Friday, June 29, 2007

Taken For A Ride?

The other day when I went to Penang, my nephew was unable to pick me up from the Sg. Nibong bus terminal so, I had to take a cab. The driver asked for RM20. Wah…..how come so expensive I asked him and I then tried to haggle with him. Nope, he was not interested. I looked up the sky and it did not look promising at all…..the clouds were thick and heavy and threatened to break any minute and left with a Hobson’s choice, I climbed into the not-too-clean excuse of a cab. The driver was a chatty fella and he was telling me that here in Penang, nobody uses the meter and they would be put out of business if they go by the meter and bla…bla…bla… I then told the driver that my bus fare from KL to Penang in a big and comfortable and clean air-conditioned bus only cost me a mere RM26.80. Aisehman…how can he charge me RM20 for a journey of about 10km. He thought it was a funny joke or something…he just laughed. Nah…he was not interested in what I had to say.

I came back to KL by bus too and at the bus terminal, I was approached by a cab driver – he asked for RM25 to send me from Bangsar to PJ. I said thank you and walked away. I finally managed to hail another cab, a more honest one…the fare was only RM10.

Yesterday morning, I sent my son’s car to a car workshop in Shah Alam to do up some small dents. Ya, it’s a bit way out from where I live but this place comes highly recommended by a good friend. The clerk at the workshop then offered to call a cab to send me back to my office in Petaling Jaya. Wah…..the asking fare was RM40! I gasped….wahh….this one, the mouth as big as the buaya lidat. No thank you….I decided to just walk a short distance to the main road to hail another cab that would be more willing to use the meter. Then I saw the familiar RAPID Bus..the public bus that charge a flat rate for a whole day’s ride. I hopped into the bus and paid a princely RM2 for the comfortable ride back to PJ. I felt very pleased with myself.

Now, it looks like you got to have some money and more to be able to afford to ride on a cab. And it's sure gonna make the wallet much, much lighter if the fares they asked for is anything to go by. Taken For A Ride?

 
posted by nyonyapenang at 10:49 AM, | 45 comments
Sunday, June 24, 2007

Honour Thy Word

Very so often, I have been chided by family and friends for being too trusting, for taking things at face value and not doing enough of thorough questioning. I have been chided too, for always choosing to see things in a clear black and white – no ‘greys’, please; and always looking for answers to be just a simple ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ – please cut out the ‘maybe’.

I am told too, that I am just too simplistic to expect things and situations to be so clearly defined and that I am looking for disillusionment and am a good candidate for endless hurts and pains. Perhaps…perhaps…

But why not, may I ask? When I say ‘YES’ to something, I can assure you I will see it to fruition and I would expect the same of my family, relatives and friends. And when my answer is ‘NO’, I would also expect my wish to be respected and of course, it certainly is reciprocal. Why complicate matters further with shades of doubt and uncertainty and indecisiveness?

I am brought up to be truthful, to be honest and to be sincere. Profess the TRUTH and the TRUTH shall set you free….yes, I wanna be free to laugh and free to cry.

HONESTY is the best policy. I wanna sleep well and a clean heart and clear conscience will certainly reward me with a good restful sleep.

And SINCERITY begets sincerity. I’d be lying if I were to say that I have not had slaps on my face from people close to me. It sure has happened more times than I care to remember and albeit the deep crushing hurts and pains, I’d lick my wounds and bounce back with renewed faith in friendship. Just a couple of uncomfortable instances will not cause me to lose faith.

And always HONOUR THY WORD.…yes, keep your word. Our word is as good as gold. This, I believe can never be stressed enough. I have come across too many, just too many who have no qualms about going back on their words. Why? How come? I will just never understand. Perhaps, to them, talk is cheap. Open the mouth and just let the words flow out to the winds and can then just conveniently forget that those words ever rolled off the tongue. It’s so sad….so sad that they never realize the terrible damage they have caused to their integrity. And perhaps, to them, integrity is too cheap to worth bothering at all.

