Life is unpredictable

Yes, it is. Although this phrase is so overused, it has its truth in it.

Our office received news a while ago from our colleagues overseas saying that a Malaysian girl whom we sent over last year had passed away.

Yes. Passed away. Just like that.

We were, of course, shocked. Until today, the news still hasn’t quite settled in. No cause of death has been communicated to us yet, and we are still wondering what happened.

All we knew was that no one, her boyfriend back in Singapore and her close classmates, could contact her for more than 24 hours. Her classmates then knocked on her room door and when they got no response, went to ask security to open the door. And there she was, already stiff.

Very, very sad.

I dread to think how the friend would have felt when she first saw her. I dread to think how the friend could muster the courage to call the deceased’s family to tell them of this news. And I dread to think how her parents would feel.

I also dread to think how her last moments were; what thoughts went through her mind, if she suffered alone in her room. Being someone who has studied overseas before and now travel quite extensively for my work, I shudder at the thought of knowing your time is up and you are in a foreign land, unable to do anything, worrying about leaving your family and friends.

B (the deceased) was supposed to graduate this summer (May/June). She was doing her Masters and had planned for her boyfriend to join her for a Europe trip after she finishes. She was supposed to go home to her family, whom, I presume, would be expecting their daughter graduating with a Masters, getting a good job, settling down.

And suddenly, wham, you get a call to say your daughter has passed away – thousands of kilometres away. You can’t see her, you don’t know what happened. You are not even sure how to bring her back to Malaysia, how much it costs.

B’s family is not well to do and they had to (allegedly) borrow some cash to enable the brother to fly over  to get her home. Her parents stayed back, presumably to save costs. They wanted very much to bring her body back for burial, but they knew it was going to be expensive. Thus, the decision was to cremate her.

Fortunately, our University was compassionate. We offered to pay for all repatriation expenses, including B’s brother’s accommodation while he is there. Although the offer was made to them, the family decided that B should be cremated. While we respect their wishes, I cannot help but imagine how would the parents feel – not being able to even see their daughter’s body – just ashes.

B was a Buddhist and being a Buddhist myself as well (although not so devout) thoughts came in. Buddhists believe in life after death, we believe that souls still live on, reincarnation happens, etc. And if B has passed away in another country, I can’t help but imagine if her soul could ‘come home’. I dread how her parents must worry if their daughter’s soul could ‘come home’ to Malaysia and not ‘lost’ overseas.

Buddhist chantings during a wake helps calms the deceased’s soul and aid her in ‘crossing over’. Buddhist monks were engaged overseas for B – it was somewhat surprising that they can find one – thank goodness.

Another wake would be held for her once she is back home, and hopefully, although she passed away miles away, B would RIP. Condolences to her family and close friends as well.

Wifely duties

MP: M’sian men have affairs as wives ‘neglect’ duty

Malaysian men have extramarital sex because of ‘wives who neglect their responsibilities’ to their husbands, a Malaysian lawmaker told Parliament on Thursday, reports AFP.

“Husbands driving home after work see things that are sexually arousing and go to their wives to ease their urges,” said independent lawmaker Ibrahim Ali, as quoted by online portal Malaysiakini. “But when they come home to their wives, they will say, ‘wait, I’m cooking,’ or ‘wait, I’m getting ready to visit relatives’,” Ali said.

“In Islam, wives are supposed to stop everything to fulfill their husband’s demands.”

Ali heads Perkasa, a right-wing Malay nationalist group seeking to protect ethnic Malay dominance in politics. His strident comments came as he asked about plans by the government’s religious development department to educate wives on their responsibilities. Wives failing in their duties pushed men to go to “private places to satisfy their urges”, he said.

Source: The Daily Chilli (April, 2011)

==================================================================================

Politicians in Malaysia certainly never fail to amaze. Every. Single. Time. Heh.

What made this bugger say what he said in public, to the media is beyond me. Have you not thought of how your words may be taken verbatim and posted everywhere? Have you not thought of how embarrassing it may be when people start criticising you – your intelligence questioned?

Gosh. Help us. I am sure this has gone global and non-Malaysians are sure to think that people in Malaysia still live on trees.

