24 December 2012

Yesterday my family and I made an impromptu visit to Malacca. My in-laws went to a wedding in Muar and afterwards they stayed at a home stay in Bukit Beruang. I had a taste of the infamous Nilai-Seremban traffic jam yesterday. Traffic crawled for hours and it was so bad that I decided to turn around and take the Lekas highway instead. We still had a minor crawl in Seremban but is not as bad as along the PLUS highway. I can't imagine people going through this jam every other weekend.

My Papago app has never failed to show me the correct way to any place before but yesterday it directed me to Lubuk China when I was actually looking for Bukit Beruang. We got lost for an hour looking for the right way to the homestay. Moral of the story: trust your GPS but also ask for directions. The homestay house that we stayed was very nice and comfortable. It was a semi-d terrace house with 4 air-conditioned rooms, partly furnished kitchen, Astro in the living room and broadband Internet some more. And for just RM250 per night I would really recommend this place to everyone.

The next day, obviously since we're already in Malacca, we must visit some of the attractions there. Again we had to go through another hour of traffic jam just to get to the city center. Weekends and school holiday is a recipe for real headache in Malacca. Remind me not to come to Malacca during those two times again in the future.

Nevertheless we did made it to Banda Hilir and the ladies had some fun time shopping at Medan Samudera. This time I've known better than to park my car haphazardly and invite summons from traffic cop or city hall. I am yet to pay my last MBBM summons of four years ago and I have no intention of adding another one now. After lunch at the craft center we visited the Flor de lar mar replica ship. It was a huge ship but honestly there wasn't anything much to see except for a compressed version of Malacca's history. The ship doesn't even float on water. I wanted to see Jonker Walk next but my kids pestered me to go see A Famosa instead. I didnt really get to observe or enjoy much of the attractions there because I was too preoccupied with looking after those naughty little brats. I guess I'll have to come again next time when we have sent all of them to boarding school.

Traffic at night is only slightly better than during the day. The irony is we are probably part of the cause for these never-ending traffic jam in Malacca. Me and thousands other tourists who come to see this Unesco world heritage site. It's a mixed blessing I guess. On one hand these tourist are responsible for contributing income to the state coffers but on the other hand causes massive jams almost every weekend.

Malacca is very interesting and stuff but I really could do without the traffic jam.

12 December 2012

I woke up this morning to find the window to my car smashed to bits by an unknown assailant. He must be cursing his luck though because the most valuable item in my car is probably my stapler, which he left untouched. Although my car's window is covered by insurance, the hassle of going to the workshop to replace it and that awful feeling of being violated still suck. I hope you will realize that your line of work is heinous and change before it's too late. And to think that the same thing could happen again to any one of us who parks outside the gate. That suck too but c'est la vie.

In other news last week I went for an interview at Alice Smith School next door in Equine Park. Yes that elusive Alice Smith school that you see on signboards everywhere around town but you have no idea where it is or how it looks like. To be honest I applied for a job there via Jobstreet like 2 months ago so I was quite surprised when they call me up for an interview last week.

The interview went well. They asked me all sort of questions, technical, personal, analytical. At the end of it I got the feeling that it went quite well. They even said that I'm actually over-qualified for the job. But then again, I had that same feeling during that last interview I went to in Shah Alam. I didn't get that one though. So I guess when you got the same credentials and qualification it all boils down to luck sometimes. Some people may have a perfect 4.0 CGPA but they might lack experience. Some has an abundance of experience but they may lack communication skill like English. Everything else equal it might just depend on whether the interviewer likes you or not and how you present yourself during the interview.

I suppose the interviewer likes me or something because yesterday I got a call from Alice Smith school HR saying that they are delighted to offer me this IT guy post at their school in KL. You see, Alice Smith has one primary campus in Jalan Bellamy and another secondary campus here in Equine Park. Of course I'd wished that they could let me work here but I can be really demanding right about now right? So Jalan Bellamy it is. The pay is okay and I get to work with those beautiful little children. What more could I ask?

So next month I'll be commuting to KL 5 days a week. I imagine the traffic around TUDM and Jalan Istana would be horrendous and I'll probably have to leave for work at around 6:30 or something.

I finally got a real job and everything is right again with this universe.


7 December 2012

About a month ago my sister-in-law got married. We all took the 1000 kilometers round trip to Tanah Merah for the occasion. After the wedding we returned home but without Adam & Mia. They will be spending the school holidays with their grandparent. I hope they had fun. I really miss those two.

Starbucks didn't work out for me. 10 years ago that might have been a viable career choice. I was still young and energetic and eager to work. Today, I don't have the energy or passion to work my ass off 6 days a week for a nearly minimum wage. So I resigned. Just in time for my sister-in-law's wedding. Or did I resign because I didn't want my wife to go home all by herself? Perhaps.

Anyway Starbucks said since I didn't work the whole month, they're not gonna pay me shit. I always thought big American corporations are evil and now I learned it the hard way. Naturally I won't go down without a fight. Imma get my 2 weeks wages even if I have to knock on Vincent Tan's door.

In other news life still suck. I hope my new mega project will work out.

It rained the whole day. That's why my t-shirt got wet.

25 October 2012

Today I work closing shift. Actually it was 2:00 to 10:00 pm but I decided to stay back and help the guys clean up. Today was extra tiring because I had this terrible backache, probably from all that weightlifting I did at home. It's time like this that I wish I was working 9 to 5 in an air-conditioned office *cough-cough*.

Second day, I learned a few more things today. Like I said we get 2 free drinks per day and 1 free meal. The rule clearly states that we must consume the food during our break and cannot pack it to go. So, sorry guys, I cannot bring home any food or drinks from work. Furthermore, I can give you any discounts let alone free stuff during work. It's clearly against store policy and I will get in serious trouble if I do. Perhaps someday when I take over from Vincent Tan as the boss of Berjaya Starbucks Coffee Company then all drinks on me. Until then you'll have to buy that mocha frappuccino yourself.

24 October 2012

Content Warning

The blog that you are about to view may contain content not suitable for readers with a faint and sensitive heart. Proceed at your own risk.

