Saturday, May 19, 2012

Kampong Spirit? How to...??

Read this article from CNA about Mr Khaw's recent wishlist " Help revive the Kampng Spirit."
Wah pianz! I dont know if the lousy journalism in mainstream media did shody work in downsizing his speech, but this article annoys me.

My feedback to you Mr Khaw?

Kampong spirit? 
You are making a lame joke right?

How to if we locals are banned from cooking curry in our own home if our "newly minted" non-integrated neighbors hate the smell?

How to if our newly minted neighbors complained about adoption of dogs when their babies are making noise all day long?

How to if your public corridor is so freaking narrow to mingle without blocking anyone? 

How to if there are still signs that says no playing in the voiddeck for kids in the same block? 

How to if your freaking walls are so THIN and crappy that you hear the excessive & persistent noise coming from your neighbor's home (up, down, left, right or even NEXT BLOCK like in CCK) & it is pissing you off more than you want to chit chat with them? 

MR KHAW, I know talk is cheap but seriously, you are older & "consumed more salt than me eating rice", so please try to make speeches with more sense than making grandiose speeches trying to impress. Dont sound like you care. MAKE SURE U CARE. The least you could do is remove the obstacles that are hindering your so called-vision of "KAMPONG SPIRIT IN the CONCRETE LAND". 

I too miss the Kampong Village head that acts fairly, credibly, and actually SOLVING the communities problem without all the empty talk. 

Bout of Rambling. Waiting for the bus in HK vs in SG...

My previous waiting spot

The story behind this unassuming photo was rather amusing, well at least to me!

I was first in line for the minibus. It was pissing down hard and everyone was probably like me, wishing desperately for the bus to come even though we know its prob stuck somewhere in the crazy Causeway bay traffic at the usual afteroffice peak hours.

The traffic area my area in Causeway bay/ Happy Valley has been increasingly trying over the past year with the seemingly increased number of cars on the road. Didnt do us any favors when I overheard an earlier conversation of the driver with another passenger, that the traffic authority had slowed down the changing lights interval for our side to reduce the bottleneck coming from the other end. We are in between happy valley that leads to Wanchai to central, and on the other end we are smacked right in Causeway bay with the ramp up to Admiraty and Central. Somewhere has to give...guess we picked the short straw...

Any way back to the story at hand.

Waiting in line, patiently...

For anyone who has been to HK will know, everyone has to file in a straight line for the bus. I guess that's possible because we have such an efficent minibus network system here in HK where commuters didnt have to wait long for the tpt to arrive.

For those who may not know, it is a common practice to stand by the edge of the pavement curb, since we are sharing the same narrow walkway with other passing through human traffic. Tonight wasnt any more different except the rain compounded the accessibility problems with all the huge brollies clashing with each other. Still, we managed, civilly and cordially. The way of life on HK island at least.

We waited over half hour today for the bus which usually comes every 5+-10 mins, shorter wait 2-5mins during non peak. I was pretty fine until the rain suddenly swished down fat pellets of raindrops hammering against my legs and brolly. I looked at the long Q behind me. Everyone was still rooted at their spot, expressionless.

Then it hit me.
Why the hell am I standing in the rain when there is the building shelter behind me?

It was a risk.
If I were the only one who moved off, people can or will assume I had dropped off the Q and I may lose my spot. However, I felt REALLY stupid to be a sitting duck getting drenched at the lower torso when there is a dry spot just 3 steps behind me.

So I thought, what the hell, let's inch back a little and see what happened next.
I took a giant step back.
I looked at the people in the Q.

The woman directly behind me didnt budge.
Maybe she didnt noticed as her back was turned.

However, in less than 5 seconds, the 3rd man dressed in a suit noticed what I did.
He immediately took a giant step back too.
We were still the only 2 who did that.
However, my confidence was blostered by the guy.
So I took another step back.
Immediately, he matched my act.
We looked at each other and smiled, for we were both now standing relatively out of the rain.

What happened next was interesting.
After the both of us took the lead, it was like a domino effect.
The people behind immediately followed suit and presumably, everyone was happy to be out of the rain.
Talk about fast reaction! Except the lady in number 2, who seemed not to noticed that everyone has left the curb and took shelter under the building cover.

