Wednesday, January 30, 2008

I am Now a Dale Carnegie Graduate!

Sitting from left: Agus, Hani, Izayu, Rosli (Trainer), Julia, Karen, Wei Ping
Back from left: Am, Lazman, me, Ayu, Salehan, Shah, Julian, Taqi, Edmond, Ms Tan, Saras

Yes, last night I ended my 12-lesson training on "Effective Communication and Human Relations" at Dale Carnegie, Kuala Lumpur.

It was a great program, and I am glad I took the course up, because this bunch of people is really a wonderful group!

Monday, January 28, 2008

Updates on my MARA Saga

It seems that quite a number of friends read my blog about my MARA problem.

So, I thought it's only fair for me to put down in writing some of the updates:

1. A senior MARA officer who read my blog was very nice to me - he followed up with the case personally. He called me last Friday to inform m that the loan money (for January and February) has been sent to my son. It's so happened that just a few minutes earlier I received and e-mail from my son saying that he and his friend (also a MARA scholar) had received the bank-drafts.

2. AS for the computer loan, they are in the process of preparing the loan offer letter before they can issue any payment. ( I just wonder what the form that my son sent in September was doing at MARA? I hope they haven't lost it!)

3. A for the results, I was given an e-mail address for my son to e-mail his recent semester results.

And today I had Thai Lunch with Mek Ta ;-)
Thnks Ta for the treat!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Thaipusam Holiday

Today is a public holiday for at least Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya and the state of Selangor. We took this opportunity to visit our son in Seremban.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

MARA Oh Mara!

This morning at 8.40am, I tried my luck again at calling MARA.
I was lucky at the 3rd ringing the operator answered me, and when I asked for the extension that Iwanted , a guy promptly answered my call. Wow, I was lucky, I thought!

I asked for the lady whom I've been trying to contactfor the past 2 weeks (not counting the several times I called in Nov just to find out from her that "they haven't opened/created a file for my son). I was told she's engaged. Humbly and sounding disappointing, I told him that I've been trying to call her for the past 2 weeks without any luck.. Then he re-directed me to another line.

True anough the lady answered my call. I introduced myself, and ask him about my son's monthly allowance. Same answer - they've processed it and now it's at the Finance Dept (now, we are talking about JANUARY allowance, which was supposed to be paid at the beginning of the month!). Am I supposed to call the Finance Dept to ask?? I don't think so - that's their internal matter. I only want to know when my son will get the money :-(

Ok, I changed the subject, and asked about the computer loan - my son submitted the application form with all other details soon after he had settled down in his university (that was in early September 2007). Then she said something about her having to prepare the offer letter (??). I was thinking of other students who bought the computers (notebooks) in malaysia, and have gotten the loan long long ago. Why must my son's application be so much longer to process? We wanted our son to buy in Canada so that if there is anything wrong with it, the warranty is valid there. If he bought it here, there's the risk of him losing it in the journey to Canada, and also we have to buy the international warranty.

OK, never mind, 2 down, i asked her how should my son send his recent semester results. Her answer was "Hantar kepada penaja lah" (Send to the sponsor). Then I ask her for the specific mailing address, because I know MARA is huge!! the mai lcould get lost :-(

She then said to me "Puan, kami sedang baca doa sekarang ni" (Maam, we are now in the midst of prayers". I said to her "Last week pun masa saya call, tengah baca doa..." i was really disappointed. Then she said "Oh, kami baca doa hari-hari". What the F***? I was thinking to myself. I said "OK", and put down the phone!

Baca doa hari2? Why? Don't they have enough doa at home? during prayers? in the car while they are caught in the jam also they can baca doa, man! Why must it be during office hour? Why EVERYDAY? Banyak doasa ke?

I thought I called early in the morning so that I can catch her - because soon after, she'll be away on meetings etc... Furthermore, if late in the day, I might be engrossed with my work too, that I may not remember to call her.

Well.... I got to go back to my work. MARA...MARA... Why not rename it to UNDUR?

