Recession

These days, I am noticing dried grass rather than green, noticing closed shutters of shops rather opened shop, noticing felled bicycles rather than those standing… you can blame me for being pessimistic, but "I am depressed".

Reasons –

One of my cousins working for very big MNC in Delhi asked me for a list of consultants who can arrange interview; I asked, "What happened? All well?" he replied, "There is no project in queue, current project will be finished next month and not sure what will happen after this, there is a panic in team".

An old friend of mine was working as a marketing manager for another big MNC got pink slip 2 months back, he was bit lucky and got another job, disaster happens when the company closed its process in India. Now he is sitting at home. Identical event happened with another friend of mine, who is a software engineer.

If I mention about cases of salary cut, low profit in business, I can write even more.

Those were few incidences happened in India, now few from Singapore.

I was getting late to work on Wednesday, decided to take a cab on half way to office, the person driving the cab was 54 year old and bit talkative. After some formal talks, he told me that, he was working for plastic molding company but the company moved from here and now he is driving cab from last 2 weeks for his bread. He also mentioned that, he is not sure if any one will be interested in giving a job to a 54 year old person. After noticing my facial expressions in back-view mirror he said, "Don’t worry young man! Things will be fine", further he asked "Do you pray?" I replied "Some times", he suggested me to do it to get rid of my grief. I use to pray, but never for something which depends more on my hard-work and commitment than His blessings.

"Hard-work" and "Commitment" does it really matters now or it’s just a sheer fate? Do I really need to beg for His mercy? Though there is nothing wrong doing prayer, but for me it will be morally wrong, if ask for some thing which I can get by my own, this is some thing which is never taught to me.

Another incidence, it was a last turn before my block and I was returning back from work yesterday, when a young man of my age coming towards me stopped me. "Hello brother, sorry to stop you", he started "Do you have 1 or 2 dollars, my ezlink card has no money left in it and I also don’t have any thing in my pocket right now, I need something to buy MRT ticket". I was shattered and freezed, I don’t know if this was just a small unfortunate incidence with him or he lost his job already. "Where you have to go?", "Toa Payoh!"… I check my pocket; there were only 65 cents left in my pocket as I did some purchase on the way. "Never mind… its ok… sorry haan!" and turned back without taking those. I was totally lost and was unable to speak or stop him to know more about him. I was just looking at him walking away from me.

I read that "7000 Singaporeans lost their jobs in last quarter" and also finance minister mentioned "Worst is still to come"…

"What will happen?" and "with whom?" are two questions circling in my mind these days.

I will pray… pray for those who lost to get strength and to fight back, pray for those who have a job so that they can continue…

May God bless us all!

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Batam

Love was in the Air…

Love in Air

Love in Air

But started little harsh, I don’t know if that was a learning lesson or something real, but girls at ferry counter in Harbourfront were quite unsympathetic in their interaction with tourists. I had some tough time asking and knowing about a name correction. Unfortunately, I mentioned Sunils’ name wrongly while sending them details of guys πŸ˜€ . Anyways, it was a good learning lesson, which helped me during my “One Day tour to Batam”.

As we did advance booking and it was a day trip only, so I was not worried much about packing things etc. I took only half of an hour to pack things, which I did on Saturday night it self. Batteries of my camera and mobile were fully charged.

We were suppose to report at 7:40 in the morning at ferry counter, so waked up at 5:45, because it was going to take 1 hour to reach Harbourfront and we need at least one hour to get ready (this includes having breakfast also… OK???).

Finally after little struggle between ferry counter and ferry, we manage to board on time, and ferry was on time also, we were among last few people who boarded. As per our travel itinerary this was supposed to be an air conditioned ferry and of course it was, but there was no placed left for us to sit, we finally manage to get a place at back deck of ferry, out side the air-conditioned area. It was a one side open place and smoke exhaust just above it. I was listening noise of engine, inhaling burning diesel and feeling water droplets coming to us from ferry jet. I cleaned my specs and lens of my camera many times. It was a good place to chill out and we were enjoying. To avoid the engine noise, I put my headphone on and started listening music (life finds its way!!!).

