Friday, August 31, 2018

Farewell -part 1-

In case you are wondering why there is a 'part 1' to a farewell, it is because I stupidly agreed to extend another 1 week to help out. Otherwise today would be my final working day. Nonetheless, I am still very happy today since I finally managed to step down as I insisted that my successor should officially be the manager from tomorrow, instead of until after I leave. So yes, no more settling stupid people faking their MC or fighting for leave or fighting over any lame things at that you can think of.

So far I already had 5 farewell dinners. The first one was with my team from work last week. I was quite upset because initially I thought it would just only be with the pharmacists. Apparently some staff knew about it and wanted to join so in the end my colleague opened it up to the team. I am going to sound like an ass but honestly at this point of time, I cannot give a damn to the people whom do not deserve a damn from me. I have had enough of the faking my attempt to coach them etc so I am quite irritated having to have farewell with them. I don't care about being popular and I just want to have a nice farewell with the people that I actually care. I even told my colleagues: DO NOT give me any farewell gifts because I am not going to accept anything from the people who have been giving me shit for the past year.

Obviously there are some shit people who were not invited. Well at this point of time I don't care about them. They should know I don't like them haha. But more importantly they should know that I did not ask people to have a farewell dinner (my own farewell dinner somemore.. crazy..). People actually asked if they could join or if they can have a farewell dinner with me. So ya if these trouble makers feel offended for not being invited, it is their own problem. Someone brought Nintendo Switch so I finally got to try hands-on playing it. Sadly she only brought 1 game: Overcooked. It was nice playing a cooperative game although it was not as fun as competitive game. Lol. I prefer Mario Kart or something haha. Maybe a cooperative game will be more fun if there are more than 2 people. I still had fun although my main grip is the screen. Too small sia.

I usually crave for western food so when people ask me for suggestions, I will usually choose a western food that I have not tried before. Hence I chose Morganfield's for my second dinner. I usually avoid things with bones because I do not want to dirty my fingers but I can eat ribs with fork and knife so there was no problem. Initially we wanted to go to Vivocity branch. However after knowing that there is a branch at Orchard Central, I suggested to change location. I only knew about it as we passed by the place on the way to Tsukiji Fish Market for the first farewell dinner. Anyway the Tsukiji Fish Market is not a place that I recommend. The food is so so and the service is terribly slow.

We over-ordered at Morganfield's. Lol. There were only 3 of us (with ex-colleague who became ex-manager a few years ago and with the colleague sitting next to me at office) and we ordered a platter for 2-3 people plus 1 normal single menu. See lah see lah. Lucky the food was good and the service was decent so it was overall not too bad.

My 3rd farewell dinner was with my ex-polytechnic students. These 2 are special and having students like them is a good reason why I always like teaching. Their attachment ended 4 years ago but after that we reunited at the same work place for another 2 occasions. After graduation, they did part-time for awhile. Then the girl joined as a staff while the boy went army. Last month the boy helped out as part-time during his university break and that was our 2nd reunion after their student attachment days. I wanted to treat them so I chose atas place at Ce La Vi, MBS. Few years ago my cousin invited me to eat there and I craved for foie gras. There is Ce La Vi restaurant and there is Ce La Vi skybar and I cannot remember last time I was where. I checked the menu and there was no foie gras but since I was already running out of idea of where to eat, I just stuck with Ce La Vi. Anyway mere mortals like us were not suited to this kind of atas place. We did not even know what food from the names and descriptions and we settled on safe options like steak and sushi. Oops.

The 4th dinner was with the doctor and nurse from my clinic who are in the LSI core team. It is a coincidence that half of the core team comes from one clinic when there were 9 (subsequently 10) clinics when the team was formed. The original plan was to eat at Larder Cafe. We did not do booking because we thought we were going at safe time: 6pm immediately after work. We were wrong as when we reached, the indoor tables were all full with people already eating. Wow! There were outdoor tables but I did not want to eat without aircon in this kind of weather. I ran out of idea so I conveniently chose Crystal Jade. As long as there were seats and aircon, I was fine.

