Thursday, March 31, 2005

Shake Baby Shake!

10 out of 10 people who felt the tremors on Tuesday midnight had the initial misperception of either suffering from lack of sleep or stress. None of them had the faintest idea that it was tremors from the earthquake in shallow Sumatran waters at 12.07am. This is the sort of mental awareness that Malaysians have towards natural disasters.

I was in my bedroom, gaming away when I felt my body turning around in circles... I too like the rest suspected exhaustion and lack of sleep but when the circles prove to be too consistent, I suspected something amiss. I stood up and it was then I felt the whole ground shaking and the ceiling fans rattling. My initial fear however was not of an earthquake, but the structure of the building itself. (It must be said I never had faith in my developers.) I immediately woke Agnes and Li-Ann up and got the more fundamental stuff (wallets and cigs) and rushed down in a flurry.

The biggest mistake that I made was to take the lift, but it's 19 floors to the bottom and one can't help but consider it as the sole salvation out of the building in a state of panic. We got down from the condo and by then, a crowd of 10-15 people have gathered outside. They too like myself questioned the reason of the tremors and finally when a lady from Block E walked towards us with news of tremors as well... we confirmed the reason to be an earthquake.

It was sorta ironic because it was also this instance that I met up with my neighbours for the first time, in addition to a lot of others that lived in the same block. Some people are already deep in slumberland and must not have realized the danger they were in. An unique and truly interesting experience yes... it also proves that Malaysia is NOT totally fool-proof to natural disasters and laymen like us should make an effort to equip ourselves with fundamental emergency knowledge in case of disasters such as this.

P.S: An estimated 2000 people died in Nias Island due to the earthquake with the current confirmed toll standing at 500, let us observe 1 minute of silence and pay our respects to the dead. May they find peace and happiness with God.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

10 Things I Hate About The Management

Dear Management of Palm Spring Damansara,

Here are 10 things that I have spotted after staying in the condo for 4 months and would like to write a formal written complaint about the following issues:-

a) It's OK if there are no rubbish chutes on every floor. You could at least compensate by having litter areas at a designated spot. Do not expect us to carry dirty, smelly and heavy bags of garbage into the lift, go all the way down to the ground floor, walk across the car park before disposing of the refuse in a huge bin no kid can reach. Oh, almost forgot, then there's the journey back too.

b) Its fantastic to know that the badminton court is ready! But wait, where are the notices informing residents like us about the opening? Or anything else for that matter? Or is this suppose to be a private court for the management to rent to outsiders and earn a nice profit on top of the management fees? Also, where is the promised gym, or is that kept in the dark on purpose?

c) There is a f**king big hole in front of the car park entrance and its been there since Saturday, I don't have issues if people are working on it but its just left there, gory... unpresentable and worst of all dangerous. Kids and pregnant women who are not careful might trip and cause grievous hurt to themselves and to think it covers the whole walkway, do something about it, NOW.

d) The pool use to be a fantastic place for relaxation and a rejuvenating swim, now its a cesspool of dead leaves, micro-organisms and god-knows what else. You were very punctual when you collected the fees, why can't it be the same when you have to clean the pools? Oh and also the landscape'd' park, its falling apart because nobody took the effort to water the plants. I did not know that the park was a temporary benefit.

e) When I wanted to install Astro during CNY, you guys ask me to hang on because the MATV satellite is not ready and I am forbidden from installing the dish. Back then, I only have to pay RM 99 for installation with a follow-up payment of RM 80 per month. Now that the satellite is finally ready, you expect me to pay you a frigging RM 250 for installation and activation exclusive of the frigging monthly charges, have you do your math or do you think we are plain dumb about the commission you are getting?

f) When will you decide to re-renovate the walls, exteriors and faulty lights on the walkways damaged by the contractors? NO, don't blame it on the external contractors, the wall is full of graffitti by these so-called appointed contractors of the management. Bet they paid to scribble as well huh? Now the renovations are mostly done in some blocks, we residents would appreciate if these defects are rectified IMMMEDIATELY.

g) For goodness sake, this is a mid-end condo and we are paying RM 200 per month with an average of 200 units per block, and you can bloody afford to put a proper decent signage with embossed silver? You have to paint the block number in black like some cheapo low cost flat. Also did anyone realize the floor no. is always on the left of the lift and not on the direct opposite, so how is anyone inside the lift gonna know which fucken floor they are on?

h) The meter rooms are constantly left open after inspection. When we were young, our parents taught us to keep doors closed and I guess these people have no such common sense. Kids might go into the room and fiddle with the mechanism causing a breakdown, worse yet it will electrocute the damn kid. Be more cautious of simple things like that.

