Sunday, April 29, 2007

Stumped?

I was at the neighbourhood bakery just now to get something for breakfast tomorrow and I settled for a raisin swiss roll. While one of the sales assistant was slicing up the roll for me, I heard the cashier, a young lady, saying, “Fai tee.” (Cantonese for ‘faster’). I then walked over to the other corner of the shop to look at some of the other buns and muffins and back to the counter. Again, I heard the cashier said “fai tee”. I smiled and said in Cantonese, “mo siong kon. marn marn lei” (it’s ok, take your time) as I thought she was hurrying the assistant who was looking for a small box to pack the roll. Ms Cashier then gave me a funny look and pointed to the display bar on the cash register which read RM5.50 and repeated what I still took to be “fai tee” .

I took a good 10 seconds before it struck me that she had, for the past few minutes been trying to collect RM5.50 from me for my order. Only then did I realized that she had said, “fai fi tee” (it’s FIVE FIFTY, for heaven’s sake) and all the while I had thought she was hurrying her co-worker.

I did not laugh because I did not find it funny at all. There were just too many times I was stumped by what the young cashiers were trying to say when I checked out at the counter. Do you think this has anything to do with our education policy or the way English is taught in schools today? And I am not even going to talk about some atrociously written letters and reports I had the misfortune of reading. Help! Help!

P.S. Yours truly will be away for a few days. Here's wishing all my friends here a Happy Labour Day and a Blessed Wesak.
 
posted by nyonyapenang at 5:05 PM, | 32 comments
Wednesday, April 25, 2007

I Am Flabbergasted

A couple of weeks back, I came across a notice in the newspapers calling for owners/carriers of ‘old’ toll-payment cards to get the cards replaced. According to the notice, the first generation cards issued have a lifespan of 10 years and are due to expire in May 2007. I quickly checked my card but nowhere was it printed the expiry date unlike that you see on credit cards. All I can see was a serial number and an old seven-digit telephone number.
Then a couple of days ago, I passed a toll booth and then decided to turn in to the Customer Service office to get my card replaced.

Me : Hi, Good afternoon. I’d like to replace this card.

The Customer Service executive took my card , slot it into a reader, took it out and handed it back to me and then told me that I do not need to replace it.

Me : Why? I read the notice in the papers.
CS : Yours not due yet…due only in 2008. You continue to use until it expire.
Me : Oh. How would I know and remember when?
CS : Ah…..when it expire, you’ll not be able to pass through lar.
Me : Aiyoh…Lidat sure kena marah teruk should I be stuck there and holding up traffic.
Me : Since I am here now, you upgrade for me please.
CS : Then you have to pay RM10.
Me : Wahhhh……

**********************************************************************************

I went to the telecommunictions office to do some transfer/change of name for the phone line. Filled up one simple form, paid some money and it was done. Then I told them to transfer the broadband account too.

CS : Cannot transfer lidat. You have to cancel the first account and reapply.
Me : Okie, let me sign the forms now.
CS : It takes 3 days to cancel and another few days for the new line to be activated.
All in you will not have internet access for about 7 days.
Me : SEVEN DAYS!!!!!!! 7 HARI!!!!!!! WHY????? I thought do some paperwork only!
CS : This IS the process.
Me : Okie. No need to transfer.


The above 2 incidents left me flabbergasted. What funny systems they have there.
 
posted by nyonyapenang at 5:16 PM, | 40 comments
Sunday, April 22, 2007

Out With The Old

I just finished clearing my cupboards and drawers and once again, my things looked neat and organized, for the next couple of months, that is.

Eventhough I am not a compulsive buyer and hoarder, somehow or other, after every few months or so, the contents of the cupboards threatened to fall all over me each time I open the doors and the drawers either refuse to open upon pulling or I just can’t get it to close after that. As I do not fancy finding myself lying under a toppled cupboard or having a drawer dropped on my feet one of these days, I decided to forgo some blogging time and get over this ‘not-favourite-chore’ of mine.

