A new revamp around the corner

i had something at the back of my mind…..plaguing me. what was it?

 

Oh yea, my blog.

Once again guilty of blog-forgetting, I’m back here scouring my stats page to see if anyone noticed. My last post was at the date of i-cant-remember. But guys, thanks for comig back.

I’m revamping my blog and will provide the details within the next 7 days

Wrong ‘Chanel’

And we thought the standard of service in Malaysia was improving….

It was a rare opportunity for me to find myself (and kids in tow) visiting Suria KLCC last weekend. It was a Saturday afternoon (and public holiday! Wesak Day) and I planned to spend a couple of hours only doing aimless window shopping in the place which I hadnt stepped foot in in at least a few years. I had heard there were a number of new shops there and since I had a few hours to spare, took it as a chance to take the kids out for a jaunt.

Well everything started out nice enough….it was just before noon and the place wasnt too packed. I had two helpers with me and my 4 month old baby and a toddler (i.e. not one but TWO strollers). At least I give my breast-feeding self a pat on the back for attempting to take both kids out together.

It wasnt before long I realised that we were stuck on the same floor for the next 2 hours because we couldnt all fit into a lift. the 2 lifts running in the center of the place were always packed whether we wanted to go UP or DOWN. And then shortly thereafter, one of my helpers wanted to use the toilet. And the floor which we were on ONLY had the Premium toilets, which charges RM2.00 per entry. I never knew why they did that, since the toilets were not any better than the ones which were free. So I decided to locate everyone in DOME while one helper went to the loo on another floor. (I wanted to eat in Chinoz since they had a toilet there but it was under renovation!)

And about 5 minutes later, i found that my toddler needed a nappy change (big change!) and finally I had no choice but to pay RM4.00 for me and my OTHER helper to use the premium toilet. NO CHOICE!!! Whenever in Malaysia do you feel you have NO CHOICE but to be extorted for using a basic necessity?? I felt right mad.

So now that I deem Suria KLCC as one of the most baby unfriendly shopping centres in town, I have another (bad!) bone to pick with our very own Chanel boutique.

I dont profess to be so widely traveled and even then, I havent been to all the Chanel boutiques in the world, but in Asia, I think I can safely say that the sales people in the Chanel boutique in Suria KLCC fall far far below par. I have been to quite a number of Chanel boutiques in Asia and all of them lived up to the service standards you would expect of a luxury boutique, whether or not you buy something. Of course there were one or two in Hong Kong which had rather snotty sales personnel there but they served you professionally.

I was keen to visit the Chanel shop because I had heard that it had been renovated and was very spacious and of international standards. I had no intention of buying anything but was curious if it was a nice as you saw overseas. And indeed I was impressed! The items – many in variety, well placed, shop floor was spacious and looked just like those overseas in the swanky shopping streets of Tokyo, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore etc etc.

But I guess in terms of being similar, it stopped there. Stopped short and well below acceptable standards, I was appalled to note.

Firstly, there were only 2 other ladies (friends) in the shop being served by 1 sales assistant. I just walked around and no one came up to me or asked me if i needed anything. Usually I would have waved them away but this time, i was strange not being asked. Once I rounded the corner I saw 4 to 5 sales assistants standing in a bit of a circle. Possibly just after a briefing (I heard one of them say, is briefing over?)

Anyway, i squeezed past a couple of them, and one of them smiled as said to me Welcome to Chanel or something, while the other 2 was loudly discussing their options for lunch! I was looking rather interestedly at the shoes and NO ONE asked me if I needed assistance. They were too busy discussing what they were going to have for lunch. They stood about 2 feet away from me.

As I walked away feeling alittle disdainful, I passed another 2 different sales assistants (one male and one female), who seemed… to be flirting!

Male: You look so pretty today!

Female: I am pretty everyday!

I was walking past them in that enclosed area (in between clothes and shoes), about 2 feet away and they were busy chatting among themselves. I really felt sad and disgusted for the level of service in Malaysia. I dont even see such bad display of sales efforts in modest boutiques, let alone this luxury boutique of supposedly high standards! I am not a nazi….its fine to talk and chatter among yourselves but to do so when a customer is so nearby, looking interestedly in the goods….and being literally ignored (as if I wasnt even there) – is unforgivable! Madame Coco Chanel might have turned in her grave!

I passed by the first sales assistant on my way out. She was still serving the 2 ladies. She looked at me apologetically and I said to her…”I think you are the only one working today. All your colleagues are too busy chatting and ‘bersembang'”. She said….”Sorry, sorry! I already told one of them to serve you…”

I think the unspoken hung in the air….”but no one came”…..

