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Sunday, January 29, 2006

Whats with the smile?

Yeah.. what IS it with the smile?

Believe it or not, its just from a simple story I just read. I just finished writing the review for this book here but I still can't get the smile off my face! In fact, as of yesterday, I don't think this smile has ever left my face yet.. haha, similar to the smile I get whenever I see MBC, but I guess its even better!

Ahhh.. the joys and wonder of modern literature! A simple book can perk me up like nothing else, better than a movie can. But what they have in common, is a good story line that can tug me at my heart, thus driving all the blues away.. and thanx to Mama, for teaching me about the love of books!

Yet, not many people can understand that. My friends from my book club could understand, Mama could understand, my sister Izati could understand, arwah Tok would understand AND encourage it, my brothers Adi and Pojie could understand, my housemate kak Shima (can bring myself to call her ex-housemate yet).. and well, thats about that I guess..

And yes, some book DO have the power to make you cry ashamedly.. make you laugh out loud.. make you frightened and scared to your wits.. make you mad.. make you feel that the world is so unfair.. but also make you feel there is good out there in this crazy world. Still, with all those emotions, in the end, a good story would still make you smile, no matter what!

I guess that's why I love books.. and that's why, though yesterday I didn't feel like smiling, I'm enjoying this smile I've found today! Lets just hope I don't get lost in the fantasy of it all, but just have pleasure in a smile a simple book can bring to everyone! :-)

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Stupid, huh? I mean, ME la..

Whats with the title? Simple answer: ME!!!

I've been struggling for weeks with my fourth chapter for my thesis; the most critical one of the lot that has all my data and analysis as well as my discussions on them. No wonder every post-M.SC and post-PhD I know have warned me about this phase in the writing up.

My promise to Dr Wan to send it to him within 2-3 days have turned into 2-3 weeks and dangerously getting to the 2-3 months mark. But well, truth is, he's been bugging me about this chapter for so long that I've grown sick of it and have taken the cowards way of switching off my phone during office hours, just to avoid talking to him! I've even avoided going to the school on some days, especially since I realized I've grown tired of getting into this building EVERYDAY!

However, yesterday was nearing a breaking point. I still needed some refinements for my section on my third objective that would take around 2-3 days (Alamak! Why do I always use '2-3 days' with everyone??!!?) so I was banging away on the key-board and my trusted calculator with numbers and figures I've grown all-too-familiar with. Then kak Sue called me, laughingly and making a joke outta it that Dr Wan has been asking about me and all the sudden I felt this queer feeling at the pit of my stomach that, if I'm not careful, might end up into a looooooooooong and piercing scream! I wanted to tell everyone to leave me alone, shut their ******* mouths and stop pestering me! C'mon la, you don't think I'm purposely procrastinating, do you! Look, I wanna graduate okay, and I'm sick of this **** I'm going through so, bug off!

Know what I did? I promptly sent him my 3/4 finished chapter four! <-- stupid and hasty decision here!

As soon as I hit the send button, I was filled with this 'peaceful' feeling of knowing how annoyed he'd be at my indifferance! Nak sangat, amik la! Tak percaya sangat benda tu tak siap lagi kan.. It was a good thing that most parts of it was completed, the only thing missing were two tables and a few lines of discussion, that were without doubt, very important. But at the moment, I didn't care!

After sending the report to him, I switched off the pc and started to head home, with my mind replaying what I just did and mumbling, "Nak sangat!!" to myself repeatedly. However, just as I put the key in the ignition, shame and guilt came over me, along with hot tears that seemed to come out of no where. Bewildered and ashamed, I had to stop awhile to ponder upon this sudden outburst. However, the tears just didn't subside..

Still, I managed to wave at the guards as I passed through the gates of the campus but all the while my mind was filled with this self-pity feeling that has not made a visit in my head for a very long time!

I started to ponder on the fact that I've wasted nearly 4 years here with more than two years pursuing this d****** masters degree. All kinds of 'what-if's came through my mind. What if I had accepted the job(s) I was offered after I graduated? What if I had defied Abah and didn't even step my foot in this campus again? What if I didn't even study in USM after form five? What if I had went to UIA instead (and didn't send the appeal letter for USM) or MMU (course apentah, dah lupe!!)? What if I had applied for child psychology or TESL as my heart really wanted to do? What if I delibrately failed my SPM as I had once toyed with the idea after realizing that I won't have my own dreams anyway, since I HAD to 'dengar cakap orang tua'? What if.. what if..

