Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Look to the bright side

I heard the news from my colleague yesterday. It was about my department is going to be spilt and most of the team member will be assign to other department. I don’t like the idea but I’m looking forward to this news to be announced. This is because I rather heard the news officially announced in the company meeting and see how it goes.

Today, I went to the meeting and the news was true. The company meeting didn’t put up much of the detail how is going to be done but for a second moment, I was heart broken. I looked to one my department colleague and he gave me “There’s nothing we can do about it” look. When the meeting was ended, I met up with my manager on our way back to our place and I joked about this issue; whether I was able to assign to a popular department. (Big mistake; never tell joke to your manager about serious issue) He didn’t say anything it but I can feel the tension is there.

Later, we have our own department meeting. I saw most of the team member faces don’t really like the idea. Anyway, it was decided by the management. People in the meeting talked a little emotional. I think this is because we’re a strong team. We have encountered a lot of issues and solved them, furthermore everybody is working happily. (I think) Beside that, most of the impact should felt by those who start up the department, which including me.

The department was start up by 5 of us, where we actually went to Delft to learn it. We learn everything they provided there in 4 weeks time and take it back to Malaysia. After we take over, I can see things are moving very quickly. We’ve managed to complete a project, solved some tough issue which people in Delft unable to solve it (Maybe it’s the distance problem) and I can see it is going on track to become stable and better.

Today, it faces the reality to be split in order to get things done even better. No doubt, this measure does really provide it advantages by solving the misunderstanding between departments. As my manager said, “Look to the bright side”. Well, the bright side which I can think of are, new things to learn and new colleague to meet in coming days. Nevertheless, I’m going to miss my department colleague where we’re working together as a team and really make something out of it.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Dinner is ready

12th Nov - It was 8:30am. I got a call from an unknown number (it's a lady voice) and the phone conversation goes like this.

Unknown: “Hi, is this Vesco?”
Me: (Still blur after woke up by the phone) “No, this is not Vesco.”
Unknown: “Are you Vesco from XXX” (I forgot the location XXX in the conversation)
Me: “No, I'm not Vesco. What phone number did you dialed?”
Unknown: “Is there anybody called Vesco there?”
Me: “No, there's nobody here called Vesco”
Unknow: “Sorry, wrong number then” (Hang up)
Me: (Went back to sleep)

I thought when I answered the phone, “No, this is not Vesco”, should end the conversation. Somehow, this lady sounds to me like, she deny the reality that she made the wrong called. (She never missed a dial?) Or maybe I should answer, “Sorry, wrong number” and hang up after she said hi (It's rude, I know, but save a lot of time). :D Anyway, fast forward to 4:00PM.

After I took a shower, I brought a bottle of Baileys into my car and head straight to my colleague's house for dinner. It was planned couple of weeks ago where we finally decided to have a dinner at one of the colleague house. I really like this idea because I have been eating out a lot and I am bored with the restaurant or stall food. Initially, the plan was agreed by 4-5 people. Later, they start bringing people in to join us and from there, it grows to 11 people. (Luckily it wasn't 13) Beside that, this dinner is special than other house dinner because it was prepared instead of one chef, we have 3!

While I was stuck in the traffic jam, I got a call from one of the chef suggested me to get the movie ticket. (The plan included movie after the dinner. Later, we found out that it was a bad idea) I agreed with her and head straight to the cinema to get the ticket. After I got the ticket, I received a call from my colleague stating that we have 3 more colleagues waiting at the train station. He asked me to pick them on the way to the house and I agreed (Again). Well, this is the first time I went to the Subang Jaya train station and I'm not really familiar with the road in this area. However, I got a little helper luckily. It's a Klang Valley map book. (It would be better if it was a GPS. Global Positioning System)
After I have picked up the 3 colleagues, I head straight to the house without delay because I think we're late. By the time we reached there, it was 6:15PM and the dinner hasn't started yet. Then I waited on the living watching TV for the food to be prepared. The dinner starts at 7:30PM and I was glad because I was really hungry. (Maybe they do that on purpose because food tastes better when the person is hungry)

There are 6 types of dish and a soup on the table: 2 chicken dishes, 1 mixed vegetable, 1 tofu, 3 cawanmushi, 1 fish, and a mixed vegetable soup. Those dishes tasted really good except the soup has less taste in it. (Good for health because it has less salt/msg in it). I think we managed to finish to all the dishes in 30mins but there is more; dessert. Dessert was served with chocolate cake, sweet red bean and jelly. But before that, as promised to my colleague, I and one of my colleague was assigned to wash the dirty dishes. Some of the colleague helps to clean up the floor after I have done the dishes. My Baileys was served after they finished their dessert. Everybody seems to like the taste of it and they almost finished the whole bottle. I think because of too many people sharing a bottle, therefore nobody get drunk and it’s safe for the driver to drive.

