Saturday, September 30, 2006

Hari Raya Card

Today, when I opened my front door there was a letter for me. I recognised the neat handwriting straight away! It was from my brother. He did e-mail me this week saying that he found a perfect card for me... and when I opened it, how right he was.

No... it wasn't anything bad, mean, insulting and things like that... it really reflects our situation. We don't really know what to say to each other... therefore, it's kind of a wheel of fortune thing. Hit the button and it will fall on a greeting. And actually, everything on the wheel is what we would want to say to each other.

The card is now on the mantelpiece.
Thanks bro. It meant a lot... unfortunately, there's not much choice of Raya card here in London. I'll figure something out :-p

updated 16:43
For those who are wondering why my brother sent me and Eid card so early when Eid is not for 3 weeks... in Malaysia, it's kind of like that. You start sending cards from the first day of Ramadhan. We're eager for the celebration like that!! *grin*

Friday, September 29, 2006

At Last

Here I am... sitting at my desk for the very last day... abusing work computer system again. Life is grand.

I have a few tasks to finish and then I'm going to clean up my desk and that will be that I guess.

It has been a very interesting few days... which I will update here once I have more time. I have ample time in my hands now!

I'm going to miss a lot of people here... and I'm going to miss coming here and enjoying the job that I do. But there are things that I will not miss...

Better get cracking I guess and say goodbye to S.600 at the end of the day.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Time Difference

One of the things that annoys me about living here is the 7/8 hours (depending on winter or summer time) time difference to Malaysia!

I woke up this morning and found a message on YM from my little sister... and now I feel like I wasn't there for her. I was in bed!!!

Maybe when I have that bit of free time next month, I'll be able to catch her online more often.

I hope you are OK babes. I'll try to call you soon. I'm not sure when you're in class or in the library or just 'lepak'-ing somewhere. But for now, the biggest hug from me.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Yoghurt Drink

I remember when I was in primary school, the vitagen bus will come once a week with many flavours of yoghurt drinks. My favourite was the purple one. Not sure what the flavour was... must be some sort of berry!

Lately, there's been so many advert about this yoghurt drink, that yoghurt drink and how it is good for you.

Maybe it is good but I like it because I just like the taste... but I don't really like the new ones. I'm sticking to this brand that I used to drink when I was a kid. Not sure if it's doing me any good... but as I said... I love the taste!

But somehow, I think the bottle is smaller than I remember... or maybe my hands are now bigger than they were when I was 9.

I sure hope that it's not because of the popularity of yoghurt drinks are now that the bottles got smaller and the price shot up!

Tuesday, September 26, 2006


Yesterday, sitting in my office, the manager came in and started chatting with my colleague M. And M mentioned in passing that she's been working late, and the manager insisted on M to create a spreadsheet for her late hours so she could work out the TOIL.

Oh how I love double standards. Here I am being in at around 08:00 or 08:30 almost every morning for the last few months and nothing is mentioned about it.

And I remember how before the manager came into the scene, that we had a TOIL system and she decided to scrap it. No one was abusing the system. No one was really keeping track with spreadsheet or anything. But everyone knew that some people do work early or late and never said a word if they had a day off here and there. We think they deserve their day off.

I come in early because this is the time where I could sit down and do work without any interuptions... It is or was my choice. I'm not complaining about coming early... I'm just angry about the double standards in this place now.

How some people can't do anything wrong...

A few months ago, I said in passing to the supervisor about things. It was not a formal meeting. I was just hoping that what I mentioned to the supervisor would be mentioned in passing to the manager.

What I didn't realise was that the supervisor wrote a report of what I said. I wonder if she has a tape recorder in her office to quote everything word by word. I never gave her permission to write anything down... heck... as I said, I didn't even realise it was a formal meeting that needed minutes! How we used to just sit down and talked... and now she wonders why I don't anymore.

I got called in to the main manager's room (not the manager) and asked to explain myself. How I felt I was stabbed in the back by a person I considered a friend.

I love the department, I love most of the people here and I love the fact that I do make some people here feel better with just a smile and my time...

