My new blog: For those who came here for the cake pop class, I've created a new blog with updates on classes and photos over at guiri in the kitchen

Saturday, April 24, 2010


Was going through my camera's memory card and found this forgotten picture. Can't believe I hadn't uploaded it yet. Found this little "cutie" here in my backyard about 1.5 months ago. It was the second time in the same week that a dead rat/mouse was found dead in my backyard. Pixie must have given this particular one a heart attack as I can't seem to find any teeth marks to prove that she has bitten the rodent to his death. (yeah, I did a little post-mortem on my own :P)

By the size of it he was probably a young one. Frankly speaking I would say that he is actually quite cute if they weren't such a pest. Big ears, pointy nose, dark round eyes, tiny feet. He reminds me of the movie Ratatouille.

Once, when I was much younger, a rat actually tried to nibble or played with my toes when I was asleep. Being a deep sleeper, I didn't actually bother about it until the guy actually came up to my face (EEEUWWWW!). With my eyes still closed I simply brushed him away and only realised that it was a big black (could have been brown, lights wasn't on so I couldn't really tell) rat was on the same bed with me! I jolted out of bed (nope, no screaming) and ran to my parent's room. By the time they came to my room again it was gone. We probably caught him several days later, I'm not quite sure. And then I found that my bedroom door had been gnawed - and I didn't even realise it because I was in deep sleep :P

I don't have any rodent problems at the moment, but those pesky household geckos are driving me crazy. We have a good supply of mosquitos and flying insects in the backyard because we leave the lights on at night and these pests come to have a feast, then leave their droppings on the walls, ceiling and floor.

If anyone has got a suggestion on how to get rid of them, I'd be very grateful.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Max Brenner!

This post is a little late, but I still need to thank my 3 lovely sisters who are in Brissie at the moment! Last week mom went to the Land Down Under to visit them, and look what she brought home for me! A chocolate fondue set from the Max Brenner shop!!!

A packet each of dark and milk chocolate chunks and a fondue tower for 2

I still haven't decide when I'm gonna devour them yet. Well, I'm suppose to share it with my hubby, but I think I might just hoard it for myself and worry about that ill-fitted pair of jeans later.

Thanks Sis!!!

Monday, April 19, 2010

The World's Worst Local Bank = HSBC

Warning: One LONG whining story ahead.

One fine day my mom was walking in a shopping complex when being approached by HSBC's credit card marketeer. She politely declined and told the person she wasn't in need of another credit card, and also that her application was declined before by HSBC and she wasn't planning to try again.

After much convincing, my mom decided to give it another try. And while filling up the forms, she wasn't allowed to fill up her latest address but to use the one that was on her IC. She was told that she could request for a change of address later. And so my mom informed the marketeer that the office address she filled may not be complete and in case her application was approved, they will have to call up and reconfirm the address before sending the card.

Approximately 2 weeks later, my mom received an SMS saying that her application has been approved and the card has been sent out. Unfortunately the bank did not call the verify the address again, and after one week she still did not receive the card. We suspected that the incomplete address may have been the cause of the delivery problems, and so we contacted HSBC to check and it was true that the original card was returned to the sender by Poslaju. They promised that they will send again to the right address this time.

Another week passed and yet no card was received. And instead, she received her first statement with RM50 Service Tax charged to her card!!! We called again to check with HSBC and was put on hold for more than 3 times with each hold lasting for eternity. They confirmed that the card has been sent out by normal post, and that's why the service tax has been credited AUTOMATICALLY by the system. My mom was like "WHAT??? How can you charge me service tax for a card that I have not even received??? Have you even any prove of acknowledgements that I have received the card???" And they calmly responded, "I'm sorry m'am, please wait for a few more days and if you still don't receive the card, call us again and we'll send a replacement".