Looks like I ruffled a few feathers with my last blog post. I just like to reiterate here that I don't blame anyone for everything that has happened to me for the last few months. I made all the decisions that took me to where I am today and the fact is some of my decisions has had a negative and positive effect on me. Blaming anyone else for some of the bad things that occurred to me is like blaming MPSJ for giving me a parking ticket or getting mad at the bank for asking me to pay my bills. I should have known and planned better.

At the end of the day, it's all up to me. My decisions, my choice, my life. This blog is a journal of my life's journey. What I experience at that particular point in time and what I was thinking around that time. It is mostly personal so like it or not, it may involve my family, my colleagues and some of my closest friends. It is inevitable that I might hurt someone's feelings sometimes. If you think I'm wrong and what I said hurt you in anyway, I am sorry. Perhaps I should make this blog private and keep everything to myself and only make it public again when I die. Would you like that? Perhaps I should stop blogging altogether and revert to my old school journal ways like before.

Anyway, back to the present day. Today marks a new milestone in my life. The day I begin work as a Starbucks barista (cue fireworks & confetti . It is not the most glamorous or high paying job in the world but it will pay some of my bills and for once, I am not the loser in this family anymore.

I've had some experience in the fast food and customer service sector before. For four years, I was a part timer at McDonald's. I was also a cashier for another 2 years at IKEA Damansara. So working at Starbucks is not something entirely alien to me. I got the middle shift today. My store is not open until later next month so for the time being I'm stationed at one of the already opened stores in Seri Kembangan. The store manager there was kind enough to slot me in to her schedule and let me train at her store.

The first hour I did pretty much nothing. The manager was too busy doing her work that she didn't have the time to deal with me. I guess this is part of the module where you learn to be very patient. I think I handled that well.

Thankfully after an hour she finally got time to start training me. Today was most theory. I was kind of overwhelmed to learn that there are so many different type of coffee and drinks available at Starbucks. There's a few dozen standards one and many-many more customized coffee and drinks served at the store. But of course she said I don't have to know or memorize all of them at once. Slow and steady is the way to go. Besides, if a 17 year old can be a master in this why can't I? Yeah we have 'partners' as they call the crew/workers here from 17 to late 30s.

Today also I had my first taste of coffee frapuccino. Yes, that 14 ringgit drink that could feed me for a day with regular meal. As full time partners we get two free drinks per day and one free meal. I get to choose just about any drinks on the menu and one food item that costs less than RM7.90. That would go perfectly with my diet plan. Free drinks and fresh healthy, non-rice food. That said I have to go easy on the cold blended stuff because they're like one way ticket to obesity and diabetes. The amount of calories and sugar in them is unbelievable.

Starbucks is much different than McDonald's. We don't have any of those greasy burgers or fries, most of the food served here are like pastries, sandwiches, cakes and salads. While the food is limited in numbers, the amount of drinks and their variety is almost as many as all the menus at McDonald's. One thing I could say is working and serving the food at Starbucks is twice as difficult than regular fast food restaurants.

I think I had a good first day. The staffs and manager there were very friendly and helpful and were more than willing to teach me stuff around the store. Unlike my previous job at McDonald's which I spent most of my time lepaking in the kitchen, I had to stand and move around for like 7 hours straight which is okay by me since I do go jogging for about 1.5 kilometers every morning. So at least that has helped me in my new line of work.

Do I regret not accepting my previous employer's job offer? Absolutely no. Personally I think going back there is a step backward for me. Furthermore Starbucks has this policy of hiring internal staffs first for most of the support and administrative positions at the HQ. They will always circulate vacancies within the stores and hire inside people first before considering outsiders. And once I got my diploma next year, I think I'll have a good chance of getting into administrative work at HQ, hopefully. For now, let me concentrate on my job as a Starbucks barista.

This is like working at McDonald's 10 years all over again minus the hot grill and greasy fryers. This time it felt more like Ben and Fecility at Dean & Deluca sans the complicated love triangle. Let's hope I made the right choice and decision here. Here's to a start of something great.

23 October 2012

When I don't blog for an extended period of time it would either mean I don't have anything exciting or noteworthy to write here or I have an impending exam coming up that I would feel guilty of spending my time blogging instead of studying. Recently however, I sat for my final exams and yet I still don't feel like blogging. Why? Because I feel that I should be looking for a job instead of spending my time writing here.

You see, after I left my last job, I've been doing this freelance IT support stuff and working part time for my friend's company. My friend has this part time company where he sells IT stuff and does IT support in which case, I did most of the delivery and support stuff. He always said that someday he would quit his day job and do this thing full time with me and his partners. That was like earlier this year. 10 months later, that still doesn't happen. I guess he really loves his current job. And since he's so busy with his day job, he simply has no time to look for sales or do marketing for his part time job. Which mean I don't have much work to do and ultimately I only earn around a few hundred bucks each month which is definitely not enough to support my family. Of course I can't really blame or be mad at my friend here. It's his life and his choice. I can't really make him do something he doesn't really want to do. Maybe someday he would actually quit his job and run his very own company. Whatever it is, I can't wait for that to happen. Not anymore.

Which leaves me in a kind of limbo. I'd love to work with my long time friends and run that company with him. So I stalled on looking for a real job. Until I came to the realisation that this dream of mine, working with my friend, might never realize. So I started to look for a real, proper job. I emailed my not so impressive resume and registered on Jobstreet.com. After like a hundered applications online I got only one call for interview. Either I'm underqualified or the salary that I expected was too much or both.

So I thought maybe I should look for other working opportunities you know like fast food or cafes. For one thing there's always a vacancy there and they usually don't require you to have a diploma or degree in any kind. By this time, I just don't have much option or time left. Especially since the banks started calling and texting me like, everyday. You know how it feels like for the bank to call you every other day? Not cool.

I looked around for vacancies at shopping malls and stuff. For one thing, I don't want to be working at McDonald's again. Today just about anybody can work at McDonald's including Bangladeshis, Nepalese and Burmese people. It's not that I look down on them. It's just that I'm sure they won't pay you much. I thought if I wanna work in a low-paying, minimum wage kind of job, I might as well work for the best one out there. So after much research I only found one store that fits that requirement. Starbucks.

