Wednesday, October 21, 2009


Was surprised to see on Facebook a picture I've not seen before, yet so familiar. It's a picture of my late paternal grandfather Allahyarham Haji Abdullah Haji Salleh (known affectionately to us grandkids as Abah) when he was still a teacher. My auntie posted it up from some stranger's short blog entry about him.

"Cikgu Lah adalah guru yang mengajar SMAS Pulai Chondong ditahun 70an. Ia tinggal di Kampung Galang. Ketika berulang alik kesekolah ia menaiki keretanya kalau tidak silap Datsun. Beliau sudah lama kembali kerahmatullah. Dahulu guru dapat mengajar murid dengan berkesan kerana dapat sedikit sebanyak dapat menggunakan body contact iaitu seperti menggunakan kekerasan tangan dengan niat mengajar. Jadi kita murid adalah merasa takut dan ambil berat untuk belajar." -

I've heard countless stories about him from my dad, my mom (whom Abah doted on like his own daughter), my aunties and uncles. Of course since I spent a lot of my childhood days with Abah and Ma, I have my own memories of him.

I remember him asking me to buy his favourite pack of cigarettes - Peter Stuyvesant - and I always get to keep the change. I remember him taking afternoon siestas on his favourite kerusi malas (deck chair with multicoloured plastic strings wound around the metal frame, you know what I mean) shirtless and waking with reddish stripes all over his back.

I remember motorcycle rides with him, me in the basket in front and him riding leisurely. Nobody wore helmets back then. I remember burning my knee on his hot motorcycle exhaust when I stumbled while getting off. I still have the scar to show for it.

I remember his ungainly Subaru (or was it Daihatsu?) minivan, and his red Fiat car. Apparently my dad said he loves small cars.

Che Na and myself on the hood of the Fiat, on the way to Bukit Ajil. Pic taken by Che Ni.

I remember trips with him and Ma and young Che Na and Makdik to Penang and Langkawi. I even remember asking him what does the signboard 'ikut kiri kecuali memotong' means.

I remember him taking the flight to KL with us, my first time ever. I remember him sending us off when we boarded the flight headed for London back in 1993. I remember excitedly reading letters from home telling us in East Ham that Abah and the rest are planning for a visit. He never came.

A few months later he passed away while we were a million miles way. While I was a million miles away.

To that unknown blogger, thank you so much for reminding me about this man I loved. Abah, once in a while Pih still thinks about you. Al-Fatihah.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Phone Trivia

The other day over lunch, I was talking to some friends about handphones (mobile phones, cellphones, don't be anal) and the fads that was considered the in thing back then. Behold I present, Top 10 Handphone Facts Of Days Yonder!

1. Remember when every other person owned a Nokia 3210 or 3310? The biggest draw was the Snake game, which can keep you occupied for hours on end. Getting your name on the High Score of your friend's phones was the ultimate reward.

2. Circa the same period, these phones made it possible for users to compose their own ringtone. No more annoying factory standard tones, hello annoying self-composed ringtones! Some people would buy the small booklets with the codes to the latest songs, some had the musical gift to be able to dictate the codes by ear. Bless!

3. Somehow it became a (very daft) trend to hang the phones by a lanyard around the neck. For those who can afford the prohibitively expensive small phones, it didn't look too bad. But then you'll see idiots with a 3310 trying to do the same and end up with a stiff neck at the end of the day.

4. Phones then was very much customizable physically. You can change the plastic casing for about RM10, and also change the screen backlight from boring yellow to white blue or red. Then some bright light discovered that you can put a picture on the LCD which only shows up when the screen is off. When the screen lights up, the picture disappears *gasp*.

5. There was a time when transparent plastic casing was a sought after item for it's cool factor. How to make it much cooler? By using a special battery with multicoloured LEDs that lights up whenever the phone's active i.e. incoming call. Groovy!

6. Remember Ericsson T10, Philips Twist, Nokia Banana et al? Those used to be cool...

7. Now how about Sagem, Alcatel, Siemens, Mitsubishi? If you have no idea that they used to produce handphones, then you must be quite young. I wonder if any of them are still producing handphones?

8. Simcards used to cost an arm and an ear. I bought my Maxis simcard for RM198 at a stall in Carrefour Subang Jaya (it was even pricier before that, RM200++, does anyone remember the price?). Now they're practically giving it away for free. Bummer.

9. It used to cost 60 freaking cents per minute to make calls from prepaid numbers, and for most folks they had to make a RM50/RM60 topup last for a month. SMS was the way to go brother.

10. When desperate, or whenever you know the other person is using postpaid, or whenever you feel cheap, just do the popular thing - misscall! It's the Malaysian equivalent to the 'hey, call me back' message at no cost at all. People who misscalled me often will just get one from me in return. It's my way of saying 'can't, my credit's running low too'.

Got any more?

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


Boss: So how's our penetration rate year to date?
Me: We're currently at 13.9%, while plan for the year is 8%. We have exceeded the target by 5.9%
Boss: I think the plan was too low.
Me: No, I don't think so. As at Decemeber 08 we were only at 5.4%.
Boss:. Hrmm, ok.

That was the closest I came to slugging my own boss. I was given that target of 8% because the penetration rate has been rather dormant for years. Now that I've exceeded the target by a big margin, how dare he say that's because the plan was too low. I've worked my ass off for this shit, saying 'good job' was the least you can do.

I need to leave.