Thursday, April 30, 2009

Nothing to Say

Like the title says. Nothing of note to write about.

A few days ago I had this weird craving for Yeo's Chicken Curry. The one in the can. God knows why.

Apart from that random piece of information there's nothing happening at all.

Oh yes, a friend came back from offshore and passed me some more tips. I feel a little bit more encouraged but not by so much.

Still a bit anxious but not as bad as it was last week. This offshore job thing had better not be one of life's bad jokes. I've had a lot of that and it's not really that funny.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Not Gone...Yet

I guess I spoke too soon.

It's 6.00am on Thursday morning and I've just endured a 15 hour bus ride from Miri back to Kuching.

So what happened? Well, the original plan was for me to stay in Miri for a few days before deploying. Usually this is how these things work. However due to some circumstances and last minute changes I'm going off in the 2nd week of May instead. Which is great news because that means I can tie up some unfinished business and put in some extra training before mobilizing. And to see all my friends off course.

This could still change though. They could still call me later and ask me to pack up and go immediately. These things can happen too.

It wasn't a complete waste of time though. I got to talk with the new boss, hung out with a friend I haven't met in a while and most importantly, signed a contract. The money's pretty good and I'm pleased with it.

Also, I'm feeling a lot less nervous about the whole thing. I guess some mental conditioning was required. The first call really caught me off guard and by this time I wasn't thinking about going off at all. After hanging out and meeting the new boss and talking to some people I feel like I'm ready for it. As ready as a noob radioman will be anyway.

Right now, my tentative itinerary would involve flying out to Singapore then to Batam then to the barge off the coast. I say tentative because again, things can change at the last minute.

I guess all that's left to do now is to prepare as well as possible and try to do well. Things are going to change quite a bit this year.

Finally for some off topic comments.

I forgot one very important preflight rule yesterday morning. Avoid caffeine. It increases the blood pressure and during descent one blood vessel behind my left eye started throbbing and it hurt like a motherf***er.

Long bus rides are not fun even on a reasonably comfortable bus. Also in order to appreciate how big Sarawak really is, a bus ride from Miri to Kuching (or vice versa) would put that into perspective quite clearly. I left at 1400 yesterday afternoon. We stopped in Batu Niah, Bintulu, Selangau and Sibu before fueling up at the Penrissen Shell station. Arrived in 4th mile at 0451 this morning.

I won't be doing that again anytime soon. Unless I'm broke and desperate to get home. The ticket cost 80 bucks by the way.

The plan this week is to clear some debts and transfer some reserve funds into my savings account. If all goes well, I'll get all my money back and more within six months.

Wish me luck!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The Call

In a previous post I mentioned that offshore manpower demands have dried up and I was not likely to go off.

Well, The Fates like to play tricks on me. Apparently I am going. Tomorrow.

I received the call today. Someone is leaving and needed replacing.

I cannot even begin to describe the dread I was feeling. I'll admit it right here, from the beginning off the whole offshore thing last year I've had doubts about whether I can handle that kind of work. Actually that overwhelming dread started during the safety course. I have no idea why. I also imagined all kinds of nasty, antisocial types working in the offshore industry. I don't know where that idea came from either.

Well, that's just me. I've always had little confidence in trying new, more challenging things. The whole idea was to break that. And the money, obviously.

I feel much better now. I went out with a good friend just now and we talked. It makes things seem less frightening. Anyway, my brother is doing well and so is another friend. Why shouldn't I do just as well?

Well, we'll soon find out. My greatest wish now is for me to enjoy this new line of work and be as successful as I was in my previous job. And if I don't do well, so what? At least I tried.

There isn't much to worry about actually. It's just me being silly.

If I find myself liking it I will succeed in my plans to retire early provided I don't suddenly develop expensive, extravagant tastes.

Wish me luck folks.

Thursday, April 16, 2009


I've been watching (or rather re-watching) a lot of DVDs lately. I think I've watched Transformers 3 times already this week.

I also watched Yes Man earlier this week. Good movie. Starring Jim Carrey and Zooey Deschanel. Ah Zooey..

I like Zooey. She is one of my favourite actresses. I've seen a number of her movies and I liked them all. She's also part of She & Him. Like most things involving Zooey She & Him's music is very... quirky?. Just watch that video on top of the post and see what I mean.

I was trawling Youtube for interviews and I found one where she mentioned the Speech Accent Archive. It's a collection of various English accents from all over the world by both native and non-native speakers. It's awesome. (It uses Quicktime so if it doesn't work with Firefox open it in Explorer.)

And while listening to the supposedly Malaysian accent it got me thinking. Is there such a thing as a proper Malaysian accent? (Manglish doesn't count). There are so many ethnic groups here and they all sound different when speaking English. Heck, all my friends speak English and they all sound different.

What do you think? What's the definitive Malaysian English accent if such a thing exists?

On that note, here's another great song from She & Him.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Plan B

Holy week. Hmm, perhaps it's a good idea if I do something holy?

Anyway, I'm still looking for work. This week I signed up at JobsMalaysia, that Labour Department website. And Jobstreet of course. I also have two other openings I heard about through the grapevine. One of them sounds good but unfortunately requires knowledge of Linux of which I have none at all. The other one is only available next month.

I've given up looking at the local papers. There's nothing good there.

I also registered at myEG just for the heck of it. Looks quite useful. You never know when you might need it.

While I've been doing this it dawned to me that perhaps my skills set might be a little too specific. Apparently there's a ton of positions available for systems analyst, programmers, application devs etc. Software stuff. No surprise. Software related work is NOT easy. Hence the talent pool might be a little on the short side.

There's almost none available for the humble hardware and support tech. Either support people are a dime a dozen these days or hardware and operating software have gotten so reliable support is no longer that important. I'm inclined to think it's the former.

Yes, things are looking a bit grim and I can't really shake this impending sense of doom. But I keep looking.

How about that offshore thing? Well, I've heard a lot of stories recently about oil and gas but the manpower demand has completely dried up (no pun intended) and now it's almost impossible for a newbie to get in. Everyone wants experienced people at sea and I don't really blame them actually.

Maybe it's got something to do with crude being at 40 bucks a barrel only these days. There's another reason why I'm thinking twice about going offshore but I can't really say much about that right now.

I owe the parents 5k. They said I don't have to pay it back but somehow it would be so very wrong if I didn't at least try to pay them back.

If nothing happens by the 1st week of May it'll be time for Plan C. Which means I need to leave home in search of work. Perhaps I'll be away for a long, long time.

Life is not so easy these days...

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Wednesday, April 01, 2009