Category Archives: Personal

Opinions and thoughts about things

It’s always a good time

June 2, 2014 7:38 PM

Except for a few extended holidays and until I moved to Melbourne I’ve seen my family every single day of my nearly 40 year old life. This is the first time that I’ve been living away from them on a permanent basis. So the recent news of a friend losing her mother got me thinking even more than usual.

Times when a friend loses a parent always fill me with sadness and empathy for my friend, and it never fails to put me in a reflective mood about the short time on this planet that we are given with our loved ones. But being physically away from my own parents amplified those feelings more at the moment. It made me realise that I don’t tell my parents that I miss or love them as much as I do. Actually I don’t think I’ve ever said that. As Chinese, we are just never expected to say those things because we’ve never heard our parents say it to each other or to their own parents.

It’s hard for me to vocalise those words so I guess I just have to write them here. Mom, dad and Marvin – I’m glad that I don’t bicker and argue with you as much as I did whilst growing up, and I miss your soothing and comforting presence even if it was just us sitting next to each other not talking and staring at the TV.

The Ooi Family, circa 1980
This felt like yesterday

The old cliches are true – time flies and there’s no better time than the present to make the important people in your life know that they are important to you. Life is cruelly and freakishly random so don’t put it off and don’t wait for a good time. It is always a good time.

Another truthful cliche – the simple things in life are the best 🙂

I’ll always be just average

May 10, 2014 12:51 PM

Mom and dad's 40th anniversary dinner
Mom and Dad’s 40th Anniversary, June 2013

My recent trip home to Perth during Easter has reinforced what I’ve always felt: that I will never be ambitious and career-focused because I value the people in my personal life more. I do not aspire to higher positions or more responsibility, and more money. I will always be just average at work, possibly above average at the most.

The high life or the powerful life will never be for me. I will leave that to the truly remarkable people who can forgo time with loved ones to focus on work, or the truly remarkable and fortunate ones who have it both ways.

Me, Simon, Kayo, Katie and Selina
3am supper after clubbing, April 2014

It is true that I moved across the country for my job. However, this is as far as I’m going to go. I am not going to move to another country for a job like a few of my friends have done. That will never happen.

Now living alone in a new city, I could have easily fallen down the rabbit hole of using work to fill up space and time. Instead I choose to fall down the rabbit hole of video games, Youtube and, blogs and news sites instead. The Internet is great – however did hermits stay sane before it?

So in summary, I embrace my average working life because my personal life is so much more enriching and satisfying to me, and I rather do over-time on that than at the office. 🙂

My life in Melbourne so far

April 6, 2014 12:06 AM

Melbourne's GPO building

I’ve now lived in Melbourne for two months and so far so good. I’ve not as homesick as I thought I would be, though going home to an empty place without food already on the table (hi mom!) took a while to get used to. Not having Snoop greeting me at the door every day is the number one thing that I’m missing. For everyone else, there’s the Internet and the phone. I’ve even given my mom access to my Facebook so she knows exactly what I’m up to. That has not stopped her calling me every other day but I don’t mind it though, even if it’s just her asking me “have you eaten?” and “what did you eat?” Hahah! But seriously mom, thanks for reminding me about your home cooked meals that I don’t get to eat. Heheh. 😛

Melbourne CBD is great for a single person in that one doesn’t actually feel bored or would go insane if you had no one to go home to. Everything is walkable and people watching is great. That said, I haven’t been out as much as I would be if I was still in Perth. Most of the people I know here are from work and luckily for me, they are a great bunch of people. I have been socialising with them more than with people outside of work. This is in contrast to Perth where I worked in a small office and not everyone comes in all the time – most days, I’m actually alone. By the time the weekend comes, I’d be craving for my friends’ company.

So I’m enjoying the working environment here more because I get to see people whilst I work, and nothing beats face-to-face for problem solving and the sharing of ideas. And venting and shooting the breeze during breaks help the day passes by more pleasantly. I’ve also attended a few work functions including two Melbourne International Comedy Festival shows. All of which lessens my need to go out and see people on the weekend. I do want to go out more but this is early days and I’m still building up my social network here.

In the mean time, my weekends are mostly occupied by laundry, vacuuming, buying groceries and cooking stuff that takes more than a few hours to make like soup and curries which I’d then eat the next week, or freeze. Oh and I’ve been video-gaming, ALOT. I once spent one entire Saturday playing Diablo 3 (hi Adrian!).