Did you know that Starbucks is the only company in Malaysia that was listed in Fortune's magazine top 100 best place to work in? Yeah they were listed at number 76. I know they still don't pay as much as my last 2 jobs but in my situation right now, I can't really be choosy.

I applied to work at two Starbucks store and today I got a call for an interview from one of the store. So I went there and sat for the interview with the manager who talks exclusively in English and after like 20 minutes, I got the job. She said I pass all the requirements to work there and offered me the job on the spot. Basically you need to have minimum SPM and talk a respectable English. I was expecting something like a shift supervisor you know for my age but since they only have a vacany for a barista so barista it is. Tomorrow will be my first day at work as a Starbucks barista.

5 months ago I was a director of a company with a nice paycheck at the end of the month. Today I am a lowly barista at Starbucks. How quick things change. How the mighty has fallen. To be honest, I'm not really ashamed working in a fast food place or in the F&B industry in general. Maybe God has other plans for me. Maybe I could build my career here. My motto in life has always been do the best in everything I do. Whether it's a McDonald's restaurant crew or a cashier at IKEA, a computer technician or a barista at Starbucks. Work hard and do you work sincerely and diligently. The rewards will come sooner or later.

28 August 2012

To be honest I don't have too many fond memories of this particular Eid. For one thing since I'm between jobs, I don't have much money to splurge around. We'd barely be able to renew our car insurance & road tax this year.

Somehow my wife's boss let her a generous one week Raya holiday this year. Contrary to the previous rumor that she would have only 3 days off. That however spell bad news for me since I'll be having an extended holiday back home in Kelantan. I have no problems about holidays and travelling long distance. As long as it's not to Kelantan. I spent 17 fricking years there for God's sake. It's the same old road and view all over again every single year. Plus the fact that I'm flat broke, so... even more reason to stay put.

We didn't go home until the last day of fasting. I woke up around 3 and drove almost the entire length of the 12 hours journey. Traffic was smooth most of the time except for the Genting Sempah - Bentong stretch which was horrible. We spent the Hari Raya eve and morning in Tanah Merah, visit some relatives there and then head on straight to my home town in Pasir Mas later that evening. I only planned to stay overnight but my mom insisted that we stayed for two.

Both my sisters were back home for Eid this year. Well, Izni my youngest sibling does work there in Pasir Mas. My only brother Faiz was in an orang asli settlement somewhere trying to convert the locals there. Funny some of them demanded money before they agree to convert to Islam. I guess the Christian missionaries set the precedence first. Anyway he won't be coming out of the jungle until a week after Raya. And guess what? Her loving wife and 8 months old baby didn't mind at all.

I spent the rest of the one week holiday in Tanah Merah, pretty much doing nothing except sleep and eat. Usually we'd go shopping or visit a beach but this year I don't think I can afford that. Later that week I caught a terrible flu and spent most of my time suffering in that dark gloomy bedroom. My wife noted that I always get sick whenever I come there. You don't say... Perhaps there's a virus with my name on it in Tanah Merah. Stay for more than 48 hours and I'm done!

That said, my wife had the similar fate as mine. She had this terrible food poisoning which in turn become gastric as well. Wonder what she ate. Perhaps eat less next time? Ha ha! My mother in law was not spared also. She worked so hard for her youngest brother's wedding for 3 days straight that she fell really ill after the wedding. Today she was warded into the local hospital. Let us pray and hope that she'd get well soon.

My Raya basically suck. How about yours?

16 June 2012

Today is Adam Farihin's Sports Day at school. Since I missed the first one last year since I had to go to class, I make sure I didn't miss this year's event.

Incidentally, this year's Sports Day coincides with the Annual Indonesian Haze festival. Our next door neighbor was so generous as to import the dust & dirt from their crop burning so we get to enjoy a magnificient ,foggy-London-like atmosphere right here in the Klang Valley. Thanks a lot neighbor.

Actually, Adam didn't exactly join any real sporting events there to speak of this year unless you count fishing in a make-believe pond or rolling a ball with a hoop as sport. Still Adam seemed to enjoy himself very much and he even managed to get 1st and 2nd place in those events so those alone are woth coming for. Other than that I honestly think watching the grass grow is more exciting than any school Sports Day event.

As with last year, Adam plays for the red team which happens to win a lot of medals this year. This is him posing in front of his house tent. I don't want to give Nazri Aziz any ideas but those are definitely not molotov cocktails and Adam has no plans to overthrow the government at the moment. If those were salt or bottled water instead, then I'd be worried too. But rest assured that those are just red syrup water and the teachers are too creative with the decorations this year.

20 May 2012

There's always that one family member that is well off from the rest of the family you know, your siblings, uncle, cousin, in laws or whoever. Between my four siblings, it's my sister who works as a teacher. Who knew being a teacher can make loads of money. Or perhaps get better chance to have their loans approved.

Last week most of my family members who resides around Klang Valley came to her new place in Bandar Bukit Raja, Klang for her house-warming of sort. Being new and all of course it's a nice place. Not as big as some accountant's house I know but still it's a lot bigger than mine. I don't know why but when people mention Klang all that came up to mind is thugs, crooks, gangsters, cheap tires, tolls and overpriced fish barbecues. It's not the first place that I want to spend the rest of my life at.

Anyway, I don't envy or jealous of my sister or anything. She and her husband worked hard for it and they deserved everything that they have today. One thing for sure it made me want to be successful just like them. Yeah success is measured by how big your house is and how much money you make. Happiness and everything else is just secondary.

17 May 2012

By now you've probably heard the sad news about Kenny Dalglish's departure from Liverpool. After a string of bad result in the Premier League, Liverpool owners FSG decided to terminate King Kenny's contract a week after the season's conclusion. I know finishing 8th for a club of Liverpool's history & stature is never acceptable especially after spending hundred of millions on players last season. Still I expect John Henry and co to give Kenny at least another season to turn things around.

Now that he's gone, the rumor mill of who's taking the Anfield hot seat is turning full steam. There's Roberto Martinez, Andre Villas Boas, Jorgen Klopp and a few dozen more names that I've never heard of before. Personally the only man I would want to helm the Liverpool boot room is none other than seƱor Rafa Benitez. He has a proven track record, gave us the miracle in Instabul, beat Man U regularly and he loves Liverpool FC very-very much. Heck he even hangs around the city long after he was sacked just in case there's a vacancy at the club. Now that there is, the owners would be stupid to miss the opportunity to re-hire Benitez. I don't want some unknown manager who has no sentiment or love for the club, I want somebody who has a history and affection for the club. I guess we'll find out soon.

