16:05 by FoxTwo
Image by Arnþór Snær via FlickrBack in this post, I talked about how my gadgets decided to die or develop faults. One of them was my digital camera. I eventually did bring the camera down for servicing.
A couple of days back, I went to pick it up from the Canon service centre.
It was pretty early in the morning, barely 1 hour after their centre opened. Not many people were there, maybe at most 3 people ahead of me.
At one of the counters, there was this "customer" being very agitated towards a calm-but-rapidly-becoming-helpless counter service girl. From the snatches of conversation (they were pretty dang loud for an empty center), the "customer" seemed to want:
1. A fixed, confirmed answer on when his item can be repaired, not "it should take 5 to 6 days".
2. When (1) was not given, wanted an exchange for the item within the next 3 days.
The counter girl tried to explain that before the technicians can inspect the item, they won't know what was wrong. If they don't know what was wrong, they won't know what parts may be needed to repair the item. If the parts they needed were not available, they need to order it from their overseas distribution centres.
The customer then went on a tirade about how he already explained what the fault was, and a "good technician" would "immediately know" what the fault was without the need to inspect his item. He went on about how inefficient Canon was, and how the process was detrimental to the smooth operations of their service centre, and even almost got to the extent of implying the staff were all incompetent.
I didn't at the time, but now on hindsight, maybe I should have just shut the "customer" up. It was VERY obvious the customer only thought about himself, and demanded that everything to be done to please HIM. Without "booking in" the item, how were the techs going to know what was wrong? Do you go to the doctor and say "eh Doctor, I got cough and sore throat" and doctor would immediately tell you "flu" (usual answer)? What happens if it's case of infection? Laryngitis? Throat cancer?
Obviously too, this person never worked in a place with more than 10 people. Like as if everybody will drop everything to help you at your whim?
When the date for repair was not given, he had the gall to ask for a 1 to 1 exchange within 3 days, because "Canon is such a big company, how can there be no stocks available"?
Hello, did you ever think about how OLD your product is? Since when do companies keep current stocks of products that are over a number of years?
The Service Center manager even had to come out to try to calm the guy down, and what the manager said was reasonable - the product was not bleeding-edge new, neither was it "too old", hence whatever stocks Canon Singapore might have, would probably be already shipped out to RETAILERS like Harvey Norman or Courts to sell. Furthermore, they do not keep new units at the service center for "exchange" because the service center was meant for repairing, not exchanging. The manager said, for this "special case" he could make calls to warehouse to check.
Lucky, because the Manager found that the warehouse still had a unit and could be sent over.
The guy went on and complained about how lousy the service was, and such a big company like Canon should "take note" of his "feedback" and "improve the service", and that to keep him waiting "so long" for a "simple answer" was "ridiculous".
When he was walking out of the centre he was still complaining about the lousy service he was given.
When it came to my turn to collect my camera, it went without a hitch. When I sent it in, smooth as silk too.
In my opinion, although the service wasn't 5 star excellent, it wasn't lousy at all. The problem was the customer himself, not the service.
Yes, remember that the next time you start to label the service of a place as "lousy". Think - is it actually you being unreasonable in the first place?
Yeah I should have gone and slapped the guy.
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16:11 by FoxTwo plurk thread here and then people were curious why I was so adamant about not supporting the particular bank mentioned.
These are 2 long stories, so be prepared if you are kaypoh enough to want to know more.
Bad Experience 1 - Standard Chartered Bank
Years ago, I was using Standard Chartered for personal credit as well as credit card facilities. They have a weird billing cycle - 22nd of each month. At the time, I was working at a company where the payday was 25th of every month. Due to the efficiency of Standard Chartered's banking systems, I was slapped with a late charge for payment by the time I make a transfer payment via Internet banking, and for the payment to clear by around 27th or 28th of the month.
After speaking to them numerous times about just moving the date forward a couple of days so I won't be penalised with a late charge, one particular officer told me that the best way was to go down PERSONALLY to the counter EVERY MONTH to make payments. Alternatively I could call in every month to have them waive the late charge.
Where is the logic of that? The whole point of us having Internet banking is so that we can pay bills and do our finances without having to rush to be stuck in a queue for hours!
Even going up the chain to the supervisor and department head made no difference. Everyone was apologetic but said the date had to stay at 22nd due to system limitations, and they would bill me a late charge by 25th automatically if payment is not received by then.
Eventually when Standard Chartered refused to budge, I canceled all accounts with them and swore never to use them again. Yes, since then I have never entertained a single call about a Standard Chartered promotion.
Bad Experience 2 - OCBC Bank
This one is more recent, as recent as May 2009. This one is indeed a long story.
Many years ago, I had a personal credit account with Keppel-Tat Lee Bank. They got bought eventually by OCBC, and thus my account just got "absorbed" by OCBC. Hence, I am clarifying I did not choose them on my own.
This account was to be my "emergency funds" account, for times when I needed extra cash really bad. For years this was a "dormant account" and I paid the annual fee of $60 without complaints to keep it alive.
This "emergency" really did come, around May 2008. A family situation called for funds, which I took from this credit line, being the sole purpose of its existence. When the crisis was over, I made full payment, over the counter, at Raffles Place branch, on 29th Aug 2008.
Now, as usual, I expected that when I pay in full, the account will be $0 owing to the bank. Hence I never bothered to check the monthly "statements" since it's always been $0 for the past like 6 or 7 years when I have never used it.
So, I was surprised to receive a call from OCBC in December 2008, about owing them over $130 in this account still. After I had explained that I paid in full, eventually the customer service officer said that she would waive all the penalties and fees, if I made a payment of $10.93 by 5pm that very same day via AXS, to settle the "original amount owing". I did that. A couple of days later I called the OCBC hotline to reconfirm the account was showing $0 owing to the bank.
Again, since the account was $0, I never bothered to check the statements from OCBC.
A rude shock awaited me in Feb or early March 2009. Another call came from OCBC, telling me I still owed them $175! Again, after explanations, the officer said he would waive all other charges if I made a payment of $70. I did that.
By this time, I was a little fed up, and called the OCBC Hotline again and asked why they kept charging me for money I never borrowed. I was told the account was a "daily interest" one, and that as long as there was a "leftover amount" in the account, the minimum amount of $5 finance charge would be levied. Hence my $175 was due to a $5 "fee" being laid on a couple of cents leftover from December's $10.93 interest, before payment. And since I never checked the statements, they levied late charges, and interest charges on the late charges, and so on and it snowballed to $175.
So I decided enough was enough, and I canceled the account on March 30, a Monday. Before I did that, I called the hotline up again at 11.29am, and reconfirmed once and for all, the account was showing $0 outstanding owing to the bank. I was assured that it was.
I headed to Ang Mo Kio Hub branch during lunch, and got into queue. When it was my turn, it was 12.18pm. The counter girl who processed my cancellation request told me I still had $1.07 outstanding, owed to the bank. At this point I was already more than slightly miffed. I told her that just 45 mins ago, they told me it was $0. Where did the $1.07 come from?
The girl disappeared into the offices behind for about 10 minutes, and appeared later and told me she would proceed to close the account, and that the $1.07 would be waived. Yes they should, because if they told me to pay it, I'd refuse to.
Anyway, I thought that once I had cancelled the account, that was the end of that.
Sometime in April, again I got a call from OCBC. This time, it was the "Retentions Department" that was calling me, attempting to dissuade me from canceling. In other words, according to their system, my account was still ACTIVE.
I told them of my frustrations at not being able to pay up in full and zero the account, they said they would investigate and call me back.
This happened 2 or 3 more times from April to May 2009.
Take note, during all this time, my account was still "active" and hence, being slapped with a $5 on the $1.07 they were supposed to "waive" but never did, and $40 for "late charges" on the non-payment of the $1.07 +$5+interest. Remember to double this amount, for the months of April and May which they spent trying to persuade me to stay.
At one of the final few conversation with the Retentions Officer, she happened to mumble that she would "waive" the outstanding charges on my account if I decided to stay with them, to which I interjected - "See? I closed it in March, your counter girl said you will waive the $1.07, and yet now you tell me I have amounts outstanding?"
Again, she would "investigate and call back".
At the final conversation around beginning of May with yet another Retentions Officer, she assured me the account was finally showing $0 owed, and persuaded me to retain my account. After much persuasion, I finally relented, with a condition - if I checked the following month's bill and if it said I owe them any amount, I would NOT be paying for it. She agreed, gave me her name and office number and invited me to contact her should this happen.
Again, I thought that was the end of the whole incident. Little did I know one more surprise was to await me 2 weeks later.
