28 December 2013

We just got back from our hometown to pick up the kids. They've spent the last 40 days or so back home with their grandparent. Since my wife and I had to work and hardly have enough time or money to take them to some exotic holiday, it's either the nursery or their grandparent every school holiday. I know it sucks, but that's city life for you.

When I was small, my Dad used to send us packing to Penang as well to live with my grandma during the long school holiday. I enjoyed it at first but after a few weeks, I got really tired and bored of living there that I wished my Dad did't send me there in the first place. Perhaps it's because my grandma didn't take us anywhere much you know, sightseeing or anything. Sure they will bring us to Penang Fest at the end of our stay but that's like one day from the entire stay. Today I'm doing exactly that. Send my kids home, stay for a day or two and come back a month later. Now I know how it feels and why my Dad had to do what he did.

While my grandparent would be thrilled to have their grandchildren stay for long period of time, I can't say the same for our children. There's only so much video game or TV show they can watch every day. By the third or fourth week, my eldest will be calling us frequently asking when we would come to pick them up. It's heartbreaking by what else could we do? In my time, I was lucky cause my Mom's a teacher and she would come home eventually in the afternoon. Besides, it was my grandma who looked after all of us most of the time anyway when she's not around.

Talking about going home, it's funny that I seemed to spent of my time there at my in law's place. When I was little, I used to wonder/complain why my uncles seemed to spend more time at their wives home more than my grandma's place. Now I understand. First of all, our kampong house is not that big and since my uncles seemed to have new family member almost every year, it certainly can't fit all of them every hari raya. Second, somehow, our kids seemed to have better bond with their maternal grandparent compared to their paternal ones. My kids for example are more comfortable staying with my wife's parent than my own. Perhaps that's why. While I would like to spend more time at my own hometown than anywhere else, after 9 years of marriage I started to accept the fact that my in law's place is also my home. Besides, my Mom is not always home anyway cause she frequently go back and forth between KL and Pasir Mas almost every other month.

There are some things that you wonder and ponder why when you were small and only learn the answer when you grow up, married and have kids. Keep this in mind children if you ever wonder why we did the things we do.

5 December 2013

When our 7 years old Samsung washing machine broke down the first time, we sent it to an electrical repair shop to get it fixed. It costed us about RM200+. A few months later, it broke down again and the same shop (Gokand Star in Puncak Jalil) and the Pakistani guy said the second hand board only has a one month warranty and we had to pay about the same price to get it fixed again. What a rip off. So instead of donating our hard-earned money to that bloodsucker, we'd save our money and buy a new one cash.

A month later we saved enough to buy a new washing machine. It had to be at least 7 kilos to fit our entire family laundry load. We found a really good deal at Tesco, Panasonic brand with 7.5 kilos load. We called the store beforehand to make sure there's stock and the lady who picked up the phone said they do have some in stock. So we went to this Tesco in Bandar Bukit Puchong and guess what? There's none in stock. I complained to the Tesco Malaysia twitter account but they didn't reply shit. So much for customer service.

In the end we bought one from a local electrical shop in Equine Park instead. It was a Sharp washing machine and it costed us a few hundred more. It was delivered pretty quickly, two days later. Even during the first wash we find it queer that they machine had been going on for over 2 hours. Our last washer only runs for about 60 minutes at most. During the subsequent wash however, it runs less than 2 hours so I thought perhaps it is normal for Sharp washing machines to run that long. However after a few days the machine started going on again for over 3 hours non-stop. That's when I thought there must been something wrong it. So I went to the shop where we bought it and they called Sharp's customer service for me and a technician came a week later. Apparently the floor where we placed the washing machine was uneven so somehow that affected how the machine works. He just slid some folded papers to make it even and the machine washing worked flawlessly since then. The funny thing is, our old Samsung washer was placed at the exact same place and it worked fine for years.

Moral of the story is, Samsung washing machines will break down a year after it warranty ends (5 years) and Sharp washing machines are weird.

