The “Persatuan”


boom

(The familiar facade of almost every residential areas in this country.  But setting this up and running it on a regular basis is not easy. Image source: TheStar)

I guess it is high time I stop apologizing for not doing up my blog post and I did consider ending the good old days of blogging for once and for all. But then again, I might come in here occasionally to pen down my thoughts and latest happenings.

Seriously I have been busy spending more time for myself – playing games on my smartphone (what else?), spending more precious time with my kids (I love it when my kid sits on me and ask me to read her a story) and whenever possible for that extra hour of sleep and exercise. There have been another development this year and that is quickly turning into my pet project as well – my involvement with the Resident’s Association (RA) or in Bahasa Malaysia, known as “Persatuan Penduduk“.

Still remember back in 2009 when I first talked about the RA?

Things had dragged on for couple more years until one day in 2014, I received a notice in my post box that another group of residents from the same residential area had decided to form a RA. I wondered what happened to the old RA as this will be another competing RA for the same group of residents.

A meeting was held one fine Sunday morning to explain to the residents and formalise the RA. Having nothing to lose (I was watching a dumb show on TV anyway), I went for the meeting and here it was explained what is the difference between old and new RA. Apparently the old RA was not a registered organisation and these new group of residents decided to set up a proper RA which is registered with the ROS, has a proper constitution, registration of members and have a proper committee members to manage the RA. And guess what, I was one of the committee member that got elected on that day – not that I had some special skills that can assist the RA but rather I was the only Indian chap who braved enough to show up at the meeting. So when it was time to pick a multi-race committee members, the slot for an Indian was obvious – all eyes was on me.

For the period of 2014-2016, I was not that active in the RA namely because I was stationed overseas during these times but when I was back home, I tried to help out whenever possible. We did probably the best Raya celebration (with superb food that the ladies managed to cook up) that the residents had in recent years.

Moving forward to beginning of 2016, the RA had their final AGM to pick new committee members for the period of 2016-2018 and this time, there was a couple more Indian chaps in the group, so I did not end up as the obvious choice. But seeing how residents wanting to help the RA but don’t want to be committee members themselves, I decided to volunteer this time around. Everyone was pointing at others instead of volunteering and seeing the mayhem for a moment, I opened my mouth and I ended up in the committee again. Of course the new committee members will take up more prominent role and I had decided on a more supporting role considering how I am tied up with work these days (it was the same with the previous committee).

I did mention previously in this blog that the topic of leadership have always fascinated me. And in every work or venture that I had signed up, I always look for opportunity (even the smallish) to learn. Same thing with RA this time around – with more interaction with other residents on common issues have improved command of language, I am less shy now to meet up with other people and share my leadership skills with some of the new committee members. And I am learning a lot more from other committee members who are more experienced in their line of work (we have 2 engineers as well in the group), the way they analyze the issues and the way they deal with people. One guy impressed me more than others on the subject of communication & persuasion seeing how he managed to drive up the RA membership to almost 90% now. And people in the neighborhood getting to know me (and me to them) as well – which is a good thing assuming I need their help one fine day.

Things have been interesting though – to see things from a non-commercial and educational point of view.

But then again, running an association that involves residents from multi-racial, multi-religion backgrounds has not been a smooth sailing as well. Payment for security guards had been a pain in the neck for long – from a few who are deeply concerned with the security of their families and homes to the dumb idiots who enjoy the security on the expense of others. In the last 2 years, the payment trend has been a roller coaster ride – from a good payment to hire 5 guards to almost none by end of last year. In the end, when it was not enough to hire the guards, the previous RA committee decided to stop the security services and told the residents to watch their back on their own. A couple of months later early this year and after 6 break-ins happened (2 when the residents were still in the house), the residents kind of woke up and got busy pushing the RA for security guards again.

The new RA committee in 2016 decided to go one step ahead with road closures, boom gates and fencing and this time (maybe due to the break-ins) and a better quality of security service, there is much more support from the residents this time around – almost 80% payment for first month alone and drive for new membership skyrocketed too with almost 88% of the residents joined in as the RA members. The trick is to keep up the momentum for the next 2 years or so. And to ensure residents are well informed of the RA plans (and also to pressure those who have been running behind on security payments), all of the members are added into a resident’s chat group. Peer pressure do work wonders sometime. And of course, there will be that small selfish group of morons who will always work against the wishes of the majority and they will often end up being the trouble makers. It takes time, some sense of arm twisting and anger of other residents to keep these trouble makers at bay.

This should keep me pretty much occupied for next 2 years until of course, I am away on overseas assignments.

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Bootloops, Internet & Shitty Service Center


(A short break from a post on MH370 – we are still hopeful of finding the wreck and getting to the bottom of the reason why the plane went missing. Looking at the various flip-flop statements coming out from the politicians, there is little doubt why countries like China is whacking Malaysia left right and center and now we have the criminals from the South of Philippines kidnapping tourists from Sabah under the very nose of ESSCOM. Another case of someone sleeping on the job?)

It happened once when I still had my trusted N8 and not surprisingly it has happened again

Well, it started with this:-

Swedish developer Knowit Mobile already has a number of Xperia Themes in the Google Play Store. It has now released seven more, which includes three freebies. You won’t find these themes through Sony Select right now, so you’ll have to go direct to the Google Play Store. You will find links to the Play Store and pictures of each of the new themes below.