I got yet another call from OCBC, and this time the officer told me "Sir, I am sorry to inform you that your application for personal credit has been rejected".
I was laughing. Rejected? For keeping my account active?
I sure as hell didn't "apply" for it. They spent 2 months persuading me to stay! Eventually when I said YES, they REJECTED me! It's really hilarious, since this achieved the same goal I had on 30 March when I went to close the account in the first place!
I told the officer it was ok, and I was glad they did. That definitely ended my frustrating saga with OCBC bank, which dragged on for MONTHS.
If I didn't know better, they were acting like kids.. I cannot be the one to reject them, they must get in the last word and reject me.
Guess what, OCBC? I don't really care, as long as you don't get any more of my money through your subterfuge charges.
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11:45 by FoxTwo
For anyone who still doesn't know, here's what was written in the newspapers:
Foolish to advocate the learning of dialects
I REFER to yesterday’s article by Ms Jalelah Abu Baker (’One generation - that’s all it takes ‘for a language to die”). It mentioned a quote from Dr Ng Bee Chin, acting head of Nanyang Technological University’s (NTU) Division of Linguistics and Multilingual Studies: ‘Although Singaporeans are still multilingual, 40 years ago, we were even more multilingual. Young children are not speaking some of these languages at all any more.’
To keep a language alive, it has to be used regularly. Using one language more frequently means less time for other languages. Hence, the more languages a person learns, the greater the difficulties of retaining them at a high level of fluency.
There are linguistically gifted individuals who can handle multiple languages, but Singapore’s experience over 50 years of implementing the bilingual education policy has shown that most people find it extremely difficult to cope with two languages when they are as diverse as English and Mandarin.
This is why we have discouraged the use of dialects. It interferes with the learning of Mandarin and English. Singaporeans have to master English. It is our common working language and the language which connects us with the world.
We also emphasised the learning of Mandarin, to make it the mother tongue for all Chinese Singaporeans, regardless of their dialect groups. This is the common language of the 1.3 billion people in China. To engage China, overseas Chinese and foreigners are learning Mandarin and not the dialects of the different Chinese provinces.
We have achieved progress with our bilingual education in the past few decades. Many Singaporeans are now fluent in both English and Mandarin. It would be stupid for any Singapore agency or NTU to advocate the learning of dialects, which must be at the expense of English and Mandarin.
That was the reason the Government stopped all dialect programmes on radio and television after 1979. Not to give conflicting signals, then Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew also stopped making speeches in Hokkien, which he had become fluent in after frequent use since 1961.
Chee Hong Tat
Principal Private Secretary
to the Minister Mentor
I have highlighted 2 portions in bold italics, because I totally disagree with the statement. First of all, dialects do not "interfere" with learning other languages. Personal interests do. If you have no interest in Mandarin, you will NEVER learn it, even if you speak only ONE language. I will illustrate with a personal example.
Why? Because I didn't like it. If I don't like it, I don't want to learn it.
So, why do you think that English is a stumbling block for the majority of Singaporeans? In my experience, it's because it's too different from Mandarin. The majority of the people think in Chinese (dialects or Mandarin) and translate that into English. That's how Singlish was born. Seriously. In other countries, this would be called "Chinglish", or, Chinese-English.
When they encounter an unfamiliar word in English, they stop. They don't know how it's pronounced, much less what it means. This is the typical way a Chinese-language speaker thinks, because in Chinese, when you encounter an unfamiliar character, there is no way to know how it's pronounced.
In English, however, we have phonetics. If you know the basics of it, you can break a word up into its component vowels and consonants, and pronounce it. Conversely, if you hear a word being spoken but don't recognise it, you can actually spell it out from the way it's pronounced. This is how phonetics work.
But I digress. In my family, before I went to school, we spoke English and Teochew at home, and Malay and English at my grandparents' place. My mom could have spoken Mandarin to us, but she didn't. She thought it was important that we spoke Teochew since we're all "Teochew nang", albeit Peranakan Teochews.
I never learnt Mandarin till I was 7 years old, when it was taught in school. I was doing fine till Primary 6, where I had a very fierce and very strict male Chinese teacher. He made classes intimidating, and thus I lost all interest in it. I scraped by every exam eversince, getting a C6 (or borderline pass) till I was in JC. During the final year, I failed Chinese simply because I was getting left too far behind due to lack of interest in the earlier years, and no teachers ever since had been "outstanding" enough to make learning Mandarin fun.
Now, learning dialects is probably less destructive on Mandarin than on English, simply because written dialects are generally the same as written Mandarin. Seriously. In most common dialects found in Singapore, like Hokkien and Teochew, if you were to write what you said in Hokkien down on paper, someone else can pick this piece of paper up and read it out loud in Mandarin. The only difference is just in pronunciation. Sentence structures are essentially the same.
So, if you're pushing to learn Mandarin, what is the harm to learn a dialect while you're at it? It's just a pronunciation change.
I learnt Hokkien this way actually. Since Hokkien and Teochew are similar, all I needed to remember were the different ways (and tone inflexions) to pronounce a Teochew word, to convert it to Hokkien. For example, "sweet" as in "it tastes sweet" is pronounced as "tiam" in Teochew, but "tee" in Hokkien. Just a slight change. In most cases, Teochew and Hokkien words are pronounced the same way, with just a change of inflexions of certain words.
I learnt Cantonese at 4 years old because my next-door neighbour was a Cantonese, and her kid spoke Cantonese and English, and, she was my playmate. Notice that I learnt it because it was FUN to learn, and I was HAVING FUN while doing it. If there was a Cantonese phrase or word I didn't understand, she would explain it to me in English.
So instead of saying that it's "stupid" to advocate learning dialects, try making learning English and Mandarin fun first.
Or is it "stupid" to have fun in class?
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15:23 by FoxTwo
Image via CrunchBaseFirst of all, let me just say that I don't normally "hang out" at Facebook. I visit it maybe 3 to 4 times a week, each visit probably lasting no more than 15 mins at most.
Even so, I don't mind it so much when Facebook changed their homepages or layouts to "improve" things. In fact, when other people have been screaming blue murder about the latest changes, all I did was to just "get used to it", and learn how the new layout works.
The one just before the current one is, in my opinion, the best offering they've had so far. I get a running newsfeed of what my friends did, who got tagged in which photos, and so on. In fact I have found a few friends this way - a friend got tagged by another friend, whom I also know. Then I'd send a friend request and we link up.
I also liked how all your invites were in the right sidebar - you can see how many of which types of invites you had.
However, the latest one blows. In fact, I'd say that the latest incarnation of the layout just broke everything. People were just getting used to the "new" layout and then they decided to change it again. Yes, it looks amazingly sparse. Kinda like Twitter in fact. Basically, the majority of what's there on the homepage after you log in is basically just status updates from your friends. That's it. You can't see if they've joined a group, or uploaded a new pic, or commented on a picture. In short, all the stuff that used to be there on this page.
The thing I find most frustrating with the latest layout is that my "Invites Box" went missing (or so I thought). Try as I might, I could not locate my latest slew of useless invites to games I will never play or install. However, that doesn't mean I don't want to see them - there might be an invite to an event or a game I might actually be interested in!
After asking around a bit on Plurk, some friends finally told me where to look for it. I present it in the picture below:
Ok if I didn't show you this picture, would you have noticed that single line I circled in red? You'd be hunting left and right to see where your invite notifications are, wouldn't you? After all, it USED to be on the right sidebar.
There's really too many things dropped in this new layouts. I even tried to fiddle with the newsfeed options, but guess what? I couldn't find it. I remember that it existed before, because I remember the slider bars which I can pic to choose which type of event(s) I wanted to see from which specific friend. I remember sliding them around to "See More Of" and "See Less Of" the various types of events of my friends, to tweak them to my personal preference.
Now, all I see are status updates 90% of the time., which is essentially like Plurk (more than Twitter) because you can comment on the status just like how we chat in Plurk. In fact, if this is what Facebook is trying to emulate, then Plurk is already "there". We're all using it, and Plurk has the advantage of having a scrollable timeline. We just drag the timeline around to see older "status updates". With Facebook we have to click on "older posts" and wait for the page to change.
So, Facebook, stop trying to emulate others. Just be yourself - Facebook. That's why we're here. Otherwise, we might as well be at the website(s) you were trying to emulate.
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13:03 by FoxTwo
Now, recently, 2 ministers made public statements and actually prompted me to write something here on them. Now, let me just say, generally I have no problem with the government of Singapore. It's only on rare occasions like this that I feel I need to write about the people inside the government.
