Saturday, January 30, 2010

Of Facebook And Twitter

I started blogging some time last year after I completed the treatment for Hepatitis C. I also started my retirement about this time. I felt I had so much time with so little to do, so I did what most people are doing...........BLOGGING. I discovered, to my pleasure, I was able to kill time and needleess to say, boredom as well. It has helped to preserve my sanity!

Then, my dear husband started bragging that he was on Facebook. Not one to be left out, I hurriedly signed up and was rather excited when I, too, was accepted on Facebook. I felt very pleased that I was part of the Facebook community, but it was not for long.

The next day.........SHOCK! HORROR! Except for a few names which were familiar, the rest were TOTAL STRANGERS. What were they doing in my Facebook. This was definitely an intrusion into my privacy. I saw a lot of activities posted on my "wall". It was certainly not my cup of tea. So, I shied away from Facebook. I was not ready to allow strangers to have a sneak preview of my activities UNTIL..........

A few days ago, I decided to check on my Facebook. With so many rave reviews about it, I decided to do some exploring before calling it quits for the second time. I have to admit I was too hasty in my initial judgement. I was pleased to discover that I could actually control the traffic flow in my Facebook. I can pick and choose my friends and I can control the postings on my wall. GREAT!

When I told my husband about this new discovery, he proudly announced that he is currently a member of Twitter. Oh no! Not another one! This time I will not plunge in blindly like I did with Facebook. Talking about my dear husband, he knows next to nothing about Facebook or Twitter. Never mind, at least I achieved something through his boastful claims.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

"Living Within Your Means"

I am sure you have heard of the phrase "Living Within Your Means" countless number of times. Every time you are in the throes of a financial crisis, the above phrase will undoubtedly be the most popular advice thrown at you. It has been said that if you "live within your means", you will not encounter any financial problems along the way. Frankly, I think the phrase is utterly and seriously misleading. If you continue to "live within your means" be rest assured, you are heading for a disaster, a catastrophe.

If you really want to have a comfortable life after retirement, then "living within your means" is insufficient. "Living within your means" will only sustain you temporarily without having any surplus for the future. You have to go way below, may be 40% less than what you can really afford. May be the following examples will help to illustrate my theory.

If you can just afford a Mercedes, then go for a Honda Accord or anything else in that category.
If you can just afford a Honda Accord, then go for a Perdana.
If you can just afford a Perdana, then go for a Wira.
If you can just afford a Wira, then go for a Kancil.
If you can just afford a Kancil, then you have to consider a Modenas.
If you can just afford a Modenas, then you have no other choices but to opt for public transpotation.

Believe me, if you follow the above rules, you are on your way to a comfortable and financially rewarding future. Of course the rules must apply to everything, both material and sevices. If you can afford a 5-star hotel, go to a 3-star. If you can barely afford a private doctor, go to a government clinic.

The choice is yours. If you feel that it is too humiliating to stoop so low, then go ahead, go "live within your means". You'll be doomed. I am not trying to be sarcastic or cynical. My intentions are sincere and honest. Remember, it is never too late to start. Good Luck.


Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Tuah's Yearly Pilgrimage

Yesterday I took my cat, Tuah, to see the vet for his annual vaccination. This is a routine yearly procedure which I diligently and religiously undertake no matter how hectic my programme is for the day. I learnt a bitter lesson for forgetting his appoinment. Once, when Tuah was 4 years old, he had a very serious bout of flu and only after I took him to the vet did I realise that he was about a month overdue for his vaccination. He was sick for about 10 days. From that day onwards, I put reminders everywhere.

Tuah will be 13 this February 12, Insya Allah. When the time comes for me to take him to the vet, I think he is able to sense my intention. He will be exceptionally quiet and will look at me straight in the eye as if pleading for mercy. Tuah is quite a big cat and it is very difficult to coax him into the mobile cage so I always carry him in a roomy canvas bag. The moment he sees the bag, he will run off and hide anywhere which is difficult for me to get at him, usually under my king-sized bed. Once I put him inside the bag, he will burrow deep inside it trying to hide his entire body.

