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Welcome to CYB| Chea-Yee's Blog.

This blog captures the musings and anecdotes of the daily life of a Malaysian who is now living in Melbourne, Australia.

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Human Behaviour 101 @ IOI Mall.

22/02/2009

Human Behaviour 101 @ IOI Mall.

The title sure looks funny. LOL.

This afternoon, I met up with Asta. She is one of my old chums, and was telling me how one of her friends was laughing away last night when I had replied by text stating that I didn't know how to drive my way to Sunway Pyramid... so we finally decided to meet somewhere in the middle- IOI Mall (which was nearer with not so many highways in between!).

Today I observed some really bad human behaviour demonstrated which I shall share in this entry today.

Sloth-like Service @ Wendy's Restaurant:
First off for lunch, we headed up to Wendy's, which is an American fastfood restaurant similar to Mcdonalds or KFC. The fastfood sets i.e 1/4 pounder burger with a drink & chips ran up to about about RM10.50 (including tax). I was waiting in line, and in front of me was this couple who took their own sweet time ordering...
It was extremely a terrible slow service for only two people waiting in line!!

Wendy's may have an excellent menu, but such extremely slow service? Here I am wondering here whether we should even patronise the restaurant in future! It will really drive the customers away! Indeed, it was a terrible let-down for a reintroduction to Wendy's for me.. !!

Sales Talk @ Fitness First
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Then after, we headed to Fitness First to enquire about membership options.... apparently all new members are supposed to pay a certain amount of joining & administration fees.... if I remember rightly, I don't think I actually did... anyways, our consultant, Jeanne, who spoke to both of us checked our details and found out through the computer our details. Yes, if you are wondering, we were both members previously. Jeanne decided to "waive" our joining & administration fee... and allow us pay the fees that we had previously paid before. (which I won't reveal here).

But sales talk being sales talk, I doubt anyone actually needed to pay either joining & admin fee. There is a brochure that shows the price, but well, all in all, everything is a sales gimmick.. we all want sales, and we all want money. Some of the things that a company produces is based on understanding of human psychology.

Did we join? Well, I'm waiting for Asta to find time before I will go.. I definitely think it will be a good idea for us to go anyways. The deal given to us is good deal anyways.

Bench Hoggers

When I was there, I was looking for a place to sit down. In front of the movie theatre, there were benches for people to sit. However both benches were occupied by each one person who took up the entire bench. I remembered that during my time in Japan & Korea, if someone occupied an entire bench, my friend Ai Ling would nudge me and tell me that these fellas were being rather inconsiderate. I didn't understand it then though... until now!

I wanted to find a bench to sit however but then Asta then said to me that we should walk around a bit, I then decided to follow her lead. Later, after a while when we finally found a place to sit, I explained to Asta that when I was in Korea & Japan, it was an "unspoken rule" that if anyone put on that sort of "inconsiderate behaviour" (being bench hoggers, that is) regardless of whether they were older or not, we could tell them to move to on side and sit as if we didn't, they wouldn't budge..
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Reverse Culture Shock @ Malaysia: Part 3

21/02/2009

Reverse Culture Shock @ Malaysia: Part 3

Part 1: This is my fourth week back in KL. I had to get over the initial reverse culture shock of the Malaysian way of doing things (i.e. my father was telling me how his Toyota was high-jacked last year on the Subang Highway, the way the people manage their bags of rubbish beside the recycling containers).. the reason for that is because I have got used to the fact that there aren't that many cases of cars being high-jacked, or cases of snatch thiefs in Toowoomba/ or Sydney as compared to Malaysia!!

Part 2: Now, I have to deal with another kind of problem... REVERSE CULTURE SHOCK.
The reason I am writing this is to actually leave a note to myself (I am so thoughtful!) to myself if ever I experience this from my visit back from overseas in future..

