December 30, 2008
December 22, 2008
Remember to stay safe and not drink and drive!
Also... Happy New Year!! Hope that 2009 will be better than what was forecast.
December 20, 2008
Found an old post in my other "defunk" blog... This was written on 24th May 2007 after reading a very interesting post by Amy Fowler. It's a long one... So, get some coffee first!
Wow.. I have chosen BIG words for this post. Not that the words are HUGE or difficult, but the topic that this post is about is more or less something I have been wanting to write for a long while now.
Anyway, this post by Amy Fowler, at java.net has stirred something in me to point out the misconceptions that certain quarters have about the topic I posed on this entry today. This is not a male-bashing post about how they treat women in certain industries or how certain industries are suitable for women only. No, this is clearly about women in technology; about why there are so few of us females in technology-based industries.
It is fortunate or unfortunate to say that there are not many women in IT these days. For one, especially in Malaysia or some parts of Asia, IT is still seen to be a man’s/geek’s world. If you go out to any convention, how many women do you see in the audience? How many women do you see asking technical questions or engage in some interesting technical debate? Perhaps it is our Asian culture at play here, but most Asian women tend to be a bit submissive or soft-spoken. However, when given the chance, some of these women display a technical prowess which can put some male techies to shame. The problem is that they do not know how to find a voice or stage to showcase their talents.
I do recall while at university that as I advanced from one year to the next, I noticed that the number of females around me seem to disappear by 50% or even 70% at times! This was a shock for me, but since I came from a class at high school which had 75% males, I thought to myself that this is a situation I had to get used to.
The same situation occurred when I entered the working force. I started work at a medium-sized IT Systems Integration/Consulting company and found that I was one of three ladies who were in the technical department. The rest were male, of course. Most of our internal applications had forms prep-filled with the gender marked “Male” because the number of males > females. Go figure…
Anyway, my CTO did not have much faith in females as he found them to be a distraction for his staff. However, I was blessed to have very capable female seniors who advised me on how to handle the guys. You may have to work twice as hard as the guys in order to gain recognition, or else, they will just brush you aside. The key thing was to tell them off politely or “roughly” when they ask you to do silly things like asking you about how a form looked based on some colour schemes. Some guys were afraid that we could not do anything at all and were afraid to give out any difficult work. So, we had to fight our way to get challenging tasks our way and when called for, rise to the occasion. Once we proved to the guys that we could do the task at hand, they began to look at us for our abilities rather than at our gender.
At times, the guys accepted us as being one of the guys, so much so that at one point, we were asked to do some heavy lifting. Of course, we did not carry the heaviest things but we did our share of moving the odd CPU (which weighed a few kilograms those days) from site A to B. Anyway, the best part of that working environment was that there was mutual respect - after some re-education for both genders.
Now, the question I’m posing today is why are there so few women in IT technology, especially in Asia? This is a question, very difficult to answer. Perhaps the root of all problems lie in education? Or is it culture?
A lot of young girls feel that to be a computer geek, you lose your sense of being lady-like. How untrue!! Did you know that the very first programmer was a lady named Ava Lovelace? She even had a programming language named after her. She also happened to be the wife and mother too.
In my family, my mother objected to me studying the sciences. I had a love for science ever since I picked up my first science book for kids aged 8-10. When I displayed an early affinity for math (age 4), she encouraged it as it was good for school. However, things changed when I entered high school. Suddenly, my parents started to speak to me about career, marriage and family. They said that I should not pick a “very hard course” because after all, I would end up being a housewife. This was the first time I discovered the Asian gender role dilemma.
Undeterred, I decided to pick up the sciences and eventually completed my degree in Computer Science. In fact, after that, my parents encouraged me to take up a Masters in Comp Sc. I declined since I wanted to challenge myself in the corporate world.
So, the first problem that girls face early in their life is that through education or environment factors, they are taught to be put off by science and anything “techie”. I did not start out that way. In fact, I was interested in learning how things work that I used to try to take things apart. I knew that someday, I’ll end up being an engineer or sorts. Of course, I had a HUGE dosage of MacGyver, which fueled my interest in science even more! BTW, I liked MacGyver for the scientific content… I did not think that Richard Dean Anderson was a hunk - unlike many of my friends. LOL!!!
As a girl grows up, she is exposed to many pressures in life, including peer pressure. Perhaps that is also another factor as to why girls suddenly drop their interest in science. Other girls taught to hate science are telling other girls to hate science too. To be smarter than a boy in math or science makes you a social pariah in school. This message is continued throughout their adolescence and even adult life!!
