April 28, 2006

Yes, Sir. No, Sir. Three grumpy bag full, Sir.

It has been a very, very long week. Tiring. But worth every single second of it.

Let's talk about customer service in our beloved country. Because this past one week had really taught me few things about it. Let me list it down here:
  1. Keep on smiling - Imagine walking around an area that encompases almost 34 thousand square metres of floor space, for nine hours, every day for four days. On high heels. Going up the stairs, going down again, and up back and move to the next area.
  2. Negotiation skills - A seller asking you to bring potential buyers to their area. The potential buyer incidentally had made earlier appointments with other seller. Trying to assure the seller that you will try your very best to assist and doing very best to lure the buyer to other places in between his/her appointment.
  3. Temper - Not good. Never lose it.
  4. Keeping to promises - Very difficult. Thus, never make a promise. Especially on something that you have no control of. You just have to take what's offered and make the best out of it.
  5. Communication - Vital. Especially when the topic is quite sensitive for obvious reasons. And also non-obvious. You also need to be able to read between the lines.
  6. Accepting defeat - How many times have we been told that "No" means "NO". First time rejected, try again. Second time turned down, you might want to try for the third. Three times a charm. Don't ask again.

Those five points are what I can plucked on top of my head. Others might follow soon. Maybe.

What needs to be known is that being at the front line you're the image of the organisation that you're representing. Regardless whether or not you're the major player. Once you're the first line of defense, you need to be strong enough to hold the fort for as long as you can.

Being the image also means you've got to have high tolerance to incrueldality, stupidity and any other irritating sometimes demolarizing attitudes of the people that you're dealing with. They do not need to be un-educated to behave like a pack of monkeys, in reality most of them are well off intellectually. In fact, these are the bunch of people that's the hardest of the lot for us to make excuses for them just so we can keep our coolest persona.

Today, a friend of mine, pulled his rank just to intimidate a customer service officer in an airline office. I could see that the lady was doing her very best to control her facial expression and the tone of her voice. She failed quite miserably, actually, but I applaud her effort. She didn't actually smile in the beginning when we sat down at the counter, so I did not feel really sorry for her when my friend began the drama. What happened was, my friend needed to collect three tickets on behalf of his friend, as such he only knew the names of the passenger and the flight time. The lady officer insisted that he could only collect two tickets. When asked to contact the necessary counterparts to verify, she did not say anything but continue tapping on her keyboard. And we were left sitting there trying to figure out what's going on. My friend then called his friend who's in Vietnam (that's the reason why he needed to collect the ticket on behalf) and explain what's going on, to which the lady officer said, "Sir, could you please hold on a while because I'm talking to the country office". One thing that she could've done much earlier instead of being quite for 10 minutes. This sounds really childish actually when I think back, but she could've just been friendlier, explain clearly what's going on and showed her willingness to assist instead of putting a customer in a difficult position. In the end it turned out the ticket need to be replaced, and since my friend do not have the initially issued ticket, it can only be done tomorrow at the airport, three hours before the departure. And she could've saved us the one hour that we've lost.

Scene number two. Taxi drivers in Malaysia. I think these people make barrels of money that they can pick and choose the passenger. After the incident at the airline office, I hailed a taxi. I immediately went inside, closed the door and told him where I wanted to go. The driver responded, "Where is that? I don't know". I quickly explain the landmark to which he said he doesn't go there. Duhh... I don't care whether you go there or not, the point is I wanted to. And he as the driver should just take me to where I want to go, right? But noooooooo, apparently he is able to choose. So got out, briefly mumbling, "macam ni punya taxi driver pun ader...", just to let of steam, you see.

We still need to improve a lot more in this area. Some sales people in the stores, branded or not, pick and choose customers that they want to treat nicely. And most of the time, if the customers are foreigners, they get first class treatment. Especially if these foreigners are Americans or Europeans. As long as they are white, basically. This has got to do with mindset.

Well, enough rambling for today. Let's just hope the traffic back home today won't be so ugly. But then again, that's a wishful thinking. It's Friday. And traffic on a Friday in KL, top it off with a bit of rain, is just horrendous. All the best fighting of the devils on the road on this blessed day.

