The prelude to April Fools Joke

I know this is one day early but…Jamshed gave an early warning yesterday on the “thing” that happens on 1st April every year

Basically, for me the April Fools jokes was pretty much alive during my school days, because by the time I start to work, 1st April was just another working day. Any attempt to joke around on that day was futile because whoever tried to “funny” ended up being called “childish” or sometimes “chee-sin” (chee-sin = crazy). Ya, humor was long dead & buried at my old office and even if there was humor, people had little time for it.

In case, anyone have forgotten about the day, look up here

The best April Fools joke that I can recall is when I was in Form 3 (yes, in good old La Salle Brickfields). We had this Mathematic Teacher (I still remember her name – Ms Diana) who was very strict, made sure we paid attention in her class and hardly smile. She was good at teaching Maths though – most of us passed with flying colors on Maths.

So there was this day, when she came in with her usual long, strict face…stood in front of the class and looked around. We were standing up and were wondering whether she was going to give us an “unannounced” test. Then she said “Ok, class…today, we are not going to have Maths class”. We were shocked but still stood waiting for the “bad news”. She continued “For today and only for today, I decided that you can go out and have P.E instead” (P.E = Physical Education). Immediately the whole class “hoorayed” the announcement – of course we were happy, because Maths was 2 session for the day. Some of us started to change attire to our sports attire; some was still reeling back from the shock. One already ran to the sports storeroom to pick the ball. All this time, Ms Diana was standing smiling at the class – we thought that she had finally changed.

Only 1 or 2 of my classmates were shouting “Woi, its April Fools Joke lah” but their shouts & pleas were drowned out by the “hoorays” and “whose is going to play for which team” conversations. 2 guys already slipped from the back and were standing on the field for the rest of guys to come out.

Just when we were about to leave to the field, Ms Diana gave a good laugh and asked us what day is it. It took a couple of minutes of silence and only then, some of the guys said April Fools day – my classmates who were shouting “Woi, its April Fool Joke” earlier on had the last laugh – they did not change their attire and was comfortably sitting at their place.

There was about 10 minutes of chaos as some of us quickly changed back to our school uniform, some was “clarifying further” with Ms Diana and others convincing the 2 fellows who were on the field that it was only a joke (this was a tough one because the 2 guys were thinking that we were pulling a fast one on them). After we got hold of reality, it was back to 2 sessions of Maths again. Damn!

That is one April Fools Joke I would not forget because it was started by someone that we least expected to be funny and have a great sense of humor. It was also the time that we saw the good side of our Maths teacher. Eventually after couple of months and after we have gotten very good marks in Maths in our trials, Ms Diana did substitute 2 sessions of Maths for P.E. We were not easily fooled by then and after several assurances from her, only then we started to change for P.E.
I found one video on April Fools Joke on Google. The quality of picture is bad but based on the sound, you get an idea of what’s happening – this office April Fools Joke seems elaborate.

(Filed under Tag: Event)

When you are down & tired, think of SEX

I know what you are thinking about me right now.

I thought of this as I was typing a draft training guide and there I was, feeling sleeping and slowly drifting away into other thoughts. Then I recalled of a time (I think it was in 1996) when I attended a “positive change” workshop. At end of the day session, we were introduced to the word “endorphin” – at first I thought it was another species of dolphin until I found a site to explain it all.

The trainer at the workshop (one funny Indian guy, what do you expect) told us that whenever we are feeling down & tired, we need a boost of endorphin to peak us up. He said that there are several ways of getting endorphin and he started writing it down on the whiteboard. Laughing is one method. Listening to great music is another. There was a list from him and right at the bottom of the list was this: SEX.

We guys started to giggle and the ladies let out a silent “arrggghhh”. There was pin drop silence in the room and the trainer explained that our body makes endorphin when it is faced with certain situation (he was pointing to the list but by then we already imagining things).

So, when we were back to the office and was caught up with the tension of work, one of the guys reminded of us of endorphin. All the guys started to smile as we thought of the “list”. Immediately the pretty lady at our work area looked at us and said “Drop the thoughts guys”. We all laughed and guess what, the tension was gone too. We were back to work, feeling better.

