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Thursday, May 20, 2010

Of Astrology and Horroscopes

Do you believe in these astrological signs/horroscopes/starscopes (whatever you call them)?

I flipped through magazines or newspapers to see my readings once in a while when I am at it, but I don't really believe fully in them.

I don't really watch all those astrological predictions during Chinese New Year programmes; proclaimed to be predicted by prominent fortune tellers or Feng Shui masters.

I don't dismiss them as crap either; but I just do not like to indulge in these dwellings as I do not want myself to be influenced and empowered by all the readings and let myself get carried away, worrying about this and that for the entire year.
(I am already a worry wart anyway)

This year, I heard a thing or two about my Chinese astrology sign and also read about my horroscopes and I hate to admit it, but a thing or two seemed to have come true for me.

It did not exactly hit off with such a good start this year too; and there have been road mishaps (twice!) and also, I have been struck by major illnesses.

I did not relate all these incidents to the readings/predictions initially, but I just realized it all of sudden (it just hits me!)

Sad to say, I've been involved in two accidents this year; and the most recent one made me really upset.
Thank God, that I was safe and unharmed from the accidents but the damages, though not major left me feeling sad.

Then illnesses also made me break down (after my vow not to fall sick this year and I have done pretty well so far, with no medical leave taken since the start of this year!) but last two weeks, I fell really sick; with all the major illnesses and it had me in bed through the weekend even!
(I do hate falling sick on weekends!)

I just hope things will slowly get better; and anyway, just a peek told me that things should change for the better sometime in May/June...and I do hope, that would be true =)

Are you a follower of astrology/horroscopes?

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Happy Teachers' Day!~

It's Teachers' Day today (or rather, yesterday, on the 16th of May)
I never forget this date since I entered Standard One; all the way back when I was just 7 (that seems so young!)

I remembered how we used to look forward to this day; besides the year-end class party and Children's Day where we get to have fun all the day and no homework.

This is a day for the teachers, where they all the attention (and presents) from the students. They are given the free permits not to teach on this day, and just sit back and relax, and enjoy the performances and food spread prepared especially for them.
Of course, at the same time, we get to enjoy the whole day of not having to go through classes and doing homework (something to cheer about when you are a student, although I still love doing my homework and classes, yeah, I am absurd)

I also remembered how I used to pester and bug my Mummy and Daddy to bring me to the nearest supermarket (they used to only have small supermarkets and you have to travel further to the city centre to the bigger malls which we only do on weekends).
(No, I don't stay in a remote village kay)

I would get a piece of Manila cardboard (costs 40 cents then) and cut out the size of a nice card and then I would work on the card after school in the afternoon.
After that, I would wait patiently for Daddy to come home after work and asked him sweetly if he would bring me to buy some flowers for my teacher.

Daddy would shake his head sometimes and tell me that it is not practical.
I would have to bug him but good ol' Daddy always will bring me eventually (or so I know since he always has a soft spot =)

I would be so happy with that single stalk fresh rose which I would put on the dining table and then I would happily bring it to school to present to my form teacher.

I never thought of asking Daddy to buy more flowers so that I could give each of my teachers, although I have friends who do so.
I did not want to burden Daddy financially; as I do know how hard Daddy worked to earn money out there, as our Mummy used to teach us to spend money wisely.

However, without the flowers, I still made sure I went up to each and every of my teacher to wish them "Happy Teachers' Day"

I still remembered every single one of the teachers who taught in school; from my pre-school to my high school, no kidding.

I am grateful to each and every one of them, for without them, I would not be where I am today.
That is why I still feel thankful for teachers each time Teachers' Day is around as I relive all those school days' memories with a smile.

Teachers are to us, almost the equivalent of a second parent who guides and teaches us everything that is to get us to where we are today.
They are generous and selfless individuals who shared their knowledge and made sure we excel.

For this, I would like to say once again, to each and every of my teacher, whether school or Sunday School, or lecturer, or whoever have taught me at one point or another when I was a child.

Thank you....