14 May 2012

So 14 May come and go. I am now officially unemployed. It's not something that I'm proud of obviously. A man must work to provide for his family. There's no two way about it.

A lot of people say I should hang on until I finish my studies or at least get another job first before I quit. It's the logical and responsible thing to do. The truth is I have come to the point where my mental sanity takes precedence over logic & responsibility. Everyday I go to work with a dark cloud hanging over my head. When will this MOF application ever get through? What did I do wrong? Are those government officers hell-bent on making my life miserable? Then I came to the realisation it was not me. It was them. They're doing it wrong. They're doing it half-heartedly. Those government officials are not stupid. They weren't born yesterday and they could smell this bullshit from miles away. And what my boss and company are doing are quite fishy.

If they want to do this, they should do it properly. Hire two Malay staff at least. If I am away from the office at least there's somebody to back me up. But no. They refuse to hire any other guy. So when the officers did come, for the second time mind you, I was not around. Again. So whose fault is this? Even if I was present back then I couldn't produce all the required documents they would want to see. I don't get to keep all those stuff. They have it all. So much for trust. Therefore for the second time we didn't get our application approved. One part of me was kind of delighted that we didn't. Serves them right for being so stingy. You spent thousands renovating this office and thousands more paying my salary and setting up the company but you won't hire another Malay staff. What's up with that?

Then there's the job. When I signed up for this, I didn't expect to actually do all this industrial automation shit. I was given the impression that I would follow my boss around looking for clients or apply for tenders at government ministries or GLCs. Little that I know I had to do real industrial engineering work at real factories and real power stations with my zero knowledge in the field. To be honest I don't really mind doing all those shit. At least I have something to do at work and not just warm the seat in my office. And I don't mind learning everything from scratch. The only thing is there's no one to teach me. Most of my colleagues are always busy doing there work and they have no time teaching this new guy everything that they learned for 3 years in college. Still my boss insisted that I learn somehow so many times, I had to pester them with questions and what not. In the end, I just stopped asking and learning altogether. I don't want to be a nuisance to my colleague. I tried to learn a few things myself online and from the thick manual that they gave me. But those just won't do. I need a real life guru. It's like all your life you studied and worked as a teacher but suddenly one day they asked you to work as a doctor. It's crazy.

Even with my minuscule knowledge in industrial automation, electrical wirings and PLC programming my boss still sends me out to client's place to do support stuff. It's like throwing me into a lion's cage and then throwing away the key. Still I managed to finish most of my task despite my lack of knowledge. I searched online and call my colleagues to guide me. Sometimes even my colleague desn't know how to solve certain problems so when that happens I was left to deal with a very unhappy client. Although they didn't actually hurl abuse at me, I got the feeling they're doing exactly that quietly inside. It was dreadful. That's when I started to really hate my job. No amount of salary is worth this.

So exactly one month ago to this day I tendered my resignation letter. We have no chance of getting that MOF certificate anyway. Not until they hire real staffs and do things properly. Plus I don't wish to become a liability to the company. Who knows someday a powerplant or factory might blow up due to my incompetence. There you have it. That's why I quit my well-paying job. Most people don't know what's really going on so they judge and told me to soldier on since it's the rational thing to do. They don't know me, they have no idea what I go through.

My boss and former employer, they're not all that bad. They treated me really well during the brief 9 months I spent there in Puchong. My boss even gave me a raise once and two ang pows one during Hari Raya and another during Chinese New Year. As you can see, they're quite generous with money and staff wellbeing. I just don't get it why they won't hire another Malay staff. My colleagues too are quite friendly and they tried to accomodate my beliefs and culture as much as possible. Although sometimes we did experience one or two awkward moments like when they decided to eat at a Chinese vegeterian restaurant once in Ipoh. Yeah I know it's pork free but I just don't do vegetarians. And also during my first company annual dinner where they offered me a glass of wine which I politely declined, those kinds of thing.

So for after 9 months working there I got myself a new car, another credit card, a whole lot more debts to pay, one MPSJ parking summons and I donated about a hundred bucks through parking income to MPSJ. I also gained like 10 kilos since my boss and company were so generous with free lunches and dinners and stuff. One thing for sure I don't have an ounce of regret quitting my job there. It's just something I had to do. At least I learned something after spending 9 months there. It's a good experience although not necesserily a positive one. It made me wiser and truly realize that money can't buy me happiness.

And once again for the second time in my life I am unemployed. Of course I tried all my best to look for jobs but so far I don't have any real luck with that. Perhaps I haven't tried hard enough. At 32 years old I'd like to do something I really love and hopefully that will be the last job I'll ever change. Like most people I prefer stability and certainty. I hope my good friend will get his project up and running soon. I'd love to work with my best buddies doing something I like and am good at. It would be a dream come true. That said, these things take time and time is not a luxury that I could afford. Sooner or later I'll have to do something, some work, somehow. Even if it's a dead end job with minimum wage. At least I can go to work content and not dread it. I have bills to pay and mouths to feed. 

Sometimes I blame my previous employer for causing me to jump ship to this company and getting me into this predicament. I loved my job there and if things were not so bad I would have spent the rest of my working career there. Rumors has it that previous company is not doing to good at the moment. It's like a sinking ship and all the crews are swimming to shore. Then again a wise man once said you be the master of your ship and captain of your own soul. At the end of the day, I made those decisions so I had to live with it.

1 May 2012

We had the chance to taste the infamous Satay Willy last labor day. I had to wait for an hour for my satay to come. Orders were aplenty and they didn't have enough hands to make the satay faster. Plus people was ordering by the hundreds especially for take away.

We ordered take away too since it's already late and it rained cats and dogs then. To give them credit, the satay was quite nice and they came in large bite sizes. The gravy on the other hand was an utter disappointment. It was bland and lack the spice of regular Samuri gravy. Plus they don't provide any chilies with the order.