I am old-fashioned – I hold all these simple values close to my heart. TRUTHFULNESS, HONESTY, SINCERITY and always to HONOUR THY WORD….these timeless principles have guided me well.

HAVE A GREAT WEEK AHEAD, FRIENDS!

 
posted by nyonyapenang at 4:59 PM, | 60 comments
Friday, June 22, 2007

And Keep Smiling, Always

Hi Friends,

My a million apologies for not updating my blog and I am yet to reply to all your lovely and heartwarming comments in my previous posting. This is soooooo NOT ME! I promise I shall go back to reply to each and every one of you and I value and treasure each and every single comment. Just keep them coming, ya! And I sayangssssss all of you.

I am at the moment very, very tied up with work…you know…whereby I have people hounding me down and reminding me the deadlines were YESTERDAY! Well, I am not complaining. In fact, I am very happy that I am sooooooo LAKU! ^o^ And of course, the $$$$$$$...I AM NOT COMPLAINING TOO!

Okie Dearies, I‘ll sign out here and would like to wish all my beautiful friends here a very pleasant weekend. Stay Sweet. Stay Beautiful. Stay Happy. And Keep Smiling, Always.


 
posted by nyonyapenang at 10:08 AM, | 43 comments
Monday, June 18, 2007

Happy Bak Chang Festival

Hi Friends,

Yours truly will be away for a couple of days.

And here, I would like to wish everyone a HAPPY BAK CHANG FESTIVAL, which falls on tomorrow June 19 2007.



Have a great week ahead. Cheerssss........
 
posted by nyonyapenang at 9:27 AM, | 46 comments
Sunday, June 17, 2007

"NO. Kamsiah Seribu!"

When Mrs Yenjai got this letter from the bank. “Dear So-and-So, we regret to inform you that your application for the credit card had been rejected.”, both husband and wife were tickled pink.

I too, once had a similar experience many, many moons ago, sans the letter. I too, had taken pity on the poor sales executive who just refused to let me go and he spun a convincing sob story…that he had been standing there for the whole day already and no one has signed up with him. Adoi…kesian, it’s soooo susah to cari makan, ya.



Since I already have an existing credit card, all that was needed was a photocopy of the card in my wallet and my identity card - no need for further supporting documents to go with the application. Okie, I signed on the dotted line and went on my way. I completely forgot about the application until I think it was like almost half a year later when I chanced upon an advertisement placed in the local dailies by one of the banks….”Apply Now and Get This Trolley Bag (or whatever) FREE!” . The word ‘FREE’ screamed at me. ….hahahah….
Then only I noticed that the name of the bank, somehow rang a bell. Oh yaaa.…I remembered....I DID apply for one card long, long time ago. But wait a minute, I receive no card! What happened????

That called for a ring to the number advertised on the newspaper. After a few exchanges of “Yes.”/ “No.” / “OK..”/ “Hummph…”/ “Ahhhh…”/“Please hold on.” / “Let me check.” / “bla…bla…bla…”, the sweet voice over the other end spoke loud and clear, “Ms Tan, we rejected your application.”

Me : What????? Say again, please.

She : Your application has been REJECTED. Sorry.

Me : Why?

She : I don’t know.

Me : What do you mean? I need to know the reason.

She : Sorry. I don’t know.

Me : Nevermind. I am sorry too. You have a good day. Thanks.

Wah…..I was not the least amused. I cannot eat and I cannot sleep already. Die lar…dunno the rejection got anything to do with someone mischievously using my I.C and then raked up unpaid debts and if my name is on the Central Bank's black-list and worse, is my name listed as a bankrupt, etc…etc…. The panic-button that I am, my mind went on an active overdrive. Aiyoh…summore it was a weekend, so I could not call the bank’s head office or any other office for that matter. It was a wretched weekend, aitelyu!