We tried so hard not to over order food. We did not order any rice or noodle which was meant for 1 person to eat. We only ordered one fried rice for sharing and the rest was sharing dishes. We still ended up very full. Walawe.. I think really cannot run away from aging la. We just cannot eat as much as our younger days. One regret I have is that we forgot to take a photo for this farewell. T_T sob sob

Tonight's dinner was the 5th farewell dinner and it was with the other members of my LSI core team at So Pho, Novena. I have been ordering So Pho for stock take dinner in the past 2-3 years but this was the first time eating So Pho at the restaurant. They have some soft shell crab seasonal menu so it was nice not to repeat the same thing that I usually ordered for stock take. Haha. I thought it was quite touching that the team wanted to have a farewell with me. We only meet once a month and our project is quite chill and not so much hard work/meeting/discussion. Yet we are all nice chill people and that is how we enjoy working together.

There is one more farewell lunch next week so I shall reserve my feelings until that one.

Monday, August 27, 2018

Mooncake making

I had my first time hands-on experience in making snowskin mooncake during lunch activity at the office this afternoon. It ended horribly. Haha.. The process is actually quite simple but the end results vary. Everyone in my team happened to have 0 experience even for cooking in general. Thus although we were following the instructions (i.e the process), we could not tell if our result was correct.

The first step was mixing the powder with a bit of water, coloring, etc. We had to mix with hands and this was the beginning of everything that went wrong. I could not get the whole mixture smooth. The texture was still rough and clumpy as if the ingredients were not successfully mixed. Even the colouring was not smooth and the snowskin ended up with specks of colours instead of a nice homogeneous colour. I did for one mix and another colleague did for another colour but our result was similar. The other team, however, managed to get a smooth snowskin with even colour. Everything was the same except and the result was completely opposite just because one was done by a mom experienced in cooking and the other was done by single guys with zero cooking experience.

Well I blame the plastic gloves. Haha.. In order to maintain hygiene, we were given plastic gloves to do the mixing. It was 'leceh' to mix with plastic gloves as the gloves often got stuck to the dough and I had to pause to readjust the gloves. Basically I could only see but not feel what I was mixing. Perhaps that was the other difference as for the more experienced team, they knew noone in the right mind will cook with plastic gloves on.

After the dough was mixed, we put some into the plastic mould, put in the filling, put some more dough on top and then pressed everything in the mould. I pressed and smacked the mould so hard hoping that everything would gel together nicely and magic happened in the mould. Then came the most hilarious part: taking out the end product. Our team's was stuck in the mould and the mooncake could not come out. Hahaha...Again I used brute force by smacking the mould so hard and when the mooncake was dislodged, it was not as mooncake. The snowskin cracked and simply fell apart while the filling remained as a clump in the middle. Basically we failed to make it into a mooncake as in the end it was still separate snowskin and filling. We were laughing so hard as it looked more like lontong than a mooncake.

The other team was successful so we shared their mooncakes. The skin did not taste nice but the fillings were nice. I specially chose the flavours: milk tea and durian and they were good. We did not have the time to cool or freeze the mooncake but it was pretty decent.

This lunch activity was under my QI workgroup so I was worried if people would find the activity lame and a waste of time. I am relieved and glad that people were having fun laughing. I personally enjoyed it for the experiential aspect as well. Never would I imagine trying making my own mooncake. After failing, I sort of appreciate the exorbitant prices of the mooncakes out there.

Monday, August 20, 2018

Another loss for the family

My family just held the 40th day memorial for my grandma a few weeks ago. Last Thursday we received a shocking news that one of my direct aunts (i.e my dad's sister) suddenly passed away. It was shocking because we just saw her during ash scattering for my grandma and she was fine.