These days when I am down and tense up, I think about the “list” too. It will not look good if I started to laugh on my own (otherwise it will just prove to some that I have indeed gone crazy) and office is definitely is not the place to have sex either (or is it?). Maybe can have one or two in thoughts – unless someone can read your mind too. It seems like there is not much I can do to get my daily doses of endorphin at work.

That is until now…

Internet can be a great place to find information and on the topic of endorphin, guess what? There is a simpler way to get endorphin – no need to laugh alone or have sex (sigh, alone) at the office. Just walk to any convenience store and grab a bar of……chocolate. Or get this – eat more chili pepper. That’s right and in a weird way; you can get high with endorphin with just a bar of chocolate or chili pepper. Think about it – it sounds scary man. Imagine getting high on chocolate and chili pepper. If word gets out on this, probably the clowns in Parliament will be talking about it.

Forget about chocolates or chili pepper. Doesn’t it feel great when you are feeling tense, you click to your PC desktop and see this picture “staring” back at you? Now that’s what I call as a good way to get endorphin (now let me think about the last item on list).
(Filed under Tag: Health)

Clash of the Titans Part 2

You know the issue with Tamil Serials is not going to go away that easily and in case you are not sure what I am talking about, read the so-called “Part 1” here.

Right, with “intro” all done, now take a deep breath and imagine this…

You have started your work early at 7.30 am. The time now shows 7.00 pm. You have been working for almost 12 straight hours. The day has not gone well – there were problems at customer site and the meeting with boss did not go well either. It is a crappy day. You are feeling tired, hungry and stressed out. Despite that, you are happy to be closing off for the day. You drive back home with deep thoughts on the comfort of your home. Traffic was bad and you are thinking “so, what’s new?” The CD was on but you did not pay any heed on what’s was playing.

You parked your car and you slowly open the front door. The sound from the TV was loud and as you rest your back on the sofa, you are confronted with a Tamil Serial showing a big verbal fight between 4 people. The husband is shouting at the wife, the wife shouting at the mother in law, the mother in law shouting at her son and the father in law stands there quietly like a “dungu”.

Not enough with the tension & the noise created, the director of the serial decides to “pour more oil into the fire” by adding some “suspense” alike background music. You turn around and see that the people at home are busy concentrating on the show, not realizing that you are at home!

How do you feel now? Your headache which you have been having all day long, would suddenly spikes up by 10 times right?

Unfortunately this is what I have been going through for the past 2 weeks. It is torturing yes but you know what, my brother have joined me in the crusade against Tamil Serials in the house. Yes, I have complained about it before and I will complain about it again and again. Anyway, with my brother as the new ally, we have set to wrestle back the remote and bring serenity & more importantly, sanity back to the living room.

These days, we would “announce” on what we want to watch from 8.00 pm onwards and my old relative seem to get our message “loud and clear”. There is nothing much she can do – it is one old lady against 2 young and big sized guys. Yes, it is unfair but having Tamil Serials all day long is unfair too. When the time is up at 8.00 pm, the old relative would now leave the remote on the TV and walk away to do some work. It is non Tamil Serials shows from then onwards until we go to sleep at 11.00 pm. We may have won the battle but the war against Tamil Serial is on-going. Our next target is move up the time from 8.00 pm to 7.00 pm! Yes, we are moving into the peak time of Tamil Serials – crucial because that is about the time we would come back home.

So, what is with Tamil Serials anyway?

Frankly speaking, I have nothing against it – it is a form of entertainment which is followed “devotedly” by the women in the house. I don’t blame the people in the house for having a bad timing to watch Tamil Serials – blame it on Astro or Sun TV for wrong time slots. But consider this question: is it worthwhile to watch the Serials on a rather excessive basis? Don’t we have good “serials” on cooking, religion (yes, we have that but Astro cramped that up on Saturdays and Sundays, sigh), travel, musical, history and comedy?

If you run through the programme list from morning to night, the varieties are there but unfortunately slotted at wrong times – when people are at work or school. If given a chance, I rather watch a cooking show right after I come from work (that will work my appetite) or a good comedy (Super 10 is one good example of a show that combines humor & music) before I go to sleep. On the weekends, it will be great if we have something like the Discovery’s Travel in India kind of shows. My sister and my mom went to India for 3 weeks tour and they gather they have seen only a very, very small fraction of what India had to offer in sight, sound and color.