So congratulations for making me hate coming into work and doing the thing that I love, congratulations for managing to push me to my limit that make me leave this job, congratulations for making me feel incompetent when no one else was complaining about the job that I've done, congratulations for making me feel that I'm not worth anything... and good luck to you.

I know that the people that I care about in the department will be reading this... and the people that I care about knows that this is not about them because they made my life bearable when things are unbearable. For those whom I care about, thank you very much for being here for me.

Photo Friday - Girl

This is a girl Bratz called Jade! My colleague E gave her to me when she bought a Bratz remote control car for her boy Bratz... yes, we are sad like that *grin* (thought I'd better say that before any of my friends does)

A Note On The Door

On the weekend, Jules and I went to Wimbledon to do some shopping. As we were walking towards Wimbledon we passed one of the bike shops that Ali used to go to, Action Bike... and I said used to as this was on the door. I wonder where they decided to go too and when they will be back.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Selamat Berpuasa

I was still in bed at 10:00 this morning. I think I deserved it after all the early mornings to work... and I really needed the lie in.

And the phone rang. It was mom. She reminded me that tomorrow is the start of Ramadhan. Yes, it is that time of the year where muslims all over the world will refrain from succumbing to food, water, desire, temper... from dusk til dawn.

I always look forward to Ramadhan... to fasting... as I know how unrully I am and this is where in one month I practice discipline.

Unfortunately, this year, I won't be able to fast on the first day of Ramadhan as I'm exempted from it... which makes me feel sad.

To all muslims... Selamat berpuasa dan beribadah di bulan Ramadhan.

Friday, September 22, 2006

My Last Drop of Sweat

Ever since I handed in my notice, I thought maybe my work will be reduced bit by bit. How wrong was I? Nothing was taken off me but I feel more is dumped on. And I keep thinking... why do I care so much? I'm leaving...

I had a drink with Vic the porter yesterday. I owe him a few pints for the loads of last minute jobs that he did for me. He was saying how unfriendly the place has become and he's been there for 18 years compared to my 1 year and 10 months... but I know what he is saying. Even I noticed what a difference this last year has been.

He was saying that I should be putting my feet up now and the jobs should be taken of me now... Not a chance Vic... and he knows.

This is how I do business with Vic. He is English and things are discussed in the pub. I know I've been hassling him with loads of jobs and by meeting him and socialising with him, I'm showing him that I appreciate the things that he's done. And he knows I had a few more jobs and that was why I was down.

I think that's what I noticed lately... when people get a bit of power, they forget the people around them. They tend to socialise with only the people who will get them ahead and give them more power...

I'm not friends with Vic... but a smile, a chat, an acknowledgment of existance gives you a lot of respect.

He's always there hands on with the other porters. He supervises them and always know whats going on as he is there hands on. When I asked for a big job of moving chairs and tables in one of the lecture theatre... he respected me because I stayed late with them and together worked with them and instruct them and try to find solutions with them.

A supervisor is not just there telling the people they supervise to do work, taking the credit and pointing the blame. They are there to advise and make decisions and shoulder the blame and give credit where it's due. They are team players and take an interest in the people they supervise and their work and workload.

I think I've learnt a lot about that now. A lot on how things are not to be done by just observing.

Next week, they are hiring a temp to cover my work. I say good luck to the person. And I'm expected to train the temp. I think it's outrages to dump this bit of work on me as I'm not the supervisor... and I'm leaving... and I really don't care.

I have 5 more working days and I still have exams and room moves to organise. It's up to the manager and the supervisor to figure out how to train the temp as I don't have any time.

Today I organised a lunch time drink... and I know the people who made the effort and made an effort to arrange another drink where they couldn't make it today to a day next week. All of us were busy, but a majority of us made an effort... I even managed to drag MW out. Trust me that's an achievment.

Anyway... how easy is it for people to change. Maybe a bunch of us could not contribute to you advancing in your ambition to maybe manage the department one day, but we are the people that you depend on. And I know a lot of people are not feeling any respect... and losing respect towards others.