Anyway, its sad that its the attitude of the Malaysian Chanel sales assistants. Poor Poor Poor. Bad Bad Bad. I hope this is not representative of the general service level in Malaysian International boutiques in comparison to our other Asian counterparts. Cos if so, we badly fail. We may have all the infrastructure, the glitz and shine of the shops, but unfortunately, not the warmth. This post makes it into my “WHAT THE?” category.

 

EN-rage!

My blood is boiling tonight..leading me to my blog at the wee hour of 12.28am. I was about to go to bed but decided to open a letter from ENRICH (Malaysian Airlines) JUST before going upstairs to sleep. I just had to, didnt I?

The big BLUE coloured cardboard card flashed before my eyes, and, snugly nestled inside it, was a very BLUE Enrich card.

I remembered the day I received my ENRICH Silver card a few years back…it was close to my birthday and I was so very happy about it. Now, the feeling of being DOWNGRADED far exceeds and effectively erases any of the past happiness associated with being UPGRADED from Blue to Silver. In other words, I’m feeling even worse than when I first started with my humble Blue card over 7 years ago. The letter said….

Dear Ms Lim

Thank you for being a valued member of Enrich.

In the past year, we noted that you have commendably accrued a substantial amount of Elite Miles. Unfortunately, the amount of Elite Miles you earned is insufficient to maintain your Enrich Silver membership.

To ensure that you continue to enjoy your travel experiences with Malaysia Airlines, we have reclassified your membership to the Enrich Blue tier and your new membership card is enclosed.

ETC…

So, my first point would be:

1. I have COMMENDABLY accrued a SUBSTANTIAL amount of Elite Miles. So if you already have acquired SUBSTANTIAL amount of Elite Miles, it means you need a gazillion of Elite Miles just to maintain the Silver. And btw, thanks for commending me.

2. TO ensure that I continue to enjoy my travel experiences with MAS….they are issuing me with the Blue card. Well firstly, the fact that even though they acknowledge I have accrued a SUBSTANTIAL amount of Elite Miles, I’ve been downgraded back to Blue. That bitter pill now ENSURES that I will continue to enjoy my travel experience with MAS? I think not. Yes, indeed I would be quite bitter each time I step foot on MH now.

3. how about all the enrich miles i did not redeem but had expired and been cancelled or gone to waste? Well maybe cos something like 30,000 points only takes you to Singapore and back?

4. Why should I even bother to reach Silver when all they do is downgrade you thereafter. Honestly, this method hardly bring the words “brand’ and “loyalty” to mind.

5. I flew from Taiwan to Tokyo, went to Maldives and also went to Adelaide in less than one year – guess thats not enough to maintain the Enrich Silver. SO what determines an ELITE route? A money making one for MH??

To say I’m incensed is quite an understatement. But sigh…I guess, its just a useless midnight rant from just another flier on MH. I guess it also shows the fact that Mums like me hardly have the opportunity to travel anymore and I dont see this trend changing for the better anytime soon. So as BLUE as I am, I have to accept the fact that…I’m  back to Blue.

And from today onwards, what little bit left of loyalty I had for MH, what with all that bad food, mediocre service, lousy sloping business class seats and their so called hospitality… has gone to the dogs. I will fly SQ every single time I get the chance. Get me my KRISFLYER asap! I’ll even enjoy the annoying layovers at Changi – shopping!

Goodbye Enrich.

Simi*???? (*whattt?)

In conjunction with the arrival of my new iphone 4s – here’s something hubby found on youtube which I thought was hilarious! It’s Singapore’s very own version of Siri i.e. SIMI!!!

Enjoy…

Cheated!

As I was having lunch at a well known cafe in Bangsar today….heck, lets just reveal its name “PAPPA RICH”, yes you all know that one…at the corner…I was nicely waiting for the food to be served (presenting, of course, the most opportune moment) an old Indian lady came up to me…very politely. She was dressed alright, carrying a plastic bag of what looked like food.

She introduced herself with very good english…as “Hello, I’m from Banting (something something) and my husband has died. I just recently went for a leg operation. See this plastic bag, its food that some ladies have cooked for me and I would like to ask for a small donation please just maybe 10 or 20 ringgit”. I dont know why I heard (too late) the waiter behind me saying “excuse me, excuse me” and I failed to realise.

