Friday, August 28, 2009

Hair wash

There's this salon in the east that I recently discovered with a group of Mums. They give the best head massage there. I brought my friend who visited from NYC there. After the hair wash she suggested that I should go there every week to de-stress. She enjoyed it so much. But with my hair fairly short, I find it a luxury to go get my hair washed at the salon. Anyway, its quite convenient to wash it myself. Unless, I have long tresses that makes washing and blowing a chore, why would I need to go to the salon so regularly?

As its Friday again, here's my joke for the week:

Little five year old Johnny was in the bath tub, and his mom was washing his hair. She said to him, "Wow, your hair is growing so fast! You need a haircut again."

Little Johnny replied, "Maybe you should stop watering it so much.


Should I go get my hair watered?

Have a great weekend!!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

And the preparations have begun ..

.. for teacher's day, that is.

Little D wanted to make her own Teacher's day cards for her teachers, and I encouraged her to do so. First I went to buy coloured paper. Then I cut them into smaller pieces. Next, she told me what she wanted to write on the card and I wrote out those words which she couldnt spell and the names of the teachers for her. Then she started to work on it.

This is the result:

When her sister saw what she had done, she commended her on the Smiley face that she drew.

"All's done, so please pack up," I told Little D.

"Wait Mum!" my older daughter said. "D is making a card for me."

"A teachers day card??" I said.

"She's said she's gonna make one with a HUGE smile for me," my daughter, S said.

And this was what little D made for her sister:

Quite a smart cookie, I must say, coz it wasnt a Teachers day card. And I LOVE that BIG cheeky smile on it!!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Best Bank?

In this electronic day and age, and in these tough economic times most would expect good service, especially from the banking sector, in order to keep their clients. Well, that was not what I experienced. And this was from a bank that was supposed to be the "best" bank for customer service in Singapore!!

Let me explain -

I tried to make a TT transfer to London last week. When the deal was booked thru their treasury department,I was told that, as long as I faxed the details across before 12 noon, it could be done the same day. So, I did. At 9.37am to be precise.

At 10.45am they called to say that they couldnt see the last line of my fax! As I mentioned to the girl that I needed it to be valued the same day (ie payment made to London the same day), and I was at that moment out, and did not have the fax with me, could she call me back at 11am to confirm the information.

Her instant reply was that it couldnt be done the same day (value), which was contrary to what their treasury department had told me, and I was to refax the document to her. I tried to reason with her, and told her that her Manager had assured me that it could be done. Anyway, at 11am, I re-faxed the documents to her, and tried to call her. Unfortunately she had used a "hunting line" on the company's phone system, and her number went straight to the switchbox - ie telephone operator. I could not get her, as they couldnt trace a person by the name she gave me. Her manager was in a meeting and couldnt take my call.

After numerous SMSes and calls, she finally called me back at 12noon to confirm the information, and said that since it was past 12, the TT couldnt be valued the same day. I WAS FURIOUS! (com'on, wouldnt you be?)

I requested for her manager to call me back, which he did not. Instead he chose to sms me. (I guess he knew I was really angry and was not ready to get a earful from me!! But what kind of customer service is this if they dont talk to you??!) I reasoned with him that the service lapse was on their part, and not mine. I did all that I had to do, and it was his staff and him that prevented me from meeting their internally imposed 12noon deadline. Anyway I told him that forex markets and banks around the world are never closed (~ well almost, except from 5pm NY time on a friday evening until 8am NZ time on a monday, and this was meet week!) ~ so what was this crap about meeting a 12 noon deadline coz the GBP market closes after that! In addition with London, being 8 hours behind Singapore, that would give them that extra time to make sure the transfer goes thru!

Again, he insisted that it couldnt be done, but he would try ~ no promises. I was fuming by then!

At the end of the day, one would expect him to at least call or sms to notify me if they finally managed to do it. Instead I received an sms with no message from him. I let it be, assuming that it was a blank sms sent by mistake. I wasnt going to let him SPOIL my day over this.

The next day when I called to enquire if the TT had gone thru, he didnt know!! He returned my call an hour later and told me that it was all done the previous day!!