It was like a full min later that she finally noticed there was no one next to her. (Funny sight)
Only then did she scurry back to take her place next to me again.

I thought the whole episode was a funny moment.
It was a calculated risk to "test waters" by taking that giant step back.
Yet, ALL it took was for one more sensible person to match my act and that helped influenced the dozens of people behind us. My conclusion is that we have a lot of smart local people in HK who are quick the size up the situation and pick the win-win option, well except for one. Hahahaha.Kidding, I'm sure you guys know what my conclusion really was...

When the minibus finally arrived, I didnt immediately step forward as I waited for the sole passenger onboard to alight. Before I could react, this Hk couple appeared out of nowhere from my left and was about to "cut" our Q boarding the bus. He was telling his wife to "hurry hurry! there is no one!"

I looked at him.
He looked at me.

Suddenly it dawned on him there was this long line of people behind me.
He balked at the door, did a sudden turn, grabbing his wife and ran off the opp direction without a word. I wanted to laugh.

As I boarded the bus, the minibus driver was laughing and commenting to us while the rest of us rapidly board the bus.

"What a funny guy! Did he honestly think that there will be NO ONE waiting for the bus at this hour? How can he not see the Q snaking round the corner? No way he will be boarding this bus!"

I started to laugh.
At least I know that even if I didnt stop him, the driver would have.

This is one of the plus points I love about HK.
The systematic line to board the bus & their relatively observant drivers. 

Granted there are no fancy bus shelters aka advertisement shelter like those in Singapore, however as a commuter, I much rather be boarding the bus in the sequence that we were there first on the spot, than having to squeeze, fight, get shoved with many other people who are rushing to board a (crowded) bus esp during peak hours.

I had once waited for whole hour @Suntec city bustsop, only to miss 4 buses of the same number simply because I wasnt good at fighting and vying for a spot near the door.

I couldnt sum up the courage to be a Super Bitch or do it the PRC push & shove way because I wasnt brought up to "fight with claws out" over something that should be socially civilised in the first place.In the end, I gave up and took a cab home. It was frustrating over the time wasted & still not able to board that freaking bus. That incident was 3 years ago, and given the recent spate of MRT breakdowns, I am pretty sure the bus wait isnt going to get better.

In the past (yes.. the good ole days of less than 5million people) when I was growing up, even though there wasnt a Q system, but at least people politely form a line to board the bus when they see the bus coming. People just naturally fall in line. Now, it's just a mess with everyone crowding ROUND the door. Unlike the old spacious bus stop WITHOUT the advertisement boards, the current freaking narrow shelter isnt helping the situation.

I dont know why, but I had thought all along, logically as a country progresses economically, the infrastruture and way of life should be better, at least for a country like ours who loves to clamour for the top spot in all those ranking charts of world surveys.However, sadly it hasnt seemed so for my country.
No, not lately.

I guess they can easily pin a value or check the box against conditions such as "safety" ,"cleaniness" ,"efficiency", "business friendliness", "ease of adaptability for foreigners" but they cannot pin a value on "civilised behavior", "empathy" ,"helpfulness" because these are character traits of the people, not the ROI value of a country. The necessary elements to sustain a country organically from within but sorely neglected in my country.

It's disappointing because there was once a brief glimpse of potential for this young country, but now for various unaccounted reasons, she has fallen to "shambles" in so many ways. Of course we are nowhere near 3rd world country which so many naysayers like to put it, but seriously, it is a far cry from the sort of country I had envisioned when I was growing up.

I havent lost the loyalty (yet) to my own motherland Singapore (nope not china by long mile), but I had certaintly lost the naivety thinking that it's one of the best city state with best practices and facilities. Living abroad has certainly opened my eyes and broaden my mind, the ability to make concrete comparisons and not shooting blanks in the air.

I wonder how the people in charge in our country's public services esp public trpt can get their dose of reality, short of crashing the existing system or being forced to leave their jobs coz they simply screwed up. While not everything is bad in Sg, yet what will it take to see those necessary changes, or recovery? Recent news. LTA was thinking of serving a fine to SMRT for each failure to "comply" to the proposed additional framework. Great, how does that benefit us as commuters? Another impending fare hike? Perhaps, it will take the edge off more if SMRT offered one extra free ride to all affected commuters, not just free ride for the affected ride. Afterall wont that be a more equitable "fine-reward" scheme considering it is OUR time you are wasting and not LTA? 

