Friday, June 27, 2008

The habit sets in again

It's been almost 2 weeks and still no progress on my site renovation... as expected i guess... i think i'll just modify my original plans and simplify the layout. hopefully i'll have the mood to do this right after this post.

so i've officially been unemployed for 4 days. before this i still had the alibi of attending an IT course, but now it's full on job hunting for me. however my major problem is that i'm not too clear of what i want to work as. one thing i know is that i don't want to work in an analysis lab (just too much chemicals and repetition)...

now, to account for my first four days of unemployment. monday: went for a test/interview thing which i think i did really badly at. tuesday & wednesday: stayed at home, searched for jobs online. thursday (today) was more productive; i hand-washed a big load of my clothes, started reading Anderson Cooper's Dispatches from the Edge, practically cooked dinner, checked my bank account (and discovered i don't have enough to pay up my ptptn loan) and finally managed to get mum to choose her birthday spectacles!

as a result, i'm a couple of hundred ringgits poorer with chapped hands and a whole load of clean clothes!!! yay, i feel today was a productive day! but i'm wondering are slight back pains (mainly at the base of my spine when i hunch) and very mild chest discomforts a part of anxiety or signs that i'm getting old or indications of an unhealthy lifestyle?

recently, we've switched to brown rice (when we discovered that our white rice had finished and nobody remembered to buy more) which we bought a month or two before. i thought that it would be a bit difficult to adapt to as i've heard that brown rice is tough etc. however after trying it, i think it tastes better (like cereal), just a little more chewy but it puffs up like boiled barley or pop corn when soaked in soup or gravy! its just so cute!

since it's already 2 a.m. and i have an appointment tomorrow to open a bank account, i think i should stop here so that i have some time to modify my blog layout.

Thursday, June 12, 2008


i embarked on an attempt to revamp this blog yesterday night, using ideas from and a free blog template from as a layout guide. i managed to finish designing the photoshop components yesterday night and spent alot of time in class trying to fit the pieces together using xml. i must admit that i'm really doing this blindly, i don't understand the markup language... so by trial and error i've managed to piece together about 50% of the layout, which you can see here. i've also included a shot of how my new blog layout is supposed to look like... hopefully i'll be able to resolve the problems i'm facing with getting the layout to work.

this is a mutant version of the draft layout i created in photoshop... some how blogger distorted the colours when i uploaded this image... tried it twice, still the same results

this is the screenshot of the working layout so far (i still can't figure out how to add the blog description, 'About me' and 'Blog Archive' boxes... and also to get the sidebar panel to reach the footer... at the moment it's just hanging there and my footer is incomplete on the left side...)

So you can expect this blog to look rather shabby for some time... at least till i've found the time and solution to right the current problems in the xml!

Thursday, June 05, 2008


again, this post has been in my drafts for more than 3 days. i usually don't really pay attention to ads, be it on tv or radio, but some ads just tend to stand out... one particular radio ad induced me to blog about advertisements, however the inducement was not of a "wow, that's so cool!" nature... however since i've decided to blog about ads, i might as well talk about the ones which i find nice.

recently there's been a series of maxis ads on tv (well, astro at least... i don't usually get to watch national tv anymore) promoting the use of internet on mobile devices. the ads were very simple-looking (minimalist) using hand illustrations on white paper and moving these pieces of papers around in a timely fashion according to the narration. the storyline was about the convenience of using facebook and skype on your mobile... i really like those ads because although they were very basic (no fancy animation or what-so-ever), it stood out and had it's own originality.

digi has also had some interesting ad campaigns. like the "" stunt that they pulled off some time ago... or the 'smile' thing they did not too long ago (can't remember what it was about, but they gave out tonnes of stickers and car stickers (which i saw pasted on many cars) with a short phrase and a smile... i normally don't go checking out websites which are mentioned in ads (unless i have an interest in the product they're selling) but after a few weeks of seeing "" plastered everywhere (even on friendster), i finally succumbed to it and visited the website... so you can see the effectiveness of the publicity stunt! i think i read somewhere that the company hired by digi for that particular campaign won some international award for it... to me, those digi ads weren't visually 'stunning' but the idea/concept of it all was captivating!

