Friday, April 20, 2007

Seoul-Searching

A client of mine is supposed to sign some legal documents in his home country in South Korea since he is not coming to KL anytime soon. The thick bundle was sent to him with specific instructions as to where to sign and who is to attest to the signing.

(For those not familiar with attestation rules, all affidavits, statutory declaration and land office forms for use in Malaysia must be signed in the presence of either a Notary Public or a Consular/Diplomatic Officer of the Malaysian Embassy/High Commision if the document is signed outside of Malaysia.)

This client of mine emailed me, “Where do I find this Consular Officer of the Malaysian Consulate?”

I wanted to tell him, “At the Malaysian Consulate lah bodoh!!!!!”, but I held back and just gave him the address and telephone no. of the embassy.

He emailed back saying it’s too far from his office and he won’t go there.

Fine then. Notary Publics are acceptable too, I told him.

The next few exchanges are of him insisting to know where he can find a Notary Public and particularly, one that is nearest to him. After much persuasion, not to mention instruction from above, I was compelled to assist him on that.

So there I was, in front of my computer all day, looking for information on the net on the whereabouts of some very-hard-to-find Notaries in a city where I have never even been to. I downloaded 3 maps of the whole bloody place, uptown, downtown and central, and I was basically scouring every inch of the maps to ensure the addresses I give him would be within short travelling distance from either his office or home.

As luck would have it, I managed to find one notary office just a stone’s throw away from where he works (yes, I measured the distance too, and yes he can throw a stone from his office to the notary’s).

There was no more problem from this client as to the location, but there were about 12 million other issues that he raised which he could’ve resolved on his own had he lifted a bloody finger. On many of those stupid issues, I just wanted to scream at him,

“HOW THE HELL SHOULD I KNOW??? I’M IN KL, YOU IDIOT!!!”

But considering this guy is such a big shot and my instructions were to suck up to people like him, I kept my mouth shut.

Isn’t it weird that I was sitting here 2400 miles away giving street directions to this guy in his own city and telling him how to find people there and how to deal with them?

That said, I’ve got the street map of Seoul permanently etched in my brain and I’m sure I will never get lost there.


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Tuesday, April 17, 2007

TAG- Blast From The Past

I was planning to write this last week but decided to postpone it because something came up, or rather someone came down…

Errr… bad joke. Sorry. Didn’t mean to be callous.

So this is my entry for today. I don’t know whether I can come up with something else to write about this week. Perhaps my plan of putting up at least 2 entries per week is not going to work after all. Why? Because,

1. I am too lazy to write
2. I am too lazy to write
3. I am too lazy to write

Need any more reason?

4. I am too lazy to write.

There.

In situation such as this, when I am scratching my head trying to figure out what to write just so my blog wouldn’t be so dormant and ‘not-happening’ (like it isn’t already!) I thank God for this thing we all call tag.

Pugly, who passed the torch to me, said,
“I know some people are quite reluctant to do this tagging/meme thing – some even regard it as ‘uncool’, but I don’t mind, really; aside from being a deeply uncool person, I think they’re rather fun. They are also a good way of getting to know someone better.”


My sentiments exactly. In fact, I think a tag is a blessing for me because I usually have no idea what to write and simply bulldoze my way through with incoherent ramblings and then jump from topic to topic before anyone can draw the next breath. So, no voodoo curse on Pugly for passing this on to me and no pretending that being tagged is a drag. My reaction to the whole thing is this instead:-

*kick off shoes, jump on the table and wave arms in the air, then do the chicken dance and yell, *

“WHOOOO…. HOOOOOOO!!!!!

YEEEE…HAAA!!!!!

OH YEAH…

OH YEAH…

OH YEAH….

WALLA WALLA BING BING!!!”



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So there.

------------

The rules of this particular tag are as follows:-

Go to Pop Culture Madness site.
Pick the year you turned 18 years old.
Get yourself nostalgic over the songs that year.
Write something about how those songs affected you.
Pass it on to 5 more friends.


