“Car Wash” Workouts


Read these first:-

(This is one of the more scary car wash made for an advertisement. But the true horror is seeing your loved vehicles being man-handled at the car wash centers and being blasted with cheap detergents & shampoos that can rust the car body and wash half done properly and you still need to pay for it. This was one thing that we decided not to do when and if we decided to open our own car wash center)

The dreaded GST came into effect from 1 April 2015 and one have to admit that while it has saved the Government’s hide for more than one occasions (especially when the price of oil went down), it however had brought a cascading impact on the country’s economy. The consumer have ended paying more for basic goods and services – in some cases, with an unnecessary spike in price even by those small traders who now have to pass on GST charges in their prices because the bigger traders have done the same. Guess who gets whacked left, right and center in the end?

On the positive side of the GST is that we have been forced to relook into the items we buy or consume on monthly basis and start to eliminate luxury items away. We end up scrutinizing our needs and then buying things that we really need for daily consumption and opt for more home cooked food than going for expensive menus at some fancy restaurants (and sadly that included our favourite Sushi restaurant). And soon, this list included McDonalds, Pizza Hut and Kenny Rogers. Nowadays our go-to-place is our local mamak restaurant.

2015 was a bad year and eventhough things started to “stabilise” in 2016, it was not a good year as well.

One day in 2015, I got a call from my cousin who was retrenched when his company decided to downsize the staff. Despite his good experience and skills, he was not retained and it was a bad timing indeed as his wife was also retrenched from her company almost the same time (but later found a position opened in the same organisation). My cousin after considering whether to go back to his 9 to 5 routine with another company decided instead to go into business with his friend. Together they opened a car wash center near to a car workshop. Business was slow on the weekends especially because the center was not next to the main road (where there are other car wash centers) and as most office in the vicinity were closed. I would occasionally bring my car to his car wash as well – I know he would do a good job and at the same time, I was able to support his business as well.

My cousin however was always on the lookout for a better place for the car wash – one that fronts the main road where it is easily seen by potential customers. And one day he called me saying that he got the right spot – when I visited him, it was good place indeed although he was not alone to provide car washing services in the area, there was another 2 – 3 car wash centers in the vicinity. First day at his place, I asked him to polish my car – it was cheaper than other places I often go and having my own cousin doing the polish works alone is a good reason to have the polish done here and not elsewhere. But then I saw his problem – he was doing the work all alone (another cousin joins in occasionally). Then when he was free, we had a chat – one thing I noticed he looked healthier (a bit darker but healthier). He slimmed down a lot as well (compared to the time when he was working in an air-conditioned, cozy office). And because he was his own boss, he looked less stressful as well – he had time to kill this time around.

Considering that he could use extra help especially on the weekends and since I don’t have much to do on the weekends (other than eat, sleep and watch TV), I decided to join-in to help him – I had always wanted to help him for all the things he had done when I first started to date my wife (back then he had already married, so although I am elder than him, in a way he was a “senior” than me when it comes to relationships, ha ha). I did not much money to spare for his business (good thing, he had other “investors” coming in) but I had the time and myself to help him. After discussing with him and getting his green light from my HEO, I came over on fine Saturday morning, wearing an old T-shirt and my short pants. No pay for the work done, which was ok for me as money was not the reason I joined him.

I have washed my own car many times before this but I found out that it is a whole different ball game when it comes to washing someone’s else car. Firstly some of the cars that comes in is clearly not driven by humans. Yes, I repeat it – not humans. Vomits, chips, spilled milk, dog furs, mud, black oil and dusts is just a small part of things that you will discover in some of the cars (especially, sorry to say, women drivers). It is amazing that there are humans out there who are willing to be driving on daily basis in a car covered with those things. Secondly some of the drivers who came in for the car wash are simply too impatient before we get the car all done. I noticed this mainly from the lady drivers, the male drivers on the other hand, don’t mind the extra time taken to clean their cars. Sometimes it is the other way around – too many cars lined up and very less time to get the car washed up and me and my cousin get too impatient to clear them.

At first, I follow the so-called “routine” – often looking for queues from my cousin and often limit myself to wiping down the car after it has gone through the snow wash. Then slowly I moved on to interior cleaning, vacuuming, tire polish and later on to shampooing the car (we did not use the cheap detergent but a proper car shampoo). And we embarked on improving the quality of service, gradually – one that immediately sets us apart from our competitors. We decided to wash the cars in the same manner we wash our own car or rather how we want car wash centers to wash our cars. Yes, it takes longer to complete the washing but in the end, the effort taken is much appreciated by our customers – the car is a lot more cleaner and we included a small effort of detailing of the interiors.