I can’t deny that I am also subject to such pressures too. At times, some woman would come up to me saying that I’m too “rough”. I could not help being “rough” as I had to deal with some MCPs at work and they only answered to authority when you were “like the boys”.
I am currently at the stage in my career where I’ve been asked to fill in some leadership positions. Although I do have some “mentors” like Jack Welch and Peter Drucker who are management leadership gurus, I can’t help to think that these are male mentors. I need to search out some female mentors around too. Why? Well, who best to tell you about the ups and downs of being in an mostly-male management team? Women who have been there themselves.
This also got me thinking of another issue as to find out why so few women are in management positions in Asia. I’m not talking about US or Europe as that is not where I am at currently. This is another question I will look into for another time.
Now, being in a leadership position, I feel that it is about time I gave back to my fellow females some tips and pointers as how to “survive” in the male-dominated IT world. It may not be easy at times but you have to be persistent and consistent.
- Leave your emotions at the door. - This is because any sign of emotions will cloud our judgment to see issues for what they are.
- Be decisive. - Give a firm decision and stick by it. Again, look at tip #1. When you start getting emotions in, that’s when we fail to make a firm decision and may look wishy-washy to others.
- Be brave. - There will be times when we are asked to do difficult tasks. Look at it this way, women has a higher threshold of pain than men. Heck! We can give birth and still walk after all that pain!
- Speak Up. - Ever seen how guys size up to each other. In order to not get lost in the crowd, learn to speak a bit “louder”, i.e. more assertive. I have a friend with a very loud voice. At times, even at her normal range, she sounds like she is commanding an army.
- Learn to ask for help. - There are times when we feel overwhelmed with something, there is no shame in asking for help. If someone thinks that this is a sign of weakness, it is a sign that they have a closed mind.
- Learn to share. - We are not living on an island. Yes, its a competitive world, but you have nothing to lose if you learn to share information with one another. Some females tend to be territorial and hence, does not want to share information with one another.
- Learn to laugh. - There will be times that we’ll face an MCP who will make snide remarks. As much as we would like to see him pay for that snide remark, no amount of punishment will suffice for they will never learn. If possible, make a sarcastic remark about him to remind him that he has a mother… or does he?
- Sharpen that “saw”. - Constantly seek new challenges or study new things. Idleness is the rot of intelligence and it would be ashamed to easily declare that we no longer need to read because we’re mothers/wives/etc… Frankly, a high number of females will not read anything other than those large glossy magazines with how-to articles. Pick up an intellectual book once in a while.
- Don’t give up. - Good words to live by.
- Celebrate you. - Words from Oprah Winfrey rings true. Remember that you are unique and you’re a person although you are a career-woman/girlfriend/wife/mother/grandmother…
This has been a very very long article. I happen to be one of the few women in IT and would like to hear your opinions, and experiences too. Perhaps, I may be wrong about the number of women in technology. We are part of the 50% of the workforce who contribute to using/creating technology everyday. We have graduated from being clerical/secretarial staff who know how to type a few letters/reports to actual engineers who design the very software which does this. So, it is a time to be proud of being one of the few women in technology.
After reading Carly Fiorina's book I saw some similarities when it comes to dealing with males in any industry. There will always be discrimination of sorts anywhere you go; we just have to buck up and face it!
If you don't know who Carly Fiorina is, she was once a CEO of a top Fortune 20 company some years back.
December 19, 2008
On the day they went back, our family friend recommended donuts from this place --> Donut Factory. Apparently, the donuts are fantastic.
At first, the donuts looked like the kinds sold by Big Apple & Co. or J.Co but once you sink your teeth into one of these "bad boys", you'll be hooked.
December 17, 2008
December 15, 2008
December 14, 2008
Anyway, my Christmas "Walkabout" this year took me to Pavilion, Kuala Lumpur. Well, I wouldn't go to Pavilion on any day although it is within walking range from my office as I don't have the luxury of taking long lunches.
But, since I wanted to watch Bolt in 3D and I've heard so much about GSC Cinemas there; I thought to watch it there. Well, Bolt was a pretty heart-warming movie although it wasn't as funny as I expected it to be. It reminded me about the bond between animals and humans; more importantly it reminded me about my dogs. Sure, Snoopy and Rusty drive me crazy at times but they love us unconditionally and are loyal to the very end.
It was raining the entire day and so, I couldn't take a picture of Pavilion's Christmas tree. The decoration in the main concourse area were hung giant Christmas chandeliers which looked like baubles without the tree.
The merchants set up a Christmas sale at the main concourse but I couldn't find what I was looking for, i.e. a Christmas star or angel to put on my family tree at home. Nevertheless, there were lots to see.
