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Showing posts from April, 2005

SHORTCHANGED: They tried to pull a fast one on me!!

Also known as "Part two of WHY I HATE LAWYERS"

... So I got the balance of the purchase price at 330pm Friday. It looked a bit lower than expected; told Rahar I would go check my records when I get back.

Got back at around 9pm… and even as I showered my mind was busy planning what files to pull out, and how to figure out if the amount I’d received was correct.

Ok, so I get the files, and start plugging in numbers on a spreadsheet.

At first I thought my ex-employer had totally overcharged me on interest incurred while the sale/purchase was being executed, and composed a strongly-worded letter to the loan department asking for clarification.

But it did not seem right, so I checked the correspondence in my file AND the purchaser’s file, not sure what I was looking for. ..

Then I noticed something wrong in the letters from the lawyer: the amount they claimed to have paid my ex-employer to settle the loan was different depending if you read their letter sent in December 2004 or April 2…

A rant on those forked-tongue creatures: Lawyers!

I really really really hate lawyers….

While I have only dealt with one firm, that has been more than enough to cement my absolute dislike and distrust of lawyers.

The balance of my ‘profit’ in selling off my house had been sitting in THEIR bank, gathering them FREE INTEREST, for months. Why? “Oh, I was told you were overseas, so we wait until you come back lah before we can pay out the balance.”

Three weeks later, it’s still sitting in their coffers…

To give him (let’s call him Rahar) a *bit* of credit, Rahar could not issue the $$ to me until the Real Property Gains Tax had been settled with LHDN… The thing is, I wanted to exercise my once-in-a-lifetime waiver of this tax, and Rahar had submitted the necessary paperwork. I’m guessing that LHDN took a look at the amount due, and decided that I didn’t know what I was talking about (which was true… I had no idea how much the tax was gonna be maaah), and sent ME an order to pay the tax, without any c.c to Rahar.

So, one of my first calls whe…

swim / late / chubby / loo / hunt2pay / brickfields adventure / tennis!

Today was certainly an eventful day…

First, I went down to the pool for some swimming of sorts, equipped with the floating board thingy so I could just concentrate on feet vs hands (kinda). Of course, it was probably not a good time to go considering the nasty storm we had last night – I bet the pH of the pool was way out of whack. Then again, I wonder if it is ever ‘in whack’… I mean, it’s not like the maintenance of the place is tip-top… There was a semi-rotted leaf at the bottom of the pool: if it’s still there tomorrow that means they don’t even do a daily cleaning of the thing!!

Anyways, so I did about 30-40 mins of that… noticed that if I do just legs, doing the frog-type kick, I would drift to the right… meaning my left leg was kickingmore forcefully than my right. Tried to correct it, but succeeded only if I concentrated really hard and had to kinda keep my entire body angled towards the left. Will have to explore a bit more what other idisyncracies my body exhibits!! :p


Resumé ruminations

Ugh… It’s tough, creating a resumé almost from scratch…

At least it’s not totally from scratch… despite having my entire external drive wiped out by a cranky Mac laptop in the U.S., it turns out I did have a backup of most of the important files from Feb 2004. Yeah, that’s a long time ago, but it’s better than nothing!!!!

Why then do I consider current effort at resumé writing as something almost from scratch? Well, despite having worked for 9 years and having held 6 (or 8, depending how you look at it) different positions, resumés were not needed when transferring to another job! Here’s how many times I actually ‘tinkered’ with it:

created resumé for numerous job applications upon graduating in May 1995. Continued to tinker a bit in late 1995/early 1996 despite already being employed (I wanted out, what can I say….)

revisited (needed to add descriptions of the THREE different jobs I’d already been in), for a possible marketing post in a new joint-venture (didn’t happen).


… doing my bit to alleviate a pet peeve …

“What pet peeve?” you may ask… and for those who think they know me well will probably be asking “Which of your many pet peeves are we talking about here?”

It’s an issue already written about by Malapetaka: being shortchanged when you go to (usually) eating places, where they are out of 1 sen, and just shortchange you without any hesitation, and look at you like you are being a b*tch/*ssh*le if you insist on getting the exact change.

