English: There, here and over there. Basically, in a sense, to mean restless. A collection of thoughts, musings and ramblings...

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Love Yourself

When I was 12, I did dream about becoming a contestant in Miss Universe. To look so glamorous, and pretty in those beautiful dresses, how would that feel like? But it was just mindless wondering, thoughts that didn't stay in my head for long, because what I REALLY wanted to be was a writer. Like Enid Blyton. Or Laura Ingalls Wilder. My heroines. Television didn't really dominate much of my time back then (well actually, even now). Yes, I was the chubby kid despite the weekly ballet lessons. Chubby and bespectacled and one of the tallest in the class, but it wasn't really an issue for me. I accepted that I was a geek and would always be a geek.

My daughter is now 12, and the cable tv is her world. The internet is her world too. While I don't worry that she ever be obsessed by the glamorous life of models and beauty queens (she's skeptical, and sometimes gets a little sarcastic), I notice with discomfort the frequency of shows like America's Next Top Model, then Britain's Next Top Model and Australia's Next Top Model being aired on prime time. And then there is the large number of beauty pageants in KK alone. I would have thought that last year alone there were at least 5 different beauty pageants. So, if you don't win this time, there is always another one. What exactly is the message we are trying to portray here to young women? That we have to be validated by others that we are in fact beautiful? Do we even need to be a particular height, a particular weight and a particular size to be smart, sexy and beautiful? Do we need to be all that to actually make a difference in the world?

We are constantly being bombarded with images of 'perfect' women. While in Western countries, the issue is mostly about whether you are skinny enough to be beautiful, Asian countries are actually a lot more cruel and relentless in their advertising strategies to feed on the insecurities of women. Here are some of the messages that they seem to be feeding out:-

"If only you had whiter skin, the world would just be perfect! Everybody will LOVE you!"

"Lose all that fat and get that hour-glass figure with our slimming treatments, and your boyfriend / husband will never leave you"

"We shouldn't ever have wrinkles. It is sooooooooo ugly! Everyone will know you are old (doh)"

"Gasp! You have scars on your face! You are hideous! Hide it with this all-cover foundation and you will be gorgeous"

"Eat this cookie to have bigger breasts and all your dreams will come true!"

"Your eyes should be big and stunning. People will be captivated by you"

"Frizzy hair is awful. Getting out of bed should not even be an option"

And so on and so on and so on...... If it were true, no one would be beautiful except maybe a computer-generated bimbo. Hmmm... maybe the Tomb Raider, which was obviously generated from someone's wet dream. But real women have real and important tasks to do than to spend all day looking in the mirror.

Exercise and eat well, because you feel good when you do it. Not because you want to be model thin enough. Embrace your size, women come in all shapes and sizes. If everyone was a size 6, what kind of creepy world would this be? Find out what is your best feature and flaunt it. Make the most of what you already have. Above all, everyone has a talent for something. Explore your passion. In short, appreciate who YOU are and LOVE yourself!


Handover checklist

I am definitely going to implement this for my successor, especially since I have had a hard time struggling with understanding my duties. I propose to have a proper handover checklist, and a signed acknowledgement of receipt. Something worthy thinking about for all posts in a committee.

Another worthy read on this topic include The Treasurer's Compass at http://www.nonprofitcentral.biz/documents/TC.pdf

This could be the male version of me...!

This checklist has been written from the perspective of a team member handing over to their successor. It can easily be re-written from the perspective of the new team member.

Before they arrive

 Update or write the job description for your post

 Find out as much as possible about your replacement

 Make sure team members, partners and others are aware of your replacement's imminent arrival

 Settle your accounts/expenses.

 Clean out old files on the computer and organise current files into folders

 Copy current files onto memory stick or similar if you are not leaving the computer for your replacement

 Clean out old paper files and organise current papers and documents

 Prepare list of important contacts including name, position, organisation, phone number / radio call sign /email address, notes about past and future collaboration / conflicts.

 Prepare brief handover note.

When they arrive


 Work through the job description

 Explain the line management structure and key working relationships

 Begin introducing them to the team

 Spend time giving them the history and context of the project so far


 New person shadows you in your job

 Use this time to instruct and answer questions.