1 December 2013

2 months ago my aunt was involved in a serious accident.She was driving one night, somehow got sleepy and went headlong into oncoming traffic. Fortunately she and her daughter survived the horrific accident albeit with a few broken bones on her arm. My cousin thankfully didn't suffer any serious injuries. Now she's still recuperating at home. The Viva car that she drove was a total loss. It's amazing that they even survived the accident. A few weeks later my uncle's bike was stolen from right in front of their shop. And since he bought it illegally in Thailand, he couldn't really report it. This year is just not their year. I hope my aunt recovers soon and they can't go back with their business again.

Remember folks, don't sleep and drive.

8 November 2013

Last year during his final year exam, my number 1 got 16th place in class, down 13 spots from the previous year when he got 3rd place. That's why this year we didn't have much expectation for Adam Farihin this time around. Plus the fact that he likes to play game on his computer a lot instead of studying a few weeks before the exam. We literally had to lecture/threat every time before he started reading some books or doing exercises. So when I promised him to buy for him his dream console (a Sony PSP) if he gets top 3 in class, I'd half expected him to not get it. Not that I don't have much faith in him. It's just that from 16th to top 3 is quite a feat, considering his attitude towards studying.

So you can imagine our surprise today during report card day when his class teacher told us he got the highest percentage in class and also the entire year 3. Primary schools these don't grade their students from number 1,2,3 and so on but only in percentage from 100% downwards. Adam got 90.25%. Needless to say me and the rest of our family members are delighted with his achievement. I do hope this is not a flux and he'll continue to do well in the future. Congratulations Adam Farihin. That's my boy!

19 October 2013

I just got back from a 2 days 1 night trip to Pangkor Island in Perak. The trip was organised especially for the non-teaching staff meaning all the teachers weren't invited. But I doubt they will miss this trip because I can see most of them holidaying at some exotic location around South East Asia. The bus departed around 6:15 in the morning but I had to wake up much earlier at 4:45 am so that I wouldn't be late. There were altogether 3 buses to carry all of the non-teaching staff from the primary and secondary campuses. Two third of the participants was from the primary campus and another one third from the secondary campus. I don't know why some of the staff chose to skip the trip. I guess they have something better or more exciting things to do.

At first they played some horrible Tamil music on the bus. Fortunately our bus leader leapt into action and asked the driver to play a movie instead. So we watched Fast 6 all the way to Lumut. My initial plan was to sleep peacefully until we reach the jetty. I can kiss that plan goodbye cause I barely got a wink since the speaker is blaring on top of my head.

We took a private boat to Pangkor Island Beach Resort. It's the first time I went to Pangkor and the first time I took a ferry other than the one in Penang. I love the resort, the food, the amenities and our room. I especially love the food. I had a marvelous lunch, dinner and breakfast at the resort.

Ever since I could remember I was never lucky with lucky draws. Unless the lucky draw is where everyone gets something, chances are I won't get anything. Yesterday night was no different. I got a couple of Jusco vouchers worth 50 ringgit on top of the 10 ringgit voucher that I won for winning the treasure hunt with my team. We had an al-fresco style dinner by the beach. The was hardly any wind blowing despite sitting next to the sea. The weather was good until about halfway through dinner and the lucky draw. I've already collected my voucher so when it rained I took the opportunity to split to my room and get a good night sleep.

The next morning I found out some of my colleague won an LCD tv, Samsung Note 3 and an iPad among others for the grand prize of the lucky draw. I know I shouldn't hate them for being lucky but I can't help but feel a bit envious for those lucky bastards. In a way I felt it's a bit unfair that a few people get to go home with those marvellous stuff while I'm left with some lousy vouchers. Should I just count my blessing and deal with it? After all 60 ringgit worth of vouchers are better than nothing at all.

My Mom asked me to buy some blue-eyed anchovies while in Pangkor. I saw some being sold in Lumut but I thought I'd get one in Pangkor since my Mom specifically asked me to get it from there. So on the second day I decided to go out to Pangkor town to buy some anchovies. Since the boys were late to breakfast that morning, I missed the van that took many of us to Pangkor town. In the end I had to ride a van all by myself. You know what that means. I had to pay for the entire van for myself. The 14 kilometers round trip from our resort to Pangkor town cost me a cool 40 ringgit which is clearly daylight robbery. But on the way back from Pangkor town I took a private motorcycle (without any helmet mind you) which cost only RM13 (after much haggling) to save myself some money. The sad thing is when I gave the anchovies to my Mom she said she wanted a smaller kind of blue-eyed anchovies instead of the medium-sized one that I bought. Imagine my feeling after going through so much trouble the get her those anchovies. If she wasn't my Mom, I wouldn't even bother.

