When On A Mission…


At the airport

(My favorite shot – taken when I am at departure gate, coming back home. It is also means mission completed successfully and I have 1 less thing to worry once I am back)

Hold on for a second whilst I l take a moment to dust off the dust from this blog.

Damn, is that been that long since we last met? My sincere apology to all those who drop by this blog to hear my usual rants. When one is in a mission, time is premium. We will only have “x” amount of hours in a day and there are times when I had gone to the bed without shower or changing clothes. To put it summarily, I love blogging very much but I love sleeping off my tiredness after a hard day at work even more. For now, I have no choice but to leave this blog to continue to collect dust but it does not mean it will be the end of my blogging – I assure you. At least for the next few months.

But before that…

I am still away on work assignment and sometimes it feels like I am in a war zone with me leading a small platoon of highly specialised soldiers on a mission deep in the enemy’s territory, eating our rations on the move and sleeping out on the dirt with our fingers firmly on the trigger of our automatic assault rifles. Ya, I can almost taste it in the air. And it was reality when I was in the middle east a few years with my morning pick up consisted of a four wheel drive and a solider with a fully loaded AK 47 for security. And homecoming after such “mission” is simply sweet – no moment is more memorable than seeing my kids and hugging them and then going off to sleep on my own bed.

And since I have not been at home so much this year (and last few months last year), I try to spent as much time as possible at home. The feeling to date has been very much rewarding. A trip to the beach is on my “must do” list and I know just the place to go – one with a view facing the sea and a good spicy nasi lemak in the morning for breakfast.

Oh did I mentioned that when I was about to go back to Malaysia the last time around, my car had problem – it refused to start bringing the bad memories when the car immobiliser had problems and I had to fork out almost RM900 for the repairs. This time it was less painful – the battery was dead and I only had to change the batteries. It was overdue anyway. Tires would be the next in the list – since I bought the car, I am still using the same tires although it has numerous hole patch works and it is getting noisier too. The superb Michelins again? You see, other than seeing my kids, the other thing that gives me the satisfaction is driving my car around. The last thing I need to have problems with the car, if you get my drift.

One new country ventured last year and I may be venturing into 2 new countries this year with an even more challenging assignments. If given the choice, I wish (should be able to) to keep the same “platoon” for the next mission. It has been a winning team for the past few missions. I thank them for being a very proactive team and one takes their work very serious and yet still have time to make good jokes at wee hours.

More missions abroad this year only means more sleepless nights and plenty of junk food and coffee. So I do expect my body and mind to take a considerable beating this year and since I am not getting any younger, I just hope that there will be some room for recovery from the madness. Perhaps it is high time for me to finally agree to my wife’s request to take her to spa with me joining her (damn, I could use a good massage to my knees and to my right feet).

On the country front, the petrol prices have been down but I have not been around long for me to enjoy them. And with GST set to start soon, I doubt things will get cheaper to buy and use – no thanks to the short sighted and dumb politicians at the control.

And speaking of politicians, if you had read the news, Anwar have been found guilty by the Federal Court today and will be spending 5 years behind bars. If you ask me, it is not necessarily be a bad thing for Pakatan. It is not the end of the story. To some who support the opposition, Anwar has been nothing more than a liability – his Kajang Move (one of the dumbest move to date) some how validated that point.

With Anwar out of the way, perhaps there will be greater improvement within PKR and thus Pakatan. It will be interesting to see how things forms up in the next general elections. At the end of the day, we just need a Government that dislikes corruption and wastage of taxpayers and do not practise double standards.

If it is related to the politicians and the ways they take the country and its people for a ride, we can talk about it all day long and one can still have plenty to talk about and this can go on and on. So let’s keep our cool and teach them a lesson they will never forget in the next general elections. The opposition have been at it in the last 2 general elections and they have been eating up the votes from the Government bit by bit.

Anyway coming back to blogging, I wish I could do better and whenever I started to type previously, funny thing happens – I dozed off and filled up the pages with invalid words. So, please bear with me for the time being. I have also been taking less photos when overseas – the Sony Xperia has a good camera but most of the time, I forget that it has one. In the meantime, please be free to roam around my previous posts. I will do up new ones when I am off the mission.

Will see you soon….