I would have wallowed in this self-pity for much longer if another thought hadn't crept into my mind..

Everything happens for a reason!

I mean, all my 'what if's had an 'even if'.. Even if I did all those things, God has a way of undoing it all. He has a plan for me and THIS is His plan. My four years here is included in His plan and no matter what I did, I'd still be here for four years.. everything that has happened is included!

So I asked Him, WHAT is His plan for me? Why can't I understand it all? Why is it that I get frustrated each day? Why am I still here? What are all the reasons for everything that has happened?

Funny, I was suddenly calm..

I guess, deep inside me, I've always known that He has been with me all along. Even on the times when I feel so alone and on the times when I forget Him.. but, He never forgets me! How else could I have somehow, made it through? Even when I feel so hateful of myself and feel as if I can't go on, He's been there all along!

Reminds me of a story I once read about a man who dreamt about looking at the path of his life. He was looking at the beach and noticed some foot prints in the sand and that there was always two sets of footprints so he asked God, what was it. God told him it was the path of his life and the two sets of foot prints indicate the steps he took and Gods steps alongside him. However, at the lowest points of his life, he noticed only one set of footprints and this angered him as he thought God had abandoned him in his times of trial. However, God answered to him lovingly, "I have always been alongside you in every step in your life, but at the times when you were feeling at the lowest, it was then that I carried you!"

Haha, ok.. I'm not much of a storyteller, but I hope you get the point! Just as I understood.. again! I always forget this story, but I'm glad whenever I remember it again, as it feels like a lesson learnt again and again..

There and then, I prayed for His guidance. For Him to help me understand a bit more about what are His plans for me so I won't feel so low like I did. For the patience and humility that would help me go through everything.. and for Him to remind me now and then that He is with me! I really need this and to my friends out here, please pray for me too..

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

RM 40 je pun..

Yesterday, I didn't go to the school (C'mon la, I'm not playing truant here.. I'm not a school girl anymore, remember?!?!). Instead, I opted to stay at home and do some spring cleaning (more like post-winter cleaning kot?!?!) since my new housemates would be arriving any time now.

Anyway, I washed everything (just in case these newbies are allergic to cats.. ye la, Gebu punya bulu merata²!), sweeped, mopped, wiped bla.. bla.. bla.. Just when I was about to collapse in exhaustion, I took one look at my car and noticed, in horror, how dirty it was. Thinking back, the last time I washed it was.. errr, I can't even remember when! Another (unreasonable) excuse is because, the night before, when waiting for the traffic light, MBC was right behind me hehe.. Malu wooooo keter sangat kotor hehehe.. <--Ayu sangat teruk ahhh!

Now, I've always been reprimanded by kak Kathy for my lack of concern of the safety of my car whenever its my turn to park inside. I almost NEVER lock the car, feeling confident that the car is quite safe inside. However, since living alone, locking up my car has turned into a habit..

Before I proceeded to wash up my car, I noticed the a gap in the back window so I had to unlock the car first to close it.. basah plak kang keter saya, padahal nak basuh luar je! Anyway, I quickly started scrubbing the tyres before washing the whole car. I wanted to wash it twice since it was quite filthy but my neighbour came out and since I had rolled up my track bottom mid-calf and was wearing a short sleeved t-shirt, segan plakk ngan 'pak sheikh' tu hehe..

I quickly sprayed the car and practically ran back inside the house. Noticing how sweaty I was, I took a quick shower before performing my Asar prayers. After praying, while folding up my telekung, I peeked outside and noticed that the gate was wide open. I was a bit confused, being so sure the gate was closed while I was washing my car.. but knowing how clumsy I am, I just shrugged it off.

After a few minutes of getting ready, I went outside to start up the engine. I was suprised to see the light (whatchamacallit, yang indicate if your doors are shut or not tu!) inside the car. For a moment, I thought I had washed the car with the door still open but c'mon la, I'm not THAT clumsy, am I?