I had mixed feelings whether to go home again to pay her respect. Since I will be leaving my job and I have to clear my time off eventually, I decided to just use my time off for last Friday and Saturday to fly home again. Our family has stormy history with this aunt. Perhaps we will never know the truth with what really happened in her life but at the end of the day blood is thicker than water and we all had and would treasure the good memories of her in the earlier days. It is the 7th month and we were wondering if grandma decided to ask her to come along and hence she passed away. Whatever it is, we can only think and hope for the best. We know this aunt with her strong personality is also someone who shows her love to my grandparents in a very strong or fierce manner. So we pray that now she will be happier up there with my grandparents.

Just to divert a bit to talk about health related, she can be considered as a case report of what a thyroid condition can do if not treated. She has history of hyperthyroidism but as with Indonesians in general, usually they do not care about taking medicines if they are not feeling anything. That resulted in her stroke a few years ago and she was bedbound since then. Even after the stroke, she did not take medicine. According to my cousins, she had fits on Thursday morning and she was brought to hospital. She could have already passed away before reaching the hospital so noone knew what the cause of the death. I heard another aunt was saying about the skin discoloration so it could also be heart attack. Nonetheless, yes untreated hyperthyroidism causes stroke, heart attack, seizures, etc is true.

Thank God the price of the air ticket was reasonable at $200-ish on Scoot. The Asian Games 2018 officially started on Saturday so the airport was buzzing with the arrival of the foreign contingents. Seeing the officials and all the activities at the airport reminds me of the good days of SEA Games and ASEAN Para Games duty that I had. I miss those days and perhaps they are the only good memories that I will not regret after leaving my current job.

Cremation was done on Saturday and learning the reality actually makes me sad. My memory of my grandfather's cremation was seeing his ashes already piled up nicely when I viewed through the whole after the cremation. That was actually the end product. I get to see what happens in a cremation process. After the burning, family members had to pick up the remaining bones (or bone fragments) which are then ground to result in the ashes that we know of. This knowledge made me quite emo. Such futility of human life.

I did not join the boat for the scattering of the ashes at the sea. It was at a different location from my grandma so I was quite curious. But since there was only one boat, I think the immediate family should be prioritised. I have not fully recovered from the sunburn from my grandma's ashes scattering last time so that was another reason.

After that we had a closing meal at Bandar Djakarta. I don't like to eat seafood because usually I avoid prawn and I also dislike dirtying my fingers. So many crabs were ordered and in the end I could not escape the temptation. I had to dirty my fingers and eat the crabs. Haha.. There was a Starbucks just next to the restaurant and right from the start, I knew I would buy something. So even though I was quite full after the meal, I still bought Starbucks.

I was very tired in the evening and I would like to rest early. I wanted to watch the opening of the Asian Games too although this was the lower priority since I could always watch it another time in Youtube. However, another aunt and my godma were staying at my house so I had no choice to accompany them to go to MKG which happened to be having midnight sale and closed later than usual. I was still full and I decided not to have dinner. I was amazed how others were still able to eat. It was not a wasted trip as Doraemon plushie at Uniqlo was on sale for Rp 299.000,-. Heck yeah!! Lucky I did not buy it last month. I already had one and I wanted to buy more to try making some quick bucks by selling this in Singapore. With nothing to bring over for my flight back, I bought 2 plushies. Hopefully I can sell them. Hehe..

Somehow I got diarrhea yesterday morning. I went to the toilet 3x before leaving to the airport. I had to be thankful that somehow the next episode only came when I already landed in Changi. At least the toilet was cleaner. Lol. I felt so lucky that I did not get the urge when I was on the plane. It would be unthinkable. At Soekarno-Hatta, I still had breakfast in one of the cafes, drank chocolate milk, and went to book store and Asian Games store without any urge to lao sai. My wallet was prepared to buy some Asian Games plushies but after seeing the quality of the plushies, I simply could not buy plushies with slanted nose, slanted eyes, etc. Seriously.. the quality is damn awful.