So, what does this tell us?
* It can be done if they want.
* Good Customer Service isnt what we know it to be
* Being Awarded the Best Bank award doesnt mean a thing.

Two weeks ago, I received a call from a bank to enquire if I had forgotten to make my payment for my credit card bill. I checked and I told that the clerk that called that I did, but the cheque must have been lost in th mail, since it was some 2 weeks since I posted the cheque. Without hesitation, she offered to waive all late payment charges if I were to make payment immediately. The next day, I made payment for that outstanding bill, via the banks quick cheque deposit box. However, I quoted the wrong credit card number on the back of the cheque. I had quoted my old credit card number (they had replaced my card with a new one about a year ago). On thursday last week, they called to tell me that they had yet to receive my payment since their last call. When I told them that I had made payment immediately after their call via their quick deposit box, they immediately investigated. They got back to tell me that I had quoted the wrong credit card number, and the matter was now resolved. That is what I call good customer service. They could have jsut kept quiet about the whole thing, and just make more money out of late payment charges. Instead they called me twice just to resolve the matter.

So in my opinion, this bank should get the Award for the Best Bank for Customer Service in Singapore. And this bank is OCBC.

As for the other bank that really does not deserve the award, let's just call it "Shitty Bank".

Friday, August 21, 2009

Cookie Making

Been baking quite a bit recently.

My niece introduced me to the Brigette cookie-cutter, and when I bake my cookies now I can have messages on them. For National Day, I made "Singapore" cookies.

I even put the children's names on the cookies, so there is no fighting over who ate whose cookies.

I also use cookies to express my emotions:

Like yesterday, when the bankers, in order to keep my business assured me that something could be done .. BUT when it came to the execution, they fell short. Naturally I was upset and disappointed with their service!! Hence the above cookie!

Well, it looks like its Friday already. Time for a cookie riddle:

Two cookies were crossing the road when the first one was knocked down.

What did the other cookie say as he reached the pavement in safety?


Have a great weekend!!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Reflections of a Class reunion

I attended a gathering last Saturday nite with trepidation, not knowing what to expect. It was a class reunion ... a 30 year reunion!! I was initially unsure even about going, but after much pestering from some closer friends, I eventually decided to join them.

About a hundred of us got together that balmy evening. From the very start there were a lot of "You look so familiar!!" "How are you?" and "My! You look exactly the same!" Of course there were lots of hugging and screaming as well!! Sometimes the name rang bell but not the face. Sometimes, it was the other way around. Fortunately the organisers gave us all name tags in LARGE Fonts!!

Present were doctors, lawyers, bankers, accountants, engineers, professors, army personnel, HR managers, Financial consultants, actresses, singers, a lone grandmother, many, many mums and some swinging singles too!! And not forgetting an NMP in our midst, who bared her fangs by teaching the young photographer how to take photos!!

There was a lone gentleman in the room, looking as lost as ever. No, he had not strayed into the wrong gathering, and no, none of the girls had gone for a sex change. It also wasnt a suspicious husband or boyfriend keeping tabs on one of us at the dinner. It was the ONLY male teacher to pass thru those Convent gatess, and he gladly showed up that evening to catch up with us girls!

Ties were renewed that evening, and the school song sung once again, with much gusto. I must say, I was glad to remember all the words to the school song, tho I had not sung it for 30 years. It definitely brought back lots of fond memories.

The teachers who used to tower over us, as we cowered in fear, were actually not as tall and intimidating that night. Not sure if they shrank or we grew!! Many said that I had "grown"!! OK, I was one of the smallest-sized girls in my year, but NOW, I am on par in size with many. heh! heh! Dont mess with me. I am no more the small girl, they remembered me as. Many said they would have no problem recognising me anywhere if they were to meet me on the streets!

So, what did I think of the reunion? It was great catching up with people I have not seen for a long, long time. Some were really friendly, even though we were not that close when we were in school. Some whom I was quite "close" to in school, were however not as warm that night. Was it me, or was it them? I dont know. Maybe it is because I am no longer in a high-flying profession, and they are just too "atas". (I would like to think the problem is with them!!)