Sunday, January 20, 2008

A Day Trip to Fraser's Hill

Yesterday dearest hubby (DH) and I made a last minute-planned day-trip to Fraser's Hill (FH). Honestly, this was the first time we made a day trip to that place, ever since our first trip there in in 1996. Before this we would always spend 1 or 2 nights there.

Why the day trip? Because late Friday night I found out that Prof Pakdin and gang were going to FH to look for some rare flora. It sounded too good for us to miss. On the other hand, Aina had some projects to do with her friends at the State Library, so she couldn't follow us. Luckily Bok (our no.2) is still on his semester break, so we got Bok to take care of her while we were away.

We left home at 7.15am, and arrived at Gap at 9.15am. By 10am, we were at the clock tower to meet up with Pakdin and gang for the trail.

I couldn't find my walking shoes so I decided not to join them in the trekking. Instead I joined 4 other guys (Dashuki, NFahmi, Seme and WHusmi) on their phtographic shoots around FH.

These guys really took their time. But it was worth it, because they produced very nice pix, and I am waiting for them to put on their flickr pages which I have linked to their names above.

I was too lazy to take out my digital camera, instead I just snapped a few pix using my sony-ericsson phone:

Now, this is very serious photography!

On the top left is part of KTM's Glen Bungalow, which was used in a Petronas commercial - for a scene in winter, with snow (tonnes of salt) outside the house.

Photographic discussion??

Later when these guys were done with their shoots, I joined Pakdin, Dato Noramly and DH for lunch at a cafe behind the mosque.

After lunch, they wanted to see another rare tree on the ridge nearby, so since I was not properly dressed (I was only wearing sandals), I decided to stay back at the roadside while they trekked uphill.

It was a shot stint, because soon after I heard their voices again.

Shots at that place:

Here among the thick bushes, they climbed up.

Not long after I was left by the roadside, Pakdin reappeared..

followed by DH

and finally Dato.

After that, we went to Jeriau waterfall. I didn't take any pic but you can click on the links to DH's gallery or Pakdin's for some of the pix.

Pakdin and Dato left soon after 6pm, and we managed to reach the gate for the down flow trip to Gap at 4.37pm (they close it at 4.40pm).

We stopped at the Sg Buluh R&R for dinner at Kaya Kopitiam and headed home feeling tired (especially DH).

What a brief but enjoyable trip!

You may want to click on one of the following:
Pakdin's Collection of the day's shoot
DH's collection

Saturday, January 19, 2008

A Misty Morning

We've just arrived in Fraser's Hill for a day trip,

Friday, January 18, 2008

Calling Somebody in MARA - A Real Test of Patience

MARA yang tidak MARA (pic from MARA's website)

I am sure many will agree with me on this!

My son went to Canada on 1 Sept 2007 on MARA convertible loan. Since then he has not received any omnthly allowance or what so ever directly from MARA. If we calculate it right, Sept, Oct, Nov & Dec are 4 months already. And we are pretty sure that the allowance paid before he left was only meant for last year. So where's the allowance for Jan 2008 onwards??

My son also bought a notebook (computer of course!) whe he first arrived there, so he has actually used up quite a lot of his money there. He's lucky that i gave him a supplementary credit card, and also that the "wang pendahuluan" that MARA gave for other things were not used when he was still here.

I called MARA after Raya Puasa (when was that?? Early Nov) to enquire on his behalf (obviously u don't expect him to call MARA directly from Canada do you?). trying to get hold of the person was really tough - either she's on leave, she's in a mtg, she's in a discussion, "dia keluar sekejap", "she's not at her desk", etc..etc... and when i finally managed to get hold of her, her answer was "oh, kami BELUM BUKA FILE lagi untuk pelajar-pelajar yang baru pergi" :-(

Now, 2 months on, i've been trying to call her again since last week. same reasons, same situation as above. this morning, i was told that she's on leave, the person wjo answered the call "redirected" me to another perosn, but there was no answer.

luckily i got a nice operator who noticed my voice (after calling the general line several times) who tried to get hold of someone who could probably help me, only to find out that today is JUMAAT, they are now having baca yasin and doa selamat. DURING OFFICE HOUR???? AND AT THE COST OF CUSTOMER'S DISCOMFORT?? Am i supposed to be "on call" just to catch them? I just don't understand and believe me, i am furious!! just imagine if i am in Kuching or KK and i have to
make long distance calls just to try to get hold of this officer.