A quick look around convinced me that someone had 'trespassed' while I was bathing/praying! Ya Allah, my CDs were all over the car and contents of the container under the seats were scattered on the seats. Thankfully, my CD player was still intact but suddenly I remembered something.. mana RM 40 duit minyak yang saya letak jap dalam ash-tray tu ye?

Normally, I NEVER put money in there, but since I was planning to refuel my car and 4 loose RM10 notes were in my purse, I had placed them there the day before.. and as expected, they were gone! Uwaaaaaaaaaaaaa..

Alaaa.. RM 40 je.. yeah, I can hear a lot of you say that! Masalahnya, I'm BROKE!!! Really broke, since I don't get allowance for my masters anymore and I'm relying on my tuition pay that I'll only get next month. I only had that RM 40 for fuel to last until the 5th, and another RM35 for food to last till that day too.. Waaaa, I felt like crying while my mind quickly calculated on how I was going to survive the next 12 days with only RM35! One word to describe what my mind told me: BARELY!

Now I started regretting my habit of not locking up before I went inside the house. Though I had thought that I'd lost that habit, well, its now proven that I didn't really manage to shoo that habit away. I guess if I wasn't so broke, I wouldn't have minded, but in these circumstances..

Anyway, I told myself to 'redha' je.. maybe that person needed the money more than me and for a while, the thought calmed me down. Ye la, rezeki masing² kan..

But just now, I'm so certain that the 'person' had the nerve to come again! I was reading in my room when I noticed the sound of my gate. I barely caught a glimpse of someone slipping away from the compound of my home and for a second, I was overcome with rage at this tak-reti-bahasa-punya-orang.. tak insaf² lagi ke?

Still, it might be my fault for making my house a target since I seldom locked up before. Lets just hope that this person doesn't feel the need to come snooping around again before, unfortunately, he finally gets caught!

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

A 'broken' necklace..

I woke up this morning to the shrill sound of my alarm. Shoot! I wasn't ready to wake up yet, not when I feel so dreamy and sleepy, so I climbed outta my bed and hit the snooze button. Upon returning to my bed, I felt something slide down the back of my nightshirt, and for a split second, I was wide awake in horror that somehow a house lizard had climbed onto my back while I was asleep. Cautiously raking my hands through my tangled hair (I really think I should cut it, one of these days! Kucing pun bleh beranak in this mass of weeds I dare to call 'hair'!), I was relieved to NOT FIND any slimy creatures in it haha.. so I went blissfully back to sleep.

I finally woke up for my subuh prayers about 15 minutes later (haha, takde la lama sangat tido balik pun..). As usual, I'll brush my hair first before tying it up in a bun and go take my wudhu'. I noticed something hanging from my neck, and for a while, the image of an iguana's long tail came to my mind. Then I realized the colour of the so-called 'tail' was very familiar and all at once.. "MY NECKLACE!"

Clutching the chains of my necklace, I frantically searched around for the locket (the once I thought was the house lizard) and found it nestled between the sheets. Turns out that one chain of the necklace had bent until it broke (ganasnya pakai!!!) thus resulting in the not-really-a-neclace thingey I was holding in my hand. Looking at it, my mind (as usual) went back to the day I received this necklace..

Abah has never been the type to buy jewellery for the girls in his life. So I've lived my life happily without any rings or bracelets or necklaces or earrings (which btw, I don't need since I've never pierced my ears anyway) and so on. In fact, I get puzzled when my friends like comparing their 'golds' around and when they seemed suprised to now that I don't own any of it. I mean, duh, its just pieces of metal that can be found all around the world la..

When my 21st birthday (kononnya finally being an adult la tu..) came, I was suprised when my parents organized a small gathering of friends to celebrate my so-called freedom. I mean, all the while, it was always me who was enthusiastic enough to celebrate EVERYONEs birthday so my birthday was never really celebrated before. They bought Cosmart's Black Forest for me (Seriously, one of the best I've tasted.. Secret Recipe pun kalah!) and for the first time since I was 7, I had to blow out the candles again haha..

What suprised me was the gift Abah and Mama bought for me. Nope, it wasn't the keys to a fancy car or anything like that (we're not exactly well-to-do la), but it was the necklace that left me speechless. Why, some of you may ask. BECAUSE IT WAS NOT NORMAL!!!!

In fact, the first question that came outta my mouth was, "Zhulian ke?" that made Abah a bit hurt haha.. C'mon la, I've never had any of these, how was I to know the differance between a real one and a fake one!