So I'm leaving. I'm leaving with respect from the people that matters.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Unfortunately I Have to Decline

Dear Lord Mayor of London,

Thank you for the reception invitation to celebrate the twentieth aniversary of the Big Bang taking place in at Mansion House on 26 October 2006.

Although I would have loved to attend and rub shoulders with the likes of Sir Nicholas Goodison and Alan Yarrow, unfortunately I will not be able to as I will be flying back into the country on that date at 21:00.

Again, thank you for you invitation and I hope that the evening would be a tremendous success.

Best wishes,

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Non Appearing Landlord

Probably around a month ago I received phone call from the flat agent saying that the landlord would like to come over to have a look at the flat. He'd be flying over from Australia and said that he'd be around on 17 September.

Oh dear...

Well... we had a month to not worry about. And apart from the trap door being broken, the carpet needed cleaning and the garden needed weeding, it's not in a bad shape. We looked after the flat pretty well.

So life went on as usual and Saturday 16 September came. We looked about the house and Jules decided to call the calvary... well... Dave and Tiny.

The boys tackled the carpet and the trap door and helped a bit in the garden... and I just did a bit of dusting and hoovering. It wasn't that bad... by the end of it, we had a presentable garden (i.e. no weed), cleaner carpet and the trap door is finally fixed... after I've been nagging about the trap door since it was broken months ago!

Today was the waiting game. Of course we didn't just wait and not do anything... we just get on with the day like any other weekend.

Morning turned into afternoon... afternoon turned into evening. In the end we gave up... and now it's bed time.

Oh well... the weekend wasn't wasted. I've got the boys to fix the trap door. And Newcastle beat West Ham by 2 goals to none away from home!

Saturday, September 16, 2006

He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother

For the first time ever, my brother and I opened the window of communication. It's not that we don't talk to each other... we do... but we also know that we don't communicate.

Our communication has always been limited to 'You're alright?', 'Yup', 'Fine', 'Cool', 'Leave me alone', 'Where's mom?', 'Out'.... well you get the picture. It was to the minimum.

I don't know why but we just don't really talk to each other. We've always kept things to ourselves... but that does not mean that I don't wish that we were closer.

When we were kids, of course we do our kids stuff... annoying the hell out of each other.

Then, he went to Malay College when I was nine... and then Indonesia, cause our father wants him to take up medicine... and then to the USA. And when he came back to Malaysia, I was away in the UK and stayed.

And even in the nine years when we were living in the same house, I can't remember us being close. I mean we do play together and mostly annoy each other... but all I remember is father wanting us to study... wanting him to study.

When he went away to boarding school, and came back for school holidays, all I remember is him studying...

He did come and visit me in the UK. But he did his stuff and I did mine.

I can't remember when was the last time we really spoke... if we ever spoke.

So, when I received an e-mail from him yesterday, I was so touched and I had a tear in my eye.

We love each other but we just don't know how to say it or show it to each other. We weren't brought up that way. Apart from wrestling each other when we were kids... I don't think we ever hugged. A firm handshake is the only body contact we have of late.

He's going to be a dad soon... and I know that he'll make an awesome dad. And he knows that I will spoil the kid to pieces.

To my brother... I know that we won't be close in an instant... but I hope that we will make baby steps towards it. And everytime I tell people about you, as I've always been, I talk about you with pride.

And I will always be here for you. You might be bigger than me but I'm not scared of you! You're my brother and I love you loads!

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Doctor's Order

I went to see the doctor today as I've been coughing for the last few weeks... and lately it's been disturbing my beauty sleep! Trust me... you do not want to look at me these days due to the lack of sleep!

Sometimes when I go through my coughing stint in the middle of the night, I go and 'sleep' on the sofa for a couple of hours so that I wouldn't disturb Jules.

So today... I went to see the doctor to see what he could do and got a telling off!

He told me off for not using my inhaler twice a day. I asked him if I did that, would the coughing stop? He said yes. And if I stop using it, would the coughing start again? He said yes.

No way do I want to stay dependable on a little plastic thing that shoots out stuff for the rest of my life!

