Saturday, May 21, 2005

... fewer than 2 days to go!

what's been on my mind?


It’s been over a week since I poslaju’ed my letter of two pages with 6 pages of attachments to them… I figured there were 3 ways for them to respond:
1. as gentlemen with a shred of honor, where they acknowledge that a mistake had been done, and apologise for it
2. as total pricks, where they continue to respond with big words and threats
3. as cravens, where they ignore my valid arguments and just keep quiet.

My money’s on #3

Talking about money : the RM3K that is at the root of this mess.. I have kissed it goodbye already… I’m marking it down to learning…

And the moral of the story? GET IT IN WRITING IMMEDIATELY

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Parking Ticket:

Well, it took a few questions before finding out where ‘Trafik KL’ was situated (for those who don’t know: it’s the police station at Jalan Tun H S Lee near Petaling Street).

Typed myself a totally kekok appeal letter of sorts, and after a bit of an adventure getting lost in the one-way streets of the area, mother finally got us there, and I hopped in to see what needed to be done.

After some counter-hopping, got to the ‘kaunter rayuan’: handed over my letter and the ticket, waited a minute, got my name called, was handed back the documents with ‘rayuan diterima’ stamped on it… went to the kaunter bayaran and forked out RM50, and I was done. They were all abrubt, especially the cashier! So much so that I didn’t bring myself to ask how much the ‘unappealed’ fine would have been. If it was reduced to RM50, what would it have been in the full amount? A few hundred ringgit? Anyone got any idea?

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Have switched my maxis rate plan from the 138 to the 75 plan. I was assured by the person manning the phone that I would still enjoy a rebate of 20 (as opposed to my current rebate of 35), making it about 55/month. So we’ll see how well THAT is used… as such, I am not terminating my phone line yet, so y’all can still call/sms me. In fact, please don’t hesitate to sms me, so that I fully utilize my monthly allocation! Don’t want to be paying maxis free money!

On a related note: just converted my mom’s hotlink (maxis’ prepaid) into a postpaid but supplementary to my line. Why? Because mom has trouble using up the RM60 before it ‘expires’ therefore having to top–up every two months while the carried forward balance keeps increasing… therefore making maxis so rich in prepaid funds it’s ridiculous!! A supplementary line only costs RM10/month plus cost of calls/sms made. A much better deal overall :-)

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I had decided to pamper myself during my time back in KL; ended up going to this spa that my schoolmate is running: a franchise out of Indonesia. Figured if I was gonna throw money away on this, might as well throw it at someone i know :p so each session comprised 15mins of steam then about 75mins of a full body massage : mmmmmmmm! I never did fall asleep tho (that is my unofficial way of gauging the effectiveness of a massage session, btw) but it was certainly pleasant.

In total I also had three reflexology sessions at KLCC. The first I had written about, where it hurt and my feet ached afterwards… the other two were less painful: I even started to doze off a bit at the last session, but some idiot first-time customers with loud and big mouths totally killed it for me. :p

I actually was also keen on getting some ‘torture’ massage, heehee. ‘Torture’ cos chances are high you will be screaming in pain rather than dozing off all relaxed. It was funny that in my last week here, I ended up talking to two different friends about it: call me a sadist / masochist, but their tales of being in total pain intrigued me instead of scaring me off :-D Unfortunately this last week has passed by too quickly to follow-up on either of these masseuses (massagists??), so once I’m back I definitely be making my way to them :-)

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Other stuff:

Wondering what to pack to bring back to the u.s… apart from some kaya and brahim’s curry mixes, don’t think there’s anything else to get… may just go with one bag then?! Or, bring my warm/winter clothes that are doing nothing over here, and give them away over there? Frees up closet space here, and does good over there? We’ll see… :p

Yep… in about 44hrs as I type this, I will be boarding a plane that takes me to Newark via Stockholm.

Next anguish: getting past the immigration officer at Newark :p

Wish me (good) luck, y'all!

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

... what a way to end the day ...

Of all the things... sigh... can u figure out what this pic is all about?

Twas my last night with the car all to myself... went to Hartamas for dinner w Veya... for once I decided to park illegally - heck, everyone does that there, not enuf parking spaces for all the people who hang out there what... and guess what we find when we head back to the car? Uh-huh... a friggin parking ticket!!

the offense: unnecessarily blocking the flow of traffic, or something like that.

WTF, since when did they do their rounds at 9pm??!!

And I don't think I was blocking traffic maaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah!!

Damn it,,, so one more loose end to tie up b4 I leave is to make my way to a police station, armed with a polite letter explaining that there are not enuf parking spaces in the area and was forced to park illegally, I promise I won't do it again, blah blah blah....

maybe if I smile enough I can get away without paying anything?! :p

I am really annoyed...

what a way to 'end' my use of the car!!


Saturday, May 14, 2005

“use your numbskull”????

From numbskull / numskull
Pronunciation: 'n&m-"sk&l
Function: noun
Etymology: numb + skull
1 : a thick or muddled head
2 : a dull or stupid person : DUNCE

I think i’ve only ever READ that word before, I don’t think I’ve ever heard it used… and to have it used on me… no matter that it was used incorrectly, doesn’t matter numbskull ke, dumb head ke, whatever… ah yes, the person who so many times opens its mouth only to say the totally wrong thing strikes again.