Which car wash centers dusts off the dusts on your dashboard. the dial meters and the finger prints on the mirrors and the old stain under the car plate number? Yes, we do all that. In fact, if we have time, we actually wipe and clean each strand of the tire rims to make it clean and shiny. Detailing is part of our services for no extra cost. And once we have done all the washing and wiping and before we hand over the keys back to our customers, there is one final round of quality check. And our customers loves that and so much that we often see them bring their cars, their wife’s car on weekly basis and telling their friends & family members to visit us as well. We got a lot of referrals and that pushed us to ensure quality is always maintained eventhough we have cars waiting to be washed. No rushed work as far as we are concerned. Surprisingly people wait for us – once a customer waited for 2 hours for my cousin to open shop. This is excluding those who are coming in for wax & polish (which took at least half a day to be done but we still had customers) and some to clean their headlights.

There were other developments as well – I started to meet my daily active minutes, consistently meeting it on the weekends when I am “working” at the car wash. And if there are enough cars to wash, I can easily clock in the minimum 10,000 steps. I sweat a lot so much so I started to drink gallons of water – sometimes within minutes my large 1.5 liter water bottle would be empty and I have to replenish on a regular basis. Interestingly drinking a lot of water when I am at “work” did not mean frequent visit to the toilet and in fact, all the days I was at the car wash, I did not once went to the toilet, no matter how much water I had been drinking the whole day. I gather most of the water that I drank is dispensed when I sweat a lot. It was a good workout from morning until late evening and by the time I come back home with a very soaked T-shirt, I would be energy drained – just enough to take a light dinner (sometimes a burger near the car wash) and knock off for a good night sleep. Yes, I started to lose weight and feel healthier as well.

Business was good except when it rains – there were days when we hardly had any cars due to the heavy rain. We will sit at the sofa, waiting for customers to come in once the rain had stopped but never once there have been a dull moment at the car wash except maybe when the cats from the nearby workshop decided to mess up the place (you know I hate cats right?). No dull moments because me and my cousin share the same passion for old Tamil songs especially one from MSV and Illayaraja – we will fire up our smartphones and sit down to listen to the songs whilst waiting for the rain to stop. On other days, we will recall back our childhood and incidents such as the meet up at our Grandma’s house for Deepavali. There were plenty of funny & interesting stories, some unknown to me from that “era” and we would end up laughing on that events. Usually after the rain had stopped, we will see cars now muddied coming over for a good wash.

My stint at my cousin’s car wash was however a short one – just several months short. My cousin soon found that despite good business and a string of loyal customers (ha, I even had one, coming in on the weekends for detailing), it was not enough to continue. He had other issues well to resolve – one had been manpower. It is hard to expand with just one person handling the whole thing. So ended my weekly workout at the car wash – I was kind of sad to leave that active & fun environment but my wife was relieved to see me at home on the weekends. My cousin had moved on as well – he got busy with other work but both of us agreed that if we have the chance and opportunity, we would open a proper car wash center but maintain the same level of commitment and quality. Car wash center is one kind of gym that gives you work and works you at the same time.

Here’s Your Beef Pizza


Please read these as well:-

Pizza

(BF on the pizza list does not mean chicken, I am very sure of it but the staff insisted it is chicken. It may not look like much but add the service and the tax and soon to be GST, eating out may not be a cheap thing. Having the restaurant mixing your order is just rubbing the salt on your wounds)

Dear, that looks like beef, my wife told me as the waiter placed the pizza on the table…

Ever since I came back from overseas, my kids have been asking for an eat out for a pizza and we have been busy with other things. Then yesterday, I decided to take a day off – not because I had something urgent to do but rather I have enough leave allowance left which I know will go to waste in the coming months when I off to another work assignment. I woke up late in time for my son to be back from school. We had decided to have our lunch outside and waited for my son to take his shower. It was a while since he went to take his shower so I walked to his room, thinking that he is probably busy with his homework (he usually do) but instead he was fast asleep (he was doing his homework till late last night). Deciding not to wake him up, my wife decided to cook something simple (there was some idlis leftover from the morning breakfast as well) and decided to have dinner outside instead.

Having set the plan for the evening and had nothing to do for the rest of the afternoon, I stroll to the bedroom and played game on my phone. The next thing I remembered was my daughter waking me up – she wanted to go to the pizza place. I looked at the time and it was almost 7.30 pm. I must have dozed off halfway playing game on the phone. Now we were kind of late, no thanks to me. I had planned to go before 6 pm. There was still time I told myself. Besides my son only then woke up and sleepily walked into my room and continued his sleep on my bed. I wish I could have done the same thing but by now, my wife joined my daughter in waking me up. Since I usually spend more than time than the rest in the bathroom, I am often pushed to be the first to take my shower. The rest of them will take shower after me – it was nothing but an excuse as there was 2 other bathrooms that they can use.