 Start teaching any new skills that will be needed

 Introduce them to more of the key people in a methodical way and make it clear to everyone when they will be assuming responsibility.

 Draw up and discuss a list of the current issues and those for the coming 3 months


 You take a back seat

 It's clear to everyone that the responsibility has shifted to the new person

 Ensure that your replacement receives the authority and respect needed for the job

 Continue to support and offer advice when asked

 Ensure all the resources needed to fulfil the job are in place

 Leave

Extract from People In Aid, Induction, briefing, handover guidelines

Treasurer’s Handover Meeting Form

This is a suggested template for conducting a meeting between the Incoming and Outgoing Treasurer of the Club. The meeting attendees should tailor this agenda as required.

Previous Treasurer’s name ______________________________ Date: ________________

New Treasurer’s name _______________________________ Time: _______________

Place: _______________________________________________


1) Receipt of the Cashbook (in Excel) for the year-to-date, all paperwork, cheque and deposit books etc…

2) Describe the Systems in place regarding income collection, reimbursements etc…

3) What worked / What did not work?

4) Describe the Banking money processes

5) Discussion of the Audit Recommendations (from previous audit)

6) Any money still to be collected or reimbursements still to be made?

7) ___________________________________________________

8) ___________________________________________________

Comments (is each point fully understood by the Incoming Treasurer)

1) ___________________________________________________

2) ___________________________________________________

3) ___________________________________________________

4) ___________________________________________________

5) ___________________________________________________

6) ___________________________________________________

7) ___________________________________________________

8) ___________________________________________________

_____________________                               ___________________

Outgoing Treasurer’s                                         Incoming Treasurer’s

Signature                                                           Signature


Friday, April 8, 2011

Time for a change?

Cooling down after a sweat-drenched evening workout, I finally have some time to reflect on the events of the past week. It has been a very emotional, very tumultuous time for me. I have asked myself - did I overreact? I was told that I was basically doing a lousy job because some student wrote a long complaint letter about me. What I don't understand is that, a big part of this could have been resolved easily and with less drama if only the student would have been told to refer to me first for any complaints. Then refer to management if the issue really cannot be resolved. But of course, money talks.

Even after I had time to cool down and think things over, I am still very upset. And I believe I have every right to be. Especially since I have only just started to finally feel like I am settling down and getting comfortable with my job role. It was the beginning of this year that I had decided to take more interest, and do more by observing others. I have been pretty much 'unguided' in my academic role - there was no one available to mentor and guide me, and this was a huge career change for me. I wasn't informed much about what/what not to do, but somehow it was expected of me. None of this was ever documented in the job description or memos, about the expected roles, until the time came for appraisal. Too late then. Salary stagnant for the past 3 years while petrol prices keep rising and inflation is high.

This is after all, my career and life we are talking about. I was already struggling to make ends meet as it is, and I started imagining how it would be to be told that I don't have a job anymore. How, as a single mother, can I afford to buy things, pay bills, feed myself and my daughter? Just the weekend before this all happened, I was lamenting to myself about how I would love to be able to walk into a shop and just buy anything I wanted. A new pair of shoes. A nice bag. Some nice clothes. All without sales, and without having to think long and hard about what might happen if I spend RM50, will I have enough for lunch for the next 2 weeks till payday? I was even thinking about starting a money pot to put in my extra money for a great splurge one day. For the students, probably it is all so grand to complain about me to the management, but do they understand that this will cost me my career, my life? Maybe one day (and I am crossing my fingers) that such students will understand my heartbreak when someone complains about them directly to their boss.

What made me especially angry was the fact that I have been trying so hard, discovering new hands-on activities and games for my students, creating a motivating atmosphere through competition, organising a field trip.... but did they see that? No, of course not. All bad things were highlighted, and it was like I never did anything right. If I had been really slacking off throughout the semester, then maybe it was justified to remand me and say all kinds of bad things about me. But I tried. I really did. Yes, so I know I made some mistakes last semester, but then again, I was given subjects that wasn't my expertise and I didn't know that I even had the option of refusing subjects allocated to me.

I don't know. I just don't feel like staying anymore. It is just not worth it.

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