First off - Senior Minister of State for Information, Communications and the Arts Lui Tuck Yew. He was commenting on the incident of how Yio Chu Kang MP Seng Han Thong was attacked by an irate constituent. An online poll showed that more people were sympathetic to the attacker, ie the unhappy constituent, than for the victim, in this case, MP Seng Han Thong. He noted that many comments were made and most were "unhelpful, a significant number were unkind, a small number were downright outrageous". Then he went on to say "...I do not think the community itself have done enough to rebut some of these unhelpful comments delivered by fellow netizens"
Only one thing comes to mind when I read that - he does not appear to accept that people DO have differing opinions from "the norm", or perhaps in this case, him. Yes of course, the poll showed that more people sympathised with the attacker rather than the victim, and I think he thinks it should be the other way round.
Next, we are not so free to flame forum trolls. If we did, our bosses will think we are not working, and give us more work to do. When we reach home after work, do you think the majority of people will sit down and face the computer? As many people I have worked with in the past have said - "you look at computer all day in office, go home still see more ah? Crazy ah?". Yup, you can discount this bunch of people. Once they go home, they don't even go online.
Another reason why we don't flame them back - like maybe perhaps they MIGHT have a good point?
Besides, any veteran "netizen" would have known not to feed the trolls. All they want is just attention. The more you "debunk" or "denounce" them, the bigger the flames get.
By not feeding the trolls we are already "self-regulating". We have already decided not to help increase the "damage".
Or perhaps Mr Lui considers "self regulation" as "defending a government official". Or perhaps Mr Lui never considered that people are more sympathetic to the attacker simply because the attacker actually deserved the sympathy? Or that the victim, actually had done something wrong (meaning the attacker might actually have a reason)?
I believe the term "self regulation" has been mis-used here. I hold the opinion that self-regulation means we don't do things that are against the law, be it written or unwritten. For example, we don't set up porn sites, we don't distribute pirated software. We don't set up a website to degrade religions or race. We don't libel or slander people on the net. It does not mean we surf forums and defend everything that mentions an MP and an angry online mob.
One last thing - doesn't the government already have people surfing the net to try to defend the government in online forums and such, already?? If not, perhaps it's time they do. If you leave this up to the netizens, they WILL speak their minds (and it's usually the truth) - and if they choose to sympathise with the attacker rather than the victim, that's just how the wind blows. You can't be upset because the majority of the people think the attacker deserves more sympathy than the victim!
Next, Nominated MP Loo Choon Yong and his comment on people not making enough babies even though we are on a 5-day work week.
I believe no one can provide a retort better than this guy here.
Basically, just because we're not making babies doesn't mean you need to overload us with work. What, has it become a "Fuck or Work, choose one" kind of deal now?
What I believe has missed his grasp completely, is that if we do succeed and produce more mouths to feed at home, it is only natural that we will need more $$$. To get more $$$, don't you think some of us will "work harder"? Doesn't this contribute to "productivity"?
Well at least those in the older generation like Mr Loo will think that way. The younger generation know that having multiple sources of income means LESS WORK, MORE MONEY (the basis of every Internet scam). They don't work hard more. They actually work less and get more money.
Perhaps it's time people wake up and realise that "working hard" doesn't always equate to higher productivity. Same as longer time spent in office doesn't mean higher productivity. People are now mobile, and can work anywhere, anytime. Technically we should not even need a 5-day work week anymore, nor even an "office"! When there's really work to be done, people WILL do it. When there's no work to be done (eg no clients), no point forcing them to sit in the office and surf the net.
Speaking of that, might as well cut off Internet. Historically speaking, Internet usage in the office has traditionally been the highest productivity killer than anything else. Facebook, anyone? So, should we work 7 days a week since Internet came to Singapore and productivity has fallen?
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10:04 by FoxTwo
I seem to be running into problem after problem in my life, and on hindsight, it appears I'm having a streak of bad luck. I can't say it's "poor planning" because all these are beyond my control.
Bad luck #1 - I decided to sign up with Skype for "unlimited phone calls" to Singapore, my caller-ID wouldn't work correctly. After submitting a ticket for assistance, Skype Support is still unable, as yet, to fix this problem, and it's been a month. This is not a big problem, I can still use Skype to call OUT to phones in Singapore. It's just a minor irritation that I know a number of people whom I call, do NOT pick up "Private Numbers" or "Withheld" calls, and I can't blame them completely.
I was like that once, too.
I even have a couple of friends who run phone "firewalls" to bar unknown numbers from calling them. If you're not calling from a number they have in their phonebook, your call automatically gets dropped.
Bad luck #2 - So after running into this problem, I found a better solution - I signed up with pfingo. pfingo offers a free Singapore number, so caller-ID became a non-issue with them. My problem with pfingo however, is very weird. Even I cannot explain it, and I bet the tech support people there are scratching their heads about my problem too. Every so often, quite randomly in fact, incoming calls to my pfingo number will have no sound. So even if I pick up the call and answer it, both me and the caller can't hear anything. I have submitted a ticket for this problem, and pfingo support is still actively working on it.
Bad luck #3 - Recently I purchased an item on the internet, after looking around Singapore and finding exhorbitant prices being asked for that item here as compared to the Internet. After going ahead to purchase it, and getting a confirmation that the item has been shipped, I am unable to track it. Even on the website where I bought it, their system couldn't find the ORDER NUMBER too! Have written to their customer support, but have received no replies yet.
The only "good" thing about this is that my credit card is not charged for the amount yet.
Well, if you want to avoid having bad luck, don't hang around me for the moment. My bad luck might rub off on you!Links to this post |
11:28 by FoxTwo Youtube to Vimeo. At the time, Vimeo was an up-and-coming startup, and it offered some features which I liked. For example, no 10 minute limit, weekly 500MB uploads, and your videos can be in High Definition!
All these made me choose Vimeo over other sites like Viddler or metacafe or veoh.
However, just today, I got a short and terse email from Vimeo:
"Your account has been removed. Reason: Gameplay videos not allowed"
Um wha~~!? I've been uploading gameplay videos since Jan or Feb 2008 and nobody said anything about it. In fact I don't even remember reading anything about their usage policy saying that we can't upload videogame captures! Besides, I distinctly remember seeing other gameplay videos from other people on Vimeo too!
Now, if the rules changed mid-way, shouldn't a site like Vimeo send an email out to all members to tell them to click on ACCEPT on the new Terms Of Service? Well no such email came. No blinking "we updated our terms of service, please read" words appeared on my dashboard or whatever whenever I logged in to upload videos.
In other words, I didn't know.
They removed my account without warning. NONE. Just a short, terse, "your account has been removed" email.
So how does a user take steps to remedy a situation before account removal happens? No chance to even delete/remove them on my own accord to keep my account.
So if you are looking for a video sharing site, do NOT use Vimeo! No, not even if your videos are non-gameplay videos. The way they do things is not .... reasonable.
I guess I'm switching AGAIN... maybe Veoh, maybe Dailymotion. Who knows?Links to this post |
13:52 by FoxTwo
Today's rant is partly inspired by a plurk thread here by XinYun. She was talking about calculative people who whine about being shortchanged (or being asked to pay more) a couple of dollars. Yeah these people probably scored distinctions in maths back in school.
In the plurk thread, xinyun was complaining about people who whine about having to pay $2 more than they originally calculated. However I'm going to rant about a few other kinds of people.
First off - those "call me back" people. In Singapore, all 3 mobile phone providers offer post-paid plans which include free incoming calls all day (yes I believe it's unique only to Singapore, or at least, this region of the world). In other words, you pay NOTHING when people call you on the mobile phone. So, they get the cheapest plan available, which may offer nothing more than 50 to 100 minutes worth of "free" outgoing calls.
Now, what irritates me is not really that they call me and tell me to call them back. Well it does irk me a little though. Come on, everybody has free incoming calls. Why should I not enjoy the free incoming calls?
What really irritates me is that these people REFUSE to call out to vendors or support personnel when the shit really hit the fan and we need network/tech/whatever guys onsite NOW. All they do is send SMSes and then they complain about how slow the response to their SMSes are. These guys also refuse to let the company "pay" for the bills because that would mean that now they are supposed to be "available 24 hours a day".
Sorry to break it to you guys, but IT people are, by default, on call 24 hours a day. With or without company paying for the bills. Just because it doesn't happen very often in this company doesn't mean it will never happen, or that if things really get bad, that you won't be called back.