Now, I have a bone to pick with whoever started this tag. This is really an indirect but very very obvious way of finding out someone’s age! Given my vanity about my age as disclosed earlier after having just turned another year older less than a month ago, I’M NOT GOING TO DO IT!

But then, didn’t I just say I like tags? So I did.

So in that case, I’ll do this tag, but I’M CHEATING!!. I’m picking up songs from a certain year in my Not-A-Girl-Not-Yet-A-Woman” phase. Which year that is or what age that represents are anybody’s guess.

I wish I can be all cool like many of you out there who listed Smells Like Teen Spirit by Nirvana or anything by Guns and Roses. But the truth is, I didn’t even know about Nirvana until Kurt Cobain died. And Guns and Roses, I was never a fan, not then, not now. It’s weird really, considering I was a so-called minah rock back in school and still do enjoy rock songs more than anything else even now.

But then again, as my band of choice back then were Bon Jovi who have now resorted to all sorts of rockish pop commercial crap instead of the likes of their Slippery When Wet phase, I suppose it’s easily understandable why I am not such a headbanger after all.

That said, please don’t boo me for my absolute lack of taste in music.

These are my choices.

Song # 1
Black or White – Michael Jackson

Ahh…. MJ… back then he was the ultimate performer. Love this one to bits because of the universally and politically correct message it supposedly bring, although the irony of him being a black boy who grew up to be a white lady was not lost on me.

Loved seing him perform live in KL, or rather seing him lip-synching live (he admitted to this).

Most of all, I love the music video, it has tremendous effect on me. Even now, if I go to the zoo today, I can’t look at the black jaguar without thinking of MJ.

But sad to say, MJ is no longer a jaguar, he’s now more like a monkey to me.

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Song # 2
Free Your Mind – En Vogue

With my penchant for politically correct, never-judge-a-book-by-it’s-cover theme, it’s not a big surprise that songs such as this one would make it to my list. With lyrics like

I wear tight clothing, high heel shoes
It doesn't mean that I'm a prostitute (no, no, no)
I like rap music, wear hip hop clothes
That doesn't mean that I'm out sellin' dope (no, no, no)

Oh my, forgive me for having straight hair
It doesn't mean there's another blood in my vein
I might date another race or color
It doesn't mean I don't like my strong black brothers

Free your mind and the rest will follow
Be color-blind, don't be so shallow
Free your mind and the rest will follow
Be color-blind, don't be so shallow

I guess, any self-proclaimed broad-minded intellectual would hail it as an anthem of sorts.

Song # 3
I’m Too Sexy – Right Said Fred

Okay, this is a total departure from the theme of the first 2 songs, but what the heck, I absolutely loved it! It’s goofy, it’s weird, it’s totally perasan, and it’s 100% fun! I'm too sexy for my car too sexy for my car, Too sexy by far, And I'm too sexy for my hat, Too sexy for my hat what do you think about that. I'm a model you know what I mean, And I do my little turn on the catwalk, Yeah on the catwalk on the catwalk yeah, I shake my little touche on the catwalk….

Song # 4
Constant Craving – KD Lang

I don’t know why I loved it then. I do remember though that I kept playing the tape over and over and over and over….

Song # 5
Acky Breaky Heart - Billy Ray Cyrus

This is by far the stupidest song that I’ve ever known (aside from I’m Too Sexy). I have never been a fan of country songs, nor have I ever been affected by one, but I found this tune to be very very infectious I was singing along to it everytime I heard it on the radio. No, I didn’t buy the album, but I did find it somewhat daunting that I knew every word back then and still remember the melody till now…. And what about that annoying country twang…. SOMEBODY PLEASE GET THAT SOUND OUT OF MY HEAD!!!!! ARRRRGHHHH!!!!