At first, I didn't wear it, I mean, I DID hate it.. a bit la. Especially since I am so ticklish, the feeling of something on my neck was so 'depressing'! But when my parents kept asking me to just LEAVE it at where it should be, well, and since I didn't want them to feel hurt, I tried my best. It took me a long time to get used to wearing it but a few months later (more like a few years), it didn't bother me that much.

I remember once when I went for my facial (hahah.. once upon a time ago!), the kakak who was working on my face asked about my necklace. In fact, she called her friend to come look at it, but believe me, it's just a plain chain la.. sangat heran! I didn't, and still don't, know much about it so I just told her it was a gift. She smiled and said to me,"Sape yang bagi rantai ni kat adik, mesti sayang sangat kat adik!"

To tell you the truth, my parents weren't on good terms at that time and somehow, they always made it a point to make me feel guilty about this since I was seldom at home (tengah belajar kaaan!). At one point, I felt as if they didn't really love me as much as they loved the others since I was always scolded at the slightest thing. Truth is, I hated to see them fighting and since I was always on 'the other side' (with Mama, I was on Abah's side.. with Abah, I was on Mama's side), I guess they just got annoyed at me.

But what the kakak said had somehow made me understand that maybe, my parents were just hurt with what was happening and since I was not always around, then it was I who kept being in the middle of their rows! After that, I tried my best not to feel hurt too much, and try to understand both parties. Funnily, whenever I starting feeling down like that, my hand would automatically go to my necklace and my mind would try to remember what the kakak said.. haha, and to think that I once wanted to throw the necklace away!

See, I'm going all sentimental again :-)

But really, though it still bothers my neck, I love it.. my one and only piece of jewellery as a sign of freedom given by my loving parents!

Btw, how much does it cost to repair it, huh? Any ideas, anyone?

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Nasrin kate, "Doo-ree-yan Parrtyy!"

Eversince moving down to the post graduate room, I've been 'getting cozy' with this Iranian, Nasrin. She's a 33-year-old lecturer in her country and has come to further her studies here in Malaysia.

I admit, I started getting to know her from Yun. At first, I was a bit afraid of these foreigners.. not really afraid la.. more like a bit shy, which btw is how I am with ANY strangers. Somehow, Yun needed help in translating some words for Nasrin so naturally, she'd come to me for help ("Translator aku", kata Yun! Hehe..), thus making me acquainted with Nasrin too.

At first, we were only on the 'Hi-here-Hi-there' basis but it all started with my craving for tosei masala from kedai Nuar. Since I was really 'hungry' for my dose of this special tosei, I asked Yun to accompany me to kedai Nuar for a serving of this delicious dish. Yun, being the friendly her asked Nasrin to join us and so we went for a late night snack.

Nasrin proved to be great company when it comes to food. She's all willing to try out any 'strange' (in her eyes la..) food that we talk about and that night, she tried my favourite tosei masala. Though she found it a bit hot to her taste (when I didn't feel that it was the least spicy), she enjoyed it thoroughly, claiming that tosei is one of the staple food in Iran, which they call with a different name. The sour taste of tosei is the same as her apentahnamabendatu but the added ingredients that went between the sheets of the tosei were what enticed her tastebuds.

After that, there was no stopping us. We taught her how to eat nasik lauk at Pak Ngah, while Yun introduced her to Yun's favourite Nescafe O Ais Tarik. We let her experience the taste of Ikan Keli bakar and Char Koay Teow and she was ever so willing to try everything we wanted to give her. Our 'air nyiur' is now her favourite drink as she says that Iran does not have any coconut trees. A bit funny when you think of how we've all grown up surrounded by these trees.

This morning, I took her to Kulim to savour some nasik ayam. We went to Nasik Ayam Periuk Besar with Remy, Pojie, Rini and Farah. I was delighted when she really enjoyed the lunch (she chose the nasik ayam dot my, as the rest of us, while Yun decided to get the nasik ayam panggang and Pojie, the nasik ayam madu) there. Berbaloi la drive dekat 50km tuh hehe..

On the way back, we decided to give Nasrin the taste of our King of Fruits, so we stopped halfway through the journey back to buy some durians and told her we were having a Kenduri Durian specially for her.