Stop everything to satisfy your urges? Jeez.. what if wifey is cooking for your kids? Or wifey is feeding your kids? This mentality is so backward. Your wife is not an object to satisfy your urges. She needs to be respected and if she does not feel like having sex with you and you force her, it is rape. Moron.

I wonder if the same applies to the wife. So, if hubby is too busy with work to ‘satisfy’ her, can she seek satisfaction somewhere else?

 

The harsh reality

 

One of our staff was fuming yesterday evening. Literally fuming, with bright red ears and quickened breathing. Initially, he did not want to tell us what caused it, but gradually, after some probing, he did. Apparently, he is still mad over what the boss did.

Well, it was not a small matter, of course, to a student working because you needed some extra money. What he said was somewhat true – why are we keeping an incompetent staff on board and why can’t we, as subordinates do anything?

I don’t really have a direct answer to that, actually, except to say that this is the ‘reality’ within most corporate organisations. Bad management is everywhere – not to say that I am a good one or will be a good one – and we can’t escape that easily. And unfortunately, these managers exist in the ‘middle’ levels, which makes it more difficult to ‘get rid’ of them. As subordinates, we cannot go against our manager, simply because this is how the system works. We have to support them regardless of what happens and the trick to deal with this is probably just to listen, bitch about it later and do it the way we think is best.

It is also the reality that most organisations in the Asia region is bureaucratic, no matter how globalised you are. Employing the right people may help but as the system wears them thin, no one could be bothered anymore.

Intellectually inept

Well, this is the only term I could think of to describe you. Yes, you. Although you are not malicious and your intentions are always good, I can’t bear to talk and listen to you sometimes. How you can be where you are today really amazes me. Is this how people last long in a cut throat environment? Being totally oblivious to the fact that people around you think you are stupid?

Ah well, I must admit that there are times when I am turned speechless by the questions you ask and things you say. Although it is no fault of yours and it doesn’t do much harm, but it does have an impact on me.

I want to learn and grow and I don’t see this opportunity with you. I want to be intellectually challenged, to learn on a daily basis and to be given a chance to grow instead of just delivering. After all, this is what progression is all about, innit?

But if you can’t provide me with these, I get really frustrated. And bored.

And if I get frustrated and bored, I look for opportunities elsewhere.

Update 19/3/11:

An opportunity has arrived! But now, I’m in doubt. Just like the nagging doubt I had when I came over here from BC. Will I be able to cope? Will I blend in the environment?

I know this opportunity is something that is too good to be missed. And I’d probably regret it if I didn’t take up the challenge. The boss I’m going to work for is tough, I know him.

And it’s flattering to know that he values me so much that I am offered a job in less than 2 weeks after I submitted the application.

Sigh. I hate making these sort of decisions.

But then again, looking back at all the geram-ness I’ve been experiencing currently, this is something that I should move on to should I want to learn.

Goodbye 2010

It has not been a tradition of mine to compose something about the past year but I felt like doing so this moment. Granted, it has been almost two weeks past the new year and I have been so caught up with work I haven’t really had the chance to sit back and think. Perhaps, nothing much has happened over the past few years – and since I changed jobs early this year, things have been a bit different.

The past year has gone by like a dream. It is hard to believe that I have been in this new position for almost a year. I am still learning, which is good. That means, I still have not gotten bored of what I am doing yet. However, this nagging feeling to jump off is there.

Anyways, year 2010 has brought me places – India and Bangladesh – which I would not dream of stepping foot into ever. These trips made me re-look at life, question my priorities and of course get to know new people. Life is not merely confined within the office and nothing else.

I am also almost finished with my MBA course, moving on already to the electives. Two electives, one research proposal, a final thesis and I’ll be done. Hopefully by August. And hopefully, an MBA with distinction or merit.

I have not been writing nor blogging much over the past year and hopefully, Year 2011 will see me doing this more often. The only writing I have stuck with religiously was my assignements!

Are we all selfish?

No. I don’t believe that we are all selfish.

Yes, there are people in this world who would think twice about helping others without getting some benefit but there are also those who will extend their help without expecting anything in return.

And I also believe that good deeds should be passed around. Regardless of nationality or race. Shouldn’t this be in-built in us already since we are born in this multi-racial country?

I was at a course presentation in Penang mid-year and came across a couple (parents of a prospective student) who are highly annoying. They were asking a lot of irrelevant questions and I felt the father was rather enjoying himself seeing me and my colleague stumble instead of being truly interested in the course itself.