Then there was the incident on the bus on the way back. I was hoping for some peace and quiet after a tiring day at the beach. Imagine my outrage when the driver started playing some hindustan music on the PA system on top volume for much of the trip back. It didn't help at all when some of my Indian colleagues decided to start disco-dancing along the isle. I understand they'd like to enjoy some entertainment but for fuck's sake please be considerate and respect other people. I'm sure I speak for the silent minority who hated those inconsiderate morons as much as I do. If the driver didn't stop the music at the Behrang R&R I'm pretty there will be trouble on the bus. Some of the passengers at the back were ready for a mutiny yesterday.

Apart from that I thoroughly enjoyed my trip to Pangkor. I wish I could bring my wife and family along. The kids would have enjoyed themselves tremendously at the resort. Too bad this trip is strictly staff only. Perhaps next time.

13 September 2013

I noticed that I haven't blogged much here lately. I can come out with a dozen excuses but I won't. I only have two. I'm extremely pre-occupied with life (and Twitter) and I don't have anything interesting or noteworthy to write. Then again, define noteworthy? So here goes something.

Today is Malaysia Day or Hari Raya Day or something at the school. Too bad I can't take or post any pictures of the kids from school. Company policy. Anyway today is the day that kids, teachers, teacher's assistant (TA's) and some of the admin staff wear their best baju melayu and baju kurung/kebaya to school. It's either for Hari Raya or Malaysia Day, I don't really remember which one. You should have seen how cute those kids look with their colorful baju kurung and baju melayu. Imagine white kids with our traditional Malay attire. It's heart-warming. Of course the chines, indian and other races look just as adorable in them too. The teachers are even more so especially them lovely female teachers. You'll just have to see it for yourself. My words can't do justice.

Apparently is the norm for my school to have the kids and staff dress up from time to time. Last time it was Victorian Day, before that space and astronauts theme. In fact the kids dress up for something once every other month. I wish my kids could do that at their school. But I guess it would be too much of a burden for the parent.

That is all I'd like to report for now. Till the next noteworthy news, so long.

31 July 2013

This fasting month I'm happy to report that I lost a few kilos and my ass shrunk.

Life is good. At least so much better than last year. The school term (3rd term) ended a few weeks ago with all the kids and teachers leaving the school, going for a summer holiday somewhere nice presumably. If you can afford to send your kids here, you'd definitely can afford a holiday anywhere you want. Although the rest of us non-teaching staff had to come to work as usual this school holidays, at least we get to come work half an hour later and leave half an hour earlier. That means we only work from 8:00 am to 3:30 pm which is not long at all. Despite the school holiday, most of the staff including my colleagues and I have tons of work lined up for us every day. There's PC and IT peripherals to store and deploy. Windows and Mac to format and re-image. Simply said, there's no slacking around for us. Each and every minute of our working hours is truly put to good use.

That said, other than the end of the semester, the month of July also signals the end of financial year for the school. And you know very well what that means, bonuses for everybody. It is safe to say that everyone who works here gets their fair share of bonus, small or big depends on how well you do on your appraisal and work performance. Me, I only worked for 6 months here but I still get my share of bonus albeit prorated since I am still new. A little bonus is definitely better than no bonus at all and it's been a long time since I last got my bonus from any company. At least I get to renew my car's insurance and road tax this year. Last year my wife had to take out a staff loan to renew the insurance. Last year when I was doing odd jobs without any real work. This year it's pay back time. Although not much, this year my wife get to go shopping for some new clothes instead.

In slightly over a week's time we'll be celebrating Hari Raya (Eid) in Pasir Mas. I started my Raya holidays the day before Raya but my wife didn't get to leave work until the very last day. Usually we leave for home a few days earlier to avoid the annual exodus. This time around we're not so lucky. Chances are we might only get home to Pasir Mas on the morning of Hari Raya. We'll see how it goes. A week to go and I'm actually excited to go back for Raya this time. Can't wait for the 7th of July to come. No mood to go to work already. You can almost smell the ketupat and fire crackers in the air. These are the good times.

