It's been a while

Yes, I know that it’s been a while since I’ve written anything here. No good – cos that means I am super busy at work and with my studies, too. My exams is coming real soon in August and gosh, I am not even sure if I’m prepared enough to face the paper.

Got to know from our Facebook group that some passed and some failed Corporate Finance, which got me really worried. I had more confidence when I was attempting Accounting last year and thank goodness I managed to score a credit. A distinction would’ve been good cos I aced all my assignments with a distinction. *beams proudly*

Fingers crossed I’d pass. Else, I can’t imagine going through another 3 months studying again and again memorising those darned formulaes. I forget about what I have studied almost as soon as the paper is over. Sigh.

Work is getting on well. Just got confirmed yesterday. There was no hesitation when I signed the letter, which was good cos that means – deep inside – I am coping well. However, I do wonder sometimes – what am I after? Perhaps life would be more meaningful if I’ve done something different – like work for an NGO or something like that. Or maybe travel the world, helping those in need rather than sitting here talking to people with a lot of money but knows no respect. But then again, there are commitments to think about.

I have also been travelling like mad. Something I would not imagine myself doing if I’m still with BC. Got myself a GPS to bring me around and although it didn’t really work well sometimes, it’s good enough for me. Fingers crossed nothing major will crop up until my exams are over.

How nice if I can just leave everything and retreat to a small town. Heh… not sure if I would even survive there.

Met my ex-colleagues recently at a wedding:

Chatting with them again brought back a lot of memories and of course, we did catch up on some gossips. However, things didn’t really feel the same anymore. Perhaps its a good sign. Perhaps this is a sign that I am blending in well with my new colleagues (finally!)

It was a shame, though, that I did not get to see my Unicorn Club members. Wonder when I could see them! When, ladies?

Also heard some bits of unpleasant news from one ex-colleague, which now made me feel glad that I’m out of there. I guess there isn’t really an ideal organisation one can work at nowadays. Everywhere is the same. As long as you are here, the Asian culture takes over everything.

Well, at least I have a job. At least I have colleagues whom I can get along with. Although our management makes us puke blood sometimes, at least we know we can survive with each other.

And I feel glad.

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Nightmare at the dentist

Honestly, I never quite understood why people would want to study dentistry. I mean, everyone is afraid to go to the dentist and he is perhaps one of the most feared person by any sane kid, next to the disciplinary teacher.

However, ever since I had braces on, visits to the orthodontist and dentist don’t seem that scary anymore and I had been faithfully getting my teeth checked annually without fail – until this one time last year.

I had a really bad toothache – I think my filling came out and there it was a gaping hole which was sensitive to everything. So, I had to go look for a dentist first thing in the morning and it being a public holiday, there isn’t a decent one around.

Now, now, I am quite particular really on which dentist I choose cos I hate the pain and pokes I have to go through. The least these people could do is be nice and courteous and gentle while drilling my mouth. I don’t mind paying more, but I really hate the pain and discomfort.

So, I went around the whole of Ampang looking for one on a public holiday with my bad toothache. Finally found one after almost one hour driving around. It was an Indian dentist and his clinic has been there for quite some time, so, I thought that it wouldn’t be too bad.

Wrong.

The nurse first told me that I had to wait for a bit since I don’t have any appointment. Okay-lar, wait lor, what to do? But then again, to my relief, she summoned me in not long after.

The moment I stepped into the ‘treatment room’ was when reality hit me. Two words came into my mind – ‘Oh, shit!’

The room was slightly larger than your normal dentist’s room, perhaps two-in-one. There were this row of dentist chairs, four in total, all lined up nicely.

Gulp. Reminded me of those during my school years! Some were occupied and I was ushered to an empty one by this short, balding, old dentist. Next to me was a Chinese boy with a terrified face. As I took my seat and looked over to him, he must’ve seen my terrified face, too. Jeez… so much for childhood trauma!