Starting The Year 2015


Wow, one can only plan but the outcome is determined by the Al-Mighty

I thought I would have time to blog when we “walked” into 2015 but unfortunately that has not been the case. I am back on overseas assignment and things have picked up. Time is shorter, expectations are higher and working hours had been getting longer. It is cold these days and it gets worse at night. We usually finish our job (or rather I should say we take a break from our job) well after midnight for past one week. So imagine how cold it gets when we are waiting for our taxis (bus service have ended by then). Sometimes we are lucky, the taxi is waiting at the taxi stand. Other times like yesterday (rather this morning), we had walked a bit far in the cold and managed to grab one.

2015 will be a challenging year for me, personally because of the expected 1-2 trips to overseas for projects (one would be to a new country). Which also means I am going to miss my kids even more. But what one can do when work calls and one does not have any other choice, right? Besides I love my job too – challenging, always testing your patience and forces me to come up with creative ideas and keep up with out of the box thinking.

As for this blog, well, I won’t say that blog posts would be more regular – just see how far apart this first blog of 2015 has been. Perhaps I would do shorter blog posts akin to “tweets”.

I don’t foresee the situation of the country will improve in 2015 – we still have dumb politicians hanging on to powers and 1MBD still waiting to blow up on taxpayers’ face (they have changed the CEO but I don’t think the young guy is going to change anything). If holiday going PM is sent off on his permanent holiday and a major sweep of the housekeeping is done on old, stone-age thinking politicians and the religious & racial radicals in this country, then perhaps the country has a chance.

In the meantime, please enjoy this from Man Bai (the song that I listen on daily basis now as it gets colder on the outside)

I will catch up with you soon and have a good weekend ahead

P.s. belated Happy New Year

Ending The Year 2014


najib golf

(Not everyone can be the PM – very, very hard at “work” overseas. Some had said that there is nothing wrong for a leader to take a break. Well, that is correct but not when the country is seeing one of the worst floods around. The big mamma still on holiday, its so seems – no one had seen her wading through the high water in downtown Kota Bahru. Image source)

Before I go further, my deepest condolences to the family and friends on those were abroad the Air Asia Flight QZ8501 – the 3rd tragedy in the year that involves a Malaysian linked airline. I don’t know why Malaysians had to face this – not once or twice but three times in the same year. MH370 is still missing and MH17 just had to be at the wrong place, wrong time and QZ8501 must have met mother of all storms. One just hope that there will be some kind of closure in 2015.

Heartfelt prayers also goes to the flood victims in the East Coast (and also in the West Coast now) that saw one of the worst flooding since 1971. Prepping is no longer a joke – with such flooding is due to be a yearly affair, we need to look at prepping in a wider scope. Management of the rivers and coastal areas would be critical aspect of prepping from the Government. Citizens on the other hand should look into making their homes to be flood-proof or have an alternative place to stay and of course with proper stockpile of food and water. Stories piling up on instances of people running out of food and water and the situation looks hopelessly lost. Nonetheless it is a grave reminder of things to come. The more we put off prepping for such instances in the coming years, the more painful it is going to be. It is a reminder to me too as I have been focusing less on prepping in 2014.

My own 3 weeks break came and went without a blink and I will be soon be traveling again on work assignment. My flight back to Malaysia was scheduled to take off at about 8 plus in the morning and knowing that I need to be in the airport at least 2 hours before boarding and it is about 1 hour plus from the apartment to the airport, I booked a taxi to fetch me from the apartment at about 4 in the morning (that taxi driver came and waited for me since 3.30 am!). With the taxi booked and all luggage packed for the trip back home by 9 pm, I contemplated of taking a short nap. The night was still early and I was sure that I could woke up at 3 am. Just when I was to jump on the bed, I had a dreadful vision – the alarm ringing but I casually switching it off and going to bed, only to wake up at 10 am in the morning. I did not want to miss my flight, so I made a big pot of coffee and watched movie on TV. Good thing I was not feeling that sleepy and hours went off fast. A good shower in the wee morning ensure I was awake as I took the luggage down to the awaiting taxi.