Parkson Grand also did put up beautiful trees too, some of which costs around RM3,000 and above (wow!!), i.e. tree with trimmings and all. Very exquisite but I prefer to have the family tree decorated with trimmings which are as old as I am. :-)
With all the walking around, EV and I decided to have a little snack. Since it had been raining the entire day and we were both feeling cold, we felt that having some chocolate at Theobroma Chocolate Lounge would be perfect.
We shared some strawberries with melted milk chocolate. The sweetness of the strawberries complemented the milk chocolate. If we had it with dark chocolate, the dark chocolate would have overpowered the natural freshness of the strawberries. Yum! Absolutely!
Although I was supposed to do some Christmas shopping, it turned out to be a day of walking and just taking photos. Gosh! I have but 11 days left!!!
December 09, 2008
The set we got was quite basic. Some seafood of prawns, clams and bamboo clams along with plenty of fish balls and tofu. It was not great but there are better steamboat places than the one we went to.
December 06, 2008
As for the attraction, Suria KLCC has scheduled performances of Christmas carols by different musical performers. For tonight, a string quartet performed in front of an audience. A string quartet consists of performers using four instruments - 2 violins, 1 viola and 1 cello.
December 03, 2008
My family has not yet figured out what to do as some relatives will not be around during this Christmas as they will be flying off to Perth. Thank you Air Asia, now everyone can fly. ;-)
I've been compiling my Christmas song list and realized that my favourite song "Last Christmas" from the Beatles was not there. Oh well, got to add that song somehow.
Anyway, I got this flash from a friend some years back of the song I liked. Someone posted it up on YouTube.. Yay! Have a look, the flash animation is just great...
Well... Last Christmas, my family hosted the family get-together and it was the first time my family invited the in-laws for dinner. We got to celebrate my cousin's birthday too. We had a fun time singing carols and also karaoke.
Christmas is about 22 days away. Yeah, time to get crackin'!
December 02, 2008
BTW, if there were frogs in my garden, Snoopy or Rusty will kill it. Evidence of such an act is here.
Do the “Letter MEME”. Tag no less than 5 other people, and leave them a comment, informing them that they have been tagged. Then copy the “How-to” Letter Meme, and finish your Journal entry.
-> How you do the Letter Meme:
Dear ________(the last person who left a comment on your blog/journal):
I don’t really know how to tell you this, but ___1___. I think I realized it ___2___ ___3___ and I saw you ___4___ ___5___. I’m sure you’re ___6___ enough to understand ___7___. I’m returning ___8___ to you, but I’ll keep ___9___ as a memory. You should also know that I ___10___ ___11___ .
Basically just fill in the blanks on top based on the answers you are gonna choose below. ( I will put my result at the bottom of this entry =) )
1. What’s the color of your shirt?
Blue - Our romance is over
Red - Our affair is over
White - I’ll join the monastery
Black - I dislike you
Green - Our horoscope doesn’t match
Grey - You’re a pervert
Yellow - I’m selling myself
Pink - Your nostrils are insulting
Brown - The mafia wants you
No shirt - You’re a loser
Other - I’m in love with your sister
2. Which is your birth month?
January - That night
February - Last year
March - When your dwarf bit me
April - When I tripped on sesame seeds
May - First of May
June - When you put cuffs on me
July - When I threw up
August - When I saw the shrunken head
September - When we skinny dipped
October - When I quoted Santa
November - When your dog ran amok
December - When I changed tennis shoes
3. Which food do you prefer?
Tacos - In your apartment
Pizza - In your camping car
Pasta - Outside of Chicago
Hamburgers - Under the bus
Salad - As you ate enchilada
Chicken - In your closet
Kebab - With Paris Hilton
Fish - In women’s clothing
Sandwiches - At the Hare Krishna graduation
Lasagna - At the mental hospital
Hot dog - Under a state of trance
None of the above - With George Bush and his wife
4. What’s the color of your socks?
Yellow - Hit on
Red - Insult
Black - Ignore
Blue - Knock out
Purple - Pour syrup on
White - Carve your initials into
Grey - Pull the clothes off
Brown - Put leeches on
Orange - Castrate
Pink - Pull the toupee off
Barefoot - Sit on
Other - Drive out
5. What’s the color of your underwear?
Black - My best friend
White - My father
Grey - Bill Clinton
Brown - My fart balloon
Purple - My mustard soufflé
Red - Donald Duck
Blue - My avocado plant
Yellow - My penpal in Ghana
Orange - My Kid Rock-collection
Pink - Manchester United’s goalkeeper
None - My John F. Kennedy-statue
Other - The crazy monk
6. What do you prefer to watch on TV?
Scrubs - Man
O.C. - Emotional
One Tree Hill - Open
Heroes - Frostbitten
Lost - High
House - Scared
Simpsons - Cowardly
The news - Mongolic
Idol - Masochistic
Family Guy - Senile
Top Model - Middle-class
None of the above - Ashamed
7. Your mood right now?
Happy - How awful I’ve felt
Sad - How boring you are
Bored - That Santa doesn’t exist
Angry - That your pimples are at the last stage
Depressed - That we’re cousins
Excited - That there is no solution to this.