I will be going home to Perth for a week during Easter and the fact that I get to do that makes me feel incredibly fortunate because when my parents came to Australia to study when they were kids, they never got to go home for years. So what I’m trying to say is, I can’t and shouldn’t complain because my life is good whether it’s here in Melbourne or back in Perth. 🙂

Arriving in Melbourne

February 22, 2014 4:46 PM

View from the balcony at night with a full moon

The morning that I arrived in Melbourne was a blur so I will list the events in point form:

  • Arrived 5:30am. Killed 3 hours at airport. Took taxi to real estate agent’s office to complete the paperwork for the apartment.
  • Forgot to organise a bank cheque for bond so spent another hour taxiing to a nearby bank, waiting in the long ass queue, got the cheque and then back.
  • Got to apartment just in time to receive white goods delivery. TV, fridge, microwave oven and washer – the essentials! Whilst helping the delivery guy move the stuff around in the small apartment I ripped my favourite pair of pants. Was not a happy Jan. =_=
  • Thought I’d be efficient and go get some basic groceries but the heat that day and the lack of sleep got to me and I crashed on the apartment floor instead.

So that was the first day.

My impression of the apartment at first was “gees this is small”. Hahah.

When opening the front door, it just barely passes by the fridge. In hindsight, that was pretty lucky because until the first day, I had not seen the apartment in person and the fridge was ordered online also sight unseen. Anything larger and I would have been really pissed and stressed.

Same goes for the washing machine. It fits just nicely behind the door in the bathroom. Phew.

On Tuesday of the first week I visited Fantastic Furniture in Richmond and ordered the stuff that you see in the photos below.

Those didn’t arrive for another week and a half so I slept on the floor for about 2 weeks. The day they arrived though I spent 7 hours assembling them all. Setting up house on your own is pretty tiring work. 😉

I only just started using the kitchen and due to the restricted space, cooking involves a bit of logistics and planning ahead – a kitchen sink cover provides more counter space but that means that you have to clean/wash the ingredients first before you can start prepping. This was something that I took for granted in my parent’s house with its large kitchen.

However even if I do gripe about the size, the apartment is very livable and cleaning is a breeze. The location is also very much to my liking. The office is about 10 minutes walk away and so is Melbourne Central and QV – two big shopping areas which I walked to and back from many times in the first few days buying groceries and household items because I was a bit disorganised and did not know what I needed in the apartment until I needed it.

A sign in a Daiso store in Melbourne

Living in the city does have its advantages:

  • Close to a lot of restaurants/eateries that I have yet to try
  • Shops for everything
  • Not having to wake up early to get to work via public transport
  • Walking for everything is all the exercise that I need

One disadvantage is the background noise of a city and the sirens. Opening the window at night is not conducive to a good night’s sleep. But I’m settling in nicely even if I’m missing my friends and family and in particular, Snoop. 🙂

Seeya soon buddy!

The Move

January 21, 2014 8:51 PM

So for the past few weeks, three big things have occupied my mind:

  1. find an apartment in Melbourne
  2. repair the air-con and power window on my Skyline to make it sellable
  3. figure what to pack to Melbourne

#1 took me 3 weeks and is done. I got a place in the location that I wanted: close to the office and to Chinatown. Main criteria is that I can easily walk to both. This was my first time looking to rent a place and what made it a bit tricky was that I was not physically in Melbourne. Some agents insisted that I inspect the properties before I can even apply. I also found that some agents don’t even respond to your applications which I found annoying.

#2 is also done. Initially I had baulked at having to spend maybe $2000-3000 that I was quoted by an automotive air-con place to repair it on a car that is not worth that much more. In the end though I knew it had to be done because who the heck will buy a car with no air-con these days. I brought the car to my usual mechanic and with a compressor that I sourced online ($190), he got it fixed and had the system flushed for about $1290. Tested it out the other day during the heatwave that we had and it was actually too cold. Hahah. Brilliant.

The power window relay switch was replaced with one that I also bought online ($120) so that is fixed too. My car is now as good as when I got it. Should have done these repairs a long time ago. Seems like a shame that I won’t be able to enjoy it anymore. 🙂

#3 was the easiest – I was only ever going to bring my clothes, then my mom suggested bringing over pots and pans and miscellaneous kitchen utensils. Then she added to the pile bed sheets and a quilt. All up I will be shipping over four crates and a suitcase of things. This is in addition to another suitcase and my backpack when I fly over.