After the drinking session, we all are prepared for the movie. Things went out a bit rush because some of them wanted to take a shower before going (So, it was a bad idea to watch movie after a great dinner). As for those who are free, went to the cinema first; others will catch up to them later. At the cinema, those who took the shower arrived at the cinema around 5mins behind the first car (I wonder whether the driver did get drunk and arrived at the cinema at this amazing speed). Anyway, the movie turns out really nice and the title was “Chicken Little”. (Yeah, chicken again after 2 chicken dishes)

Finally, I really like this kind of dinner once in a while because the next workday, there is a lot of opinion and complaint from the chef regarding the dinner (therefore, it’s better not do it too often). Suggestion was raised such as everybody brings their dishes there instead of cooking all the dishes in one place; less clean up to do in the kitchen. Nevertheless, I bet there’s one coming in the near future. :D

Friday, November 04, 2005

Penang Trip Part 3

23rd Oct – It was 7:30AM in the morning again. I was waked up naturally without any help from the alarm. After I get myself brush up, I wait for the others at the living room. By the time everybody was ready, it was around 8:00AM and we’re heading to Bukit Bendera for hiking. Again, it took us quite a while to actually find the place. When we reached there, it was 9:00AM already and it wasn’t the place we were actually looking for. Let me explain. The place we have arrived is actually a tourist place; the hiking place is actually from the other side of the hill, according to one of the friend’s information. We even confirmed that after we asked the local people for direction. Thus, we can’t hike from here because there is no hiking path except the tram. Well, there wasn’t much time left for us because we need to check out at 1:00PM. Therefore, we changed the plan from hiking to have a walk in the Air Hitam market, a market nearby Bukit Bendera. Since we haven’t taken our breakfast yet, we went to the market to have some of the local delicacies.
After the walk in the market, we take a spin around Penang city center. We stopped nearby some shops just to get the famous Tam Bun biscuit and Buah Pala. We wanted to moved on to the famous Cendol, which just located nearby but it was too late for out check out. So, we decided to come back later after we have check out from our apartment. We was manage to get back to the apartment around 12:15PM before the check out. There was a rush on the shower and the packing because it seems that there wasn’t enough time for everybody. Fortunately everybody was able to get their shower and we was manage to check out in time.

We went back to location where we found the cendol and have our lunch there. The cendol stall was located nearby an old cafeteria, where it has some other food beside the cendol. I tried out the cendol and it was really good. It has almost the same taste I had in Kuantan (it was long time ago) but not in KL. Beside that, I was told that the laksa there was famous and it was true. The laksa taste was one of its kinds where I just can’t find the same taste in any other places. It was so good that I even empty the soup as well. Hahaha.
After the lunch, some of the friends went to get the biscuit and some went for shopping. After everybody finished their shopping, around 3:00PM, we head back to KL. Along the way back, we have couple of stops at the rest house. This is because after the meal and the weather were hot, I felt sleepy and needed the break. Nevertheless, we reached KL safely and the time was around 8:00PM. I sent one my friend to a LRT station and went straight back to home.

Conclusion, the name of this trip was Penang Eating Trip (Sorry for mention this at the end of the blog) and no doubt it’s all about eating. However, I think most of the time was spend on traveling because we are not familiar with Ipoh and Penang’s direction. And I think it would be much more fun to visit the local tourism places where we can put some of the energy on foot instead of sitting in the car all day. Nevertheless, I considered it a good trip because I met some new friends and all of them are very sporting. Maybe traveling wasn’t much about the places that I’m going; it’s about who I’m going with. :P

Penang Trip Part 2

22nd Oct – I and my roommate got a wake up call from our organizer at 7:00am. After we brushed up, we went down to the hotel lobby. It was 7:30am by then and to my surprise, nobody there except us and the receptionist (I wonder why she made up the wake up call, but no showing up before us). After handling over the keys and payment to hotel “manager”, we went to the hotel car park and take our car (Believe me, there is a hotel car park in this building). When I was waiting for the others outside of the hotel, I found an oil leakage in the right rear wheel of my car. The leakage is from the wheel bearing and I start to worry about it. I remembered that my sister took the car outstation before and it happened to be broken in the same wheel. Fortunately, there was no scratching sound coming out of it and the leakage wasn’t too bad. I suspect that the leakage happened when my car speed reached over 120kph but at lower speed, it works fine.

The first destination we went in that morning was the famous dim sum in Ipoh. It was a short distance to go there but it took us some time to actually locate the place. At the restaurant, it has a very nice dim sum environment but it was air-conditioned. As a fact, dim sum is best to served when it’s hot. Due to its small sizes, plus in an air-conditioned environment, it will easily get cold. So, it’s better to eat it fast when it was put on the table. However, a funny thing happened after we sat down. The waitresses poured all the dim sum on the table and telling us to choose which one we don’t want. At first we thought, this is not a bad idea. Nevertheless, there are flaws with this one of kind service. Dim Sums that are required to be cut was cut and put on the table (Example, Egg Tart). When we ask ourselves who ordered it, nobody answered. Of course, “cut food” cannot be returned since it has no resell value. In order to enjoy our pleasant morning Dim Sum, we absorb the unclaimed dim sum just avoid further argument. Beside that, I preferred order Dim Sum when we need more because it stays hot in the steam cooker and more service is provided to the customer.