19 July 2013

Remember the time when I was hit by a car from behind by a car on my bike? No? Well that's because I haven't told you yet. I was riding my bike to work as usual that Friday morning and while I was slowing down at the traffic light before TPM, a car was going to fast and I guess didn't manage to brake and hit my bike. Fortunately for me I wasn't thrown off the bike or get killed or anything. In fact I just lunged forward a few meters forward from the impact while still sitting on the bike, engine still running and all. The cowardly car drive just speed off leaving me inspecting my damages. Which is again thankfully not much. Only broke my exhaust which I was still able to ride to work and back.

The replacement exhaust cost me a dear RM85. That's nothing compared to my life of course. It was quite hard finding a replacement exhaust for my Krisstar and the one available had a price tag of R150 and above. Somehow I found a workshop near home who managed to modify a regular Kriss exhaust to be fitted to my bike. Now my bike sounds like a 500 cc Virago. I guess I was given the chance to celebrate Raya at least one more time this year. Had the car been slightly faster you wouldn't be reading this today. This goes to show also no matter how careful or slow you drive, there's always an inconsiderate dickhead out there waiting to hit you from behind.

10 July 2013

It's that time of the year again where faithful Muslims all over the world began their 30 days fasting ritual. It is also my first time fasting at my new workplace. Work goes on as usual. Just because I'm fasting doesn't mean I can slack off all day. In fact my dear boss ordered us to transport 25 bulky MacBooks from the other end of the school to the office sometime this afternoon. Not that I'm complaining or anything. Working hours remains as usual from 7:30 am to 4:00 pm, 1 hour shorter on term breaks. Since we already leave work early compared to other people, there's no concrete reason to let us go any sooner.

I remember around this time last year I was working part time in a hotel at downtown KL doing PC maintenance work for 3 days straight. Although it was a hard & dirty work, the pay was worth it because I could settle at least a month of my car instalment. Those were the hard times. It couldn't be much different this year. I had a decent job and make enough to put food on the table for breakfast and dinner.

For sahur earlier we had a simple spicy chicken meal and for the first iftar of the month, we ordered some roasted chicken from Ayamas. I couldn't be more grateful. Thank you Allah.

25 May 2013

It's that time of the decade again where the entire country is shrouded with a blanket of haze courtesy of our friendly neighborhood Indonesian. The last time we had this much haze was in 2006 and 7 years earlier in 1999. Looks like the 7 years cycle has now completed and the farmers and plantations in neighboring Sumatra is up to the same trick again, burning their land to prepare for their next batch of crops. According to this report by The Star, the haze was caused by Indonesian settlers who must burn and clear their land every few years so that they can continue to lay claim to that land. I believe it's a combination of settlers and the plantation owners. This time around, Singapore and Johore was first to be hit by the haze with PSI reading up to 400 and beyond. When this matter was brought up to the Indonesian government, their silly ministers were quick to blame Singaporean and Malaysian manufacturers who allegedly initiated the slash and burn practice at their plantation. Although there is some truth in that argument, the point is, the Indonesian authorities have the full power to stop or prosecute the culprit whether local or foreigners.

Last weekend the haze was so severe that emergency was declared in the town of Muar when the PSI index breached 780 points. At the same time schools in many part of Johor and the whole of Selangor and Kuala Lumpur were closed yesterday for fear of children's health. My son didn't go to school yesterday and today as well since I'm quite positive the haze will still be as bad as yesterday. My guess was correct because although the school is open today, the told the children to go back around 10:30 AM because of deteriorating air quality. The school where I work was also closed since yesterday and presumably until tomorrow. Although it rained quite heavily just now, there's no assurance that the haze won't return again tomorrow. I didn't have to go to work on Monday but had to come to work as usual today although we were allowed to punch in 30 minutes late. Although most of the teachers absent and all the kids away, my boss always seem to find something for us to do. The chores are endless. But of course they don't expect you to come to work and warm your balls on sit idly at the chair do you?

