Saturday, December 17, 2005

Buns in the Oven

Sun’s birthday was on 29th Nov. Slightly a week after that, Yamtuan’s birthday. Two weeks after that, mine. Soon after mine will be Dot’s. Birthdays! Birthdays!

And so last Friday, I turned 35. Just like whoever said 'beauty is within' can only be ugly, the same rule applies for the saying, 'age is just a number', can only be 30 and above. So I am telling you now, I may be 35 but 3 and 5 are mere numbers. Don’t mean much to me so mustn’t mean anything at all to you too, yes? Yes? And at 35, my beauty shines from within my intestines.

I have only been married for 4 years. The first year, Yamtuan said himself was the birthday gift. The second year, it was Dot and the third year Sun became his gift. This year, Yamtuan ran out of people to give me for my birthday. And no, i am not pregnant. So, no choice but for him to hit the stores. My first non-human birthday gift. Yey! Not that Yamtuan, Dot and Sun did not make the best of gifts. I do love em! An awful lot too!

Yamtuan went shopping for my gift maybe more than two weeks before the date. Him being him, he was SO excited about it that he pestered me everyday to open the gift. He has always been lousy at keeping secrets. But i said no, dont tell me dont give me until Dec 16th. How else could i make him squirm and itch? Biar pecah di perut, jangan pecah di mulut..

On the morning of my birthday, when it was still dark outside, and Yamtuan's self-restraint could not tahan anymore, he made me unwrap the gift. He practically begged me to please please please open it. I wanted to make him wait till after work, but well, maybe not, that would be too cruel for him.

I opened the gift, huge box, heavy like mad!

And it was….. an oven. Yes. An oven, ladies.

“because you like cooking!” he said, all excited.
“can bake ayam golek now!” I tried auntyN’s and Kak Teh’s recipe but I had to cut the chicken because mine was an oven toaster not proper oven. So the ayam did not tergolek la. Couldnt call it ayam golek.
“I chose this one because it looks so classic! I actually wanted to get you the cap rama-rama one like my mom’s but could not find lah”
“so you like or not?”
“can now bake kek pisang too. I like kek pisang!”

So that is my Yamtuan. Ever practical, not the most romantic guy on earth, but he loves me... err, at least my cooking. And although sweating over the oven baking ayam golek and kek pisang for him is not exactly sexy and hot, i sure hope that it will lead to more action and excitement at the dinner table.

A well-fed man is after all…emmm, a happy man? Yes?

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Agent, Amma & Appa.

Dot was warded for some serious urinary tract infection when she was 1. It was just for one night I think, and it cost us an arm. Sun was warded some months back for lung infection and that cost us a leg. An arm and a leg. If that doesn’t tell us we need medical insurance, I don’t know what else will.

And so, last September, 25th to be exact, I bought a one-off insurance. Let’s not name names. We needed a coverage for the both of them asap and because my finance position at that time did not allow me to commit to the long term kind of insurance, so we bought the RM600 for one year coverage type. Never mind. I asked around for an agent because I figured I might as well give the commission to someone my friends know (since I don’t know any agents myself). A friend recommended her cousin. A fresh graduate from a local uni. Fine with me.

The agent came to the house all fresh-faced and giggly. I didn’t feel quite at ease with her but really, I could not say why. There is nothing wrong with looking green and being super-ticklish. I had no basis to like or dislike her. So I ignored the gut instinct and proceeded with the purchase. I paid her and was told that I would get the payment receipt in 2 weeks. A bit too long to ready a receipt but never mind, the whole deal is after all based on ‘trust’. Okay by me. The medical card would be ready in 2 months, she said. Never mind also. I am easy, remember? Everything is ‘never mind’ one.

After about 6 weeks, I began to wonder about the payment made. And so I called her. She forgot! And that day itself issued one and hand-delivered it to Yamtuan’s office. Great. When do I get the card? In two months lah she said. Two more weeks then.

2 weeks came and left, i forgot. The times when it crossed my mind, i was always occupied with something else. I was sure that the card was ready, but since there was no real need for it just yet, i didnt call and ask her. Me, not pushy. Easy, remember?

Since the last week, Sun’s cough progressively got worse - wheezing, lotsa phlegm and yellow/green discharge from the nose. Definitely worrying. When he started having a temperature, I feared the worst - pneumonia.

I wanted to take him to his pediatrician but in case he might be warded, I would need the card.

13th Dec.
I texted the agent requesting for the card. It has been almost 3 months anyway since I made the payment.

She said she has not received the card from the broker. Ok. But the card IS ready right?
Then, 'dont know'. Later, 'no, not ready. Have not processed'.

I need it today, I said. She texted me a smiley face (very funny she) and said that she just helped a client use the same card at some hospital. Right, but do I have the card to begin with? No. So? I don’t see the relevance of that information then.

She smsed me again saying, why don’t I call the broker myself?
And another sms, why don’t I just send my son to a government hospital.

Now that really fused my TNT. Enough with the smses. I called her.

Why would I deal with a broker when I have an agent. Shouldn’t you follow up and through? Why would I buy an insurance if I go to public hospital? My hubby works for the government, we dont need insurance to go GH. What u think i have nothing better to do with the money issit? You took our money then cuci tangan just like that? I don’t care which broker is inefficient, I don’t care about your problems. My kid is sick and he is all the problem I care about. It has been more than 2 months, almost 3! No I don’t want my money back, what can I do with RM600. Not enough to pay deposit even. I want you to be at the hospital tomorrow, you bring your money and pay. I don’t care. Do I need to even explain why I am so angry? etc etc etc

Yes, you wont like me when i am angry. I turn green and tear my clothes off. Very ugly.