Early Monday morning, I made a call and as usual, had to press all the available buttons on the phone before I finally got to speak to a humanoid. Come to think of it, I am not sure if the 'kongsis' and banks and corporations are aware that IVR(I think it stands for Interactive Voice Recording or something) system raises blood pressure. Anyway, the call was not fruitful and I did not end up any wiser. “Sorry, Ma’am. We cannot tell you the reason for rejection. It’s private and confidential.” Aisehman!

I stubbornly pushed on and many calls later and after repeating myself hoarse and insisting on an acceptable answer, one poor exasperated fella whispered, “Okie Ma'am, please don’t say I tell you one ar! It was rejected because the photocopy of the I.C. is not clear. We waited and then closed the file.”

Only this to have caused me serious anxiety for the whole weekend???? **pengsanssss **

Why can’t they tell me straight and be honest upfront, huh? The bank executive highlighted to me a clause printed on the application form, in the tiniest fine print of course, that, “the bank reserves the right to reject any application without assigning any reason whatsoever.” And the executive then asked if I wished to re-apply.

“NO. Kamsiah Seribu!”
 
posted by nyonyapenang at 12:28 AM, | 45 comments
Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Cash Is King

When I first started work decades ago, I was always in awe of people holding credit cards....my bosses, my bosses’ friends, my senior colleagues, my well-to-do relatives and many more who held a few Classic Cards and some had Gold Cards too. Wahhh…. How I envied them.

Those days, to be issued a credit card and to be seen flicking out the card ever so often, spoke volumes for the holder. He/She must be someone who had some decent income and with some impeccable credit standing. I was of course, at that time a new workhorse earning chicken-feed and therefore unable to fulfill the most basic requirements for application, that was to have a minimum annual income of RM24,000 and to provide the Form J from the tax department. I did not even qualify to have a file opened at the tax department, for goodness sakes!

After many years of living from hand to mouth, I decided to free-lance. Being a free-lancer I could earn a wee bit more and after a while I thought I would be qualified for a credit card. I eagerly approached the credit card officer at the bank but was told in no uncertain terms that, Sorry, your income is not consistent..it’s swinging like a yo-yo…lidat, we cannot approve…bla…bla…” . And another time, I was at a friend’s office when a senior bank executive came to visit my friend and my friend told him that I would like to apply for a credit card. He smiled, shook my hand ever so graciously and when he enquired regarding my employment and income, I told him I free-lanced. His smile turned into a frown. Hahahhaah……He was definitely not a poker player for sure.

Fast forward a few years and I finally got my first credit card. I chose the one that I need to pay the least annual fee. Come to think of it, I never understood at that time why I needed to pay an annual fee. Anyway, being a newbie with no track records to speak of, I just paid, albeit grudgingly. Then one fine day, my home bank sent me pre-approved Gold Cards and free of annual fees for 2 years some more. Wah……how it boosted my ego. Wah…I felt good you know! I quickly cancelled the old Classic Card and slotted the new shiny Gold Cards into my wallet.

The credit card business is BIG business and with some relaxation of rules, all the banks were like stepping on and climbing over each other to capture a bigger slice of the lucrative market. With aggressive and clever marketing, soon every other person carried a card and some had multiple cards bulging from their wallets. Well, initially it still spoke something of the card holder….he/she was someone who qualified for many lines of credit. The banks, after all, will only lend to people with the ability to pay.


Then came a time, if I remember well, it was the economic recession when the payment terms were relaxed further…you need only to pay a mere 5% of the outstanding balance or a minimum of RM50 per month. It was a boon for many who were caught bad during the economic downturn. They had 'maxed' out their credit limits and paid only the minimum and soon enough, they found themselves drowning in debts and many were declared bankrupt. The authorities were alarmed and some called for restraint in the approval and issuance of credit cards. Meanwhile, the banks continued in their merry ways to entice and attract more card users with their most creative of marketing gimmicks. And I am sure many of my dear friends here would at some time or the other, have had credit cards practically shoved down their throats. All said, it’s till Caveat Emptor. For me, I just keep one Mastercard and one Visa and yes, I still do not understand why I should pay annual fees and so, I do not pay any.

