Sunday, October 30, 2005

Day 2

Woke up early in the morning, it was 5.15am and the hotel room phone was blaring. The lady from the front desk was making our morning call. Sri, as usual was stoned. It wasn't surprising, considering he had only less than 4 hours of sleep. I would be having a headache if that was me. I was not only a bit pissed when I was woken up in the middle of the morning, but it was kinda tiring to wake up at 5 something two days in a row.

Got up, showered and we headed down to have breakfast. It was 6am and there were only 3 tables taken. Not everyone had to wake up early, like us. We left the hotel at 7am and headed straight for the station in Changi South Street. We reached the station at 7.20am. The couriers were having their morning exercise and the morning sort had already started. The packages haven't fully arrived from the airport, but the conveyer belts were already moving. We met up with June and there was Peter. The tall man, whom I've always spoken to but haven't met up in person. He said hello and proceeded to move along to inform the couriers, what they needed to do. Norman also walked by and said hello.

June arranged for us to go out with one courier each. I got paired up with Adtha, a nice chap and we witnessed the packages being sorted into the vans. Each courier picked up the packages belonging to his or her route, and proceeded to put a scan using the tracker. These scans will then show up on the Internet, telling where the package is. Usually customers always want to know, so there you have it. When it's on the van, it will show up on the system.

We went out into a residential area first. The roads were very similar to KL, in Bangsar Park. The names were Jalan Limau Purut, Limau Besar, Limau Manis... and this really reminded me of the place where Wan Yee stays. Did they copy us? Adtha said that the place was only about 10 years and Bangsar Park is more than 30 years. We can see who is the original one. Oh by the way, the couriers drive Mercedes Benz, nice with tiptronic transmissions. Damn, when am I gonna get one with a three pointed star?

After the ride, we headed back to the station. Met up with Peter and Norman for a while. Chatted a little with regards to the traces that were opened and got a little feedback from them. After that, Sri came back and he said he was tired as hell. Not surprising, 4 hours sleep and alcohol in the system, I was surprised that he didn't just drop down on the floor after all that walking. June came and met up with us and we proceeded to have lunch with her, Mavis, Johnson and Willie. We went in two cars, and as usual Johnson was driving. Mavis drove her Corolla and we met up in the coffeeshop. Don't ask me the name of the place, all I know is that they have good curry laksa. Now I'm not a big laksa fan, but this was good.

As usual, Johnson was cracking up jokes and I must say he is really not as I imagined. He's always been serious in his replies, but he's really shown that he's not that sprung up and serious all the time. He really knows how to have fun. After lunch, he took us sight seeing to some place called Joo Chiat Road. Apparently it's famous for the Pasar Malam on Thursday nights. Also, it's famous for Vietnamese girls. What else, I'll leave that to your imagination. He even told us how to get there using the MRT and which stop to get off. Of course we didn't even bother, but he's told us that when we are there on holiday, to go there and open our eyes.

After lunch it was back to the station where we sat in with the dispatch team. Now the dispatch centre is really the coolest place in the whole station. It's totally isolated in a special room and they have the music on and everyone's really cool in there. Met Hussein, Rahim, Selva and Zalizan. Nice people and it was really interesting how different this was compared to the dispatch team in KL. After that we headed to the logistics floor, where it's a warehouse for most of FedEx's large clients. It's really huge and you could even get lost in there.

Then it was down to meet Peter and gang. He's a nice chap and even gave us some very nice stickers for Dangerous Goods. Stickers like, "Dangerous when Wet" (my favourite!), Radioactive, Corrosive and all. Damn, the DG stickers are really the coolest. Think I'll just stick to the Dangerous when Wet sticker. Really puts a whole new meaning to wetness. Peter showed us all the traces he works on, and I can see why he's got the toughest job in the station. It's really difficult working on so many customer's requests, but someone's gotta do it. I can't imagine him retiring and I'm really worrying who will his replacement be. He shared some Apom Balik with us and in Singapore, they call it Kuih Kacang (Peanut Cake).

Then we headed back upstairs to meet up with the people from Tele Sales. Really nice to be able to see what does the sales team do. I've only managed to communicate with them over the phone, but being able to meet them in person was really nice. Felix, Tony, James, Faezah were all friendly and they even provided us with some nice gifts. Sweet! Sri of course knew most of them and had some time to catch up with his old chaps from Customer Service. I on the other hand, just sat there and heard from feedback from Felix. Surprising thing was when she told me that she was from Penang, but don't expect her to speak Hokkien.

