5 July 2016

One of the downside of having an all-malay colleague is when Raya is near, they all want to apply for leave at the same time. Last time we had a vacancy in IT support and guess who they hired? Yep another malay. It’s either they have a soft spot for malays or there’s nobody else qualified for the job. Fast forward earlier this month when the boss asked everybody to submit their leaves, everybody applied for the same 2 days before Raya. Me I would have applied for for the same dates as well but since my wife can only apply for leaves after Raya I relented and let the boys have their fun. Even then I thought my boss would reject one or two applications but surprise-surprise she approved everybody’s leaves. That means for the last 2 days before Raya which happens to be the last super-busy two days of the term it will only me and my manager who will be working in the entire ICT department.

And since we don’t hire any helpdesk person yet, I’ll be manning that position while my boss deals with all the tech support calls. At least that’s what she envisioned. In reality, she had to man the ICT office because a lot of the teachers will be returning their laptops and ICT equipments before leaving the school for good. In the end, it was me who was attending all the tech support calls and also manning the helpdesk. To add salt to injury, I was down with cold the entire two days so imagine my suffering at the office. Even then when all things are said and done, I survived the two days ordeal intact especially since they let us out early at 1:00PM. Seriously they should really hire more ICT staff especially for helpdesk. I mean how hard is it to get somebody from JobStreet really?

We left home around 2:00PM that afternoon. Our kids were already back home with their grandparent and uncles who took them along last Saturday. My wife was kind enough to drive for the first part of the journey since I was still sleepy from the cold and medication. I expected some heavy traffic the day before Raya but fortunately the road was surprisingly smooth with occasional bumper to bumper traffic here and there. We had dinner somewhere in Gua Musang and reached Tanah Merah after driving for 8 hours and 25 minutes. On a regular school-holiday or festival-free traffic we could reach home in 6 hours so that’s pretty fast considering it’s Raya’s eve. Two years ago it took us 12 hours to reach KL from Tanah Merah.


25 June 2016

My brother-in-law who recently finished his studies from UIA have been working in UTM, Johor Bharu as a research assistant. Apparently his final year project piqued the interest of a lecturer there and he offered him the position and to start immediately. In the meantime he’s also been looking for a job at different companies which is a sensible thing to do because you know, he might just get a better offer somewhere else. You know how it is with government jobs, especially contract jobs, you get paid peanuts these days. So he moved to JB and rented a house with his friends there. Last week however he was rushed to the hospital in an ambulance after complaining of severe stomach pain. Before you know it he was scheduled to remove his appendix.

He was made to understand that they’re going to do the procedure immediately at the Sultanah Aminah hospital that day so he didn’t trouble himself to go to a private hospital which should be covered under his insurance policy. So he waited and did not have anything except water in preparation for the surgery in the crowded hospital ward. Hours turn to days and on the second day he asked the doctor again and he casually said actually he’s 4th on the waiting list and the doctor had to fix somebody else first. All his waiting and fasting for nothing. They should have the courtesy to inform him earlier instead of torturing him like that. So he asked for a friend to pick him up and then transferred to a private hospital. The removed the appendix and stitch him up within hours.

There was a debate recently on social media where people were comparing government and private hospitals, how government hospitals are good if not on par with private hospitals. The truth is they are miles apart in term of service, especially speed. Sure you don’t pay much at government hospitals but normally they would make you wait a long-long time before attending you, let alone performing operations on you. Not to mention super-crowded wards and substandard hygiene in their toilets. Therefore it’s no surprise that many people prefer private hospitals over public ones whenever they can afford it or use their medical insurance card. For some, government hospitals are only as a last resort when they have exhausted all other options. Personally, I would like me and my loved ones to get the fastest and best possible service when they are unwell. Hence why it is important to get yourself some sort of medical insurance for rainy days or at least find an employer with good medical benefits.