Reverse Culture Shock is the the shock that is experienced by a person who returns to their own homeland after having lived in a foreign land for an extended period of time.. as from my understanding, I realise by now that the only people who can actually understand what I am trying to write here about are those who have actually stayed overseas in a foreign land for an extended period of time.

and I don't mean those who have travelled a lot for one or two weeks overseas. Here, I mean those who ACTUALLY had to adapt to a foreign culture for a least more than 6 months to be able to say that they have adapted to a new culture altogether to have experienced a similar thing...

Now, from the time I left Malaysia to finish my final years of studies in Australia, I had stayed in Toowoomba for a total of almost 2 years, then spent one month in New Zealand, and then almost 12 months in Sydney and finally before heading home to Malaysia, I headed off to South Korea & Japan for about a months. In all these countries, the climate has always been temperate (cold dry winter and all!) during those times when I was there.

I still have trouble adapting back to normal humid hot weather in Malaysia after four weeks, somuchso that I am cooped in my bedroom with the airconditioner turned on for the past four weeks!

It's very hard to know how oneself has changed until they actually return to their homeland, will they only know the difference... I think that people (at least from what I have realised) will expect me to not have changed from the past two years.. but as Ai Ling puts it (when I went to visit her in Japan), my three years in Australia has actually helped me to look at things from a better perspective, including how things work (political & all, including the universities). So thanks, Ai Ling...

Anyways, I have actually avoided meeting people from my cellgroup in the last three weeks due to the fact that I was still trying to adapt back to Malaysian way of doing things, and was more interested in looking at the new shops and new additional items they had for sale in the shops.. I just couldn't handle how some of them can go on yakking and yakking without realising that it I am having a different experience eventhough we might be in the same place.

I remember a couple of weeks ago,Bell was wondering why I had to choose to meet up in IOI Mall, but I had to explain to him that it might be ordinary to him (he lives near there) but to me it was almost a completely new place as I hadn't been there in ages! I don't even dare to drive down to Sungai Wang, or Sunway now as there are a bunch of new roads there and who knows what they have done to the streets there... !

Somehow, I realised that some people have changed (as in our friendship no longer meets a need for us to meet any longer in the same way that we used to.. ) no names here, but I am sorry, eventhough we supposedly had a closer friendship in the past. Some have just grown a bit to be too demanding on my attention, and I just have to manage it... and make new friends.

Anyways, here are some of the ways I know now to try to handle / manage Malaysian people's expectations:
- My dad expects that I listen to whatever he says (of course, I have learnt to deal with that in a more graceful manner after observing his responses...)
- I realised that people actually put those "IF MY CAR IS BLOCKING YOURS, PLEASE CALL THIS NUMBER 01*-*******" placards on their windscreen.
- Somehow, people expect me to be dressed my Sunday Best when I go to church.... However, since I have got so used to wearing just sometimes a simple top & shorts, or what I normally wear to church which is up to my above my knee length (both in Toowoomba & in Sydney), I just give the excuse that I haven't had time to go shopping and none of my previous clothing in Malaysia fit me any more! LOL. It's either that, or I will use the excuse I've been Australian-ised. DEAL with it which they normally can't really rebutt!
- I explain in advance that I will have a HongKong-like Cantonese-English accent if I mix those two together. I think my mother has learnt to deal with it
- I have learnt to deal with the fact that Malaysians do not separate their garbage to organic, plastic, and metal...
- I have learnt to deal with the fact that Malaysians treat recycling bins like rubbish bins.
- I have learnt to deal with the fact that inflation in Malaysia is high...(compared to their salary)
- I have learnt to deal with the fact that Malaysians double and triple park. (its rude behaviour) so if their car gets scratched, and the alarm goes off, that is their problem!!!!!
- I have learnt to deal with the fact that a lot of Malaysians cross the road without giving heed to the traffic. So they should deal with the fact if someone honks them out of their DREAM LAND!!! (WHERE are their brains??)
- I have come to understand that getting "Thirsty Hippos" (de-humidifier) is a necessity in the shoe cabinet to ensure that the shoes don't get moldy... then again, if they (the shoes) aren't mine, it doesn't matter that much either anyways!