Finally I gave her 10 bucks – let me clarify. I hardly give any money to coffeeshop beggars, especially if they are able-bodied. And even if I did, it wouldnt be more than 1 ringgit. This woman, in her good english and pleading eyes made me do something out of the ordinary.

Just then, another customer from another table came to me and say “She’s cheated you! She comes here everday. She lives across the street and has 2 daughters. She sometimes tells other kinds of stories.”As he spoke to me, I could see her hurrying away down the street – quite swiftly, I gathered, as much as her ‘just operated leg” would allow.

I guess this is the first time I was truly cheated and being TOLD about it. And the first time I had given away so much. I concede, I learn my lesson, the hard way. And to all of you….keep an open eye, keep your donations to charity to registered foundations.

If there is one thing I hate to hear being told to me…its “You were cheated!” Makes you want to go over there and strangle her. But of course, realistically, I could only sink back into my seat and continue with my now ‘less than appetising’ meal. I realise now, that being a good Christian doesnt mean being a stupid one. Your heart should be soft, but at the right places, and the right times and not just blindly.

Anyway, I hope that lady spent the 10 bucks on something worthwhile. This post makes it into my “WHAT THE?” category!

PHD

Do you know what is PHD?

Not Doctorate of Philosophy, PHD in Malaysia can simply mean…Pizza Hut Delivery.

Its been a very long time since hubby and I had pigged out and ordered PHD. There is one near our home, so we know that the age old Pizza Hut roof logo has been changed to a (great) ball of fire, except that the pizzas are anything but close to fiery. The only word that could come close to describing it is FIRED. As in terminated.

Last night we both got the cravings for Pizza, so we called. We always have 2 types: Super Supreme and Hawaiian Chicken (extra pineapple). Firstly, the PHD telephony person was kind enough to correct me and ‘educate’ me in that “Super supreme is no longer known as Super Supreme, its called Supremo now. And NO Olives”. He said this very pleasantly.

And to top off that travesty (no olives!!!??), they renamed Hawaiian Chicken to the very sophisticated and very specific name of “Waikiki Chicken”. Wonder which marketing director mastermind was behind THAT brainchild.

And so, came the pizzas, but we realised too late that they forgot to bring the soup we ordered. We finished the meal although the general rating for the meal was very unsatisfactory. The pizza doesnt taste the same, well, the Hawaiian Chicken was alright, but the SUPREMO was lousy. Even hubby says “How can they call it supreme anymore?”.

Our favourite garlic bread was the same size (to give them credit) but the amount of garlic butter on it was quite sad and pathetic, making the normally soggy-ish and tasty bread rather dry and chewy. Even the garlic bread was a letdown.

And this morning, when I woke up and looked into the fridge, I saw 2 bowls of PHS soup inside. The maid explained that the PHD delivery guy had come back with the soup at least 45 minutes after, when we were done with the whole meal. Arrghhhh!

This is all quite saddening, really, and I always remembered Pizza hut to be a family favourite when I was growing up. As if it was such a treat! And it was, those days. Now…someone has slapped a new logo on, given the pizza new names and not really improved the taste, quite the contrary. Sad Sad Sad. Who eats Pizza Hut anymore these days, we wondered. The reality of the ‘demise’ of Pizza Hut pizza as we know it has caused me to categorise this post under “WHAT THE!”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Next, they delivered it within the anticipated time.

Love hate

I must admit, I am now having a love-hate relationship with our new house. Progress seems painfully slow and there doesnt seem to be much changes at site after 2 weeks of being away. I love it because it really is a labour of love (although no hard labour from my end but thinking and having emotional worries count as labour too, doesnt it?)

Hubby has given me the esteemed and glorious title of Project Manager for the home renovations and really, its saying ‘Person to Blame if anything goes wrong’ or if budget’s overblown. Which, by the way, of course it is. Thank goodness for rolling budgets! Tee hee.

So my budget rolls, and heads do too.

Even the deadline rolls. And the size of that problem is equitable to the budgetary one. Its also a rolling deadline! So, a few rules to go by for ‘future’ houses. (A) Try not to get your own subcontractors (B) Select all your materials way before. My contractor jokes that the deadline is ‘always 2 months from the day I ask’, everytime I ask.

So right now, while baby’s napping, I have the time to worry about the deadline. Previously July 1st. Now doing the backward calculation, it really isnt possible. Its July 15th now, minimum.