We had such a good time in the station and it was basically the highlight of the trip. Really enjoyed our time there and getting to meet most of the managers. Also did manage to meet up with Eric Pun, the evening manager. Went to say goodbye to June and Johnson. Told them that if they are ever in KL, I'll be glad to take them out and show them around. June said that she was going to come down to KL next month. Guess we'll just have to wait for Aunty June to come calling and she said that she wants to go to Madam Kwan's.

Sri and I decided to go and take a look around the hotel surrounding to see what good restaurants around. We then hopped into a cab and headed to Orchard for a little sight-seeing. We got off at Takashimaya and we tried to get to the other side of Orchard. Being two tourists there, we tried looking for exits only to find that all of them were locked. Sri, being so frustrated, walked towards one and there was a sign, which he claimed that he didn't see. It basically said that if it is opened unnecessarily, an alarm will go off. I wanted to warn him and before I knew it the alarm went off. I just turned around and walked off. He turned around trying to say, "Oops.." and saw me missing. Basically I fled the scene faster than he could say the word. He caught up with me and I told him that he was gonna be arrested and interogated.

After that incident, we walked along Orchard Road for quite a bit. We didn't see any interesting restaurants that caught our eye. We decided to just take a cab back to the hotel. The line was long and we just took the train instead. It's been 9 years since I've last set foot in Singapore and a lot has changed. Orchard still looks about the same, but the MRT really feels different. It just shows that the LRT system in KL really sucks and it's slow as compared to the MRT. We got back to the hotel and walked towards the restaurant. The hotel restaurant was already closed. Damn, we had to find something else to eat.

It was really sad and our feet were tired as hell. We just went to the second floor and saw a Japanese restaurant. Just had our dinner there and along with a cup of beer each. Now that felt good! After that it was just back to the room, shower and off to bed. We had to be up early the next day to get to the airport in time. Just the thought of that really put our spirits down. I should suggest to our Senior manager that the airport visit should be re-scheduled to the second day. It's really disappointing that after the visit we had no where to go back to rest our feet. I'll explain that in my next entry.

took a cab back to the hotel and then it was off to dinner at a Japanese restaurant.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Trip To Singapore - Day 1

Well, here's a summary of the 3 days that I spent in Singapore.

Day 1:
I woke up at 5.45am to get ready for my limo. I called the limo company and told them to change the time to 6.30am. I packed in a hurry the night before and didn't manage to bring my earphones for my mini, dammit no mp3s to listen to. Had a cup of coffee and then it was off to the showers. My dad knocked on my door and said that the limo was waiting outside at 6.15am. Damn, these guys are too efficient!

I got into my clothes, rushed down with my luggage and pouch and made damned sure that I didn't forget my ID. Otherwise, no 10% off in DFS(Duty Free Shop). Luckily I subconsciously packed my airplane ticket and passport in my pouch. While I was in the limo, Sri, the AM for the call centre called and asked where I was. I told him the limo was along the Sungai Besi highway, and I'd be there in about 30 minutes.

Got to the airport and then it was off to meet up with Sri. Funnily, this was the first time I met him as we've always just spoken on the phone. No direct contact as his office is all the way in the heart of KL, while I'm based in Damansara Uptown. Strange to be able to put a face to the name, which is what I've been doing for the past 3 days in Singapore.

We checked-in, spent as little time as possible in the shops as we did not plan to buy anything before leaving KLIA. It was quite exciting being able to travel to Singapore. Then he asked whether I brought the booking number for the hotel. I was going through the iteniary for the next 3 days in the limo but I didn't remember seeing the booking paper. I called up Ashley immediately and told her that I might have left the paper in the house. She said not to worry and she'll try to get the number for me. But then she recalled that it was the only copy and she had handed it to me. Damn, I downloaded the flight details into my phone but not the hotel booking number. Brilliant!

I checked in my pouch again, and to my surprise, there it was! First panic of the day. Got onto the plane and it was a short flight to Singapore. Though, they served coffee on-board and this was my second cup for the day. Then it was off to the immigration checkpoint and then to the baggage claims counter. Got our bags then straight to the cab. From what I've heard from Albert, the call centre manager for Singapore, he told me that all the previous flights were delayed. Our flight was the only one on time. No delays what so ever.

So straight to the FedEx station in Changi South Street. When we got there, we felt a little lost. Went up to the first floor and called for June, the duty manager there. Sri fondly calls her Aunty June as she was his manager before, when they were both working in the call centre. June was kind enough to let us put our bags in her office and she showed us to the break room. There, third cup of coffee, I knew I was gonna be sprung up! 3 cups of coffee in the span of 4 hours, that's an average of 1 hour and 20 minutes per cup. Damn, it was going to be a long day. While in the break room along came this girl, who I could have sworn I've seen in the video that Yen showed in one of the meetings. Sure enough it was Queenie! The girl from HK who helps us a lot in the trace department. She initiated by asking if we were from Malaysia and then she knew it was us immediately. We went to introduce ourselves and it was nice to finally get to meet her in person.

