Sunday, March 27, 2005

Was it 5 months already

Mohammed Yusof, the pantry caretaker suddenly barged with his head sticking in through the door of the meeting room. Looking at surroundings first then at us.
"Meeting hallas?" he asked with curiosity wiggling his head slightly.
"Yes. Meeting hallas." I replied placidly.
And a smile forms across my face as I wonder if only things were that easy.

boontz247 was updating me what's happening back in KL and with the rest of the guys earlier this morning. Then it dawned on me that there have been many apparent changes. So much so that it could not happen in such a short period of time. It later came to my mind that I didn't realise it has already been 5 months since I came here.

Saturday, March 26, 2005

Shredding ourselves into pieces

The Sheikh has given his ultimatum which is for the whole SC team to move to the new complex at Isa Town by next week. Prostrated with that, no matter how reluctant they were, a busy day it was seeing them packing and especially the indian workers who were called in to help move the things into the truck. As we were heading back after a long day at Juffair, we dropped by the keys of our rooms to the guard. He was quick to point out the obvious when he asked "Last day?"

"Yup. Last day." said Sonny.

The guard, Wahid, raised his eyebrows and gave a casual salute to us.

"Moving to Isa Town" said Sonny.
"Isa Town. Very good." answered Wahid.
"Very good?" asked Sonny.

Moving to spanking new polished marbles, glassy walls and quiet air conditioning is not exactly what I am looking for. I was studying the new schedule the other day. Certainly a horrendous extension to the already eye tearing super human schedule that we have had just barely pull through. The overall schedule so far easily doubled the initial schedule in terms of the time taken and that initial schedule which was what I termed as a bloody joke. The continuous delays and the double digit number of changes often reaffirmed myself that we are suffocating ourselves, petering out sooner or later.

On a related incident, I learnt that paper shredding was certainly not an easy task to look down upon. I choked myself a few times due to the lack of proper ventilation. Fortunately for us, they have this old school paper shredder here which we used to fill up more than 20 large black plastic bags of shredded documents that were supposed to fetch RM 3 million. That darn thing sure looks tough and durable, but it died on us a couple of times after some excessive usage. Glad it's still working now. Just throwing a fit I suppose.

Sunday, March 20, 2005

The jobs I had before 20

I was pondering about the small jobs that I had took prior entering to the real working environment and landing myself fulltime employment the other day. It was sort of amusing to rekindle the past really.

At the age of 11, when I was still studying in Sekolah Sri Murni, I sort of took up an employment there and then. Technically the job description is of a salesperson. I was selling shining Dragon Ball cards to other younger kids around the school basically. Those cards were trendy and a hit. I did not have much money then. My daily allowance were far below par as compared to the other kids who, in majority came from well to do families. Naturally I wasn't able to buy my own supplies. Ergo I took my supplies from a classmate named Lemon. He would have a huge stack of the cards including some exclusive limited edition ones and he would pass them to me every morning to do my sales. I would then approach younger kids and sell them the cards. Vaguely I remember the cheapest would be RM 0.40. In order to push for more sales, I will keep the limited editions long enough till they beg me to sell it to them. The catch that I imposed was to purchase it at a rather high price as well as purchase other low demand and unwanted cards from me. I would get a commission and return the other profits and cards back to Lemon as the day ends. Come to think of it, I wasn't that shy when I was young but then again, those younger kids which I approached were not total strangers but friends or of some acquaintance.

Moving on to the age of 12, I was asked to attend for an audition at Arab Malaysian. There were about roughly 50 other kids around and we were formed into smaller groups. The first task was to perform a small sketch. Being the older one in the group, naturally I had to lead the other younger kids. We did a short classroom sketch. Nonetheless it was dull and plot-less. The second task was to conduct an argument with another random participant. It was hard to contain the laughter that was bursting out and put up an angry face with stern and logical argument facts, all at the same time. The third task was the reversal. We were asked to laugh out loud as if we saw something freaking funny. It is easy to guess now that I was only able to muster a loud but totally obvious fake sounding laughter. Anyway, at any rate, I made it through and did the job of a span of 3 days at Filem Negara. It was a children discussion show for 'Kelab Kanak-kanak Angkasapuri'. It was strange then because I sort of stammer a little when Kak Jessica shove the microphone towards me. I remember repeating my answers 3 to 4 times in my head before raising my hand to answer the question. Fortunately Kak Jessica knew what I was going to say and guided me through. And that's how I pocketed RM 300+ inclusive of a bonus of RM 100 for the 3 top best points made of the show.

