Thursday, 21 July 2011

It is safe... or is it?

Assalamu 'Alaikum

I got the following sets of photos in the email a week ago.

These are interesting photos actually, improvisation of tools or equipment, or shortcuts to do work.  After all, you get to finish the work quickly.  Had the workers gone through the hassles of getting proper scaffolding or longer ladders, it'll take more time or even cost them more and it'll mean lower profits, right?  Well, it depends, purely on luck I supposed.  One wrong move or slip, you're gone. Look at the pictures.  What do you think?

Balancing the ladder on the edge of the floor

Oh yes, the walk plug socket is meant to support the ladder

Who needs scaffolding when you have a plank

I don't know what this fella is doing, but I am pretty sure the air-cond brackets is meant to support the compressor, not an idiot 

Once he's done fixing the rear axle, he should think of fixing his brain.  He need to tune his perception of risks!

They will enjoy cold food & drinks once the fridge is installed. They can also freeze their brains!

Another one balancing his ladder, this time on a narrow edge

This photo gave me the creeps.  How many floors are there again?

Resting in peace...let's hope they will not Rest In Peace!

Whatever you do my friends, please do the right thing.  If an activity is not safe, or if you are unsure if it is safe, do the right thing and don't continue the activity.  Think of your loved ones.

Be safe.  Wassalam.

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde

Assalamu 'Alaikum

Have you ever encountered real life Jekyll n Hyde?  I have... many times but today I've decided to put it down to paper... err blog. 

Today, after a long day at the office, I called up a local hotel to book a room for the weekend, to wind down with the kids after my short trip last week, and my long hours in the office this week.  That's when a Mr (or rather Ms) Hyde was at the other end of the line.

Ms Hyde spoke quickly, so quick that I couldn't catch what she was saying, not due to the fact that I have slight deafness from childhood indulgence in the walkman but rather to her unfortunate failure at trying a slang that was a marriage between American-Filipino-British tongue. Alas, I managed to get a room booked. That's all that matters for me!

Ok, 11 months ago, I got a call from the same hotel, from a Dr Jekyll. Possibly a mutated Dr Jekyll as she also speak in that unfortunate slang.  Dr Jekyll offered me to join the hotel membership club. 
The lure of discounted meals, free nights and lunches attracted me, so I signed up.

What disappoints me though, is the continuing attitude of such people, nice when they need you but unwelcoming when we call them up to book a room, especially when they realised we are going to use the free vouchers.  We've paid, didn't we?  not that we are begging.  Mind you, not all of them are bad, I've met good ones but they are getting more difficult to come across now.  Rare species them.

Anyway, at this point, 1.30 in the morning and having just finished amending a 20 page slide for an afternoon session tomorrow (or rather, later), I've run out of juice trying to think what to write more.  It annoyed me so bad I just have to let it out.  

Oh well, good night all. Or good morning. Sleep tight.

Mr G

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Dirgahayu Kebawah Duli Tuan Patik

Assalamu 'Alaikum

15th July has always been a special occasion for us Bruneians, and tomorrow will be no exception.  It is a date when our beloved ruler, Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah was born in 1946, and His Majesty will be 65 this year.

Dirgahayu Kebawah Duli Tuan Patik, and I, your humble and loyal subject pray for your health, wisdom and happiness, and continue to rule the nation to prosperity with the guidance and will of Allah, Amin.


Sunday, 10 July 2011

Catching up.... Iman's award for 2010, Congratulations Sayang!

Assalamu 'Alaikum

Again, catching up on those 'missing' posts... this time, an event in April, where Iman was awarded for finishing second in her class of Year 1 at St James's School.

During the last Parent-Teacher consultation day in May, her class teacher for Year 2 commented that there is nothing to worry about Iman, her work ethics, her understanding, her attention... All OK... If anything it would be her handwriting heheh, they're neat but too tiny for the teacher's liking.  I have to agree with the teacher and looks like Iman has addressed that now :-)

Less writing and more photos today.

Mr G

Saturday, 9 July 2011

To my fellow Bruneians... CSPS needs your help


Are you a graduate? Are you currently employed / unemployed or overqualified for your job? If you are, then Brunei Centre for Strategic and Policy Studies (CSPS) needs your help, to help you.

Yes, help CSPS to help you.

Help CSPS by filling their online questionnaire - just visit their website:, their facebook page: or straight to their online questionnaire at csps.graduate-employmen​

I've helped them and filled the questionnaires.  It took me less than 10 minutes to complete.

To manage your expectations, there is no prizes for completing it.  But I do hope CSPS will gather enough responses and information to help their research and to come up with new initiatives or new changes for Brunei to adopt and help the future generations of graduates.