April 20, 2006

Live and be alive!

I found the reason of my restlessness. Not self-induced apparently...

claus·tro·pho·bic (klo-str&-'fO-bik) adj.

1. a. Relating to or suffering from claustrophobia.
b. Uncomfortably closed or hemmed in.
2. Usage Problem. Tending to induce claustrophobia; uncomfortably confined or crowded: a claustrophobic little room

I went down to the ground floor, step outside form the building and I felt a little relieved. But I found it was not enough and I need to see more space.

So I went up to the top floor of the building. I was actually looking for the exit to the roof top, but they bolted the emergency exit. Luckily, the top lobby has a huge glass window over looking PJ area. And comforting enough, I could see my apartment block from afar...

I recently realised that I cannot handle working in an office environment anymore. I want to be out there meeting people, making things happen. I've always known that I like the idea of being mobile. Travelling here and there, thus I envy those people whose work actually take them around the globe. And I wait patiently for my turn to come.

I found out that I cannot just wait, I have to do something to make it happen.

Oddly enough the knowledge of commitments that I have at the moment does not deter me from wanting to do what I really want. I believe, that is the power of positive thinking. I know that the ride will get a little rougher at first, but I have that positive kick that things will turn out for the better if only I dare to take that first step.

Today I asked few people who are closed to me. One person told me to go ahead and quit my current job when I said I feel like quitting. Another said, go for the money and everything will fall into place when I said I feel restless about what I want to do. Best friend said I should still think about long term and not the spur of the moment because she knows I don't like routine. And roomie said since she's a fun person herself I should opt for that as long as I keep in mind that I cannot be idle. My beloved cousin said if I really want to do this then we are going to have to talk and remember to collect as many contact as I can while I'm at it.

I'm yet to ask my parents, whose opinion matters most to me, actually.

Anyway, opinions aside, I have more or less made up my mind on what to do. The fact remains that I just need assurance that I'll be financially stable whatever I decide. Yes, money is important to me. At least at the moment, since I don't have enough of it. But then again, it will never be enough, isn't it? So, I would say, at the moment, the drive is, monetary. Side benefit being I am able to enjoy what I'm doing.

I came across this site today... www.artofliving.org from an NST article here. This organisation offers courses to handle stress through its "The Art of Living" course.

Imagine, our generation has been reduced to the extend we need to be taught to live again. I think this contradict my earlier saying up there. You know, where I said I'm interested in the money? Hmm.. But the fact remains that without money you won't be able to do a lot of things. Even relationship hardly ever win against the money issue.

"Through out our lives we learn many skills reading, writing, science, music and art but very few of us have actually learnt the true Art of Living. We are rarely taught how to handle our negative emotions - anger, depression, stress. Yet, the quality of our life depends upon the quality of our mind."

Actually, that is quite true. Although spritually, we already know what we are supposed to do. Our "commune session" with our Creator is actually one way to release stress, to nullify that negative vibes around us. In fact, there is already scientifically proven research where solat jamaah actually helps to neutralise, or more apt, balance the negative and positive ion in our bodies. In fact, there is this blissful feeling after you finished the salaam. Isn't it?

Anyway, I also believe we should learn other ways to improve the quality of our being. There are many ways and I'm sure each of us has our own personal ways to deal with ourselves when things get too hectic to handle. I know some people who meditates, some who go for a run, some who scream at their utmost lung capability and some who just sit quietly pondering the world around. Some people write, sing and some just babble away. Some drink coffee. It's personal.

Words cannot capture existence, but Silence can...

April 17, 2006

An unofficial review

Adibah Noor. Versatile. That's how I would describe her in one word.

This is an overdue write up, by the way.

Have you owned her first album? If you haven't I suggest you speed your way to the nearest record store and get it before the stock ran out. If you do not know that she has an album, now you know quickly go and get one. If you go... "Adibah Noor? Who's that?" Talk to the hand.