Then there are even those even more extreme people. They charge their phones (and PDAs and MP3 players et al) using company electricity. "Why should I charge at home when charging at company means it's free for me?"
These are also the same people that will complain that the plate of chicken rice costs $3.50 in the city because it's supposed to cost only $2.50 back in the heartlands. By the gods, it's only $1 difference! Whatever you do, don't invite these kind of people out to a group function or something. They will whine about the cost of the bill and will squabble about even the cents portion of the bill.
Which reminds me of a particular incident which happened pretty recently. Something needed to be done on a server offsite, and we didn't have the right parts. We called back to HQ and the guy that answered the call was one of these kiam ganas. When we told him that it was pretty urgent, please take a taxi down, he said no. He would need to submit an expense claim, and it would take a couple of weeks to be processed and reimbursed. Thus, he will take a bus instead because it's cheaper than MRT.
After much cajoling, we told him we will pay for his taxi fare and we'll submit an expense claim for it later, that he agreed to take a taxi down to deliver the item. When he did arrive, the first thing he asked for was the money for his taxi fare, before even handing us the item we needed to fix the problem!Links to this post |
21:20 by FoxTwo
See, recently a newly-acquired female friend started to want to hang out with me during my weekly sojourn to
Initially her SMSes were along the lines of:
Her - "Hey where you at?"
Me - "Boat Quay, pub name is xxxx"
Her - "Who's with you?"
Me - "Uhhhh you don't know them... Dave, Steve, Soon Hock, Angeline"
Her - "Oh, I dunno them".
Me - "That's what I said"
Then she didn't turn up. Understandable.
A few weeks later, she did the same thing again:
Her - "Where r u?"
Me - "Duxton, pub name is yyyyy"
Her - "Who's with you?"
Me - "Same lah. I don't have many drinking kakis ok?"
Her - "Oh, I dunno them"
And she didn't turn up. Again, understandable.
A couple of days ago, she did the same thing again:
Her - "Where are you?"
Me - "Clarke Quay, at zzzzzzz"
Her - "Who's with you?"
My question is, Why is it so important she asks "who's with you?" all the time?! We have no friends in common, none of the names I tell her will be familiar to her. Some other female friends have told me that she just wants to know if the pub is too far or too inconvenient.
If the place is too far, or too inconvenient, you can already tell from my first reply - I always reply with location, pub name. You can decide to come or not from that information. "Who's with you?" is an irrelevant question. It has no bearing on your decision to come or not to come.
Anyway, this time I did this:
Me - "You decide to come then I tell u"
Her - "Yah I want to come."
Me - (gives directions, did not mention who was with me)
Her - "ok I see first. if I decide to come then I SMS you again"
What the hell? "I want to come" and "I see first" is a total reversal. Just because I didn't mention names?
No I'm not pissed or disappointed she didn't turn up. I'm more irritated by her constant "Who's with you?" question. I just don't get it - why do women need to know WHO are with me? Is it generally the same for most women, or is she just weird?
Guy friends are so much easier, by the way. The moment I reply with location and name of pub, they'll reply whether they're coming or not. Short, and sweet.
So ladies, enlighten me please. Why the need to know "who's with you?" if we have ZERO friends in common?Links to this post |
00:45 by FoxTwo Image via WikipediaOne of the more common expressions you hear people say is:
"Naw, I'm too old to do that anymore".
... or variants thereof.
You know what? You are never too old. That phrase is used by people who are resistant to change. They are comfortable, they are in their comfort zone. They just don't want to step out and try something new.
For example, for people born in the 40's, during the war, they never knew about computers when they were growing up. Computers in our modern-day incarnations never existed back then. The first time they ever touched a computer would be in their 30's and 40's (late 1970s to early 1980s). They learnt, they coped.
Just because something wasn't experienced in your growing-up years doesn't mean you can never ever do it. I personally never learnt to swim till I was an adult. Even better, I never understood Accounting till I started working, and saw how the numbers moved around inside the computers. It was THEN that I realised how simple Accounting really is. Yet, I flunked that subject in school.
Then there's a variant of the people described above - the defeatists.
"I'm so old, what if I can't do it? What if it fails?"
Dude, you'll never know if you don't try it. So what if it fails? You still learn something - you learnt not to do it that way again. The crap about "if I do something I will do something right, the first time" is just that - crap. If you never tried it you'll never get good at it. It's just a lame excuse to not try something new. They have just defeated themselves without even trying.
That's why there's this other saying - "practice makes perfect". Once you have tried something new and you keep doing it, eventually you're going to get really good at it, since you're conditioning your brain to do this activity constantly, and your brain will store the "pattern" in your memory.
It's sometimes frustrating to talk to people like that. You have an idea, and they shoot you down all the time. "No it won't work". "Nah too troublesome". "You're wasting your time on this". How much negativity can you take?
The ultimate people are those that you present proof, facts and figures, and they still will not trust you. It's like they're telling you "don't confuse me with facts! I know it's been like this for eons and none of your facts and proofs are going to change my beliefs".
Sometimes I think the old saying is true - if you hang around positive people, you'll have a higher chance of succeeding. They won't tell you it can't be done. They can see the potential of your idea or product, and they can see how great it can become if enough work is put into it.
ps - today's entry is not about anybody in particular. Don't speculate. It's just something that has been bugging me for a long time.
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16:57 by FoxTwo
In the early part of the week, I was cut off by Google from accessing 2 of my blogs. I kept getting the damned "Google Sorry Page". At first, like everyone else, we thought it was a temporary problem. Common ways to resolve the "Sorry Page" problem was to use a different browser, clearing cookies, clearing cache, etc. However, it seems that this time Google has it in for us. All these measures did not work. I even made sure to disconnect from Starhub and reconnect with a new IP address. Same thing, no go. Google still showed the "Sorry Page".
Ok before we go further, this is the "Sorry Page" I'm talking about:
Yeah it was driving me nuts since I couldn't access my blog to do maintenance or reply comments. I kept hoping it would be a temporary problem and it would go away. It never did. Even up to today, I still see people twittering about this. A very good example is shown below:
All my blogs were hit except this one. The only difference? This one's self-hosted, ie not stored on Google's free blogspot.com servers.
It was VERY fortunate though, that the 2 blogs that were hit, had already had the default Blogger commenting system replaced with the more powerful Intense Debate and Disqus ones. Thus, I could still reply to their comments via email. In the case of Disqus-powered commenting system, I could even head to the Disqus website and reply to the comments from there if I wanted to.
So I set about converting my blogs from the nifty Layouts format to Blogger Classic templates, so that I can publish them to my own server, away from Google's reach. I succeeded early on in the week with my fitness blog. I was lucky - I found the same exact template which I used, all ready and waiting to be used as a classic template. That one was fast.
However, there wasn't any classic version of my gaming blog template, so I attempted to manually convert the template by hand into a Blogger Classic template. After 3 failed attempts, I gave up. I have no clue why they failed - the CSS was left mostly intact, yet it looked haywire upon previewing. After having wasted 3 days trying to hand-code the XML template into a HTML one, I gave up and thought seriously about finally moving away from Blogger platform. I was deciding between Drupal and Expression Engine but the theme I used was not available on those platforms. Thus my decision was primarily forced by the need to use the same theme, and to get it working FAST. So Wordpress became de facto platform of choice.
Long story short, it was only today that I completed the migration of my gaming blog to Wordpress. I only used Wordpress due to convenience, not because it's a "all powerful" system. The migration had numerous hiccups, and even their much-vaunted import functions FAILED. Utterly. Wordpress forums were no help. Everyone just said "it SHOULD work!". Yeah it should, but it didn't.
I do not have a problem with Blogger platform, just Google blocking me from accessing my blogs. I also do not have have a problem with Wordpress as a blogging platform, just the Wordpress fanbois. I can use either, and I am happy to say that I like (or hate) both equally. None is "superior" to the other in my opinion and usage. No wait, I take it back. Blogger has an edge - I can write 3 blogs from one Dashboard even if the blogs are all self-hosted and externally published. With self-hosted Wordpress, 1 blog per installation please, thank you (without using WPMU and having to muck around with Apache settings and such).
So, now that I've finished addressing my more immediate concerns, ie getting the blogs OUT from blogspot.com servers and onto my own, I can slowly concentrate on perhaps, migrating them completely out from Blogger and onto other platforms. Perhaps I will revisit Drupal, or try out Chyrp. One thing's for sure - the CMS system that I pick to migrate THIS blog to, will need to have this theme readily available and useable.