And when I react all hurt, asking what was meant by numbskull, was it trying to make me angry, all the while I am struggling so hard not to let any tears fall as I feel them burning up my eyes, feeling my face and mouth twist in the effort to NOT let those bloody tears fall, so shocked am I by what it has said, what was its response?: I was just joking lah, and it actually seemed so surprised by my reaction. Probably saw a specter of its pseudo-mate in my place.

Yeah, right.

I HATE people who claim to be ‘just joking’ when they see their words have wounded others. Say lah sorry ke, I used the wrong word ke, it came out wrong ke… but when u say ‘just kidding’ it’s as if the blame lies on the person who’s hurt who “can’t take a joke”, when you know it wasn’t a joke in the first place!

Dinner tasted like ashes after that.

They say blood is thicker than water? I’ll take water anytime.

The only slightly positive thing from all this? I can bring myself to smile cos am reminded of this quote from Silence of the Lambs:

“It rubs the lotion on its skin or else it gets the hose again”

Yep. It. and it will stay that way.

I will be SO glad to be outta here.

I wonder why I am so concerned about not burning bridges when things like this happen.

...and some people wonder why i feel the way i feel... maybe this sheds some light?

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Giving myself (and you!) a break from lawyer stuff

A recent post by Malapetaka, followed by an onslaught of mis-applied words in emails I recently received, has me thinking about words…

Those spelt differently but pronounced the same: sweet vs suite, for instance

Those spelt the same but pronounced differently: refuse, for instance. reFUSE = to say no, while REHfuse = rubbish.

Other recent misses:

Boarders vs borders

Staff vs stuff

And typos that may change the coherency of a sentence: Quite vs quiet

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Also have a memory of a certain English teacher in secondary school, who one day assigned as homework the task of listing all color-related idioms, metaphors, similes, etc that we could think of.

I think that day I also had tons of other (more important) homework to do…

It just so happened that well before that day, I had bought a “Dictionary of Common Idioms;” so I somehow got my mom to just sit down and copy every entry there was for every color in there, since that was what I would have done anyway if not for having the other homework to also finish

I remember the teacher not having heard many of those I read out (heck, EYE had not heard of many of them myself!!), and at the end of the class she asked if she could keep the list for her own reference! *grin!*

Of course she looked at me funny when she saw the entire list was not in my handwriting ;)

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I’ve never been one for grammar: language, sentence construction etc comes easily to me, and I usually go with what ‘sounds right’. However, English in school was taught from a boring grammar foundation, and I usually never bothered with the lessons themselves, and just did the exercises without having to think too hard. Apart for some tricky sentence agreement, this served me well.

I do remember once in Form One, we were told to go home and look up the meaning of nouns, pronouns, verbs, adjectives, etc for class the next day. I faithfully opened the dictionary and copied what it said into my notes. The next day, I volunteered to ‘explain’ what a pronoun was, and proceeded to regurgitate the dictionary’s definition.

All fine, right? Then the teacher asked for an example of a pronoun, and I was floored! I had no idea! It never occurred to me to try to understand what I was copying or saying. THAT was a lesson for me! I certainly didn’t like to feel like a fool, but a fool I was that day :p

I think that helped put me on the path of making sure I know what I’m saying; to make sure I am able to paraphrase, which indicates understanding vs plain regurgitation.

Wonder when I truly broke free of the memorise & regurgitate mode taught in school…

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I finally got my solid understanding of grammar while studying French @ university. Once you have the conjugation for 1st/2nd/3rd person singular/plural in your head, depending on what tense you should be using, lemmie tell you, grammar becomes less a mystery and much more a necessity!

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While I don’t claim to be an ‘expert’ in Malay, and anything I write will sound pretty kekok (and what I say will be berterabur mixing English & Malay, and sometimes out of nowhere a pseudo-‘utara’ accent appears!), I DO have a good command of the basic rules.

It is really frustrating, therefore, to see blatant mistakes on advertisements, and even on the ‘traffic update signs’ on most highways. The most common: inability to use ‘di’ properly, i.e. whether separate or joined with another word. Another is some weird confusion about ‘dropping’ an ‘extra’ letter ‘k’ if the word ending with a ‘k’ has ‘kan’ added to it.

Confused? Here, let me try to give examples.

Wrong use of ‘di’:
The confusion is probably caused by the fact that ‘di’ can stand alone as a preposition, but it also exists in a ‘prefix/suffix’ combo ‘di … kan’ (or ‘di … i’) embracing a verb.

I cringe to see Star Wars Ep III posters with ‘DIPAWAGAM MEI 2005;’ it’s being used as a preposition to indicate a place, so make it di pawagam. Di sana. Di sini.

‘di’ is usually ‘sambunged’ only when the word ends with ‘kan’ or ‘i’, as part of the combo I mentioned:

dikebumikan (buried) . . . . . . . dihormati (honored) . . . . . . .dilanggar (hit)

Look at ‘dilanggar’: if you are uncertain about whether ‘di’ is jarak or sambung, ask yourself, is the word (in this case ‘langgar’) a place/noun? Chances are, if it is a place, then the ‘di’ is jarak. If it isn’t, then sambung.

Of course, what you really need to do is to understand what the heck you are saying in the first place lah! :D

A similar, but slightly less common, mistake is with ‘ke’ which is also a preposition and therefore jarak/separate, except for instances where usage has made it a verb.