All the best CSPS.

Mr G

Alhamdulillah... what next?

Assalamu 'Alaikum

I mentioned in my previous post I moved to a new job, now looking after Health, Safety and Environment Data & Reporting (HSE).

I was also required to attend a NEBOSH Certificate course (to do with Occupational Health and Safety), which I attended dry, yes, dry with no previous experience in safety at all.  It was quite surreal and intimidating to be sitting amongst others who have years of experience under their belts.

The course dates couldn't have been worse - it was during my last 2 weeks as Insurance Advisor and during handover to my successor.  The routine for the first week of studies was: wake up at 6, drive kids to school at 7, attend classes 7.30 to 4, back to office for handover from 4.30 to 7.30, revise from 10 to 2 am.... and repeat seqence all over again.  The second week, I couldn't even do the handover, my brain just refused to cooperate.  And I had to rely on 2 cans of Red Bull every day. Yes, 2. Every day.  It made me alert and hyper, but the energy level shot down by 6pm.

Since the final exam on 1st April till 3rd week of June, I've been nervously checking my mailboxes - email and the red box - so worried about what the result would be.  I finally received my results via email on the 3rd week of June and I passed!  Alhamdulillah.  And a couple of days ago I got the official slip via snail mail, and it is now confirmed: I passed with a D... YES!  I passed, with a D!

My wife was so happy for me.  She had been there for me, handled the kids all by herself during the 2 weeks, well, except for me sending the kids to school and look after my meals and everything.  The kids were also ecstatic to hear their daddy passed.  It was a huge relief.  My colleagues were surprised when I told I passed with the D, and were very generous with their compliments.

Alhamdulillah.  I've spoken to the boss, what next?  Diploma is next, possibly.  For the mean time I just need to get my hands dirty.  Get busy.  So far so good, that I think I got my name crossed out from a few people's Hari Raya mailing list, one example was my post on Just a thought.

Well, that's life.  But Alhamdulillah.  All the efforts and sacrifices paid off.

Wassalam & Have a Great & Safe Weekend All,
Mr G

Friday, 8 July 2011

Kaseh Ibu... Rindu Babu

Assalamu 'Alaikum

8th July 2004.  My beloved mom Hajah Millie Haji Mohd Noor left us forever.  Allah has given me the pleasure of 30 years being with my mom.  Affectionately called Babu in the household, she passed quietly in her sleep.  I accepted the Will of Allah, much as I love to have Babu to look after my children the way Mama, my dear grandma, did as I grew up, I couldn't bear to see Babu suffering from her illness.

37 years ago. Safe and Secure in my Babu's loving hold

Growing up with my grandparents, my brother and I only see Babu during the weekends.  Life was not difficult then but jobs were generally available in the capital, 2 hours drive from our kampong.  So Babu and my dad, striving to ensure our lives are well and equipped had to be away from us for 5 days every week.

Lovingly bathing me. Me not-so-loving the water

The other night, listening to the song I Want To Hold Your Hand by Kurt (Glee), I cried and cried and recalled memories with Babu.  I just want to hold her hand that night, as I always did when I visited her at hospital.  Babu was a tough disciplinarian and a perfectionist, I guess as she was an only child, and I attribute where I am now partly a result of that.  Despite all that, Babu had always been there for me, in pain, in glory, in sadness and in happiness.

Look at that proud face holding Muhammad :-)

I've been unlucky a few times on the road, once a victim of careless driver and later due to false assumption of the tyre condition.  Both were more than half hour drive from our family home.  Despite her condition, breathlessness and having to bring her oxygen tank around, she insisted for my brother to drive her to be with me. My two brothers were also unlucky on the road then, and even in the middle of the night, the motherly instinct brought her to the scenes.  She rarely said the I love yous but her actions showed that.

Babu a proud granny, again, here holding Iman

The last few memories were of Babu frequenting the ICU's for her condition, most of the time due to excess fluid in her lungs.  There was one occasion, a doctor saw my wife and I, Babu told him that I was her son and my wife is her daughter in law.  The doctor asked her if she had any grandchildren, she proudly said in her perfect English, "I do, I have a grandson and a granddaughter".

This was her last Hari Raya in 2003 with  Muhammad and Iman. Look at the twinkle in her eyes.

I miss Babu.  Muhammd was fortunate enough to be around Babu when he grew up.  He was three then.  At times he would say that he missed Babu and we would drive down the road, and prayed at her grave.

Al-Fatihah to Babu, O Allah Almighty, please bless my mother for all her sacrifices and her love for us, please grant my mother a beautiful place in paradise. Amin.