Now, with Intense Debate or Disqus as my choice of a commenting system, I wouldn't even mind trying out other CMS systems and see if they would be a better, or at least, more interesting choice, than Wordpress. After all, ID or Disqus can be used with any sort of web site, even if commenting systems were not originally available on them!
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09:04 by FoxTwo
Why do you join a social network, such as Facebook? Well I could have used other social networks like Friendster, Orkut etc but right now, Facebook's the "in-thing", and almost everyone has an account.
So back to the subject at hand. Why do YOU join a social network? I bet it's more likely peer pressure. "Everyone has joined, I should too!". Although none of your friends actively "pressured" you, the mere act of them sending an invite to you is already "pressuring".
We all like friends, definitely. But, did you know you can now use Facebook to find new enemies? Yes you can!
Facebook takes the cake in that it's the first social network thing I know of, where you can make enemies really quick. I'm not kidding.
Previous incarnations of social networking sites, like Friendster, only let you add friends. You can't do much except to send each other private and public messages (Facebook calls the public messages "Wall Messages"). If you uploaded pics of yourself, people can write comments on them. That's basically the extent of the "interaction".
So now Facebook comes along, ups the bar by allowing 3rd party applications. All fine and good. Then people who write "apps" need the apps to be competitive. After all, competition is what keeps nature alive, and ever changing. We compete for food, mates, etc. It's natural. So we have apps that buy and sell friends.
This is the fun part. First, let's set a hypothetical background:
On Facebook, Ah Kow has a friend, Ah Mei. He installed this "Buy Your Friend" app and bought Ah Mei because she is his friend. Ah Mei has another male "friend", Ah Gu. Ah Gu doesn't know Ah Kow, but he knows Ah Mei. So he installs the same app, and buys Ah Mei.
So, this is the part where people get too serious and personal.
Ah Kow is not happy that a stranger buys "his" Ah Mei. So Ah Kow buys Ah Mei back from Ah Gu. Ah Gu, however, is a businessman. He finds that Ah Kow is a good candidate for "quick sales". So he buys Ah Mei again, driving her price up. He knows Ah Kow will buy her back and he'll make more money.
But, Ah Kow is totally pissed off that this weirdo Ah Gu keeps buying "his" Ah Mei. Pissed off, he goes to Ah Gu's wall and writes some threatening notes.
Tada! Ah Gu just got a free enemy from a social networking site!
You just gotta love Facebook... enemies are provided too!
Yes, the story I related is actually happening inside Facebook. This post serves to explain my sudden disappearance from all buy/sell apps, because I no longer wish to be asked to decide whose side I'm going to be on, because EVERYBODY TAKES THESE APPS TOO DAMN SERIOUSLY!Links to this post | 9 comments in Blogger |
19:44 by FoxTwo
Simply Jean has posted the official findings from Straits Times regarding the escape of Mas Selamat, 2 months ago. At the time, there were jokes aplenty about the guards at the detention centre not having watched movies, of how prisoners escape from prisons.
Mas Selamat climbed onto the ledge located just below the ventilation window, pushed open the ventilation window and squeezed himself through it
So, one can see that there weren't any grilles at all on the toilet "ventilation window". After reading this part, I truly think they need more movie time :)
Then there's this part:
No one was actively monitoring the two CCTV cameras covering the outer and inner perimeter fences at the rear of the Family Visitation Block.
No one was monitoring?! I'd like that kind of job too.. to be paid to watch the monitors but actually not do the work I'm paid to do.
Why the heck install CCTVs anyway? Besides, nothing was mentioned about improving this part of the flaw. No recommendations to install motion-sensors or vibration sensors on the fences, for example.
In a re-enactment requested by the COI, a GC guard took 49 seconds to climb out of the ventilation window in the urinal cubicle, scale the fence, climb onto the roof of the enclosed staircase and walkway, and jump over the converged perimeter fences.
49 seconds by a combat-fit guard. Mas Selamat, who walks with a limp, probably took 2 minutes, if not more. Whatever the time frame, one thing is clear - the layout of the place sucks. If they had fences, weren't there guards on duty at guard towers? Do they even have guard towers? Perhaps they thought the place was a "Detention Centre" rather than a "prison" thus didn't post guards up at the fences. It goes to show - we view murderers and rapists as more dangerous than terrorists. We lock THOSE up in prisons with guard towers and where guards patrol the fences and the prison grounds.
There's nothing much to say about their "recommendations" except for the last one - to relocate the detention centre to Changi Prison. Should have done that a long time ago. Then, they can retrench some of the guards and tap onto the guards already working at Changi Prison :) Purely in the spirit of outsourcing, of course.Links to this post | 2 comments in Blogger |
11:30 by FoxTwo
In densely-populated places like Singapore and Hong Kong, we are definitely bound to encounter inconsiderate people. Take a look at stomp.com.sg and you will see what I mean. People putting their bags on the seats in MRT and buses, even my own entry on kids blasting music via speakers on buses etc.
Naturally when I'm with my buddies out at the pub drinking, subjects like this comes up. My buddies have some pretty creative ways to handle such people.
Situation - you're getting off at this station, the one the train is stopping at. Before the doors even open, you see a horde of people outside waiting to rush in without waiting for you to alight first. They are obviously not standing behind the "Y-box" to "queue up".
Solution - whip out your handy dandy cellphone that has a built-in camera. Start taking pictures and make sure flash is on (so the people outside can see the flash). As soon as a couple of flashes go off, see the crowd in front of you part like Moses parting the Red Sea. Everyone's trying to shy away from the camera :)
Solution 2 - If you have an umbrella, those with a long handle type, just stick it out in front of you, and the crowd will part too.
Situation - Train is crowded, and there's a seat beside an auntie (typically it's an auntie that does this), but she puts her bag on the seat and is obviously not about to remove it so someone else can sit down.
Solution - ignore the presence of the bag. Just move to sit down, as if the bag isn't there. The auntie will hastily grab her bag before your butt lands on it.
Situation - train is crowded, almost packed like sardines. One inconsiderate guy is leaning on the grab pole, thus other people cannot hold on to it for support.
Solution - push your hand into his back and grab the pole too. Make sure you fidget alot if he still doesn't move away from the pole. He'll be so uncomfortable at all the squirming and especially when you ram your hand into his back that he'll vacate the pole.
Situation - kids blasting their ipods/handphones, "sharing their music" with everyone else.
Solution - Here
Situation - bus is almost full, and there's only 1 seat left. The guy at the seat is seated at the outer edge, and is or pretending to be asleep. The seat beside him, the one at the window, is thus empty and unoccupied.
Solution - Wake him up. Whether or not he's truly asleep, he'll have to either move inside or make way for you to go in.
Well, at the very least, this list makes for interesting reading. These methods aren't guaranteed to work, and use them at your own risk/discretion! Why risk? There's no way to tell if the guy you're doing it to won't get violent and bop you on the head *grin*Links to this post | 6 comments in Blogger |
12:06 by FoxTwo
I bet it must have happened to you at least once.
You've been a long-time customer of Company X. You've been using their services for 10 years, 15 years etc. In all those years, at best all you've done is redeem some points for some small gifts.
Then, now you see Company X having a nice promotion for new signups. You call Company X up and enquire whether you can take advantage of the new promotion too, since you're not currently bound by any existing contracts. You even indicate you would not mind topping up some amount of cash, since you understand it's to encourage new customers to sign up.
Then Company X flatly tells you NO. No negotiations. No attempts to accommodate you.
Just a simple NO.
Indirectly, they are actually encouraging you to terminate your subscriptions with them.
There'll be people who are miffed that they get the cold shoulder treatment, and terminate all services in a fit of anger, swearing never to use Company X's services again. Then there'll be the other section that terminate and then re-apply again, hence becoming "new signups". Yes, Company X, you're giving yourself MORE WORK for LESS MONEY (promotional prices), having to terminate us, then re-process our applications again. Time and effort that could have been saved. Think about it.
Also, loyal customers like us usually don't get price adjustments to our packages. If you have never bothered to check the promotions, the price of $90 a month you've been paying for the past 10 yrs might only be $39.95 a month now for the same thing, if you were a new signup. Company X probably never even bothered to notify nor offered you a lower monthly subscription price. From a business standpoint, of course it's stupid. Why cut your revenue? But from a customer and rapport-building point of view, it's a disaster waiting to happen. When customers wake up and leave in protest, you have no customers. No customers means no revenue. It's better to have less revenue than no revenue at all
In light of this, doesn't this seem like we customers are encouraged to terminate services as soon as contract ends, and signup again later, so that we can get the price adjustments as well as promotional items/prices?