I am pretty sure the seafood was the culprit (not sure if the seafood was not clean or my fingers were not clean). I even ate roadside mie tek tek on Friday evening just before the funeral service and I was fine throughout Saturday so do not blame me for being too sterile from living in Singapore too long. It had to be the crab. Lol. I have not recovered fully today but with me leaving soon, it will not be nice if I still take MC lah. Hehe.. anyway today was the first day of the person who is taking over my role. We only have 3 weeks to handover things so everyday is precious. Just consider it as being nice and helpful to her for a proper handover.

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Durian outing

After the disastrous D24 Durian outing in 2011 with my family during my university graduation period, I have been staying away from eating durians at the road side. This time the temptation is too great to resist. With friends who are equally eager, we went to Balestier Road for Mao Shan Wang. I have never tried the real fruit although I always like pastries, cakes, ice creams, and anything when they smack Mao Shan Wang on it.

There were 3 of us and we ordered 3 durians. Clearly none of us had prior experience as we over ordered. It was literally 1 per person and compared to other tables, people were sharing 2-3 for a family. After 30 minutes and $50 worth of durian, I think I will have enough durian for the next 1 year. Mao Shan Wang is a bit bitter which is unexpected. I guessed I enjoyed the sugars and flavouring for all the Mao Shan Wang cakes, ice creams, etc. I prefer the durian from Pontianak and I was joking that with $50 I could get 1 lorry of durian at home.

Pokemon Go held 2 days for Community Day to catch 'shiny' Eevee. Since Eevee has so many evolutions, I made it a point to go Orchard to hunt it today. Wow.. the Pokemon Go fever is still going on strong as there are so many people still playing and hunting for 'shiny' Eevee. I am so happy to catch 10 shiny Eevees. Hehe.. If only the game keeps giving me this kind of good luck, I will still remain eager to play instead of only being enthusiastic during events. In fact I played throughout the whole shiny duration because it was difficult to stop when I kept getting the shiny. So I did not feel that I wasted my time and I went home happy haha...

Thursday, August 9, 2018

My quit journey

I keep quiet for 2 months (June-July) about my personal life with my posts mostly on my recent trip to Japan and movies. I am going to write everything that happened in the past 2 months.

Staff appraisal
Once a procrastinator, always a procrastinator. I could have started filling in staff's appraisal forms since March but I waited until the very last minute: few days or the night before my scheduled appraisal with them. Lol. I take appraisal seriously and I want to be careful with what I write since this is going to be official documents. I have to make sure that I am being objective and avoid personal sentiments while at the same time to prevent from being too vague that people will not take them seriously. Thus basically throughout June, my evenings and weekends were spent mostly on this.

The appraisal sessions with staff were an emotional affair. Their complaints and issues are so trivial, childish, and selfish. Even the more senior and mature staff have similar mindset. No wonder this place is burning down with all the crap attitude. Why do I say emotional? I hate to hide my feelings and I could not mention all the above. As a manager, I have to be more professional, provide listening ears, ya da ya da.. bull crap. Some even cried over these stupid things and their own idiocy and I was like telling myself to just hang on.

In the end I just repeated the same 3 points to everyone:
  • We are here to work. If you have anything that makes you unhappy and want to complain etc, ask yourself whether it is workplace issue or it is your issue. If you are complaining something that is the same at every workplace (e.g must be on time, must follow rules, must attend corporate events, cannot anyhow take leave), then you know it is your issue. If you are unhappy, feel free to quit and find a workplace that allows you to come late, suka-suka pon, or no need to follow the rules.
  • Before complaining about others, ask yourself if you are being subjective or objective. If you are being subjective, then you have to adjust your own expectations because you cannot expect everyone to behave in a way you like. We all have our own strengths and weaknesses that we cannot change overnight and we should expect the same from others. However, if things are objective (i.e an action that affects work), feel free to point it out.
  • Open communication. Don't complain about the gossiping etc when you yourselves do not want to tell the person directly if you have any issues but you tell others. You are part of the gossiping culture.
I finally managed to get HR's approval not to renew contracts for the 2 trouble makers that gossip and make the whole working environment unbearable. So less than 1 year and I already caused 4 victims to be unemployed. FML.