Okay, so I’m in denial. These songs may or may not be from the year in which I turned 18 as required by this meme. I refuse to let anyone dupe me into disclosing my age, and I let my vanity rule.

I have no idea who I’m going to tag…. And I don’t wanna impose this on anyone who may consider it a chore (or anyone who is vain about their age like I am and don’t feel like cheating like I did). So, I’d rather if the tag is done by people who actually want to do it. Any volunteers??

Friday, April 13, 2007

Maids Are Human Beings Too

Last night, my sister told me some news that brought chills down my spine. I couldn’t sleep well after that, and this morning came to work feeling groggy and tired.

A few weeks ago, my sister’s maid told her about a certain Indonesian maid in their apartment building who was never allowed to go out and was being locked indoors whenever the employers are not at home.

The other maids in the building were all gossiping about it and although the next door neighbours have heard her cying and complaining, nobody has actually ever seen her for she probably has never been out of the apartment ever since she came to work there many many months ago.

Last Saturday, she was probably at the end of her tether when she decided to run away. She threw her bag out the window of the 7th floor apartment unit and climbed out. She managed to climb down to the 6th floor before the railing which she was holding on to gave way, and she fell.

She died instantly.

It was a horrible horrible way to die to say the least, and my heart goes out to her.

I can’t stop thinking about it, how she journeyed across the ocean, leaving her family and friends to come to work in other people’s house in a strange country, only to face a tragic end and return home in a coffin.

I don’t know why there are people who think that their maids are anything less than human; locking them up like animals in a cage, not letting them see anything beyond the threshold of the front door. That is just too much.

Sadly, some people are paranoid about their maids running away that they fail to see right from wrong. True, there are many cases of runaway maids, but with each case, there are also many more that stayed behind, taking care of the employers’ household for years and years and earning an honest living.

If the maid is a potential runaway, she would have run away at the earliest opportunity, no matter how the employer treats her. The difference is, she would have plans and she would execute it flawlessly, probably with outside help.

If the maid is someone who just wants to work and send money to her family, opportunities to run away could present itself right smack in front of her nose and she would look away, because she is here to work and earn a living.

But if any honest hardworking maid is kept locked up for months, I would be very surprised if she doesn’t develop the slightest inclination to escape.

It was so obvious that the girl who died had no master plan about running away. All she knew was that she was desperate to get out and she had nobody helping her.

Alain Robert may be able to climb up and down the Petronas Twin Towers with ease but for the rest of us, it is just impossible. Nobody in their right mind would leave an apartment on the 7th floor by climbing out the window. Those who do that normally have suicide on their minds.

But that girl didn’t. She had every intention to live. She packed her bags and was climbing down to freedom. At least she thought she was.

Al-Fatehah to her and I pray that she rest in peace.

We may never know what kind of maids we are going to end up having, but whatever it is, it is only fair for us to treat her well. The idea is to have a little faith in people, and more often than not, they will not fail you.

If your maid turned out to be an ungrateful sod, that is too bad, but it is not the end of the world, unless of course if they commit a crime against you when they are at it, but that is another story. Otherwise, you pick up the pieces and you move on. You may lose lots of money in getting a new maid but at least your conscience is clear.

The rule of thumb is, don’t do unto others what you don’t want done unto you. Never mistreat your maids, as they are after all human like us.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Old Job New Job No Job

I have a pile of files on my table and 28 million urgent things to attend to, but somehow I am inclined to just sit in front of my PC and mull over what to write on my blog.

My boss is gonna walk in any minute now and check whether I have attended to this and that and I am not even concerned of how I am going to bluff him.

What’s the matter with me?

I remember feeling this way last year when I was thinking of leaving my job then. I couldn’t bring myself to resign at that point, but my actions somehow indicated that I wasn’t gonna last much longer there. It was as if I was daring my then boss to fire me.

Alas, he never did, no matter what I did, not even after that shouting match I had with a client, for which he ended up being called a monkey when he tried to break it up.