We decided to go to Aeon Equine Park as my son wanted to buy new books for his revisions and I know there is a small Popular book store there. It was a working day, so driving to IOI Mall or Sunway Pyramid would be a nightmare at this time. The bottleneck there is unbelievable. By the time we reached the place, there was plenty of parking lots for us to pick. So was the seats at the Pizza Hut – we decided to have our dinner first and spend the rest of the time at Popular. Aeon usually closes at about 10 pm on weekdays. So we had to about 2 hours left which was more than enough.

Now talking about eating pizza, it has never been our first choice when it comes to us eating out. If given the option, sushi would be our first choice but then having too much of “raw food” is not a good thing either. But today we are determined to have our pizzas. We walked to an almost empty Pizza Hut and picked out seats. There is another Pizza restaurant in the same place but somehow we feel that Pizza Hut pizzas had better taste. We decided to order a personal pizza first for the kids this time – we were struggling to eat the pizza in the past when we ordered the 2 regular pizzas. After all given the lack of crowd at that moment, we could always order another pizza any time. We opted for chicken “based” pizza instead of our usual seafood “based” as my son sometimes gets rashes after taking seafood. We also opted for more side dishes this time – for a change.

One thing that I noticed is that the waiter did not repeat my orders, something that was odd considering that the franchisee is an international brand. The personal pizza that was served hot disappeared in seconds as soon it was served. The kids were hungry, so was my wife and soon even the side dishes was eaten up too. It was time to add more orders – another pizza. My son took the menu and whilst still munching food in his mouth, started to pick the second pizza – another chicken “based” pizza. Once again, the waiter did not repeat my orders.

It did not take long before the waiter to bring over the plate of pizza. The meat topping on the pizza looked somehow strange – it looked darker and overcooked. I gathered that it must be the way they prepared this pizza but my wife was quicker. She immediately noticed that it was beef topping instead of chicken on the pizza. My son was about to put the pizza in his mouth but stopped immediately once my wife mentioned “beef”. I checked further and it was indeed beef topping on the pizza. To our surprise, another waiter brought us another pizza and it seemed to the correct pizza – the meat topping was definitely chicken but when he saw the pizza on the table, he got confused and so was us. Someone had definitely made a mistake.

I asked the waiter to confirm which is one is our real order (just in case we made a mistake) and there was more confusion as the waiters talked to themselves and double checked the order. To my dismay, the first waiter insisted that the beef topping pizza was INDEED chicken pizza. I looked at her and she must have read my mind and quietly walked away. Then another guy came over, apologized and took away the beef pizza. He then brought over the correct pizza but by now, the damage is done. My son had lost his appetite for pizza (I know he was still hungry) and my wife had lost interest. I ended up finishing most of the pizza myself.

We decided to leave and forget this small mishap for the time being. I waited at the counter to pay the bill and once again, I got another apology from the lady behind the counter. But a surprise was waiting us. The bill included the wrongly delivered beef pizza. There was another customer at the counter, so I waited patiently for another battle on wrong orders. I explained to the lady that the beef pizza was wrongly delivered to us and thus should not be charged to us. In fact I wanted to say that Hindus don’t eat beef but one look at the lady behind counter seems to tell that she lacks this basic knowledge.

And this is not the first time, some people had assumed that non-halal in this country only means one thing – pork to the Muslims. And forgetting that non-halal also means beef to the Hindus and the Buddhists. Another round of discussions and checking with rest of the waiters (I thought they have settled this issue earlier). Good thing for the restaurant and the staff – I was somehow kept my cool and just want to settle the issue. The manager finally showed his face and went over to the counter and re-do the bill. He returned the extra amount but rather hesitantly, as if we made the mistake and not his staff. Better than nothing although I was still at the losing end if consider the service tax and govt tax (short changed about RM1++, ha ha).

Good day out for dinner however ruined for the day but somehow the staff apologizing for the small mistakes soften the damage. Interesting change indeed.

Off to a Funeral


mas

(No matter what, Malaysia remains where my heart and soul lies at the end of the day. And nothing kicks starts the notion than flying on the national carrier whilst having hot delicious nasi lemak for company)

Somehow it was great to fly back on MAS – for a couple of things.

One, it was good to hear safety announcements in Bahasa Malaysia again. Two, they served nasi lemak for lunch which was a sure sign that we are heading back home. And one of the first things that I did once I am back home was to catch up on my sleep. I could not help it – I even doze off whilst I was having conversations. Having a weekend and then thereafter the CNY holidays was just perfect to catch up on a break.