1/ Clothes
I now have 3 big bags of clothes to be sent over to a relative’s place, and she will then kindly help to send over to her church.
The clothes, some are mine and some are my kids’. As I sorted out the pieces, I just cannot believe that I own some of the pieces. Aw….common, there are those tiny ones, a few I cannot even recognize and a few others that I don’t remember buying and wearing at all! Can they actually be mine???? I must have looked anorexic then, to be able to fit into those scraps of cloth. Then of course, there are others that made me gasped in disbelief that I bought them at all. These are pieces that are actually one size too big and I quickly put them into the bag to be given away….errmm…I definitely do not want to grow and fit into them. No thank you.

2/ Handbags/Carry-Alls
Just 2 cheap pieces to be discarded. Nah…not suitable to be given away. Those were the days when I used to buy more expensive handbags and when I get a new one, the old one would go into the deep end of the cupboard. It’s not that they are LV or Coach or Prada or whatever, but I just don’t know what to do with them. I don’t go around giving used handbags to friends…this would be social suicide. So I keep and keep and keep until one fine day, my relative asked if I have some used items to donate for a charity sale and I was more than pleased to send over 6 pieces, all lovingly cleaned and polished to shine.
Now, I no longer invest in those expensive bags. I buy whatever brandless bags I fancy and I discard them once I feel they have reached their lifespan and I get new pieces ever so often. This suits me just fine.

3/ Papers/Brochures/Mails
My, oh my, the drawers looked as if it had been ransacked by a burglar….pieces of colourful paper and brochures, half-opened envelopes, reminders and notices, carelessly-folded bills, dog-eared paperbacks, magazines, expired Astro Guides, corporate annual reports, free premium items (keychains, ballpoint pens, pencils, stickers, coasters, etc), scissors, rolls of tapes, colourful ribbons, sticks of multi-coloured markers..etc..etc.. all over and on top of each other. **roll eyes** How did it get to this state? Nevermind. I pulled out the drawers one by one, overturned it and opened one huge garbage bag and I have to work fast. Decide fast what goes back into the drawer and the rest into the garbage bag. Mull a bit too long, and the drawer fills up again….you’d believe that every other piece would turn out useful one day. A case of junk turning into gold?

I dunno lar, I just cannot stand clutter and when I am in the cleaning and clearing mode, that’s it…out with old with more space for the new. I feel good.
 
posted by nyonyapenang at 4:51 PM, | 30 comments
Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Nothing To Worry About

As ‘supposedly’ disciplined as I am with the visits to my dentist and doctor for my routine check-ups and screenings, this cannot be said of my visits to the beautician or esthetician or whatever you call them. Those were the days when I was quite regular, as in I visited them at least…. at least four times a year but the last of my visits, I cannot even recall now. It was that lonnnng ago. It’s not that I dislike pampering but I find it too time consuming and often times, after an hour and a half or so at the salon, I’d head straight home, climb onto the bed and go to snoozeland and my whole afternoon would be gone just like that. **tsk..tsk..tsk..**

So, a couple of Sundays ago, I drove around the Uptown area in PJ and my goodness, there were just so many beauty salons, slimming centres, spas and what-have-you. I parked my car and walked up to one and rang the doorbell. A young lady hurried out to open the door and I told her that I am interested to do a facial.

Young Lady : Soli, we go by appointments oni.
Me : Oh, I see. Thank you and bye-bye.

I drove around again and then eyed an inconspicuous outlet. Rang the doorbell and this time, I was in luck. They do take walk-ins and I was quickly ushered to one of the small cubicles and without further ado, the beautician got down to work on my grimy face. After an hour or so, I came out with a much cleaner and brighter face. Gua suka…. Price? Less than RM100... mmmm...reasonable enough. I was impressed; more so that they did not ‘motivate’ me to buy their whole range of skin care products. I went back for a couple more times after that and last weekend, after I was done, the lady boss offered ‘consultation’ over some warm teas. I was actually feeling very sleepy already and was dying to go home and hug my pillow, but she said it will take only 15 minutes or so. OKie, let’s get over with it.