I must have dozed off in the taxi – there was a bump and when I opened my eyes, we were just arriving at the airport. Another long wait for the airport for the check-in and breakfast but at least I was at the airport.

wolf

(Although I was disappointed on missing some of the titles that I saw in the previous year, this should be enough to last me until the next Big Bad Wolf Book sale)

When I came back home, instead of the usual nap I often take whenever I come back from overseas, I had to go off and do some work for the house (haircut however came first before anything else). My kids were excited to see me back, so they hardly allowed me to catch up on my sleep. Then at night, we went to the Big Bad Wolf Book Sales and I spent almost RM300 on books (this time around, my choice of books was less compared to the stack that my son had). It was however worth the trip – RM300 bought us almost 3 boxes of new books.

We came back late and decided against driving off to north in the morning (you see, I had promised my son to take him to the water park in Ipoh for the holidays). We decided to go after lunch which was not so bad as the traffic by then was fine and we did not have to slow down in many areas. The only “funny” thing that happened was my car door automatically unlocks itself and locks again when I press the brakes. By the time, we reached the in-laws house to stay for the holidays, it was already evening and my relatives were coming back from work. We stayed up late again, chit-chatting and watching movie. I was already feeling like zombie when I finally went to the bed (I was given a room of my own) but had a very disruptive sleep because I had to wake up a few times at night going to the bathroom (had too much to drink).

In the morning, the weather was great but I had something to do first – go and fix my car central locking. Still remember when it unlocks and locks itself when I was driving? It became worse – I found the car unlock when I went to check on it in the morning. That means if I lock up the car, a few minutes later, it will unlock itself and that is all that was needed for a car jacker to have an easy access to my car. I called the service centre and good thing was they had few cars on service schedule in the morning. The mechanic “managed” to fix it within 30 minutes – loose wiring they said. Happily I took the car out and barely 100 meters from the service centre, the problem started again. I drove back and this time, the mechanic followed me in the car. It was apparent then, that he had not fixed the problem. He took it back to check and this time, it took him almost 2 hours (including replacing the whole central locking mechanism) to get it right. Almost half day had gone by then. I went back and seeing that it was too late to go to water park, I decided on something that I have been holding back for past few days – catching up on my sleep.

rain

(I think this is Kuala Kangsar after our lunch in Chemor – we made a pit stop here because there is a famous bakery here where we wanted to buy bread. Situation was not ideal to bring the kids out for the fun day at the water park)

The next day, when we suppose to go to the water park, it started to rain cats and dogs. The situation looked gloomy. Even my son did not want to go out as the weather was very bad. My father in law however decided that we go for a lunch at one place he knows in Chemor (very near to the water park that we wanted to go). It was raining when we left the house, it was raining when we were on the highway and it was getting even worse when we drove into Chemor town. After parking the car at the back of the a small restaurant (it looked quite old as well) and struggling with the umbrella in the heavy downpour, we managed to get the 2 car load of people in front of the restaurant. We walked in and the atmosphere immediately changed. Inside was very modern and roomier. Lunch was extraordinary with my son ordering spicy crab curry and a good load of crabs to go with it. It was still raining when we left the restaurant and decided to take the old road instead of the highway and drive through the places where my grandmother used to live.

The so-called break from work at my in-laws place ended up with a bang (literally). We head back home on a working day, hoping that the highway would be free (and it was indeed) and the ride would be more pleasant. Nearing KL, things started to slow as we caught with the on-going road works with 2 of the 3 lanes closed. The traffic started to move slower and at some places, it was almost bumper to bumper. It was just after lunch time too and things was getting were warm in the car (despite the air-cond high). That coupled with the crawling traffic started to show its ugly side – I was falling asleep.

Often there was enough space in between for me to recover and stop the car but this time, there was none. Just when I thought of stopping at the next R&R, I must have dozed off as the next thing I realised is that I have bumped into the car in front. For moment, I was blur on what had happened. The driver came out and started looking at his bumper. Fearing the worst, I came out from the car, expecting to confront an angry driver but instead the man looked at me and said that there was no damaged and extended his hands. I shook his hand, said sorry and went back to my car. Rest assured, I stayed wide awake the rest of the journey but I still stopped at the next R&R for a break (and also to check if there is any other hidden damage). Imagine if I had dozed off when the traffic was fast (and me traveling at 110 km/h) and rear-ended a truck instead. I must have done some good karma to walk away from this with nothing more than a word of “sorry” and an handshake.