So I thought…

I was made “aware” of a distinct relative who was admitted to hospital in a serious condition. And last weekend, the dreadful news came. The relative had passed away. Being a distinct relative, there was always an option for me to simply opt out from going for the funeral. Further, the funeral was taking place in Johore – a place that was considered “quite far away” to drive (although it was almost the same distance and time to drive up North). The one that nails the urge for not going is that the funeral was taking place on a Sunday (I was working on Monday)

But there was 3 reasons that was prompted me to attend this funeral. First, despite it being a funeral of a distinct relative but he was somehow linked with other relatives who are closer to me. And there will be questions raised in the next family gathering. I had some obligations to them. Second, my father in law who is staying up in Taiping is taking the bus (yes the bus – we did not know, otherwise we would have picked him up half way) all the way to Johore for the same funeral. If he can take the bus and travel for 8-9 hours, then what’s stopping us with cars half way through from attending the same funeral, right? And third, the deceased had the same (well, almost) age as me (and brother in laws). Somehow, that made me to decided to go for the funeral.

It was time for planning for the one day trip to South and it was similar to the trip to the East Coast but with a small difference. We going to use my car as I am going to do most of the driving. It was a good opportunity to test the new tires. And to ensure it is going to be a fast drive down South and back, we decided to leave the ladies & kids at home (we already anticipating massive traffic jam on the way back, so it is best to leave the ladies and the children at home). In the car, would be me and 2 of my brother in laws (one is the substitute driver and another is our navigator – he had been to the house once)

The plan was finalised on Saturday evening (it took some time on the phone with various parties to finalise who was going and who was staying). My brother in law would pick up his wife and his daughter and another of the brother in law in the morning and meet me at my house. He would leave his car and drop his wife & daughter at my house (my wife and my kids will be around to keep them company).

map

(The trip down South – frankly the time and distance was similar to the trip up North but somehow it was less tiring. Perhaps it was because it has been almost 15 years since I made the trip to South)

We suppose to leave from my house (since it is nearer to the South compared to our 2 houses) at 5 am. I woke up at 4 am and by 4.45 am was all ready for the trip. I had even double checked the car and parked it outside the porch so that my brother in law can park his car easily. I also set the GPS coordinates and locked in the destination. At 5 am, he was no where to be seen. He finally showed up at almost 5.30 am – it was still good as my deadline remained 6 am (assuming we have a 4 hours to drive). The three guys finally left at about 5.45 am.

The journey to Johore was rather a pleasant one and surprisingly is not tiring compared to the trip up North. I hardly fell asleep along the way despite waking up earlier than usual. My new tires, Michelin XM2 was holding well and was quiet all the way. I had checked the route before hand (thanks, Google Map) and had decided to only use the GPS once we had reached the exit of the highway. No speeding on the highway and I maintain to the left lanes whenever possible. We made 1 pit stop at Pagoh for breakfast (a sorry looking nasi lemak with un-reasonable price was waiting for us). Quick breakfast and we were back on the highway and there was still more than 100 km to go before we reach the deceased’s house. Traffic was still sparse and it remained a smooth drive. It took us less than 4 hours including pit stop.

Using GPS is a must when venturing into an unfamiliar place and it was the case here too when we reached the house without getting lost. An uncle of mine who was not using GPS, got lost 4 times in the same area before finally finding the house. Fearing that there will be a big crowd later, we parked the car on the main road, some distance from the house but where I can still see the car from the house. We noticed a large tent outside the house which affirmed that we are at the right place. No familiar faces at the tent in front of the house, so we walked into the house. The coffin was in the middle of the house, surrounded by grieving family members. We said our condolences and prayers and headed back to the tent outside the house. The smell of chemicals inside the house was overwhelming and I started to feel dizzy.

Sitting under the tent outside the house with my brother in law (my father in law joined us soon after – he was tired after an almost 9 hours of traveling by bus) and with a fresh breeze, my head started to get clearer. Not many people have arrived despite the scheduled time for the deceased body was suppose to be taken to the crematorium. It suppose to be at 10 am but soon 10.30 am and 11 am had passed and soon it was showing 11.30 am. I looked at my brother in law and he looked at me – we suppose to leave at 11.30 am if we are going to make it home early. My brother in law went and talked to one of the relatives on the “status” – apparently there were some delay and we have to wait at least another 2 hours for the final ceremony (it actually took longer than that). I don’t blame them – no one prepares for a funeral upfront.

Wait for another 2 hours?

Well, that was our cue to take a “walk” to our car and head back home. Since there was a funeral, there were no “good-byes” and “see you later”. We quietly walked to my car – good thing it was parked far away and near to the house, otherwise our “early” departure would have been very noticeable.

traffic

(When things slows down on the highway, just make sure the car has enough petrol and the bladder empty. It was good that the traffic was moving despite the heavy traffic)

We had to head back to the highway, so GPS came in handy again. But before we do that, a short pit stop for fuel and use of bathroom was necessary. As I drove out, I misjudged a junction and took the wrong road. Thankfully the GPS was quick to recompute the route and in fact came out with a route with less traffic (so we could “fly” towards the highway). Soon, we found the toll plaza but it was not the NS toll booth (we mistakenly thought it was the NS toll). It was actually the 2nd Link Expressway. There was no lane for cash but instead all need Touch N Go for access. The problem was I left my TNG card at home and my brother in law did not have one either. Cars started to pill up behind us and when I thought we had a big problem at hand, I remember I had the Tesco loyalty card in my wallet and that came with TNG feature. It even had enough credit for the toll. We were saved!!