I told him that I have the photocopier in my office and the printer is right next to me.

He said that doesn't help and something should be done about it as it aggravates my asthma and my coughing. And when I told him that I'm leaving, he said that would be good for my health.

So basically... until the end of the month, I'll be sparying stuff down my lungs to get a good night sleep. I will stop using it after and see if my coughing returns.

I knew the environment at work is affecting me... but it's nice to get another confirmation.

So, I came home. Used my inhaler... fell asleep in the afternoon but woke up just in time to watch Newcastle won away in Estonia for the UEFA Cup first round tie with Levadia Tallin.

Spurs is in action tonight... good luck to you The Peong! *wink*

What Did I Do Now?

I received a confusing text (SMS) message from mom. I have no idea what she's talking about. Did she send it to me by mistake? What could I have done to upset her? I'm here in London and she's there in JB, and when I talked to her on the phone over the weekend, she was fine... and we had a chatter about a lot of stuff... especially One Wing.

Things are not going really great for me today. I'll call her over the weekend once she's calmed down to see what's going on.

If she's been reading my blog... which would be surprising as she doesn't really use a computer unless my little sister is around to assist her... maybe I am in trouble.

Mom, if you're reading this... I'm sorry. Nothing is your fault. You're a perfect mom and in no way do I want to upset or disappoint you. Maybe that's why I always keep things to myself. You have loads of things and my other siblings to think and worry about. I'm OK if you are OK with me. I really hope I haven't caused you any grief as I've caused enough grief already.

Well... I had a bad feeling since last night... and this morning I was just so nervous. I put it down to an event... but I don't know anymore. Mom believes in sensing stuff... you know like sixth sense. I usually just pooh pooh it... maybe there is something to all this sense thing.

I am still very uneasy.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Headache From a Mangosteen

I was doing the usual of reading the Metro (free morning paper) on the tube to work where I came upon a picture of some mangosteens under their 'Good things to eat and drink' section. I didn't really read the whole thing. I just like to look through the paper quickly and try not to absorb any bad news.

But, I did read the bit where it said 'The nation has always absorbed eclectic morsels. Queen Victoria offered a reward to anyone who could bring her the mangosteen (known for its orangey sourness) from Malaysia'.

Aaaaaahhhh... mangosteen. I don't remember it being sour... OH SH*T!!! I DON'T REMEMBER WHAT IT'S CALLED IN MALAY!!!

Then I start working my brains out to remember it! I know I've been away for 15 years but that is not an excuse to forget your mother tongue! It's like a couple of years back when I forgot watermelon was called tembikai!

That was when the headache starts... you know... when you try to remember something so hard and it just makes it worse.

I was thinking... it can't be too much of a difference in sound. Durian is called durian in almost every country... so is rambutan... pelam which is also mangga is known as mango... come on! WHAT IS MANGOSTEEN??!!

Maybe if I think in Malay, I'll be able to remember it! Which made me think... when did I start to think in English?

Oh heck... I'll just go to the next article and try to forget about it... even though the headache is going to last the whole day now!

So... looking through the other pages in the paper... two stops later! the word came to my head... MANGGIS!

I can relax now *grin*

Monday, September 11, 2006

Photo Friday - Boy (Kompang Boys)

I was rummaging my photo albums when I found the picture of the kompang (drum) boys that was taken during my brother's wedding, as was my previous entry for this topic. So I decided to send in another entry to this week's Photo Friday.

The kompang boys accompany the groom as he walks towards the bride's family's house, hitting the drums and singing... announcing the arrival of the groom.

I really do love a traditional Malay wedding.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Illustration Friday - Farm

OK... it's not really a farm but you could find a rooster in farm *grin*

I'm painting this for my mom. She's got a bunch of bantam chickens running around her garden (in Malaysia) BUT this is her favourite. I call him One Wing... due to the obvious fact that he has only one wing. His mommy chicken accidently stepped on his missing wing when he just hatched. My mom had to nurse him to health and he became mom's favourite. Can do no wrong that rooster!