2014 had not been a very good year but it has not been a very bad one too. I had good times catching up with my primary school mates – some not met for almost 30 plus years recently. Blogging had taken a very back seat this year with me hardly having the time (but not ideas – thanks to travels and good old Malaysian politicians) to blog. I traveled to a new country this year, met good friends there, enjoyed the food & culture and hope to go to another in 2015. Work compounded this year compared in 2013 but that was expected – when one moves up in the organization structure, there will be more responsibilities, tasks and plans.

Happy New Year everyone and I will see you next year!

Hong Kong Occupy Central Rally


1411910316065_wps_23_Police_fire_tear_gas_upon

(The first night of the protest was bad with tear gas & pepper spray on the protestors and this prompted a greater support for the rally but it is not something new here. Image source: http://www.dailymail.co.uk)

Well thing for sure, my trip this time has been screwed up big time and need to be rescheduled. There’s plenty of work need to be done and the last thing I need now is for a prolonged public protest and plenty of uncertainty.

Couple of days before my departure, I managed to get my watch fixed and change the “leather” strap to the original strap that I had ordered online. Finally it was comfortable wearing my chronograph. The flight from KL was good as usual and this time, I even had plenty of space to my side, thanks to the flight not being that too full (I opted for a seat at the back and managed to lose the crowd in the process).

I was not aware of the protest and thought it will be the usual breeze reaching my apartment after I had landed in Hong Kong but thanks to a friend who had been keeping tab on the protest and the traffic situation, he managed to inform me of the latest situation and I had to ditch the idea of taking the taxi from the Hong Kong MTR station and instead had to change train to another station where the roads were not blocked and outside the protest areas. It was not easy taking the my heavy luggage bag up and down the escalators. It was even worse when doing it in a station packed like sardine (many probably missed their bus or could not get a taxi). My friend who just happened to be outside visiting another friend was also caught in the chaos and had problem getting taxi or bus. We decided to meet up at the last train station and get the taxi from there (where the queue was long as well).

As Malaysians, we are no stranger to street protest having seen Hindraf and Bersih rallies in the past but we did not cause major disruption to others’ daily routine for more than 1 day (other than perhaps, the usual police road blocks few nights before). And to ensure that we do not disrupt our weekdays too much, we usually have it on the weekends where a majority of Malaysians are happily resting at home. Getting prior notice of the expected traffic jam and road closures from the organisers and the police helps a lot too. And when it comes Monday, everything goes back to normal with hardly any evidence of the street protests on the weekend, other than on Facebook pages and blogs. For that alone, I guess we need to salute Malaysian street protestors.

In Hong Kong, the protests that crippled the financial district is coming to almost 2 weeks now and there is no definite date for the end of the protest even though everyone involved is very tired of the protest. Given the fact that some seems distrust the Government, some even saying that it will be weeks or months before things go back to normal. Bus service have been badly affected and in a country where people rely very much on public transportation to get from Point A to B, a lock down of a key road in the island has been very damaging. Some temporary arrangements have been made but the bus services have yet to come back to a more normal level.

According to the administration, top officials were still working from other locations because of safety concerns. Courier service for internal documents and office supplies remained suspended, off-site meetings were cancelled and disabled staffers were still unable to get to their workplaces.

The police reported at a press conference that at 8:45 am, there was a whopping 9-kilometer-long line of traffic backed up along the coastal highway from the piers at Central to the Shau Kei Wan area in the east.

Traffic blockages have been most acute on the Hong Kong Island, but commuters in Kowloon also suffered badly. Some were stuck in a 7-kilometer-long standstill as vehicles attempted to reach the harbour crossing. Others were stranded in a 6-kilometer traffic jam on the Mongkok-bound thoroughfare.

With 30 kilometers of heavy traffic lining up on trunk roads in the morning rush, the Transport Department concluded that traffic conditions on Monday were the worst since the protests broke out eight days ago. It warned that the situation could worsen as more businesses resume operations during the week.

(Source)

And despite the long hold up by the protestors (who mainly consists of students), there are some things that one could only see in Hong Kong (and no where else) as this compilation from BBC clearly shows:-

Doing your homework
Perhaps it isn’t actually anarchic but it is definitely one of the biggest protests in Hong Kong for years. And yet students – some of whom were at the vanguard of this movement – find time to sit down and do their homework.