I finally resigned not long after that. And now, barely 5 months into this new job, I feel like quitting again.

It seems that I am destined for a perpetual nomadic existence. I just can’t settle down, stay put and grow with a firm. I always have to look for something new. For me, it’s always exciting to start a new job, and then after the novelty dies in the next few months, I’d be raring to make a fresh start elsewhere.

Perhaps it is because of my short attention span. I get bored of things easily. As a kid, I would be playing with my doll in one minute and with my toy plane the next (yes, I had toy planes and cars – was a bit of a tomboy then, still is) and I would be out of the house playing with the cats before long.

I’m still like that now. Like last weekend, when I was in the mood to read, I read the third chapter of The Templar Legacy, then I started reading the first page of The Rules of Life which I just bought and then I continued reading Saving Fish From Drowning which I started months ago and never finish. And before 15 minutes is up, I’d look up from my books with a baffled look on my face trying to separate the all the characters and information in the three books that I’ve just read which had inevitably become infused in this tangled web that is my brain.

Unable to separate the three, I ended up watching Billy Elliot again on DVD (and falling asleep on the couch halfway through).

Sigh.

&%@( %$#& $!(*&

My boss just walked in and the above chaos represented the quick move I made to close my document plus the profanities I muttered in so doing.

Hahaha! For someone who just announced to the world that she didn’t care about this job, I just contradicted myself big time didn’t I? What an idiot!!!

Seriously, I don’t care if I lose my job. I just don’t wanna be caught not doing my job during office hours.

That said, I’m possibly gonna start looking for a new job soon. A job which I hope would end my never-ending job-hopping. Perhaps a change of vocation would be good. Honestly, I’m sick and tired of this law business. Maybe I’ll work in retail next, or F&B, or direct selling. Need Amway, anyone??

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Of Locks and Crocs

I have a thing with locks. When I was a kid, I loved playing with doors, particularly the locks and latches on it. Once when I was 3 or 4 years old, I played with a door, latched it closed and then screamed my head off when I couldn’t get out of the room. It took my family a whole afternoon to unlatch the door using a bamboo pole through the window. Luckily it was a downstairs bedroom, or else someone would have to hang on to dear life with his butt hanging out the window ledge on the top floor.

Thus began my series of mishaps with locks.

As a kid in boarding school, all my possessions were placed in my locker and locked away securely with a padlock. Many a time, when I was in a hurry, I put the padlock on and rushed off elsewhere only to remember later that I left the keys in the locker.

I had to use a hockey stick to break the padlock open.

After numerous incidences of this nature, I got myself a keyless padlock, only to forget the combination on the very first day I used it. Again, the hockey stick came to the rescue.

Even now, as an adult, I’m not spared of the occasional embarrassment of locking myself out of my office and recently, out of my car. But no, a hockey stick was never used on my car. No way, man! I took a cab all the way back home to get a spare key.

I now have a phobia about locking myself out, I never even close the door to my room at the office anymore.

Like I said, I have a thing with locks.

This morning, I came out my front door and tried to open my shoe cabinet. Because of the many shoe theft incidents in my area, I had to put a lock on it to avoid losing my shoes to punks. I discovered to my horror that the padlock combination won’t work. I must’ve changed the numbers without realizing it. Damn!

Only this time, I didn’t have a hockey stick with me. Damn! Damn!

So today I’m wearing a pair of old shoes which fortunately were not kept in the cabinet along with the others, otherwise I might have had to wear my bright red crocs to work.

And speaking of crocs, those shoes are butt ugly aren’t they?

I used to think that I wouldn’t be caught dead in one of those, but the minute I put them on, they’re so comfortable I didn’t even care if it’s a total mismatch to my outfit.

Thus, I’m thinking of getting myself a new pair, perhaps in yellow. There’s something about wearing striking coloured shoes over bland attire. It may be so Phua Chu Kang, yet it is also so in style these days. It’s weird how trends come and go, and as far as Crocs are concerned, it is a trend that has been here a while and is not leaving anytime soon.

