced hourly toilet visits and my pressing deadline.

I have also learnt that no matter how ergonomic or comfortable my new office chair might be, creaky hips – that are loosening themselves at the joints in preparation of childbirth – should never be made to withstand extended hours of an upright sitting position.

Oh, my aching hips and back!

And words that you have to repeatedly type and look at start not to make sense after a while. To the point that I have to refer to the dictionary to make sure I am not screwing up the spelling somewhere somehow.

I am now totally and utterly chui* from it all. This money… not easy to earn sia. 😕

I will remember never to take up such jobs again. It’s way too tedious to pick up the broken pieces of shitty information. And the amount they pay doesn’t justify the amount of research, double-checking and frustration I had to endure. 😦

* chui (Hokkien word for “shatter”) – a term currently used to express an extreme level of despair and dismay. (Brought home by Hubs from his office full of weird and infectiously stupid expressions.)

“Media” is now a broadly used term.

Yet I am still having difficulty trying to accept the fact that any Tom, Dick, Ah Lian and Ah Beng can now be termed as “media” just by being the owner of a blog.

I hate how the world is getting smaller and more lines getting blurred by the advancement of technology.

There is no black and white anymore. Too much grey… too much grey.

I’m finally starting to see how the cunning (or maybe scheming, I should say) manages to informally achieve what others spend years of time and effort to perfect.

Maybe perseverence is nothing compared to slyness. Or maybe I am just too old-skool to accept the media world as it is now. There are foxes disguised as sheep, and I suddenly feel a great urge to run from the flock.