And now, I’d like to think I am not so gullible and see things differently too. Gold Card or Platinum Card or whatever no longer cause anyone to bat an eyelid. A person who shows me a wallet full of credit cards would actually alarmed me. Hard cold cash would be more comforting. They don't say 'CASH IS KING' for nothing.


 
posted by nyonyapenang at 3:17 PM, | 46 comments
Sunday, June 10, 2007

Do Clothes Maketh A Man?

Weekends at home and I am all dressed in my most comfy clothes….. nothing beats t-shirts and shorts in this hot, hot weather. And yesterday, I popped over to the neighbourhood hardware store to get some items and when I got into the car, my hand automatically reached for my pair of sunglasses. Eeeeksss….one of the plastic nose pads had fallen off! I quickly looked out from the car and spotted an optical outlet among the row of shops. Yayyy...Happiesss….I then crossed the road to the shop. Walking in, I saw a lady and another youngish looking guy attending to 2 customers.

Me : Hi, I need help with this.

He : Hi, good afternoon. Please take a seat. Will be with you in a while.

I sat there for a while looking at the many, many beautiful frames on display at the counter when that young gentleman walked over and sat in front of me. I handed him my pair of sunglasses and he gave it a thorough lookover…front, back and sides…..inside and out and then remarked, “Oh, a....(name of brand)! Where did you buy it from?” I got a feeling he thought it was something I got from some pasar malam or pasar pagi or some fake branded shades or whatever.

Me : KLCC

He : I see…I see…. Hmmmm…


He continued to turn the shades over and over again in the pretext of wiping some imaginary dirt, I think, before he finally took out his tools and then changed the 2 pieces of nose pads. He then took out another piece of cloth to gently clean the shades again and at the same time talking to me.


He : Would you like to have a look at our latest arrivals, Ma’am? Besides Gucci, we also carry Christian Dior, YSL, Versace, Armani, Chanel, Fendi, Prada, Rayban…bla…bla….

Me : Thanks. I am rushing for time actually. Another time, perhaps.

He : Okie, here you go.
(handing back my sunglasses to me)

Me : How much do I owe you?

He : No worries, Ma’am. It’s free.


I thanked him again and as I stood up to leave, he reached out and shook my hand.


He : The name is Bryan. Do come in again to try out the latest designs. Have a nice day, Ma’am.


Wah…he was so absolutely sweet and polite. But somehow, I suspected that there was a tinge of contempt when I first walked in …me in my simple shorts and t-shirt and flip-flops and hair held up carelessly by a clip, and he, checking again and again to see if I am using some ‘fakeys’.
Do clothes maketh a man, they say?

And of course, if only I could look half as good in shorts and tees as this hottie, Lindsay Lohan……
 
posted by nyonyapenang at 3:27 PM, | 68 comments
Thursday, June 07, 2007

I Love You, Son!

My no. 2 has just completed his second year in college and a few days ago, was called to attend an interview for an internship programme. When he told me of the call, I was like shooting questions all over…”WHEN, WHERE, WHAT, WHY, HOW, etc…” which made him roll his eyes in exasperation. And as if that was not enough, I was literally hounding him, “Have you got your resume done?”/ “Have you got your shirt and pants pressed and tie and socks to match?”/”When are you going for your haircut?”/Have you practiced and rehearsed your script, you know, answers to those open-ended questions that interviewers are proned to ask?”/ “Go ask your brother and get prepared lar…please stop playing the on-line games lar…..tolonnnng…lar…”

The no. 1 cannot stand the sight of this big mother-hen all stressed out and flustered and told me to chillllllll…momma…chillll….” And no.2 was just coooool like a cucumber. I offered to send him for the interview but he declined. He said he wanted to go with his friends. Very well, I said.

On that day, he left the house early. I peeped from the upstairs window and when I saw him all dressed up like a smarty-ass, (unlike his usual droopy jeans and t-shirt), I felt my heart swelled with pride. Wah…my baby is a big boy already.