She started by telling what other treatments the salon offers and the benefits and I thought she specifically highlighted some glowing testimonies too, and bla…bla…bla.…..Just too bad, at that moment, my brain was almost in the sleeping mode and therefore I was not fully concentrating on what she was saying at all…..bla…bla…and more bla… as she droned on. Hey! Wait a minute, I thought I heard her mentioning something like RM4200. In an instant, I awoke from my reverie…took another gulp of my now cold tea, my eyes wide open. She must have noticed the incredulous look on my face because she quickly gave a light tap on my hand and said something like not to worry and that the amount can be paid by a painless zero-interest instalment scheme and all I needed to do was to flick out my credit card and sign on the dotted line. To fork out RM4200 for some dunno-what-you-call-it-treatments and she told me not to worry! Hahahah….I took another gulp of the tea and quickly regained my composure and told her that this is some big-bucks we are talking here and I need to consult my financial planner first, said my ‘thank you’ and bade lady boss bye-bye.

Wuah….facials/beauty treatments now cost an arm and a leg and they have all these ingenious credit schemes to help you pay them in advance. Sorry, I am totally blur in this….I must have been really out of the loop for a long, long time already. As I don’t have the money to throw this way, I guess lady boss was right to a point - there is actually nothing to worry about.
 
posted by nyonyapenang at 5:04 PM, | 27 comments
Sunday, April 15, 2007

Until Next Year, Doc!

These 3 items, I jot into my diary beginning of each year to remind me:-
1/ Dental Visit 2X
2/ O & G Visit
3/ Medical Check-Up/Physical Examination

I am very compliant with the first 2 items; no ‘ifs’ and no ‘buts’ and I just take it in my stride and go through with it. I have decided long ago that I want to keep my chompers for as long as possible and therefore, have been a regular contributor to my dentist’s bank account and I also contribute a fair bit on behalf of my 2 boys too. So, the word ‘toothache’ does not appear in their vocabulary.

As for the O & G visits, I have been told and made to understand that there are no two ways about it. Many instances of pre-cancerous growths have been detected through screenings and tests and appropriate treatment given in time to save lives. So, I comply and go for my appointment without a squeak.

“ANNUAL MEDICAL CHECK-UP/PHYSICAL EXAMINATION’
Arrrrhhh….seeing this line boldly printed in my diary…..this is enough to trigger me to go into my “Excuses’ mode. I just don’t know why but somehow, I’d delay picking up the phone to call the doctor for my appointment. It’s always, “OK, tomorrow…tomorrow I’ll call…” and there’s always a tomorrow. **sighsss** It’s not that I can’t find the time or I can’t find the money or I hate needles or whatever. It is more like I fear to know the results of the tests. What is this? Want to do the tests and yet afraid to know the results? Silly me.

So I woke up one fine morning last week, skipped my breakfast, showered and went straight to the hospital. The tests were all done within 2 hours and by then, I was so hungry I could eat a horse. As I walked out of the clinic and passed a cozy café, I spied some sinful tiramisu and …mmmm ….”I must have it…I must have it”, I heard the little voice within me and I obediently indulged myself. mmmmmm....it's soooooo lips-smacking good!

Two days after that, I went back to see my doctor for the test results and consultation. Eeeeyerrr….this, I dislike and fear the most…so afraid of what would turn up. As always, a 10 to 15-minutes wait at the doctor’s waiting room seems like an eternity and I’d be flipping through those outdated and dog-eared magazines and shifting uncomfortably on my seat until I heard my name called. “Ms Tan..” and I almost jumped. Took a deep breath and walked right in. The doctor and I greeted each other and he remarked how cold my hands felt and I laughed nervously. We chatted for a while to put me at ease and we went through the paces and the results. Yippeee……Results all in order. To repeat tests next year. Yippeee….I wanna hug and kiss my doctor but I restrained myself. A handshake will suffice. "Until next year, Doc."

