Friday, 24 March 2017

Choose to be happy

Today, we live in a society where we tend to read too much into something.

A person of a certain race/religion commits a crime and people would think he/she represents everyone who are of the same race/religion. 

You carry a new handbag and people would assume you come from a really rich family. When in fact it's probably a cheap new bag that you had paid using your hard-earned salary. 

You write a congratulatory message to someone. People think you're sucking up. 

You're friends with founder of a company and people would think that you never pay for merchandises you get from that company. Or rather you must've gotten a huge discount just coz it's your friend's.

You get the drift. Why are we not trained to see the good in everything? So much so that we tend to have to take extra precaution in everything that we do, no matter how pure the intention. It doesn't mean that someone who doesn't complain have the most perfect life, and doesn't mean someone who is vocal and points out real mistakes hate their lives.

I personally am quite content with what life has to offer, the ups and downs. Secretly I think the stray cats I feed are part of the beings that made doa for me, hahaha! You may now think that's  hillarious, but realllllllllly. Those cats can secretly talk to God too I'm sure, in their own cat ways of course (I bet you're imagining the cats putting out their hands to make prayers) :D

I've always loved the verse from Surah Ibrahim:
"If you are grateful, I will surely increase you (in favour); but if you deny, indeed, My punishment is severe"

So choose to be happy coz none in this world is permanent, and never think bad about someone or something if you don't know the real story behind it :))

Monday, 13 February 2017

Honesty is the best policy

What ever happened to speaking to people nicely, rationally and without insulting anybody these days? It doesn't cost anything to be nice and speak kindly. 

So last weekend was our first pop up which we opened to the public. My oh my, the respond was overwhelming and we definitely did not expect such a great turn out from all of you, thank you thank you thank you thank you for the support guys, we really really appreciate it!! Apologies for all the shortcomings, and to all those who did not manage to get any and inconveniences that may have arised on that day. We will be sure to have more bakes and limit it for our next pop up! :)

Reason for this post was to share my first ever experience with personal shoppers (of course this does not apply to all personal shoppers). I believe that in anything that you do, there need to be honesty in your act - totally can relate when one is put in a difficult position when trying to impress specific parties. So prior to the pop up, we had not mentioned any limitations on cupcakes that could be purchased only because this is our first and we were not sure as to how demand would be like. 

As early as 1pm, the queue started building up and by the time we opened at 2pm the line was starting to creep around the block, MasyaAllah you guys are truly amazing! We were definitely overwhelmed and we thought it would not have been fair to allow people to wait as we had expected that it would be sold out halfway through the line - so we calculated the potential purchase of customers from the front of the queue and told the rest about our next pop up. Of course we had visits from personal shoppers ("PS") who had a list of what to buy for their customers. Some of the PS were so very pleasant and civil, we totally loved serving them and going through their list with them whilst some were rather rude. So rude that they could stand at the counter and take in more orders on the phone whilst we had packed their existing list. 

Fair enough we had not limit the number of cupcakes this time around, but this PS had gone a step further to tell us off that he was in fact "creating business for us by buying a lot and yet we couldn't let him know before we opened whether or not we could cater for his request" in which we thought was unnecessary. I would have clearly read that as "I have taken orders for my customers and guaranteed them that I would deliver, so you'd better pack it for me"  haha!

I mean, all the other customers were ethically queueing, it makes them no special. If they really wanted a guarantee then they should have at least been the first 2 in the line ey? They weren't and yet they wanted a guarantee which I thought was not very professional. Without any shame, when they got to the counter, they wanted some flavours that were already sold out and we had mentioned that it cannot be replaced with other flavours to be fair to all the other customers queueing behind them to which they replied "This is MY JOB ok!"...."If you don't want to give then you can keep all your cakes!". 

Personally, I always always think nobody's job is easier than anybody else and NO, the baker packing the cupcakes does not have an easier job than the PS either. So I had politely told him that this is also our job to pack for you only what was on your list and nothing extra and if they did not want (to pay for it) then by all means, the rest in the queue were more than happy to purchase them. At the end of the day, we need to understand our job scope and how best we can deliver it. If I'm personal shopper myself, I would always let customers know that I am not able to guarantee you, but I will try my very best to get it for you. We need to be civil in order for this world to stay kind :))

Be nice always guys, and if you're angry and have nothing nice to say just don't say anything at all! :)) And pssst....don't be a keyboard warrior ok :D 

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

A week early

So apparently Aiman has been planning for my birthday since end of December - he got help from my friends and colleagues so early in the year on gathering the people to attend and got on it with the invitations. 