I then left for my office but I tell you, I could not focus…I was like sitting on pins and needles. I kept on reminding myself, “Cut it out, woman. He’s just going for some internship interview lar.” I just can’t explain why am I feeling all this jittery when I felt nothing of that sort when no. 1 went for his interviews and whatnots. Anyway, to cut the story short, I went home early that day and the minute he walked into the house, I almost jumped on him…”So how? Huh?...Huh?” That cool cucumber just smiled and said, “OK lar.” and went straight to his room. Arrrggg….he was not ready to talk and I left it at that.

A couple of days later, no. 2 and I was on our way home from lunch and he spoke.

He : Those questions that you said the interviewer will ask, there were none.

Me : Oh ya? What did they ask?

He : The usual stuffs like hobbies, what games I like, what movies I watched..bla..

Me : Like that niar ar?

He : Oh ya, they also asked if I blog.

Me : What did you say then?

He : No lar, of course.

Me : Aisehman, why lidat? You should have said,,”I don’t BUT my momma does.”
And give them my URL and promote my blog mar…

He gave me that ‘roll-eyes’ look and both of us burst out laughing. KAKAAKAKA….















I LOVE YOU, Son!
 
posted by nyonyapenang at 12:06 AM, | 58 comments
Sunday, June 03, 2007

Pay-Per-Use

A few days back, I read about a group of clients of a hair treatment salon that has folded up or something. That group of unfortunate clients had signed up for hair treatment courses with that particular salon and they have each paid thousands of ringgit in advance. Now half-way through, the shutters are just pulled down and the customers are left with nothing. The aggrieved parties have lodged reports here and there and have approached the authorities for help. I don’t know what the chances are of getting back their money and I hope they’ll get some recourse. Pity some, they may just tear their hair out in despair.

And just recently, someone I know was a victim of the 'Excellence Holidays scam'. Poor thing. She had saved for years for this holiday to Europe this coming summer. As the tour was booked at the recent Matta Fair, she and her travel companion had to pay the full fare upfront, months in advance of the expected travel date. What a shock she got when she read that the tour agency has folded up. And she lost quite a fair sum.

I too, was once a victim of this kind of ‘pay-up-front’ scam. Long, long time ago, when I was new in KL, I was introduced to a beauty salon that offered very attractive packages…you pay RMXXX for a certain number of treatments over a number of months, and they threw in a few extra freebies. If I chose to go for the pay-per-treatment option, then I would have to pay more and be without the extra freebies. The sucker that I was, I signed up and paid the full amount of RM700 or something, I cannot really remember now. Anyway, when I went for my third session, I found the shutters pulled down with a notice that the premises had been sealed. Oh my God, that good-for-nothing woman had absconded. Wah…I forgot already what words I used to curse her 3 generations back and maybe another few generations after. That cheapskate conwoman! May she die a shriveled old prune!!!

Another time was when I signed up for some foot-reflexology treatments. Pay per visit, then it would be RM30 per session but it would only cost RM250 for 10 sessions if I were to pay upfront. Nothing too big an amount and I paid the RM250. I went for the sessions in the evenings and then would come straight home to bed. I remember it was the 6th or 7th session or so, when the masseur must have been over enthusiastic and rubbed too hard. I woke up the next morning with a bruised right sole. I went back to the outlet and showed them my foot. The masseur said it was nothing serious and even made a lame joke that maybe I kicked on something or what. I was not amused and I asked for the balance of my money back. He just laughed and waved me off, ”No money back one lar. You can come anytime for the balance of 3 sessions.” Okie, I told him, I’ll just walked over to the newspaper office nearby and see if they can help me. That took the smirk from his face and he opened his cash register and gave me back my money.

Now, I am just too wary to go for all these pay-up-front packages or courses or whatever they call it. It may cost a little bit more but I’d like to still stick to my pay-per-use rule. And they can keep their freebies.

 
posted by nyonyapenang at 7:04 PM, | 45 comments