It was not long before we reached the actual NS highway and initially the traffic flow was good. We managed to clock 110 km/h most of the route. But once reached Negri Sembilan, the traffic started to crawl. R&R was packed full with cars as well. We made our pit stop at Ayer Keroh for fuel and a very late lunch. We could not find a parking spot but at further up front, we managed to find a spot and had an excellent nasi lemak with a good portion of chicken. There was long queue at the petrol station as well. Then it was back to the crawl on the highway. We finally reached home almost at 8 pm and despite being stuck with traffic jam most of the way (no thanks to road works and a couple of broke down express buses).

Despite I drove to and fro such a distance, all in one day, surprisingly I was not feeling that tired or sleepy. And after the late evening shower, I was still feeling fresh to drive to restaurant near the house for dinner.

The Other Side of Parenting


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silhouettes-of-parents-and-kids

(What young children really need is a strong, supportive and loving parents. Image source: http://eduart4kids.com)

Another innocent life taken away all because of sheer recklessness:-

A four-year-old boy died after being left inside his father’s car at the parking lot of SM Kuala Nerang about 45km from Alor Setar. The deceased, identified as Muhammad Aqil Arfan Adnan, 4, had begun the day accompanying his parents Adnan Salleh and Asiah Abu when they left their house at Kampung Padang Durian, Pendang, Kedah.

They left their house about 6.45am and Adnan sent his wife to the school where she taught before going to the school where he works as a religious teacher. He forgot to drop him off at kindergarten Perdana ABC at Kuala Nerang.

At 4.00pm as his father went back to his car, he found his son was unconscious. He rushed him to Kuala Nerang Hospital but the boy was pronounced dead.

(Source)

Then couple of days ago, I watched a local TV program of a single mom who was struggling to meet the ends for her small children – 4 of them.

None of the children were going to school and they all don’t have any birth certificates. The eldest of the 4 instead helps his mom to sell snacks at night and they barely makes it on a daily basis. It seems to be a typical case of the poor family in this country except for one thing which made me very angry indeed. Apparently the lady have another 3 kids – all grown up but are not staying together to help the lady and their siblings. The eldest, a son is in jail for criminal activities whilst the other 2, girls had ran away from the family. The father used to be in jail but had recently been released but had decided to stay away from the family. The remaining young children future remains bleak and the lady is really helpless on what to do next.

Whilst it is tragic, the question that begs to be answered is why some people have kids but does not take the trouble, pride and responsibility in taking care of their kids? How could the father could have forgotten that his kid was inside the car. Imagine the suffering that the young child would have before he died. How could the father simply washes his hands from taking care of his kids but the idiot had plenty of time, fathering whole lot of them. There was no excuse whatsoever for these acts and in case of the parents abandoning the kids, these irresponsible parents should be made to pay dearly.

Having kids is a big, big responsibility and once 2 people have decided to have kids, nothing else comes before their kids and their welfare.

And one of the main things that parents can do in the best interest of their kids is making sure they go to school and get a decent education. The lady with the 4 young kids expressed to the reporter in the TV program that all she wanted to do to get her kids to school but without birth certificates, that is not possible for now unless the Government steps in to help the family. Then there is the issue of the family making ends meet with the single mother not having a permanent job and whatever she makes and sells on daily basis is used back for the family’s expenses and for the raw materials for the next day.

I was lucky that my parents especially my Dad held that education was far more important that saving up for a new house or car or good things in life. We all stayed on rented house for most of our life until I bought a house on my own. We often take the bus and walked a lot back then. And having chicken for our meals was a luxury that came perhaps once in a month. But somehow there was no short of money for school tuition, stationery and revision books. No matter what was the situation, my Dad always had the money for our education..

In general, most parents are doing well when it comes to having the right responsibility and care of their children and myself and my wife do have our hands full handling our 2 little bosses. As my dad have done in the past, I emphasized the same on education and even though my children fares slightly better than me when I was at their age, their ultimate goal remains the same.

And there is another aspect of being a good parents and that is to be around when the children needs us – providing that support, teaching the rights to say and do and assuring them that they can always count on us. I travel a lot so I do get to miss a lot of my children’s activities and first time occasions but when I am at home, I make it a point to spend as much as possible time with my kids. When I come back from work, one of first questions that I ask my son is “how was school?” or “how was your day” and followed by “have you finished your home work?” of course. My daughter still young but she do fight her brother to get a bigger share of my attention. She will butt in with her own report for the day. We sleep late almost every day but despite being very tired, it is a very rewarding feeling.