There is no benefit whatsoever in watching Tamil Serials! Wait, is there one? Ya, you may say that it is “entertaining” but how can a show on how people take revenge and be nasty to others be entertaining? One need not watch Tamil Serials to know that life is unfair, no one is perfect and that if you are lazy, you are not going to progress well in life. And don’t get me started with problems in married life either

I am amazed on how married couple on Tamil Serials can run into so many marital problems. Real life one don’t have tons of problems as the one on the screen. Are the producers of Tamil Serials trying to create unnecessary problems among real life married couples? If not, I am offering myself as a marriage counselor for free of charge.

Anyway, as I said, we may have won the battle but the war against Tamil Serials is an on-going one.

ATA – ANTI TELESERIAL ALLIANCE is the way to go now. I am going to out up this logo on a permanent basis on my blog until the “war” is won. It could take forever but I don’t give a damn – Logo source: Visithra

(Filed under Tag: TV)

How to be cool!


My definition of being cool – Neo of Matrix (both the character & the movie)

Only once (or twice I think), I have been called as being very cool. Yes, it sounds strange to me too. It is rare to find someone who sees me as one cool guy. Rare occasion indeed! Just ask my wife and she readily will be a “state witness” on how many times I have lost my temper whilst being on road – I guess she would have lost count by now.One occasion where I was called cool was when I had to deal with my client’s big boss to explain on a system mistake done by his staff. Of course, I had to cover the said staff and when I did that, there was a wrong impression that the mistake was made by me (instead of the staff).

So, in front of couple of his staff, the big boss sort of “loudly scolded” me for the mistake and gave a short deadline to rectify the mistake. I stood in front of the boss (I was very calm), listening to every word that he said and in the end, replied with a smile that I will help out to rectify the mistake. The rest of the staff was taken back on how I reacted. I mean it was not my fault and yet, there I was, listening as if it was my fault, politely answering the boss and set out to do the work. There was no feeling of guilt or anger. Of course, one can say that the mistake was not mine and so the pressure was not there. But think again, being scolded for someone’s mistake is not a good way to start the day either.

After the session with the boss, as we came out from the room, all the staff looked at me and was impressed on how cool I was. Of course, I acted smart and told them that if I had lost my temper in there, the situation will be even worse. So, just keep quiet, let the other party lose steam and get back on the task at hand. No sweat at all.

Of course, we stayed up until the wee hours to rectify the mistake and the big boss eventually found out the truth (that I was not the one responsible for the mistake). In end, it turned out well. So, when I was at AskMen, flipping through on some of the articles, I recalled this incident when I saw one feature on how to be cool.

I glanced through some of the pointers there and it looks like that I am half way there (ya, go ahead, tell me that I am praising myself – but it is the truth ok? Alright, it is half truth). Running through the list, I am going like “Ya, that’s me right there” and “Nope, no way I am like that” but you know what? I guess I failed it at the “Don't lose your cool… ever” part.

I guess this is what boils down to being cool – “don’t lose your cool…ever”. You could be wearing the latest fashion in clothes, talk smooth and have a couple great friends (or girlfriends) to keep you company but the moment you lose the control your temper, nothing is cool about you anymore. Someone (was it Mahatma Gandhi or was it the ice-cream man?) said that walking away from a fight is being cool more than folding up your sleeves to fight – ya, it is a sound idea but the problem is I don’t practice it that often. After reading the article, perhaps I should.

Oh what the heck, go and read the article yourself.
(Filed under Tag: Attitude)

Tired and out of idea!

Got this from my MSN conversation with a colleague this morning after she has just finished talking to a customer…Colleague says: penant
Colleague says: penant
Colleague says: penat
Colleague says: typed 3 times only get the correct wording
Colleague says: really very, very penat already

It’s Friday and most of us are looking forward to the weekend break tomorrow. As you can see, it has been a hectic week for some of us. Yvy as usual posted her Fancy Friday post – a short reminder to the rest of us that it is the last day of working for the week. Thanks Yvy – sometimes we forget the days too.