i) For motor and GP racing, there is the Sepang circuit. If you can't afford a 1500cc motor, go race with your Juara on the LDP for all I f**cking care, the parking lot is NOT your race track and your dumbass guards are endangering the life of people when they go at high speed in the wee hours in the morning. (yes some people are still awake) Oh by the way, ask them to stay awake when they are on duty and take a bath before they come to work, they stink so bad I have to hold my breath sometimes.

j) Last but not least, Malaysians have remained passive for WAY TOO LONG. This is our home and we will not allow people to take advantage of us and shortchange us because we keep our mouths shut. Stand up for what you believe in and fight for what you think is right.

Thank you.
Furious Resident

Tuesday, March 22, 2005 home my paradise Part 2

In the latest turn of events, YB Ong Ka Ting has requested an audience with He-who-shall-not-be-named to discuss the issue of the Chinese schools and the outcome remained undisclosed. This followed after a denial from the man himself after dubbing Chinese schools as a barrier for national unity. Hopefully we will hear good news in a few days to come, until then this is Jimbo reporting for Jim News Network! *Psssssssss* (TV static)

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Malaysia... my home my paradise

Here I am sitting in front of my computer in the office, the time now is 9.02 pm and I will be stuck here for at least the next hour or 2 checking the QSR annual report. So I thought I might as well make good use of the time and blog. I've been wanting to express these views for quite some time anyway.

1 - PAS (Passe And Senile)
I have this weird habit of flipping the papers while I am on my way to the loo. As I was browsing through for interesting articles last Friday, I came across this tiny article talking about a new law in the making in Terrengganu. Not content with ensuring men and women having separate cash counters, separate sections in cinemas and pools... They came up with the latest craze of trying to implement a dress code of women in public, citing the reason to be the increasing rape and molest cases happening in the state! It is amazing how the mindframe of these people work, instead of trying to focus on developing better infrastructure and a better life for the people, they came up with incredulous laws like this one, among many others.

Look at KL, we have women walking around the streets braless with tube and short skirt. Does it make the male hormone rage, of course yes. But to the extent of rape, NO for goodness sake. Everyone is born with a brain, a brain to differentiate between right and wrong, good and bad and I think most people do make good use of it. What the girls wear are their personal freedom and we should not be the ones to tell what to wear and not.

I have a theory, sometimes when you bar someone from something or prevent them access to a certain information, it just acts to fuel the curiosity further and invokes these people to go all out with all means possible to try it. They are like cooped up popcorns under heat, ready to pop when the hatch is released... *sigh* . Sometimes other than being just amazed, I also feel a sense of pity for these people. When will they realize that they are just adding on to the victims' toll and shifting 'gostan' instead of forward? Hopefully time will tell!

2 - Malaysianssss, UNITE
I was very pleased the other day when I heard from the radio that YB Dr. Ong Ka Ting submitted a memorandum to the Government under MCA to increase the number of Chinese schools in the country due to the high demand especially in urban areas. Imagine to my utter despair and dissapointment when I hear from the radio a few days later that a certain He-who-shall-not-be-named shot it down. The reason? 'Building Chinese schools would serve as a distraction and segregate Malaysians, it is not condusive to the unity of the country and could act otherwise.'

Around the world, in developed countries like Singapore and Japan... people are starting to realize the importance of the Chinese language and are rigorously picking it up as a 3rd language to English and the native language and here in Malaysia we are discouraging it. Why? Some people speculated it was due to the fact that the Chinese schools do better then the national ones and this could make the main race inferior while others provided loads of other views that I will not share here. I even have friends of other races that are well aware of the advantage of learning Chinese and has enrolled in Chinese schools to learn the language, they are doing just fine and are excelling in their studies.

The government should realize that Chinese schools or not, all education centres share the same goal of educating the young. To teach them to love their country and roots... they should also learn to respect the cultures and traditons of the various races and allow them the freedom to pursue the medium that they fancy. Besides, the Chinese schools have also included Malay and English in the syllabus, there should not be any worries of educating a bunch that is totally off-track to the society. I sincerely hope the government can review this decision and allow the construction of more Chinese schools in the country, make Malaysians not only a multi racial but multi lingual and multi talented nation envied by the world.

