Sunday, 1 January 2012

Slipping Into 2012

It's the year 2012. The year the Mayan calendar ends. The year the world ends.

Doomsday prophecy aside, it's just another new year. Last I checked, there's this peculiar custom where people go about making new year resolutions, promising to become a better person this new year.

I will stop reliving in the past and start worrying about the future. I will delete my Facebook account and spend more time with real people. I will not pretend to call in sick to work. Not even once. Totally. Honestly...

However earnest you are (or try to be) when you make these resolutions, you're also aware that it's a matter of time before they're swept to the neglected corners of your mind. Then comes the next year, when you'll feel maybe a small pang of guilt that the previous year's resolutions didn't go according to plan and promise to hang onto them for real this year. Then the cycle continues.

It is also the time when party spirit runs high. Right now, there's a growing crowd at the party venue at Taipei 101, as the revellers count down the final hours of the year 2011. At the first struck of 12, fireworks lit the sky for the next 202 seconds. All this extravaganza showing on the TV in my hotel room at the relatively rural Miaoli County, while I'm lying in the bed half asleep, too exhausted for the flurry of live reports.

8 months into my first job at a local company specializing in machine vision, I'm being sent to Taiwan with another colleague to set up our machine for a customer here. As a new product, there's still a number of problems waiting to be solved before it's being handed over to our customer. We've been here for about a week. With just about two weeks left, every day counts.

Our day here starts with the mundane routine having breakfast at the hotel, getting a taxi to the factory, filling up papers at the gate, pretending to be reading the outstanding employee column on notice boards in the corridor as we wait for someone to flash their card to get in or out from the clean room, changing into smocks and getting to the production floor.

Then the fun part begins. Not yet into maturity, our software is still infested with bugs. As we run the machine under different conditions, sometimes the machine would throw tantrum like a recalcitrant brat. A nozzle picking up a component and shoving it at some random place, or a tray refusing to be unloaded and the machine perpetually freezes in the middle of a process. Sometimes I would scratch my head for hours looking through the lines of codes in search for the bug, grinding my teeth in frustration.

"As you gain a better understanding of the flow, you'll be able to feel the machine's sensors as your eyes and its motors your limbs." The words of our software guru, CT, rings in my head. Thank goodness they weren't my limbs. I can't imagine walking with two left legs.

Back in the office, I could have easily sought help from the guru and he would have it solved before I could say, "Help me, O' wise sage." But here I am, all by myself. That's why trips like this are more like boot camps.

"Now that you've passed your probation period, we'll give you a taste of what it's like working here," my manager said almost sinisterly as he handed me my confirmation letter a few months back. At least I've been forewarned.

Well, all I can do is buck up and get things done. Even if it means working till eight at night, six days a week. Our only consolation is to end up on the notice board in the corridor as the most outstanding vendor!

With that wishful thought, I slip into deep slumber, and hopefully into a better year 2012.

4 persons flung their shoes:

phyee86 said...

One comment on deleting you Facebook account.
The people may not be real, but their hearts on staying contact are real.

Anyway, good to hear that you are doing fine on your job.

Please write more blog so that those "unreal" friends outside Penang like me can know about your condition.


Kelvin J. A. Ooi said...

Working sucks. Heck, I'm already planning my "semi-retirement" after I graduate from the shit-hole :P

Kryptos said...

semi-retirement plan? move to the countryside. bed by 8, up by 6. pick up gardening, fishing, and don't know, maybe birdwatching.

Gilbert Phuah said...