Related Links:
- International Centre: Reverse Culture Shock
- Can You Survive Reverse Culture Shock.
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Shopping: F.O.S@ Midvalley Megamall KL

16/02/2009

Shopping: F.O.S@ Midvalley Megamall KL

Today I met up with Bell after service. He was playing for worship team this morning at his church, so he didn't attend his usual Saturday evening church service. During lunch, we were trying to decide a place to go, but finally settled on Midvalley as it was the nearest shopping mall to the current location.

Bell suggested F.O.S (Factory Outlet Store), and we headed there... WOW, I never knew that F.O.S actually has some really good deals... and some nice brands! Available among them were some tops from well known labels, Country Road and Mosschino as well.. which I was suprised to see! Anyhow, this is my first serious independent shopping affair (not counting the one I did with my parents previously!) since I arrived in motherland, so it different from when my parents dragged me to go shopping with them.

There were some lovely nice frilly short sleeved tops going for RM39.00 per piece.. but then out of the corner of my eye, I saw some other tops with long sleeves going for about RM55, and thought that was probably a better deal...(guess that has to wait..) LOL.

The first thing I had to do was actually to find the right size, since it has been so long since I actually did clothing shopping in Malaysia. The clothes in Asian countries are sized differently from their Western counterparts. So for example, if one is a typical asian size M, they may find themselves only fitting tops in size S in Australia. If an Asian size S, then they may have to get either clothes from the children's department in Australia, or get one which is size S in Australia, and then have it altered!! Of course, if you were an asian XL, or XXL, it will easier for one to find clothes for their size in Western countries as their sizes normally cater for the larger built & physique!

Now, I am sure you'd be asking what my size is?? *RIGHT*.... Like I am going to tell you. ^^

Anyways, when I finally found the right size, it was a matter of finding the right colour match with the tone of my skin!! Since I was too much of a sloth, Bell helped me to find the tops I wanted. LOL! The entire search-and-try-out-outfit-session must have taken almost a good half an hour to almost an hour!

After about an hour and settling on two tops, I finally paid for the them.... Happy with our purchases, we decided to leave the store. That was definitely a wise decision as we could always come back again another day as new styles will always be available in future, so no loss in waiting!
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Valentine's Day: The Korean Way.

13/02/2009

Valentine's Day: The Korean Way.

Now that Valentine's Day is almost here (like maybe 6 hours from now).. the reality of the day is here...

Malaysians celebrate Valentine's Day the western way. The guy gets the girl the chocs, the candies, the roses, the gifts.. there is so much expectation on the man to get the perfect gift. Flowers. Etc... There is also so much pressure on both males and females to get a date... , or at least sigh, to be seen out on a date.. and everyone bemoaning their single status....

Having spent the last month in Korea & Japan, I have come to actually like the idea of doing Valentine's Day the Korean way. LOL.

Did you know that on Valentine's Day in Korea, the girls get the guys chocolates?

However, the next month,on March 14th, the guy reciprocates on what is called the WHITE CHOCOLATE Day by getting the girl chocolates (and gifts, whatever he wants to give).

There is also another day, which is BLACK Day, on the 14 of April, where those males & females who didn't get chocolates on either Valentine's,or White Chocolate Day will go to a Chinese (but Korean style) restaurant and order JaJangMyeon.......

Tecnically it's only all the singles who will go and order JaJangMyeon. It is not such a bad idea, because it is the night where all the SINGLES will go to the store and order it. So in default, it is like an unofficial Singles Bar and who knows, even SINGLES on that day may get lucky.......!

Now, if only I knew a Korean, or Japanese guy (or girl pal) whom I can give chocolates too.... Hmmmm....
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Strategy: Handling people who talk non-stop.

Strategy: Handling people who talk non-stop.

If there is one strategy I have learnt during my traverse overseas, and on my return, it is learning how to handle people who talk non-stop.....

Want to know what it is?

Are you sure you don't want to??

LOL... Well, regardless...this entry is about it...so here it comes!

