Thursday, August 13, 2009

Mr. Tan

I have always disliked maths, though it will always be a mystery why the hell did I do engineering in uni and now working in a bank. My maths grade were okay during school though I hated it so much, except for during Form 4.

You know what they say, it being a honeymoon year and all. I really took it in spirit and frankly didn't bother much about my grades. Tasted my first F9 for Add Maths in Form 4, and it continues a few more times. I have no problem with Mod Maths but with Add Maths, I was completely lost back then. Mr. Tan was our Add Maths teacher then, a very patient and passionate veteran teacher who tirelessly tried to get us to understand what he's teaching us. I feel sorry for him looking back now, it's like dumping knowledge into a black hole =P

Anyway, when Form 4 comes to an end and Form 5 comes around, i realised the folly of my fooling around. I started studying Add Maths, asking for help from the bright sparks in class like Lada (goddamn he's a genius, he can sleep all throughout the period and still be able to solve the problems given!). The first exam of the year came around and funnily enough I was able to answer the questions posed. I felt a flicker of hope there!

So the day came when Mr. Tan told us the papers have all been checked and marked. He's gonna call us to collect our papers starting with the highest going down to the lowest. Groans were heard all around, we're not expecting this public humiliation!

"Hazrul Nizam, sangat bagus. 100%"

"Azahari, bagus juga, 100%"

Then I heard my name. MY NAME?!!

"FH, 99% bagus"

In a daze I walked to the front of class and picked up my papers beaming with utmost pride. Then Mr. Tan came up with the ultimate killjoy.

"You buat sendiri ke?"


P/S: Sumpah aku buat sendiri langsung tak tiru. People around me were all F9 Club members, aku nak tiru sape weh??? I don't blame him though, from failing continuously to getting 99% must've been very suspicious to him, bless his old heart.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Customer Service

Ever since I started working in the Bank, I've learnt the importance of good customer service. This is why I would willingly pay more to buy from a good sales person than save the few bucks at a shop where the sales person couldn't care less.

It also made me aware of the amazingly bad customer service I've had to endure. Choice selects:

1. Proton.
Hands down the worse ever. Their Proton i-Care helpline is a joke. They promised me the car in 2 weeks at most, and I only got it after 3 months. And that was after dozens of calls made to the Manager who only talked to me the first time, and then keep evading my calls by being 'away' every time I called his number. Found his cell phone number and called him and voila he answered! Guess what, he's in a very important meeting and will call back. He never did.

I got the car, and it has a suite of problems, the worse of which is a faulty ECM which resulted in the engine shutting down suddenly and can't be restarted until the car cools down. I called the Proton 24-hours Helpline to tow my the first time it happened, smack in the middle of a very busy traffic light. Guess what, the guy who was on the line kept asking me for my car insurance policy number. WTF? I blew my top off, and told him to get a tow truck quickly because my battery is low and I can't stand being honked at by asshole drivers who think I deliberately parked my car in the middle of the intersection, despite my hazard light blinking. And no, the tow truck never came. They sent a mechanic who touched this and that and said it's wiring problem. The car engine then has cooled down enough to be restarted.

Went to a Proton Edar service rep, and they said it's been fixed and blamed me for going up inclines without downshifting to a lower gear. They said it's caused by 'spark plug masuk minyak' whatever the hell that means. Within a day it broke down again, in the middle of MRR2 as I was sending it to Proton Edar Service Center for second opinion. I was maybe 2KM away, and I called them for assistance. They told me to wait for 30mins and see if I can start the car and then call them again. Luckily I found out the night before my insurance offers free towing service, no questions asked.

So finally problem was solved, but not after going through all this shit. Dato' Syed Zainal, do something la beb. Macam haram customer service kau nih.

2. TMnet/Streamyx.
If I forgot to pay my bills, they would be so diligent in cutting off my net connection. But when their service was like shit a while back, they didn't even offer an explanation until a few weeks later. What, no courtesy to even refund us for the subpar performance? Imagine getting a time out message even to open Google.

My calls to them about it were always answered 'we're upgrading bla bla bla', or 'we're already looking into it bla bla bla'. When I asked when will this be resolved, they won't give me a timeline.

Even though it's okay now, but the experience left a bitter taste. They should have handled it better by sending personal letters to the customers or something before people gets mad about it. Jeremy Kung, any ideas? Don't tell me you only employ geeks with no social skills over there.

I never had problems with IRB before, until recently. I submitted my tax forms which shows that they owe me a sum of money for tax overpaid. After a few months of waiting (way past their promised deadline to issue cheques), I received a letter from them. I was excited since I was anticipating the cheque.

What I got was a letter saying I have to pay an extra RM750 due to previously untaxed portion or something. I was told to settle end by month end. So I called their customer service hotline.
I waited for a long time just to get to speak to someone. At every menu choice, the instruction is very lengthy and complete with some IRB message or something. When I finally managed to talk to someone, I was glad she was a nice girl. So I asked her what's all this about?

She said "encik tak perlu risau, kita akan offset payment tu dengan encik punye PCB. Jadi encik tak perlu membuat apa-apa bayaran". Huh, so why did you guys send me the statement along with the instruction to pay up and everything then? When I asked her what am I supposed to do, she said "encik tak perlu buat apa-apa, encik boleh abaikan saja statement tu". Arghhh!

Don't waste paper and my time lah!!! You could've just let me know in a short paragraph that you have debited certain amount from the overpaid tax balance because of this and that. Easy right, Dato' Hasmah?