If you're thinking of eating here, do come early since the satay might sold out as early as 8:30 in the evening. For large orders of 100 pieces or more you better call them in advance at 013 3309291. Perhaps I would eaten to Satay Willy again. But then I think I had to buy the gravy separately at Samuri though cause theirs suck. Satay Willy is located near Kajang at the address below.

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1 April 2012

Last week I sat for my final paper of this semester. As expected the subjects and final exam questions gets harder every time. Most of the time I spent close to 3 hours in the exam hall trying to figure out how to answer. Sometimes I get to answer many questions, other times I had to cook up something not to let the answer sheet go returned blank. I don't set high targets this semester. A couple of Bs is good enough. Yeah they're that hard.

Now that the finals is over I felt a slight relief from all those pressure. Like I said it's not easy juggling between class, work and family. It takes enormous will power and determination. So now I have like 2 months holiday from class. Not that I can actually go for a holiday anywhere. Next week I'll be going back to Pasir Mas to take care of some inheritance business. It looks like I'll be getting a plot of land in Pasir Mas. Not much but I'm grateful nevertheless. Wish I could play amongst the clouds in Genting. That won't happen any time soon.

Work still sucks but life must goes on.

27 March 2012

Would work at a place that pays you shitload of money but you'll have to do something that you don't really like or interested in or would you work at a place that pays you average salary but you get extreme satisfaction doing something you love?

My thought exactly.

If you follow my tweets, you should notice that I recently said how unhappy I am at work. I don't usually said stuff like this here on my blog before you know since my previous employer reads my blog and some of my posts did touched some raw nerves before but that was then. Now although I doubt my current employer reads this blog, the truth is it has come to the point that I don't care anymore. Boss, if you are reading this hello! Hope you'll understand.

I am very grateful for everything you have done for me. The generous pay, the patience and everything. The thing is I can't exactly say the same about my job. I don't like it. You may call me a good for nothing lazy slacker but PLC and industrial automation is just not my thing. I'd rather be freezing my ass in a server room or spent hours fixing computers or at least learn how to program. Those are the things that I enjoy. And that thing with the MOF? It's not my fault that the officers hated me for lodging a complaint to their boss. It's what you expected me to do. It's not my fault that government officers are a bunch of seriously lazy, fat bureaucrats. You should know better by now. The government officers, they have their own ways of doing things. The truth is I just pissed them off really bad with my report so now they want me to suffer by delaying our application and site visit. And one more thing, you can't settle every problem with lunch or a cup of coffee. Unless of course there's some money transfer involved during that meeting.

So here I am very stressed and going out of my mind. You don't see that because on the outside I'm just my old relaxed and cool self. I hide my emotions well. I lash them out with words. Like here.

There may come a day that I become seriously tired and disillusioned with all this shit that I might just walk away from all this. There's more to life than money, company trips, bonuses and commissions. The only thing that's standing in the way of that is my monthly bills and mortgage.

Someday, who knew.

6 March 2012

My new work requires me to deal with a lot of factories and plants including TNB, the country's national power provider. To be able to work for them, we are required to attend this occupational safety and health induction course where we sit for a test and if we pass, gets this passport for entry card into any of their premises and plants. So my company paid for the course fees and I get my ass to the National Institute of Occupational Safety & Health in Bangi for the course.

The course itself was pretty boring but yet gave me a useful introduction and insight into some important occupational safety stuff. The speaker Mr Affandi tried his best to engage us with his talk, cracking jokes, telling stories and stuff to keep us interested and not fall asleep. Overall I think we enjoyed ourselves throughout the course especially when there's more than enough entertainment provided by Mr Affandi and also some clowns, I mean fellow participants of the course.

The only complaint I have is of course the mediocre food. After paying 250 per head per day, I'd expect a more delicious food from the organizer. Not fancy restaurant delicious food but at least some thing we all like to eat at home kind of food. Breakfast and lunch at NIOSH basically reminds me of the dreadful food I had for 5 years at boarding school.

The highlight of the course was of course the test itself. In the morning, they made us sit for this trial test which looks pretty similar to the actual test later in the afternoon. The actual test contains 20 questions which revolves around what was written in the module and also topics that the speaker has been lecturing all day. If you read the book or at least paid some attention to the speaker, you'd have no problem answering and getting at least 12 corrects to pass. Well, I for once am very confidence of passing this test since I paid attention and read through the book twice. We'll know in a couple of days.

4 March 2012

As a self-confessed tech-enthusiast, I'd like to have the best possible gadget for my everyday use. When it comes to mobile phones and particularly smart-phones, there's only one model that I will consider - the Apple iPhone. I have bought and use practically every generation of the iPhone from the 1st original iPhone, the 3G, 3GS and currently the iPhone 4. They just gets better with every iteration. Wish I could say the same for Android phones but my experience so far with them has been rather dismal to say the least.

Naturally when people ask me which phone to buy or which one is the best, I'd quickly recommend the iPhone. My wife thought the same too hence the reason she bought an iPhone 3G last year. And when one of our kids accidentally broke it, she bought yet another iPhone. When our lovely daughter Mia broke that one too, she had to be without her favorite smartphone for nearly 2 months. Mia accidentally drop the phone on the floor and the LCD inside scratched so badly, she could barely use the phone with much difficulty. During that painful 2 months without her iPhone, my wife suffered what they call the iPhone withdrawal syndrome. She kept borrowing my iPhone every time I wasn't looking to check her Facebook or Twitter feed or play games or browse the Internet when she can do just about the same thing on the PC. Like so many before her, once you have used the iPhone, you keep wanting for more of the same. No other phone can quite cut it.

So today my wife can't take living without her iPhone anymore and decided to get it repaired at Low Yat Plaza (where else). I know this little mobile phone repair shop on the 1st floor where I I've sent countless phones before for repair, including my previous iPhone for the last 2 years or so. So far I am very pleased with their work and apart from their pretty reasonable price, this shop won't try to rip me off or cheat me like the last shop I frequently go to at the same mall. I wish I could show you a photo of the shop but I just don't have any in my collection right now, maybe some other time. In the end the shop replaced the cracked LCD and they also fixed the faulty home and power button for just RM250. Trust me, other shops would charge you twice that price or even more. After today, my wife goes home happy and everything in the world is right again.