The strategy is:
If the person talks non-stop, the best way to handle them is give a head nod, nodding and bending your head down about 30 degrees, keep mum, and look to one side. This act by itself will indirectly indicate to the speaker that you have heard them, and did not ignore them, but just did not want to say anything, or did not want to talk.

In some cases, the person speaking will most likely not expect a reply in return, or the "long winded" conversation will cease and they may change the subject to something else.


It has worked many times for me, and now I use it a lot. Try it, and tell me if it works or not. I know, at least that it has worked for me ^^
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10/02/2009

South Korea: Day 1 & Day 2.

It was with a feeling of trepidation that I had boarded the Korean Air heading towards Seoul on the 28th of December 2008. My flatmate, Suryanti, had accompanied me to the Sydney Airport at 6am on a Sunday morning when everyone was still fast asleep in bed.

However because I had checked-in early (one of the first ten passengers!), I did not have to pay for extra luggage charges (was over the weight limit by almost 10 kilos, not including my 10-kilo hand luggage).

Suryanti and I had our "last" morning brekkie meal set together in Hungry Jacks.. and then I set forth to board the Korean Air jet plane... however my trepidation was not to last...

Now, after my return from my one month traversing from the Republic of Korea & Japan, here it is finally, the long awaited pictures of my trip.. I loved my trip there, and hope that you too will enjoy your time there too!!

ENJOY!!!

Day 1: 29th December 2008

On the first day, the first thing I did before heading to Myeongdong was to head to the subway to get my T-Money. It is a travel card that allows us to take the bus, subway, make phone calls and even purchases on the same card. I went with HyunJu to MyeongDong.. one of the famous and popular streets. A lot of Japanese travellers come here... and loads of skincare boutiques like FaceShop, Innis, Etude House, HanSkin, Misscha, and etc...

Dunkin Donuts
In front of Dunkin Donuts...very popular donut & coffee place in Korea.

Myeongdong street
A scene from Myeongdong street... known for cheap stuff, streetware, street food and etc.

Myeong Dong- Lotte Young Plaza.
Lotte Young Plaza abt 5pm ish in winter.

Hot Cold Water Dispenser
Hot & Cold water dispenser in the Lotte Young Plaza departmental store.

Day 2: 30th December 2008

On the 2nd day, I met with Han, HyunJu's previous workmate. Han works in a Hagwon (language school). We went to COEX Mall (served by Samseong Station on Seoul Metro Line 2).

Coex Mall bookshop
HyunJu in a bookstore.

COEX Mall...
Lunch at Bennigan's- a steak place. The bill came about to about 18,000 won per person.. notice the number of Point Cards they use?!!! (similar to something like Bonuslink for almost everything they use...) Its a very prevalent practice in both Korea & Japan!

In front of Coex Mall
In front of COEX Mall..

Coex Mall

Billboard..
Some billboard of someone on a motorbike!

After COEX Mall, we took the subway to Kangnam, which is a few stops away from COEX Mall. Kangnam is a bit like Bangsar, and has lots of rich expats with money to burn, and office area.
Roti Boy in Kangnam..
RotiBoy in Kangnam!

Kangnam
Mannequins.... street style fashion in a boutique in Kangnam.

Kangnam... indoor shop street style.
More mannequins in the same boutique...

Kangnam
Scene from Kangnam..

Kangnam..-
PC BANG (an internet cafe), and Ministop (similar to 7-Eleven)

Dinner in Kangnam..
Sundubu.. banchan. Brown rice in stone bowl pot, which is filled with hot water after the rice is eaten. My dinner was about 6,000 won.

Kangnam
Dinner in Kangnam in a typical korean sik-dang (restaurant). Putting hands around the pot to keep it warm after coming in from the cold outdoors.
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Malaysia Culture Shock: Part II

Malaysia Culture Shock: Part II

After being away from my homeland for about two years, upon my return in the last two weeks, I realised that my perspective of things have changed (at least to the things I did not discern in the past) ....

I have found that a lot of the people I have met up tend to talk too much.. .. and that I don't feel like talking at all..... Fact is, after having met up with about 3 persons (in separate occasions, that is), i realised that I am like a jakun. In other words, like a "person out of the bush" (australian joke).. I am more interested in looking at the changes in KL than talking to the person I am meeting..