It was 50-60 minute journey from Harbourfront to Batam. After paying visa fees of 10 USD, we get chopped to stay within Indonesia for 7 days; it was a single entry visa.

I saw her first time πŸ™‚ , just after coming out from immigration check point at Batam.

Lena

Lena

She introduced herself as Lena and she is going to be our friendly tour guide. I noticed that she has given me a new last name in her printout “Pandley” it should be “Pandey” as per my passport though.

Pandley (correct Pandey)

Pandley (correct Pandey)

Being intelligent enough to correct this error, I figured out that she was looking for us. After collecting our immigration card, she redirected us to the bus #26, which was waiting for tourists out side of ferry terminal. She stayed there to wait for other tourists.

The Bus

The Bus

Mr. Bus Driver was a cool guy; he was focusing on driving bus and opening door for us and not interacting with us at all. During her second introduction inside bus, Lena informed us English is not commonly used in Indonesia. Yes! This could the reason of Mr. Drivers’ silence.

Mr. Bus Driver

Mr. Bus Driver

There were total 27 tourists in the bus and most of seats were vacant. They were from India, Singapore, United States and Philippines. I manage to saw a Philippines passport, which was green in color and “Pilipinas Pasaporte” written on the cover. They were a family of two girls and parents. Girls are working in Singapore. They were sitting at the first row of bus.

Rear-view Mirror

Rear-view Mirror

Lena informed us about days plan. There was a factory outlet visit in the plan, but that was closed due to Lunar New Year, so she took us directly to “Maha Vihar Duta Maitreya” temple.

Maha Vihar Duta Maitreya

Maha Vihar Duta Maitreya

I tried to interact with Lena to know more about Batam, as others were doing their prayers, but noticed that she was not keen, rather she told me to do prayer and take pictures of place. Another tour guide, who was talking with Lena, disappeared from there when she saw I am heading towards them.

After temple, she took us to a dry fish shop. I saw that they had some vegetarian stuff also; I tasted and bought a “snakeskin fruit” soaked in sweet-salty water. It tastes really good… bit sore, sweet and salty…

Soaked fruits

Soaked fruits

Dried Sea Horses

Dried Sea Horses

We were hungry… so she decided to take us to a sea food restaurant, (sea food was one of the travel itinerary). She already asked that how many of us are vegetarian, I was the only one and later another fellow traveler also becomes veggie to give me a company. So we have got coconut water and fried rice for our lunch πŸ˜€ . Trust me I haven’t even touched any one of following.

Lunch

Lunch

Lunch

Lunch

After finishing our lunch, we boarded the bus again. Lena informed us about next few places where she will be taking us. First was a small shopping center. I was rather interested in taking pictures of Batam lifestyle, so hardly spent any time inside the shopping center. Our group of 5 people was wondering outside and looking around for some good snaps.

After this shopping center, she took us another big shopping mall “Batam City Square” or BCS. In between, she informed us that, she can drop those interested in feet or full body massage at the massage parlor on the way and pick up after one and half hour. I was aware that this point will come sooner or later, so I was looking outside of the window and was not at all paying attention to that. Though I noticed she was particularly looking at me while mentioning term “full body massage”, I think she was expecting that I will be the first to raise my hand, (it’s not my fault if I look suspicious). I heard murmurs “Waaaaaa”, after this “Massage” announcement πŸ˜€ .

She took us to BCS after dropping few to massage parlor. We have to spent rest of our time there and she will arrange our return ticket and immigration form.

I was taking pictures in side mall, when a security personnel jumped to me and informed that, I should not do this otherwise I may have to pay penalty. I decided to pack my camera rather than any confrontation and spent rest time wondering in and out of mall. I have to spent approximately 4 hours their. I noticed that you can freely smoke inside air-conditioned mall and they have ashtray available at every corner and tables… awful!!!