But I should give myself a rather good pat on the back too. We had a say in every part of the house (you’d be surprised how much some people leave the choice to the designer) and I have successfully juggled all the different sub cons and the fitting in of the new designer. We have finally agreed on the best look, best layout and the optimal solution to everything. So I guess I shouldnt be too hard on myself. But because there are indeed deadlines, we had to make do with some material choices that wouldnt necessarily be the best – and hey, budgetarily too.

On another note, My mum corrected my mistake on the last post. Its Yu Vern’s 2nd memorial this May 30th, not 3rd. Has it ONLY been 2 years? It felt like forever.

I hope I keep the tears in check for the memorial.

On a brighter note, here’s a picture of a urinal in an obscure toilet in Gui Lin, China.

Urinal with automatic water system

Not very sanitary but…cheap! A block of ice saves the day…and the ammonia from the day!

Maxis Maxis Maxis

Oh this lament. It was never in my vocab, never in my complaint books and I have never had to mention this in the past 12 years being a rather satisfied maxis customer. Also, I’m not one to make complaints (this publicly, at least). But it has reached the last ticker! I complained about my ridiculous domestic data charges to them in my November 2010 bill and yes that was rather promptly taken care of the following month. But the following month, there was the SAME problem and yet again I had to make a complaint and request for a credit towards my bill. I have spoken to about 4 different customer service reps and I have had to repeat my explanation (down to the page number X, item X of the bill) and they kept telling me the crediting had been done – B UT the one for my first complaint, not the second!

Today someone rang me back from Maxis – just this poor girl who was doing a survey about the maxis customer’s understanding of their bill. In her own words ‘to educate the customer about billing’ – boy, did I give her a good education about billing!

Anyway, we spoke for almost 45 minutes – me explaining from scratch. She, to give her credit, had pretty marvelous patience but it was a challenge for me to keep my voice in an even tone (as opposed to becoming more shrill by the minute). But I was as good and nice as I could possibly be in the given circumstances. After 45 minutes of getting her to understand the problem (yet again she referred to the first bill credit i received) – she told me…OK Miss Sue-Ann, I will get the personnel involved in your case to call you back again…it will take 5 working days usually.

Anyway i told her…..I refuse to spend 1 hour of my office work hour explaining this for the 5th time to the next person. Please explain this to her before she calls me.

She nervously asked me to summarise again what I just told her – which I did quite patiently because I wanted this issue settled once and for all! I pay my bills via Direct Debit – and have been doing so for the past 10 years but when it comes to billing disputes – its like a lost cause, cos, YOU already PAID!

And to add to all that ruckus, the line got cut off 3 times during that conversation!! Maxis, maxis, maxis…..

 

 

The facial no. 1

I’m going to document my experience at a beauty salon here in adelaide a couple of days ago. Now, its important to note that this is my first ever facial in Australia ever ever and is definitely not a good indication of the general population.(Sounds like a disclaimer, innit? But anyway, I like to be fair)

So Beauty Salon X is a small but well decorated salon selling Dermalogica and Clarins products as well as facials, waxes etc. Their brochure looked respectable and their staff were friendly. I went in there to buy a Dermalogica cleanser, thinking I was out of it. When I went home, I realised my knuckle brain had forgotten I had already gotten a replacement 2 months ago and now I had TWO bottles. So I decided I would swap the product for a facial, since I’ve been wanted to try a facial here.

And..the verdict is….I would have been better off keeping the 2nd bottle of cleanser, even if it took FOREVER to use it all.

When you think ‘facial’ – what comes to mind? Isn’t relaxation and a good face clean up the first thing?

I have heard that in Australia, they dont do extractions. Girls, you know what this is. Boys, you can guess – this is pressing and prodding your blackheads, whiteheads, pimples etc etc. Why would you go to a beautician if not to get rid of these things? Because the beautician CAN supposedly remove these things in a ‘safe’ manner. Of course, you have to go to the right beautician who wont scar your face.

Before the facial started, I asked if they did extraction and to my absolute surprise they said YES. So I went.

I have been going to dermalogica facials in Malaysia for the past let me count – 10 years of my life.  Now I have tried over 20 different salons in my life, other than Dermalogica ones so I also know what is out there. I find the Derma product best for my skin, thats why I always go back. Safe to say the style hardly changes and their professionalism is always about there. You know what to expect, you’d know in a heartbeat if they skipped a step.

So in all my heartbeats, I knew the facial I had in Beauty Salon X skipped 60% of the steps….OK, thats alright…I wont expect the same steps. But somehow I couldn’t help feeling cheated.

Firstly, the lady did not properly pull my hair back, leaving some strands around my face. When she was cleaning my face, the strands kept getting on my face. Ewww.