Take these two statements: “Saya nak ke luar” vs “Saya nak keluar”? Both are correct grammatically: you just need to know if you mean ‘I want to go to the outside’ while the other says ‘I want to go out.’

Aaanyway . . . . .

For the ‘double k’:
Look for something like this on the Federal Highway, just after Angkasapuri, on the ‘traffic update sign’: Sila elakan perbuatan potong ‘q’

Is this saying “please avoidance the behaviour of cutting the queue” or “please yard-ise (whatever that means) the behaviour of cutting the queue”??

It should be ELAKKAN… kata dasar= elak + kan = elakkan.
How on earth did that other ‘k’ disappear, and why?

I’ve seen this mistake with other words too… meanings change completely when you say ‘melantikan’ vs ‘melantikkan,’ for example. And what about if you come across “pendepakan”… it is pronounced like it has a double k because the kata dasar is DEPAK so it’s pronounced ‘pen-de-pak-kan’; it is not ‘pen-depa-kan’ which doesn’t make sense: ‘depa’ is a pronoun (indicating 3rd person plural): it's not a verb that can be transformed to a noun or adjective or whatever that 'pe ... an' is :p

Back to ‘elakan’: it’s not a once-off mistake either… on the other side of the board, for traffic from the other direction, is a different message but with the same ‘elakan’ error. (at least they are consistent? D’oh!)

I would hope that whatever messages appear on the screen must first go through some sort of, err, screening process? Perhaps there’s a manual, or work instructions, or other documents stating the ‘allowed’ messages; these messages would then be programmed into the sign.

So, did no-one in that entire process pick up on the fact that this sentence didn’t make sense? Kinda scary, eh? Mother language and all, but no one picks up on this error?

Even scarier: please don’t tell me that not one Dewan Bahasa & Pustaka employee uses the Federal highway? Aren’t these people supposed to be proactively looking out for errors and making sure they are corrected a.s.a.p.?

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Let’s not even get started about what are obviously word-for-word translations from one language to another: Just today I saw Fish Head Curry mistranslated to Kari Ikan Kepala instead of Kari Kepala Ikan.

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These ‘translations’ of Malay to English coming out all wrong, plus a few other phrases, are among my fave samples of Manglish around:

I love you strong!

Are you enjoy(s)?

Can I dancing with you?

I’d like to thank my dying fans…

And uttered with total sincerity by a hopeful job interviewee asked why he wanted to work in that particular company:

“I want to climb your ladder”

Hope u are smiling reading this!! Cheers!

Sunday, May 08, 2005

... a temporary solution ...

I’ve already suffered through TWO sleepless nights where my mind continues to obsess over my situation with the lawyers.

I thought I could ‘switch it off’ but I was wrong.

Partly because I won’t know what I can do until I talk to a lawyer, and I am thinking of asking Kit, but I can only ask him on Monday, dunno when I can actually meet and discuss it with him (IF he agrees to talk it over with me!), and I won’t lie: I feel that the longer I wait to respond, the more satisfied and smug will the pig be thinking I have been cowed and beaten into submission.

Crap... just listen to myself… Sometimes my pride is just too much, I know…

Moral of the story: don’t make me feel like I have been wronged, my intelligence questioned or my principles compromised. It’ll be unpleasant for you to be on the receiving end of my wrath, but it will also be unpleasant for me!

I am very aware of my lion’s pride (pun not intended), and usually cut people a LOT of slack… I have done so much of ‘grinning and bearing it’ in my 32+years of life, and will continue to do so… but… if you still get through to me,,, watch out! There I’ll be, adrenaline coursing through my veins, heart thudding away at 100mph, face red or at least feeling hot, while the rest of my body feels cold, sweat starting to ooze out the pores, and my hands feeling FROZEN. My voice will be all shaky - hands too, such that I would be incapable of writing anything beyond a scrawl! That’s why I avoid as much as possible any face to face confrontation; many times when a discussion deteriorated, I have just asked for a time-out or just stalked out of the room (and slamming the door behind me *sheepish grin* y’all remember that one guys?) rather than be caught in a downward spiral of hormones and pride and anger! If I didn’t, I knew I’d useless at expressing myself, because not only would my mind go blank, it would be a challenge for me to even construct a coherent sentence anymore; heck I’ve wondered sometimes if I was on the verge of a heart attack!

Back to the pigs: I realize I MUST get this out of my system, so it doesn’t eat me up inside over the next few days while I seek counsel. I figured no matter what there was gonna be one final letter from me to the pigs, so after over 36hours of composing a wide variety of versions in my head, I finally put my words down on paper.

I feel so much better now.

Here’s my my attempt to dabble in legalspeak:

Dear Sirs,

That you have perceived the content of my letters to contain words and innuendoes that you deem slanderous is most unfortunate. I therefore write to inform you that I had, and continue to have, no intention to slander, or cause to be slandered, you or your firm or your employees, and apologise if my choice of words and writing style implied otherwise.

Without any expressed or implied intention to slander or caused to be slandered you or your firm or your employees, I continue to seek an explanation on the following:

1. Why do I have in my possession three different bills?

2. Why does your letter to me Ref: xxx dated xx October 2004 contain a note that states you had enclosed your “Official Receipt No. xxxx dated xy October 2004 being settlement of our legal fees and disbursements”?