Speaking of which, I will be flying from Perth on the night of the 30th and arriving the next morning to sign the lease and pick up the keys. And if everything goes right, I should have some electrical goods delivered on the same day and the rest of my stuff in the next week.

It feels kinda surreal at the moment but I’m very conscious of how little time is left before I leave my life here in Perth. So I’ve been spending as much time with my family and Snoop as I can. As for my friends, I will miss them but that’s not such a big deal because as with my family, I foresee quick holidays by them and me, back and forth between Perth and Melbourne.

I’m also looking forward to the people that I will meet in Melbourne and to experience a different way of life. One thing’s for certain: I will have to get used to waking up with a hangover without lunch already waiting for me (thanks mom!) though alternative options are within easy reach. 🙂

This Meandering Life

November 20, 2013 11:32 PM

High school home room photo

In high school I was really good at chemistry and trigonometry. I was quite the low-rent savant – I can picture chemical equations and, shapes and angles in my head. But then graduation came upon me and I didn’t know what I wanted to do in uni. So I chose what my father did: electrical engineering. Except of course, that required that you be good in physics and calculus. I sucked at both. But I chose to do a second degree concurrently: commerce, which I loved. Not only because there were more females in those classes but because the units made more sense to me and weren’t as abstract as Fourier transform and solid state physics.

And then it was final year and I had to choose my final year thesis and project. Nothing on offer appealed to me so I chose the one offered by the lecturer that I know loves to spoon feed his students. I basically did experiments that confirmed the preordained results. Did I learn anything? Nope. But I graduated. Hah!

My photo in the uni graduation year book

Woohoo, now comes my first job. Because I was such an average student, it took quite a while to get my first job. And won’t you know it, the one place that was willing to take me SUCKED balls. The senior engineer wasn’t willing to share his knowledge and assigned me meaningless drudgery like noting down the test results of electrical motors. Tests that were conducted by qualified electricians who know more than me. Nope – my morale and sense of self-worth was not very high at that time.

So I thought fuck it. If they weren’t gonna teach me anything, I’m gonna find something to do at work on their money. I taught myself basic C programming and tinkered with the office network and computers. The latter was what I ended up doing more of. One year into the black hole of morale that was this job, my uni friend Phil asked if I was interested in an entry-level helpdesk job at the software company that he was working at. I jumped into it and gave my one-month notice.

I had the best time in this second job. I had on the job and external training, with most of them being in Sydney. It was the heady times of the IT boom before the 2000-2001 crash so the pay was excellent. I was once paid a bonus of one month’s salary just to be on call during the Y2K transition, ie. over Christmas and NYE. And as you’d know, nothing happened! Sweet stuff. I was even sent once to the Tokyo office for 2 weeks.


January 2001 came along and boom – I was made redundant. I was out of work for 6 months before mom encouraged me to run a little restaurant. Running a small business was stressful and tiring. The upside was that I get to meet lotsa people including the lovely waitresses who worked for me. But one does not make much money in the initial stages – one aims to break even which we luckily did.

So I was doing this for 1.5 years before my friend Phil (yup, the same one) offered me a systems administrator job in his software startup. I passed the restaurant to my brother and I went back into IT once more. This was where I’d learn most of the knowledge and skills that I’m using today: stuff about maintaining and configuring web and email servers. I was here for about 4.5 years when I basically hit a ceiling in terms of advancement in pay and knowledge.


I then thought about moving to Singapore. I didn’t find anything that I could apply for and was quite dejected. I am glad that didn’t happen though because I ended up meeting most of my close friends now during that time.

When I saw the ad for a position at Ilisys, I went for it. I’ve been with them ever since, even though it was bought out by MYOB on my first day on the job early 2008, and then in July this year by Uber Global. And the latest change? An offer to move to Melbourne. This offer was always present but it was always gonna be me doing the same job but in Melbourne, and I wasn’t gonna give up my family and friends here for that.

This time though, it will be a horizontal move – less support and more systems administration which is where my interests lie. My CEO said that a job contract/description will be sent in 1-2 weeks time. And if everything goes smoothly, I should be in Melbourne sometime in January. Right now, I’m ambivalent about it. I’m very rooted to Perth but I’m willing to give it 1-2 years purely for the chance of gaining marketable skills and knowledge. If I get really home sick, I can always come back to Perth. 🙂

I’ve said this before,

The road of life is funny like that. Forks and turns are expected, and a detour is not necessarily a bad thing.


And cheers to that. 🙂