And I say this again, having kids is a big, big responsibility and once 2 people have decided to have kids, nothing else comes before their kids and their welfare. If you can’t do that, don’t have kids – just simple as that.

Big Boss’ Rules


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When my son was a baby (a very cute one too), he occupies one third of the bed with me and my wife taking one third each. But as he grew up, I find myself sleeping on the floor as my son takes up half of the bed (and moves around in his sleep) and my wife the other half. Of course, this does not happen all the time as he usually sleeps on the ground floor with his grandmother although if given the chance, he rather opt to sleep on my large comfortable bed and with the air conditioner running on high speed (I don’t mind either – anything for the Boss, eh).

So one day when my brother got married and decided to moved, we saw a golden opportunity to take “ownership” of my brother’s room and give it to my son instead. It was meant for him anyway, one day. We got for him a cabinet and drawers for his clothes, books and toys, a bed and more importantly a table & chair for him to use when he does his revision and homework. His room has a small fan and has an attached bathroom.

He is a big man now (so we told him) and thus we were sure that he needs his space and privacy. Of course, it took some coaxing and words of encouragement before he braved himself to sleep in his own room (it gets worse if he had watched some horror movie before going to bed). Sometimes we allow him to sleep on our bed and when he had fallen asleep, I would carry him to his bed (a feat I could no longer do these days).

D3

One day when I entered his room to clean up, I noticed a hand-written “rules of the room” pasted on his cabinet. The boss must have worked on it when he was alone in his room the night before and when we had told him to do his homework (now I know why he took hours to finish up his homework).

The rules (not sure for who) states this:-

  • Do not jump on the bed
  • Ask permission to play carrom
  • Do not read any private books
  • Make your bed after you sleep
  • Ask permission to play Saidina
  • Do not read any books on the bed
  • Sit on the chair if you are to do homework and read any books
  • Do not jump on the chair
  • Do not sit on the table
  • Do not mess any clothes in the drawer
  • Do not use the gel without permission
  • Do not play with the yo-yo without permission
  • Do not use the room watch to do any alarms
  • Do not play with the tissue paper
  • Do not play with the badminton racquet
  • Use the bookmark to mark the book page

I read the rules of the room a couple of times and to tell you the truth, I was immensely proud – he somehow had took charge of his room with his own “rules” (one of course does not necessarily applies to the Boss).

One thing that the Boss does not take ownership is the cleanliness of his room. Pieces of papers all over the place, books not arranged properly, bed not done up and often his school bag & school books thrown on the bed. Despite my wife constantly reminding him to keep his room clean and use the dust-bin in his room, it simply fallen on deaf ears. We had to tasked ourself to organise major housekeeping operation whenever we enter his room to clean up. It takes me almost the whole day to clean up and organise things in his room.

D2

And recently a strange graffiti had appeared on the wall just behind where he sits.

I asked him – who “drew” on the wall. My son who was busy with his homework, turned around, looked at the wall for a moment and casually and with a straight face said that he did not know who drew on the wall. I wanted to laugh for I recognised his “handy work” on the wall anywhere, anytime. No one else enters his room other than me and my wife. There was only one suspect and he was sitting in front of me, pretending not knowing what is happening.

I asked him again and I got the same innocent answer – “I don’t know who did it”. No point forcing him, I already know who did it. I replied “ok” and told him that I hope that whoever did this, must not do it again and should be more careful to take care of the wall.

Well, my son must have thought that I am referring to someone else because a few days later, new graffiti appeared on the wall. After a while, I decided not to bring this up to the Boss because in a way the room belongs to him and he is free to “decorate” it as he sees it fit. Besides I had planned to repaint the whole wall one day and hopefully by then he had grown up to be more responsible.

And the Boss do have big plans for his room and one day, he did talk to me on his “future plans” – he wanted the room to be painted bright orange (yes all 4 walls) and to add a huge air-conditioner to his room. He also wanted a flat screen TV (for his Play station – whenever he takes his 5 minutes break from doing school work) and a computer with broadband internet (he argues that he will use it for school work and nothing more. Ya right!).

Maybe by then, the Boss would draw up new rules. I know he would…

Old Photos – Part 3


Before we proceed with this week’s short post, there are 3 things I wanted to say aloud.

First is Waytha, after the hunger strike stunt that he pulled before the elections and got his MOU with Najib had now resigned – he rightfully deserved it, if you ask me. The way to go is to stop fighting for rights and benefits based on racial lines and do so more on poverty lines so that all races in this country will fairly benefit from it. For that Pakatan’s proposition makes it more favorable and Waytha should have stick to Pakatan and work out the issues from there. We cannot afford to go and go on racial basis on a multi racial country. It however does not change the fact that the Government still need a major overhaul. After all, if the Home Minister can come out and can casually sweeps a threat to slap a Member of the Parliament under the carpet, that says a lot on the present state of the country.