I must report on this, however: there was an exception recently, over at 1901@KLCC – they didn’t have the few sen so gave me 10sen instead. I smiled, and handed it back to them saying “Never mind, take it back,” because I really appreciated them NOT shortchanging me. In fact, this is the same establishment that, maybe a year ago, neither me nor the cashier had enough small change, and in the end I ‘owed’ them about 10sen. The cashier was like “Tak pe lah, kak,” but precisely because they weren’t hung up about it, I made it a point to return a few days later…

Like a duck to water?

Yeah, that would be me driving in KL after 6 months: it’s as if I never left! No wonder while I was in the U.S: I felt soooo kekok the few times I drove... it probably wasn’t so much a matter of driving on the wrong side of the road in the wrong side of the car, and more like knowing deep inside that if I actually RELAXED and drove like normal I’d be incurring the wrath of the other road users!

Then again: in a few more years I may just feel at home on the road there.. My impression is that the standard of driving seems to have dropped since my younger days there: at that time (10-15 yrs ago) I felt the drivers were almost too courteous. Now, well, it seems as if there is a drift towards the Malaysian way of driving.

But then again… it does seem like Malaysia is backsliding even more downhill… I have a distinct feeling of being less safe than before… after all, when not only are there more incidents of road rage, but also more and more cases resulting in the death of one of the drivers,…

coffee and surfing

It is SO weird to be doing this again after almost six months...

Here I am in Starbucks KLCC, equipped with a coffee and a laptop, surfing on a nice broadband connection.

I REALLY miss broadband!!!

In my previous life, I was a regular pseudo-techno-geek. My haunts would be either Coffee Bean here in KLCC and at Ampang Point. In fact, I had my favourite table(s) to choose from over at Ampang Point, and would be there almost daily! There I'd be with laptop, webcam, mic/earphone PLUS insect repellent spray to ward off the mosquitoes! Most of the time, I'd be there till they drew the shutters down!

Have yet to visit the KLCC venue, but have been to the Ampang Point one twice already :) The great thing about being a regular, even tho I have not been around for 6 months, is that the "regular" staff still recognised me! They even immediately fixed me my regular drink... I didn't have the heart to tell them I wanted something OTHER than an ice vanilla latte regular skim milk…

Update: week of April 11 - 15 2005

It’s Friday!! So, what have I been doing this past week?

Well, went to the nearby Employee’s Provident Fund (EPF) office to make sure they send statements to the apartment instead of to my ex-office address… and was kinda ‘scared’ by the fact that I could use the myKad (new Malaysian identity card equipped with a smart chip) to print out the current year statement! Just plug it in, scan yr thumb, and it spits out the statement! It didn’t seem to do anything beyond that, though… I’d like to get reprints of missing statements of a few years ago: guess I still need to go to the counter for that.

Good news: Got the ‘proof’ of 1995 deductions from my ex-employer yesterday. Drafted a cover letter, put together all my attachment, got it all copied, and made my way to LHDN to drop it all off this morning. Let’s hope that with this, both our records tally!! (On an aside: one of the cool things about having a sitemeter is you get to see how people got to this blog page. One visitor I had was some…

Example of inefficiency and lack of synergy

After two years, a toll-free number for motorists to call or sms with complaints about unscrupulous bus, lorry or taxi drivers has been scrapped.
(See NST small edition, main section Pg 10, 14th April 2005)


Because they are “unable to cope with the number of complaints,” said Baharom Mohamad, Chairman of the Commercial Vehicle Licensing Board (CVLB / LPKP).

I’m confused: it’s being scrapped because it’s working too well?

Baharom seemed to justify it all by adding “Furthermore, most of the calls are related to the Road Transport Department (RTD / JPJ) and the traffic police.” In fact, it seems JPJ will be launching a new hotline soon.


I can understand the CVLB’s reluctance to play the role of ‘postman’ where they have to channel almost 80% of the calls to JPJ and the traffic police. It makes sense for JPJ to run such a service. However, instead of scrapping the line, why don’t they just transfer ownership of the line from the CVLB to JPJ?

I can understand that JPJ would ne…

A Gathering of Magic in KL !?

Was flipping thru today’s newspapers, and discovered that there must be a pretty large Magic: The Gathering community of gamers here in KL: not only is there a sealed deck tournament coming up soon (April 23rd), but there will also be a pre-release tournament for the Saviours of Kamigawa (SoK) set on May 21 & 22!

The April 23rd thing is at the Comic Corner Tournament Center II in Subang Jaya (have NO idea where that is: anyone with a clue please tell me!), while the SoK event will be at the Cititel @ Mid Valley.