After the Dim Sum, we went back to town to search for the Ipoh famous white coffee (I thought we just had our breakfast). It was located in an old building, near by a market street. The place is packed with people and we have to sit separately, because there’s no table big enough to fit 12 people. I had 2 of those white coffees because it really tastes nice. After that, we went back to take our car. Suddenly, I can’t crank up my car. Oh boy! After couple of try, it works again. At first, we thought the battery is dead, but I remember I just change it last month. Fist was the wheel bearing; now it’s the battery. Anyway, the journey goes on.

I thought after we had our coffee, we should be heading toward Penang. After couple of turn in the town, I found out that we’re still in Ipoh and we’re heading toward a new eating place. We stop by an old cafeteria and I was told that this place was famous of its chicken noodle (Alright, no more chicken noodle back to KL). It’s true because I saw some newspaper cutting stamped on the glass of the stall, stated about how good it was. Due to the dim sum and the coffee, I had to pass this meal because I was very full. I waited there until they have finished their meal and after that, we heading towards Penang.

We reached Penang bridge toll around 2:00PM and we take a pee break there. The first thing I do after my foot touches the ground is to check the wheel bearing condition. Luckily it didn’t leak (What a relief). Then we moved on to one of the friend’s house (She’s from Penang) to pick up her hubby before checking into our apartment. After I have leaved my bags in the apartment, I send my friend and her hubby to their hotel, in mean time; I asked them where I can find a car service shop in Penang. I dropped them at their hotel and went to find a car service in town alone. Fortunately I was able to find one before reaching the town and I got my wheel bearing fixed. However, the battery problem still exists because the service man suggested me to change the car starter but it was too expensive. The service man suggested me to look for a wiring man and make a start relay for my car, if I decided not to change the whole starter component (duh!). When the wheel bearing is fixed, our organizer called and she suggested me to eat out with the rest first before looking for the wiring man. I agreed and we went to the Gurney Drive to have our “afternoon tea”. Here I found out a Penang special drink called “Umbra” and it taste really good. It was made by a special fruit called “Umbra” and a dry sour plum in it.

After we try out some of the food there, then we head on to find a wiring man for my car starter problem. Luckily, we were able to find one and surprisingly, the wiring man said it was caused by the battery. He found the problem, fixed it up within 10 minutes and then he charged me only RM5. Comparing back to the service man where changing the whole starter component cost me about RM175, and it still won’t fix the problem (Better get a second opinion if the cost is too high).

At night, we went out from Penang Island and head straight to Tambun for the seafood. It took us some time locate the place cause the restaurant is located in side a small village. When we reached there, I can see the restaurant was build on top a river bank by woods. The scenery was nice until I checked out its toilet. The toilet was actually a hole on the wooden floor and I can see the river thru it (Hahahah. Hopefully our meal is coming from the top of the stream). Anyway, the restaurant offers some interesting food on the menu and we all enjoy ourselves there.
After the dinner, we went to a bakery shop to get some bread for tomorrow Bukit Bendera Hiking. At the same time, they also get some ice and a Ribena because one of the friends brought a bottle of Vodka. We went back to our apartment, get a shower, and everybody plays some games while enjoying the drink. Our organizer even brought a set of Mahjong but it was a short game, because most of us don’t know how to play it. I went to bed around 12:00 midnight because I think I’m getting drunk.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Penang Trip Part 1

I had a trip to Penang with my colleague and friends last month. I wanted to put all the experience there onto my blog but I'm was busy with Call of Duty. Fortunately, the game was short and now I'm back to write down the whole experience of the trip. The whole trip took 3 days and I divided this blog into 3 parts. I have finished Part 2 and currently I'm writing on Part 3. Here's Part 1

21st Oct – Just as planned by our organizer, I left my office at 7:15PM after finished my work (or did I?) and went to the food court to meet up the rest of the trip member. I didn’t take my dinner at there, because I had a very huge lunch (City Square Clay Pot Chicken Rice) that day. I met up couple of new friends from my colleague and more is on the way. We spend around an hour there having dinner and by the way, it was a long queue to get dinner due to “buka puasa” for the Muslim.

After everybody on the name list (Thanks to our organizer for the name list) has arrived, we divided ourselves into 3 groups and meet up at a petrol station. Before that, we have 2 walkie-talkie provided by one of the friends (Cool eh?) for those who are not familiar with Ipoh/Penang road (That’s me). We took off from the petrol station and heading to the highway. Unfortunately, there’s traffic jam on the way and by the time we reached the highway toll, it was already passed 9. It took us another 2 hours to reach Ipoh and the first thing to do when we arrived, is to check in into a budgeted hotel.

Most of them were shocked when they saw the hotel. First, it was located in the red light district (I guess, because I saw some lady boy was hanging around there looking for business). Second, the hotel is an old building and only has 4 floors. The furniture, the air-conditioning and the tiles on the floor is still old fashioned (I believe the hotel owner never renovate his hotel). However, I’ve been to the worst than this one, so it won’t be much of the “mental impact” to me.

After we have settled down our luggage; without any shower, we went to the famous Ipoh Chicken Noodle shop by foot. The place was very near to our hotel by 2-3 blocks away and we had our supper there until 1am. We went back to our hotel, get a shower and by the time we went to bed, it was 2am.