Yes indeed, all you service providing companies out there! Take heed! That is what you're encouraging loyal customers to do! You're telling us we should terminate as soon as contract ends, since there's NO BENEFITS whatsoever to continue using your services past the stipulated contract time-frame.
Where's the customer-oriented service that the gahmen has been trying to preach?
nb: - this post is not directed at any company or service provider in particular. However, it is inspired by a recent promotional offer by a prominent service provider, and the author was told he could not enjoy the offer, period. No discussions.Links to this post | 2 comments in Blogger |
14:39 by FoxTwo
Back in 2006, the company hired a "foreign talent". Let's called him "S". On paper, he looked very qualified, supposedly to have come from impressive backgrounds like having worked in large MNCs like Citibank and such. The list of his skills in the resume were pretty impressive too. He had good testimonials from previous employers too.
However, we noticed that he always, and I mean always, took MC on a Tuesday. Without fail, every single Tuesday he'd call in sick. Even my boss, who is normally very forgiving when it comes to these things, started to take notice. He'd call in sick when he is needed to come back on weekends for planned maintenance. He'd always leave before the official knock off time of 6pm, usually at 5.30pm or 5.15pm. It's like clockwork. Once 5pm comes, he'll disappear, and people just assume he'd be in the washroom.
Once, there was a job to be executed at 5.30pm. He was assigned to execute the job. However, he was nowhere to be found. My boss called "S" on the handphone, and he never picked up. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw him trying to leave by the back way. I caught up with him and led him back to the workstations and "gently reminded" him of the pending job he was to execute.
Then he did something nobody expected.
He declared that he has no knowledge of how to execute the job. Then he just shoved the job request form onto me and said "I need to go" and disappeared out the back door. At the time, my boss just happened to step away from his desk for a couple of minutes, so "S" apparently seized the chance and disappeared. When my boss came back and saw me doing "S"'s work, he was livid.
A couple of weeks later, there was a planned maintenance scheduled for Saturday and "S" was assigned to perform this. On Friday night, he "urgently" sent an SMS to my boss saying that he'd hurt his ankle very badly playing football, and he could not even stand up or walk to see a doctor. Hence, he was unable to perform the Saturday maintenance.
On Monday, he turned up at the office. One would have expected him to at least walk with a limp or have his ankle wrapped in bandage.
He had NOTHING. He walked fine.
On Tuesday, like clockwork, he sent an SMS to my boss saying, and I quote, "The doctor advised me to rest for 2 days, so I have 2 days MC. I will be back on Thursday".
Thursday came, and "S" presented 2 separate MCs to my boss. One for Tuesday, one for Wednesday, from 2 different clinics. My boss, having had enough of his nonsense, showed the SMS to "S" and asked:
"So which of these 2 doctors," pointing to the MCs on the table, "advised you to take 2 days MC?"
Needless to say, "S" could not provide an answer.
Friday morning came. "S" came to the office, late as usual. Then, for some strange reason, he requested time off from my boss saying he needed to go home (to Clementi. My office is located far to the east in Changi) to get "some important documents". My boss asked him, if it was work related, we had all the relevant copies of the documents right here in the office. "S" replied that the documents were personal ones, and repeatedly assured my boss he only needed "half an hour" to get home and retrieve his documents and be back in the office.
Everybody knows that you can't even reach Clementi from Changi in 30 mins, let alone get there and back.
Naturally, my boss turned his request down. "S" returned to his desk and made a flurry of phone calls, speaking in his own native language.
So lunch came and went. By 2pm, he still was not present at the office. My boss again tried to reach "S" by handphone, and had no answer. At 2.30pm, my boss decided enough was enough, and made a call to the Head of Security, to inform them to bar entry to "S" into company premises. Then he informed HR to draw up the relevent documentation to terminate "S"'s services with immediate effect.
At 3.45pm, "S" called us ("us" as in the colleagues) and said he was stuck outside at the guardroom and unable to enter due to some unknown reason. We informed our boss that "S" was at the main gate. My boss called up the main gate and instructed the security personnel to escort "S" into the office.
So, "S" came in and was told to clear out his desk. All the relevant paperwork was already done and his services were terminated at 3.55pm, and escorted out by the security personnel right after.
We were joking afterwards that it was "unfortunate" that he had never gone through SAF's training. Otherwise, he would have learnt how to "geng" (malinger) properly and not be caught with such obvious lies.
Labels: RantLinks to this post | 2 comments in Blogger |
16:19 by FoxTwo
In the continuation of this saga, my login ID is now fixed. However, they still left out a couple of things to grant me access to.
Not relishing another round of "calling the right people", I just went ahead and added the corresponding entries to my ID and just informed them that I did. Waiting for them to get around to adding it for me, as per stipulated procedures, will mean another waiting time of 3 days.
So, after adding in the right access details, I logged in, and came face to face with an empty email account. Nothing is in my inbox. I wonder if anybody had actually sent me anything the past couple of days when my name got listed in the address books again. If they had, I'd really like to see the error message they got, because I have no idea what they screwed up now.
After a little digging around (since I can't do any "work" anyway), I realised why my inbox is empty - the geniuses created a NEW mailfile for me, instead of using the existing one on the server.
Ah well, I'll use the existing mailfile as a "backup" then. The downside to this is, I have re-create all my filtering rules again. I have several people that I automatically blacklist - ie those always send me useless company-wide announcements like "Bowling Night!" or "Departmental Dinner!".
All which are irrelevant because I'm a contract staff - these events do not involve me.
Right now, the only stuff left to do on this whole saga is to reconfigure some network folder permissions and such. Stuff that I can easily do, but am currently not very motivated to do it. I mean, after all, I'm going to end my contract in 2 weeks. I don't foresee a need to access those folders anytime soon.Links to this post | 0 comments in Blogger |
10:16 by FoxTwo
Previously on FoxTwo's Ramblings,
- My work IDs went missing
- My email ID got activated, but the login one was still disabled
And now, the story continues.....
Today, the login ID is truly missing. Yup, doesn't exist. Again. I called up a friend who is in the Wintel team, and he did a search for me. Yeah he confirmed that it does not exist.
My email ID is, however, alive and kicking. I'm so glad that important mails can get to my inbox now! It'll make the people who anxiously sent me email hoping I can act on it fast, to feel better about finally being able to find me on the address books.
Too bad they have to wait till my login ID gets fixed.
So, here goes another round of calling the "relevant people" again...Links to this post | 2 comments in Blogger |
13:07 by FoxTwo found my ID disabled and missing from the office records. Suddenly, I don't exist anymore.
Since the SLA for ID creation is 5 business days, they had until Monday, 10th March to fix it. On Friday, 7th March, I received notification around 5.30pm that my ID was ready. Yes indeed, they waited till the END of the work-day to tell me my ID was "ready". *clap clap*
So, I tried to login.
And, I laughed my head off.
They enabled it but still listed it as expiring on 29th Feb 2008. So, I still couldn't log in. However, my name is now listed in the address books of the email system, so people can finally send me work-related email.
Except that I can't login to read 'em.
Going by the book, I notified the relevant people again. This time, the head honcho of the Wintel team says he'll personally investigate, and send me an email to inform me when it's resolved.
Send me email... *chuckle*
I had to hold back my sarcasm while reminding him that although my email works, I can't login to read them. That is the problem I was calling him about in the first place.
This reminds me of the time I was fed up with Standard Chartered Bank, and I cut up my credit card and sent it back to them via their Business Reply envelop, to terminate ALL my accounts with them. A month later, Standard Chartered Bank billed me for "membership" for the credit card. I called them up, told 'em I cut up the card and sent it back to them via their own envelop. The lady on the other end said:
"Sorry sir, we didn't receive it. Can you send it again?"
"Sure, give me a new card, I'll cut it up and send it back to you again".
Man, Singapore sure is a funny place to work in.Links to this post | 0 comments in Blogger |
15:45 by FoxTwo
So, I hereby change the topic to something totally different.
Ok what's the point then? The point is about the way Singaporeans use English. This time, I'm not going to nit-pick on the spoken version. Instead I'm going to ramble about the written variety.
What triggered this off was that I was told to sign a prepared letter for my impending "ROD", ie end of contract and to officially state my intention not to renew the contract.
After reading just past the "Dear Sir/Madam" part, I gawked.
The very next line was "I hereby tender my....."
First of all, I am no royalty. I am not the President, I am not a commander of any large armed force. I am in no position to make any proclamations. Yes dear readers, "HEREBY" is used by people in positions of authority to issue commands or proclamations. I see so many people writing official company letters using all these weird phrases that should not be used.