Okay, so I pretty much banned myself from playing during my last few months in the U.S. because I got waaaaaay too upset at the cards and how the games happened to play out. But... I am curious just how a tournament is conducted… for RM50 I’d get a ChK tournament pack and 2 BoK booster packs from which to create a deck… very tempting!!

For those who have no idea what I’m talking about…

The premise is that you are a wizard doing battle with other wizards, in a variety of differ…

Aduuuuuuh, my feet hurt!!!!

Yesterday (Monday 11th April) was a pretty tame day, but got quite a few things crossed off my “To Do” list:

1. Talked to the person in payroll about LHDNM missing my early deductions, he said he should be able to get what I need copied and mailed by the end of the day! Wow, I’m impressed! Of course, it did not occur to me to tell him I’d willingly go pick it up, I’ll need to look out for it in the mail this week…

2. Visited BSN to solve the case of the mysterious RM13.60 charge: turned out to be the annual charge for ATM plus a new charge for sending me my monthly statements. Wish all my questions were as easily answered!

3. Picked up my watch from Mont Blanc – sent it in for a new battery: they also cleaned it up nicely – had quite a few years of crud accumulated on it, teehee!!

4. Found a decent photo album to continue my effort of transferring years’ worth of loose photos into albums. Last Saturday I did 1996-2003 and used up one album. Now I can tackle the one with most pix: 2004 had…

Warning: this is a bitch and moan entry:

It gets really old really fast.

I know I’ve put on weight. In fact, I believe this is the heaviest I’ve ever been. What to do… I was pretty much house-bound for 6 months. It was cold. Prime hibernation weather. I enjoyed the food. I was in good company.

I’m well aware that I’ve put on weight, and I will be shedding the pounds while I’m here.

But whatever it is… why can’t people be just a little bit more considerate of my feelings?

I really did not need to have my father, when he first saw me after 6 months, had this disgusted look on his face and even as we were doing the stupid kiss cheek thing, say: “Mais, you’ve put on a lot of weight, eh? You better lose some of it, eh?” Yeah, really nice to see you too. All I did was smile with a bland look on my face… after all, it wouldn’t do to totally rip into him for being such an asshole, eh?

And what about when Allie joined me and my parents to say hi before kidnapping me for my first catch-up session, where my mother goes something like: “Well…

LHDNM: Good news and bad news!

Yep, I was at the LHDNM (Income Tax) office @ Jalan Duta last Friday.

Good news: The visit was not as painful as expected.
Bad news: I still can’t cross this off my “To Do” list.

Here’s why:

Good news:
One of the many people I met was the same person who dealt with me last year, and she remembered having handled my case. She told me to “just ignore” the Borang B for the mysterious second account, to not even send it in, as she knows the account is (supposed to be) frozen. .
Bad news:
Doesn’t answer the question of how this second account was set up in the first place. I do mean to find out, but I’ll do that after the first tax deadline of 30th April. This will entail a journey of discovery: have no idea where the Kelana Jaya office is!

Good news:
For the first time in my history, LHDNM owes ME money!While being able to claim the cost of my dad’s hearing aid helps a bit by reducing my taxable income by RM1000, the main reason I’m not in the red with them is that my ex-employer deducted so much …

Can you say “tooting your own horn”?

I absolutely HAD to share the contents of a letter my mom received from obviously very proud parents… Not that I’m going to end up getting hitched to some rich snot, but whenever my time does come I trust my parents will exercise restraint!!

Read on to see what I mean…

(names changed to protect privacy)

Dear (my mom),

With immense pleasure we inform you that our daughter Kamala’s wedding has been fixed with Pierre, son of Mdm Jeanette and Monsieur Marcel Pagnol of St Tropez, France. Monsieur Pagnol has business interests in France and Singapore. His younger brother is involved in the French arm of the business whereas Pierre is involved in the family loyalty card business in Singapore. Jeanette and Monsieur Pagnol divide their time between France and Singapore. Pierre has a younger sister, Isabelle, who is currently working in America. His paternal grandfather is an investment banker in Paris and his maternal uncle is (high ranked officer) of Air France in Cannes.

As you know, Kamal…

My first two days (daze?) in KL

Day One:

Dunno if I’m reading too much into it, but didn’t appreciate mom’s comment about “welcome back to reality” on the drive to the apartment.

Took a shower to wash the travel ickkyness off: helped just a little.