My own appraisal
I was looking forward to this because finally I could say what I wanted to say. I asked 2x if I could go back to normal senior pharmacist as I did not enjoy the manager role, it affected my personal life and health, and I had to sacrifice the things I like. As expected, bosses did not give a damn. When I knew my appraisal rating was even lower than last year, that was the final straw. This time I stated clearly that doing the manager role did not bring any benefit. My manager role is not a promotion so essentially I had been working harder for same pay, worse rating, and no promotion. Who wanted to take so much shit?

Basically that was the affirmation for me to start job hunting again. I was so angry that I almost decided to just quit 1 week later (and forgo my mid year bonuses) just to show how angry I was. I managed to convince myself not to be stupid but I made up my mind that no matter what, I would throw letter on 1 Aug regardless of whether I already get a job by then. Even if I could not get a job by then, at least after I quit, I will have more time to focus on the job search instead of staying at this shit place.

Job hunt
This is the first time I am seriously and desperately looking for a job. In late 2015-early 2016, I tried to find another job but things were still bearable by then and I was looking for another job to have a better pay. I was not desperate and only applied to those I think I got potential but I was not shortlisted. I only went for 1 interview and I did not get it because my requested pay was too high.

Honestly I am not desperate for job. I can afford few months of slacking. Haha.. the cause of my desperation is that my PR will expire in April next year so I have to get a job or I can say bye bye to my renewal. So this time, I tell myself I will lower my pay expectations and expect same pay but I still will only apply to those that I think I like or I have enough experience. So the second half of June was spent on searching for jobs, updating of CV and cover letters, and filling job applications.

Things did not go well with my parents as well as they were not supportive. I was so upset and angry. It is obvious that all they care about is only money etc. Anyway I was only telling them out of respect and I did not expect any support or help so it was fucking annoying to listen to their response. Well certain things I had to keep inside my heart.

The job search was not smooth. I was preparing for MOH Training post and when I was ready to submit the application, the job ad was ended prematurely. Sigh.. I then applied for MOH Audit, MOH Professional Training (which apparently is different from Training), and a lecturer post in a Polytechnic. In early July, the MOH Training post appeared again so I applied again. I even prepared a plan Z in case I end up really jobless, at least there is a new hospital who still has an opening and will be able to take me if I apply. That is plan Z in case I just need a job for survival as my intention has always been to try something different. Patient care settings are essentially similar everywhere so there is no point to jump from one place to another: same shit different flavour.

By mid-July, the only response was rejection from the Professional Traning (I supposed my CV did not meet the job requirement) and I only had interview from Audit which would be followed up with another interview and test if I was really shortlisted.

I have to be thankful to a friend who asked if I was interested in a Clinical Research Editor at the company he is currently seconded at. I had reservations as I could not meet their Mandarin and Malay languages criteria. I still sent my CV and I was glad that I was given the chance for an interview. There was a test and it was a tough 1.5 hour test on clinical knowledge, interpretation of clinical papers, and English (editing and proof reading). I was not too optimistic as the test made me realised how rusty my clinical knowledge was (especially for those I hardly used in daily work), how I never read clinical papers, and how reliant on google online dictionary I was. Despite these, I was offered of the job in the end. Wow!!

When the offer came, I had to make choice between accepting it or waiting for MOH. It was a dilemma because one offers the opportunity to experience corporate culture and business/profit-making directions while the other offers the opportunity of policy making. Private world is definitely cut-throat and I was only given 1 day to answer the offer lol. There was no need to do any medical check up and when I said that I had to find time to sign the offer, the HR offered to email the letter and for me to sign and email back. I decided to accept it.