So after the surgery, I drove all the way to JB last Sunday to pick up my brother-in-law from the hospital. It is a long and tiring drive, especially when you’re fasting but it’s one of those things you have to sacrifice for your family. Lucky for me I left for JB late in the afternoon and since I’m driving alone, it took me slightly over 3 hours to reach my destination. After getting my BIL discharged from the hospital, I drove another 3.5 hours home including a quick stop for buka puasa. This week, I went to JB again this time with my family to send my BIL for the follow up. Somehow the doctor failed to show up and if my BIL didn’t have to go to JB anyway to pack up his stuff and move out, my long drive there would be for nothing. So that’s twice in a week I drove 600 kilometers to JB. Since it’s Ramadan and I don’t have much funds to enjoy ourselves we didn’t go anywhere much except to UTC to renew my wife’s driving license.

On the way back we stopped at Nilai 3 to buy myself and Adam our baju melayu for Raya. To be honest I don’t mind wearing the same old black baju melayu that I wore for the last two years but then, I thought it would be nice to have the same matching colours with my wife and kids again. We had dinner at the crowded Marrybrown outlet there and head home shortly after.


7 May 2016

I get to catch Ada Apa Dengan Cinta 2 with my wife over the weekend, the sequel to one of our favorite movie of all time. To be honest I'm not exactly all that excited to watch this but since my wife kept asking me to take her to see it I thought why not. For old times' sake. We caught the midnight show at IOI Mall in Puchong. It's been a while since managed to sneak out for a date just the two of us. My in laws were in town so they could look after the kids while we're out.

So how was the movie? Only so-so if you ask my honest opinion. It's a continuation from the first movie and explains how and why they got separated from the last scene at the airport. I didn't want to spoil it too much for you but suffice to say they head into their separate ways after that incident. Cinta had her own little art exhibition in Jakarta while Rangga opened a little café in New York apart from writing stuff (books and poetry I think). Cinta had actually moved on after being dumped by Rangga and got engaged with a decent, rich & young businessman. Only for Rangga to swoop in on the pretext of reuniting with his mother in Yogyakarta where they dated at the chicken church. Okay that's enough spoilers for you. To see how their story conclude go and buy their DVD at the stores :)

The first AADC was good enough on its own and if they've never made the sequel I'd be happy with it. This one lacks the romance, chemistry and the general sweet factor of the first movie. The first movie had a killer soundtrack while this one pales in comparison. Still it's a good night's date for us. No more sequels please.


5 May 2016

I've eaten a lot of ayam penyet in my life and they are one of my favorite food ever since I came to know of their existence. Some were really good, with the chicken tender and crispy and the sambal so spicy you got your tongue wagging by the time you finish. Many however are a travesty to fine Indonesian food, the chicken is regular fried chicken and the sambal bland and tasteless. So far you can't go wrong with Ayam Penyet AP although their restaurants are far and few in between now.

As good as Ayam Penyet AP is, it doesn't come close to Warung Leko in The Curve. There not only I had the most delicious ayam penyet ever, I also discovered the uber-delicious iga penyet which is basically soft juicy ribs combined with their super-spicy sambal. I mean I have a pretty good tolerance for spicy foods but theirs top the upper scale. You just have to try them for yourself and get lost in culinary heaven. Their ayam penyet is good but their iga penyet is out of this world. It's rather expensive at 18 ringgit per plate but it's worth every ringgit trust me.


10 April 2016

For long hiking trips across the country I would usually carpool with a fellow hiker. I don’t have a problem with driving my own car but since I only have one and my wife is using it for work and other errands, I couldn’t possibly leave her stranded without any mode of transportation. So carpool it is. I have been pretty lucky so far, had no problem getting people to offer me a ride in their cars. I would ask around a week in advance and book my place for the trip. I did the same for my Yong Belar trip but this time the driver has set the fare in advance. 50 ringgit for the return trip to Kampung Raja in Cameron Highlands. Normally we would discuss about payments during the trip or on the way back. There’s nothing wrong with that of course. It’s his car so he set the rules. Perhaps he had had a bad experience with his previous carpoolers or something who didn’t agree with the cost set. I wouldn’t know. As far as I know, we would just agree with any price set by the driver, no question asked. As long as they are reasonable of course. So far that had been the case.