Our durian party started at 10.30pm since I had a class from 8.00 to 10.00pm. She came all dressed up in pink (Remy pekena dia suh pakai lawa²) and gathered around at the side of our school. Remy was the self-appointed durian 'kupas'er while all of us waited in anticipation. I was wondering, when will Nasrin complain about the smell of durian, but she never said a word.

Imagine my suprise when she excitedly told us that the durians were delicious! Hah! Never thought I'd live to hear a foreigner say that to me, but I did. In fact, she said the smell wasn't even bad and proceeded to eat, at my estimation, a whole durian! She kept waiting for more durians to be opened up because she wanted to taste them all, especially when we told her, not all durians taste the same!

Made me feel a bit ashamed when I remember that it took me 17 years to finally eat durians. Tu pun sebab kene pakse, kalau tak, I might have never wanted to taste the 'smelly' fruit, whose aroma is now one of my favourites (but not when you've had durians in your car, and the smells seems to wanna stay in your car for weeks--> this smell, I stil hate!). Quite ironic when you consider the fact that both sets of my grandparents have HUGE orchards and Abah himself has a few pieces of land for these tropical fruit he loves to plant around!

When I told Nasrin about my dislike for durians before, she laughed as she said she couldn't imagine anyone hating durians.. and that's some thing I'm proud to hear from her since she admits to being quite picky before surrendering to our attempts to teach her about our local food (and fruits!). Now, she can't even eat anything that is not spicy enough!

Well, Nasrin really enjoyed her 'durian experience' but to tell you the truth, I think the rest of us enjoyed it more! There are no words that could explain the proud feeling you get when people love something about Malaysia, where in this case, is the food.

Hmmm.. wonder where can I get some good Rendang Tok with lemang jagung?

Friday, January 13, 2006

Going home..

Eversince my family moved back to Sg Ara, I've never stayed there for the night. My reasons where mostly because of my still-unfinished-thesis but the real reason is that I'm afraid it won't feel the same anymore. So my simple solution was to avoid going there.

However, for AidilAdha, I didn't have much choice since my family decided to celebrate raya over in Penang so come Monday, I knew it was time for me to face my past..

I arrived in Penang a bit late as I was delayed by the unexpected 'meeting' with Abah, Umi and Annisa at Carrefour where I was shopping for the checkered cake Mama loved. Annisa is already 9 months old and she's not frightened of me anymore. I'd like to say that we bonded there and then but haha, whats to expect from an eager 25-year-old sister with her 9-month-old stepsister! I nearly forgot that its by this age that babies start to accept not-so-familiar faces, thus explaining her ba-ba-ba-ing with me, as if she wanted to tell me everything that captures her attention. Truth is, I've been thinking of her the past few days so meeting her was really a pleasant suprise for me.

Anyway, thats a totally different story..

I almost couldn't recognize the sight that greeted me when I arrived home. Gone was the 'tropical jungle' I've been accustomed to for the past two years but in its place, still, wasn't the typically-Abah type of garden I grew up with. Still, the sight was better than ever! I could even see the fish pond that had been lost from view before (macam kata Salimin, "Haaa, ade kolam ikan ke kat situ, kak Ayu?" when I took them there a couple of weeks ago, before the transformation)

The house was noisy with the voices of Mama, Adi, Ikram, Izati and Iskandar as well as the sound of the workmen doing their job to make the place 'livable'. The termite infested sink cabinet was gone while they replaced it with a simple sink and the crumbles-to-touch kitchen door was also replaced with a more solid one. Yup, the place doesn't really look as it should yet, but the feeling of coming home was just right!

Its not that when I entered the house, the so-called waves of memories came over me, in fact, I don't think that even a splash of it was there. But somehow, there was this strange feeling of hope.. Mama looked more happy than ever while my siblings looked as if we had never left the place.

We spent the rest of the day together, just like in the old days.. or maybe even better! Went to pick up Ikram's friend, Sofi before heading to Giant to buy the raya supplies. Then we went to have dinner before going back home and all the while, each and every one of us was smiling.

That night, I slept a peaceful sleep. Well, not really in my old bed since my room was still in a bad condition and has not been repaired yet.. but at least I was sleeping in the same house I grew up. The very house that protected me in my sleep for 11 years before I headed off to study and the same house I came back to whenever I wanted to! And yes, with the people I love with all my heart, though I never really tell them that..