Second is Happy Valentine’s Day. My cousins got busy with their yearly ritual during this time of the year – selling roses near their house (profit margin seems reasonable) and as was last year, the business had been very good. In respect of the occasion, please check out the YouTube video below. The song (from award winning 2010 Tamil movie Angadi Theru) correctly represents on how we look at our better half although we may not say it aloud (sometimes tough men are indeed soft inside).

Third is that I am happy that Sony have finally rolling out Android 4.3 to Sony Xperia SP smartphone. Perhaps a Valentine’s gift? It has been a “long wait” (ha ha, if I had read well on the various comments in Xperia forums) although the existing Android 4.1.2 still worked wonders for me and it was way better than my older Symbian powered N8 in most areas but a firmware update is always welcomed with open arms. I got my phone “upgraded” this morning and so far the first impression of the update – the graphics seems somehow smoother.

Let’s proceed with this week’s post.

Last week, I had an unexpected phone call.

It was from my distant elder cousin who I rarely see these days. He called me and asked if I had Whatsapp. Feeling confused, I slowly said I had the apps (who doesn’t uh?) but clarified that I was not “online” at the moment (I switch on the mobile data only when it is necessary – to check Facebook status, emails or fact finding in Wikipedia). He said he found an old photo of my dad with his siblings and he will send it via Whatsapp. I switched my mobile data on and waited for the photo but nothing happened. But the next day, I got 2 photos sent via Whatsapp. One was a studio photo of my cousin’s mom & dad, taken when they just got married.

old photos1

Another which interest me more was a photo of my dad with his brothers and his father (my grandfather) who looked much younger. I had a photo of my grandfather when he was rather old but not any photos when he was younger. I did not realise that my grandfather from my father’s side had the same flair and style as my grandfather from my mother’s side. I showed the photo to my dad and he could not remember much on the photo other than that it was taken when he was about 14 years old (which meant it was taken in the 1950s). He however pointed out his footwear back then and that was pretty standard (the necktie was borrowed from the studio).

My dad was not sure of the occasion when the photo was taken but it was a rare photo indeed. There is no photo of my dad when he was younger and none had never surfaced in the last 30 years or so. This promptly copied to my old photos collection that I have setup recently (now I have about 30 black & white photos and that collection is growing). My target is to collect as many old photos as possible, before it goes missing, tag them with detailed narration and finally publish them in a dedicated website so that all family members (near & far) would have access to these rare photos.

P.s. Take a look at Part 1 & Part 2 here and here

And now a special video for Valentine:-

Have a good weekend ahead…

Childhood Memories – Part 26


Read the whole series here

SONY DSC

(No Deepavali is ever complete without the crunchy murukus – I am sure everyone agrees on that. Photo taken on Deepavali last year)

Certainly Deepavali was not like how it used to be back those days, some how some things have changed, don’t you think so? Perhaps it is because we have grown up and life has gotten slightly more complicated or perhaps large family gathering getting out of fashion these days, I don’t know.

Back then, the tasks for Deepavali celebrations actually starts couple days (sometimes weeks) before the actual date. Two things happen before we celebrate Deepavali – the making of Deepavali cookies (the usual “culprits” are there – achi-muruku, muruku, butter biscuits, etc) and shopping for new clothes. The making of Deepavali cookies was done on a “gotong-royong” basis with a number of neighbors (or my aunties if we had gone to my grandma’s house couple days earlier) and all the kids pitching in. All share the cost of purchasing the raw materials and the hard work of mixing the flour, the ghee, the sugar, the eggs and finally the cooking. As kids however, it was not hard work but rather it was a fun thing to do especially when my Mom passes some of the work to press the murukku to us and we try to outdo each other with the best shape that we can do without breaking the pressing (although excitement runs out fast and we all soon will get bored to help out).

Shopping for new clothes however had to wait until the last minute when my Dad gets his pay (sometimes with some extra festive pay from his Boss). If the pay is good (provided my Dad did not take too many medical leave for the month), we can look forward to more than 1 pair of new clothes but if it is not, we were more than happy to have just one new T-shirt (and all others recycled from previous years). No matter what, our parents made sure we had something new to wear on Deepavali although they often do not buy new clothes for themselves. We would then rush to the one place we can expect to buy new clothes dirt cheap – Petaling Street (back then, we did not have pasar-malam or hypermarkets near our place)

The night before Deepavali

This is far more important than the morning of Deepavali itself – for one reason only – the prayers to my late grandfather and my youngest uncle (both from my mother’s side) who had passed away when I was still small. We usually do a quick prayers for my grandfather and grandmother (from my father side) couple of hours before we take the bus all the way to Serdang (change bus half way in Puduraya) and to my grandma’s house where my grandma and my aunties had already prepared for the prayers – the hall has been half cleaned, the chicken & the glorious dishes have been cooked and the altar has been readied.