Apologising for the barricade you put up
An entrance to the Causeway Bay MTR station was barricaded and emblazoned with signs shouting out for democracy. In the middle was a small cardboard sign – also written by the protesters: “Sorry for the inconvenience.”

Concern for how fragrant fellow protesters are
Hong-Kong-based journalist Tom Grundy tweeted a picture of a protester proffering free shirt-fresheners. At times the temperature has been sweltering and amid the crowds things are bound to get a little bit sweaty.

Shirt freshener anyone? And while on the streets with the protesters, the BBC’s Martin Yip witnessed volunteer armies spraying people with water to keep them cool and fresh.

Keeping off the well cut grass lawn when asked by a cardboard sign
A picture on the live page of the South China Morning Post showed a sea of protesters who it noted had parted for the grass courtyard where Hong Kong’s cenotaph is located. Protesters still obeyed signs telling them to keep off the grass at the monument, putting the “civil” into civil disobedience.

“Despite the crowds around the war memorial in Central, not one person is standing or sitting on the grass. There’s a new cardboard sign over the usual sign telling people not to go on the grass,” the Hong Kong-based paper wrote.

Being the tidiest protesters on the block
The BBC’s Saira Asher reports on how diligently the protesters cleared up after themselves. “The morning is being spent mostly removing rubbish left over from last night’s huge crowd. Students are picking up cigarette butts and plastic bottles, others are distributing breakfast buns. That is why those on the street are being called ‘the politest protesters’ by some on social media.”

Recycling has also been organised by those on the streets. Many agree that the world hasn’t seen organised and tidy protests quite like this before.

There were even photos of the protestors shielding the policemen who been manning the barricades from the rain and there are also photos of the policeman helping out protestors hit by tear gas.

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YuGang-2-676x450

(Helping each other during the protest – It is something we can deploy in the next BERSIH rally which I expect will happen before the next general elections. We had not seen any improvements in governance since the last general elections. Images: Google/AFP)

But still, continuing to protest on something that will not happen is going a bit too far.

Unlike in Malaysia, where street protests in the past had dented the creditability of the Government and had seen them losing valuable votes in the general elections, there is little that the protestors in HK can expect to achieve, more so when it is not a free country on it’s own.

Look it from the Chinese Government point of view – to accede to the protestors’ demands now would be to open the Pandora’s box and it is something that the Chinese Government is not willing to accept for the time being. The fear that once the Government gives in due to protests, it will cause similar protests in other side of China. And the those who are protesting in HK knows this all too well.

Sadly, Occupy Central is doomed to fail. The Chinese government will not accept the protesters’ demands.

Beijing has already made it clear that it views free and fair elections in Hong Kong to be a threat to one-party rule in the country. At most, it will allow Hongkongers to select one of the candidates that it pre-approves.

It has also deemed Occupy Central illegal. In other words, the Chinese Communist Party views the issue as one of its “core interests,” and it hasn’t stayed in power this long by compromising on issues that it views as threats to its survival.

(Source)

Protestors know this would be the ultimate outcome of their week long protests and it is time to end it quietly and peacefully. They have made their point loud and clear and if they hope that the Chinese Government will ponder on this, enough room must be given without pushing them to a corner, forcing them to respond with drastic measures.

Businesses have been suffering from huge losses and must be allowed to get back on their routine business before they lose more and goes  bankrupt. Some sense of normalcy must return as well. In Malaysia, we too protests passionately on what we think is the right thing to do but not to the extent it causes huge losses or inconvenience to others on a long run. And do it in a way where the Government has enough lee-way to introduces some small changes to appease the protestors without giving in too much and knowing that if not much is done, they can expect more protests and this ultimately will come to haunt them in the near future.

 

Tour of Duty, Again


flying

(Caught this shot with my phone on the way for an overseas trip. Somehow I had the dread thoughts of MH370 but all ended well when nothing out of the ordinary happened and we landed safely)

Firstly sorry for missing out on the regular posts for past 2 weeks. You see, it is the time of the year when I clean up my drawers in the office, prepare the monthly budget for my wife, hunt for new clothes / shoes and prepare myself for a painful good-byes to my kids (my precious ones in an eerie Gollum voice).

