Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Failure Analysis.

"If it doesn't breathe, it doesn't matter."

I saw that tagline on an email signature somewhere recently. It is so elegantly simple. Sometimes we get so overwhelmed in life. With facts. With data. With research. And with logic and with syllogisms and with analysis.

Ultimately it is about people. I was starkly reminded of the fact when my provision of information over email about the Australia visa requirements and processes to a blog reader, unintentionally set off some simmering marital discord. And resulted in some despondency when mulling over the future quality of life in this land, given what is understood of current trends. Fortunately I was not held entirely responsible by the generous folks. However this event served well to highlight the need to remember the human aspects even when focusing on the facts and issues.

Much as I hate to add to the already abundant unhappiness in the world, still I feel it is essential to face up to harsh realities. Closing our eyes (and minds) to what we know about Singapore and hoping everything will turn out well eventually is... well, not a good plan. To put it mildly.

The blog reader who emailed me for details on the medical and
CNCC requirements understood this. He/She may have not have a good chance of getting an Australia PR, but that does not mean just giving up and ignoring the reality of his/her situation choosing to stay in Singapore. Keep on searching, my friend. We are all responsible for our own futures.

Being realistic is not the same as being pessimistic. Believing in ourselves and having confidence that we can handle whatever life throws at us, is not the same as ignoring the disagreeable realities we face or trying not to think about them (citing "power of positive thinking").

Remember the Stockdale Paradox: "Retain faith that you will prevail in the end, regardless of the difficulties. AND. Confront the most brutal facts of your current reality, whatever they might be."


One of the valuable concepts from the enginering disciplines is the idea of failure analysis. When something screws up, blows up, or simply does not work.. it becomes essential to take apart the system (or try to put it back together, in some cases) and carefully step through what happened. The purpose is to understand what went wrong - to try to ensure the root cause is addressed, the design or process is adapted, modified or abandoned, and the next attempt has a reduced chance of failure.

Then again, it may be just a personal quirky fascination with engineering failures. As a sidenote, MIT has a freshman course called "Colossal Failures in Engineering" which introduces the different engineering disciplines through their most embarrassingly public design failures. Unfortunately I do not see much of that happening with the many social engineering failures honest mistakes in the unique circumstance of Singapore Inc.

I have been thinking more than a bit about failure recently.

To begin with, there is a failure in my job hunting process. A flaw which I have not yet successfully identified. It just does not make sense that an articulate, literate person with computer skills and working experience cannot find work in Singapore. (Impatience? Perhaps.)

Then there is the failure of this blog to primum non nocere (Latin: "first, do no harm"). By tackling the necessity of emigration head-on in a public space has been a source of heartache and disappointments of many individuals who have (and will) find out that options for Singapore emigrants are highly constrained. However I still feel that knowledge is preferable to ignorance.

Then there is the failure of addressing the social cost of an economic policy developments which left an entire generation of serfs out in the cold as this corporation masquerading as a nation marches towards the future. A situation I see unlikely to change in my lifetime. Which will no doubt leave me out in the cold in a few years as well once I am no longer economically valuable.

And there is this whole quest of sorts. One that is periphery to the government-sanctioned dreams of the mainstream society. Will things work out? Will I stay or will I go? Will this search come to a good end? Frankly I have not the faintest clue of how this whole thing is going to turn out. But if it blows up spectacularly, rest assured I will do my best to document the sordid details as well. [ Note that I am not a trailblazer. This path has been taken by tens or even hundreds of thousands of Singaporeans in the past. But I do believe that I may be the first online cartographer of the Singaporean emigration journey. ]

Most painfully for me personally at the moment is my failure to have planned in advance to address the need for the SO to get an Australia visa. I find myself currently stuck in a very difficult position because of this oversight.

Okay. So maybe failure is too harsh and too permanent a descriptor for some of these obstacles. But until someone can suggest a more appropriate euphemism, I will stick with the label. People who know me in real life will vouch for the fact that I do not like losing, so rest assured that a little failure along the path of life is not going to stop me dead in my tracks. (Unless the failure happens to be on the brakes of a big truck headed straight me at a high speed unseen from my rear!)


Blogger ldsdtsunami said...

I'm sure you've come across this option : marry your SO in Singapore...you go to AU with a PR..then apply her to come over? (sorry if you've cover this option in your earlier blog...)

March 01, 2005 11:22 PM  
Blogger KnightofPentacles said...

See my comment response to sngck in Chinese New Year Rant.

March 02, 2005 3:40 AM  
Blogger A.Ball.of.Yarn said...

"corporation masquerading as a nation". I like that line.

March 02, 2005 5:19 PM  
Blogger jcadla said...

"I have been thinking more than a bit about failure recently."

Failure exists only when there is a complete cessation of any effort toward an end.(If you haven't quit trying, you haven't failed.)

March 02, 2005 11:07 PM  
Blogger Jeff! Lim said...

hmm, well said!!! "Temporary failure" then, - or "temporary roadblock," i say.

March 03, 2005 2:14 AM  
Blogger TriplePeriod said...

Well written. But I guess failure is too strong a word that you should even be considering on yourself. In my humble opinion, I feel that each and every person lives different life and with what gauge, do we assess whether they have been a failure/success. For me, I feel, as long as I have perform what I can to be best of my ability and to lead a happy/fulfilling life, I would be "successful" in my own rights. May you find your success soon. :) Best wishes!

March 03, 2005 10:28 PM  
Blogger jllt said...

"The more technologically advanced we are, the more human we should be." - Lecturer IF2207

March 03, 2005 11:53 PM  

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