petronas too have had some interesting ads, especially during the festive seasons. and usually their ads are really long and highly produced... so you can actually imagine how much money goes into their ads... of the petronas ads that i can remember bits and pieces of, i think that they mostly have asian-based (or malaysian-based, to be more accurate) themes. however sometimes, you can't really grasp the message they're trying to convey although the ad is fetching... perhaps its just meant to entertain or act as some sort of community message?

the HP ads are also very chic, the ones with serena williams, michael gondry and vera wang (i only recall watching these three)... really nice idea about the colourful miniature sets and hand gestures amidst narration... i think the campaign was about making the notebook personal... their print ads are also very colourful and attractive

one radio ad which i found to be quite good was the BSN song... cool tune with good singing voice although i was initially shocked when i found out that it was a BSN ad... being so used to those "stuck in the 80's" sort of ads usually chartered by these sort of companies... (maybe i'm just being stereotype...) but i see it as a good effort in modernizing their image!

the one radio ad that i really detest happens to be the series of gintell ads!!! i just can't help feeling that these ads are so annoying! (maybe to other people, they're cute?) i find the supposedly "cute fat cells" voices constipated and shrill... and there was one ad with a song... the recording (OMG!) was so amateurish (sounded like LK's early recordings using the gold Toshiba karaoke mic and the tape deck recording function of his Kenwood mini-compo... but of course today LK has advanced to almost professional recording quality with all the right gadgets - don't tell him that though, he might get abit too ruffled up! hehe) and the singing (argh!) with the awry diction!!! enough said! (i think i'm being abit too critical here, but this is what i truly feel...) actually there's another thing i didn't like about their advertising concept, but i think i'm too sleepy to dwell on it now... so this is goodbye for now.

Final semester results! (long overdue post)

recently i heard from someone that blogs which are too wordy are boring... i guess i'm guilty as charged! i don't know why my posts keep getting longer when i tell myself to make it short and simple. and i love doing this: '...'; i guess its just a bad writing habit cultivated by too much chatting on msn... (see! i couldn't help it, my finger just typed it out automatically).

ok, straight to the subject of my title, no more deviating! 2 posts ago, i posted a reminder to myself so now i'm making good of it. about three weeks ago, my final semester results finally came out (gee, 'finally' isn't an appropriate word to use since it was pretty speedy of the lecturers and isb staffs in releasing the results... faculty of built environment just got their results this week). anyway, as mulled upon in a previous post, i was worried for my 8 credit hours final year project as a bad grade could be highly injurious to my CGPA (it is already bad enough in its current state). however, to my delight (PRAISE GOD!!!) i got an A!!!! woohoo! (i'm trying to reenact the joy i felt 3 weeks ago, pardon me if it does sound a little pathetic here) i got another A for industrial biochemistry which was also taught by my project supervisor (quite an unexpected feat). however for the other 2 papers i only scored Bs and my biochemistry practical 2 (which was chiefly responsible for my lack of sleep constantly throughout the semester) only scored me an A- (my opinion is many of us deserved As, but for my case i have no comment...).

anyway, it's strange but i wasn't really seriously truly worried about my last semester's results. perhaps it may be due to my impending fate of entering the working world (a.k.a rat race) that occupied my mind more than getting good grades... gosh, this is a form of distraction!

in line with my effort in keeping posts short, i'll end here... (with the 'bad habit' punctuating my post again!)

Monday, June 02, 2008

After sales headache (oops, i mean service)

quoting from an article by SC Chen on, "Our attitudes are our most important asset and based on a study by a US consulting firm with the personnel directors of a selection of American largest companies on their reasons for firing an employee, the results were interesting and underscore the importance of attitude in the business world: incompetence (30%) and attitude problem (52%) ranging from dishonesty and lying, negative attitude, lack of motivation, communication problem and failure to follow instruction. "

i'm wondering whether this also applies for malaysian companies. well, obviously it doesn't apply for sen heng (company selling electric/electronic products) as a certain number of their staff are incompetent and display attitude problems (the 2 failures mentioned in the preceding paragraph). INCOMPETENCE: chinese male staff (presumably the manager or at least someone with authority in the branch outlet) unable to communicate (both verbally and comprehend) at all in english and faces immense difficulty using bahasa malaysia (leaves me wondering how he would serve malay or indian customers who do not speak chinese). it is also obvious that the aforementioned staff does not know the trading policy "the customer is always right" which was coined by Harry Gordon Selfridge (of the Selfridges). albeit it may not always be the best policy, but as someone in the 'customer service' line, you'd think he'd strive to be more tactful and humour the customer and also stick to the brand promise of his company... but no, the sad fact is he chose to ignore (or maybe he isn't aware of) professionalism and go with the "china-man bussiness mentality" (no offence intended for the people of China)