It’s time for tour of duty where I pack up and go for onsite work in another country for couple of months. Hopefully, I will have time to work on the blog but it is a wishful thinking – 2 weeks into the tour and I am still struggling to do one post. It is almost 9.30 pm as I drafting this post and we have not taken our dinner (my stomach making loud noise protesting).

And I know the team work on the weekends, forgoing sleep, water and food to get the job done. Some of them are coughing and sneezing rather badly, so that put things in a different perspective as well. I know how bad it is to be working with tonnes of pressure and with a stuffy nose (or a bountiful of malaria parasite in the blood stream a few years ago).

It will be living hell – not because the clients like to play the role of the devil (some of them are). Most of them are humans too and they understand the constraints that we facing too. After all, we are all in the same boat, with the same destination, timeline and deadlines. It is living hell primarily because we put ourself into a situation where we want to give the best in what we are doing (a dose of “Malaysia Boleh” sprinkle into it) and try to out do what we have done the day before.

But all is not lost – there is always a silver lining in every clouds. One thing for sure is that we will always learn something new and it can be work related or not. Don’t laugh but this time, I might learn something that is related to washing. To be more precise, washing my clothes with the washing machine. You see, we are not staying in a hotel where we can just chuck our dirty laundry to one end, fill up the form and come back to see the clothes all washed up and ironed and stacked away neatly on the table.

We are staying in an apartment where it can accommodate a larger number of us and is more cost effective to the customer. There is a laundrette nearby but the owner, an old lady often closes the shop before we come back from work (which is usually very late). And it is expensive and slow as well – it takes a week for the clothes to be back, unless you give her extra $$$ and you will get a faster return. So, when I saw my colleague washing his clothes in the apartment washing machine, I asked him about it and he showed me how to get this done. Don’t get me wrong, there is washing machine back home too but I had never tried to wash clothes myself. It is uneconomical. Why waste time, water and electricity when this can be done once everyone had put in their dirty clothes. And this usually would be handled by my wife or my sister.

So, this was considered my first time “venturing” out on my own with the washing machine. And I have already one washing and it was not that bad (I loved when it started to spin on hyper-speed) and looking forward to do my own washing in the coming weeks. I can save up money and get my clothes the very next day.

Another thing I had learned (although this could be very old news to some of you out there) is to set my phone as a hotspot so that I can get internet connection for both my smartphone and my laptop at the same time.

Got to go now – please expect irregular blog posts in the coming months

Living Longer


(A food for thought but it is bad news for me if there are more people on the road early in the morning)

(We all need our 8 hours of sleep – sometimes more – but waking up early has it’s advantages too. Image source: here)

I had an interesting chat with a colleague of mine almost a month ago who noticed me coming to office very early in the morning. He mentioned that by doing that I would be living longer by doing this.

I had forgotten about it until last week, when I read Glenn Bland’s Success – The Glenn Bland Method and there was an interesting passage on leaving to work early.

Today, I arise each morning at 5.30 and slowly begin to prepare myself for the day.

As the shower’s warm relaxing water flows over my body, I had formed the habit of thinking good thoughts. I look forward to the day with the great expectancy that good things are going to happen. I slowly eat a moderate breakfast and drive to the office arriving at 6.30.

Going to office at this hour of the day creates within you a tremendous feeling of power and authority. The beauty and peace of the early morning hours become a part of you. You literally feel that you are out in front of everyone else and you are!

In the olden days, when our forefathers were confined to agriculture, they will wake up very early to milk the cow and collect the eggs for breakfast and for sale before leaving for the farm to work on the land all day long. In the modern days, we no longer need to wake up early to work on the farm but we nowadays wake up early to avoid the insane traffic jams. I guess that is the “curse” of the modern world – better technology to ease our activities but in the same process increased our stress level.

No doubt, I am losing some sleeping hours by waking up too early and it may sound like a workaholic when others see me coming in early in the morning and late in the evening. But admittedly, the stress level is certainly at all time low because I leave the house early. I nowadays enjoy the music better and with fewer cars on the road, I arrived in a rather calm mode (except instances where some pesky motorcyclists wanting to be under my wheels so early in the morning). The air in the morning still fresh and I enjoy winding down the window and enjoying the fresh breath of air.