I was left for quite a long time while Mr Dentist attended to four patients at one go. He will peer into one mouth and poke into another. At one time, he even screamed at the boy – ‘Jangan nangis! Berhenti sekarang!’

OMMMGGGG!!!!!!! Really felt like leaving the room there and then but I think I must set a good example to the boy. IF he sees this aunty running out like a mad woman, I think he would’ve brought the place down by his wailing.

So, there was I, equally as terrified as the boy, forcing a don’t-worry-boy-it-won’t-hurt smile at him. When Mr Mean Dentist reached me, he asked me what’s wrong. So, I mumbled and opened my mouth for him to look. To my extreme horror, he snapped a picture and projected it on a tv, in clear view of everyone in the room!

My gaping-hole-in-the-mouth picture was left there for the longest time while I was also made to sit there as he walked around attending to few others, answer calls for the longest time and chat with his friend who dropped by to visit while poking into my mouth!

The filling was done after one whole bloody hour and since I also requested for scaling, I had to wait for another half an hour before I was attended to yet again. And to my horror again, the dental nurse who took my name actually did the scaling for me! I didn’t know if she was qualified to actually attend to patients but since I did not see her do anything to other patients, I guessed that she was asked to clean my teeth because it is something less ‘serious’ than others.

And as if that’s not bad enough, this dental nurse of his has BO – talk about bad experience! So, there was I, lying on the dental chair, her arms hovering over me – and with my mouth open, I don’t have much choice but to breathe through my nose. Gosssh…

As I walked out of the clinic, I swore to myself never ever to go back there again.

But then again…

I think I have been feeling some stinging pain at the exact same spot Mr Mean Dentist did the filling…..

Customer service, where art thou?

Read this piece this morning over my must-have cup:

Make good service a way of life (Source)
At your service with Tan Sri Mohd Sidek Hassan

Keeping the customer satisfied should be the most important consideration for any service provider – be it in the public or private sector.

A COUPLE of days ago I received an e-mail from a service provider. They gave me three options to activate my service; do it via e-mail, SMS or by telephone.

I chose to confirm by e-mail, as that would have been the most convenient given my job demands. Lo and behold, I get back an e-mail message asking me to confirm my confirmation via, SMS and telephone.

On another occasion, now as an internal customer, I was invited to a meeting via e-mail only to be told that I had to confirm my attendance in the attached form that was to be faxed back to the organisers.

Whether an internal or external customer, I found the complete absurdity of bureaucracy in full action in both instances.

Service must make sense.

Common sense must always prevail in service rendered to us common people. It must serve people of all walks of life, in all income clusters from various histories and family backgrounds, and nationalities.

Service must be time-sensitive and it must be agile to times as well. What may work today may no longer do so tomorrow as priorities change, expectations grow with maturing public and global demands.

This holds true in any country, any service and no less any public service delivery.

In each of our defined daily roles — be that of a hawker, a housewife, an unemployed or a student, a CEO or a public official like myself, we each look for one thing and one thing only when we seek a SERVICE.

That when we turn up to a point of service, it is delivered as promised by the provider with basic human courtesies extended.

No amount of technology advancement can replace this elementary and essential need we all want from a service — public or private.

I have received many complaints of public service delivery and its officials – not on lack of technology advancement and modernity – but mostly on the runarounds given to the public by our officials.

Whilst we must work and hold to laws inscribed there is nothing stopping anyone from making life comfortable for a customer when he/she visits a foyer with a long waiting queue.

Officials could do the” McDonald” for instance where a staff would go down the line to take orders. By the time you are at the counter your order is ready for collection.

We could offer refreshments to make the wait less taxing. Even seemingly inconsequential actions such as answering the telephone courteously could calm a somewhat irate customer. Nothing beats the pressure gauge more than to ring a line with no answer or when it is answered, you find that you need to call another number for your problem to be solved.

Recently, when the systems failed at the Immigration Department in Pusat Bandar Damansara (PBD), the whole team decided to compensate the customers – who were kept waiting – by working the next day, a Sunday, at the nearest office to complete the interrupted work.