I digress.
At the end of the day, to simply quote a Sg friend, currently living abroad as well... "In SG, we havent moved on socially. We think we have, but really, we really havent..."

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Apple Customer service scored an A+ for me

I love Apple's customer service. When one suffers a spate of terrible Singapore customer service (recently mine being with Crimson Logic), it's refreshing and dizzying to get one so efficient and nice.

The last time when I purchased my MacPro, I already had a first hand experience of excellent service. When I called them about the wrong adaptor sent despite ordering from HK website, the Apple Care US rerouted my call to HK and viola, they sent me a one off travel kit adaptor out of good will. I really appreciate that gesture, and it gave me the confidence to believe that my future purchases will be warranted. So Apple won my loyalty. They trained their customer service well.

That incident was last year. This year, we purchased a new MacAir, as well as an Ipad.

The iPad was purchased with the iPad cover via online. When the stuff arrived via DHL, I discovered my cover was scratched terribly on delivery. I called Apple, and the chap was very pro and nice about it. He apologized for the defect and promised to send me a new cover in return. I asked about pick up for the unused scratched piece and  to my surprise, he said it's alright. They will just ship a new one.

The whole process was pain-free, without hassle, and more importantly, they took ownership and proactively aim to keep any dissatisfaction down to a minimal level. In my case, they really won me over both times.

incidentally, I mentioned to my friends, Apple Customer Service must have stringent requirement. They all spoke fluent English and many are American accented. My friend said the customer hotline is now relocated to Singapore at Yio Chu Kang. I was in disbelief. You mean apart from Citibank, Apple Singapore can do such a decent job too?! Wow! Shocker.

No offense intended to Singapore companies or fellow Singaporeans but generally, not only their customer service sucks, their spoken English sounded funny too for all the front line service. It's a well renowned fact. Sorry. Just stating a fact....

My shopping conquest! It's summer time, what do you expect!

I went about overboard this month shopping. It's summer! I havent stock up on new summer clothing for a long time since I came to HK. Mostly, I tend to shop in Autumn and Winter. So starting with the discovery of Denim & Supply Ralph Lauren@ Times Square, that was when my wallet started bleeding..more accurately, my man's!

1st Stop: @Denim & Supply Ralph Lauren, Times Square, CWB
This is where I can get all things casual such as denim and Ts, and shorts etc.

Also couldnt resist the checkered blue top and the turquoise blue top. Reminds me of heading to the beach! Matched it with my hat purchased in Seoul few years back, perfect!

 I got more excited when I saw the navy blue white strip top, as well as the shaded blue scarf! It's actually not a summer wear, at least I dont think the material is. I think its more spring but hell, we dont have cool spring in Hong Kong. Only good for days I know I will be in the mall whole day where the aircon can freeze your arse off. The heat is already killing me now. Again, matched with my old blue uniqlo pants.

Pink is a rare color in my wardrobe though my mum thinks I look nice in them. Blue is predominantly my shade, at least these past months. The sales recommended this pink checkered opaque top, an underlayer is required for those who dont want to "share" views of their expensive lacy bra. hahaha! I decided to drag out my denim shorts purchased in Japan last year @Daiba outlet. Bought it solely for that sewn on patch. Lol! Viola! It worked!

Next was the unexpected red strip sleeveless dress! I love dresses but tend not to wear the cotton stretch coz of my fat belly. However this had a lovely fit and it wrap nicely without being too clingy to the waistline. I paired it with my old MM denim jacket, tied the scarf and yeah, time to hit the town! It worked nicely with my white casual jacket too, paired with light pink scarf.

2nd stop: Global work@WTC, CWB

A sucker for Japanese clothing. I have been looking for lightweight, airy cardigan and found it in here. Buttonless and loosely fit with 3/4 sleeve length. Found a nice light grey cotton pants, with foldable hems, 3/4 in length. Thought it went well with my new red shoes, or gold heels. Yeah, a look recreated based on a Japanese mag.