In the early years, when I used to wake up late and then rush to work – stress level is all time high and that usually get me in near fights with other motorists. Like one instance when I was queuing up after paying the toll when I noticed a queue jumper. I was like a possessed demon when I saw this queue jumper. For no good reason, I cut out and blocked this queue jumper. I kept blocking him until he was forced to join back to the correct lane. In that instance, I was lucky. The queue jumper was probably too scared to confront me and decided not to hit or overtake me. I may not been so lucky in the next time around – the next, I may be confronted by hardcore criminals with fatal consequences.

And in the journey to the office, I would be cursing those queue jumpers and road hoggers and that was not doing any good for my karma. And as I arrive in the office most of the time so stressed out, it does not go down that well with the rest of the day. Body aches and getting sick was prevalent – it comes and goes without warning.

But thankfully that was history. In my endeavor to beat the traffic jam (and avoid another close encounter with queue jumpers), I forced myself to wake up early and in doing so, I managed to avoid the usual queue jumpers and other “pests” on the road. It was not easy to wake up early – at first, I had 2 alarms to wake me up but nowadays, I can wake up before the alarm goes off. I can now afford to take my breakfast on a casual pace and whenever necessary, enough time for a quick nap before starting work.

So, what my colleague said last month make sense – he said that I am probably live longer with me taking the trouble to wake up early. There is less stress and something in the morning makes me “feeling of power and authority”

Read Also

2010 Reflection: Sorry, I’m An Idealist

Punctuality

9 Reasons to Wake Up Early

Lunch


Sometimes, organizing a departmental lunch can be more complex than implementing a full scale project…

(Sometimes it is easier if it is cheap, healthy, tasty and standard menu tied to it. Image source: http://blogtown.portlandmercury.com)

One of the reasons for departmental lunch / dinner is to get together all the department staff in an “off office” mode and break down any misunderstandings and barriers. Images of tired but happy colleagues standing over large jugs of beer, drinking nuts off comes to my mind. Departmental gatherings does not happen that often at my workplace with some of the staff away on overseas assignments, on leave or simply busy with personal matters but when it happens, it feels great.

Over the years, there have been several factors that have impacted on organizing a successful departmental lunch / dinner (I am pretty sure, same factors working in dilemma in other workplace):-

1. Expensive Food, Small Portion

Have you tried paying RM40 for a small piece of chicken cooked by a master chef or RM27 for a chicken burger which tastes the same as a RM2.50 Ramly burger?

There are 2 equally valid views on this. One view says that since it is not possible to have RM27, RM40 meal on a daily basis and since it is a special occasion; there is no harm in having an expensive meal. After all, it is being paid for by the company. Another view is that why spend so much to have a normal meal – there is plenty of places that has cheap but satisfying meals for the whole load. Just because we have the means, it is not necessary we need to exhaust the means to the limit.

2. Expensive Food, Bigger Portion

Often it is a notion that the more you pay, the bigger portion it will be. It gets even better if it is a buffet. But the problem is not all in the team are big eaters. Some can eat non-stop from morning to evening and still remain slim (and hungry).

Others just need a small portion before declaring that they are too full for the day.For these small eaters, instead of paying one time for a large portion, they rather have several meals with small portions. So, if we are hopping over to the buffet, it looks wasteful to have all that food and not enough appetite to finish all that “paid for” food.

3. Traffic Jams

Would you go through a heavy, after office hours, traffic jam just to enjoy a meal? This is one reason why I don’t drive to certain shopping malls on the weekends to enjoy a good meal with the family. We can car-pool but it may not be fair to the ones who happen to have a “large people’s mover” and usually end up being the driver for the group.

One way to avoid the traffic jams would be to have the gathering on the weekends but with limited time for family and personal matters on weekdays, weekend looked too precious to use to meet office mates (who you mingle with 5 days a week). But personally it will be great to have a gathering with family and office mates on an easier time and when it is less traffic on the road.

4. Safe & Easy Parking

Best is parking in shopping complexes – it is safe and well organized. But just how many great places for good meal are inside a shopping complex? Thankfully in Malaysia, most of the good restaurants have good parking space (although not necessarily cheap).

It is not easy to get the whole department down for gatherings – it takes a lot of “to and fro” IMs to get everyone agree on the location, budget and choice of menu and even that remained unsettled until the last minute. On a smaller scale, we usually have a small gathering at the local bar on Fridays – the menu is pretty simple – couple jugs of beer.

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