Anyway, the friends from then that really matters to me, I was already in close touch with before the reunion. Whilst it was nice to catch up with some others, I left feeling that I wouldnt have missed very much even if I had not been there. Some who I really wanted to meet up with were not there. So I guess, that contributed to the feeling, and the reason why I left early, even before the whole event ended.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Speaking and Listening Well

This week was a short school week due to the National Day holidays. Next week will be another short school week for the primary school children as the PSLE orals will be held next week.

At this orals, in order to score well, it is important that the children speak and read clearly, and they too have to answer some questions, so listening attentively is also a must.

So all the best to iml's youngest who will be having her orals this week.

And, you may have read this before, but it definitely demonstrates why we must speak clearly and listen attentively. Not sure which side didnt do it properly in this case.

There is a factory in Northern Minnesota which makes the Tickle Me Elmo toys. The toy laughs when you tickle it under the arms.

Well, Lena is hired at The Tickle Me Elmo factory and she reports for her first day promptly at 8:00 am.

The next day at 8:45 am there is a knock at the Personnel Manager's door. The Foreman throws open the door and begins to rant about the new Employee.

He complains that she is incredibly slow and the whole line is backing up, putting the entire production line behind schedule.

The Personnel Manager decides he should see this for himself, so the 2 men march down to the factory floor. When they get there the line is so backed up that there are Tickle Me Elmo's all over the factory floor and they're really beginning to pile up.

At the end of the line stands Lena surrounded by mountains of Tickle Me Elmo's. She has a roll of plush Red fabric and a huge bag of small marbles.

The 2 men watch in amazement as she cuts a little piece of fabric, wraps it around two marbles and begins to carefully sew the little package between Elmo's legs.

The Personnel Manager bursts into laughter. After several minutes of hysterics he pulls himself together and approaches Lena.

'I'm sorry,' he says to her, barely able to keep a straight face, 'but I think you misunderstood the instructions I gave you yesterday...'

'Your job is to give Elmo two test tickles.

Hope you had a good laugh, and have a great weekend ahead!!


Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Lactose Intolerant?

"Lactose intolerance means the body cannot easily digest lactose, a type of natural sugar found in milk and dairy products.

When lactose moves through the large intestine (colon) without being properly digested, it can cause uncomfortable symptoms such as gas, belly pain, and bloating. Some people with lactose intolerance cannot digest any milk products, while others can eat or drink small amounts of milk products or certain types of milk products without problems." ... Source : Yahoo Health

Not sure if I have recently become lactose intolerant. You see, I dont have problems when I drink fresh milk. I always have a glass for breakfast in the morning.

My problem only arises when I have drinks with milk outside!! Be it the milkshake from Carl Junior or MacDonalds or even the milo drink from any of these fast food outlets. Within 20 mins, I will get the "runs". And I only need to drink a small amount, not even the whole glass!! And this has only been happening recently, like in the past year. As a result, whenever I am out or travelling, I stay clear of any drinks with milk!

Does it happen to you too?

Friday, August 7, 2009

The world according to kids!

It's a long weekend here in the little red dot, so I guess I shouldnt end it with just a joke like I always do here's a bunch of them!! Have a good laugh and great weekend!!

I was driving with my three young children one warm summer evening
when a woman in the convertible ahead of us stood up and waved. She
was stark naked! As I was reeling from the shock, I heard my
5-year-old shout from the back seat, "Mum! That lady isn't wearing a
seat belt!

My son Zachary, 4, came screaming out of the bathroom to tell me he'd
dropped his toothbrush in the toilet. So I fished it out and threw it
in the garbage. Zachary stood there thinking for a moment, then ran to
my bathroom and came out with my toothbrush. He held it up and said
with a charming little smile, "We better throw this one out too then,
'cause it fell in the toilet a few days ago.

On the first day of school, a child handed his teacher a note
from his mother. The note read, "The opinions expressed by this child
are not necessarily those of his parents."