 I have been hunting for a khaki brown short for a long time, a length that actually isnt too short (overly short stuff makes my thighs look extremely unflattering, too old to carry it off too.) I managed to find it @Global Work. Loved the airy blue summer top too! Good for those days you didnt want your top to cling on to you. Have lovely embroidery at the bottom.

After my pink checkered top, I spotted this orange stripped blouse. As per before, an underlayer is required if you dont want people to see the outline of your bra. Decided to try a different look with 3/4 jeans. Good for casual dates! I havent worn my sandals since my wedding, so I thought I will try it out. Not bad alternative to the red.

3rd Stop: Zero Halliburton@Harvey Nicholas, Pacific Place

Was seriously getting fedup with my crappy Rimowa aluminum luggage. Firstly, the wheels fell apart. Secondly the flaps inside came apart. Thirdly, the water from the aircraft holding seeped into my bag and everything inside got completely wet (as if it was dunked into a pool!). The other polycarbon model is also constantly falling apart at the wheels and flap within, though no water seepage yet since they dont get dented.

The problem is that I have to lugged the freaking Rimowa myself to the service center instead of being able to leave it at the counters. So inconvenient. The point is, Rimowa, you suck!

I went looking at Samsonite but tried their zip, not exactly "smooth" for the large size. We had the small Aerial small cabin size bag and liked it. However when its larger, ehe handles felt funny for their Aerial and Cube series. Colour  (apart from Aerial blue) wasnt that spectacular either.

We were just browsing and spotted this lovely bright blue bag. I am giving zip a chance, and this is cheaper than Rimowa's pricing. For some reason, the lady here was able to give me 15% straight off. The counter they had at Sogo CWB did not, only offered 10% off, with 5% off if i have sogo card. I ended up buying it off the lady at Harvey as she had always been very nice and friendly thrice now, even when we didnt buy anything the forst 2 times.

4th stop: Maud Frizon Shoes@ WTC, CWB

Yesterday, I put on my Charles & Keith heels and headed out for my class. Less than 50steps, the materials on the heels started to disintegrate with every step I took. OMG! Had to throw my old heels away and grab something else. So that means I had to replace my heels. Threw 1 bought 4. A woman's shopping logic! hahaha!

Sms my man who was hard at work in Shanghai,
Me: "Bled your wallet today."
Reply: "Noooooooo!!"


I never knew MF shoes fit me so well. Yes, there are half sizes here. I love the white floral theme sandal so I could not put it down. Had an exact old pump like the above but it worn out after repeated wear, so I had to restock the same look. Next was the blue strip wedges. I never had blue strip shoes before, least of all wedges. They were comfy to my surprise!

The last pair was the red shoes with a floral bow at the front. In one of the pictures above. Well, I couldnt resist the fiery red. Getting bored with all my black and brown heels.

5th Stop: iBlues, Times Square, CWB

I dropped in not expecting to buy anything. I was dressed in my worst, and carrying groceries. However, the sales remained ever polite and helpful, without any hint of disdain for a "poor looking" customer like me.

I paused at a crop sleeve top and she immediately went to the store and grabbed 2 other shades. Oooo...I like that pink and grey polka dots. So I was happy to try it. The sales offered to place my bulky stuff away so that I could be more relaxed.

Next thing I knew, I saw this white dress, innocuously hanging there in a corner. I picked it up and headed to the fitting room. To my surprise, the A-line dress was a nice fit and fuss free, I had to get this. Went home and tried various combi.

First look, matched with a classic blue cardigan from Global Work.

Second look, which is my prefered choice for summer. Matched with my old Zara Green cardigan! I couldnt thank Zara enough for stocking this green! It was perfect colour for me!
Somehow this combi reminds me of Paris, Kate space? Couldnt decide the shade of my heels to go with. Prob red huh.

Well, that's all for now. Dont think you will be interested in my new iPad purchase anyway.

Japanese Hairstylist: Love my New Summer Hairstyle from AR Salon! 夏の髪型が大好き!ありがとう!!

Had my hair permed yesterday@ AR Salon (closed on Mon) (Link to address and contact).
Facebook link (here)

Previously, was getting super bored with my long hair now that has flatten out. My hair was in desperate need of loving and attention after the ill-treatment over the last 3 months, esp when I was travelling to Morocco and Portugal. I really didnt gave any sh*t to my hair since I was dead tired every day...

