Thursday, June 30, 2005

Maggots and recession

I went into the kitchen and the stench is beginning to build up. If I had walked any closer, I would need to restrain myself from the natural gag reflex it could kick out. The second sore is the space the rubbish is increasingly occupying.

"Let's throw the rubbish together. It's getting too much", I said.
"Hahaha, okay!" Sonny said.
"How come there aren't any maggots? It has been nearly a month." I asked while carrying some of the rubbish toward the dumpster.
"Yeah. Strange. In Malaysia about a week or so, there will be maggots. Sometimes even in 3 days" claimed Sonny beamingly proud of his achievement.

I came to the office later in the afternoon. Yet another weekend spent working. We had no choice as there are still tons to be finished. I look around and saw no one. Rushing up so much in so little time is going to bring productivity sky high but not in terms of quality and enough QA. That is something I'm not too happy with.

Read from the internet, Standard & Poors gave Malaysia a 5.5% GDP growth prediction for this year and the next, citing adequate domestic consumption in all areas except for construction sector. Another fact property are overpriced. And from, America's property market are expected to crash or experience a slowdown very soon. Should it bring the country into recession, their policy makers will have less room to maneuver this time. Interest rates are already low and tax couldn't be cut as their deficit is huge unlike in year 2000. The whole world's economy is at risk especially to an export led economy like Malaysia's. In about a year or two still it would take but what can we do to save for the rainy days? We are already hit by the rising inflation and some even spotted in KFC. Kim's worried about the third rising fuel price. And I of the cascading effect to all other things.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Errands around Bahrain

Last week, we planned to have a mini Bahrain tour with me being the tour guide for them. Our plans were all sorted out and destinations were prioritised, chosen along a route according to the most convenient and efficient tour for the day by referring to the map. However, our plan foiled after hearing the disappointing news from our manager that we need to work on our rest day. The very one thing I absolutely can't stand about working here is that, more often than not, we have no rest days at all. It is 7 days after 7 days which really drains everybody and left everybody burnt out. It couldn't be helped because the damn contract for the project dictates the schedule as this short and we have tons to cover for each bloody milestone. Chiang and Phillip were noticeably thwarted in hope and we quickly switch to a turnaround plan. The plan was to split the tour into 2 parts. Go tour, go work and go tour again after that if possible.

I agreed and I woke up at an ungodly hour which I would normally fail. Our first destination was to visit the Tree of Life. One would normally associate this trip as the main touristy spot for Bahrain. But seriously, to me, this goddamn tree is greatly overrated. Our day did not begin too well as the weather for that day was not on our side. It was a freaking sand storm day and the gush of wind was one of the strongest I ever experienced here. I would not drive faster than 100 km/h as it is very apparent the wind was having quite some effect to the ride.

Sand storm wind
(Apple Quicktime format)

They were inquiring about the camels and I replied that they have to depend on luck to see them around that tree. Soon after that, a herd of camels were marching toward our direction. We stopped at the side of the road and walk towards the camels.

The camel shepherd was kind enough to stop the camels and let us take pictures with them.

Those camels want to lick your face

Damn wind makes my hair look bizarre

The camel shepherd then suggested: "Ride?" Before we could respond, he grabbed one of my leg and cupped his hands together as if forming a step of ladder. It is apparent I am not an experienced rider and was grabbing its hump in an awkward way.

We then adjourned to have our lunch at Fuddruckers next to the filling station. we proceeded to see the Bahrain F1 circuit. We quickly took pictures and left as it was darn hot and very uncomfortable.

Yesterday, PM saw us looking at the pictures that we took.

"Ini photoshop ke betul ni?", he asked obviously baffled.

One would not have thought we managed to steal time to visit places considering the working hours we have to put in daily.

On the following night, I brought Chiang around Dolphin park at night just to see women dressed in all black abayas sitting around in circles on the grasses by the beach. After that, we went to the restaurant by the beach to have our dinner. Next to our table was a group of Bahraini mens playing dominos and smoking shisha. They kept looking over to our table and after some exchange of smiles, one of them went "Ni hao!!" loudly. Chiang replied and we went there to chat around, observing their game of dominos whilst eating some kuaci and nuts.