Friday, March 11, 2005

Annual Reports - Livin' La Vida Botak-T

YESSSSS I will admit that my previous experience with annual reports was more like a brush through and not a full blown thing. So when Q account came into the picture... I was well... blown away. For the good of people reading this (if any), Q Corporation is the holding company for the likes of major fast food chains in the country. Well anyway coming back, my client Botak-T is a first-timer when it comes to annual reports and regrettably I am not much better. He gave me a set of accounts in late Jan and wanted me to flow them in so at least the template is set, so fine I did that. Received another file after I came back from Bali and was passed to me by Gilbert... on the file name was stated final, so I passed it on to the designer to flow in the figures. That's when the problem starts, my designer was going through the old draft and the new and realized that:-

a) The figures were incomplete
b) Some drafts from the first was missing from the second

So yeah you guessed it. He told me about the issue and I had to call the client to clarify. Extract from the conversation,

'Oh Jimbo, that was not the final although i named the file final, you still hafta wait for the audited version coming this 15th March.'

Yeah sure buddy, why don't you tell me by the end of Xmas so I can say Merry Christmas and fuck off? Ok fine, so I did not check through both the drafts before passing 'em on to the designers but come on lah, who would be dumb ee nuff to give 2 unaudited drafts to the agency and UTTERLY confuse them in the process, QSR!! Yay, Viva la Botak-T.

Friday, March 04, 2005

M'sian Hanuman scales Volcano Datu: Catching and Bali-ing Days Pt 2

Day 2 started off with Hon's snores still ringing in my ears, oops what am I saying.. he IS still snoring. The bus arranged by Melisa came and we were introduced to a local, Gusti who was to be our tour guide for the next 2 days. He wore a headscarve and a colorful 'pelikat' and has the habit of finishing all his sentences with 'yeah', he must've caught it from some aussie dude sometime back. We spent the morning visiting stone carving, wood carving and an art gallery. The skill of these people are amazing and to imagine the whole district that we were in earn a living by sculpting rocks and wood for a living. The next stop was actually the jewelsmith and I was thinking of getting something for Agnes there... maybe a ring or necklace but most of the design seems obselete and dated. The same applies to the the thought of buying a ring for myself ever since Ninja brought up the fact that the lines on my palm indicates a spendthrift in the making. He says it will help if I had a ring to block the outgoing money on my middle finger. Boon however was contented with a plain ring for the same reason.

The next stop was actually requested by ourselves, to go see an active volcano, Gunung Datu. The trip there would take us approximately 1 and a half hours and most of us fell asleep in the bus. Those that were awake were busy snapping away and Sae Junn managed to catch a glimpse of a naked woman bathing by the stream. I was asleep myself and when I stirred from my sleep, I was already at the foot of the volcano. As the rickety bus climbed uphill, Gusti explained to us about the history of eruptions between 1940-1994, the most serious being in 1940 leaving ten of thousands cremated. We stopped by at a restaurant serving buffet and were treated to a spectacular view of the volcano as well as the lake. While we were snapping photos, I saw this 2-3 year old kid trying to reach for his ball which was right at the edge of the slope. There was no safety fencing and should the kid trip, I guess its asta la vista baby.

After the photo session, we had a buffet lunch and it will be the first of the more decent food we have in Bali so far. There was a initial debate on whether we should sit upstairs or downstairs due to the halal issue but we finally decided to sit on the ground floor to avoid conflict (although I swear that the upper floor has got a nicer view). The satays served in the restaurant were fantastic and is nothing like the ones we served here. The meat was minced and marinated and later added with santan, even their sauce was made from a different ingredient and when devoured carries flavour with every bite. Nyum! The rest of the food was average and we spent roughly 1 hour here. This was also where I was to meet the old man offering me the chess set. His will be the most delicate and detailed work among the ones from the shops I will visit later. I truly regret not getting it from him as his price was really reasonable. Most tourist have been warned by the guide to ignore these peddlers approaching buses and I have also developed this immunity. The instant reaction when approached will be a shake of the head or a negative gesture of the hand. Well too late to regret now ain't it.

Next stop Ubud, also known as the culture central of Bali. It was another 1 hour trip from Gunung Datu so it reminds me of travelling from KL to Malacca and back and back again all in the same day. Anywayz we stopped at this area to actually visit the paddy fields, it was planted along hill cliffs and reminds me of the tea plantations you see in Cameron. The only difference is these fields are equipped with irrigation systems for water supply. The contours of the hill forms a sort of motive, making it a sight to behold. Although there for just 15 minutes, peddlers have already gathered around the bus and was desperately trying to sell us their wares. Ninja and Chee bought some wooden sculptures from them and this only served to fuel the others to try harder. In the end, Gusti had to chase them away as they were getting really pushy and aggressive.