Pre-school (Caritas)
Year 1: Ms Tan
Year 2: Ms Ong (thank you for teaching me the fan dance =)

Primary School
Std 1: Cikgu Vani
Std 2: Pn Raja Jam
Std 3: Ms Mazliza/Cikgu Vani/Mrs Mok
Std 4: Ms Assunta (I still see you around in church!)
Std 5: Mrs Yap
Std 6: Mrs Lim (form & Maths teacher), Ms Pearly Yap (English), Pn Maznah (BM)

Secondary School
F1: Cik Sofia
F2: Puan Siti/Puan Mashita
F3: En Hussein
F4: Pn Fariza
F5: Mr Lee

To all my Language teachers who have moulded and encouraged to WRITE, SPEAK and appreciated my flair =)

I just want to say a big THANK you to each and every one of you...

To all the TEACHERS out there, you are the greatest people and you are always remembered by your students, even though you may have forgotten about them =)


Driving blues

Instead of being sucked into the familiar aura of the blues surrounding the moody Monday, I stepped out of the zone to share with you on some of the other blues faced.

Take for instance, driving.

I know we have a lot of crazy (or insane is a better word) drivers here in our country; fantasizing their dreams of being a Formula One driver and unfortunately unleashing their fantasy on the road.

Well, there are a lot of negative things which irks us when it comes to being on the road and I am sure each of us has our certain levels or tolerance (or intolerance) when it comes to dealing the other behaviors on the road.

1. Swerving in and out of the lanes and dashing back into the line in a nick of time
2. Driving really slowly on the fast lane and not moving to the left/slow lane even with repetitive flashings/honking (maybe they don't even know their left or right)
3. Tailgating even when you are on the left lane! (yes, again, guess they didn't know their left vs right)
4. Driving with their high beams on
5. Installing those bright, white blinding lights which just momentary blinds you when coming from the opposite road
6. Attempts to race you with even when you have no intention to (i.e.: revving up their engine loudly and exhuming the toxic gas when you are both stopping at the traffic lights and then speeding off in their ultra-modified car which looks like a sports car but is actually Proton/Perodua beneath all that metal shield)
7. Not putting on their signal when they want to turn into the lane, making last minute turns
8. Emergency brakes screeching behind you
9. Talking on the phone and crawling the WHOLE way on the single lane
10. Throwing rubbish out of their window (UNCIVILIZED!)

However, there is one thing that irks me the most and simply cannot be tolerated are ..............


I simply have no room of tolerance for these folks who can't just wait in their line.
But that is not the worst yet, as the real monsters are those who try to cut the queue by forming another line and steering their cars CLOSE to your car on the LEFT side.

Yes, LEFT...and that was exactly the same monster I faced this morning while driving to work.

I was in a good mood and was driving especially slow and careful this morning (not that I am reckless every other day though) and then when it came to this junction where we had to make a turn at the traffic light, I noticed a grey Proton Wira just right next to my car on the left.
I did not even see him before that, and I've driven on the road every day to work for the past one year or so and it's a one-lane turn at the junction and the space is simply just limited for a car.

He kept steering his car dangerously towards my position and I refused to give in as well!

I won, but it's not a victory of winning another car in a bid to race, but rather, an effort to keep these reckless and inconsiderate drivers at bay!

I cannot tolerate people like these who just budge in from an already narrow lane, so be there!

I shall not let him spoil my working Monday...but to the Proton Wira who almost "kissed" my car this morning (I know your car plate), I hope you will consider others' safety when you drive around please....

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Absurd telebanking verification

Recently I have a rather unusual and annoying encounter with a telebanker for one of my credit cards whereby I was calling to update on the mailing address.

I will not elaborate further in paragraphs but in the following conversation excerpt.
I called the bank and after going through the annoying computerized version of "Press 1, For Credit card, press 2...etc" (I wonder why they have to keep this computer-talk for so long that they left me wondering sometime whether are there humans working in the place), I was put on the line to talk to this telebanker.

First of all, it was not that I had anything against him since I did not know him in the first place but there is one thing that irked me the most; people trying to speak fast and in a faked and highly accented English language.
I don't mind the natives of the different countries doing so, since it is their language accent after all, but when Malaysians or Asians do that, it is just unnerving, isn't it?

Alright, brush past the annoying part, now I explained to him about my intention and he of course, asked for my credit card number and then the next part is the verification process..

Annoying telebanker: May I have your ID please?
Annoying telebanker: Thank you, ma'm, now may I have your mother's maiden name please?
Annoying telebanker: Thank you very much, and now for the final question, when was the last time you charged the card?
Me: Okay, I cannot remember as I have not used this card for a year or so now

At this point, the Annoying telebanker starts to read in some kind of script but because his English was so strong in the faux accent, I really could not hear a thing except this few sentences:
"It is very important to have answer all verification questions correctly....blah blah blah....advise you to go to our nearest branch...blah blah blah"

I just went, "HUH? what did you just say again? Why do I need to go to the nearest branch and what is the telebanking for?"

