Friday, September 28, 2007
posted by PabloPabla at 4:51 pm

Yesterday, I was on gmail chat with a blog buddy and she told me she was going to Kuching today! Too bad I had already come back to Kuala Lumpur for otherwise, I could have shown her around town and bring her to eat all the famous food Kuching is known for. It was also kind of difficult describing to her where to go and what to do just by using gmail chat because it is all text and nothing visual.

I remembered when I was planning my trip to Paris, I scoured for information through the internet as well as asking my travel agent and housemates (who were British citizens) as they have previously visited Paris. Things like where to go (and where not to go) and what to do were foremost on my mind. I guess this is true for most travellers to some where new. Having a travel guide is therefore important towards the planning of a holiday.

Real Travel is a travel guide by travellers for travellers. Voted one of "twelve essential travel sites" by Forbes and "Best of Web for Trip Planning" by BusinessWeek, this is a bona fide travel guide site which is akin to a traveller's community where travellers post about their travelling experience for the benefit of others to make a more informed decision on where to go and what to do. Real holiday pictures are also posted by these travellers to let you see what they saw. They even have a post on Genting Highlands! Check it out!

This post is brought to you by


posted by PabloPabla at 4:10 pm

You have a child, aged 12, who is sitting for the UPSR exam. There is a leak in the examination papers. Or perhaps, there wasn't a leak but you are trying to get it "leaked". We have seen previous fiascos of leaked public examination papers as well as professional papers (remember the Certificate in Legal Practice?) where some students get copies of the examination papers in advance and thus, giving them an unfair advantage over the other students.

As a parent, would you condone you child taking a peek at a leaked examination paper? Or would you be party to the fiasco by trying to get the paper "leaked"? Any right minded parent would vehemently deny that they would take part in such despicable acts. So, really, is it solely the action of the child working hand in hand with the black sheeps in the examination syndicate? Perhaps children are not as innocent nowadays. Yeah, blame it on them.

But really, I think parents play a far more crucial role in moulding their children with the right ethics and morality on what is right and what is wrong. Don't tell your children that cheating is not right when you are cheating yourself. Don't tell your children that bribery is wrong when you openly offer to sponsor the traffic cop breakfast in order to let you off the hook for breaking the traffic rules. Don't tell your children to stop cursing when you rant and curse at the next driver who swerves into your lane without turning on the signal lights. Don't teach your children about family values when you are flirting with the opposite sex outside and cheating on your family.

With no reference to the Darwinian theory, children ape the adults. And if they are caught cheating in an examination, chances are, they have seen adults cheating before.


posted by PabloPabla at 12:21 pm

How many of you have flown in an airline and arriving in an airport anywhere in Malaysia? You know the bit about the little light above you with the symbol of the seat-belt? When it is lighted, it means you keep your seat-belt fastened. The leading air-steward / stewardess also reminds you about this especially uypon touch-down. "Kindly keep your seat-belts fastened until the lights are switched off". If you don't understand English, the instruction is also given in Bahasa Malaysia.

Despite that, these kiasu-I-can't-wait-to-remove-my-seat-belt passengers would start unfastening and unbuckling their seat-belts as soon as the plane shows any sign of having made a successful landing and even before it taxis to the parking apron. Until today, having flown countless times, I still cannot fathom why these people cannot adhere to the simplest of instructions. Sad to say, these ugly passengers are usually Malaysians based on my crude observation.

Have we Malaysians been shackled so much that we just can't wait to remove the seat-belts which are fastening us for the sake of our safety? Or is it that the so-called safety requirement is just a facade to cloud our good judgements?


Thursday, September 27, 2007
posted by PabloPabla at 2:40 pm

I've been away for a vacation for about 10 days and have been without internet access for most of that time. My...I think I've lost touch with what's been happening in the blogosphere. So many news and blogs to catch up with and not forgetting updating my own blogs as well. One of which is to upgrade to Wordpress 2.3 for my blogs hosted on wordpress. Well, at least Blogger does not trouble me with that.

So, how have you been doing? Miss me? Wuahahahahahah!


Thursday, September 13, 2007
posted by PabloPabla at 9:41 am

In my life so far, I’ve come across quite a number of insurance agents. Some are friends who happen to be insurance agents by vocation, some are relatives, some are friends’ or colleagues’ insurance agents, some are fellow church members and some are telemarketers. Even a neighbour of mine is also an insurance agent. Out of all these agents, I chose for myself only 1 insurance agent whilst my wife also deals with just one.

I have no problems or issues with these insurance agents who identify their work when I got to know them BUT do not sell or promote any of their product to me. It’s fine if they ask if I am currently insured but I start getting defensive once they start to probe further and offer to layout a financial plan with insurance etc for me.

I do have problems with those who would only contact me with the purpose of selling or promoting an insurance or financial product. It may be a lunch appointment but invariably, the subject matter of wanting to share the latest insurance product will crop up…most of the time whilst one is enjoying the meal, or even after the meal. As far as I am concerned, any approach of that sort gets a zero from me in terms of relationship building or making connections, whether as a relative, friend, neighbour or whatever. I don’t see any sincerity in their “wanting to get together” or “let’s catch up” pitch because I only see their ulterior motive of wanting to make the best use of that “get together” or “catch up” to try to sell me something. I am not stupid and I am not in the mood to apologize for feeling this way.

So, what led me to choosing that sole insurance agent of mine and not the others? Well, prior to knowing this agent, my auntie bought some policies for me as starters when I was young. She paid the premiums for me. It was a gift. When I started working, I knew I should take over the payment of premiums and handle all these by myself. But then again, my auntie sort of slowed down in this business and furthermore, she is a couple of hundred kilometers away.