Nervous - The middle-east
Worried - That your Honda sucks
Apathetic - That I did a sex-change
Ashamed - That I’m allergic to your hamster
Cuddly - That I get turned on by garbage men
Overjoyous - That I’m open
Other - That Extreme Home Makeover sucks
8. What’s the color of your walls in your bedroom?
White - Your ring
Yellow - Your love letters
Red - Your Darth Vader-poster
Black - Your tame stone
Blue - The couch cushions
Green - The pictures from LA
Orange - Your false teeth
Brown - Your contact book
Grey - Our matching snoopy-bibs
Purple - Your old lottery coupons
Pink - How awful I’ve felt
Other - Your memories from the military service
9. The first letter of your first name?
A/B - Your photo
C/D - The oil stocks
E/F - Your neighbour Martin
G/H - My virginity
I/J - The results of your blood-sample
K/L - Your left ear
M/N - Your suicide note
O/P - My common sense
Q/R - Your mom
S/T - Your collection of butterflies
U/V - Your criminal record
W/X - David’s tricot outfits
Y/Z - Your grades from college
10. The last letter in your last name?
C/D - Never will forget
E/F - Always wanted to break
G/H - Never openly mocked
I/J - Always have felt dirty before
K/L - Will tell the authorities about
M/N - Told in my confession today about
O/P - Was interviewed by the Times about
Q/R - Told my psychiatrist about
S/T - Get sick when I think of
U/V - Always will try to forget
W/X - Am better off without
Y/Z - Never liked
11. What do you prefer to drink?
Water- Our friendship
Beer - Senility
Soft drink - A new life as a clone
Soda - The incarnation as an eskimo
Milk - The apartment building
Wine - Cocaine abuse
Cider - A passionate interest for mice
Juice - Oprah Winfrey imitations
Mineral water - Embarrassing rash
Hot chocolate - Eggplant-fetishism
Whisky - To ruin the second world war
Other - To hate the Boston Celtics
12. To which country would you prefer to go on a vacation?
Thailand - Warm regards
USA - Best regards
England - Good luck on your short-term leave from jail
Spain - Go and drown yourself
China - Disgusting regards
Germany - With ease
Japan - Go burn
Greece - Your everlasting enemy
Australia - Greetings to your frog Leonard
Egypt - Fuck off now
France - In pain
So, here's my letter...
I don’t really know how to tell you this, but your nostrils are insulting. I think I realized it when I threw up at the Hare Krishna graduation and I saw you ignore Manchester United’s goalkeeper. I’m sure you’re man enough to understand that Santa doesn’t exist. I’m returning your memories from the military service to you, but I’ll keep your photo as a memory. You should also know that I get sick when I think of embarrassing rash .
Greetings to your frog Leonard,
LOL!! This is a twist to the "Dear John/Jane" letters. Kekeke.. (",)
So, my next list of
December 01, 2008
Not sure why my blog is really in a rut lately. I seem to be losing subscribers as seen in my Feedburner.. eep!!
I want to rant about stuff but can't seem to find the energy for it.
EV will say that I'm suffering from Mondayitis. It could be a bit true. Even watching some funny football antics at I'm On Setanta Sports did not help much.
Perhaps I need a nap.
Perhaps I need to binge on a bag of chips (uggghh), but after watching a 5-hour marathon of Dr Oz on Oprah on the Hallmark channel yesterday, I am compelled to eat more fruits, vegetables and do more exercise to get into shape. Note that when Dr Oz pulled out the "omentum" of a fat/obese person, I got really scared... and disgusted!!
OK OK... Maybe I need to spend some quality time at the gym. After all, I have missed my sessions for the past couple of weeks due to being sick.
I wanted to go shopping for Christmas stuff this weekend but traffic around the malls is just horrendous. And, we're supposed to be in recession, no?
Or, perhaps I can start thinking about some lens for my new camera? **Hint - Christmas pressie**
Oh well, at least a holiday is coming up next Monday. (^.^)