Then June came in and introduced us to the other people in the office floor. The office is a whole lot nicer than our HQ in Uptown. I'm kinda jealous of the nice interior that they have there. We met up with the Tele Sales team, then it was off to the other managers, Johnson, Samuel, Mavis... gosh, all of them whom I've just talked to over the phone or just through writting via email. Now I get to meet them all in person. Johnson's a funny character, before I met him he was the serious manager, but now I've seen him in person, he's actually the most funniest manager around! We also got to meet Willie, the Service Assurance manager.

It was off to observe the SPICE team, which deals with US paperworks for clearance issues. Though, it was sad that none of the SPICE team members were around. They were all on leave and the CusCare division had to take over their job. We got to know a few of the CusCare people and they gave us an insight of their jobs.

Lunch was off to err.. some place called Banquet, a food court, which caters to halal food. Johnson drove us all in his Mitsubishi Colt Plus. Nice car, kind like a bigger version of the Colt. Lunch was good and we joked around with Johnson, who was giving us a little insight into the activities in Singapore.

After lunch we took a cab to our hotel where we checked in and then it was off to our second station in Pasir Panjand, Alexandria. As we got there, all the managers were getting ready to go for a conference. At least we still got to meet Shanker, Eric and Mazlan. The three main managers there. The senior manager of the station was not around, and Cetera was kind enough to give us a tour of the station. We also got to meet the HP support team, which was made up of three people. The station was a lot smaller as compared to the one in Changi. We got to witness the second cycle in the afternoon and we were shown the Power Packs, something that will replace the pen and paper in the near future. We also requested for a sit-in for the call conference between the stations, the CS department and the Gateway clearance operations.

Then it was off to the Financial Services Control for FedEx. The office was in Techlink building and it was impressive! It made all the other buildings look bad, this was the poshest building for all FedEx operations. Guess they really have to make the credit collection building the best looking one don't they. The trip was the shortest and the manager Lester just asked us, what can he do for us. We didn't really know the reason why we were there in the first place. The trace department doesn't have much dealings with the Credit department. It was just a short talk with Lester, then it was back home to the hotel. Before that, Sri suggested we have a cup of coffee there as it was the best. Had my fourth cup for the day. Damn, I was really charged up.

I had dinner with my uncle the first night. We went to Tiong Baru, near his place and we had a nice dinner. Not bad, we ordered a fish, a fried chicken dish and also a hot plate toufu. Good stuff, did a lot of catching up and he was quite impressed with the hotel we stayed in. It was the 48th floor and the only complaint that I have is... the lifts are too slow. They should have more lifts, the view was good and it's really nice! Guess Sri and I were fortunate as the rest stayed in the Park Plaza. After dinner went over to my uncle's place and had a look at his apartment. Not bad, it's actually in one of those heritage buildings, which was quite impressive. The interior of his place is actually quite nice, pleasing and huge. His room had the balcony expanded so there was actually more room.

Day one didn't end there. I got home at 10 something and took a shower. Had a cup of tea and then it was off to bed. Sri came back to the hotel at 1am and he woke me up. He had the nerve to ask me, "Bro, why your eyes so red?" I told him that I was sleeping... DUH! Had a short rest, I calculated about 6 hours plus and he had about 4 hours of sleep. That's what you get for a night out drinking with your buddies dude. He was kind out the whole of second day. We had to go for a check-ride with the courier. I'll write more on the second and third day in the next blog entry. For now, it's off to dinner.

FedEx Plane Posted by Picasa

Swissotel Room Posted by Picasa

Hotel View 1 Posted by Picasa

Hotel View 2 Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Heading down to Singapore

So I got my confirmation from my MD saying that the travel to Singapore has been approved. Got my airline ticket yesterday afternoon and my confirmation for the hotel booking. Will be staying in the Swiss Hotel, a.k.a. Stamford Hotel. Dunno where the heck that is, but from what I hear, it's a pretty nice place.

Looks like this will be my first trip down since 1994. I can imagine, it's been 10 years since I've been there and a lot would have changed. Too bad I no longer have my digital camera, otherwise I'd be busy taking photos of the place. Now, I hear this place is a haven for electronics. Wonder if I'll be making any purchases...

My flight's at 8.15am and the limo will be at my place at 6.30am. Initially it was supposed to be 5.30am, but when the people from the call centre adviced me that I don't need to be there so early, I decided to change the limo time.