As I walked out of the clinic and passed that cozy café again, this time I saw some freshly-delivered carrot cake and I decided to reward myself for being a good nyonya.



mmmmm…..it’s yummlicious……mmmmm....it’s heavenly…..

Yes, until next year, Doc!
 
posted by nyonyapenang at 6:09 PM, | 40 comments
Wednesday, April 11, 2007

My RM1 Bus Ride




I took a lift from my colleague downtown yesterday and for my journey back to PJ, I decided to use public transport. Ya, I rode on the Monorial to KL Sentral and then hopped on Putra LRT. I got off at the Asia Jaya Station and thought of taking a cab back to my office to get my car.

**sighsss** none of the cabs I hailed was interested in my fare. I then walked towards a parked Rapid Bus and asked the driver if there is any bus I can take to my office. Ahhh…I was in luck…there is a bus that goes the route to my office and guess what, it stops right in front too. The driver then told me to wait at the bus-stop a few metres down the road and within minutes, the bus no. 629 arrived. I boarded and paid the fair of RM1 and was issued a ticket but I saw a few others just flashed their ticket and walked right in. Curious, I went to sit next to a young lady and asked her if she bought her ticket somewhere else. She told me she bought the ticket in the morning and had been using it for the whole day already. **scratching my head**….I asked her further but I had a little trouble picking up what she had to say in her heavily-accented English. I guessed she must be a foreigner.

A middle-aged man sitting across from us overheard our conversation and he offered to explain to me how the ticketing works. Apparently, you pay only RM1 for a day ticket and you can ride as many trips as you want and if you have many, many places to go to, then you buy a RM7 ticket that allows you unlimited rides on the LRT and connecting Rapid buses. Ooohh…this is something new to me and it sounds so fantastic. So, throughout the bus ride, I was chatting with the young lady and the gentleman and they sure know their buses well. I went, “Oh, I see.” “Oh…I never know it’s like this,” “Wah….so efficient and so cheap ar?” “Wow….that’s new to me.” and …”bla..bla..bla…”

As the bus was about to reach my stop, I thanked both of them and just in passing, asked the lady which country she comes from and she said she is an Iraqian. I see, I see. I must have sounded like a big time suakoo or country bumpkin or something with my earlier questions and exclamations because the gentleman quickly shot me a question, “You from where ar? China ar?”

HAHAHAHA…… Adoi gua so maluuuuu…..:P

 
posted by nyonyapenang at 12:25 AM, | 43 comments
Monday, April 09, 2007

Let's Do It Again Next Year!

Dear Son,

You surprised me yesterday when you suggested that we go for a steamboat dinner. I was surprised because I know to you and kid brother, having steamboat means a hot and an uncomfortable affair which can stretch on for hours and this is definitely not your favourite feeding style. To you, a simple finger-licking-good nasi kandar dinner is always tops but yesterday, you decided to indulge momma.

So a steamboat dinner it was. We piled the table with plates of seafood, meats, tofus, eggs, noodles, seaweeds and loads of vegetables and then cooked them in the pot of boiling stock. We ate, we chatted and we sweated and we ate some more, we chatted some more and we sweated even more.

I tell you son, I enjoyed this dinner very much….it somehow tasted good but NO compliments to the chef in the kitchen. I believe it tasted so divine because this is the first birthday dinner you bought for momma. You and kid brother are big boys now and momma is so proud of both of you. It brought a tear to my eye, son, as I wished God had granted me this privilege too, to buy my momma a birthday meal. And I am so happy that I am able to share and enjoy this with both of you. Let momma say thank you and repeat what momma said in the car, “Let’s do it again next year!”

Your response, “Sure, and many, many more to come.” Awww….you are sweet and I love both of you to pieces.