I had a cup of sweet corn which costs me 3500 Indonesian Rupiah and two 600 ml water bottle. I exchanged S$10 to Rupiah and when I exchanged back to Singapore dollars I got 8.50 back with few Indonesian coins left in my pocket. It means I spent S$ 1.50 for corn and water. Exchange rate informed by Lena was IDR 7400 per SGD. Now calculate and let me know that, how much I spent for water? Hehe…

I saw our bus ferrying other tourists and Lena many times to and fro the mall. At the end I decided to take my seat inside bus, rather than sitting outside the mall. I was sitting and waiting our return to ferry terminal. Lena is hardworking and capable girl, I really admire her.

During this entire trip I was looking for chance to take her picture without notice, but could not. So, decided to ask her just before crossing immigration check point. I waited every one of our group to cross before asking. She pleasingly agreed (picture posted above). I said “Thank You” after shacking hand with her and moved towards departure hall.

We have waited for half hour for ferry and then all the way back to Singapore. It was 7:30 PM when we reached back to Harbourfront. Every one at immigration checkpoint was in jolly mood.

So, that’s it… it was a worth spending a day at Batam, as I manage to get some good pictures and lived a day of my life.Β  πŸ™‚

Hope you enjoyed this entry!!!
Pawan

Updates

Sorry guys, I was unable to log on last Sunday as I return back very late, I went to boat quay, Singapore river and Merlion to take pictures. Especially to check the capability of my new cam in night; camera is quite capable but I am not well trained πŸ˜› , I made few mistakes like, I didn’t took tripod with me and the setting I was using was absolutely wrong. Though I manage to get few good pictures but experts of photography told me that the settings I was using was wrong and I should use a different setting.

Anyways, tomorrow I am going to Batam, a new excursion to another Indonesian Island after Bintan. It will be a one day trip only and I will try to look Bintan superficially, so that I can evaluate this place to come with Anshu πŸ™‚ . I heard a lot about this place πŸ˜€ …

It’s a off of 4 continuous days, as Monday and Tuesday are public holidays due to Lunar New Year. It could have been a long trip to some exotic place, unfortunately this is not the case.

I doubt that I will be able to log any thing tomorrow as I will be late and tired … but will post on Monday …

Meanwhile you can look the album photography if you wish to see pictures taken on last Sunday.

"Gong Xi Fa Cai"
Pawan

End of nightmares

It was a terribly busy week; terrible because I was getting nightmares, trust me it’s true. As its related to work, so will not mention more about it, will just add that, things gets settled smoothly at then end and now I am ‘resting in peace’… ha ha…

Sometimes we need more courage than skill, especially when we are sure, but never did same job before…

These days are quite tough and life is mechanical, I need a break, as you know I will be back in my home town next month, so counting my days left to board on plane to Delhi.

I have to learn every function and all possible combination of my new camera to take best possible picture.

Magh Mela* will be almost ending at the time when I reach there… I have to take pictures of that place… Maagh Mela and Sangam** has special place in my life. After leaving home in 2002, I visited Sangam every time without any exception, whenever I was there in Allahabad… I have to make my self skilled enough in photography to show you what I want to …

I am going through various online forums, manuals and other documents to find answers of my questions… I hope I will be able to make it… currently I am solving mystery of difference between ISO and Exposure Compensation πŸ˜€ , they both are quite similar, isn’t it???

Please allow me a signoff, I have to return back to camera now πŸ™‚

*Magh Mela or Magh Fair, its starts on 14 of January every year and runs for a month.
**Sangam means ‘merger point’. In Allahabad it’s of 2 holy rivers Ganga and Yamuna. It is told that there was a third river Saraswati which is disappeared now. 