Tonight's dinner was held in the FedEx call centre in the heart of KL. I had initially planned to go to KL earlier but I had a few things to tie up before leaving town for 3 days. My manager was not going to attend, so I had to make sure that I go there as the MD and my senior manager was going to be there personally. The Buka Puasa started at 7pm, but I only got there at 7.30pm. Most of the chiqs were gone and I had to endure an hour long jam to get there. Sigh... should start planning my time better.

Anyway, I'll be leaving my hectic schedule tomorrow and head down to Singapore for 3 days. It won't be as busy down there as we'll be observing how the Singapore operations work.

I just packed in 5 minutes and here I was worrying about forgetting something.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Sad Thursday...

It started off like any other morning. Except for this Thursday, it was a gloomy sky. The rain started to fall and the sun was no where to be seen. Got to the office, heard some gossip about the PM's wife. Bless her soul, it was a sad day when I opened up to find that she passed away at 7.58am that morning.

As if the news could not get any worst, I received a call from Merv at 11.30 saying that there's been a break-in at my house. In that very moment, thoughts flashed through my mind. Never in my 26 years have I felt like that. The first thing I thought of was my laptop sitting in my desk, the PS2, the TV, the DVD player and all the other things in my room. I called my dad, checked where he was. Fortunately he was out at the doctor's when I called. No one was at home, so far so good.

I could work no more. Nothing was registering in my mind. I just got up, walked straight to my manager's room and told her that my house got broken into. Took the rest of the day off. I needed to rush back to see what was missing from the house. The rain was still pouring from the sky and it got heavier as I exited the carpark from Tower B, Uptown.

When I reached my house, my dad's car was already parked inside and he was talking on the phone. I rushed in, saw the sliding doors wide open. The padlock that locked the sliding door grille was no where to be found. Walked into the house, the TV, amp, DVD player and speakers were all still there. Then it hit me, they raided the rooms. First thing I said to my dad, "My laptop's probably gone". He said, "No, it's still there on my bed". That was a relief.

I rushed straight upstairs and sure enough there it was sitting on top of my bed. Looks like that RM50 something lock really did work. They tried to take it, but too bad suckers! Though, can't say the same for my other belongings. The drawer that I locked my cash in was broken into. All the cash stolen, along with my digital camera. My clothes were thrown all over the floor. The drawers were ransacked and I thought, shit... my 3 pairs of Oakleys were probably gone too. To my surprise, beneath the pile of clothing, there it was. All three pairs, not stolen.

Though, I was missing a gold ring... My PRECIOUS...

Sigh, my parents' room was a mess. All of my mum's jewelry gone, along with cash that my dad kept in the house. These guys knew where to hit, they wasted no time and straight into the drawers in the bedroom. Fortunately no one was hurt and my laptop is still sitting here. Otherwise, I wouldn't be blogging this. What an ordeal to come home, the very home that I've lived in for 26 years. This was the first break-in and it the safe feeling that the house provided no longer exists.

Made my way to the police station in Pantai and lodged a police report. The sargeant from Brickfields came later that afternoon along with a photographer. He had his trusty camera and a finger print kit. As usual, no finger prints. Only glove marks. I curse those buggers under my breath and hope that they die a painful yet slow death. Heck, hope they suffer really good before they die. I think to myself, no use cursing. I'm sure they'll probably get what they deserve somewhere down the road.

It was a sad day, and also my condolences to the PM and his family. The news was really devastating.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Celica Posted by Picasa

Beemer.. Bar B Posted by Picasa

Auto Salon Chiqs Posted by Picasa

C-West Style!

C-West 350Z Posted by Picasa

Now, this is the best looking 350Z ever to hit the streets. The C-West kit, coupled with nice 19" gold rims along with a huge GT wing; plus the carbon fibre bonnet. Now this is the ultimate 350Z!

I managed to snag this photo in the Brisbane Auto Salon in 2003 at the Brisbane Convention centre. This whole place was filled with trick-out cars. Nothing was left standard. Basically, if it's a sleeper, it's a loser. We're talking about hydraulics, ICE systems, themes, killer paint jobs, shinny engine bays and everything that you can imagine on how to mod a car. Most of the cars strangely were Japanese imports. Not one Holden in sight. There were a few Beemers, but other than that they were all the major Japanese cars you can think of.

Of course there's the usual Auto Salon chiqs that you get. The stage area was kinda packed, so it was really difficult for me to get a good shot. But anyway, I'll just post these few pics for you guys to see. Now, how come we don't get things like that in KL?