17 June 2013

As I said in detail in my other blog, high-speed fiber optic Internet is the best thing since chicken tom yam that has happened to me. I get to watch whatever movie or TV series that I want. I get to download the latest games and apps and most importantly I don't have to worry about bandwidth or expiry dates. Although our my Internet connection is still at lowly 5MBPS and rather expensive compared to developed countries like Korea or Japan, it's still the reliable and fast compared to all my previous Internet providers.

With fast Internet service like Unifi also, I get to watch all my favorite TV shows whether local or international. Like this current hit TV show that I'm following religiously right now - Cinta jangan pergi starring Tiz Zaqyah & Remy Ishak. Yeah I know it's cheesy and predictable but I love it anyway. And despite missing all the earlier episodes, I still get to watch them today thanks to Mr Google and a few friendly-neighborhood TV capture guys. I can even watch it anytime on YouTube.

First I found out I can watch streaming football, now this. Who needs Astro anymore?

12 May 2013

Cool song. Sucky video though.

9 May 2013

4 months ago I bought a second hand bike to use for work. In January after getting a new job in KL, I drove my car to work every morning at first. It was horrible. I had to wake up before 6 and if I leave any later than 6:15 am I would almost certainly be late for work at 7:30. That's KL morning rush for you. So I thought getting myself a bike and riding it to work would be the wiser choice. That's when I bought a second hand Modenas bike from the Double H bikers shop in Serdang for RM2,400. For a second hand bike, it's rather pricey but that's the best deal I can get for 3 months installment. Sure I can always get a new bike but I dont really wanna add another item on my already long list of loans and monthtly bills.

They gave me a month warranty for the bike. The first week I had to send the bike back for repair twice because the engine always cuts off when idle on the road. They did something with the carburetor and it was fine for another month. By April however when I already made the full payment for the bike, I started to feel something wrong with it. Starting it in the morning or later in the afternoon was a pain in the ass, literally. I had to kick start it about 30 times before I can get it to start. And when I'm on the road, the bike runs so slow I have seen bicycles overtook me on the highway.

When I took the bike back to the shop where I bought it they said my choke is missing and my engine needs a major overhaul which would cause me about RM950 plus. I left the shop with a few profanities and a vow to tell everyone not to go near Double H Bikers in Sri Serdang ever. If you frequent that area, you will notice the corner lot shop with big red and white Honda paint. Don't go in there unless you wanna get ripped off.

Long story short, I had to get my bike fixed somehow because the alternative is to drive my car to KL everyday. So I sent it to a workshop in Equine Park which still costs me a dear RM800 but with less pain, heartache and a peace of mind. So my second hand bike now costs me RM3,200 from thr original RM2,400 which sucks but still ok compared to a new bucks costing 5,000 and above and one or two years monthly installments. It is not so uncommon for bikes to break down especially used ones. Some might be lucky not to have any problems with their second hand bike, many others like me were not so fortunate. That's life. Suck it and move on.

6 May 2013

So the results are out and half of Malaysian thinks BN is still fit to rule the country for the next 5 years. I would be lying if I say I'm not disappointed with this election result. I thought Malaysians were ready for change and the end of this corrupt government. All the positive vibes that I received from the social media and my friends. I was wrong. I can conclude that urban people is pro PR and pro-change while rural people don't give a shit about good governance as long as they got their RM500 BR1M handouts and free meals during election campaign.

Still I couldn't put all the blame squarely on rural Malaysians. In the days leading to GE 13 there were rife internal squabbling and lobbying among PR parties which resulted in 3 cornered fights in some constituents around the country. Although these disputes where 'resolved' amicably after orders from party leaders, the damage is done when all the candidates name were printed anyway on the ballot papers, worsened by the fact that some opposition supporters kept on campaigning for their preferred candidates. In the end, all the seats that had 3-cornered fights between PR and BN were won by BN, easily.

I hope this will serve as a lesson to PR and their supporters. United we are strong, divided we fall could not be more true during vital times such as the general election. Some PR leaders were seen as arrogant and over-confident by the public. Some were readily punished by the people for doing a dismal job at their constituency over the past 5 years. They got what they deserves. Today, more than ever they should realize that the power belongs absolutely to the people and they could easily send you in office as easily as they could kick you out.