What am i thinking now?? even if i finally manage to get hold of one of them, would you think the response is favourable? Only time will tell...

Just earlier today i called the HSBC call centre regarding my son's supp credit card, to enquire if i
need to alert them if my son is going to make a significant transaction, and the treatment and prompt response I got was totally opposite of what I got when I called MARA...

Tak MARA (as moving forward) langsung MARA!

Addition on Sunday 20th Jan:
Last Friday, after writing this blog, I made a call again to MARA (I was sure the doa selamat should be over by then), and was finally passed to a nice gentleman by the name of Mokhtar. En Mokhtar accessed the system and confirmed that my son's data IS in it, though he could not confirm if any payment had been made to him (since the payment is being processed by a different department, i.e. the finance). At least I found out from him that the money should be banked-in monthly starting January 2008.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Nanggroe Atjeh Darussalam (Negara Aceh Darussalam)

OK, I didn't visit the whole country. I only went to the capital, Banda Aceh.

We took last Friday's flight, and came back on Sunday (yesterday).
Highlight of the trip? What else, the Tsunami area (25 Dec 2004), of course.
And I have to admit that I was 3 year's late :-(

More stories to come later (after I finished my Chiangmai's?)..

But, here are some pix to share:

This fishing boat landed on a house, but at least the people in the house were saved by this boat!

1st part of the ship that supplied the power to the land. Before the tsunami, it was offshore, of course - some 4km away from this spot.

2nd part of the ship. It landed on at least 3 homes, and the occupants weren't lucky at all. We were told that the bodies crushed under it were never recovered- too dangerous!

We ended our short stay there with a dinner outing in the open space with Mr Howard Yamaguchi, DH's Internet friend from the Malsingmaps group. This pic was taken outside Hotel Sulthan, where we stayed.

Me, Howard and Bok

May be you can visit our photo gallery for more pix of the trip.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Howard Yamaguchi in Banda Aceh

Last night we met up with this Internet friend of ours. We found out last night that in the 70s he worked in our hometown, Kota Bharu. And we have some common acquaintances!

Selamat Tinggal Nangroe Atjeh DarusSalam

We've safely arrived back in LCCT at 3.20pm from our 3D2N trip to Banda Aceh. This is the departure lounge at the airport in Aceh.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Busy filling the immigration form

Apart from DH, Aina and i, Bok is the other person with us today. He's on semester holiday.

Our first trip for the year

Yes, today we're at LCCT again for 2 night trip to Banda aceh. Our first for both the new Gregorian and Hijrah years.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008


Quite nice but i'm late for my appointment!

Monday, January 07, 2008

Kopi Tiam Pak Long

We are here again for dinner tonight.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Awan Besar RnR

After fetching Bok, we tried the new Putrajaya-KL Highway, and took the KESAS exit. We are stopping here for lunch. Aina's outfit matches the RnR's paint!

Friday, January 04, 2008

Aina wrapping her school books

First time she's doing it herself with min aid from big sister, Nuni.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Back to Normal Routine - at least for now..

Yesterday we sent Nukman to his school in Seremban (just the day before we sent Nafis to his school in Pengkalan Chepa).
I tried to "mobile-blog" yesterday but the Internet connection from my handphone was so slow and intermittent.

Some of the pix from yesterday's "outing":

Nukman's Dormitory

Ok, Man, see you during the CNY break?

This morning Aina started her Year 5.

Tonight I want to write more for this blog, but I feel sooo tired and exhausted. I feel like I need a looooong nap.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

SDARs Registration Day 2008

Traffic jam near the hostel block. :)

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Excellent PMR Results

One of the best results in Malaysia. This belongs to SMSTMFP.

Happy New Year 2008

This time the new year is greeted with heavy rain. Yes, the water in front of the house has subsided but it's still raining this new year's morning.