Luv,
momma
 
posted by nyonyapenang at 1:15 AM, | 33 comments
Wednesday, April 04, 2007

I Wanna Cry WAAAAAA......

Beginning of each year, like clockwork, the forms will arrive and I will treat it with utmost importance…quickly put it into my drawer and lock it up safely, lest I chuck it away together with the other junk mail. As and when I am free and think that I am in the mood for something else besides…besides…err…er… blogging, I’ll take out the forms and will attempt to fill it up but on many occasions, one look at it would trigger a migraine attack that would knock me out for hours. And many times too, something more interesting would come up….a call from a friend to go for an ice-cream binge; or a movie I wanna catch on the box; or oh dear, I have to finish the book which I had promised to return the previous week etc…etc… and the forms would then be returned to the safe confines of the drawer. Another day, perhaps.

Excuses and excuses… and yes, I am unbelievably good at this and have also sort of perfected the art of procrastination, but then, I have to qualify here….I am not always like this and honest,…ya....honest, believe me you, I can be as quick as the bullet, without any ‘ifs’ and ‘buts’ with things that I have a passion for. And when I equate filling Income Tax Forms with financial haemorrhage, whatever passion I may have, dies in an instant. Can’t blame me, can you?

But certain things are as certain as the sun rises, and I have also heard this, “Nothing is more certain than death and TAXES.” **sighhhssssss…….** And I thought I heard this too, “You can run but you cannot hide.” **SIGHHHSSSSSSSSSS…..**

So, I just psyche myself to enjoy the mix of emotions as I stare at the stack of forms. This is one painful exercise that makes me wanna cry “WAAAAAA…”




p.s. I'll be away from blogland for a few days.
My **sayangzzzzzz** to all. Have a nice day!
 
posted by nyonyapenang at 12:57 AM, | 30 comments
Sunday, April 01, 2007

I Must Feed Well




I have a few grand-nieces and grand-nephews (ya, I am THAT old!) in Penang whom, of late, have been getting very fond of me. They are Tom’s grandchildren and their ages range from 5 to 12 years old. I said ‘of late’ because, years ago, I was like a stranger to them and it was all my fault because I hardly visited them…at the most, it was like 2 times in a year and the short trips of not more than 3 days were never of any good for bonding and building relationships. And now that they have seen more of me, these cherubic kids have more brain cells of recognition and each time I am back in Penang, they would be like hanging on to my arms and legs, all excited and thrilled to be following me in my jaunts around town. And the chats with them….it’s kinda refreshing chatting with kids in all their wide-eyed innocence and I thoroughly enjoy their unadulterated views and opinions.

Often times, I would just popped in unannounced and my folks would be so surprised to see me walking into the house. It’s not that I like to spring surprises on them, but through past experience, I believe this is still the best option. I used to phone and told Tom of my impending visit and on the day of my supposed arrival, he’d be like sitting on pins and needles, restlessly walking about the house and taking a peek through the window at the sound of every passing vehicle. Or if he knew that I would be flying in or coming by bus, he’d be like reminding my nephew every 20 minutes to go pick me up from the airport or bus terminal. Oh Tom, how I am gonna miss you when I visit next.

If in the past, I used the excuse that I needed to build my career and could not afford to take too much time off, I have in these recent years realised my folly. Work! Work! And more Work!.....Will it ever be done? So in the past couple of years or so, I made conscious efforts to visit more frequently….to touch base with my dear old relatives and to get better acquainted with the younger brood of grand nieces and nephews and am I glad for it. But I do have a regret…..I regretted not going back to Penang this last Chinese New Year; my lame excuse being horrendous traffic jams stress me out. Gotta kick myself for this.

We work to feed our stomachs. We need Warm and Healthy Relationships to feed our souls. Work can wait, relationships can’t. I have to remind myself again and again that I MUST FEED WELL - I need to feed my soul first in order to feed my stomach.
 
posted by nyonyapenang at 12:46 AM, | 32 comments