A woman was trying hard to get the sauce to come out of the bottle.
During her struggle the phone rang so she asked her 4-year-old
daughter to answer the phone. "It's the minister, Mummy," the child
said to her mother. Then she added, "Mummy can't come to the phone to
talk to you right now. She's hitting the bottle."

A little boy got lost at the gym and found himself in the women's
locker room. When he was spotted, the room burst into shrieks, with
ladies grabbing towels and running for cover. The little boy watched
in amazement and then asked, "What's the matter? Haven't you ever seen
a little boy before?"

While working for an organisation that delivers lunches to elderly
people, I used to take my 4-year-old daughter on my afternoon
rounds. The various appliances of old age, particularly the walking sticks,
walkers and wheelchairs, unfailingly intrigued her. One day I found
her staring at a pair of false teeth soaking in a glass. As I braced
myself for the inevitable barrage of questions, she merely turned and
whispered, "The tooth fairy will never believe this!"

A little girl was watching her parents dress for a party. When she saw
her dad donning his tuxedo, she warned, "Daddy, you shouldn't wear
that suit." "And why not, darling?"
"You know that it always gives you a headache the next morning."

A little girl had just finished her first week of school. "I'm just
wasting my time," she said to her mother. "I can't read, I can't write
and they won't let me talk!"

A little boy opened the big family bible. He was fascinated as he
fingered through the old pages. Suddenly, something fell out of the
Bible. He picked up the object and looked at it. What he saw was an
old leaf that had been pressed in between the pages. "Mum, look what
I found", the boy called out." What have you got there, dear?" With
astonishment in the young boy's voice, he answered, "I think it's
Adam's underwear!

Managing a Restaurant?

Been sucked in by the game Restaurant City on FB.

Thot it gave me an idea on how to run a restaurant ... considering many friends have been bugging me to start one ... to cater to those who have been patiently waiting for my cakes and cookies.

As a result, my kids are also hooked on the game. So we have decided to have a change of schedule. TV nites are only a couple of nites a week. And only one programme on those nites. Other nites are to be spent doing school work, considering the year-end exams are like in 10 weeks time!!

I will not be on Restaurant City , when the kids wake up or when they are doing their homework. It must be a total distraction for them. So what if I do not have the biggest nicest restaurant serving all the gourmet meals. I will just have to take my time to achieve the various levels - no hurry!

So that's the change in my schedule starting today!!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Majulah Singapura!!

Singapore's National Day is coming up, so I am sharing with you some Singapore "history". Most of us know the "official" story of how Singapore got its name, but there are 3 other "unofficial" versions.

Singapore's Origin

How Singapore got its name:

Version 1:
When Raffles stepped out of his boat on to Boat Quay, a man was running by announcing the birth of his son in hokkien : 'see ta poh, see ta poh'

Version 2:
I thought the story was like this : The malay/indian king, Parameswara, was sleeping under a tree and was dreaming. He was rudely awakened by an animal resembling a lion. So, out of shock, he screamed ' Singa porda ! Singa porda ' (which means, 'lion, get lost!')

Version 3:
When Raffles sailed up the Singapore river for the first time, a malay lady was bathing in the river, having left her clothes on the river bank. A singh came by and stole her clothes. The upset lady started shouting after him, 'Singh Kapoh, Singh Kapoh'...

Version 4:
' Singapore ' was actually translated from the name 'Singapura' in Bahasa Malaysia . Story goes that there was a prince that came to our island many many years ago, on an exploration trip. Then he suddenly saw a lion and he named our island 'Singapura', which means lion. Imagine if he had seen a pig instead of a lion.('pig' in Malay is 'Babi')

So which version do you like??

Saturday, August 1, 2009

A hippo in the family?

Any hippos in your family?? Well, there is more than one in ours.

Hubby's aunt (MIL's sister) came to the house one day, and we told the kids to address her as Ee Poh - meaning grant aunt in dialect.

Little D was puzzled and initially refused to address her. After much persuasion she did. Later she asked me, why was Grandaunt called "Hippo"? She's not big nor fat?

Then I realised she had misheard us, and was wondering why we had told her to address this grandaunt as "Hippo"!