While waiting for the phone to be repaired, we spent the entire day at the Pavilion shopping mall nearby in Bukit Bintang. I have only been to this mall once before and it has a reputation for selling really expensive stuff that's beyond the means of regular folks like you and me. It also has a another stereotype where DSLR-totting adolescents come to hang out with their friends and girlfriends to take pictures of the mall or themselves. Hence the reason why I'd rather go to any other place than Pavilion. Heck they even have a song by an indie band titled "Pavilion is for losers". I'm not kidding, try Google that.

Anyway stereotype aside, this place is really expensive, including the food. After wandering aimlessly for close to 4 hours we went downstairs to the Food Republic food court to grab something to eat. Most of the meals starts from RM7 which is not too uncommon in KL but the drinks were clearly cutthroat from RM3 onwards. I don't know about you but I have this mentality of avoiding places that charge exorbitant prices for something that costs way less elsewhere just because they operate in a fancy mall. That's the same reason why I've never been to Starbucks, ever and avoid similar expensive cafes and establishment whenever possible. Perhaps well-off or rich people might scoff at this but me, I would think twice or more before throwing my hard-earned money at such places.

As a summary, Pavilion just like KLCC is quite nice if you'd like to go for an evening stroll or window-shopping. Other than that, it's just another fancy, expensive mall that's built solely for the rich or tourists.

24 February 2012

After spending 10 days in the hospital the doctor finally let my baby Hana Alisha go home. For 10 days I've been commuting to and fro the KPJ Kajang specialist hospital dragging my 2 elder kids along with me. Every day without fail. My wife and her mom had been taking turns to look after Hana at the hospital throughout her stay. First she gets 3 days compassionate leave then after working for 2 days, she took another 3 days of leave so that she can be at the hospital again. In between that, my mother in law who came all the way from Tanah Merah volunteered to baby sit Hana there. I can't thank my wife and her mother enough. I would be nearly useless at the hospital. For one thing I can't breastfeed the kid and secondly a few hours is the most I can spend alone with infants. I don't fully understand them. What are they crying for, what do they really want etcetera etcetera. I'm just not very good with kids below 1 year old.

Dr Mahani the paediatrician who looked after Mia before when she had chicken pox did an excellent job again at nursing Hana to recovery. The great thing about private hospitals are that they run a very thorough check on their patients, leaving no stones unturned and make sure they are really-really healthy and well before discharging them. Plus their service are generally faster and better than say government run public hospitals. I'm not saying that government hospitals sucks, it's just that they are quite below par if you compare them to their private counterpart. That said, here it's all about the money too. Naturally these private hospitals would like to keep the patient in for as long as possible. The longer you stay, the more money they make. This is especially true for patients who are covered by medical plans or benefits.

Talking about hospital charges, Hana Alisha's 10 days stay at the KPJ Kajang costs a cool RM10,800.00 which is fortunately will all be borne by my wife's employer. Had she not worked there we'd probably be sending Hana to a public hospital instead. That's one of the main benefit of working at a large or multinational company. Bonuses and health benefits. Me, I am not covered by any insurance or medical plans right now so I shudder to think if I suddenly get sick. My present company doesn't have any group insurance policy yet and there's a limit how much I can claim from hospital bills every year. Perhaps I should seriously consider taking up insurance.

The important thing is Hana is all well and healed now. She is back to her happy and jovial self once again, no more high fever and coughing at nights. Apparently Hana Alisha was also the nurses' favorite while at the hospital. They said she was among the least difficult infant baby patient that they have ever dealt with not to mention her cuteness and charm. As much as I find that flattering, I'd rather not see any of my kids or family members at the hospital again in the future. So long KPJ Kajang. Thanks for the service and care. I'd definitely recommend this hospital to anyone living nearby.

16 February 2012

I went to bed last night feeling like crap. Headache, cold and a hint of fever. Going to work today is like 50-50. This morning however, felt so much better. Maybe I just need more rest. Still, today I had to attend this annual Rockwell seminar in Bandar Utama. Rockwell Automation is like the product my company had been selling and we're like the premier partner or something. So I had to go, which I did. That said I still had to go to traffic to get there and the most straightforward way is by using the LDP. You know that highway that make billions every year and yet they increase toll like every 2 years and had massive jams like every morning? Yeah that stupid highway. I was stuck in traffic for like an hour. Even managed to finish watching 2 episodes of Felicity on my phone. By the way Felicity, one of the first TV series created by J.J Abrams rocks!

Why anyone would hold a seminar in downtown PJ is beyond me. Especially when it's supposed to start at 8:30 PM. Traffic is at its shittiest at that time. If I had it my way, I'd do it in Putrajaya or something far away from the city center. Anyway although I came like 30 minutes late, the organizer is pretty relaxed about our punctuality. Everybody was still having breakfast when I got there. Talk about food, there were aplenty at this event. We had breakfast, 2 tea breaks and one hearty lunch.

The event itself was pretty boring. We had to go to a couple of this lab and tutorial and listen to speaker talk for hours. In one class there was this beautiful speaker from Thailand. Her name was Nopharat something-something and I couldn't concentrate on what was being taught since I was too preoccupied looking at her. I bet I'm not the first guy to gawk at this Thai lady in this seminar. Anyway, the highlight of the seminar was the lucky draw of course. Somebody told me we might go home with an iPad today. The truth is, there were only 3 iPods given a way and a couple of other cheap gadgets like external hard drive and a camera. As always when it comes to lucky draws, I'm like the unluckiest guy in the whole world. Can't remember myself being lucky with one, ever. So as expected some random dude goes home with those lucky draw prizes. Still I got myself a goody bag with some stationery inside and two computer mice which is not bad. But seriously, they should give out like 20 prizes or something next time so that unlucky people like me might just get lucky?

15 February 2012

Living alone without the lady of the house around is difficult. You'll have to do everything yourself - cook, wash the dishes, do laundry, iron clothes and prepare stuff for your kids. I find myself doing all that and more today. I know - I know, you don't know what you got till it's gone. Definitely made me appreciate having a good wife like @shhaslinda.