We would arrive at my Grandma’s house hungry and tired but very excited. We would place our new clothes at the altar and head for a quick shower (my grandma would insist on it). Then the prayers starts with all at the front of the altar and taking turn to do our own prayers asking for blessing and hope for a better year ahead. Once that is done, we would have our dinner and it will be one of the best dinners we will have for the year with chicken, mutton, prawns and more. But that is not the end of the activities for the day – the house would still be in a mess so after dinner, we will start with even more cleaning and decorating of the house. Whilst the ladies get themselves busy with the usual cleaning, changing of the curtains & sofa cover and making more murukus & preparing for breakfast in the kitchen, one of my aunties would started “drafting” kolam using chalk at the main entrance (she kept a scrap book full of various designs). Once done, I would be assigned to paint the kolam with white paint as my cousins would be busy with other cleaning tasks.

It would be quite late before we go to our beds. Even so, as we are sound asleep, my aunties, my mom and my grandma would be still be awake, doing last minute cleaning and cooking. We have no idea what time they actually go to sleep but one thing we are sure of – they are first to be up before us next morning.

The morning on Deepavali

We would be fast asleep when we would be “rudely” awakened early in the morning. No thanks to the late bedtime the night before (or early morning), we would be struggling to even open our eyes. My mom on the other hand would be the next person standing by our bed and making sure we march off to the bathroom for our morning shower. And she expects us to do it without further delays as we need to do the morning prayers before breakfast can be served and they need to serve breakfast early for my uncles and my Dad. So there was no excuse for late prayers (it some how changed a couple of years later where we were allowed to wake up late). Perhaps due to my Mom’s persistence or the prayers songs in the background, we would somehow forced ourselves off the bed and stand up but with our eyes still closed. My grandma would come over and rub the oil on our head and leave us alone to catch up on bit more sleep whilst waiting for the bathroom to be free (being at the grandma’s house means the kids gets VVIP treatment – hot water all readied by the time we are ready for our morning bath).

Breakfast was simple – hot thosai with spicy chicken curry but that is the beauty of it. Simple but heavenly delicious and there is no end of hot thosai served on our plates. We were made sure that we had a very hearty breakfast before we don the new Deepavali clothes – all waiting for us at the altar from last night.

The rest of the day on Deepavali

The activities for the rest of the day on Deepavali are usually divided into 2. First, to entertain my uncle’s guests who will visit him without fail every year – kids had to make sure that the drinks (soft drinks and beers) are replenished on time. And my uncle usually have 10 – 15 guests coming in all at the same time, so imagine the chaos the living hall would be. And they usually come for lunch, so my aunties, my Mom and my grandma would be very busy as well in the kitchen. We kids need not be around all the time – our “services” is usually needed at the start of this activity. Once done, we would be busy with the second activity for the day – playing (and more importantly experimenting) with firecrackers. We usually start playing the usual way of playing firecrackers but boredom would soon get better of us. We would “open” up the firecrackers and use the powder to blow up things at the garden including ants colony (ya, we were Ants Bully too once)

Soon after lunch and after my uncle’s guests had left, it would be time for other guests to come over. It is also time for the ladies in the house to get a break from all that cleaning and cooking. It was also time to watch the Deepavali special on the television (another round would at night – still remember Dunhill Blockbuster those days?). It is also time for us kids to visit the neighbors. No afternoon nap on the first day of Deepavali – it is either watching TV or munching up the murukus or playing firecrackers.

The night on Deepavali

Another round of good delicious food to be savored on Deepavali night as we would get another stream of guests at night – mostly from aunties’ side. We would soon get busy watching another “blockbuster” movie (the same movie that we had seen on pirated VCDs but just clearer version this time around). But soon, we would get bored again and it was time for another experiment with the firecrackers. However, we had to do that at the side of the house, away from the front where my Dad and my uncles are having their drinking session and their long chat. It is one of the rare moments when you can get everyone at one place and enjoying themselves. One or two experiment gone wrong from the side of the house (it usually do but without anyone getting hurt) would be enough the disrupt the drinking session at the front and sends one of my uncles to come over to check and see what the kids are doing – a quick reminder on safety and we are let off to continue. By now, the tiredness for past 2 days of preparation and waking up in the morning would have started to settle in. Nonetheless, it would be late before we go off to sleep, waking very late the next day. Things are so different these days.

And before we go off on holidays and get high on murukus & beers, I leave you with this quotable quote (good one, Durai) to ponder through during the holidays:-

“PM even announced that the cut in sugar subsidy would actually help to improve our sex life; which is important because the government needs to fuck us all the time”