3. Why was there no attempt to collect the outstanding amount of RMWXYZ anytime between October 2004 and April 2005?

4. Why was I not informed of the decision to ‘contra’ the outstanding amount from my balance purchase price on zz April 2005?

Your responses to the above would help greatly in clarifying the situation; as such I again seek your explanation for the above.

I hope you understand why, on xx April 2005 and again on yy May 2005, I wrote to first express surprise at what I deemed a mistake, then later to attempt to explain why your explanation of inadvertent inclusion of outstanding professional fees did not address the issue of having this outstanding amount in the first place.

I also hope you understand why I am surprised by your response dated yy May, received via facsimile on zz May at 10.48am, that seems to not only dismiss my concerns but also seems to threaten legal action if I choose to continue to pursue this matter. Perhaps you can understand why I may feel I am actually owed an apology and that the NOTICE, which could be construed as an unnecessary and excessive show of force, be withdrawn.

Once again, I look forward to hearing from you; and once again, I hope for an amicable solution to the above.

Oklah… I know the “unnecessary and excessive show of force” will definitely be taken out before sending, but hey, it’s so nice to see it there, kan?

Also, if Rahar actually gets an apology to me tomorrow, this may all be for naught.

But no matter…. I feel SO much better now! *grin!*

Saturday, May 07, 2005

... obsessive? me? ...

Why would my mind wander, while doing today's morning walk, composing a variety of different letters to the pigs? Some sarcastic, some neutral, some downright nasty?

Why would I imagine having a discussion with Rahar and boss, with me showing the paper trail that to me indicated I did not owe them any more $$ after Oct 2004; me asking them to kindly explain why no attempt at collection was made between Oct 2004 and April 2005.

Walking away with a written apology.

Being thrown out and threatened with legal action.

Bringing them to the Small Claims Court.

Complaining to whatever watchdog organisation for lawyers.

If they want to hold on to the money - F I N E. but don't go pointing fingers at me and trying to bully me. pigs.

I wonder if the boss is a Leo... cos I know I am exhibiting classic Leo traits here, yet so are they....

"... Leos are stubborn ... unfortunately, stubbornness in the Leo personality is dictated more often than not by their ego. Attempts to back them into a corner... will quickly reveal the extent of their intractable nature. Even when confronted with irrefutable evidence of the foolhardiness of their ways, Leos can stubbornly cling to ... wrong ideas because their egos simply will not allow them to admit being wrong... The astrological symbol for Leo is the Lion. As king of the jungle, this animal represents the regal disposition of the Leo personality. Their dignity cannot be assailed. If insulted or abused, they rarely forget the slight unless their detractors sincerely and humbly request forgiveness. Leos generally have opinions about everything and not a bit of reluctance in expressing them. They must have the last word and, as far as most of them are concerned, it is the only one that counts." (see the full text here)

btw: no sign of any apology from Rahar:
- could be he will work on it on Monday and backdate it (I did demand a written apology to be issued on Friday itself)
- could be his boss has forbidden any apology, even if it's a personal one, since that would be admitting to having done something not right
We'll see on Monday...

If i dont get anything from Rahar by Monday, I will work on a carefully-worded letter that apologises if my choice of words caused them to perceive innuendoes what were NOT meant or implied in any way, and it's a pity that the firm chooses to dismiss me rather than having a discussion so that I can explain my case and an amicable solution could have been achieved instead of resorting to threats of legal action to shut me up. SEEEEEEEEEE! I *really* need to word it carefully... am gonna ask a lawyer friend for advice, maybe on Tuesday.

Whatever it is, I do NOT want boss to think he has me cowed.


I am lion, gear me rrrrrooooooaaaaaaaaarrrrrrrrrrrr!!

Bloody buggers. Now to try and 'switch off' so I can actually enjoy the weekend!!!!


Friday, May 06, 2005

... apart from the oinkers, today was a good day ...

There are OTHER things that happened today which I though I’d share with ya:

Woke up feeling restless, and decided to go to the nearby Taman Jaya for a walk.

Only when I was in the car did I look up at the sky and see just how overcast it was…

Oh no, don’t rain please don’t rain!

Got there around 730am, walked one big round : 15 mins.

Kewl! Another 2 of these and I’ll have done 45 mins, then can do other stuff like sit-ups etc to bring me to 1 hr.

Found a drawback about this park: it’s right by the Federal Highway, so at certain places I swear you are getting lungsful of exhaust fumes :( not to mention all the noise of the traffic!

Found their reflexology path: unusual cos it’s a ‘path’ as opposed to a circle/figure of eight I’ve seen elsewhere, and it had steps too. It’s not in tip-top shape, but worked fine for me :) I am always amazed to see spry old ladies walking nonchalantly along the path… and today there was a man jogging barefoot on the path! Respect! Then there I was, kinda wincing at every step :p

They’ve ‘beautified’ it since the last time I was there (oh.. 3 years ago?), and suppose there *is* an improvement from before. But.. some things don’t change… Lots of rubbish left behind by irresponsible people.

Counted 23 dead fish in the lake

Oh wait… more like 22 dead fish in lake, one OUT of the lake.