The ride to the vet's takes about 15 minutes and throughout the short journey Tuah will hide his face and remain almost motionless except for his frantic heartbeat. Occasionally, he will pop his head out of the bag and almost immediately after that he will dive back in and snuggle even deeper into the bag.

The journey home is always less stressful for him. I think he knows that the worst is over. He does not hide his face as much on this return journey. On reaching home he will slowly raise his body and examine his whereabouts while still remaining in the bag. He always seems puzzled that he is now back in familiar territory. The moment he is confident that he is back home, he will jump out of the bag and head off straight to his favourite hideout...........under my bed, of course!

Last night, as on previous occasions, Tuah was very quiet, probably due to the pain induced by the shot on his right upper hind limb. But, as always, he was back to his nagging self this morning much to my relief!!!

Tuah relaxing happily after tucking in a generous amount of
tuna and chicken for breakfast this morning.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Sofa Make-Over

Last month I decided to send my living room and bedroom sofa set for a complete make-over (change the upholstery).The reason for the decision was because my cat's continuous scratchings at the upholstery had resulted in a rather "hairy" and "furry" appearance. Every time my husband and mother blamed Tuah for the eyesore in our living room and my bedroom, I would cover up for him explaining to them that cats have a natural urge to scratch at things, a trait which is beyond their control. I don't really know whether this is fact or fiction but both my husband and mother were a little bit more forgiving after that. Well, I think I succeeded in making them accept  my newly-postulated theory.

Tuah, nicely perched on top of the old sofa, completely worn-out after a bout of merciless scratching.

It's been two days now since I got back my newly-upholstered sets. Tuah tried his luck yesterday on one of the chairs but I managed to stop him before any damage was done. I hope and pray that he will not go back to his old antics.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Manners Taking A Back Seat

Last week, while driving to the market to get some fresh vegetables, I tuned in to my favourite radio station, Lite FM. It was about 8.55 a.m. After humming along to Tina Turner's  "What's Love Got To Do With It", the DJ introduced a guest speaker, Dr. ............., seeking his views on the topic of discussion for the morning "Manners Getting A Back Seat In Our Society". I was very disappointed when I heard what he said. I think it was unbecoming of him to claim that teachers are responsible for the decline in manners amongst the youngsters of today. He blamed the teachers for failing to instill good manners in students. Excuse me, we are talking about manners here. It is considered RUDE to go round blaming others without any  evidence to suppport your claim. It is more appropriate if you put forward suggestions on how to rectify the situation instead of  freely throwing your accusations at teachers. I must admit, though, that you represent most people's negative perception of teachers today. What a shame!. After all the dedication, tolerance, perseverance, sacrifices and determination, teachers are made scapegoats for all the things gone wrong in our society today. I agree that there are teachers who go "astray" but they only make up a very small percentage of the whole population of teachers in the country. Therefore, it is unfair to put all the blame on teachers. Most teachers would go to great lengths to ensure that their students not only achieve academic excellence, but also will become good citizens of Malaysia. Unlike their predecessors before them, the teachers of today have to struggle to achieve all these minus the cane, minus harsh scoldings, minus making a child stand on a chair, minus giving  hard knocks on the knuckles, minus giving a hard slap across the face, etc, etc. It was the fashion those days to practise all these forms of  punishment to "educate" a child.. There were no complaints whatsoever. I came from that era, I know what I am talking about. 