ATTITUDE PROBLEMS: as outlined in the first paragraph, dishonesty and lying, communication problem and failure to follow instructions, these are the qualities which were displayed by the chinese male staff and his female conspirator. let's start with communication problem. in an attempt to improve communication with me, male staff (speaks zero english) ropes in his female colleague (speaks english well) to contact me via phone. for this, i give them credit however when i wanted to know what repairs have been made to my laptop and refreshed their memory about the broken down disc burner, her respond was "your burner working fine mar..." that's when i found out they were feeding me a pack of lies. they told me that my hard drive had virus and needed to be formatted (fee of rm70) but other than that, my laptop was perfectly normal. at that time, it did not occur to me to rebutt that statement as i am 100% sure the problem wasn't a virus. you see, since the windows platform is the most widely used platform therefore most virus are encoded to attack windows. on the other hand, the mac osx and windows platforms are very different (i myself do not understand the technical details) causing a windows application (.exe files) to be incompatible with mac osx (which uses .dmg files). and the three main routes of virus infection (in cyber terms not biological), are from downloading files off the internet, email attachments and file transfers using removable storage devices. since for the last 6 months or so i have been busy with my thesis, i conducted many file transfers using my removable USB drives (pendrive and kingston) between my laptop (windows platform) and my imac g4 (mac osx platform)... go ahead connect the dots... and you'll see that if there was a virus, i'd immediately be able to see extra incompatible files in the USB drives when i accessed them on the mac. but the fact is, i did not see these extra files leading to my conclusion that my hard disk was free of virus (yes, i do know that a couple of posts before i had an encounter with the IOImall virus but i managed to completely get rid of that vermin... the registry damages caused by it, is another matter).

so this leads me to my second point, dishonesty and lying. what is the problem with admitting that you do not know the information which i requested and perhaps refer me directly to the repair technician? even in AIESEC (a student organisation), we're taught that during our marketing calls/appointments if we are not sure about a detail in our traineeship program (that we are trying to sell to the companies), we are not to 'simply crap some seemingly passable info' but to give a response such as "i'm not too sure about that, can i get back to you about it?" 'crapping' some tall story reduces your credibility (as a person and also your company's).

which leads me to the last point, failure to follow instructions. i had clearly written out all the problems of my laptop on a post-it (the original post-it brand, mind you) using language as technical as i possibly could muster (took me some googling...). but when i spoke to the repair guy from ftec, he told me that his job sheet did not include the problem of the loose MMC slot (which i had listed in my post-it). luckily the guy accommodated my request to please check it out since it was not my fault that the sen heng people are so incompetent in their data entry skills. on top of that, the ftec guy explained that the hard drive problems were caused by software problems and NOT a virus (he was even chuckling at the idea of the make-believe virus championed by the sen heng staffs).

so goes my first encounter at shouting at multiple strangers in the service industry. oh, i forgot to mention that since i had missed the call from the ftec guy (was learning dreamweaver in my ACP class) i had to call their service centre and the female receptionists put me on hold for at least 5 minutes (i was on a handphone... please don't hesitate to calculate how much that costs) returning to the phone to ask me what i wanted 2 times (and it was the same person's voice, so goodness knows what she was doing... learning her ABCs right next to the phone in the hopes i'd get tired and cut the line?)... so when she asked my again what i wanted, i raised my voice and said "this is the third time i'm saying this, can you just direct me to someone who can tell me about the repair progress of my laptop!?!" i was so mad already, so the girl quickly took down my phone number and repair info. the computer guy called me about a minute later and at last there's actually some living being who can tell me what i needed to know about the status of my laptop and who actually knows what he's talking about! (i didn't shout at him, mind you... in fact, i felt relieved after that call)

however it's been 3 weeks going on four since i sent the laptop in for repair and still no news about the return of my laptop (i was told to expect its return this week)