Fast forward to the end of the SPM year, friends were going all out to find part time jobs at cafeterias, boutiques and data entry jobs at KL. Chiefly the targeted areas were around Bukit Bintang. Midvalley Megamall then was pretty quiet and did not present many job opportunities. It was hard to find a part time job even. The fateful day came when I enquired about a job vacancy at KLCC, one of the shops with a palm as the logo. They hired me and ironically were asked to work at Midvalley's branch. I was an extra staff to help cater for the extra weekends' volume of customers. It was absolutely agonizing to stand for the whole day and I quitted after the fourth day. I was paid RM 90 in total but the irony to that is that I was driving a Perdana to work. How naive.

Flustered with the meager sum, I then gave tuition to a Form 1 kid. I was 18 at that time. Tuition classes were boring to me and to my victim. Funny to think that I had the audacity to claim the answers at the back of the workbooks were wrong when I had made a blunder during the correction of the kid's work. I managed to scheme up a story to raise the fee up to RM 190 per month. However the classes took too many of my time, TV and my yamcha sessions. I called it off after the fourth month when the kid's mom wanted to include her older child into the class as well. I shrug off the job one day with a phone call when I parked my car in front of the kid's car but was totally unmotivated to go in. The last I heard, the kid was doing well in studies now. Straight As in PMR. Definitely that has nothing to do with me.

At the age of 19, I was picked by a club in Sunway College to undertake an application development project. It was a disaster really considering the clients were expecting a commercial CRM database system for tracking their works and customer profiles, but the goddamn club only charged them RM 2000. On top of that, the club wanted to get 20% out of that said amount. It was a one man show basically, me doing the requirements, design, coding, testing, customer relations and so on. I remember spending days and nights coding in my room like I was the most hardworking and potential programmer. I brought my product of sheer effort to the meeting room and sold it to the customer. They were happy and paid RM 500 as the first progress payment. I continued on to make changes and presented them version 2.0 and was paid again RM 400. The project management were terribly poor and I was irked to no end by the project supervisor as well as the client's ongoing calls. I cut all ties then and the client actually used the project as her final year project submission. She even requested me to provide her with all the documentations, data flow diagrams, entity relationship diagrams, source code and also, surprisingly pencil sketches of DFDs. RM 900 was cheap for a final year project as that wasn't the market rate at that time. So both parties remain happy. I was even offered a full time employment there but I have not then graduated yet.

Saturday, March 19, 2005

A quirky morning

I was chatting with Ashraf in front of the apartment building this morning admiring the breeze that will soon be bygones as summer is approaching. I am not really keen about summer here as it actually makes more sense to term it as being toasted. Back to the point, I was chatting with Ashraf talking about how quickly they erected two apartment buildings in front of us and now they are even fully painted and soon to be of operations. A mere 4 months back, when I just came here, the area was flat but now the buildings have blocked the view to the causeway by the sea and also obstructed the views to the occasional sunsets. I was rather dumbstruck when Ashraf said it is considered slow because in contrast, the government buildings nearby was built in a day's time. I looked at him puzzled upon hearing this confounding statement and he explained that the building blocks are ready made and they brought cranes and just assemble all of them together on the spot which seems very much like Lego to me. Granted, my knowledge in buildings construction is somehow limited but to see a collection of short flats built in a day simply baffles me.

Visited the gym downstairs this morning and was perplexed when I saw the floor being seriously wet. I then opened the second door and my jaw dropped as I saw the room for sauna and jacuzzi flooded. I quickly rushed to locate for Ashraf and conveyed the incident. After checking out, he lets out a sigh and said that it has already happened 3 times before this. It is caused by the running tap of the jacuzzi which some of the inconsiderate users did not turn it off.