Anyway... Although I'm still working on it, I might have to redo the painting as the canvas was a cheap one. I was broke so I got it from the pound shop for... surprise, surprise... £1!

Acrylic on canvas 30cmx40cm.

update 10 September 2006 09:14
I just received a text (SMS) from mom and my sister left a comment earlier this morning letting me know that One Wing is no more... One Wing was killed by a lizard earlier this morning. Mom must be gutted! First her cat died (of old age), and now One Wing... I really must finish this painting now... and hope that it will put a smile on mom's face.

Photo Friday - Boy

This is my little cousin WirWir taken last year at my brother's wedding in Malaysia. I love Malay weddings. It's so colourful! And WirWir just looks so nice in orange *smile*

Friday, September 08, 2006

My Latest Reads and Watches

I'm reading Freakonomics at the moment. Seb suggested it Jules and Jules bought it for our last trip to Amsterdam.

I picked it up weeks ago but never seem to manage to read more than a page a day! Not that I find it boring... it's just that at the end of the day I am so tired after running around the building trying to fix things that when I get on the tube to get home, I fall asleep... BUT I never miss my station! And after resting... making dinner... clearing the kitchen... I head to bed and pick up the book, and after a page, I just black out until the alarm rings in the morning!

So today... on my third chapter on 'Why Do Drug Dealers Still Live with Their Mothers', I was determine to read on the tube.... that is until I reached Stockwell... and I dozed off! But I have to say that I did absorb what I read. It's written with such simplicity that anybody could almost understand what's ticking in an economist's mind.

When I got home, with a mug of tea, I sat in front of the TV and switched on 'Trust me... I'm an Economist'. The person presenting it is Tim Harford. And I've been trying to borrow his book 'The Undercover Economist' from the Library for ages, since it was recomended by JL... but it's only a one week loan as there always seem to be somebody else waiting for it. If there wasn't, I could hold on to that book for at least a month!

I'm not trying to understand it deeply or even try to understand it... but I find the whole thing really interesting. The books that I read... or trying to read... are more like sociology books to me rather than understanding the market economy. I'm interested in people and how people think and why they think that way... and it is interesting to see how things around us actually influence people's perceptive on things.


You know when you're so used to a person and the person actually talks to you like a human being, you tend to forget that he is somebody and the head of the department you're working at! And than you totally forgot about who he is and gives him the address to your blog and when he picked something out and you think... oooo how did he know that and had to be reminded that your life is an open blog... well, it's kind of embarassing!

But Mr Convenor is cool. And because of his coolness... I tend to forget that he is Mr Convenor and treat him like a normal person that oozes coolness that no one else will ever achieve!

I mean.. of course he is not as cool as Jules. Jules is just way to cool, you'll freeze in his presence.

Anyway... I do tend to be over dramatic with things as I am the drama queen! And Mr Convenor knows about that... and no, I don't have a bad thing to say about him because he is just too cool.

OK... enough of this grovelling. I have to do loads of work before I leave this place. And I want to get things right before I'm gone at the end of the month.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Where Are They?

Woke up this morning and the right side of my head was hurting. It felt like somebody hit it hard and it's throbbing. Actually, now that I'm sitting at my desk in my office... it is still hurting.

But still I got up had my coffee and switch on the morning news to get the report on the tubes. No reported problems on the tube. Good news. Once in a while I guess Northern Line has to run on time.

So I left our flat just a few minutes before 08:00 and made my way to the tube station. Same old routine apart from the time. Usually I leave either around 07:30-07:45 or 08:30.

Nothing out of the ordinary happened... there's the usual amount of people walking into the station with me... down the escalator... and just as I got to my position on the platform, the train arrived... and so did the weirdness.

There's seldom more than two seats available at my stop. It's either I get a seat or I'll have to wait until Stockwell, when some commuters get off to catch the Victoria Line. Even then I might not get one as I might be standing at the wrong place and the commuters from Stockwell might grab the seats before I could get to where they were. But today... there was more than 10 seats for me to choose from!!

And the weirdness continued. The train always fills up by the time it gets to one of the Clapham stations... but the seat next to me remained empty until Kennington!! Two stops after Stockwell!! And even then, there was not many people coming on to the train... at Stockwell or Kennington.