Thursday, 7 July 2011

Good read my lord!

Assalamu 'Alaikum

Everyone loves reading.  At least that is what I know in my family.  Like I've blogged before I grew up with my grandma, and before she sleeps every night she would read her kitab ugama (religious books) or the malay newspaper.  My late mom would have stakes of magazines.  My Abang loves to read as well, the same favourite author as mine even.

My wife loves reading too, again the same favourite author as mine and now Muhammad loves reading too (Wimpy Kids.. David Copperfield), Iman (Wimpy Kids & Enid Blytons) and Asha, feedback from the teacher is there is no problem with her reading, so there.

Yesterday, I received two packages that arrived in the same day, one from acmamall and the other from Amazon UK.  The thing is, the latest Jeffrey Archer (oh did I say my favourite author is Lord Archer?) arrived in June and I fought with the missus to read the book :-)... not literally fight of course.  Once we finished that book, we got withdrawal - reading is like a drug you know!  So we wanted to read Lord Archer's other books, I knew I had these books before but must have lost them when I moved around in the last 20 years.  So I got these new 'old' ones... they're good read and thriller, and I highly recommend Kane and Abel, it is the best!

Mr G

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Just a thought..

Assalamu 'Alaikum

First and foremost, this is the first blogpost I've ever made from my year old iPad... Exactly a year old today - Got it during my 10th year anniversary honeymoon at Leeds UK, on July 5th 2010.

About my thought.....just to let it out, I spent wasted a good 10 minutes last Friday afternoon listening to a graduate complaining and refusing to do something that the grad is qualified to do, just because some of the others aren't qualified. The grad felt it is unfair that he/she ended doing a bigger share of the task.

I was at lost at this kind of behaviour.... I mean, why miss such good opportunity to shine & sell yourself? Instead of trying to get extra brownie points, the grad ended up painting a bad picture which possibly will be etched in not just my mind but the other leaders.

I enjoyed coaching others, much like Ed did to me, and I had coached a few grads in Finance where I'd been before... But in this case, I tried to talk some sense into the grad but there was no chance, the grad kept on repeating the words 'unfair' like it's the only line rehearsed before that call. On a Friday afternoon, that's the last thing you want to waste your time on, so I gave up.

My words of advise, sell yourself. Try your best and don't you ever shoot yourself in the foot. Take every opportunity that comes your way. Me? I am still working on it, trying my best... Heck, i've just completed 3 months in my new job and enjoying every minute of it. Please pray for my success. Thanks.

Wassalam, G

Sunday, 3 July 2011

Catching Up... Farewell to Ed and the Three Musketeer$

Assalamu 'Alaikum

As promised, another catching up post... This time an event in February for the farewell of my boss, Ed and two other leaders Mark N and Mark T, the trio aptly nicknamed the Three Musketeers.

Edwin Bolton or Ed to close colleagues, had been with the company for 4 1/2 years since October 2006. His boyish looks belied the talents, the sharp mind underneath and took some of us back, especially that he was a couple of years younger than me.  But Ed was like a sponge - within weeks of arriving he's got grip of what we're doing and within months steered the ship well. 

Ed work late, at times over the weekend, sometimes I'd call him dull Jack as he's always avoided any non-work company events.  It's not that the work was getting too much, he'll find work to do when he's free!

For Ed to suddenly inherit 30 people when he arrived was a huge shock for him, more so all his 4 direct reports were older than him.  How he handled it become my very own personal thesis - I now lead a team of only three but I used every tricks that Ed applied to win us all, to help me take my own ship out of the harbour.  I am not there yet, but I look up to him for inspiration if there seems to be rough waters ahead. 

Of all the bosses that I've had in my 15 working years, I'd have to say Ed shaped me to who I am now and who I wanted to be.  When things got so bad for me, he picked me up and helped me turn around from worst to best performance within a year.  Thanks Ed.  You're my inspiration.

Ed had been married to Emma just over a year when they arrived in Brunei, and he left Brunei with Olly, one and half years old then and Toby at the end of his second trimester. Toby was safely born in UK last month. 

Ed was only one of the three, they weren't even called the Three Musketeers during their time in the company, it was only coined when all three were to leave the company in quick succession Marc N left early Feb, Mark T left end Feb and Ed left end March, Ed in the same time that I moved on to my new job. 

Adios you Mu$keteer$... All for One, One for All.  We wish you the best in all your future endeavours!

Ed getting his 'Kain Songket' frame from Ralph

The Three Musketeer$... Marc N, Ed, Ralph and Mark T.

Ed receiving gifts from Zainee on behalf of the team