There hasn't been any good news on Hana. Yesterday after being admitted, they poke this huge needle into her tiny little hand for IV drips. If I could trade places with her, I would rather than see her like that. Today they did an x-ray and took some blood sample from her. Again using that big bad needle. From her x-ray, they deduced that she might be suffering from tuberculosis among others. How the hell that she contract tuberculosis? Still it's a big IF. The result is not conclusive and they had to take some more blood tests to make sure.

I hope it's nothing serious. Let us pray for Hana.

14 February 2012

My 9 years old daughter has been having this on and off fever for almost 2 weeks now. We went to the clinic several times but the doctor just kept giving us fever, flu, cough medication and antibiotics for her. It was not until today that the doctor recommended that we refer her to the hospital. About time. If we had it our way we would have brought Hana to the hospital long time ago. But it doesn't work that way. For us to be able to bring her or any of our kids to the hospital, we must have a referral letter from the GP. We simply cannot crash to hospital and demand that our kid be treated. Unless of course we were planning to pay for it ourselves.

Like always, admitting anybody to the hospital took hours. In fact we spent almost the whole day today from morning to late in the afternoon before being given a bed. Starting from the clinic, to the admission and the screening and then wait for the GL and for a free bed. Not to mention we had to go home and pack our bags and then return to the hospital to be admitted finally. And that for a private hospital. A public hospital should take twice as long if there's any bed for you left that is.

From the doctor's diagnosis, Hana got some kind of infection in her lung. I remember Adam having the same illness many years ago. She did cough a lot this past week and no amount of cough meds seems to make her better. I knew this is something more serious than the common cough.

Lucky for us my wife's employee gives 3 days of compassionate leaves whenever any of our immediate family member got warded. So naturally my wife would be staying with Hana the next 3 days or so. Hopefully she would be okay by the weekend.

5 February 2012

One of the perks being a part time college student is that you enjoy some of the perks given to full time students you know like movie ticket discount and the latest being this student book voucher by the government. While I'd like to thank them for the thought, it is ultimately our money that pays for the book in the end through various taxes. So this is not really a big deal.

Since we've already got our skimpy modules for our studies and we don't really need to buy any of those big heavy text books, I used the vouchers like many other students - to buy fiction books and stationery. Come to think of it, 200 ringgit is not much really in today's book market. Most of them started from RM50 and that will get you an average of 3 to 4 books only. I went to three major book stores in Equine and Mutiara Damansara to find something that I like. Popular allows you to buy books, stationery, computer accessories, food, everything except for prepaid topup. MPH would let you buy books and stationery but no magazines. Borders on the other hand allows for books and 10 bucks worth of stationery which is so not cool. In the end I spent most of my voucher at MPH at The Curve.

My 8 years old son got himself two books for himself. Me I had a tough time trying to find a good book to buy. First I wanted to get any of those Fixi books that was recommended by my Twitter friends. But since the vouchers came out, most of them were sold out and only a limited copy were available left. It's a pity that Amir Muhammad, the big boss didn't have the foresight to stock up on the books in anticipation of the rush to buy them. Total marketing blunder on their part. Other than that, I don't see much rational in buying Malay books. Many of them are either sappy love stories or one of those get rich quick books. In the end, another Twitter friend recommended Haruki Murakami's IQ84 which is a thick, thousand page book worth RM92.00. The other book that I got was Inside Apple which after reading 2 chapters I find a little bit underwhelming. There's little that I don't already know from reading Jobs' biography and other online blogs inside that book. Murakami's book on the other hand was sheer reading pleasure. I was instantly hooked after reading the first seven pages. Can't wait to finish reading them.

Hope that they will give out more of this vouchers thingy next year. That's the only way I'm ever going to buy books.

2 February 2012

Yesterday I went to this power plant in Manjung again for a Kick-off Meeting for an upcoming project. So far this place has been the furthest I've been for my new work and I've gone there like half a dozen times already. If the meeting agenda was to be believed, I'll be going there a lot more in the next few months. Time will tell.

As I said, working in factories and plants are not very glamorous or clean/healthy. Breathing coal dust for a couple of hours a day is not exactly my idea of fun too. Still somebody has to do it and me being the new guy usually volunteers to do it. Maybe I'll learn something valuable from this.

1 February 2012

My new job description requires me to visit a lot of factories, power plants & warehouses to check on PLCs and automations and stuff like that. While not very glamorous, it is quite interesting to be able to see how they made stuff while enjoying the sweltering hot factory environment, walking in dust and dirt and being exposed to all sort of workplace hazards. Things you do to put food on the table.

So far I've been to a few factories and power plants. My regular port would be this food manufacturing plant in nearby PJ. I've been there like half a dozen times already and I've got the chance to see first hand how they make those chili & ketchup sauce, chicken stock, chocolate drink, milk & yogurt just to name a few. Being the largest food products manufacturer in the world, safety & cleanliness are naturally their top priority. Each time before anybody enters the plant, we need to wear this lab coat and silly hair net so that we won't accidentally contaminate the food. Of course you won't want to find a strand of my hair in your next Kit Kat bar would you? That would be scandalous. Apart from that they have all sort of safety and hygienic measures like washing your hands before entering each new sections of the plant and also having metal detectors in each and every tank. Fascinating stuff.

However except from the occasional free drinks from the pantry, don't expect any free 'gifts' or products while visiting the plant. That would never happen. Of course I don't exactly expected them to pass me a bottle of Milo whenever I come. Professionalism is key. Even the staffs there had to buy products from the factory mini mart located inside the plant, at a discounted price of course.

Working in factories is a far cry from my previous working environment where I spent most of my time in arctic cold server rooms and comfy office spaces. For one thing, I have no idea how those stuff works in the first place and secondly, I basically have to learn pretty much everything myself. It's not easy but I'll have to adapt. What doesn't kill you makes you stronger, right? Not that I expect to be killed or anything. You could die just trying to cross the street. Hmmm.

31 January 2012

Help, our child has been kidnapped!

Actually my parent in law came by this weekend and swiftly took away Mia back home to Tanah Merah. We didn't have the heart to say no despite the fact that we already paid her kindy fees. Perhaps when we are older we might just pull something like this on our future grandchild, who knows.

Thing is we're definitely going to miss that little rascal. In fact we miss her already now :(

Time to plot a plan to take her back immediately.