I met this agent of mine by chance as I was entering into the LRT station. She was there, book in hand, and she asked if I would be able to spare 5 minutes to answer some questionnaire on financial planning. I obliged because I was not in a hurry and I knew, based on my previous working experience as a data surveyor, it is difficult to get people to cooperate. She took my name card. A couple of weeks later, she called me up and said she would like to share the results of the questionnaire. I happen to have the time and was interested in what she had to share. So, it was a sharing session. It so happened that she works for the same insurance company which my policies were bought from. So, I asked her to check on my insurance coverage.

At no time did she try to introduce any product to me. It was only in response to my questions that she mentioned that there are available products which, if I am interested, she would proceed to share further. Rather than trying to take advantage of having secured an appointment with me by stuffing me with the latest insurance products, she was there to service my needs (which was basically asking her to check my insurance coverage and explaining to me later what it covers). It was relationship building. And it worked.

Later, as my income grew, I had extra money to think of buying more insurance coverage for myself. It is almost automatic that I would reach out for her to assist me. Even so, there was no hard selling on her part. Just sharing of the products and leaving it to me to decide. No telling of morbid or depressing stories of what to expect if I don’t buy those products. She knew I am probably knowledgeable enough to appreciate the risk of being uninsured. She knew I am a lawyer dealing with insurance claims.

The other insurance agents I know are more interested in using whatever opportunities available to talk about the latest products in the companies they represent in. Even this neighbour of mine does not talk to us at all but out of the blues, called us with a smile and asked if we could spare a couple of minutes to listen to some great packages from the insurance companies she represent. Sincerity in wanting to be good neighbours? I don’t see it. As soon as we told her that we have our own insurance agents who deal with our needs from A to Z that was it. No further hellos or good byes when our paths crossed.

Insurance agents? I think they ought to learn some lessons on building relationships first and business later. Less they burn down the bridges of relationships. I understand that they need to sell to earn a living but they should spend more effort building a trusting relationship rather than strictly business kind of relationship.


Thursday, September 06, 2007
posted by PabloPabla at 12:51 pm

When I was in England, I realised that there were a lot of offers for holidays to places like the Majorca, Malaga, Tenerife, Costa del Sol and the like, especially in newspapers and travel agencies. Most, if not all these places, are about the beach, the sun and fun. Coming from Malaysia, I think I've had enough sun and beach and was not that keen to take a holiday there. If at all I were to visit Spain (which I was seriously planning to), Madrid or Barcelona would be my preferred destinations.

I guess it has to do with the two giant football clubs from the two cities - Real Madrid and Barcelona FC which introduced me to the two great cities. Madrid, the capital city of Spain, is rich in arts and culture, not to mention the well preserved ancient buildings. I am actually a keen admirer of beautiful architecture and that's why my study stint in England was quite exciting.

On the other hand, a trip to Barcelona for me would not be complete without a tour of the Nou Camp, the home stadium of Barcelona FC. This stadium can seat 90,000 spectators, if my figures are correct! Then, a tour of the ancient architecture would be in order. They have some really good looking buildings which st have taken months to build considering the intricate nature of the art work in them. Not unlike those in Paris!

But of course, as always, a search for cheap hotels in Madrid or hotels in Barcelona would be necessary. I would probably start at Cheaperthanhotels, which has quite a good database of hotels available. Have you been to Madrid or Barcelona?

Brought to you by Cheaperthanhotels


Wednesday, September 05, 2007
posted by PabloPabla at 2:51 pm

Got money? We sure do. Spending RM100 million on the 50th Independance Day celebration is nothing short of extravagance, if you ask me. Most of us ordinary citizens would not even see RM1 million in our lifetime but the Deputy Finance Minister, Datuk Dr. Awang Adek deemed that the RM100 million tag worked out to about RM3 or RM4 per person (with a 26 million population) once in 50 years, symbolising the peace, harmony and welfare enjoyed by the people. But really, do we have to spend so much money? The government spent RM38 million for the Merdeka anniversary in 2006 and RM35 million in 2005. That's only 1/3 spending of the current year's spending. Does it mean that our country has suddenly had a 300% increase in peace, harmony and welfare in 2007, which happen to coincide with our 50th anniversary?

I seriously do not think that the level of peace (in terms of crime rate and public perception of safety on the streets or neighbourhoods) have been in a much better position in 2007 than compared to say, 10, 20 or even 50 years ago. From what I learnt from my parents, back then (in the 50s and 60s), you could even leave the house unlocked without fear of being robbed. And yet, people were generally far poorer then. Even Ministers regularly quote that people are better off financially now compared to yesteryears but yet, crime is more real and probable today than before.

Harmony? Hah! Just look at the endless barrage of racial and religious insults being traded across the nation. Perhaps the advent of internet and the like has allowed people to express their views more and with greater force and passion but if you were to ask those who are in the 50s, 60s or 70s, they will tell you that their generation of people get along more harmoniously than the generation today. And that is the simple honest truth. Not what is spun on newspapers by politicians who are out to make themselves heroes in the eyes of their own kind.

As for welfare, just hop into any taxi and have a chat with the taxi driver. Or if you are free, stick around a bus station and chat with the bus drivers. These are people on the road. People with lesser income and people who interact with other people. They would be able to tell you a fair bit on their welfare.

Assuming you are on the cabinet (Ministers, not the wooden type), will you approve the RM100 million expenditure for the 50th National Day celebrations?