Like writing a cover letter for a resume. "I hereby enclose my resume for your perusal"? Gawds. If I were the HR Manager, this guy automatically gets disqualified, without needing to read more.
On a related note, another common mistake I see in written communications is the phrase "cope up with", especially when relating to work or stress. You can only "cope with". However, you "catch up with" things or people though. Yeah I know, English is weird.
Then there's another one - "vent out your frustrations". When you vent, you're already letting everything OUT. So you "vent your frustrations", the "out" is already implied. If you want to "vent out", you're redundant :)
Ok back to the prepared letter I was told to sign this morning. Further along the same line as the "hereby" one, it says "... giving one month notice....".
Hey man, I'm serving out my full contract man. I am not "resigning". You guys should know when my contract ends, don't you? Since you're my employer? What, you don't know? So how come you knew when to renew my contract last year without needing a letter?
Further along, the letter ends with "Yours Sincerely,"
I shook my head.
When you're writing official letters, it's "Yours faithfully," and the 2nd word must be in SMALL letters.
Needless to say, I didn't sign the letter. I threw it back to them and told them I didn't understand what they are trying to make me say (by signing it). I will only sign the next "prepared letter" if they get everything right.
They'd better hire a better secretary soon. Daphne might be a good candidate. Too bad she's already got a job.Links to this post | 12 comments in Blogger |
10:13 by FoxTwo
When you FORCE them to send invites to 5 or 10 or 15 etc friends before you allow the "results" to be shown. Yes, many will spam their friends just to see the "results", but if your app is useless, it only gets spammed ONCE. Then people remove it and block it.
For once, go take a look at successful apps. Apps like Friends For Sale for example. You don't need to tell us to spam invites... we'll invite on our own because, we get $ when we do, and we can't buy people who don't have the apps installed unless they're on our friends list. You BET we'll invite, even without the need to force us to!
Not only that, people will continue to use/play with your apps if it's FUN and ENGAGING. Make 'em fun and the app will become popular. Force us to spam invites, it stays in our profiles only until we find time to remove it. And remove we WILL.
Forcing people to spam invites makes your app a "virus". That's how viruses spread - by forcing themselves onto others. Chances are, you know that if you don't force people to do it, nobody will come back to your app a second time eh? What a low tactic.
Giving incentives to invite people is another thing - more money, more points, whatever. As long as it's our concious decision to say "hey this app is fun, I want to invite my friends to come play it", it's fine.Links to this post | 3 comments in Blogger |
11:25 by FoxTwo
For me, I realised that blogging is a way for me to vent. Thus, I probably won't disappear from the blogging scene.
However, I am definitely quitting some stuff. I'm gonna quit drinking. I'm gonna quit smoking... NOT! Well, cut down maybe. I'm gonna lose myself in my workouts and stop thinking about things I am powerless to change.
Anyway, since I so drunkenly misplaced my bluetooth earpiece, I had to go get a new one. I bought the Sony Ericsson HBH-V702 Bluetooth earpiece. No I didn't get this because I have a SE phone. I got this because it's the cheapest 8 hour talktime set I can find on Ebay ($45.00).
The one which I "misplaced" was a Motorola H500. It too had an 8 hour talktime rating, which is perfect since my current phone, the SE K810i is rated for 10 hour talktime. When I went hunting for a replacement earpiece, I had asked a few shops if they had anything that is over 5 hour talk time. A couple of the shops actually told me "Sir, no such thing lah. Where got bluetooth can talk more than 4 hours one?"
I am sad that retail personnel can make such claims. If you don't have what I want, say it. "Sorry sir we do not have anything that is over 5 hour talktime". Don't tell me they don't exist ok? Because I owned one that was 8 hour talktime. What makes you think telling me that "they don't exist" will make me buy the earpiece that you currently have?
So how's the new earpiece, compared to the one I misplaced?
Sigh, I shouldn't have misplaced the old one. I still preferred it over the new one. For one thing, the part where it loops over the ear is entirely rubber. The new one has plastic backing to it, thus making the whole thing "stiffer".
For another, if the phone went out of coverage (ie "no signal"), the old earpiece would beep and let me know. If another Bluetooth device was attempting to connect to my phone, the old earpiece would beep too. The new one is completely silent! In fact I got so worried that I actually placed a call out to 1711 just to check whether it was working.
However, the V702 is much lighter than the old one, and after a while you actually forget you have it worn on your ear.
Ah well, can't complain for a $45.00 earpiece I guess.Links to this post | 3 comments in Blogger |
17:05 by FoxTwo
In addition to my recent woes, I have drunkenly misplaced my battery cover of my phone (not to mention my bluetooth earpiece, dammit!). So, I called up the helpdesk, and was advised to visit a service centre to get a new cover.
All fine and dandy.
So, I went to one, walked up to the cashier and asked about purchasing a cover. I mean, there's nothing wrong with my phone, except that I lost the battery cover. Simple and quick, I thought. They give me a new cover, I pay them, and walk out. This transaction should be done and completed in less than 5 mins.
But no, I was to take a queue ticket. Ok fine I got one. There were 10 people ahead of me in the queue, and each of them, I'm sure, had a more serious and pressing problem with their phones than just a missing cover.
45 mins later, it was finally my turn. I went up to the service personnel and he went through the full routine - checking IC, keying in data and all that. Once that is done, I needed to sign the "complaint form". He said, the form was needed so that I could get my battery cover.
So again I had to wait. The technicians inside had to "process" my "complaint" and will release a new cover to me presently. About 5 mins later, I was finally brought to the cashier counter. However, I still couldn't get my cover, because ahead of me were 2 other people checking their repaired phones before paying. One guy was swapping SIM cards between his repaired phone and his current phone. The other customer, a girl, was scrolling through the menus and checking whatever. Only after a few more excruciating minutes passed before the guy finally got his SIM cards swapped and agree to pay for the repairs, and the girl decided that HER phone is good to go too.
The cashier even so kindly wanted to staple my new cover (which came in a plastic bag) to the "repair form" for me to sign.
What should have taken 5 mins stretched almost to an hour.
Sony Ericsson should really start thinking about making stuff like battery covers available as "accessories" to be bought off the shelves in retail stores! I mean, there might be someone out there that might want a differently-coloured battery cover for their phone too, you know? Kinda like Nokia owners with their garish "housings"....
Labels: RantLinks to this post | 2 comments in Blogger |
14:19 by FoxTwo
Sometimes, it just irks me so much that Singaporeans, majority of which are "educated" with English as the first language, can still write and speak so differently.
A long time ago, I wrote this. In a sense, this post is like a "followup" of that entry.
So what has this got to do with the post title?
Well, it's how many Singaporeans pronounce "owe". Yeah I know it's weird, there's no N in the word "owe" yet many people say "own" instead of "owe". Saying "own" to an American is actually to tell him you beat him hands-down at something. This phrase "You got owned!" is very familiar in gaming circles. As a side-note, the phrase recently changed to "You got pwned!", thanks to a popular spelling mistake by Blizzard in the game Warcraft circa 1998 or so.
I had a discussion about this with a friend some time back about Singaporeans and the pronunciation of words. She said, a large portion of the human race is mostly visual, hence they see a word and memorise its pronunciation, instead of using phonetics on the words. It's fine to mispronounce "Lavender" as "lah-ven-der" instead of "laven-der", but saying "own" instead of "owe" is almost hilarious.
This is especially so for Chinese, since the native language is pictorial in nature. People see a Chinese word, and memorise it. Hence, they apply the same principles to the English language. Hence, words like "spanner" is still being pronounced as "spunnah".
Very few people I know pronounce words phonetically. For people like me, I normally don't stumble when I come across a long word which I've not seen before. I just break it down into its phonetic components and pronounce it. Of course, the English language has its own quirks too, like "sabre" is pronounced "say-ber" but "genre" is pronounced "jon-rer". I will always remember and laugh at an incident my drinking buddy told me that happened to him in secondary school.
He said, once he was asked to read a passage by the teacher. Like me, he's a phonetic speller and reader. He came across the word "quay" and pronounced it "kway". When the teacher corrected him, he argued that if it's supposed to be pronounced as "key" then they should have spelt it K-E-Y. LOL! At least the Americans got it right - they called the place "Florida KEYS" and not "Florida QUAYS", in my opinion anyway.
If you've always struggled with the English language, and one of your weaker points is spelling words, I've just given you a clue to help you - learn phonetics. When I was a schoolkid, I prided myself in knowing how to spell words that I've never even seen before, by just listening to how it's pronounced.