Got camera now

It was not so easy… thought to evaluate Nikon before I go to buy Canon, searched on net on outlets of Nikon, nearest one was at Northpoint. When I reached there found that the outlet was moved to other place… luckily it on the same level… as expected Nikon don’t have any offer running these days. So decided to drop the idea of Nikon and check about Canon… came to know that they also don’t offer 2 lenses free, but if you buy kit then you can get one lance in just S$99, which is quite costly, if purchased separately (S$300 + I guess).

I want to make sure about price and offer before I get one, so went to Vivocity, got a lot of informations from them, but they sweetly informed me that they are not selling it πŸ˜€ and to buy a camera I have to go to any outlet in Funan IT mall, Simlim square or other places. While returning back from there thought to check at Plaza Singapura (Dhoby Ghaut). Finally I got the deal there… though they don’t have any case left and to collect the case I have to go to Junction 8 (Bishan)… ah… I went into dilemma whether to collect the case today or postpone it for some other day, as I was damm so tired… I was aware that, I will busy in coming week, so I have to collect this today close the point…

Smell coming from food court and outlets at Plaza Singapura was driving me crazy. I was very hungry, but my lunch was ready at home so I can not eat there, I was swallowing my saliva.

Returned back home at 5, I jumped to food before I start exploring any thing of camera, I was dying…

All components works well, they have provided a lot of accessories, CDs and user manual. Later I will go through it one by one…

Posting picture of cam taken from my N95 and another one is taken from my new Canon EOS 1000D… yesssssssssss πŸ™‚

I know there is lot of room for improvement… let me explore the camera first … 

Tools used

This entry is dedicated to open-source and freeware applications using which, I have created this blog.

Entire website is LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySQL and PHP) based.

Core blogging application is serendipity (ref. http://www.s9y.org). Reason behind choosing serendipity was the editor used for entering blog entries. Other blogging applications either don’t have any WYSIWYG (What-You-See-Is-What-You-Get) editor or with very limited functionalities. Though, I had some tough time editing templates for layout and changing colors / fonts in CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) as per my requirements, but it paid me off at the end. Further, I have disabled few modules from the administrative interface and added few custom one like Γ’β‚¬β€œ ‘Write back to me’, ‘Visit Count’, ‘Albums’, ‘Shout’, ‘Recommendation’ and ‘Link Exchanges’. Serendipity don’t have expendable ‘Archive’ menu, so I took off their code and written a JavaScript based toggle menu. I find their ‘Calendar’ and ‘Quicksearch’ quite handy. Calendar will highlight date of entries, while search box is Ajax based, so as soon as you start typing into it, it will start giving list of all possible blog entries matching with your keywords.

Shoutbox is written by my self and it’s a one page application and works on simple form submission, though visitors can not post html content or messages with quotes ( ‘ ).

Album is phpGraphy (ref. http://phpgraphy.sourceforge.net) application, which I have added today itself. Though, if you search for PHP based album on web this will not be the first one which you will get, but trust me it’s quite handy, simple and robust than other popular one. To keep my blog and album application in sync, I did some template modifications and color changes. Hope you will not find it ugly.

My thanks to entire open-source and freeware community!

Cheers πŸ™‚

I am sure

It seems I have done some crime after deleting my public profiles and getting ride of unnecessary email ids and chatting tools. No one is happy with my decision and getting complains from close friends and loved ones. Some times I use to think to revise my decision and going back same junkyard… but will never do this because of two reasons, first – it was painful to get rid of those and second – I am stubborn πŸ˜€

I am not against Internet there are a lot of productive and innovative things can be done with this. It’s a very good knowledge base, but what I can not understand is the concept of meeting with people online, when you know them personally and can approach them in-person or with other better ways. Situation becomes even worst when you both are sitting under same roof.

It doesn’t means that I am not going to use emails and chat, but very limited. Hope this decision will help me to improve my interpersonal skills.

It doesn’t mean either that I want to go away from you guys / gals, you know that how much I love you all… please don’t take it too hard πŸ™‚

Yours,
Pawan