My blog posting has been slowed down a lot. Work takes priority over blogging in the office whilst family takes priority over blogging at home. In the midst of that and fighting for the remote, it is rare to find time to quickly scribble down something for the blog.

Not surprisingly, it has been tough to be able to draft a unique post for the blog – there is little time to think these days. Number can be mind boggling at times – the number of blogs as at May 2005 (yes, I have an outdated info here, so sue me!) was reported to be about 60 million. That’s about 60 million people blogging all over the world. The thought of trying to be unique is daunting too.

I could take the other easy route though – bashing the state of the politics in Malaysia, you can never go dry of ideas there. The interesting thing is that, our local politicians can never seem to be dry of stupid comments and actions as well. But you know, I am getting tired of them anyway.

So, my contribution for the “Fancy Friday” is this…enjoy (if you have not seen this yet and thanks Nilesh for “introducing” Russell Peters). Loading may be slow, so let it load first before playing it:-


If that does not work, click here to go to google video. By the way, no offence to any Sri Lankans out there.


(Filed under Tag: Blogsphere)

Clash of the “Titans”

Update 1: I thought I was alone with this Tamil Serial problem. I hopped to Visithra’s blog and find that she is doing her own “battle” with her mom on the Tamil Serials. May the force be with her on this.It has nothing to do with the movie. This is tougher than that…I have found a stiff competitor for the Astro remote control at home.

Back to the original post…

In the past, I was pretty much the master of the house, having absolute control over what to watch over Astro. No matter what my parents or my siblings or my wife will be watching, when I return home, I get to decide what to watch (with the exception of my son of course – his favorite channel 63 takes precedent over everything at any given time). One can only watch HBO or the Discovery Channels or AXN when I am in front of the TV.

Things were fairly going fine until a “disaster” happened

An ageing relative from my dad’s side came to live with us. We had the room for her and she was very handy at home – helping out my wife and taking care of my son when my wife is busy with housework. We were delighted to have her around the house.

The downside was however is that she loves to watch the Tamil Serials over Channel 6 & 73. When I say “love”, I meant in the form of a die hard fan – really, really love Tamil Serial. Tamil Serials will be running on the screen almost the whole day long especially during my time to watch TV from 7.00 pm to 11.00 pm. The remote control will practically be resting on her lap all the time – as if she does not want anyone switching to other channels. At first, I did not mind the rather “over-exposure” of Tamil Serials on the TV. I had my computer games and thick novels to spend the time.

However as time went on and couple of good shows was shown on the other channels in Astro, the fight for “who holds the remote control” just got fiercer.

Yes, it can be as tough as this sometimes at home. Cartoon source:

Frankly speaking I did not want to be rude to the old lady but at times, desperation can lead a man to do “hard but sensible” things. I would sit down and grab the remote from her and with a poker looking face; I would quickly navigate my way to HBO or AXN. The old lady would not protest and argue with me on this. She will keep quiet but I noticed from the corner of my eyes, she will be looking at me and the remote and me and the remote…you know what I mean.

The moment I take a quick break (during the commercials) and go to the kitchen to grab a drink, the Tamil Serial will be back on the TV with the remote safely back on the old lady’s lap. I will be standing helplessly with a drink in my hand. I have no heart to fight the old lady – she is a nice lady but with an obsession with Tamil Serials. All I could do is to shout “Arrrrgggghhhhh” inside me.

Watching Tamil Serials all day long just makes me crazy to the wall. Of course I don’t sit and watch it but I still can hear the sound. At times, I would feel like throwing the TV set out of the window. Damn! Even my grandma is not that die-hard fan as this old relative of mine. At least, my grandma watches CSI and Discovery Channels as passionately as I do.

Oh by way, as I was drafting this post, the remote was safely back on my lap with my TV tuned to AXN. Damn, she is looking at me and the remote and me…again.

Read also: Tamil Serials (God save us!)