The next couple of days saw us going back to all the places we had be so used to that we took them for granted. I guess now we appreciate these places even more, even marvelling at how much our small town had grown.

When I had to go back to Transkerian, I felt the familiar tug at my heart whenever I left the house. I smiled, knowing that nothing has really changed and that now, we're all finally back home.. right where we belong!

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Lonely?

Confusions! Confusions! Sometimes I feel as if I dunno what I want.. yet there are times I'm so sure of it that I'm so afraid I won't get it.. what AM I rambling about here?

And yeah.. suddenly I'm remembering what Pojie and Jida said about me.. 'You are lonely!'

Yeah, I might have shrugged it off then.. Heck, I might have laughed at it, especially when Jida expressed it as the indecent-type of loneliness that made me feel torn between amused (99.9%) and offended (0.1%) hahah.. but Jida kaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaan!! Hahah.. no offense there, friend..

But well, at times I DO feel lonely, specifically when with friends who are.. well, not as lonely as I am haha.. Now I don't think I'm making sense here!

I mean, just because I'm lonely, doesn't mean I'm desperate, right? It doesn't mean I'll take anyone who asks first haha.. tu macam sangat teruk la! Ok, I'm not going on and on about this lonely issue when I'm dealing with something else here, but still, maybe there is a connection between them, huh?

I guess I am lonely, and to make matters worse, I don't trust people as much as I'd like to. In the end, I hurt people who have good intentions and who are really sincere. Which somehow brings me back to square one and makes me end up alone.. still being all lonely huh? I don't know what to do! At times I'm afraid people are just taking advantage of my loneliness.. and yeah, I know, that proves how paranoid I am.. so its still my fault, huh?

God, help me.. please!

I don't think I'm making sense..

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Big, big world..

Emilia - Big Big World

*Chorus*
I'm a big big girl
In a big big world
It's not a big big thing if u leave me
But I do do feel
That I do do will
Miss u much
Miss u much

*V1*
I can see the first leaves falling
It's all yellow and nice
It's so very cold outside
Like the way I'm feeling inside

*Chorus*
I'm a big big girl
In a big big world
It's not a big big thing if u leave me
But I do do feel
That I do do will
Miss u much
Miss u much

*V2*
Outside it's no raining
And tears are falling from my eyes
Why did it have to happen
Why did it all have to end

*Chorus*
I'm a big big girlIn a big big world
It's not a big big thing if u leave me
But I do do feel
That I do do will
Miss u much
Miss u much

*V3*
I have your arms around me
Warm like fire
But when I open my eyes......
Your gone

*Chorus*
I'm a big big girl
In a big big world
It's not a big big thing if u leave me
But I do do feel
That I do do will
Miss u much
Miss u much

*Repeat Chorus*
I'm a big big girl
In a big big world
It's not a big big thing
If u leave me
But I do Feel I will
Miss u much
miss u much

I've been listening to this song for a couple of days now and somehow, I'm still not bored of it. Lets just say, its the song of my life right now..

These past few days have seen me thinking a lot about IM. I guess, the current things happening to me now has somehow triggered these memories I thought I had buried eversince I realized of the existance of MBC.

I know, I still miss him..

I talked to his mother a couple of days ago. We talked about a lot of things, about their new grandson (she even handed the phone to the eldest dear boy who started talking incoherently with childhood excitement), about pak cik, about raya, about my family.. and just when I said goodbye, she stopped me and told me a bit about IM. She told me about him working with another company (which I somehow already knew when listening to kak Julie and kak Shima talking a few weeks ago).

As usual, whenever she talked about him, I'd be left speechless.. though part of me wanted to know everything about him, there's this bigger part who doesn't want to have anything to do with him now. I'm a big girl now, I don't need to cling on to memories which I thought made me happy, when in reality, just made me more hurt than ever.

I've also received a few 'talking-to' s from friends and one of my 'wittle bwothers' about letting go. Though I feel I have, I guess my friends feel differently and who knows, maybe they ARE right..

But.. I want to let go and I want to move on.. and I know, my friends are all beside me.. thank you, guys!