(Source)

You know me, I soon get bored with the existing themes and seeing one that seemed to be custom made for Xperia (and seemed to be endorsed by Sony and it is in Google Play), this new set of themes looked very tempting.

snow

(I love the icons at the bottom – it was a very cool theme but unfortunately with a hidden time bomb. Image source: Google Play)

However I then made 2 mistakes.

Mistake No. 1 – Changing the standard Xperia themes to something else when the standard themes are already working well and perfectly. Why fix something when it is not broken, eh?

Mistake No. 2 – Not reading further into the post above and read the readers comments. Otherwise I would have discovered that there is something wrong with this theme.

I had installed some of the themes and it was working well until one fine morning, I noticed there was still one theme I have not installed – Winter Snow. It looked great too. It looked alright when I installed the theme and nothing looked out of the ordinary as I navigated the various functions on my phone with the new theme installed. I have installed plenty of apps before but nothing wrong have happened.

Anyway after the new theme installed, I just placed my phone on the side and continued with my work. A couple of minutes later, I noticed something from the corner of my eyes – the phone was restarting. I don’t know why it restarted. It usually happens when there is a major upgrade but there was none for the day. I waited for it to restart but something was not right – it restarts and then half way, it stops and restarts again. This goes on and on. I know then I was in trouble. And I know that the new theme must be screwing things up and thus I had to uninstall it.

For a moment, I panicked and was cursing myself. I quickly checked on the internet on how to stop this insane restart and how to do a hard reset or start on a safe mode. No matter how many times I press on the power on and the volume down (with different sequences), nothing changed. After a couple of attempts unsuccessfully, I gave up. The only choice left was to bring it to the Sony authorized service center. I checked on Sony’s website – the nearest one was either at KLCC or Mid Valley. Then I noticed there was another service center near Sunway (their out-sourced authorized service center). I decided to try my luck there as it was nearer – I urgently needed my phone to make calls and at the moment, I only had a faulty phone that was booting in a loop and could not be shut off (it was getting warmer too).

I rushed to the nearest service center  and noticed that there was only 1 customer at the waiting area. I saw one lady at the counter and so I walked over and showed my phone to the lady at the counter. She was lazily looked at my phone and then looked at me. What she said next made me speechless for a moment – they don’t handle smartphones. Apparently they handle all other items made by Sony but not smartphones (but that was not what I saw on the Sony’s website). I thought she was pulling a fast one on me. I insisted that she call a technician and take a look nonetheless. She reverted that even they assist me on this, it will take 1 – 2 months for the phone to be fixed.

She asked me to go to KLCC instead and she gave me a number to call. That was not acceptable and I persisted for someone OTHER than her (one look at her told me that she is not a tech savvy) to give my faulty phone a look but nothing moved. Ya, you can call it Mistake No. 3.  It had all the element of “tidak apa” written on the wall. So I decided that there was no point talking to this lady at the counter and try my luck with the service center at KLCC over the weekends. That means a couple of days without my smartphone but it looks like I had no other choice.

I was angry for wasting my time with the so-called service center and feeling very frustrated, I went back to the internet, hoping that someone out there, some where in the world would have faced the same problem and managed to find a workable solution. Another trip to the Sony Mobile website for trouble shooting and tips however did not do anything to resolve the problem. I was back to square one and the phone was getting even warmer by now. I was beginning to get worry and Yoda’s statement on the dark side of the force echoed in my mind – “Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering”? I was suffering indeed.

I tried a different key words in the Google Search and then something positive showed up:-

Hi, speak from Brazil.

I’m here to warn you guys that the themes of Sony, those new (cute) themes simple put our Xperia SP to bootloop, don’t use them in any circumstances.

I’ve made a lot of test in the firmware 12.1.0.266 and when i put any of those damn themes and turn off my phone, it just enter in bootloop mode when i try to turn it on again.

Then i have to use SUS to recovery phone.

I’ll repeat

DO NOT USE THE NEW THEMES IN ANY CIRCUMSTANCES.
UNFORTUNATELY SONY MESSED UP OUT PHONE.

just want to warn you guys, sorry about the English.

(Source)

At last a light at the end of the tunnel!

The only way available now was using the SUS program (Sony Update Service) but that would erase all data & installed programs at the same time. Between the phone kept booting up unsuccessfully and causing me to miss my calls and SMSes & leaving with no other choice but to take time to go to the Sony service center at KLCC and me losing the data in the phone, I decided to go for the latter.

I downloaded and then powered up SUS and there was some moments before SUS were able to detect the phone (I misread the steps provided by SUS and cause the phone not detected). Then it took about 5 minutes for SUS to download Android 4.3 for Xperia SP and installed it. My phone then recovered and able to boot normally. It was missing all my phone contacts, apps and SMS logs – 2 of it (contacts & SMS logs) were easily restored using my earlier backup using Sony PC Companion. The apps on the hand will take some time to be updated to the level before I hit the problem in the morning. But at the end of the day, the phone was back to normal and I need not go to KLCC.

The internet is indeed a great place to look for information and tips and saves a whole load of trouble with the service centers. The solution on the internet solves my boot loop problem in less than 10 minutes – a far cry from the 1 – 2 months that the lady mentioned to me.