Last but not least, this is the dreaded project we are our working our asses off day and night. What is more frustrating is that many of the design aspects is fundamentally flawed and would cause inconsiderable amount of operational problems. But that is how and what they wanted. Bahrainis are equally kiasu but their citizens benefit as they can get their national card issued in a matter of minutes, unlike ours.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Property bubble, go bust you will

Articles that catch my attention recently have been those of recession or any kind of bubble burst. During the Asian 1997-98 crisis, I was still in school and didn't really felt any impact on my life then. I learnt a tad bit about George Soros and used to write it in my BM essays discussing about spekulasi matawang and often scored some desirable marks. In hindsight, I would say the essays were conjured using memorised paragraphs laden with points I read from other sample essays. So, the marks were actually obtained with my capability of memorising an entire essay. Years went on after that and my mom only told me that my father is not bringing back home as much income as he used to. Such figures are unknown to me but I could still count the hampers that we receive just before every Chinese New Year diminishing in quantities.

I read that a glooming yet expanding property bubble in US and everywhere else in the world is gravely worrying. And everyone knows that, when US is not doing well, so would all other countries. Prices of property in Britain have already begun to slide and so has retail sales and consumer spending. Australia's property boom has subsided or more popularly termed as have entered soft landing. The figure given for 2005 registered growth at near 0% although economist gave a 7% drop in property prices. Economist predict for a bubble burst or a correction for the US's property market by 2006. What about Malaysia? I see property development launches everywhere mushrooming as if the economy is booming at a great extent. The price tags for these properties are not cheap either by any standards. Although I don't have the figures but it surely feels that price appreciation for the last few years has been growing so fast that it dwarfed the growth of the previous decade. So much so that I can only but conclude there is a definitely a possibility of over supply.

The very low interest rates have been encouraging this artificial growth. But I do not think the economy is growing as how the song is sung by the government. Recovery of PTPTN loans. Fines of RM 300 for motorist on the spot. The creeping inflation at 3.2%. Raising essential commodities like oil. Less returns on insurance endowment plans. Frigging low interest rates and EPF payouts. Pegging of Ringgit to remain until economy become robust. Bonds are giving a better return than equities investment. If these are signs of a bad economy, why in the hell are property prices booming?

I'm miffed because the appreciation is outgrowing my income. Hmph!

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

parking woe

We arrived at GDNPR Building (Immigration Building) for a meeting today to discuss issues regarding the electronic gates for the airport. Whilst circling around in our search for a parking space, we found nearby a barren land, surfaced with sand and small rocks. There were quite a number of cars already parked there. Just what we needed, we thought. However, after looking around the perimeter of the said area, there wasn't any apparent entrance into it. Befuddled, we examined and conclude that the only way in was to go straight above the kerb. As queer as it may be, that is exactly what we did to go in and exit from it. Another strange but true tale from Bahrain.

sweet no more

The stark realisation that dawned on me yesterday somehow hit me harder than the first time I came to chanced upon it. This is especially so coming from a female's perspective. So true. So gullible was I. Alas, I accepted it as it is a universal truth that one can but deny. I must resist and reform from within. Even if that is against my nature. I would need to reform and change from the inside out, not merely putting up a wall or veil, but a change that takes over my nature so to speak. Yes, I am becoming an asshole.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Dana Cinema, ambivalent and refinement

Whilst waiting for the movie to begin, I walked around the mall and decided to check out the spanking new Calvin Klein lot in Dana Mall. I was flabbergasted when I check on the price of a pair of jeans. It is around BD 65 (or RM 650). Since when did a pair of jeans become so bloody inflated? I think they are here to cut the Arab's throats, certainly not mine. I think the price should be much lower in KL.

The first impression when I walked in to the house was that the seats were plush, big and comfy. In comparison they are bigger than a typical car's seat. The pathway in front of the seat is adequately spaced out. I call it a pathway because I cannot touch the seat in front of me even after extending my leg out. They must have at least 3 feet of space apart from the seat's footspace separating each row. And these are only the regular seats as there are sofa size deluxe seats and couple seats at the very back. But the comfort of all this is at a lofty price of BD 2.5 (or RM 25.25).