First of all, what’s our lecturers’ pay gotta do with you? And what does our pricing strategy gotta do with you? These are highly confidential information and of course, as a representative of any organisation, revealing such information is not possible, even if I know the answers. Quality of the course is guaranteed by our reputation and if you think otherwise, then do go on somewhere. Sorry to be that blunt, but you are the consumer, you have your rights.

What really ticked me off was how he questioned us about the clinical training we provide to our students. Of course, clinical trainings are carried out in public hospitals. Students get to learn from doctors and attend to patients from all walks of life. Reality unfolds in a public hospital.

Mother kept saying that doctors in public hospitals are predominantly Malay. Father told her not to involve race in our discussions but kept questioning if we paid these doctors anything to teach our students. Okay, I am not really sure but me thinks these doctors are not paid EXTRA to have clinical students learn from them.

So, father again wonders why these doctors would willingly teach students if they are not paid EXTRA. And he thinks that they should be and if they are not, then they wouldn’t be willing to impart their full knowledge at all.

His believe, then implies that all teaching hospitals in M’sia are crap because the doctors won’t teach and students can’t learn. And he kept going on and on about this point, wondering how much his son would learn.

My thoughts?

1) Not everyone is selfish. Many, though not all, are willing to impart knowledge without asking for anything extra. Like the classmate who shares his notes or the colleague who tells you how to go about doing stuff.

2) This is Malaysia. Regardless of race, we teach and coach each other. Sports trainers coaches athletes from different races and they all win for the country

3) Clinical students could perhaps learn by observing. No need to be taught. Would a doctor risk the life of a patient just because he doesn’t want a student standing beside him to learn everything he knows? So, observe and learn from there

4) Being a doctor is not being selfish in the first place. If you are a good doctor to begin with, you teach and help others.

Anyway, the main point of this post is to stress that there are people who does things without expecting anything in return. And, if everyone thinks like the parents (that all people are selfish) this world will become a much, much colder place to live in.

Of course, not everyone is an angel, but I strongly believe that they do exist. And I am glad to have many of these angels in my life.

Are the tough times over?

Finally, my very last exams are over. From now on, it’d be just assignments for me to complete, which is a huge, huge relief. I never did have the chance to update this until now, when the dreaded day had ended more than a week ago. My only worry now is completing the major dissertation.

I had been feeling very, very tired weeks leading up to the exam. A colleague commented that I may be just mentally tired instead of the ‘real tired’ – if you know what I mean. And now, looking back, I think it’s somehow true because I don’t feel as bad nowadays. A bit stress free and I can concentrate more on my life.

Life.

Yeah, seems bland lately. I don’t blog, write or read as frequently anymore. I wish I could do more but these are merely luxuries that are to be enjoyed perhaps only after getting that MBA. I also need to go out more, keep in touch with friends more. All I do over the weekends are catch up on my studies. Pathetic.

Anyway, since the exam is out of the way and I am taking a short break, I did manage to enjoy myself a bit by going for two makans two weeks in a row with some of my favouritest colleagues and kids!

It felt like old times and thank goodness I still could understand what they were talking about. That means, I am still very much attached to BC and its people. Well, slowly though, I foresee that I will understand head nor tail what and who they are talking about. If that time comes, perhaps what I will do is talk to them instead:

Haha. How could I not love them? As long as they are not mine and I can give them back to their mothers when they start crying, I welcome them every day and night!

Oh yes, I almost forgot. When I arrived the other day, I sorta heard one of them calling me Aunty J – although it was just a incoherent mumble, I am very sure I heard it and she was trying to call me Aunty Jenn after her brother. A huge, huge achievement for a special girl which I am very proud of!

Catching up also led me to a lot of news. Like how bad things have turned for the worse and how unappreciative management has become. I don’t know why these news didn’t surprise me anymore, nor do I have the strength to argue. Getting out of my comfort zone made me learn a lot of stuff (which will be the subject of a subsequent post!) and I am just taking life one day at a time now.

When life get demotivating, I just need to remind myself that there are a lot of positives around and I am one lucky soul compared to many others – family, friends and colleagues.

And, with these, tough times can be made better somehow.