On that thought, perhaps I’ll get myself a blue one too. Crocs rule!!!


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Monday, April 02, 2007

Of Taxes and More Taxes

It is that time of the year again when everybody is scrambling to file their tax returns and as usual, I don’t even know where my Borang BE is. I know I have received it some time ago but for the life of me I can’t recall what I did with it.

Never mind, I’m sure it’ll turn up later, possibly a day before the deadline, as always.

Honestly, I don’t see why I have to pay tax at all. With my meager income, I think, the government needs to give me money and not the other way around. There should be some form of assistance, much like the Unemployment Benefits in UK and US, but for people who actually do have jobs. Let’s call it the Employed But Barely Surviving Benefits (EBBSB).

Yes, I think EBBSB would be most welcomed. Particularly since I haven’t gotten any form of benefit from the government. Back in uni, while my friends were buying Guccis and Channels with their JPA money, I never even applied for scholarship, much less get one. So, nobody out there can ever accuse me of spending tax-payers’ money.

With a tinge of jealousy still subsisting after all these years against my friends who flashed their JPA money in front of my face back then, I would propose that EBBSB is made available only for the people who has never received any scholarship or student loan from any party, and who dutifully pays their credit card bills, car loans, housing loan and utilities by the 1st day of every month and is left with RM50.00 in their accounts to last them till 30th. Let’s give them enough money for food and supplies, petrol, the daily Starbucks, the designer jackets they have been wanting for so long and the occasional dinner at La Bodega.

Now, that would be helpful.

Instead, we get the Real Property Gains Tax (RPGT) abolishment. Like it’s going to ease my burden anytime soon. Bah! Humbug!

My foreign clients who are purchasing high-end residences around KLCC area are all happy about this piece of news. FIC approvals are no longer needed for purchase of residential properties by non-citizens, so they have been buying like mad since then, mostly for investments (almost 80% of purchasers for the high-end serviced residences around KLCC are foreigners). And now with RPGT abolished in toto, they are even more happy that they’re gonna make lots of money from future sale. (Previously, while locals enjoyed tax-free sale if they owned the property for more than 5 years, foreigners still have to pay at least 5% tax on the gains no matter how long they owned it).

We all know that property value in this area shoots up rapidly, and those with a million ringgit to invest will get millions of ringgit in return. And with no tax payable, this is heaven on a platter! Too bad the ordinary Ahmad, Muthu and Ah Chong (and also Sue) don’t get anything from this.

I’m also miffed, like a lot of people out there, for one other reason, I feel cheated for not having the opportunity to exercise my RPGT exemption option. Previously, for every Income Tax account holder, there is an option exercisable once in their lifetime for an RPGT exemption. Meaning, for a sale of a property, if the gains are taxable, the seller can opt for a tax-exemption. Since this exemption is a once in a lifetime thing, many people chose to ‘save’ their option till the most opportune moment. They won’t exercise it if the gains are a meager RM15,000.00 and instead look forward to such time in the future when they manage to purchase a RM1 Million property and sell it for RM2 Million.

That was my plan. And that has been thwarted big time.

I remember one of my clients, who gleefully told me that he doesn’t mind paying the RM20K RPGT he had to fork out then because he was planning to exercise the option on the future sale of another property he just bought in which he is eyeing a RM5 Mil profit. I don’t think he got around to selling the property yet. Must be banging his head against the wall now - he should’ve used it on the previous sale and save that RM20K!

Such is the reality in our lives now. The rich gets all sorts of perks, and the poor like me has to skip lunch in order to pay tax.

All the more reason to have the aforementioned Employed But Barely Surviving Benefits. For those of you who are not eligible for the EBBSB for any reason whatsoever, don’t be jealous lah. This is my wishful thinking, so you go create your own okay!