I just got to know that the period of my stay here might be extended for another 3 months after the rollout. It is still in the case of might depending on who is chosen to service the warranty period. Feeling ambivalent, my thoughts echo against the wall of my mind pondering whether this would be a bliss or otherwise. Aside from the horrible yet pricy food, torturous weather and the sense of incessant solitude; the most killing factor would be getting burnt out from a continuous 90 working hours per week. And needless to say, that is not something which is very much desirable. On the other hand, I could have a much relatively easier life but complain about the lack of pay and raise along with the rest of my friends. Either way, it seems pointless for me to ponder about all this as the decision of my fate is in the hands of one who is the AGM.


I have been reading about local politics, business, economy, financial and property investments in a rather religious way as of late. These are some which bores me to no end and could not possibly attract my short span of attention merely a year back. Am I becoming older and bored?

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Haiku of the unspoken answer

Reach down into the heart of ours
and ask of it the blatant truth
could you see not what i could

He wonders if she feels the same
euphoria of sorts one did not anticipate
lest she did not he was in vain

So much have happened yet more is to come
of possibilities like the sky above
one cannot but wonders what it could have been

Persist and trust in us we must
even when we are far apart
if it is meant to be it will

Like faith love only exists when
if you believe in it like I do

I'm a goddamn fool. Those who had deciphered the hidden gem please keep quiet.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Ads Free MSN Messenger

Came across LcF site this afternoon and this caught my attention. Ads free MSN Messenger. Curiosity took the better of me so I downloaded and executed the patch. And voila, in less than 5 seconds I now have Ads free MSN Messenger. The view of my MSN is not as cluttered as before. So great I felt compelled to spread it albeit to a limited audience.

Ads Free Patch

Ads Free Patch - Multiple Login

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Break in the Malaysian Embassy

Finally, we had a break yesterday. A very much needed and anticipated one, that is. Consecutive working under pressure to deliver through long and extended hours will take a toll on anybody's physical and mental state. I slept for 12 hours, no less, even missing the Nadal vs Federer match.

We were invited to the Malaysian Embassy for a gathering. There was a small crowd there, about the size of 70, who were there for a sole purpose, that is to feast, I believe. The embassy's job is to occasionally throw parties and hold gatherings using various excuses to spend the budget. For yesterday, it was the Agong's birthday. Nearly all of the guests came in brand new Benz and Beamers. Granted the price of cars are very cheap here as compared to the artificially exhorbitant prices we have, but it seems to portray as if the bumis here are doing very well. At these prices, I can get one for myself even, but pragmatism and prudence took the better of it. Okay fine, sour grapes it is then.

I was asked to attend the appointment to observe and understand the current Queue system in Hoora. That place reeks dinginess. When I walked in, I felt like I was 2 decades back in time. The only modern cue would be, as apparent as you can tell, the Queue system above. The signboards, computer screens, noticeboards and the communication language between the customers and at the counters are in Arabic. I am beginning to worry about the upcoming training sessions.

It was darn hot outside which made me feel rather giddy after coming back to an air conditioned office.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Signing like a star

I placed my signature on 68 documents yesterday, one after another, at the document author column for our ultimate final submission. Ultimate because we have in fact sent in a few final submissions but was turned down. Momentarily that made me feel like a star as if I am signing autographs. Few months of torment, work that was done by going through dreadful days and agonizing nights and not to mention, weekends sacrificed. It all finally come to a conclusive ending as I hope it to be. As how it has always been, we were given false hopes at the beginning as the client refuses to sign them off.

Choices, not chances led you to your destiny

I wonder how true the quote above is.

A colleague asked me whether I would envy them going back now and some sooner than I would be. I replied in the negative, saying it is not long enough. And it hit me then, that I have become more accustomed to the lifestyle here or rather the lack of it.

As usual like the past few weeks, I was placing an order for lunch for the whole team this morning. Unfortunately, the other side who usually speaks English does not today. So he was only replying purely in Arabic. Strangely enough, I was able to understand what he was saying just by knowing one key word "Mafi" which means nothing or don't have.