Ubud to me just seems like another part of the suburbs with lots of souvenirs and items to offer or It could also be due to the fact we only browsed the market during this 1-hour stop. Main wares include shoes, bags, chains and statues of sorts. Boon bought a few bottle openers shaped like a dick for his friends and also a metal dragon figurine for himself. Hon was out of cash from last night and a few others would like to change their currency as well. So we came to this currency exchange kiosk that was located inside a jewelry shop. As they were busy changing money, a red coral-made elephant tusk caught my eyes and yeap, you can call it love at first sight. I asked for the price of the tusk and a chain to go with it and the bargain started at a hefty Rp. 250 000. We bargained for sometime and finally I bought the necklace and pendant for the final price of Rp. 150 000. The guys told me it was a steal but I was to realize later from a merchant in Seminyak that I paid WAY too much for it. It makes me wonder sometimes if these things are better left unknown. ;<

Penny initially wanted to stay on and dedicate the remaining hours of the day for shopping. The guys however insisted on going to the temple. We left for Uluwatu temple around 4.30pm and is scheduled to reach at 6, in time for the Kecak Dance. We reached the entrance of the temple at 10 minutes to 6 and spent this time visiting the interiors of the temple. Guys and girls with short pants must don a yellow cloth to cover skin or they will not be allowed access to the temple. Monkeys scrambled all around the temple and Gusti kept them away at a distance with the peanuts that he bought. The praying areas of the temple are prohitbited to tourists but we did get a magnificent view as the outer areas of the temple is situated on cliffs. There we can see shades of the setting sun against the torqouise blue sea and witness the waves rushing to shore. There were fishing boats at a distance with sea gulls soaring high above the crimson sky. The view reminded me of Great Ocean Road and the 12 Apostles minus the fog of course.

We were actually 5 minutes late for the Kecak Dance and when we reached the dance arena, there were already dancers singing and chanting... The dance depicts a love story of Rama, Siva and Sita and revolves around the kidnapping of Sita by the evil King Ravana. Dancers express emotions and story with their movement and eye contact admist the constant chanting and singing of the 'choir'. When the show ended, we took a group photograph with the Monkey King Hanuman and I helped Chee take a picture with the beautiful Sita. Food, glorious food! Jimbaran, famous for its seafood is just 15 minutes away from the temple there we had our seafood dinner by the beach. Tables were placed on sand and every customer is given a warm welcome with flower to the temple. There were 2 bands playing and singing away to Malay, English and even Chinese tunes and mind you, they were really decent. The setting is very romantic and we did not mind having to wait as a few of us took strolls on the beach. Dinner came at long last and consists of a fish, chicken, lala and last but not least a plate of french fries and kangkung for every person. The food was not fantastic, i bet Klang could have better the spread anytime but I must really commend the Balinese sambal which was a mixture of chilli, oil, lemongrass and God knows what other ingredients, it was simply fantastic. While eating, we also tried to dig some great clubbing sites from the waiter and got to know that Lenggian is a great place for R&B while Seminyak is good for trance. This meal will also end up to be the most expensive food we paid for with an average of Rp. 90 000 per pax.

We returned to the hotel after dinner and made arrangements with Gusti for the visit of Sukawati and Tanah Lot tomorrow. He also confirmed an earlier enquiry from Penny to go for Balinese massage the next morning. Most of us were exhausted by the time we reached the hotel and I initially had the thought to postpone our clubbing to the next day but Jason and Hon wanted to at least go out for a stroll since we are here in Bali. So I obliged. Jason, Hon, Boon, Sae Junn, Chee, Vernon and myself took to the roads and we walked the same path we took on the first day. We came to Starbucks and took our seats there. Although it was a Friday, the roads were quite dead other then the occasional gwai lous with ladies of the street. Starbucks Bali serves Bali coffee and the prices of the usual mochas and frappes are slightly pricier in comparison to Malaysia. I ordered myself an ice blended fruity and contented myself to a nice view of a few chicks on the next table. Although nothing to shout about, these chicks are dressed for the night and its better than the dead streets. We sat and chatted for around 1 and a half hours and by then, Jason's eyes were red and watery. He suggested going back by taxi which I refused, not because I wanted to walk but simply out of spite that he insisted on walking all the way here on the first place. By the time we reached the hotel, we were sweating like swines *again* ( a daily occurrence ) and retreated to the comfort of our respective rooms. After bathing, I forced Penny, Hon and Vernon to Black Jack again and managed to squeeze around Rp. 20000 from Penny. After the game, you will hear Penny nag very often how she could've gotten a pair of shoes with the money she lost. Game adjourned at 3 and it's zZzZzZ...