The pay is lower but after I know that the total working hours is 40 per week (vs 42 per week now), the lower pay is reasonable so I was as good as not getting a cut. Again that is another miracle considering I did not really have the correct background. This is a 1-yr contract position and I will only be entitled to 13th month. Compared to my current package, I am forgoing 2-3 months pay. The amount seems a lot but I decide that money is not everything with all the unfairness and unhappiness I experience. I will just 'gamble' away this 2-3 months to get new experience and perspective. It will be even more wonderful if it is actually something I like. 

Coming out
Once I made up my mind, I gave the green light for my ex-manager to inform my boss about my intention. I actually wanted to just give a 1 month notice since that is what expected of me and I do not have the obligation to inform earlier anyways.

I was summoned by my boss and obviously she tried to persuade me. I do not want to burn bridges so I keep saying my reason of quitting is to try new things. There is no point saying what makes me unhappy here because even if concessions are made, I will not change my mind. I do not want to come across as "threatening" and then boss has to negotiate. I have done my best and with the appraisal I get, I know how much I am being valued. They can say whatever they want but I also have subordinates that I appraise so I know how the appraisal system works.

A few days later, I informed my alternate RO since most of the things that I need to handover will be under her purview. She was even tougher to negotiate with as she tried to offer things that I like.

Through these conversations, I have to say I am glad that I have been honest with my views all these while. That is the secret of not burning bridges. I have mentioned things that made me unhappy previously and there is nothing new now. They did not listen, I decided to quit, and it was too late to reverse. This gives no opportunity of them saying: why you never tell us that you are unhappy bla bla bla?

I also lose respect to both bosses. I said the same things during my appraisal and now and yet the responses were different. Clearly they only "valued" me now because I am quitting and my branch is in dire condition of manpower in September. They just wanted to hold me back until they could get a suitable replacement. So much for preaching to treat people as people when they treat people only as "pawns".

Now that everything is over, I can finally get to be myself again. There is no need to put up the fake positivity anymore. My colleagues actually do not believe that I am resigning for real this time as they think it is my same and old joke that I have been saying for years. After my boss summoned me, they know that this time is for real. It is too late to convince me to stay now or promise how I can be supported when in the past year you all have just been bo chup.

I had to decline the interview offers for MOH Training as well as lecturer at the polytechnic that I initially applied since I already accepted an offer. Training is something that I am passionate with and I am really tempted but I believe in karma. Haha.. Got people willing to give me chance already so I shall not betray them. Nonetheless, these interview offers boost up my confidence a little bit and makes me more hopeful to find another place where I can be valued more for my contribution or perhaps for who I am.

Reflections and Learning Points
The past 2 months have been tough but I am grateful for the experience and I hope I will come out as a better person.

As I was confused, my friend suggested me to do a career anchors test to know what I am really looking for and what makes me happy. My highest score is for Autonomy and Independence, followed by Lifestyle with just 1 point difference. I would say it is quite accurate as I find it suffocating having to act or behave in certain ways just because those are what the bosses like. Pui.. Call me stubborn but I am who I am and I want people to see me as who I am and my contributions. I do not want to engage in those political BS stuff. No wonder I have been not happy in this current job. Yet I managed to tahan so long because previously my lifestyle is not affected. Since I took over the manager role, my personal life is affected and that makes me even unhappier. Realising these made me more confident that it is better to leave regardless the cost now.

Honesty and integrity are my moral values and I am glad that I never compromise this. Despite the pressure to "keep my mouth shut", right to the end I remain honest and say what I want to say, what I need to say, and to represent the staff whom I need to represent. Yes some may call me stupid for putting my own career at stake but what's the point of winning the whole world but losing ownself? It makes exiting easier as I have not been hiding things and until the end, I remain who I am and standing for what I believe in.

I am grateful for friends and colleagues who helped me through this period. All of them challenged me to stay with 1001 reasons and excuses. When presented with that many counter-arguments and things which can change my mind but my decision remains firm, it reaffirms me that I have really thought through my decision and I am no longer doing it out of impulse. A few of them ended up helping me to find lobang also even though their initial aim was to change my mind. Haha..