(Filed under Tag: TV)

When a holiday is not a holiday


I don’t think God wants me to take a holiday, He rather have me to continue to be a workaholic. I guess so because every time I decide to go on leave, something will come up.I took the day off yesterday, not because I had something urgent to do or a function to attend to but rather because I needed to finish my leave for the month. Having nothing to do on that day (other than play games, watch TV and sleep, so what’s new?), I decided to be productive (I can foresee some people blinking their eyes on this). This was my plan…go to the bank near my house & open a current account and then drive up to the National Blood Centre in KL to donate my blood (been planning to do one for a long time, my last blood donation was in March 2003). I should be finished by 3.00 pm – come back and sleep. The planning was perfect but the actual outcome was not.

First, let me talk about the trip to the bank.

I wanted to open a current account with a bank nearer to my house because the existing account is with a bank in KL. I don’t want to drive all the way on a working day just to collect my cheque book. So, I went to the EON Bank which was nearer to my house to open the account. I already have some saving & fixed deposit accounts with the bank and I double checked the requirements in their website before going. I filled up the form and passed to the lady at the customer service with a smile.

She asked “Do you have an introducer?” I said no and she said that they need an introducer before she can process my application. She gingerly asked me to look for an introducer before she can do anything. I said to her “Look here, I am existing customer of the branch and I have checked your website and there was nothing mentioned about any introducers”. She looked cold and insisted on an introducer. After some thought, she said “ok, you have a current account with another bank? Get me the last 6 monthly statements”. I thought “ok, finally – a compromise”. So, I rushed back home and guess what, I only managed to find the last 2 statements. I needed another 4 more statements. Damn! I checked and there was none. Then I thought maybe it is at my drawer at the office, so I rushed to office – a short drive from my house.
I knew it…there is nothing mentioned about any f*&king introducer in the website!
The first thing that the receptionist at office said when I walked in was “You are on leave and yet come back to work. So good lah you – customer called is it?” I gave a weak smile and rushed to my table. Some of the guys in my department were also surprised. I reached down and pulled the drawer. Nothing! There was no statement in the drawer. Damn again! I have wasted the trip (and the precious fuel) to the office. I rushed back to the bank and told the lady about the statements. I had to wait for a good 20 minutes because she was with this “dungu” customer. I say “dungu” because the customer kept asking her to explain the simple terms and conditions of an insurance policy that he just took. I told myself that if I don’t get to talk to her in 10 minutes, I am walking out from the bank. Luckily the customer left before the 10 minutes was up.

I told the lady about the statement and said “hey look, I have 2 months statements here; you can always call the other bank and check on the conduct of my account”. Things are online these days and all she need to do to pick up the phone and call. She looked at me and said it is either an introducer or 6 months statement. Nothing else will do. I was frustrated. I looked at her and said “Ok, just pass me back the forms, I may just hop in to the next bank and get my current account done”. Only then she started to get panic. She said that she already keyed in my application in the computer pending the confirmation on the introducer or statements. The parting words as I was walking out of the bank were “I will see what I can do about that”.

I was furious as I walking out of the bank. Since I had time, I decided to go to donate blood. It was the 2nd item in my agenda for the day and I do not want to screw that up. Before I go for my blood donation, I dropped by my house because my wife wanted to follow too. It was already 12.15 pm by then and she was busy preparing lunch. I told her that we leave at 1.00 pm which was ok with her – she would have finished cooking by then.

At 12.55 pm (talk about wrong timing), my dad called my wife and said he is having difficulty in breathing. He just had a heart bypass surgery and was recuperating at home. He could not move and we suspected he had an asthma attack. We quickly called the doctor from a clinic nearby (thank god that the doctor knew my dad and his medical history too). The doctor managed to stabilize him and called for an ambulance. I could have droved him to the hospital but he was too weak to move, beside that, driving through the rush-hour during lunch time is not going to get us fast to the hospital. An ambulance was still the preferred choice. The ambulance reached my house in less than 15 minutes and quickly took him to the University Hospital (The paramedics were highly trained, polite and professional but it comes with a price – RM170).

I looked at my wife and she looked at me and said “it looks like you have to cancel your trip to donate blood”. I said “ya, what to do”. We picked my mom from her work place on the way to the hospital and we reached the hospital to find my dad was resting. He was ok but the doctors wanted to run some test just to be sure.