In most times, the person i am meeting dont actually realise that is what is happening, (and might be wondering why am I ignoring her). .. so i guess i have to take precautions first.. (Like arrive in the place early and take a walk before meeting up with that person, lest I will be distracted. LOL).

Furthermore because I have worked & lived in Australia for a while, as well as done my shopping in Seoul for about a month, my mind automatically switches to being more interested in doing calculations in comparison to my previous shopping & financial experiences... LOL...

I think I will have to meet my friends slowly at a time, after I have adapted back to Malaysian life. It is so weird... The difficulty was so much that I decided to avoid meeting my previous group members from Young Adults lest they were to ask too many questions!

Anyways, today I met up with Brian, a friend from uni/ church. We headed to One Utama, and had a drink at Coffee Bean, whilst going on a Korean cosmetic shops hunt... and found many... Etude House, Skin Food, Face Shop, and Misscha.

Do you know that in Malaysia, Starbucks & Coffee Bean are very popular coffee places, whereas Gloria Jeans is not? However, it is the reverse in Australia. Most people opt for Gloria Jean (mostly because it is an Australian brand!), and Coffee Bean doesn't even exist there!! Coffee Bean, and Dunkin Donuts does exist in abundance in South Korea though. ^^
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Malaysia: High Inflation rate?

09/02/2009

Malaysia: High Inflation rate?

I am not sure if Malaysians had ever noticed it... but anyways..

This afternoon, I took a drive to IOI Puchong Mall to meet up with Bell, a friend from my previous cell-group.
Anyways, whilst waiting for him, there I was in the Jusco electrical dept. store browsing through the items that were on show... the prices of 2 x AAA rechargeable batteries (Panasonic) was retailing for about RM38, and 4 x AAA batteries for about RM42.

Later, when Bell finally arrived, (he was half an hour late!!) we browsed through the computer mouse.. the latter told me that there was an IT dept. in another part of the shopping mall, so I decided to forgo shopping in Jusco and head up to that dept instead.

I finally decided on a RM39 mouse from Logitech (1000DPI) a RM39 cooling stand fan (for my laptop) and a set of rechargeable batteries (UNIROSS, some French brand) for RM25. Bell said he was familiar with that brand, and it was selling well in Europe, so it should be okay.

We had a discussion on finances...(what else??)..

The reason why I said that inflation rate in Malaysia is high based on my somewhat really superficial understanding of economics.. is because for the items that I bought, they somehow are quite costly for the normal income earner.

In Australia, the minimum wages per hour is about AUD8-10 (non taxed, I will say).. and the cost of the items are almost similar on a dollar-to-dollar basis. Of course, if I were to earn in Australian dollars, and spend in Australia that would be okay. I think the items are priced averagely fair. However, working in Malaysia, and spending in Malaysia is a different thing altogether...

The average minimum salary in KL is about RM900 per month? (RM1.5- RM2k maybe?). The same set of batteries that if I were to buy in Australia would cost about AUD20.00. I was expecting the batteries to be at least cheaper if not, not as much as RM40ish... It would be all right if I were earning in Australian dollars, and spending it in Australia, or Malaysia, but not if I were earning in Malaysia, and spending in Malaysia...

Bell was telling me that a frappucinno (which is basically Ice-Blended Coffee) at Starbucks is retailing for about RM15.00. (Starbucks is more popular in Malaysia than Gloria Jeans) Which is ridiculously OVERPRICED in Malaysia! ... (and I am not going to pay RM15 for a Frappuccinno any time soon, thank you very much!

In Malaysia, the only things which is cheap is eating out at the mamak stall, typical chinese hawkers stalls, at the night market, (RM3-4 for a bowl of noodles, or mixed rice with some side dishes) and possibly the salary. Income tax is low... of course, but medical is not free (unless you went to a public health service centre).