Greeted my dad, who’d just come back from his morning walk, who succeeded in saying exactly the wrong thing to me about my weight.

Ah yes, I see the interaction with parents is going to be just as before.

Tried to unpack my suitcase, but stuff in the closet had been rearranged, since “my” room is now the guest room (i.e. a drawer now dedicated to guest/brother) and had no immediate space for my stuff. Ended up going thru and selecting stuff to discard/ give away. Helped get some space, whoohoo!

At the same time: Made myself go through and file my six months worth of mail. I even made a ‘to do’ list as I came across things that needed follow-ups. Apart from Income Tax related matters, there were no real issues. Good, cos dealing with LHNDM is going to be enough of a hassle all b…

I’m baaaaaack! (part two)

So there I was, in 30H, observing all these Mat and Minah Sallehs: this plane definitely is NOT going to Dubai! I didn’t recognize the language: sounded like German but it wasn’t. Turns out it was Swedish, they were Swedes, and the plane would be making its layover in Stockholm!

Oh maaaaan, that is one of the few times I regret not taking a window seat! We would be flying past Greenland, flying over Iceland… aaarrrggghhhh!! Territory I only have read about (more on this in a future blog), and what I read struck such a chord in me that I WILL visit someday… sigh…

So yeah, you may be wondering why I do not take window seats: From my many years of flying, I’ve come to the conclusion that the aisle seat is best for traveling long distances: then I dictate when I want to go to the loo or just walk around… otherwise I’d be stuck at the window, with the view but exercising great bladder contol and trying in vain to keep legs active! Bonus would be the rare occasion when the next two seats are …

I’m baaaaaack! (part one)

Leaving Champaign:
Got a ride to the airport after all, with a detour to Jarling’s Custard Cup… a treat of sorts since we were feeling down at my departure. Had some of that Choc Chip Cookie Dough Snowstorm there at the shop, enjoying the sunny day while remarking on how cookie dough didn’t seem to “fit” with the custard… then all too soon we had to head for the airport… Did the check-in thing, then hung out a little bit, but Kosh had to get back to work, so we did our goodbyes… went thru the security checkpoint and sat myself down and continued on the now mostly melted snowstorm… Felt slightly sick eating that snowstorm, though – I think it was the cookie dough itself that was questionable. So I ate/drank the custard and discarded the dough, teehee!

The plane was of a smaller type aircraft, with what I call 2 x 2 seating (i.e. you have seats AC DF only). I was assigned seat 13C… yikes, that was all the way to the back! Right next to the bathroom too (there was no 13D or F)! Ewwwww! Go…

to do list

Once I'm back in KL...

I'm lookin fwd to...

1. tennis (Zu/Oya - gotta borrow racket though... ok?)

2. roti canai (Raju, here I come!!)

3. TEH TARIK!! (the ONLY time I'll willingly take sweetened condensed milk!)

4. meeting up w ex-school mates on sunday 10th april (rick - this still on?)

5. roti bakar telur cheese (Spicy Kitchen @ Hartamas)

6. meeting up w ex-office mates (no date(s) set yet, but will happen for sure)

7. Nasi lemak, cheese naan (Sri Steven's @ Pandan Indah)

NOTE: food outweighs people - teehee!!

. . and have some chores to do / loose ends to tie up...

a. settle income tax (wonder how to tell them not to expect me to be filing for another year or so...?)

b. ex-employer: is housing loan settled?? what's the status?? sigh.

c. ex-employer: have you figured out how much I owe for the 50 weeks of employment i "owe"? the "estimated" amount you gave is not acceptable, but you've not replied my letter sent in Novem…

SiteMeter, pope&schiavo, prep to return, fish

am experimenting with putting in a counter to track traffic... not that I expect this to be that busy a site, but am thinking of building a baseline so that if ever my "fame" takes off, I'll know... and if nothing else I can start experimenting with such free blog-related services :-)

ugh... MY own visits will of course get tracked too... yahoo, I'm my own first visitor :p

I don't like where the counter is at the moment (waaaaaaay down at the bottom of the page)... but then again I notice that the page already loads slower now... hmmm.... may experiment with other similar sites... if I feel like it...


the pope dies, finally....

it was really painful to see the old man in the last year or so... but I suppose the position is one held to death, even if the person is obviously not in good health, can barely talk and walk.... sigh...

I'm glad his time is finally up - get your rest, you've deserved it.

and anoth…