This was being feasted on by the crows, who unfortunately declined to have their picture taken. Too shy, maybe?
At 830am, felt a few light drops of rain, so I headed for the car and back to the apartment. It never did really rain, tho. It pretty much remained overcast all day. Ideal tennis weather!!!! :D

1230 noon:
Lunch and bitch session with Mash: me with the whole oinking to share, and her with well, her stuff lah :) It was great to re-live/fulfill that function again; after all, we had traded listening ears regularly during my past life at work.

This was followed by a brief visit to her desk; ended up meeting so many ex-colleagues: it was especially great to catch up with Kit! Overall everyone was real nice, and I was reminded of how I miss working with y’all (but I have no love for the actual work lah :p )

By the time I left the building I’d been in the KLCC vicinity for almost 4 hours! But somehow, the RM8.50 parking didn’t hurt this time around: for once, it was worth it – a small price to pay for the pleasure of Mash’s company and getting to see so many ex-colleagues :)

NOTE: after almost a week of not meeting up with anyone for catch-up lunches, I’m getting booked all over again :D
Sat noon: lunch w Kassie
Sat evening: dinner w Allie & family
Sun: tentative brunch w Veya
Sun evening: dinner w Soon
Wed: lunch with Bernie, Reena and maybe Arwen
Thur: lunch w Swin
Fri: tentative tea w Thamby and maybe Ned too
Sat: tentative w Dont
Tues: lunch w Goldie

Anyone else? Time is running out… I am outta here in just about two weeks! :D

I *so* can’t wait!

Forked tongue oinkers

"We write to inform you that we have no knowledge of the purported arrangement as claimed {in} your letter. Furthermore, our bill was drawn up in accordance with the Solicitors’ Remuneration Order 1991 … where you will note under Rule 7 it specifically states that any discount is prohibited. The rule (which has the force of law) has been in force since 1991 and NOT in 2004.

We also write to put you on NOTICE that we take strong exception to the words and innuendoes as published in your letter. On this basis we reserve our right to take such steps as we deem fit should you continue to make or caused to be made what we deem to be slanderous remarks."

Ok.. let’s break this down, shall we?

“…we have no knowledge of the purported arrangement …”
1. purported? puhleeeeeze! I would not make up this story! Besides, this was written BEFORE boss met with Rahar this morning, so I’m not surprised you don’t know about it at the time your letter is written!
2. it may be my word against the firm, but I have the following documents on file:
- estimated bill dated July 2004 for RM 800-ish
- bill dated 13.8.2004 for RMWXYZ + 800-ish, with me having circled & put a question mark at the RMWXYZ
- bill dated 15.9.2004 for RM800-ish
- their own letter to me which states “we enclosed herewith our Official Receipt No xxxx date 14/10/2004 being settlement of our legal fees and disbursements.”
3. So tell me: while the receipt doesn’t say “FULL settlement,” neither does it say partial settlement, and no mention was made in that letter about the RMWXYZ!! From this, it seems to me that I did not owe them ANY money as of 14 Oct 2004!

“… any discount is prohibited... The rule (which has the force of law) has been in force since 1991 and NOT in 2004…”
1. while the Order may have been in effect since 1991, it was only recently that there were announcements in the papers about lawyers being prohibited from giving discounts on such fees as covered in that Order, and that enforcement of the Order would be carried out properly. Heresay, of course, but discounts were rampant, hence the announcement!!
2. It would be nice to know why only recently did the firm’s discussion tables sport these notices quoting the Solicitors’ Remuneration Order and emphasizing the prohibition of giving discounts
3. admittedly I will never get this on record, but when I first used them for the purchase of the house, it was stated that as an employee of that particular company I worked for at the time, I’d get a discount. That was in 2002/2003. So while the order has ‘the force of law’ it didn’t mean it was actually enforced, eh?
4. I also recognize that I will never be able to get a straight answer out of Rahar about the whole “talked to boss, discussed your case, seeing as this is the 3rd file you’ve opened with us, we’ll waive the fees” since I don’t have that in writing… once again, my word against the firm
5. All I can say for myself is when I saw the estimate bill in July, I thot they charged the fees when they dealt as the purchaser’s solicitors (since they then actually draw up the S&PA, kan?)., and not when acting as the vendor’s solicitor. Call me ignorant or naïve, but hey, are you saying the onus is on me to look at the estimate and say “Wah, so cheap? You don’t charge fees ah?”

“…We also write to put you on NOTICE that we take strong exception to the words and innuendoes as published in your letter…”
1. If I ask them to clarify the ‘words and innuendoes’ that they have taken strong exception to, do you think they are going to answer?
2. Should I not have said that this situation was “disturbing”, and used what,, Confusing? Surprising?
3. Should I not have used “slapped with a bill for RM…” and have instead said I was “surprised to have been charged RM…”?
4. Should I just have kept quiet it perhaps being “… an internal matter between the firm and Rahar?”
5. last week I called the discrepancy ‘a mistake made by the firm.’ I later explained things as I understood it, and said “… I hope you understand why I feel I do NOT owe you the RMWXYZ…”. Should I have said “not”, not “NOT”?

I don’t think there is a basis for them to turn nasty… or is there…?

“…take steps as we deem fit should you continue to make or caused to be made what we deem to be slanderous remarks …”
1. I wonder if they cannot afford to have anything in writing that says anything about waivers or discounts. And since I had the temerity to ‘publish in my letter’ exactly that, they have to strenuously deny it, and attempt to bully me to make sure I shut up about it.
2. So, does this mean if I want a meeting with Rahar and boss, and show them all the stuff in my file that led me to the conclusion that I did not owe them the RMWXYZ, could that be ‘deemed as continuing to cause to be made slanderous remarks’?