Sitting at the emergency waiting area, I told my wife that I want to walk around for a while. I felt bored – there was not a single magazine on sight at the waiting area. She felt bored too and so she joined me. We walked around and I had an idea – I am in a hospital and I am sure they will need my blood right? So, I walked to the enquiry counter to ask about how I could donate blood and I was directed to the Blood Transfusion Department. The place was packed with people donating blood. Good, I was back in business!

After a quick fill of forms and checkup by the doctor, I sat down for my turn to donate blood. There was old people and young people casually donating their blood. When my turn to donate was up, I was excited. After lying down comfortably, I was waiting for the moment I could donate my blood away. Don’t get me wrong but I figured that this is a good way to reduce cholesterol rich blood from my system (the blood will be filtered anyway by the hospital staff).

The entire process only took about 4 minutes to complete and within 15 minutes, I was up and walked to the hot Milo and sandwich that the hospital had prepared for the blood donors. I did not feel dizzy – just had a small stinging pain at the place where they poked the large needle to draw out my blood (I closed my eyes when they poked it – it felt like a small mosquito bite despite the size of the needle). To tell you the truth, I felt better after donating 450 ml of my blood. To learn about donating blood, this is a good site to visit (much better than our Malaysian version).

I managed to complete at least one of the two tasks I set to do. I am still pissed off with EON Bank but opening a current account is not urgent at the moment, so I putting away the application for a new account for the time being. For rest of the day – I spent driving back and forth to the hospital to check on my dad and to fetch my mom back. My dad is ok, just need to rest and he will back home in couple of days.

What a way to spend a holiday, huh?
(Filed under Tag: Personal)

School Meme

UPDATE : Click old class photos here

This was a surprise…I was happily reading on Nilesh’s smoking days during class and once I reached at the bottom, there it was – a tag for me. Talking about the school days however inspired me to “just do it”. Here it goes…one before the weekend

How many schools did I go to?

What do you know; I followed almost the same path with Sashi

Started in SRK La Salle Brickfields in 1980 (I remembered the year very clearly – I was in Standard One and one of the lessons for the day is shouting out the current year). It was all the way until Form 3 because the school’s highest level stopped at Form 3. After that, fellow “La Salleins” was scattered to other schools for Form 4.

A bulk of them including me joined a neighboring school, SMK Vivekananda. It was trying days for us – first it was a co-ed school which meant there was girls too (as I was saying very trying days for us), secondly we were moving towards SPM (form 5 – critical point in our school life) and finally the gangsterism in the school was high (I still recall that there will be a fight almost every Friday with the involvement of outsiders. It has toned down a lot these days)

Despite that, this was the best school that I ever attended – for one reason: I felt that I was just too good and was consistently passed with high marks.

After Form 5, it was time to move again – this time to SMK Methodist KL for my Form 6 studies. I did not fit well in the tradition and pace of education there – ended up being the class’ backward student, I did not complaint because it got pressure to do well off my back. I did well in some subjects – for others, I was dozing off in the classroom.

I barely made it through my STPM – I thought it was a sheer waste of time, all you need to do to memorise and you can answer do well in STPM. I rather wanted something where I am forced to think to answer. I got my wish when I enrolled in ATC for my Bachelor of Law. There, the rule of the game was – think to answer. I loved the whole 3 years when I was in ATC doing law – the girls were beautiful, the teachers were great and the subjects required good thinking.

Was I the studious nerd, or the last minute hero?

Due to the close “monitoring” by my parents, I was a studious nerd – no doubt about it. The only time I was last minute hero was when I was in Form 6. My parents trusted me enough to study hard which I did not do. In end, it was last work study, last minute handing up of assignments, last minute of everything.

Was I the class ‘taiko’ or the teacher’s pet?

I was neither…my classes had enough taikos and teacher’s pets. I and my friends were the backbenchers when it came to this.

What was the biggest rule I broke in school?

Being the “good” guy (ahem), there was no major rules that I broke when I was in school. The one that I remembered was…hold on, let me think…damn, nothing. Was I that perfect?

Oh wait, ok got one. There was a time I was bored in the Chemistry class, the teacher was not in, and so I started to draw some pictures on the table. The problem was the picture that I was drawing was a big as the table itself (the table in the lab was big – 6 of us shared one). Before I was caught (my classmates keep silent on the identity of the culprit), someone repainted all the tables – the evidence was “erased”.