My driver (ahem) picked me up at the Sungei Besi LRT station. In the car there’s already another fellow hiker who he picked up near his home in Kajang. I was notified in advance that there’s going to be 3 passengers at the back so like it or not we had to be cramped in the old Proton Perdana back seat for the duration of the 3 hours journey. Ideally I would have preferred more leg and arm room in the car. Realistically, beggars cannot be choosers. We could barely fit 44 people into enough cars for that trip so we had to accommodate everyone into all available cars. That means some cars would have to carry 4 passengers excluding the driver. Fine by me. As long as we get to our destination. If I can endure a 5 hours trip to Merapoh in a tiny Kancil before, this is nothing in comparison. I digress.

From Sungei Besi, we detoured to Pantai Dalam in KL since the driver had to pickup another passenger. This one happens to be his long lost school/college friend or something. From the beginning he was accorded special treatment from my driver. He was picked up right in front of his doorstep. Our other passenger was relegated to the backseat because the driver would like to chat with his long lost friend. I doubt he even pays anything for the trip. That’s his prerogative I know but already it sucks. From Pantai Dalam we finally made it to the Gombak LRT station. There we picked up the final passenger to make it 5 in the car.

My driver must be in a real hurry to reach Cameron cause he only stopped briefly once to fuel up and the second time to buy some drinks. Although I’ve had my dinner earlier that night, my tummy was grumbling again by 1:00 am that morning. I wished he would stop for supper at one of the R&R along the highway but to my disappointment he just kept on driving. I can’t remember a single trip where we didn’t stop for a drink or supper along the way so again I was kind of disappointed with my driver again.

Thankfully we reached Kampung Raja safe and sound. I didn’t have much sleep in the car. It was hard trying to sleep with all the chatter going on in the front seat (wish I had bring my earphones). Plus the fact that there’s too little leg room at the back. Nevermind that. At least he drove pretty fast and it’s only a 3 hours journey.

After the hike, we assembled again at SK Kampung Raja where we parked the car. Did I mention how we had to collect 2 ringgit each to pay for the parking fee? I mean we already paid 50 fricking ringgit for the ride and you just had to ask more money for the measly 10 ringgit parking? Ok maybe you’re just really poor. Fine. Anyway I managed to get into the middle pack of the hiking group on the way out. Still we didn’t get to the school’s parking lot until well after 9:00 PM. My driver and his best friend were from the leading pack so they were already cleaned up and ready to go. Unfortunately one other member of the car pool was in the last group that came out of the jungle. After finding out we had waited long for him to arrive, my friend here decided to skip shower altogether much to my horror. I actually coerced him to have a bath and clean up first be he insisted that we leave straight away. That’s how I end up sitting next to that stinkbomb for the 3 hours journey back.

As always my driver didn’t stop anywhere for dinner. He and his buddy already had dinner earlier in Kampung Raja but it never occurred to him that his fellow passengers are thirsty or starving after an exhausting day hike. It’s only after I asked him to stop to buy a drink that he stopped at one R&R. Before we leave Cameron that evening, he was quick to warn me that he’s not going to send me to my place. Yes he’s going to leave me at the same LRT station that he picked me up. He does in fact knows that the train doesn’t run anymore at 3 in the morning but that’s not his problem apparently. In the end I negotiated and asked him to leave me opposite of the Serdang commuter station instead. At least I can wait at a mamak there while my wife comes to pick me up. I know it is late it is entirely his prerogative whether to send me home or night. But we have this unwritten rule that if it’s late, the driver usually sends us right to our doorstep. He either had never heard of this rule or he’s just real selfish and unreasonable. I mean I had to bother my wife at 3 in the morning to pick me up.

What really pissed me of more is the fact that he readily and voluntarily send his best buddy right to his doorstep in Pantai Dalam. That’s a far longer detour than stopping by my place in PUJ. I know I barely know him in 2 days but that’s so fucked up man.

I don’t usually bitch about people I hardly know here but this guy totally deserve it. I know I might just be bitter but he’s kind of a jerk and riding in his car is one of the reason my hiking trip to Yong Belar suck a little more than usual. I know I shouldn’t demand a 5 star treatment when carpooling but the least any driver could do is be reasonable with his passengers. Surely that’s not too much to ask?