Then the music they played was Pop Jazz cum Bossanova at a level you would hear in a bar/lounge. Not the flavour of music I would choose for an hour of relaxation.

To me, facials are an art form. You can tell the level of experience of the beautician from their hand movements, and those that take it seriously have very delicate yet expert hand movements. You know what I’m saying.

Anyway this girl was like, pat pat, slap slap and some cleanser got into my left eye. I had to ask her for a wet tissue to clean my eye which was starting to burn alittle. She said sorry – i thought still, its OK, this is quite a common mistake for an amateur beautician.

She rolled a rotating brush over my face in a form of exfoliation and wiped it off. Thank God she used warm water with that sponge and not cold. Then for the extraction, she lathered some ‘scaling lotion’ she said over my chin (problem area) and after 2 minutes my chin started to burn and she hastily wiped it off after I raised that comment.

She took two tissues and pressed around my chin area….I knew with a sunken heart that no white or blackheads are coming out in this method. She says…almost dejectedly “Oh, nothing’s coming out, I’m afraid”

I said…”Dont worry about it”. I just wanted her to get on with the facial on to the massage bit (which I had to add AUD23 for as it came separately). And her massage was….just patting and touching the face at the ‘assumed’ pressure points. I felt nothing, and I was disappointed. And that MUSIC! Was just getting to me. I was the opposite of relaxed. Knowing that I had just wasted AUD90 on this facial – which took exactly 1 hour.

After the facial, she chirped to me “Oh, your skin looks really good!” I said to her “Really??” But hardly anything was done!

As I walked out to pay at the counter after the facial, another lady asked me “So, how was it?”

I had been debating if I should tell them the truth. It was to their detriment if I didnt! I would never set foot in that salon again, I’m not sure if their other customers felt the same way.

I told them A – Z of everything I felt and they exchanged looks and said “thats the way we were trained”. I told them…maybe you should come to Asia for a facial some time. I told them nicely of course – and they agreed with me. End of the day, they both did not take what I said seriously – maybe except for the loud music.

I have decided to possibly give Adelaide another chance and go to another salon for a final try. Heck, maybe even 2, just to have a better sample of the population. Wow, this was a long post – and I cut short my story already! Til my next facial visit….this is to be continued…..

The receptionist

It was with fair excitement that I logged for the first time to Jobstreet under the Employer login. For the first time I would be so to speak “on the other side of the fence” rather than being a hopeful potential candidate.

I have used Jobstreet in my earlier days of job hunting and remember the thrill of going into Jobstreet and checking on the status(es) of my applications – obsessively. But I applied for work quite selectively and usually for work that I thought had potential on seeing me ‘going places’ and not just random “CLICK CLICK CLICK” + “SUBMIT”!

Ok, while I’m now as I said ‘on the other side of the fence’ – only to search for a humble receptionist and also accounts assistant for our office, you can’t imagine the kind of applications we get! (To the point I’m blogging about it, obviously).

80% of applicants for my “receptionist” vacancy were either DIPLOMA holders or GRADUATES! And who are also tremendously over qualified for the role *ting ting*!!!!

Doesnt that indicate that this group of income earners/graduates are either

i. Jobless and terribly desperate

ii. Just submitting their resumes at random

iii. Cannot read

iv. Do not understand the requirements

I myself cannot fully understand the rationale of a graduate wanting to just pick up calls all day. Is this a sign of a waning economy? Or a real peek into the quality of graduates/diploma holders Malaysia produces today?

Most of the candidates for the receptionist role wanted exorbitant salaries – graduates/diploma holders or not. For a receptionist? So it reinforces my theory no. (iii) and (iv) above.

One example of a potential candidate I rang up today, a girl to be known as Ms X. Ms X at her age (young) and looks (pleasant) did not indicate her current salary and expected salary. We contacted her numerous times (voicemail) until she rang back today. Our admin clerk explained we had some questions about her application.

Ms X asked “Where is Klang? I dont know Klang” (According to her resume, she lives in Shah Alam)

Our admin clerk tried to explain – “You know on the way to Port Klang? Banting?” (Maybe she should have said, do you know what is Bah Kut Teh?)

Then Ms X giggled and said “Oh, I need to go meet my friends! Can you phone me back in 5 minutes?” BOINGGGGG!

Our admin clerk hit her palm to her forehead. Alamak!

I have not found it very fun to be on this side of the fence! It is harder looking for someone in a low income group rather than a higher income group, to be honest! So the search wears on……

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