And she cried but in the background, Sun was crying too. You know my priorities, girl.

She asked for one more day to make the big bad broker issue the card. Okay. Fine.

14th Dec.
Sun got better. So it wasn’t pneumonia. But I still want/need the long overdue card.

The girl forwarded to me all her sms-es with the CEO of the broker company (sometimes I feel technology - such big powerful word - this sms business, actually slows us down. Why sms? Call lah! Faster what!).

One sms that REALLY got me all boiling again is this one,
‘Akum kak, baby akak camna skang? Akak dh register anak akak kt *tut tut*? Brapa deposit dia? Kite kt broker ni dr pukoi 9 td. Skang dh peringkat nk jumpa ngan ceo broker dlm stgh jam lg. Actualy kite lom dpt komsyn pun utk this case sbb lom inforce. Kite akan tlg akak my best utk kebajikan semua pihak’

She was telling me that she was doing me a favor? Surely by now she knows that I don’t particularly care about her commission! Hiya..never mind, let it slide.

Later I received another sms from her telling me that she was on the way to my house. I was at the office and I wasn’t planning to go home straight after work. I needed to go KL as my mom was in town for doctor’s appointment. I sms-ed her saying that it wasn’t possible to meet then.

Her MOTHER called me. Can you believe it! She had her mother call me to insist on meeting. Not possible I said. Tomorrow, office hours can.

15th Dec.
I was in an all-important meeting when I received sms from her,
‘Can u spare a minute now. I need urgently ur view n decision’.
I smsed back telling her to call Yamtuan.

Her FATHER called Yamtuan. Hahaha.. I know, I laughed too when Yamtuan told me.

Apparently, the company no longer offered such scheme. So she sold me the insurance even when it was no more offered. She didn’t know, she claimed. And the broker accepted the money even when they were aware of the matter. And they sat on my money and did nothing whatsoever to notify me of the status. Now, they want to return my money. They have prepared a cheque of RM600, all laced up with lots and lots of apologies.

You see, the issue here is not the money.

I bought it in September. How many other customers have she sold the insurance to from September till now? I happen to find out the truth because the need for the card arises. Imagine other buyers who doesn’t have to use the card at all, will go through the year thinking that they are covered when they are not. And where does the money go to? There is NO insurance but money is accepted anyway. So you pay your money for bogus-protection under a non-existing insurance scheme!

She will refund me, she said. Mother father all said the same thing (hahaha..). But if my kids need to be hospitalized today, how then? The almost three-month wait was in vain. The kids are still not insured.

Yes, I do see humor in this. Yamtuan and I had a big laugh over our folly and the whole mother-father thing. I have officially written a letter (not sms, no.. hehehe) to the CEO of the company (the insurance company, not agent's not broker's) to complaint. But on a serious note, I think we should all exercise our consumer rights and we should all be more informed – whatever that means.

Sun is well, by the way. False alarm.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

I have sinned.

I was given a ludicrous-ly heavy laptop. I can bet you all my millions that the weight of the whole bag is easily at least 10% of my body weight. And I am heavy. And I DO have the millions.

The strap is of stretchy material which is fine because it sits nicely on the shoulder, but take this, my size is all wrong for it. So instead of sitting nicely, any provocation will cause it to go boing boing boing all around me. It makes me clumsy (-er). When I took it back last Friday, running down the stairs to catch the train sent it yo-yo-ing nicely around me and I almost tripped. A quick spread of the arms and butt pushed back, managed to save the day. Phew.

I wasn’t so lucky this morning coming to work. Or maybe I was lucky. Depends on how you want to look at it.

You see, today is Yamtuan’s birthday, clap clap clap. And it is a wet cold rainy slippery day. We woke up late but I insisted on having breakfast as usual with him. It is after all his birthday, the least I could do is have breakfast with him and by that, risk to be a few minutes late. Yes? No? And so I was pressed for time. The journey would take about 25 minutes and I was at the Putra Taman Jaya at precisely 0800 hours.

Heavy bag or not I had to rush.

I reached Ampang Park station with 5 minutes to spare. Rushed to the escalators. And walked up on the right side. There was this Chinese girl infront of me. She was not as fast as I wanted her to be so I was about to cut her lane from the left side when the stupid stupid laptop hit her left foot. Her sandal came off and fell a few steps down. Oh oh, you should look at the way she looked at me. Oh oh. If looks could kill they say, she would not be jailed at all! Oh no, because even though i would die then and there, she could jolly well claim for temporary insanity. I saw madness in her eyes! I said sorry sorry sorry numerous times and i did the thinkable, i fled the crime scene. Hit and run.

So you, the Chinese girl whom I have gravely wronged, I hope you are reading this. Or I hope someone will tell you this. I AM sorry. And the only reason I did not ‘go fetch’ at your bark and help you retrieve your sandal is because doing so would make me have to crouch under your skirt and that would be a more grievous crime. Especially on a Monday. I would slap my own face if i go under your skirt, i swear. Besides. doing so would probably send a few people sprawling down. The bag, you see?

The bag is a killing machine. I am returning it today. I want to walk free again. I have sinned. O help me God.