Some others are excellent, like Domino's, Maxis and Astro, but the rest still have a long way to go.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009


I remember when I was walking down Avenue de New York towards Flamme de la Liberte, taking in the cool Autumn morning breeze while watching the Parisian life go by around me.
I remember thinking how lucky I was to be given than chance, to see far flung places I have only otherwise heard about. That was 11 months ago, I think it's about time I count my blessings again.

I am grateful that I still have my family, not a perfect one but I would not trade it for anything else. We are loud, boisterous and can be embarassing when we are all together. We seldom do things together now since we're far away most times, but we try to whenever we can. I'm happiest when I'm around them, though I don't show it often enough.

I am grateful that I have a wonderful extended family who loves to joke, laugh, cook, eat, travel, laugh (oh, I mentioned that already?) and in times of trouble, never fails to be there for each other. These are the things that helped shaped my life, and helped me see the lighter side of life, and how the worse of things can be endured with some hope and some faith. And of course, some laughs to ease the pain =)

I am grateful to have loyal friends who don't judge me for me failings, and have always been a phone call away whenever I need a time out. 13 years now knowing them, not a moment felt wasted. They're the best shrinks around, but they won't shy away from telling you to be a man and move on with your life if it warrants it.

I am grateful that I have met other cool people in uni and at work, people who shares my mentality and bandwidth. People who helped me get through the bad patches in uni and at work by just bitching along with me.

I am grateful for having a good stable job which have provided me with the means to do so many things I have otherwise only dreamt about. Sure it still sucks at times, but at times like these I'm just happy to still have this job.

I am grateful to be able to enjoy myself using my own money after I started working. I travelled a lot, I tried new things, I learnt new skills. I also wasted my money on a lot of things I don't need, but like little boys I did it just because I can. Sure, my savings account is pitiful but I can honestly say I've lived my life the way I want.

I am grateful that at a relatively young age I managed to own my own place, in a prime location to boot! The fact that the value has more than doubled in less than two years doesn't hurt either =P Most of my savings went into it, and it's damn hard work maintaining a house all by yourself. My monthly utility bills plus the mortgage takes away 1/3 of my salary, but at the end of a long day at work, I'll be sitting down with a nice drink on the couch and I'll be thinking that it's all worth it ;)

I am grateful that I managed to even buy my own car after that, after almost 4 years of driving my mom's old car ('90 Proton Knight y'all!). Though people been questioning my decision to buy a two-door, though people asked me why didn't I get a Honda instead of another Proton, I didn't flinch. First car is an emotional purchase, since that's the only car that made a connection with me (besides a Ferrari, but that's a different story), I went for it. Carpe diem.

Most of all, I'm grateful to still be alive and healthy. I'm grateful to be granted so many good things, and am given the strength to endure the bad things. Alhamdulillah.

"There are as many nights as days, and the one is just as long as the other in the year's course. Even a happy life cannot be without a measure of darkness, and the word 'happy' would lose its meaning if it were not balanced by sadness." - Carl Jung

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Still Searching

I thought Innuendo was the worst live act I've seen, but Search just took the crown last night. Allow me to gripe from the start of the whole disaster called Di Awan Biru concert in Bukit Kiara on Saturday.

Firstly, the ticketing agent must be out of their minds. Tickets bought only entitled you to a reference number. Tickets are to be collected at the venue itself. No surprise when hundreds of people were shoving and pushing their way to collect the tickets from the 5 or so available redemption counters. The counters were placed right next to each other with no breathing space, and there was no one to control the crowd. Even worse, it's placed right next to the entrance point - which is another point of contention.

I don't know why, but seemingly the guys at the entrance chose to open only two narrow channels for people to pass. It might've worked swell earlier but it's almost 9pm and everyone was trying to get it, 2 channels just won't do it. After so many people telling them to open up more channels, they opened another one. God, can't someone with brains be in charge?

Now that we're through, and made our way to the field, we thought things will go smoothly from now on. Wrong. Search was late by an hour, which I was already expecting so I don't really see that as a problem. Then when they started the first song, Amy's mic weren't on! Great way to steal the thunder, well done sound engineer! The fireworks and flameburst on stage was cool, but we came to see Search and not the pyrotechnics.

Second song, Balada Pemuzik Jalanan was cut short by guess what, a power outage on the stage. Everything went quiet and dark suddenly and we were treated to a blast of spotlight while they rectified the error. The crowd was getting very annoyed now. Took them a while to get things done too. Given that the sound system was very bad in the first place, this is not helping matters. Amy's mic were on too slow on some songs, the bass' amp was very very bad, and the keyboard was way too loud. Somebody shoot the sound engineer, please.

Also I must say, Search did not meet the crowd's expectations. Come on, crowd favourites like Rozana, Kejora and Meniti Titian Usang were not played! Even the hugely popular Gadisku was only part of a medley. WTF??? Isabella was marred by Kid's erratic amp (sounds very much like my jamming sessions back in the days at Zai Am Studio, Kuala Kangsar honestly). Then they resorted to some solo jamming sessions by Yazid and Din which no one wanted to hear thank you very much.

Fantasia Bulan Madu? By the time they played that, a sizeable crowd has already left. I left halfway through Fantasia Bulan Madu too. The murmurs from the leaving crowd all have the same flavour - disappointment.

Should somehow someone connected with Search came upon this, know that most os us had to brave hours of traffic jam just to get to the venue, and had to tussle to get tickets at the redemption counter, then more pushing and shoving just to get in. No one complained very much in expectation of a stellar performance by Search, but we all left bitterly dissapointed.

I say, give it up. Retire. Let Search be something of a memory rather than serve this kind of half-assed effort to the fans. Honestly Amy, langsung tak berbaloi wa pegi wa cakap sama lu, ok?