Three subjects I enjoyed

Pengajian Am

Don’t ask for details – sometimes it just depends on who is the teacher and who is the class with me.

Three teachers that inspired me

All from La Salle Brickfields and all from secondary school:-

Mr Anantha – My class teacher in Form 2. Funny guy and great mentor when we had personal problems
Master Lopez – The Senior Assistant when I was in Form 2. He inspired me on the beauty of English
Master Low – The class teacher in Form 1. He was also the “Sains Pertanian” teacher – very understanding and the guy who cleared away the cockroaches inside my desk after a great flood in my school (it was at a critical moment too – we were having our exams)

Also worth mentioning…

Dr Siva – The principal when I was in ATC (I remembered him when I watched Russell Peters). He inspired me on lateral thinking or was it on superb jokes that he often told in the case – whichever the case was, his classes was fun

I will pass “the baton” on to:-

Yvy (if she is not been tagged by now)
Project 8555 (this will be interesting to see)
Din (since 8555 been tagged, might as well tag the master)
Ganesh (just for fun)

(Filed under Tag: Blogsphere)

Fuel Price Increase: 30 Cents Up, It Is Time To Do A Budget


(A sample of my very crude but effective budget dashboard template in worksheet format – of course, I have multiple sheets for daily input of expenses and consolidation by months. The consolidation by month is more for the yearly income tax reporting)

Is this sound very familiar to you?

You received your salary on the dot and based on a rough calculation (some use only their 10 fingers), deducting estimated expenses for the month (it was food, beer and transportation for me), you gather that there is a surplus of almost RM1,000 (I know RM1,000 is bloody lot for some. This is just an example ok?).

However, come middle of the month and you are at the ATM machine withdrawing cash, you soon realise that there is less than RM50 in the account. You start to panic. It is not enough to sustain you for the next 15 days.

You sheepishly walk away from the ATM machine, thinking what had happened? Did the bank have wrongly debited your saving account? No, you think again. Did you overspend your income? You think again and you realised that is it – you spend more than what you can earn.

Every one of us has gone through this phase at one point of our life before. Some do it on monthly basis, forever being short of cash by middle of the month sigh (some within the first week of pay day – I know because I have friends who do that). At this point, many of us are desperate for cash and start to borrow money from friends and family.

There was a time when I was working in a bank, I too find myself short of cash by middle of the month. I know my salary is more enough to sustain me until the next salary date but by the middle of the month, I seriously do not know where all that money has go too. There were too many “surprises” for me at the ATM machines. Like others, I complaint that my income is just not enough for my expenses. That was a lame and cheap excuse indeed.

One day I sat down and thought to myself…I was working in a bank and surprisingly unable to manage my money. That was pathetic man! If a banker cannot managed his own money, then how he is going to manage other people’s money. It’s like a legal clerk not knowing how to prepare a legal document, a supermarket cashier not knowing the best deal in supermarket, etc…you get my drift.

So I started to a budget and keep track of all my income and expenses (ok, I got this idea from MSN Money) and immediately I saw where I was bleeding cash. There seemed like I was spending more for magazines, drinks and more importantly, giving other people unnecessary treats (no wonder a lot of girls wanted to go out lunch with me).

Anyway, by the time my budget tracking was up and running, I noticed that my surplus cash (the surplus used to be a deficit) began to increase. Soon, I had enough to actually deposit it as long term saving. How did I do it? First of all, I did not use any “canggih” software like Microsoft Money. All I used was a simple Ms Excel with 2 sheets – one for consolidated figures and another for daily figures.

My budget Excel has these components:-

1. Daily expenses – basically I put up these columns: date, type of expenses, amount and grand total

2. Monthly budget – I actually budget out for the next 4 – 5 months ahead so that I can plan out contingency in case there is a major expenses coming up in couple of months (like renewal of car insurance)

3. The comparison between budget and actual income & expenses – I have the daily expenses and I have the monthly budget – I compare them (it is easy to do – simply use the Ms Excel formulas) and see where I have overspend.

In the first month I started to use a budget to keep track, I was surprised on how many ways I was overspending. So, I started to tighten my expenditures and the overspending amount started to go down bit by bit. By the time I got married, I had enough in my savings for the wedding expenses. Even with a kid (if you are a parent, you will know what I mean – having kids means higher expenses), it is still manageable.