Rahar has been instructed to tell me that in no uncertain terms that THE CASE IS CLOSED. Not surprisingly, Rahar also avoided answering when I asked him directly whether he remembers the whole conversation we had about the fees: like I said, the firm vs me… gone case for me lah…

One strange thing: Rahar seemed ignorant of this ‘slander’ fax: according to him the last item on file was their response about ‘inadvertently including the professional fees due in the redemption sum,’: which lends much weight to my opinion of bully tactics! I told him to go check with the secretary for the fax, and that I do not agree that the case is closed unless I receive an apology for being called a liar: he agreed to it, but we’ll see if it ever happens… after all, it struck me later that he cannot apologise on behalf of the firm without boss’ approval which obviously is not going to happen! And if he sends a personal apology, he must word it really carefully to avoid implicating himself or the firm!
Oh geeeez, is even my demanding an apology going to be construed as “continuing to cause to be made slanderous remarks”???

You know, it would be nice if the firm can acknowledge that they had made a mistake in allowing the omission of the fees – heck, couch it in vaguespeak “there had perhaps been confusion over the legal fees,” would be fine with me. Then go on and say “however we remain bound by the Solicitors Remuneration Order 1991 and therefore hope that you agree to consider the matter closed.”

Wouldn’t that be SO MUCH BETTER than trying to bully me into submission?

So right now I am going to wait and see if any apology comes (or more threats or even legal action over me demanding said apology), and take it from there…

In the meantime, I’ll mentally write-off that RMWXYZ: “I’m marking it down to learning”

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Always going forward cos we can’t find “back up”

20 in 2004
47 in 2005
Total = 67 in about 7 months

Yep, that’s the number of entries so far in this blog :D

And that’s also the number of new files made over the last 24hours – did a bunch of “copy paste copy paste save as” so that I have copies of my texts on hand… juuuuuuuuust in case goes kaput one day. And in case I want to look up what I wrote but I don’t want to get online just for that…

Getting back ups done of your files is really important…

Take what happened to me: my 30Gb external hard drive got wiped out by a grumpy Mac! While I found some OLD back-ups of my MP3s and some work files, I would have needed a DVD (as opposed to CD) or two to backup my collection of videos obtained mostly via iMesh: almost the entire seasons 2 & 3 of Star Trek: Enterprise! Music videos! Movies! All gone…!!!

Of course, those are replaceable… but what about the archives of all my mail from work? That is gone forever…. I don’t even know what else I had on the drive… all gone…

Oh well… it’s obviously not the end of the world… sayang, that’s all…

Nvm; nowhere to go except forward… learn & move on…

Hence my back up activities yesterday and today :)

. . . . . . . hey, when did YOU last back up YOUR data? ;)

Oh .. in case you were puzzled about the title of this blog… me and my word play... 'back up' is an Americanism for 'reverse' (as in making the car go backwards lah) kan? So substitute that into the title and you get part of a real funny song by Dr Demento: do u know it? Dr.Demento lyrics

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

… a big man with a big voice who sings big songs and has big hits …

The man (and group with the same name) with the most profound influence on me, whose songs have stuck a chord deep within me that no other singer or group can achieve…

No it’s not The Beatles’ Paul McCartney…

Keep guessing:

My first ever exposure to him was when Tini visited me in Dec ’90 in Oklahoma, bringing a tape of assorted songs, including one I immediately loved: “Two out of Three Ain’t Bad.” I didn’t remember the artist’s name then, but the song stayed with me…

It was a ballad about what goes around comes around… about having something done to you, and being totally devastated by it, and yet later finding yourself doing the same to another person. Perpetuating a harmful pattern… profound…

“I want you, I need you,
but there ain’t no way I’m ever going to love you;
don’t be sad, cos two out of three ain’t bad”

aduuuuuh…. Sedihnyeeeeeee!! : ( (

Fast forward to Fall ’91, my freshman year in college, pledging a professional chemistry fraternity, whose ‘unofficial house song’ was “Paradise by the Dashboard Light.” Me being me, I threw myself into the thick of things, and borrowed the album “Bat out of Hell” to ‘study’ the song, but got hooked on so many of the other songs on there. They were not songs as much as ‘rock operas’… whole stories were told in one song, which may last between 6 to 10 minutes (as opposed to the usual 3 – 4 minutes).

And the play of words and innuendos: *so* totally up my alley, as those who have had exposure to my work will know…

“…you took the words right outta my mouth; musta been while you were kissing me…”

“…for crying out loud, you know I love you…”

“… I bet you say that to *all* the boys…”

“… can’t you see my faded Levi’s bursting apart…”

So much that can’t be captured in one line, you’d need to listen to the entire song to appreciate it… for example Bat out of Hell itself, and Heaven Can Wait, and Crying Out Loud, and omg just about every song on that album!!

Of course, Meat Loaf (just Meat to his fans) didn’t write these songs: that credit goes to one Jim Steinman. Consider songs like Air Supply’s “Making Love out of Nothing At All”, Bonnie Tyler’s “Looking Out For A Hero”, and Celine Dion’s “It’s All Coming Back To Me Now”: these are some commercial hits you may know that stem from Steinman. However, despite low commercial acclaim, IMHO the Meat & Steinman combo is the best.