As usual, Ito and Beedy did a wonderful job with my hair! As I told them I will be going swimming regularly this summer, they promised me my new curls wont straighten but I also have to do my part in blow drying my hair after wash (else the water weight for wet hair will pull it straight over time).

The best part is that apart from the Aprou lightweight milk moisture which I had been using, I didnt need any other hair products for the curls. (See what I mean in earlier post about NOT pushy?!!) Talk about fantastic for lazy person like me!!!

As I had finished my shampoo and I mentioned about any recommendation, Ito san gave me a Re:>>> Cool Shampoo sample. He told me to buy it ONLY if I like it. He said it's completely non drying. I havent tried it yet. However, I restock my Aprou Milk Moisture instead. I LOVE this product because it smells heavenly, really did what it promised- softening my hair, and lightweight without weighing down your hair.

Towards the end of my session, took a snap shot of the guys who had a role in making me feel top of the world like a princess:) This session, Ito did the haircut, while Beedy was in charge for the perm and wash.

Beedy recommended to try perming the curls from the eye-level for a change as the trend is heading away from the perm starting from jawline. He showed me quite a few pictures to ease my worries since I really didnt want a puff up curly hair. Beedy assured me it will be soft and natural and his words were as good as gold. The curls were really soft and had that natural wave.

Guys hard at work! (Left: Beedy with a smile, Right: Ito in full concentration)

Alot of my friends like my new curls.
Even the fruit stall Auntie complimented it. She could be just being polite...hahah.

Anycase, here's a shot to show my indulgence in my
I took a shot right after I got back from the salon.

My hair is still nice and curly despite my "abuse" to it for the next 6 hours and after dinner.
Happy! 嬉しかった!!

PS: See my Hair Salon visit @ Feb 2013 before CNY! (Link)

An encounter with UK tax officer...

A UK friend of ours was sharing his bad experience with his UK tax officer. They misdirected his tax return with all his private info (address +$$) to another person. The person was nice enough to call him up to inform him. 

When our friend called up the tax office to complain about THEIR oversight (nasty stuff may happen if the info fell into the wrong hands), the UK tax officer retorted "WHAT?! You are SOOOOOO PERFECT that you have never made a mistake in your life?" 

My UK friend was speechless...

If this happens to any Singaporean right now, you can be sure they will be screaming for blood and murder over Temasek Review or media platform...
Friend said "Hey let's meet up when you are back in Sg."
I said "Let's see if the train breaks down..." 
Friend laughed and said "Trains only break down during peak hours" 
I said "Really? I dont trust it. Hahaha"

Never thought there will come a day I will be having this conversation about Singapore public transportation...?!?!!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Crimson Logic SG Helpdesk, YOU SUCK!

The helpdesk agents @Crimson Logic in Singapore who are assigned to my case ARE ALL FUCKWITS. SERIOUSLY EMPTY HEADED ROBOTIC FUCKWITS WITH NO TECHNICAL SKILLS. It's like they have this instruction manual to only repeat "standard" solutions from there without having to use their brains.

After 1 month, not only they couldnt solve my problems, they even have the fucking balls to email "Can u send screen capture so that we can help you." I already DID YOU FKING MORONS, WEEKS BACK!!!GO CHECK YOUR EMAIL RECORDS!!!" 

You see, I have been having problems trying to access SINGPASS.GOV.SG website. Everytime I access the URL DIRECTLY, the site shows a blank page and finally the "taking too long to response error."

I tried everything from Win 7 to Mac system, from IE, Firefox, Safari to Google Chrome and NONE of the sites work.

So I emailed Crimson Logic the fucking company who is the preferred loser's choice for our govt's e-system like IRAS. Why the govt forces its people to be reliant on ONE COMPANY for such key services is beyond me. For a COUNTRY that is so proud to be fucking fast speed connected, the company they employed seemed to be living in caveman times for their helpdesk.

After 1 freaking months of bouncing here and there, all they did was to tell me this

CLogic: Please clear cache.
Me: Cache is always cleared, does not work. I have even tried turned off firewall, NV, pop-up disabler, added trusted sites, nothing works.I am using Win 7 and Mac and brand new ipad, all connected by wifi at home and I'm having problems with them all. However I have no problems with other website sites like e-citizen, IRAS etc. Just Singpass.