In the meantime, I'll listen to this song a few more times lagi.. :-)

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

I'd rather talk to a human being, thank you very much!

I just got off the phone with the Bonuslink officer and it was, to put it in one word, EXASPERATING!!!

Gosh! I never knew it was so hard to TALK TO A HUMAN BEING. Erkk.. ok², I'm not starting my new year off with a positive tone by being patient here but still.. My patience was really being put to a test in those few minutes.

Let me elaborate (memang suka elaborate puuuunnn hehe..). I've been using my Bonuslink card eversince I started using my car.. and yes, I know some of you are saying, "Hadiah dia bukan bes pun!" but it was out of pure excitement of finally being 'eligible' to buy petrol AND gain some so-called points that I applied for the card and I've been using it eversince.. especially since I buy petrol every week, love the Secret Recipe and buy my skincare products (which cost a hand and a foot according to 'my' budget --> orang lain maybe rasa murah but to me and my student expanses, its quite.. errr, staggering.. but hey, its the only thing that works for me!) at Parkson!

Anyway, I found out that my points were expiring in the next few weeks so I thought to redeem some items I might want to use. After going through the website and choosing the item I wanted to get, I quickly clicked on the 'redeem' option on the screen. It was then that I realized I hadn't updated my address and it was still using the old one. Unfortunately, you couldn't change the address online and you had to call their member services hotline.

Well, that wasn't really a problem, I thought. Just a phone call away.. so I started dialing the given number.

Okay, first thing's first. I DID expect to hear the recorded message at first, asking for the language option ( 1 for english, 2 for malay) But then, it asked about my purpose af call with 5 options in all and so I chose membership information. From the membership information came another 3 options for apentah and from THAT came another 2 options for apentahjugak. Getting a bit impatient, I chose the option closest to 'changing your address' and that was the 'card application information'. I mean, the others were for basic imformation of the service la, application for replacement card la ape la.. But it turned out, that option I chose was only for applications of new cards or supplementary cards.

That's okay I thought, I'd just start again.. and ended in another different but similiar spot. By the end of 15 minutes, I had already tried so many options, I was kind'a fuming a bit (tapi control la jugak sebab tengah sembang ngan Husnul pasal tuition masa tu). All in all, I had called the 'Member Services Hotline' for around 7 times BUT with no sign of getting closer to changing my address. In fact, I was suprised they didn't have an option for 'talk to our representative'!

Throughtout those calls, I've had kak Win laughing at me, seeing how exasperated I had become and Ramadhan making a suprised face, as if selama ni dia ingat I'm a saint ka apa ka, yang tak penah hilang sabar haha..

I was on the verge of giving up when somehow, my mind told me to go to this option for 'Introduction to the Bonuslink Service' (and believe me, it took me a long time to go there!). Somehow, I was patient enough to listen to their 2-minute introduction, though it sounded more like 10 minutes. Only AFTER the introduction was the option to talk to their representative which thankfully is a HUMAN BEING and not the annoying recorded voice I was hearing for the past half an hour! Err, okay, maybe tak la sampai half an hour kot..

Good Lord! Susahnya nak cakap ngan a PERSON! I thought these recorded messages were for our conveniences but somehow, dah terbalik plak jadinya! Sabo je le..

And to top it off, I was laughingly telling the person,"Susahnya nak call" and I got a curt, "Habis tu, nak saya buat apa?". For God's sake, I was trying to calm myself la, not to spill my anger at you and trying to laugh and you boleh cakap kat me macam tu??!!? Ignoring her irritating tone (kan ke I'm the one whose supposed to be irritated?), I put a smile in my voice (bleh ape put a smile in your voice so you'd sound chirpy and all that) and proceeded with my purpose of the call. After a while, the representative pun gelak² jugak but still, tak boleh ke tone tu baik sikit masa awal² tadi? I mean, maybe dia takut I was going to 'pounce' on her ke ape ke, tu yang dia cakap macam tu siap² but please la..

Hehe, okay, maybe I'm over reacting kot.. But well, at least dah tukar alamat! Hope I never have to change the address again for a very long time :-)

P/S
Reminds me of yesterday when I emailed this company about something and they promptly called me clarifying the situation.. and very cheery la diorang that it was infectious! The both of us must have laughed quite a bit and put the phone down with a smile on our faces.. thats what I call customer service!