Her album ranging from pop to joget to balad to jazz to rock. I especially love the remake of Ikan Di Laut Asam Di Darat. Wonderful touch. I suggest more Malay songs to have this jazzy tune, and let Adibah do her magic. By this I also mean NEW songs, not just remixing old stuff. I also like Kelabu. Simple, straight forward lyrics and catchy tune. And it kinda suit my feelings at this moment. It has the slow-mo and faster beat. Nice, nice, nice. Terlalu Istimewa is beautiful, goes without saying. One cynical song, Joget Hati Senang, this is a wake up call for most of us, I guess.

The album also has several minus one tracks. So, for someone like, ehem, yours truly, who enjoy 'screaming' in the car these tracks helps to create my very own version of video clips. Ha ha ha... I've been listening to the album again and again, and I don't think I'll stop anytime soon.

Worth every single sen. Go and get it now. Oh... a portion of it goes to charity anyway. So, be a good citizen today.

To Kak Adibah, I have always loved your voice, always wondered when you will have an album. Now that you do, I'm really glad.

April 14, 2006

Second day

Today is the second day in the new environment. And I'm kissed by influenza.

Six months back, I saw myself growing and experiencing new things. Today, unlike many times before when I step into a new mileu, I can't see myself anywhere. This disturbs me. Several months back I was excited and alive, even when I was hit by an unexpected storm, I was still hopping around. Today, I do not have the energy anymore. Maybe it's the flu. Maybe, I'm changed by the surprising turn my life has taken.

One thing has not changed though. There are too many things in my mind. And you say, "who doesn't?". Quite true. Quite true.

I find myself thinking of the things I want in life. At the moment, what I crave most is companionship. I miss having someone that I can talk and laugh and share my day with. I miss the blissful feeling. It is not even easy to indulge with a-moment-in-time kind of relationships because that's just not me. It's not enough. Neither is it fulfilling. Spending time with friends now is not as wholesome as it used to be. Maybe, I've grown up.

And I'm also tired of being the rebound girl. :-p Apparently, I help people to realise what they really want in life, I've become a catalyst for a man to make decisions. Ha ha ha... Sounds corny. And lonely.

My head is spinning, my mind is wondering. They say one who doesn't hope, doesn't live. But hopes always get destroyed, wishes get banished, dreams get shattered. It is sad to realise that I go back to the rut I was in just not too long ago. Half year back I was excited, optimist. Today, I'm broken and feeling like a loser.

And it seems as if I cannot climb out from this pit I'm in. Any ideas?

April 10, 2006

Wayang Kata @ La Bodega KL

It was my first time attending a reading session.

It was crowded, luckily I managed to secure a sit. One advantage of going alone. You need not worry about your partner having to stand. :-p

Friends were saying it'll be boring, more like a sleeping drug for the insomniac. They don't know what they missed.

It was full of life, laughter.

We should go together next time. When they arrange another one.

April 8, 2006

I love you not less

We rant. All the time.

We start talking about the new name for MSC, and we end up talking about Mak Nab's new house paint. How does that happen? Let me show you...

Say, three friends are sitting down talking over teh tarik and roti canai. Peah starts to talk about last night's news on tv. MSC has been changed to MSC Malaysia. Peah couldn't see the signficant of changing name and whether it will bring the country one gian leap closer to Vision 2020. Bedah, while munching the second mouthful roti canai raised her forefinger. A signal that she wants to respond to that. Several seconds later after the chew becomes smaller she said rebranding is one way of marketing. Just look at other corporate companies, changing names. Ayie, who from the moment she sat down devouring her roti canai thought about nothing else, agrees because even singers or poets or artistes like to be called with their pen name.

Bedah then say something about one of the nation's most celebrated singer/performer that she suddenly remembers. This singer uses a different name then that of his own. And Ayie says he is so handsome during the last award giving ceremony she wished she was the one wearing the groovy dress next to him that night. Peah says the colour is all wrong. (and you think here one of them will start talking about Mak Nab's new house paint)

Peah says the colour is all wrong like the design for the advert she was shown to the day before. Ayie says some people just don't get the idea of being radical and different. She starts talking about how in today's society, when someone dares to be different, he/she will be criticised. Look at Yasmin Ahmad. She brought new ideas to the local film industry and the mass reads her in thousand and one different ways. Peah says that criticism is needed to improve. Makes people better in one way or another. Bedah asks when can they arrange a movie day out to watch Gubra. They agree to go the next day.