I came back to my own apartment and Sonny told me another kooky story. Apparently yesterday when he accompanied the PM to the doctor, Abdul Wahab, the doctor gave PM 3 litres of water to drink which he claimed was self made. The doctor even requested PM to return the following day bringing along his own shit for test. Now how bizarre was that?

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Hagehr davinci

How I became a graphic editor or photo editor for the day.

Me: *shows result of printed card*

Shawqi: "Hmm. I think we should brighten it up."

Me: *lasso around, set brightness and levels using photoshop and shows result of printed card*

Shawqi: "Heheh. I think we over did it. Could we go somewhere in the middle?"

Me: *lasso around, set brightness and levels using photoshop and shows result of printed card*

Shawqi: "Oh dear! Looks like a vampire really. We need to add more colour, to look more natural"

Me: *lasso around, tweak RGB, set brightness and levels using photoshop and shows result of printed card*

Shawqi: "Yes. It's much better but the nose still spoils the picture. Can you paint the nose so that it's more uniformed?"

Me: -.-"

Me: "Paint the nose?"

Me: *eyedrop, brush and clone stamp around using photoshop and shows result of printed card*

Shawqi: "Oh! I think you did it"

-- 3 minutes later --

Shawqi: "I think the area around the eyes are abit dark"

Me: *brush and dodge using photoshop and shows result of printed card*

Shawqi: "Oh, this is the new one? Yes, the eyes are brighter now. Hmm okay go ahead!"

Me: "Phew"

In an unrelated incident, I learned these 3 arabic words yesterday. Trying to expand my pathetic arabic vocabulary even after being here for nearly 4 freaking months.

Ashasma - Bahraini slang for "What is the name?". Often used to delay some time to help recall of the right word to use.

Hagehr - 1. For, 2. Really?

Mohjul - Means available.

Monday, March 14, 2005

Within the vicious cycle

This is a country where you can begin the day with a drop in temperature of 13 degrees than it was yesterday.

One thing I absolutely loathe about Bahrain is how bloody dusty this place can be. A slight opening of the window would bring about horrid dust around the table / room / bathroom that would left me aghast.


I saw a review of my blog at Yes I guess it is my first blog review and somehow I felt both honoured and amused. Below is an excerpt which I extracted from the site itself:

2) loonatik: the blogger is a Malaysian guy who seems to have chineese roots as well (however i'm not sure about that) & now works at the CIO in Bahrain. His blog seems to be regularly updated. He blogs about some interesting encounters with locals in a restaurant in Bahrain and describes the cultural changes between Bahrain, UK and the Far East. A very interesting blog to check out how a person new to Bahrain settles down while coming to terms with the culture shock - Overall a regular blogger that needs adding to my list of daily feeds


Yesterday was one of the pinnacle moments. 16 and a half hours without much time to even sit. Went back, had a shower and went straight to bed leaving out the much delayed dinner. A few hours later the vengeful cycle begins again. I didn't realised I was that tired until Tailou came into the room this morning and saw me catching a nap, with my head on top of the laptop bag.

"Ding mm sun ar tai lou? Cham mat mou tak fan ar?" said Tailou

I barely mustered some strength to acknowledge him and sit up dazed and foggy headed.

Saturday, March 12, 2005

The happy flow

Being forced to be in godlike operation mode is seriously burning me out. At this rate, I should be making waves.

I hang on only from the remarks and encouragement of others.

"Look at the brighter side", she said.

"We must be positive. At the end of the day is all that matters", he said.

Initially I thought it was just myself. However I realised I was the toughest actually statistically speaking and also when I heard from the least expected person who said sarcastically to Tailou, “Lei chung oi lei meh?” which really brought to my view of the stark reality.

I was given a calendar today. I took a nonchalant view and study it, followed by a discussion with a fellow colleague. All it did was to further add to the depressive mood and builds to the cynical shell.

Life doesn't always follow the happy flow
Akram Zaki