CLogic: Please add trusted site
Me: (sighing at the instruction which OBVIOUSLY did not read my email) Yes added, still do not work. Come one guys, you can do better than this. Sent my email screen capture.

CLogic: Please contact the agency you are trying to connect to singpass from. 
Me: (Getting fedup). Look guys, I am connecting to your website directly. SINGPASS.GOV.SG.
There is no agency redirecting from!!!! can you guys please escalate to your 2nd tier engineer?

CLogic: Please add to trusted sites. Please send us your screen capture.

Finally, I did my online search, turned off my wireless and plugged my cable direct,viola! 
It worked! NONE OF THESE AGENTS even realised that the router might be blocking it, despite that I had told them I am using wi-fi to connect. Brillant, just brillant. None of these people who mans these service uses wi-fi at home to even know such problems exists. Thanks to other online users and NO THANKS to these paid Crimson Logic losers. They should be PAYING ME to resolve the problem. Granted I didnt solve how to undo the router block but at least I know how to bypass the problem. Those GOONS didnt. So anyone who knows what to set in my Sapido router will be good.

The agent even had the cheek to tell me "Routers purchased from OTHER countries out of Singapore will block SG website." Hello?!!!! Most routers are manufactured in one place, CHINA and redistribute to other countries for sales. What the hell are you talking about????!!!!


Normally I would refrain from cursing at helpdesk services but in this case, I have enough and especially this helpdesk is manning a service for the SINGPASS service which I am FORCED TO USE. It's not optional, which compounds to my hatred and anger. Christ, I havent been angry for years! 

Reminded me once again why I left the IT industry because it is choked with alot of useless people "supposedly" to be working on problems to help non -IT people.

Update: 17May

Between this post till today, Crimson Logic has called me twice. Equally frustrating and without solution. It came to a point that I told the lady point blank, "I honestly dont think you know what is broadband and how a router works!"

You see, I informed Crimson Logic that the Singpass website was accessible but it simply fails to connect via the router, So OBVIOUSLY the problem lies with the router right? Guess what their reply was to me?

Crimson Logic agent: Mdm, if your connection via the broadband works, and the router doesnt, it means that the problem lies with YOUR ISP. THEY ARE BLOCKING the website.

At this point, I wanted to smash the phone in her face. I told her curtly.

Me: My dear, you DO UNDERSTAND WHAT BROADBAND IS AND HOW IT WORKS right? You did just realised that I had told you the LAN cable was able to access your website, but when I swap it via the router it fails. YOU understand that we are talking about THE SAME LAN POINT right, using the SAME ISP right?

Crimson Logic: Ah, why dont you tell me how you connect to the router. Maybe it's your network provider. We have different network providers here in Singapore...

I simply had to cut her off before I die from hearing more stupidity. Lord save you woman!

Me: LOOK! There is nothing wrong with connecting to my routers since obviously i can surf other websites! It's JUST YOUR WEBSITE! And do you even understand that ISP are just companies providing the service and technology. AN ISP does NOT affect how the technology works!!! A different ISP offers different plan but it does not CHANGE HOW A LAN AND WIFI AND ROUTER works! And you are telling me my ISP is blocking the website?!!! Then how did I access it via LAN cable?

So rather than me telling you what to do, why dont you tell me how to connect a router and I will tell you if you are right or wrong because I have this feeling you have completely no idea what I am talking about!!! 

Crimson Logic agent: Errr...*weak laugh* yes you are right...However I want to help you mdm. I want to help u solve this.

I hung up. I gave up on Crimson Logic Helpdesk.
I was better off self helping myself....being friendly and helpful alone is not helping my problem. 
I need someone who doesnt have a zero level knowledge tank.

I sent out a post in my FB for answers.
In less than a minute, answers came pouring in.
Several people pointed out to the MTU setting.
A friend sent me a link that solved the mystery.

ALL IT TOOK was 5 mins in FB to find my answer but it took over a month for CRIMSON LOGIC.

ALL I HAD TO DO was to change the MTU in my router to the magical number 1400.
I had tried all combinations previously, just missed out on 1400.

So the next time you have a router access problem with SINGPASS.GOV.SG, try changing your MTU to 1400. It solved my problem,