30 January 2012

One thing I like about my new company is that they are very generous when it comes to food and money. A month after I joined, they gave me some duit raya. Last month for Chinese New Year they also gave me some ang pow and a pay rise to boot. Not to mention the many company dinners and just makan-makan that we had almost every month. The only thing that they haven't give me yet are my own personal office space and a company car. Oh wait, they are giving me my very own room once the renovation finishes! That means a company car would come shortly after. Right.

Whilst I am eternally grateful for all their kindness, I'm just afraid I might not return the favor. I don't think what I did for the past 6 months or so commensurate with what they gave me. I worry if someday should I decide to run for office in the next election or something, somebody might be very disappointed.

That said I just try to do the best I could.

24 January 2012

What does my future brother in law and I have in common? We both don't talk much. Plus when we were about to get married we had crappy jobs that barely could make ends meet. Wait, let me rephrase that, actually I was jobless when I got married 8 years ago. I stopped working part time at McDonald's to concentrate on my studies but that didn't end well.

Anyway, one of the main reason my wife's sister had misgivings about him is because of that. He just doesn't talk much and not very friendly with people. Just like me. It's not that he's a snob or anti-social or anything. He's just shy perhaps. Just like me. But look how I turned out to be now. Look how our marriage went. 8 years is quite an achievement I must say.

My point is, it's perfectly okay if you're broke with a not very glamorous job that doesn't pay much. As long as you work hard and try your best with your job, sooner or later people, especially your boss or future employers will notice and you will climb that career ladder. That won't happen in a day but it will happen surely. Some parents will have sleepless nights if their daughter is about to marry someone like him or me back then. Will not all would work out alright, I'd say give him a chance. See how he carries himself at work. If he loves to hang around doing nothing then he's no good. Else he'd have the potential to get better in life and work and live happily ever after with your precious daughter and give you many lovely grandchildren (like me).

Don't judge a man by his career. People can change, usually for the better.

Anyway my company was so kind they gave me the whole week off. So I basically don't have to work until next Monday. So here I am doing pretty much nothing except sleeping, watching movies and playing games all day long. 8 years later I am still yet to hang outside the house chit chatting with the neighbours on our little wakaf. I am still that shy person you know 8 years ago. Plus I'd like to keep that Laziest Son in Law in Kampong Sat title that I won many years ago. It's a very prestigious award and not just anybody can win it.

23 January 2012

We're back in Tanah Merah again this time for my sister in law's engagement. Her previous two sisters didn't have any engagements before, they just get married right away so this one is kind of special.

Despite having second thoughts about the engagement and the whole wedding in general, my sister in law here finally decided to go along with it. You just don't play around with this sort of thing you know. Engagements, weddings and marriage is a sacred thing in our religion & culture and if you are not sure and have doubts about it you should just pull the plug from the start. If you do it later, after everybody have worked their ass off to make it happen it would be rude and unkind of you. Furthermore is a matter of honour and pride for both yours and theirs parent & family.

Thankfully everything is settled now. She's engaged and hopefully get married some time next year. Just remember, most marriage is for eternity. If you're having second thoughts, now is the time to do it. Not that I'm implying you do anything.

15 January 2012

Last November the kind people at Nuffnang gave me 4 free TGV movie passes for my birthday. Last month I tried to watch Ghost Protocol at TGV The Mines with my wife. When I tried to redeem my voucher the staff there said that those passes are not applicable for new blockbuster movies like Mission Impossible. He told me to come back in like 2 weeks time when the movie is not so popular anymore. That despite the fact that it was stated on their website that we can actually watch any movie including blockbuster ones although we had to top up an extra 5 bucks each. Apparently the staff there didn't get the memo. Anyway since we came all the way there we decided to buy the damn movie ticket ourselves. So much for free movie passes.

Earlier this afternoon I tried to redeem the remaining 2 movie passes at TGV Sunway Pyramid. As expected the staff at the counter claimed that those passes are not applicable to watch Sherlock Holmes as well. We get to watch other movies though, although the lame and not popular ones like Hell's Gate, Jack & Jill and My Mother Bought Me A Tricycle. Not to disappoint my kid who was ready to cry, I decided to watch Jack & Jill anyway. No surprise the movie was pretty awful but my kid had fun and laughed with everybody else at the stupid jokes.

I understand that many free things today comes with a dozen terms & condition, this one no different. That said TGV Cinemas should just print in big bold letters on their free movie passes that they are applicable only for lame boring movies that nobody wants to watch. Just spare me the bullshit. I can still afford going to the movies if I want to. The latest flick is just two clicks/download away.

4 January 2012

Today my kids started going to a new nursery, kindergarten and transit house. When we first started sending them to the Tadika Cahayaku Seri Nilam in Taman Pinggiran Putra 2 years ago, we were full of praises for that place. The owner was nice & very understanding, they took really good care of our kids and the fees was really reasonable too. We got a generous discount for sending both our kids there. But last year, the owner sold her business to another person. And this new management, let's just say that they were not really satisfactory. So much so that we decided to send our kids to a new place this year. Honestly, it was so much trouble changing kindies that we'd rather stay at the old place if only they weren't so bad.

8 months old Hana Alisha had no problems with the new nursery because she is still too young to notice anything. Adam Farihin likewise liked the new KAFA school immediately and he only spent a few hours at the transit point so there's no problem there. Mia Ariana on the other hand was rather hesitant of going to the new place. She cried and wailed when we left her at the new kindy today. The first day is the hardest for children her age. Thankfully by the 3rd day she made new friends and had no problem going to the new place every morning again.

Like I said, if I could I'd rather have their Mom stay at home to take care of all three of them. That's just not possible at the moment. Maybe in the future.

1 January 2012

Six months ago I decided to grow my hair long, again. Most of my life I had only 2 hair style, clean shaven or really long. So this is that time of my life that I let my hair grew long.

Funny though, I usually don't last more than six months. Normally some thing would happen that will make me want to cut my hair spontaneously. The last time I had a really big dandruff problem that I couldn't go another day without scratching my scalp. This time thank God for conditioners.

Hopefully this time I would last more than six months. Being bald is boring now. Happy new year.