After all, to be honest, Meat has had more misses than hits, but his 2 (out of 3 so far) hits are albums produced with Steinman: Bat out of Hell and Bat out of Hell II.

Most people may have first heard of Meat by the hit on BatII: “I’d do anything for love (but I won’t do that)” with everyone having their own opinion on what “that” was! It was okay (if nothing else it was OVERPLAYED!): I was keen on many other songs in there, no matter that they did not get any airtime:

My absolute fave was a reluctant love song, that once again was *so* up my alley:

Is this a blessing? Or is it a curse?
Does it get any better? Can it get any worse?
Will it go on forever? Or is it over tonight?
Does it come with the darkness? Does it bring out the light?
Is it richer than diamonds?
Or just a little cheaper than spit?
I don’t know what it is but it just won’t quit

Another songs starts off with words that will always haunt me:

You can’t run away forever
But there’s nothing wrong with getting a good head start
You want to shut out the night
You want to shut down the sun
You want to shut away the pieces of a broken heart

I can’t do justice to the “guitar monologue” even if I reproduce the entire thing: imagine it having “… a heart of chrome and a voice like a horny angel…” and “...the blood of the guitar was Chuck Berry red…”

Other noteworthy lyrics:

“… Life is a lemon and I want my money back…”

“Somedays I pray for silence, somedays I pray for soul
Somedays I just pray to the gods of sex and drums and rock n roll”

“… can you colorize my life I’m so sick of black and white?”

“… who am I, why am I here?
Forget the question someone gimmie another beer!”

“… Don’t worry about the future – sooner or later it’s the past
If the thrill is gone then it’s time to take it back…”

“... they’ll never let a night like tonight go to waste
and let me tell you neither will you…”

This album was also cool for me because it featured artwork by Michael Whelan, some of which I recognized from the covers of Piers Anthony’s On A Pale Horse, and many of Melanie Rawn’s Dragon Prince & Dragon Star series (fantasy books, in case you're not familiar with these authors)

Meat’s latest album, Couldn’t Have Said It Better (CHSIB), was released in 2003… it was not a Meat/Steinman collaboration, but oh my, what an album!! I stumbled across the music video of the title track on the plane in Sept 2003 and liked what I heard, and finally found an expensive (SACD) CD a month later… but hey it was worth it! Listening to it for the first time sent shivers up my spine, and I got goosebumps all over! No kidding!!

And strangely enough, my life around that time took a sudden turn, and in certain aspects seemed mirrored in many of the songs on that album!

Some noteworthy lyrics, tho, as I said before, you would need to listen to the whole song to truly appreciate its beauty:

“… I’ll get the lights; you get that smile…”

“… And you say nothing at all; Well I couldn’t have said it better myself…”

“… the truth is hard to swallow when you’re choking on your pride …”

“… wish I could love you out loud, but I’ll just keep it to myself …”

“… this is big time, this is larger than life …”

It also includes a heartwrenching sequel of sorts to BatI’s “Two out of three Ain’t Bad”:

You know that I want you
You know that I need you baby
You know that I love you
So why isn’t that enough?

So, dear reader, if you feel that the current pop scene is just too ‘fluffy,’ or you just don’t relate to the hip-hop/R&B/whatever crap that seems to be on the air nowadays, why not check out Meat? I truly believe that you will not regret it.


btw: one huge disappointment I had was was finding out that Meat would be in Australia a month after I would be there for the Oz Tennis Openin Jan '04, and that that was his "Asian" leg of his world tour... sob sob!

However, it looks like he is touring this summer!! In the U.S.!! Kosh, make sure u r free, we are G O I N G !!!!!!!!! Malapetaka: he's gonna be at YOUR place on July 20th!

For those who wanna surf more, here's the Meat Fan Site.

(note: lyrics are shared here for educational purposes; any infringement of any copyright is unintentional. Please contact me if there is an issue. The email address is provided on the top of the page)

Update on the forked tongued situation

Good news:
Yesterday I got (verbal) confirmation from my ex-employer that the redemption sum paid to them was RMWXYZ less than what was stated claimed by Rahar/the firm last week.

Bad news:
Yesterday also found out that Rahar was on leave for a few days! Argh!!

Was a bit bummed, but figured hey, this gives me good reason to just escalate the matter instead of dealing with Rahar: turns out it got escalated for me, I suppose the fax turned up on the boss’ desk, cos this afternoon I received a reply from da boss himself!

Here are some choice snippets:
“… we apologise for the confusion with regards to the balance of the Purchase Price…”

“… we had inadvertently included Bill No [xxxx] for the sum of RMWXYZ to the total redemption sum payable. The bill was in respect of our professional services rendered to you in this matter…”

“… assure you that you have definitely not been “short-changed” in this matter at all…”

“inadvertently”?? – hah!!

Snippets of my reply:

“… thank you for your fax… which attempted to clarify the discrepancy of RMWXYZ…”

(I proceeded to provide a brief description of being quoted RM800-ish in July, being slapped with a bill of RMWXYZ+800-ish in August, and being asked to pay only the RM800-ish in October, enclosing the estimated bill and the final bill to prove my case)

“… En Rahar, speaking on behalf of your firm, had informed me that the RMWXYZ was waived …”

“...that your firm is now claiming this amount is very disturbing…”

“… I hope you understand why I feel I do NOT owe you the RMXWYZ, and still expect to be issued a cheque for this amount as soon as possible…”

“…this should now be an internal matter between the firm and Rahar…”

Nothing personal against Rahar… but really… as far as I am concerned I do NOT owe them any $$$. If the firm is to be paid, take it out of his pocket, not mine!