I urge all Malaysians to be more reasonable and objective in their judgement and not just point accusing fingers at teachers everytime a student is caught using drugs, skipping classes, stealing, smoking, extorting, bullying, etc, etc. I think it is the responsibility of ALL within a society, PARENTS topping the list, in ensuring students develop into useful, well-mannered citizens.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all my teachers who have moulded me into what I am today. I had my fair share of punishment during my schooling years but I hold no grudges or resentment against any of my teachers.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Broken Cable Detector

A few nights ago there was a short circuit in one of our three-phase electrical wiring system which resulted in the whole kitchen area  going into total darkness. My husband called the TNB and they came one hour later at about 10p.m. to fix the problem. They replaced the burnt fuse and electricity was restored in my kitchen. However, at about 5 a.m. the next morning, the same thing happened again. Once again, my husband called TNB and they came at about 6 a.m. to replace the burnt fuse, but this time they decided to secure the whole ensemble within the meter with a wire.I was so graetful that everything was back to normal, but at about 2 p.m. it happened again. Much to my relief, the guys from TNB came again but they advised my husband to have an electrician check out the underground cables for the possibility of an electrical leakage.

My husband managed to get an electrician to come over and investigate the problem. It was already 5 p.m. and I was immensely worried about all the perishable items that I had just stocked up for the week in the refrigerator. The electrician was finally able to detect the cause of the problem, a leakage in the underground cables. He promised to send his men over tomorrow morning to dig out the cables. So, until tomorrow, he redistributed the electrical supply using the two remaining phases. This was good enough for me.

As promised, the electrician sent two of his men to start working on the problem the next morning. Now, the question is where to start digging. About a year ago, when we had some renovations done, the underground cable was broken at one point. Of course it was repaired and there was no problem after that.  So,we told the two men that  most probably the leakage was at that point. They agreed with our theory and hence asked us the exact location of the broken cable. It was at this juncture that my husband and I started to argue. He was very sure of the spot which was about two feet away from the spot I was dead certain of. Well, my husband got his way and the two young men started digging. After digging for about one hour, I casually asked them whether they have located the spot where the cable was joined. One of them answered " Belum lagi tapi kabel dah dapat" . I was still sore that they decided to believe my husband instead of me so I blurted out " Saya dah cakap kat sini", pointing out to my spot  "tapi biasalah orang lelaki mesti hendak menang selalu", my eyes rolling in exasperation.

Fifteen minutes after that, I had to go out and get some food for my cat, Tuah. I asked one of them to move their van which was blocking my car. While his friend was starting the engine, this other guy with whom I had  an exchange of words a few minutes ago meekly looked up at me with a smile on his face and said  " Kak, dah jumpa dah bahagian kabel yang putus dulu". pointing a mere inches away from where my husband indicated earlier. It was his way of telling me that  my husband was right. I looked at him straight in the eye and remarked  "Ya, orang lelaki betul lagi". He smiled triumphantly at me. I knew he was satisfied that I conceded defeat. I suppose these little victories give them the momentum to complete a hard day's work. Well, I made one astounding discovery - the male species are equipped with a built-in satellite-like broken cable detector. !!!!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Twenty Ten

It is that time of the year again when everybody starts making new year resolutions in the hope of becoming a better person. I have stopped this annual practice many, many years ago. I used to be just like everyone else, listing down all the do's and the don't's with great enthusiasm. but alas, the longest it lasted was just about a month. I think it takes an enormous amount of self-discipline to really abide by the rules that you set for yourself. I have great admiration for all those who were able to achieve all the goals that they set for themselves.

Unfortunately, I do not fall into that successful category. After failing so many times, I decided to go about achieving my goals for the year in a more subtle way. The key to success, I think, is to avoid being over zealous in your endeavour to achieve whatever you strive for. For example, if you decide to shed a few pounds, don't go overboard by starving yourself, or by punishing yourself with gruelling exercises. You'll end up a sad and miserable loser. I have been there, I know what I am talking about. A little bit of everything goes a long, long way.

So, for all those readers out there who have a neat and tidy list of new year resolutions, take heed. You will only savour sweet success if you approach your goals slowly and gently. After all, you have one whole year to achieve them.