I got get my current prepaid Samsung LG760 for about AUD190 (network locked). I don't think I could get a phone as good as that for even RM200! Of course, if I were to convert AUD190 and get about RM600, I might get a good "ripped off from the factory" phone like what one of my next-of-kin in the other family has
which has W-Lan capabilities since that is all the rage in KL now...(my dad has one, my two cousins have one)... come to think of it, I haven't seen anyone I know own an Apple iPhone recently.... hmmmm...

Why do all these retailers always trying to make such so much profit... and all the employers try to squeeze so much from their employees with the least amount of wages ever....

The salary in Malaysia is not going up by much, but the cost of living IS!! ... which is quite unbalanced....
SIGH....
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Korea: Adultery IS against the Law!

07/02/2009

Korea: Adultery IS against the Law!

I was surfing K-Popped when I happened to read that a Korean actress was jailed for having committing adultery..

At first I thought that was a bit outrageous..... but then I realised it was a good thing... You can't say it is a bad thing, because it was written in the late 1950s to protect the women in those days when their men tried to have wasn't theirs to begin with.. Of course, if women decide to stray, they have to pay the price. That lady actress deserved it then.

The South Korean court also ruled that foreigners can also cite the adultery law against their husband in Korea... so, for spouses who have straying husbands...(or wives..) it's a good time to move to Korea!! LOL.

Related Links:
EFL- Law Korea.
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Culture Shock in Malaysia all over again...

06/02/2009

Culture Shock in Malaysia all over again...

My first two weeks had teething problems, as I was trying to adapt back to the Malaysian way of doing things... (stern looking guardians watching your every move, the malaysians way with double parked cars in narrow streets, negotiating illegal u-turns which would have caused many Australians to look on in horror!) It was culture shock all over again when I finally took my mother's car out for test drive today... !

Not to mention the fact that a lot of Malaysians are not very courteous people, especially today when I was at Public Bank in Tmn Desa. The desk staff took forever to serve customers (even though it was only two persons!). These staff take it as though most of us have a very long lunch time, when in reality most of us may only have half an hour..! I remembered the time when I had to wait in line at another Public Bank in Mega Mandung about three years ago, and there were only a few customers, but the staff took almost half an hour to serve us!! I decided to just cancel my account with Public Bank today due to their inefficient customer service. (No wonder they closed down...!)

Another very off putting observation I found is that a lot of service staff do not really greet customers when customers enter a "formal" place.. like a shopping mall, or a shop. (I know that some employees do, but some couldn't even be bothered to...) Which I found really rude of them to be.

One of the other bad habits of Malaysians is how they tend to abuse recycling boxes... there are a few recycling containers around my place in OUG, and it looks like an eye-sore.. people leave bags and bags of stuff around the recycling containers, and I can't make out if they are rubbish, or bags meant really for recycling purposes.

The govt of Malaysia should make Malaysians pay for plastic bags like how South Korea does. Their govt has made in such a way that in order that the garbage disposal services to pick up your household garbage, the residents of South Korea have to put it in specially bought bags from supermarkets. Many households divide their garbage into plastic, metal and organic waste in order to save space and money on these plastic bags.
Convenience stores, supermarkets and many places do not give plastic bags for free, and customers have to pay extra for these little conveniences. Further to that, most restaurants practise the same too.

Without such harsh laws, many people just won't adopt these practices. Even Japan does not do it as well as Korea does. In the subways of Korea, I have observed a lot of people collecting old newspapers (to sell). Australia is trying to do some (they sell carry bags for only $1 AUD), and at least the resident do not abuse recycling containers, but Malaysia is probably among one of the worst .. mostly not because the rakyat can't afford to (we aren't that poor a country, you know??!), but mostly because most of them don't care enough to put the effort to... and supermarkets here like JUSCO even try to make a profit from selling carry bags... (not so much because they care, but because they want to profit from it too!!)

SIGH SIGH.... Malaysians... when will you guys ever get out of your "tidak-apa" attitude?? Legalistic is one thing, but some things are just too much. No wonder your garbage is overflowing with no place to go.
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