Let’s see what the reply is gonna be...

Monday, May 02, 2005

An Arachnid Alone?

The cards scuttle across the screen
As a spider might scuttle across the room
Yet which eight-legged creature would ask this of you:
Easy medium or difficult?
One two or four suits?

Come into my parlour, said the spider to the fly
I am no fly yet visit the parlour daily, do I;
Clicking away on the mouse, glued to the seat
Completing so many games until I am beat.

My wrist aches, my hand goes numb
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, here I come

While a spider spins its web to catch its food
I too have been ensnared, and in a way consumed
Not by the spider, but my own addiction
To play and play and play again

The sound of the cards being dealt and laid out onscreen
The owl-like hoot signifying no other moves available
The “ta-daah” sound when showing available moves
The satisfying shuffle of a complete set being moved to the bottom left of the screen

How easy it is to get caught in your tangled web
One suit was too easy, and quickly mastered
Two suits is where I usually stay, for
Four suits usually has me stumped no matter how long I play

Sometimes I solve it in one shot;
Sometimes it takes numerous tries
Rarely, so rarely, I move on because
Solve it I could not

Yet today...
Something moved me to up the difficulty

“Stick with it, today is your day,” said the tiny voice

It took a few tries on a few different games

Then: my first four-suit win! Time to rejoice!

When it was clear I was getting there; and again at the end

Captured the moments, took pix of the screen

Congratulations by all means my way do send, for

Whether this feat is repeatable remains to be seen!

Sunday, May 01, 2005

Malaysia Boleh and miscellaneous pix

A typical example of "Malaysia Boleh": van in Desa Pandan blocking a fire hydrant... and guess what: this was still early in the morning, plenty of parking spaces around... and to top it all off: the spot next to the van was EMPTY!!

Ok lah.. here's a POSITIVE aspect of Malaysia Boleh: remember my hike from the lawyer's office to the bank with a cheque for the balance of $$ due to me for the sale of my house? How I said nevermind if it didn't get into my account until next week, so long it's already being processed a.s.a.p.?

Well, by the time I got to the bank, it was 4pm, counters all closed: no impact on me cos I remember the last time I tried to deposit a cheque, they insisted I just use the cheque deposit machine. So there I was, filling up the forms etc getting ready to deposit it, when this Pak Gad (the security guard) comes in and helps out this other person who was clueless on how to deposit his cheque. He saw my cheque and asked if that was a house cheque (a cheque issued by that particular branch) - it was. He immediately helped make sue all was in order, then he took it from me, went to the counter (which was not closed to him I guess, and that the tellers were still there), got it deposited into my account, and whooohooo the $$ was mine to play with on Saturday!

on another note... finally, after 6 months... this is what i wanted to post: the pic I took in EWR as proof of the existence of an airline for the well-endowed!

Next: guess what this is ->

Actually that is my hairband... broken... sob sob!! This was the first in YEARS that didn't give me a headache when I wore it, nor did it grab me behind the eras so tight that it hurt so badly! I just gotta hang in there till i make my way back to the U.S. where I can get my hands on its twin... and probably go hunting in the stores to find more of that style...

"Back to the u.s.?" I hear you ask: uh-huh, time to brave another session at the U.S. Immigration counter in Newark airport... & before that: time to pack!

This picture was taken in early April when I was packing to get back to KL, now gotta do that again, w/o kitty to help :(

… and the (IRB/LHDN) saga continues …

Today’s headlines grabbed my attention: “Quick refunds” screamed the Sunday Star, with its subheadline “IRB: Money back in a month for taxpayers.”

How many of you thought “Whoohooo, I’ll get my refund by early June!”? Take a closer read: did you see that “… it will reimburse those with refunds due to them within one month of request?

Wait wait wait… request?? You mean submitting the form & calculations that already state the amount due, and providing the bank account number in the bl**dy form.. all that not enough one ah? Got to go to the bl**dy tax office and “request” somemore ah?

Oh my godddddddddddddddddddddd!

If they demand that whatever $$ due is to be paid as the form is submitted, why can they not reciprocate by immediately processing the forms with refunds due the same way and refund accordingly?????

Why bother with putting a checkmark on the back of the envelope saying “refund due” if it does not get processed any differently?

In fact, why even bother giving them our bank account information if we have to go make a request for the refund, which I am SURE will involve filling up a form providing the account information again? btw: *NOW* they say refunds can be either by direct debit or by cheque: previously it seemed that they would only refund via direct debit hence them asking for our bank account information. Did they change their minds??

I find this sooooooo frustrating... I consider this as yet another example of something being implemented, but not all the way.

I guess I should not be surprised...

Oh well, since I wanted to go visit the Kelana Jaya office to try to solve the mystery of how that second account got established in the first place, I suppose I’ll do it sooner rather than later so I can “request for the refund” at the same time.

Pity all those who have to make a trip to the office *just* to make the request.

“Malaysia Boleh”?? Yep... as usual :p
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