There is a saying that "People leave managers, not companies". I consider myself quite mature in thinking and accept realities of working life: difficult people (whether colleagues, staff, bosses, customers), pressure of increasing workload, cost cutting measures, etc. They are not my reason of quitting. My reason of quitting is simply because of biased bosses who discount hardwork and contribution and look solely on whether they like people's atittude or not. I think even up to know they are still in delusion that I quit because I do not like the manager role. That's their problem Good luck to my colleagues that I am leaving behind :) I am glad that in the past year, I did not let any of my staff down and none of the resigned because of the working condition. Those who left were due to personal reasons to return to their home countries or to study further. None left to jump ship. Despite the shit condition that my place had been in for the past 1 year, I think of it as an achievement. Lol I am quite thick skinned hor :p

Lastly, I am back to church. Sigh.. I was so desperate in finding a job that I decided to go back to church since 3 weeks ago. Now that I have found a job, I will continue since God has heard my prayer. I know God does not work this way and this may just be a coincidence. I will still give thanks to Him because the past 2 months had been shit and now that I have seen light at the end of the tunnel and sunrays after the thunderstorm, I just have be thankful for the courage to leave my comfort zone and the opportunity to try something else.

Now that I am looking forward to a 5-day-week job, I am wondering how I should make use of my weekends as previously I always used my Saturday working schedule as an excuse that I cannot participate in any regular voluntary work.

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Christopher Robin

My elder sister is a huge Winnie the Pooh fan. Her first plushie is Winnie the Pooh and when we were kids, we always consider this Pooh as boyfriend for my Toki bunny plushie. If not because of these beautiful childhood memories, no way I would be interested in Winnie the Pooh :p Haha.. Honestly until now I don't think Pooh or any of his friends are cute.

I did not really enjoy Maleficent but the movie gives a new perspective on this very cool villain and who can hate Angelina Jolie here, Cinderella was magical and modernised her outdated damsel-in-distress image from the 1950s, while Beauty and the Beast was simply a beast in showing the greatness of Disney's Renaissance era even outside its original format that we all grow to love with. I skipped the Jungle Book though lol although it also garnered rave reviews. With such great predecessors, I was still excited when Pooh was announced to be the next Disney's live action.

I was disappointed when seeing the trailer for the first time as the characters looked nothing like the cartoon and Pooh and friends also appear so short and disproportionate next to Christopher Robin. Essentially it was quite far off from the feel I get from the cartoon. I suppose Disney did great advertising because after getting more exposure, I think the choice of muting down the colours for Pooh and friends is good to blend the characters in real world and make them less cartoonish as they are supposed to be real animals, not stuffed dolls that come to live in Christopher Robin's imagination. I am so used with Christopher Robin's as a kid and how he interacts with Pooh and friends. Pooh is about half the height of Christopher Robin as a boy. So with Christopher Robin is an adult in this live action, the size of Pooh and friends is consistent.

As far as story telling goes, Christopher Robin is kind of bland: he is an adult now, he is busy with his career, he forgets about his childhood friend, and somehow something happens in between to make him remember the good old times. Unfortunately, the "somehow something happens" part is boring and not adventurous enough. The personality of Pooh and friends shines through but I am expecting more touching interaction between them and Christopher Robin as he spends more time only with Pooh.

However, given my current circumstances, this is the first movie that made me cry right from the start and almost until towards the end. It makes me remember my childhood days with my soft toys and that makes me real nostalgic. If only my soft toys can come alive, I will be so happy. Christopher Robin gives very good message for us not to sacrifice the present and the things that really matter in life (e.g family, friends, enjoyment, holidays) for the sake of work/career or the future.

So do not call me a small kid or childish to still want play and collect toys or to spend most my holiday in Japan to be at Disneyland :p Work life balance and finding happiness in life are my priorities at this point of time.