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Makcik, Bir Bintang satu! Catching and Bali-ing Days Pt 1

Ah Bali, a blend of clubbing, sightseeing and shopping paradise all in one. We got to know about the company trip to Bali even way before CNY. The problem is I am just not excited about it. Especially not after hearing about the recent Aceh tsunami as well as the Bali bombings a few years back. To add to that, of course I am broke after moving into my new place not too long ago. The company was kind enough to provide us with RM 300 spending money each in addition to the transportation as well as accommodation. Melisa even went as far as paid for the 1st day of the sightseeing tour (it sucked however as it revolves more towards jewelry, stone, wood carvings and art galleries.)

We checked into our hotel on Friday and proceeded to move out for lunch after finishing our welcome drink which consists of orange juice and something else (can't seem to taste 2nd ingredients). It was extremely hot in Bali and we walked down the road to search for a decent looking restaurant with authentic Balinese food. The day was hot but it did not take us long to locate a quaint shop with moderate decoration. There is no air con by the way as with most shops unless its a boutique of some sort. A friendly waiter by the name of Alex served us and I had pizzas together with Sae Junn and Jason. It's worth a mention that food here is NOT cheap, well it is possible that we are paying tourist prices as my pizza is around Rp. 24 000 which is around RM 12. It sucked.

I finished my food and beer (yay) relatively quick and I stepped out to have a look at a pirated DVD stall next door. ( to be the first among the 10s of hundreds I will see later) They sell a huge variety of movies just like Malaysia and are going for Rp. 10 000 a piece. So it sums up to around RM 5 for a DVD 9, sounds reasonable and I bought my first souvenir from Bali, pirated DVDs Daredevil and Pet Sematary LOL. After filling the tummies,we continued our walk and soon ee nuff, started to sweat like pigs under the 40 degree sun. Lead by Sae Junn; Jason, Chee, Vernon and Boon took off their clothes one by one to show of their 'magnificent' bodies. Most of the shops along the road were convenience kiosk, hotels, DVD and souvenir shops. We did not stop at any and came to a new mall named Discovery, directly opposite the mall was Waterboom, a water theme park and next to it was a 'Flying Ball', identical to the one I saw in Gold Coast. How it works is you sit inside the ball, strap yourselves and the ball up shoots up, up and away attached to 2 elastic strings. There was this local couple trying it and the girl had tudung and skirt on, so it was quite a 'sight'.

We came to Kuta beach after passing rows and rows of shophouses and Hard Rock Bali is just directly opposite. It is quite suprising though as we were expecting a crowd of tourist with a bevy of beauties from different nationality strolling about. We were very wrong, the streets were empty other than a handful of 'em walking about. We split our ways here and the guys went to explore further north while the girls decided to stay in the area to do some shopping (girls will be girls). Worth noting too that Ninja also stayed back (for shopping? too tired to walk? I will never know).

The walk was very uneventful other than lotsa local ladies offering their services in massage and manicure, an old man tried to sell me an interesting blowpipe for Rp. 30 000 and I almost obliged until I realized that it will be impossible for me to bring it into Malaysia. Jason checked out his surfing lessons and we walked into the heart of Kuta at Matahari. Matahari is a focus of surf shops and we spent 2 hours here while Vernon tried on his new Quiksilver slippers and Jason, Hon shopped for their surf pants.

We walked back to Discovery Mall to meet the girls and there we bought our groceries for the 4 days. Take my word NOT to try food like Singaporean Char Kuey Teow as I assure you that it won't taste anything like it. The plate I had was sweet and the meat tasted like rubber, to top it up I ordered Siow May (siewmai) and it tasted so bad I offered the rest after tasting just one.

We walked back to the hotel (Sae Junn and co. stripped again) while the girls took the taxi (Ninja took the taxi too). We took a dip in the pool after coming back to the hotel and it was only a slight consolation on the hot weather as the water seems to have taken beating from the heat as well. However lukewarm water is still better than nothing and we enjoyed the swim while reminiscing our first day of visit.

No trip would be perfect without gambling and Sae Junn, Hon, Vernon and myself played Black Jack after taking our baths. Vernon went to bed after a few games and the 3 of us proceeded to Chor Tai Dee. We were playing at a base of Rp. 2000 with every card at Rp. 1000. Although trifle when converted to RM, it sounds huge in terms of the Indonesian currency. Hon's face turned white when I scored a triple and white again when it happened a second time. I won 3 games and Sae Junn won 3 games as well. Hon was slightly peeved by the end of the game as he lost all the leftover he had from buying the surf pants. I fought hard to control myself from laughing at him. We all went to bed and not long after that, we could hear Hon's snoring all the way from the living room...