P/S 2
Why do I suddenly feel as if I'm such a complainer?

Sunday, January 01, 2006

..and a Happy New Year!!

Wow! A new year already.. it feels like we just celebrated the 1st of January 2005 and now we're facing the 1st of January 2006. Time sure flies.

Maybe most of us make up resolutions which, more often than not, we don't really keep haha.. but at least we try, ye dak? I don't remember any resolutions made during the new year. Heck! I don't even think I ever made one, anyway.. but still, I guess I've grown a lot during this year. Klau tak banyak pun, I'm sure ade jugak sikit..

Lets see, 1st January 2005 saw a girl who was konon² determined to hand in her dissertation during the year (this is an on-going resolution, bukan new year punya) and who everyday resolves to be more hardworking and concentrate more on her thesis BUT who deep inside, doesn't really think she would EVER submit the darn thing hahah.. sangat teruk la this girl! Can't even imagine the DAY she's handover the finished thesis, and believe me, tu dalam dia ada very vivid imagination that she tends to get carried away sometimes!

But come this day, she's someone who's working at her dissertation as if there's no tomorrow haha.. Ok la, tipu sebab sempat lagi tulis dalam blog ni but this is a HUGE leap from the girl (errr, girl lagi ke?) seen earlier in the year. And this time, I really hope to be able to send this %#&*% report in the next couple of weeks.

The earlier part of this year also saw a still-broken-hearted girl who kept clinging on to the past. Quite pathetic if you ask me, though she might not admit it in the first place! Never even allowed herself a tiny crush since she kept crossing her fingers, hoping things would finally go her way. But hey, through the months, her outlook gradually changed and she no longer pondered much on the 'issue'. She even started to let herself 'appreciate' other guys, eventhough she was still comparing them with IM.

But what do you know? She now has an MBC and though it might sound silly to some (ye la, umoq 25 pun nak main crush² lagi ka?), it has brought some hugh sighs of relief from some of her friends who thought she'd never get over IM. I guess, IM has already started to look like yesterday's news to her! Btw, I saw him (MBC la, not IM!) just now when I got out of my car. I noticed his car from afar but it was too late to hide back in my car so I pretended to be so absorbed in a CD I was holding (w/pun sebenaqnya dalan hati: Nak tengok.. nak tengok! Haha..)

Another change I'm glad of is because, she's back to her home sweet home when her mother decided to go back home a couple of weeks ago! Yippee! Though it'll take a very long time to turn the place back into 'home', but we'll wait. Now she no longer feels like a nomad, with no permanenet address haha..

And hey, did I forget to mention that she's lost nearly half of the weight I she gained last year? Not much la kot, unless she losses all of what she gain (and some more perharps) but still, its an accomplishment, right? A really welcomed change with hopes to lose more here..

But there are also unwelcomed changes. For example, this year will signify a new phase in her life. Tak dak la phase besaq sangat pun, but for the past two-and-a-half years, she's been so used to being the youngest in the house. Now, she's somehow going to be the one responsible for it. Bukan la tanak responsible, but I was more carefree sebelum ni since the 'older sisters' were the ones who took care of the bills la, duit umah la..

Saying goodbye to two GREAT 'sisters' was hard enough, but welcoming two new housemates (which btw, makes me the middle one, now!) is something new. I'm going to have to learn to be more responsible and shed my clumsiness. And, I'm going to have to learn to adapt to new people.. my fingers are crossed! And yes, when will I stop referring myself as the third person haaa?

Opss, nearly forgot! I've said goodbye three times this year. The other two was to my colleagues from the Trip Generation Phase III group (kak Ana, Nomi, Nazek, Fawid, Hadi..) whose contract ended in August and colleagues from the Malaysian Highway Capacity Manual Stage I group (kak Sue, kak Bibah, Zul, Hasrul, Faezah) whose contract ended yesterday. The new year is surely going to be sooooo different since I've been with these guys eversince April 2002!

But well, changes are inevitable and thats life! I hope this new year brings much more, not only to me and my family, but to everyone out there. I hope we'd appreciate the little things in life that makes it more meaningful and may all of us recognize all the blessing in disguise before we start resenting everything.. and may, in the end, we emerge a better person!

Hmmm.. wonder what's in store for 2006?