They go quiet for a while. Savouring the mixture of the most celebrated drink and food in Malaysia. An old batttered car with kling klong sound passes them by. Ayie signals the waiter to get more servette. And Bedah says, "you know, my mum's next door neighbour, Mak Nab, paint her house this horrible fuschia shade..."

April 2, 2006

Solving La Gioconda

NST today published an article on a Monsieur Jacques Franck solving Mona Lisa's riddle. Well, at least how Senor Da Vinci managed to give the 3-D effect on the masterpiece.

For an art lover, I guess it's driven by the passion to solve the mystery. And it is such an accomplishment, well-deserved respect and awe from the rest of the world. However, I fear that once a mystery is solved, the riddle doesn't interest people anymore.

I'm not an art expert, far from being one. But I enjoy them. Don't ask me which Renaissance piece or which painter, I won't be able to answer. I just enjoy their beauty within my ignorance. I do not want to solve the mystery of why Da Vinci painted one side of the background for La Joconde bigger than the other side. I do not want to question why Van Gogh drew the famous Sunflower. I just appreciate the beauty. Quite naive, I know.

Mysteries and riddles always attract people from all layers of life. They make life more interesting and seem to have purpose, do they not? Even more interesting when we're discussing conspiracy theories such of Whitehouse and our very own September 1999 incident. They somehow push us to think the unthinkable.

Let's examine the most talked topic in town. Men vs women. Relationship. This is also a mystery, one that I hope no one will ever solve. Think about it, without the ongoing questions that cramp our minds about our partners and friends, life would be dull. Solving every single flaw/beauty of the people close to us actually make us closer. Even when we think we have started to understand our other half, we are not even close of solving their mystery. Such wonder. And truth be told, the intriguing factors were the things that made us attracted to them in the first place. That mysterious aura and enigmatic persona.

Most of the times we try to perform post mortem on our partners. But they are still alive. And this is where the hurt starts. We could sit down and have 'The Talk' for days, but we still cannot fit into each other's shoes. Even if they fit, we don't feel comfortable. Why? Because every one of us is different. One way or the other. Fact is, we know this. But we refuse to accept the simple truth slapped on our faces. We are determined to make the other person look at things the way we do. I see that colour as pink, but you might say it's fuschia. One person say the sky is blue but another fellow will tell you it's cotton patched.

Why this on going quest to understand people? We cannot do genaralisation. It's just not possible. What we can and should do, is appreciate the differences that we have and rejoice in them. There is always a meeting point, always that grey area which made black and white compatible. Life is not always clear cut. We see things differently, we think differently. God made men and women different for a reason. It's so as for us to complement each other. Not replacing one another. The sooner we get this through our thick skull, the better.

Let Mona Lisa smiles her secret smile for generations to come.

NOTE: Mona Lisa picture from Wikipedia. La Gioconda means "light hearted woman", another name for the painting.

I Jane, You Tarzan

Try it as I may, I will never understand this new age power struggle. Between men and women. A never-ending competition.

I wrote quite a lengthy piece actually on this. And then I realised how absurd it was. So I highlighted the area and hit the Delete button. Why can't we just live in harmony, accept our differences and go on with our lives?

In one corner we have bloggers explaining the tips and tricks. In another angle I'm receiving emails on the emancipation of metrosexual men or discriminated women. At a different point of view we talked about how we, women, want a man who is a man, not a boy. Reading magazines, they published articles on how to attract/keep/lose our men/women.

Don't we get enough of these already?

But the fact remains that it IS the most interesting subject to talk/discuss about. The relationship between men and women. Everyone has hers/his own views and points. Some similar, most often different. And we will still continue having books published on the topic or talk shows produced in years to come.

The question now, have we actually learned something from them and make the positive changes in our lives?

ps: Thanks Galing for the picture.