So, with the 30 cents up, it only means one thing – it is time to relook and rework the budget. I am sure that it is still manageable.

(Filed under Tag: Money)

What Malaysian Astronauts Can Do in Space?

This is great.

We finally have short listed couple of Malaysians to be blasted off to space. They were celebrated in big way yesterday. The DPM out of the blue assured the Malaysians that the Government is not spending a single cent on the space programme as it is part of the package when we bought the Sukhoi jet fighters (those who can think may ask DPM whether this meant the Government paid more, upfront, for the jets but that besides the point right?)

Anyway, I thought on another issue on our Malaysian Astronauts. A more important issue – what they going to do once they are up in space? I mean the astronauts train up for 18 months to be one and once blasted off to space, what will they do? They cannot be just “goyang kaki” for hours in space, right?

Actually, I would say there are plenty things to do.

For start, they can check whether the teh tarik can indeed be “tarik-ed” in space. Even now, there are rumors that the potential astronauts are being trained at a secret location in Penang mamak restaurant by the best in the teh-tarik business. Of course, this is very similar to the package that the Government negotiated with the Russians for the space deal. The training to tarik the teh tarik is provided free of charge by the restaurant in return for the test results. It is rumored that the said restaurant is planning to send several staff on the next trip so that a branch can be opened in the space station to provide the astronauts, fresh 10 – 20 cents increased roti canai & teh tarik.

Creeping from behind is this issue of haze – it might “balik kampung” to Malaysia in May 2006. Presently, all fingers in Malaysia are pointing to the Indonesians whilst all fingers in Indonesia are pointing to the Malaysians in Indonesia. You with me so far? Are you wondering who the real culprits here? So, whilst they are up there, the Malaysian Astronauts might as well check the hotspots and give an updated report to the Government (in case you are wondering, this is just a gimmick because you cannot see much from space – the problem is pretty much covered under a thick blanket of secrecy, err I mean haze).

Since the environment is a big issue these days (it is the “in” thing now), the Opposition party also wants a say in the “Send Malaysian to Space Project”. They wanted the Astronauts to check how far the reserve forest in the “Semuanya OK” State and in other States has been illegally logged. However, this idea was immediately scrapped before it could lift off (pun intended). It seems that some people felt that there is no need to send astronauts to find out such trivial things, all one needs to do is to tune into TV3 news at 8.00 pm to get the latest information.

On another note, there is a good chance that the spacecraft carrying the Malaysian Astronauts might fly over the State of Johor. To be precise, it might be flying over Causeway. It may provide a good opportunity for the Malaysian Astronauts to check accurately how crooked the scenic bridge will be. Meantime, some Malaysians have other ideas to divert the attention – they are planning to have a big celebration in Johor in conjunction with the by-pass of the space-craft. Already there is a theme writing competition held to pick the theme for the celebration. The theme “Malaysia Boleh! Ye ye…we are one step ahead of Singapore in the race to space…ye, ye” seems to be the likely winner.

Several food & fresh fruit distributors were seen sending foodstuff to the houses of the Astronauts with strict request: test the food under weightlessness of space. No one knows why they want to test under such conditions. A secret survey among the Astronauts reveals that the king of fruits, durian, has been short listed for the trip to space. Actually, this is not a real test but just an excuse for the Malaysian Astronauts to enjoy their durians whilst up in space. This news was somehow leaked out to the Russians who are now wanted to protest against it after the Friday prayers along KLCC (they gathered that this is a Malaysian thing to do).

Meantime some people are wondering whether Pak Lah will be appointing another Cabinet Committee to study the things that the astronauts should be doing whilst they are up there in space. I am sure DPM (who else) will be heading the committee and with several ministries joined in…transportation, communication, education, etc. There is still time to think about things to do in space – perhaps in 18 months time, they can finally put it in writing and faxed it to the space craft just before it is blasted off to space.

By the way, in case you are shaking your head in disbelief, let me assure you that all the above is just a joke…not the part where we are sending astronauts to space, I meant the content of my post above.
(Filed under Tag: Jokes)

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