Believe it or not, the guy did not even explain anything but proceeded to read the above script again!!
He was like some kind of gramophone record which was reset and then played again.

I tell you, his English really got on my nerves and I just asked him, "What went wrong? I thought we have just done the verification, which question was wrong?"

HE told me, "You were unable to tell me the last time you charged the card"

Greeeeaaaattt.....I could steal this card from someone and could give the P&C information of the owner's IC and mum's name and I must know where he charged the card.

That is the darndest thing I have ever heard!
If you tell me that I am unable to get my IC correct or my mum's maiden name, I am fine, but last time I charged the card?
Great, just great and I just told him off and hung up

Yeah, for the first time (or maybe second) in my life, I hung up on someone on the phone, which is pretty unusual considering that was pretty rude in my perception.

Anyway, after that phone call, I proceeded to the nearest branch and got all my stuffs done and just out of curiosity, I decided to ask the banking officer to check my last payment/usage of the credit card.

This is the best part; he showed me the data on his LCD; there was 0 data.

Get that, there was nothing displayed and he asked me, "You must have used it a year ago?"

I nodded and he said, "Yeah, that's why there was no data stored anymore"

I thanked him and I walked out, telling myself, so the answer to my last verification question was, "None, Z-E-R-O and I would not have to come to the branch"

Hahahha...great....I shall remember that and if you happen to that telebanker who talked to me on the phone, please contact me because I really want to know your name (i forgot it during my annoyance), and also, you forgot to wish me a good day after your "pleasant" conversation...

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

When the lights go out...

No...I am not talking about Earth hour here nor an attempt to support the noble campaign but the lights really went out in broad daylight when you are your peak office hour.

It was a power supply termination from the national energy provider and this someone just walked into our office (sub-contractor) and handed the admin a red notice and muttered, "We are going to cut your electricity due to bad payment" and the moment he walked out, so did the lights.

I was surprised at how this was handled as there was no previous notice (yellow: warning as the guy allegedly said) and the electricity was terminated immediately.
Furthermore, according to the admin, there was a secured deposit fee for the offices in TNB and there is no reason that power cut should occur just like that.

There was a lot of drama going on as our dear admin tried to check with our own Head office colleagues and it took about two days.

Get this, we were only late for one week and our deposit fee was definitely two to three times more than the amount due.

I don't know what went wrong anyway, but it was really tough sweating it out especially when yours truly has just recovered from a bad bout of flu.

Of course, the plus point was being able to relax and work from Starbucks with a cup of cappucino/frappucino/ice blended in your hand.

Sounds luxurious?

The funny part was, this incident actually touched me in a different way.

Funny how we don't seem to appreciate comfort we were exposed to each day and tend to take it for granted.
Each morning I step into the office, I just sat on my chair, turn on the power and begin to work on my laptop.

I fill my cup with the water from the dispenser; with a choice of either hot or cold or both and can brew a cup of coffee or tea if I want to (although I drink neither)

When the sun is hot outside, I don't even feel the heat nor sweat as I just tap away at the laptop.

Just one hour when the power supply was cut, and we start to curse and swear at how hot it is and how can we not have air-cond or electricity to work.
We don't even remember how our predecessors and ancestors survived without all these luxuries back then.

Fact: We have been spoilt by technology and the luxuries of modernization.

I am not complaining though; I simply cannot imagine how I could walk out of the door without my cell phone with me, or the Internet when I am bored.

I cannot imagine how could we not have TV/DVD player, not to mention books of DVDs to choose from; nor could I imagine life without the fridge to store my favorite fruits/veges/drinks, hair dryer, laptop, fan, lights, and yes, the best invention of all during hot weather: air-cond.

Can't say I am not glad I live in the modern times, and thank God electricity has been resumed today!
I am back to work on my desk and I must say, I am starting to appreciate the availability of power more around me right now =)

Yeah, of course, I will not let Earth hour slip my mind...but let me enjoy a bit more of the luxuries of the cool air and bright lights after living like a nomad and Paleolitician for a day...I do deserve some pampering before I fight for the earth =)