That is also my Archille's Heel in the Chinese language too - you cannot apply phonetics to Chinese. For example, nobody could explain to me why "mouth" (口 pronounced as "kou") and "ten" (十 pronounced as "shi") becomes a "field" (田 pronounced as "tian"). Why can't the pronounciation be something like a combination of "kou" and "shi" and end up with something like "kosh"? Yup, you guessed it, I suck at Chinese.
And please, it's "oh" and not "own", ok?
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10:10 by FoxTwo
And it was good. WAS.
Later on, either the same bright spark, or another one, thought that putting speakers into the buses was a good idea, cos "not everybody will have a radio on the bus". Duh! Nowadays you'd be hard-pressed to find a handphone that doesn't have FM Radio as one of its functions, just like you'd hardly be able to find a handphone without a camera.
Then, the explosion of iPods and Zens came. It was cool, it replaced the aging "walkman" and "discman" sets out there. What's not so good is that the bright sparks at the respective companies thought that "music should be shared" and made bloody mini speakers for the devices, and turning it into a "fashion accessory". In one fell swoop, they completely undid the good community service that Sony spent 20 years cultivating - listen to your music with EARPHONES!
Someone should glue those speakers to the bright spark who thought this up and blast the music from the iPod or Zen into their ears at full volume. After all, this is what's happening on our buses and trains now. Stupid teenagers blasting their "music", so kindly "sharing" it with everyone in the bus. Sometimes, I feel like taking out my Teochew Opera MP3s and blasting it back at them.
No I don't like opera. I don't even understand 'em, and I'm Teochew myself. I just converted a couple of my mom's Teochew Opera cassette tapes into MP3s for this purpose, although I haven't actually blasted them yet. I had been controlling myself thus far.
However, this morning really pushed me almost to the edge of me taking out my Teochew Opera and blasting it. The bloody schoolkid was sitting in the middle of the bus and blasting some heavy metal rock music or something (I dunno, since I can't understand a word of whatever the singer was screaming). Besides, his speakers sucked, and the music was highly distorted. He should get better speakers maybe, and perhaps his music might sound better.
As a side note - all your karaoke singers, take note. Singing louder does NOT make you sound better ok? Same goes for sucky music. Making it louder does NOT make it better. It just gives people a headache.
If any bright sparks from iPod or Creative is reading this, please, go smack yourselves silly and pull these damn speakers off the shelves, or stop making them. People who take buses and trains already have to put up with body odour, and being crammed like sardines. We don't need an assault on the auditory front too.
If anyone from TVMobile is reading this, please broadcast your audio solely on 89.3FM ok? Stop pushing the audio stream into the receivers on the buses. Or, maybe SBS should cut all the wires on the speakers.Links to this post | 6 comments in Blogger |
16:23 by FoxTwo gahmen keep saying we need Foreign Talents, and how they can contribute to Singapore?
Let me present a very very classic case of how talented they are:
FT: "So you do step 1 first, wait 30 mins. Whether it succeeds or fail, proceed to step 2"
Me: "So, if step 1 doesn't need to be successful before we do step 2, why must we wait?"
FT: "Uhh.. "
Me: "Can we do step 2 first then we do step 1 immediately, since they aren't dependent?"
FT: "No, must do step 1 first"
Me: "But you said step 1 pass or fail, proceed to step 2. So why must it be in this order if the success status is irrelevant?"
FT: "OK what should we do?"
Me: "Hey man, it's YOUR application, you're supposed to tell ME what to do"
I was given a file, RUNme.sh (Unix shell script). The work order says "FTP in BINARY mode". Ok so I FTP in Binary. I give it execution rights. I run it, it doesn't run, "RUNme.sh not found".
FT: "But the file is there!"
FT: "Check the rights"
Me: (shows the rights)
FT: "Change owner to root"
Me: "It's already owned by root"
FT: "Run it again"
Me: "ok" (runs the command again, fails again)
FT: (runs off to get help)
Me: (waits for abt 45 mins)
FT: "Ok the file is corrupted. We'll get a new one to you"
What really happened - the file didn't run because it should have been transferred in ASCII mode. Any n00b would have known.
Labels: RantLinks to this post | 2 comments in Blogger |
15:06 by FoxTwo
For a long time, I've never had to "plan" for Friday nights. It's always the same. Routine.
Now, suddenly I have to plan again. My drinking buddy's away to some foreign country doing exactly the same thing he does here - Nothing. Makes me wonder why he needs a vacation when he's gonna be doing the same exact things.
To make matters slightly worse, all the other non-drinking friends know my Friday schedules and thus hardly ever call me up or arrange anything on Fridays and Mondys (I have another rule about Mondays too but that's for another entry).
So this Friday, ie tomorrow, I have no clue what to do.
Maybe more Hellgate. Or, make friends in Entropia.
Maybe Entropia I guess. There's the distinct possibility I might make some pocket change off Entropia due to their real-world economy at work in the game.
Oh yes, not forgetting, working out too. I need to maintain it now that I've gotten 3 "compliments" in the past 4 days or so. Well actually the goal is not to maintain, but to decrease the weight and increase muscle mass.
Or, I could actually finally sit down and get the "Sony Ericsson" portion of my website done up FINALLY. If you click on the link and see a "Construction Page", then I'd have been lazy and decided not to do this. However, if you clicked and got a nice new page, then yeah I decided to finally get the pages up and running.
Labels: RantLinks to this post | 2 comments in Blogger |
12:52 by FoxTwo
It's so bad I even snapped at Uzyn in the Ping.sg shoutbox. Damn, why did I do that? I shouldn't have. I apologise, Uzyn. That's why I left the shoutbox - I don't want to snap at anyone else.
Having a restrictive firewall at work doesn't help too. Sucks when you can't go anywhere (almost). Tech sites are one thing, but the way I'm feeling now, I am in no mood to do anything productive. Work is just "going through motions".
Come 5pm, I have no idea where I'll go. Home? Could be. Although I doubt it. I'll still feel crappy there. Drink? Possible. Question is, where? Regular place? Don't think so... people would be going "heeeeey brudder, long time no see!" and somehow I don't feel like talking, putting on a fake smile and wave back.
If I wanna be left alone, why the hell do I wanna go drink?
The last time this happened to me was back in May, but that one I knew why. It had a trigger and catalyst. This one, no clue. I woke up today, came to work, *wham!* I started to feel like this.
It's ok if no one reads this too... but I just wish I knew why I'm feeling like this.
17:09 by FoxTwo
Yeah the company decided to do some "reorganising" and relocated my dept to a tiny itty bitty corner of the building, in the name of "cost cutting" and "workplace efficiency". So here I am, stuck in the tiny, small, solitary cubicle in the far extreme lonely corner.
Where Singtel service doesn't reach.
Where the kiasu company firewall has blocked off more sites than Iraq and China combined.
I can't even browse Technorati!
Well, I can, but most links I clicked from Technorati get blocked because "Reason: personal pages or blog".
IM software are all blocked too, and no amount of http tunnelling, proxy settings etc work (damn, sometimes I wish they'd hire the wonderful foreign talents for network engineers). Well, what can I say, the network guys are my peers (and they're Singaporean), so they know their stuff *salute*.
So, no SMS, no phone calls, no Internet (well, essentially not available).
I don't think I can last the week if this continues..... *drools*
Labels: RantLinks to this post | 2 comments in Blogger |
22:52 by FoxTwo
First of all, I feel lousy. My nose runs, the throat's sore, and when people call me up on the phone I can't really talk. Then, the constant coughing just messes me up. The meds don't really help either - they make me sleepy all day long, and I just lie prostrate on the bed. In fact my body clock went haywire yesterday when I woke up in the middle of the night at 1.30am. Yeah I had been taking the meds and they knocked me out all day.
Since I was up at 1.30am, I may as well get some game time in. Bad idea. Being sick also throws off my reflexes. I actually fired upon friendly targets in the games. Good thing I'm not playing online or my teammates might kick me for teamkills. If I were in an MMO, I'd probably get kicked from the party too, for not healing or not paying attention.
It's worse because yesterday was a holiday eve, and I had a lot of SMSes asking me "Tonight go where huh?" to which I had to reply "Nowhere, I'm sick so I'm stayin' home" to every single one of them.... that totally sucks.
I had also planned to catch up on my workouts, as well as finally getting down to expanding my website by adding a whole new section of it. All went undone of course, because I was hardly conscious long enough to get anything done! No new pages, sucky at games, have to decline all invitations to go out...
Yup, I hate being sick.
Labels: RantLinks to this post | 3 comments in Blogger |