And so my mom waited for a few more days and called HSBC again. You know how it's like when you call this centers and they ask you to key in the credit card or IC number for faster service, and when somebody FINALLY answers the call and ask you for your card number again??? Why on earth did I key in that number for in the first place? To help me pass time so that I won't notice that I've been waiting a whole century for someone to pick up the call??? And then they so sweetly tells you that they need to ask you several questions for verification. Actually it wouldn't have been that frustrating if you hadn't  been put on hold for 3 times, and transferred to 3 different operators and being ASKED for your MOTHER's name 3 times for verification during the same phone call!!! My grandma would certainly have jumped up from her grave and whined about this too if she knew!

Finally the operator apologized and told my mom what she already knew- that the card was already sent on X date by normal post, and if it still hasn't arrived by now it is probably lost. And they will send another one on the way. Again the operator reconfirmed the correct postal address and assured the new card will be sent out immediately. Another 2 weeks down the road my mom has already given up and lost all hopes of actually receiving the card. And she thought she didn't want to waste time calling them anymore until she received another statement from them. This time with an additional RM5 of compensation fee (we still haven't figured out what exactly is a compensation fee) and RM5 of late charges for not paying the service tax.

This was really absurd. My mom had already had enough, and called HSBC again and told them to forget about sending her the card (definitely not nicely I can assure you), and to reverse all the charges on the statement. The operator was stunned but apologized profusely for the inconvenience, and said that she will do the necessary cancellation of the card and charges.

And guess what? This month  my mom promptly received another statement from the bank. Both the service tax and compensation fees have been reversed by the late/finance charges remains standing. Which means my mom still owes HSBC a RM5 after all the unnecessary waiting on the phone and call charges to them trying to track the GHOST card. No doubt they got another lashing, and this time the operator assured that she will not receive anymore statements from them and that the RM5 charges will also be reversed.

That's our World's Local Bank!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

A Break In

My neighbour's house was broken into today. Thankfully, nobody was at home (they were away for holidays), so nobody was hurt. The burglar was quite daring to break in around noon time, when most of the people would either be at work or at school. My neighbour's house was in the corner, and the burglar came in from the side door, where he would be least visible. Another neighbour claimed that they heard the alarm sound and came out to check, but saw nothing suspicious. Also it was not unusual to have a false alarm, even my own house alarm tend to get triggerred unnecessarily, so they paid no attention.

In the late afternoon, my neighbour's relative came over to water the plants and feed the rabbits, and noticed something was amiss. The curtains on the side door was parted slightly, and the padlock was missing from the grills and it wasn't locked. As soon as she stepped into the house, she was shocked to find a mess and all the drawers and cabinets ransacked. Frightened that the burglar may still be in the house, she quickly left and called the police. Since the owner was not around, they could not confirm what else was missing from the house, except the rabbit (the burglar must either have a soft spot for furry animals or is considering the bunny as his lunch).

Both my husband and I have contrasting reactions to this incident. The first thing that came to my mind was I'm glad that we were not affected and Pixie did not become a victim of cruel acts. I could still recall 2 of our dogs being poisoned 3 years ago, probably done by someone with evil plans. On the other hand my husband was worried about his things being stolen if the burglar was to break into our house, and went paranoia about putting every single thing in the safe.

I remember when we first moved in, he was overly paranoid about keeping the house safe from thieves and burglars that he put locks and double locks on every single door of the house. I told him that if a burglar had any intention of coming in, we would have to lose even more money repairing doors that the burglar breaks. I also told him that if ever there was a fire, I would be burnt alive inside the house because it takes me just too long to unlock the padlocks and grills and doors to escape. And so in the end I told him off because I refused to become a prisoner of my own home, and we finally compromised on a fewer locks which were only absolutely necessary.

Are materials really so important in our lives? To me, nothing is more important than our lives and memories. I would probably be sad if somebody stole my notebook, but I could easily look on the other side and think, "Hey, it's a chance for me to buy a new one!". At least, I'm alive and still able and it won't take me long to earn enough to get a replacement. But it would completely break my heard if the notebook that was stolen contains all my work and photos that I so dearly treasure. That's certainly not something I can rewind and have another second go, can I??

I'd better go check on my backup to make sure it's up to date. If ever I'm so unfortunate to have the burglar interested in my notebook, I'd still have my backups with me.