I applied for leave in advance for today so that I could rest before making my way back home to KL. That was before the state government declared today as a public holiday in Selangor which meant that most of the people making a living in that state will be delaying their trip back to today. As expected, my normally 8 hours trip turned into 15 hours with regular crawls along the trunk roads between Kelantan and Pahang. I started out at 3:00 PM and only reached Seri Kembangan around 6:00 in the morning. It was horrible. I was sleepy, it rained from time to time and traffic was horrendous. If not for my wife/co-pilot taking turns to drive the car, I don't think I will be here today in one piece.

So moral of the story here is, travelling at night is not for me. I get tired and sleepy and it's dangerous for me, my family and other road users. Remind me next time I ever think of driving at night again.

20 April 2013

20 April 2013 marks the nomination day for Malaysia's 13th general election. Since the parliament was dissolved over 3 weeks ago, Malaysian was eager to know who will be representing their respective parties or themselves in the "mother of all elections". Yesterday there was drama when the Registrar of Society sent a letter to DAP not recognizing their Central Executive Committee (CEC) just 48 hours before nomination day. DAP was about to contest under PAS & PKR's flags for this GE today but fortunately, ROS came to their senses (or was they taken aback by the backlash?) and wrote an eleventh hour letter allowing DAP to contest under their iconic rocket logo.

Nomination day passed with the regular fanfare and excitement. The ugly thing however was that when there was a 3-cornered fight between BN-PKR-PAS in 7 state seats and one parliament seat at the end of nomination today, something that shouldn't have happened at the first place. Hopefully this is just a miscommunication and Pakatan Rakyat will sort out this comedy of error very soon. If not, they might as well declare BN as the winner for those seats.

I can't wait for election day on May 5th. 15 days of campaigning is way too long. Who knows what shit might happen between now and election day.

17 April 2013

Although my school has a little cafe for the parent & staff to buy food & stuff, most of the staff especially the locals prefers to eat outside the school. This is because they food there is way too expensive for our liking. The price range is catered for expats where the cheapest sandwich costs RM8.00. It makes more sense for us to eat next door at any one of the eateries available which offers standard local prices.

For the IT department, our favorite haunt is CMZ restaurant strategically located opposite of the main school entrance. CMZ is a typical tom yam restaurant run by Kelantanese/southern Thai. The food was pretty decent and they make the best tom yam in KL at some stage although that standard has dwindled a bit lately (a change of cook maybe?). Next to CMZ we have a little mamak which I don't fancy going much since the food quality & hygiene level is below par. Another place that we usually go sometimes is the Pernama building which hosts the well-known Jalan Bellamy Rojak place. I think the rojak was okay, not exactly addictive or mind-blowing but surely acceptable. I had their rojak like a couple of times a month cause there's only so much rojak one can have before getting absolutely bored with them.

So what do we normally talk about during lunch? Oh the typical boys chat - work, girls, politics, sports, random stuff, sex and more girls.

Sooner or later I'm gonna be really fed up of eating at CMZ. How I wish they would make an affordable place to eat inside the school. Apart from building rapport and camaraderie among staffs, an affordable cafe would boost moral and do so much good for our economy.

11 April 2013

Today I sat for my last paper on my last semester at UiTM. It's been four years since I started my diploma in Information Management. It felt like forever. How does it feels? Amazing. Relieved. Free. During this four years, I felt like my life had been put on hold. Well, I did get to do stuff but many times whenever I wanted to spend my free time doing things I like, I was quickly reminded that I have more important stuff to do like finishing my assignment or studying. So when I finally wrote my last piece of answer for today's paper, it felt like a huge burden being lifted over my shoulder. If you have ever studied in your life, you would know how it feels.

So what do I do next? The short answer is live my life to the fullest. I've got like a million thing to do on y to-do list. Like blogging here for example. If you noticed, December last year was the last time I updated this blog. It's about time. Since I started work at the new place, I haven't really got time to do anything else much. This new job requires my fullest commitment & I don't even have much time to surf the net let alone blog. Apart from that, I would like to watch some of all the movies & TV shows that I've downloaded for the past few months. They were like 7,000 hours of them.

Then I wanna visit places of interest that I've been meaning to go since like forever & of course bring my family along. I also wanna jog every day, (for real) lose some weight and get back to that 6 pack & buff figure that I used to have a long time ago. I wanna do everything now. This is the first day of the rest of my life.