When it got to Charing Cross, there's usually a whole load of us coming off the train rushing towards the exit... but today, I felt like it was only me... walking up the stairs and through the tunnel towards the escalator to take me out of the station. Only when I got to the middle of the escalator that someone got on the escalator behind me.

Out of the station, even the Strand seemed empty.

The only time I experience this was a day after the 7 July bombing last year, when people decided to stay at home... which was understandable.

But today... did I miss something? Though I dream of the day where the streets are empty and I could travel in peace without bumping into people and getting people's aggro... WHERE IS EVERYBODY??!!

Monday, September 04, 2006

And Today I Announced It

It's busy, busy, busy at work. The students registered on Friday and had their first lecture today. And I was still busy with the timetable. I had to make sure that everything is going as smoothly as possible. A million queries need to be explained clearly to the anxious students.

And between all that... I was asked to send an e-mail out announcing my imminent departure at the end of the month.

I guess it caught everyone by surprise... well, the ones that I didn't mention it to. Though I know they don't expect me to be there forever, they still didn't expect to see me go either. And the respond I got from the people I announced it to was touching... especially from the academics that I look after. Most of them were genuinely surprised, sad to see me go, but yet happy for me to make the decision.

G who is in Germany with his family e-mailed me back saying that he'll be over soon as his class starts on Thursday and would like to chat with me about this horrible, horrible news!

KA sent me a really nice e-mail back thanking me for all my help...

BG tried to have a chat with me but I was too busy with students seeking my attention and he said that what ever happen we will have a few pints together.

EZ wants to make sure that I keep in touch and we are making plans to meet up socially once I've left.

JL was as supportive as ever when I bumped on him on the roof having his cigarette, saying that he's always be around if I need any help, support and just a good old chat.

The rest will get the news when they get back from their summer holiday.

Some people are saying about having a good send off for me... and as I told them... all I want is to get together with everyone the way that we used to when we used to have time for each other. Once upon a time all of us had time to spare on a Friday lunch time for a chatter with a few drinks and me insisting on a bowl of chips with mayonaise.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Photo Friday - Silver

Stuff from my pocket and my inexpensive jewellery.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

And I Moved On

It wasn't the first day of term yesterday, but for the selected few, there was a pre-sessional course. So, yesterday was a busy day for me... and the past few weeks.

I am the administrator of the course and I had to make sure that everything is in place for the students... and the lecturers and the class teachers! I had to prepare the preliminary timetable, book all rooms for lectures and classes, make sure that the course packs are ready and put together porperly, that the teacher training does not coincide with each other, etc, etc, etc.

Had a bit of a panic a couple of weeks ago when the preliminary timetable that I've prepared and forwarded to a few people, for them to double check, months ago had a mistake in it! I can't believe no one spotted it! Though quite short noticed in some ways, I managed to fix it and that's the main thing.

Like I always manage to fix every thing that comes my way at work. Some people will come and tell me off about things that was out of my control but within my reach to fix... if they could explain to me what the problem is and be a tad patient. The problem becomes that they know I'm the fixer and they now expect 'miracles'. And most of the times, I do deliver the 'miracles'.

Anyway, although it was busy for me today... and are still things that I'm yet to do, like creating THE timetable for the students on my course...

Trust me, creating a timetable is not as easy as it seems! The amount of time there are changes and I have to rearrange things... and having to make sure that all the room bookings corresponds to the timetable... basically, it has to be right!

Back to my original sentence... and then there's the examination to think about... by the end of the day, I went to see my manager and handed in my notice.

I love being in the department, I've never worked with a nicer bunch of people, I love preparing for my courses, help my academics and be the fixer... but there are just some things, the major thing in my job, that I've outgrown... and I have to move on.

No I haven't found another job... but I know I will. I have a plan... not a concrete one... but still, there is a plan... and the first step of the plan is in place.

And there's always a rainbow... after a storm in a teacup.And I saw two rainbows next to each other on Monday! Rainbows always make me smile.