Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Long long taxi ride

Met up with Sze How, Irwin, and Guy to go see the Ang Mo Kio FSC people. We were supposed to go to their office at Blk 240 Ang Mo Kio Ave 3, and after dinner at Central we figured it would be easier to take a taxi down. Had a really bad case of miscommunication with the taxi driver though... First he thought Sze How knew where it was, so we went in direction A. We quickly found the block numbers there were too high, whereupon we persuaded Sze How to turn back.

(english subtitles to chinese conversation)
Taxi uncle: How come you don't know where it is?
Sze How: I don't know that's why I take taxi! Shouldn't you know? You're a taxi driver!
TU: I can' t know every street! Anyway I wanted to u-turn back but you said it was this way.
SH: How can you not know?

And so on...

Then we went back in the other direction.. No block 240. Max is 235.

TU: I think your instructions must be wrong. Maybe it's on the neighbouring Ave 1.
SH: Cannot be wrong la. I checked online already, it's there!
TU: We drive around and see, maybe neighboring street will have.

Then we went through Ave 1. On the way, we saw block 230 and a sign Ang Mo Kio FSC.
Irwin and me: Is that the one?
SH: No, that's another one. The new one they shifted to should be at the other side where we first went. I remember the block is not with the rest one.

Nothing on Ave 1.. so small side streets. Nothing, and I suggested
Z: maybe we should stop at the Block 230 and check.
Irwin: yah, we can always ask for directions there.
TU: It's okay, I also want to see where it is. Let's keep going.

I've been feeling a bit cheated, and this statement kind of seals it. Damn, the guy must think we're total kai-tze. There to be cheated only is it? We're passing 230 anyway, so I say,
Z: Let's just stop here.
TU: Where ah?
I: We just passed it
TU: Oh like that ah. You want me to turn around and bring you there?
Z: Let's just stop. I'm sick of this ride.
SH: Stop here. (points forward)
TU: I can drive you back, it's no problem.
SH: Stop here!

Anyway, that uncle will get his retribution. The funny part comes when we step into 230 to ask for directions, and the nice lady (Siew Li) says she was expecting us, she was wondering whether or not to call us already (we're late by fifteen minutes already). And Sze How is like, wasn't it 240?

But interestingly, Block 240 doesn't seem to exist! Maybe it's a car park or something.

the meeting itself went okay. During the meeting, I'm kind of pissed off at everyone on our side not wanting to commit. I caught myself thinking, "Can't we just decide instead of leaving our options open and changing and all that? We're like not very sure of what we want, whatever our partners want we'll accommodate like that. " Definitely not my style. At the end of the day, Siew Li says, we'll need to come up with a more complete proposal.

So, end of day discussion, we'll work with AMK FSC. Rest of it needs discussion with the rest, get them committed. But at least I'm not alone in realising that we can't wait for a group consensus. To me, we need to quickly hammer down a proposal of what we want to do. I think most of the group will just go with anything put up to them. Those who aren't, can raise it up. If it's something small, we'll negotiate it. If it's something large, then we'll really negotiate it. And if we can't make the two ends meet... well, fact is, they didn't come for any of the meetings, or take part in the discussion anyway right?

Just thinking back to what Glen said. "People give to people, not to causes". Not entirely true I guess. Tons of people give to tsunami funds without even thinking about it. But causes change, get adjusted to meet needs or to fit reality. The people don't change. They're the same ones who will do a job reliably come what may, who will shift in certain ways to adapt to realities, who live by strong principles and values in their own lives. And that's why I'll keep giving to people not causes..

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