In its simplest form of service innovation, this action would leave a long term positive emotional impact on a customer.

The fundamental essence of service to me is respecting the sacredness of time itself; sacredness of the customer’s time. The customer is the most important person, not the provider.

When we keep people waiting without notice and set expectations (in whatever form), it displays total disrespect for that person.

Arguably, strength of character is the main denominator to extending “boutique” service.

Where there is strength in character, integrity follows. Where there is integrity, what is expected of one in any situation and of any task is delivered and delivered to nothing less than excellence and fineness.

When we have people with the right attitude and character delivering service, their quest for success will be driven by making life as simple and comfortable for customers.

Even when things break down, technology flounders on a bad day, your customer service remains intact. In the instance of the Immigration service, even when systems failed, the service itself did not break down!

How one handles and manages the customer can make a potentially explosive moment into a “it’s not a big issue” second.

Based on this rule — we make for an environment where officials will always look to innovate, improve, refine the delivery system.

Making it simpler, efficient and no doubt satisfying for our CUSTOMERS. The quest for modernity and hardware advancement will be driven by the software needs — i.e. the customer’s convenience and comfort. There is order to the rule. Things are not done in vacuum and on a perceived need any more. When we have these basics of SERVICE in our tenets and charter, the public service delivery would move Malaysia to great heights globally, making it a formidable brand.

Public officials must reach out across the aisles to all our partners and critiques. Every one of them is our customer; even our harshest critiques.

As service providers we must accept criticisms as a gift, a gift for improvement without which we remain stagnant and torpid. We must work off humility and integrity as our points of reference.

Every public official must have the competency of a “Public’s Complaint Bureau.” Complaints management must be the “problem” of every official.

Engagement with stakeholders, including the media, must be the scorecard of everyone in the service.

Without engagement, we will continue to operate in our own world view — an ineffective proposition by any means, not simply for the Public Service but for the public and country at large.

When public officials revert to the basics of real service we inculcate a culture of quality, precision and excellence in the public service of Malaysia.

On a day when all is broken, the fineness of our Service Delivery will remain remarkably intact!

A very ‘enlightening’ piece, I must say, which I doubt every reader of The Star do not know. But, errr… Tan Sri, since you have noticed it and are aware of it, what are you going to do about it?

Have you…

poop… ever thought of becoming a lump of shit?

No, I’m seious, really!

Recently there is this ad on TV – Wah Lai Toi, to be exact, not sure if it is available on other Astro channels – that depicts this guy dressed in this shit suit. Well, you know, like how someone dresses up in a Mickey suit or a Barney suit?

The commercial starts with this guy in a ‘shit suit’ inside a prison cell screaming for his release. If you are creative enough, you’d have guessed at this point what the commercial is trying to sell. Then slowly, the camera moves away from him and our tv screen is replaced with another guy rubbing his huge belly.

Ahhh…. constipation… hahaha..

Okay, the commercial is for this fiber drink which I don’t remember the name and it ended with this ‘shit’ finally breaking free from the prison cell.

My mom first pointed out the commercial to me and after a few lots, I asked her – if someone were to approach her to ‘star’ in the commercial as the shit, would she take up the offer? And mind you, a talent on commercials can get you good money.

On another note, I was also wondering: this fiber drink company so much money ar? Can go put commercials on Astro some more. A lot of people nowadays must be constipated…

China Airlines

Good afternoon, Ladies and the German. This is your cheap purser Wang Lui speaking. On behalf of China Sudden Airlines, I would like to welcome you on board our Bowling 737 from Shenzhen to Qingtao.

Members of my crew speak Chinese and other languages that you do not know. It is a great pressure serving you to-die. Should you need any resistance during the fright, peace do pest the call button. I and my gals are available to make you feel comfortable.

Meanwhile, the airkwaft is going to fry. Peace sit upright and keep you belt tightly fastened until dinner is served at five dirty p.m. Hope you would enjoy your fright with us. Funk kill.