I know it's never easy for him to do surprises for me, since we're always together and we tend to use his phone to take pictures I'm always taking his phone unlocking it and sending myself pictures. So imagine if someone he had invited replied at that exact time that I unlocked his phone, hahahaha! I've to say though, his effort was amazing! He went to the extend of renaming the people he invited to his imaginary colleagues' names - coz I don't open his messages from work. 

Funnily though, a week before the surprise party a friend of mine had messaged and said "Hey Als, sorry I couldn't make it to your party last night! Hope it was wild!!". Erm... what party Intan? Before she said she had actually wrote in the wrong group chat! hahahaha! And then on the day of the party itself (which was not my real birthday day), another friend what sapped at midnight to wish me happy birthday and even did a Birthday post for me on her social media and insisted that it was my birthday day! And then suddenly out of the blue, earlier in the week Mama suddenly suggested a cafe place which her friend said was nice.

...I just knew it, something was coming! :D So what did I do? Made a conscious effort NOT to play with Aiman's phone too much in January in case the surprise was spoilt by me, myself and I. All in all, turning another year older this year was perfect :))
Of course at the end of the party I stressed him out a little and asked "Eh you tai ajar xxx ke? How about xxx? and xxx?"

..."Your friends are sooooo difficult to gather did you know?! You guys are like socilalite forever busy!"

My advice is if you have crazy friends like mine, get a friend of mine to plan and you just direct :P

Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Personal Statements

Recently someone had asked me how I had done my personal statement when I applied to do my Masters in London. I vaguely remembered I started one of it with something about numbers.

Like..."why is anything divided by zero undefined?". Think about it, you have 10 apples, but you divided it by no one - still got 10 la. No one touched it what. LOL!!!

I totally loved numbers can't for the life of me read long sentences or ever do Law when I was younger so my personal statements to universities were always about numbers. I applied for Masters twice in my life - first one was right after my Undergraduate days and another time was after I had started working.

First-time application: I had applied to a few universities in London (as I was studying in London at that time so it all felt very familiar) whilst at the same time looking out for jobs. At that time, market was rather bleak and the financial industry had just crashed which meant that it was more difficult to get a job in the UK. But heck, I applied nonetheless for jobs in the UK (what was I thinking, so many OxBridge students I had to compete with!), KL and Singapore. After a few months of late-night applications I received my first acceptance letter from King's College London to do Financial Mathematics and was so thrilled!!! And right after that job interviews came in and I received a few offers from a few companies. What do you do at that age right? I wanted to take that KCL offer but at the same time the idea of working sounded pretty cool!

Requested for a deferment from KCL and took one of the job offers in KL (Yup! I'm still here at the first job I had chosen to pick). King's College was nice enough to defer it for 1 year but at the end of the 1 year I had to decide - to continue with the management trainee programme or to take that KCL offer. I stayed back in KL to finish up my training and had to let go of KCL's offer for good.

Second-time application: another year later upon completing my training, I decided to give it another go. Applied to a few universities in London and Melbourne (Only cause Shura's there!). Got rejected by some, got accepted into some but my favourite was Imperial College London! Was shocked and excited at the same time, but I was loving my job at that time (and I have a huge fear of failing which means going back to being a student I would have exams!) which was a difficult decision to make. Spoke to a few people and I decided that I wanted to graduate from Imperial College and get a Masters degree from there - priorities in life haha! Had this unnecessary fear that I might not be as lucky third time round if I don't take this offer now! So much fear ah in my life? :P

But the funniest part was when it came to personal statements. During my first time application I had passionately written about numbers in my personal statement and wrote in there that " dream is to be able to work in a financial institution in the future" and I totally ended up in a financial institution. In my second-time application I had again passionately written about numbers and a little bit about my experience in the financial institution but again I had used that line..."my dream is to be able to work in Corporate Finance when I graduate"....and I did get into Corporate Finance during a restructuring in the firm.


Monday, 9 January 2017

Joined the Marathon

Now that we have closed down Double A to allow for more exciting things to happen (Ok, this so deserves a dedicated post!), Aiman and I suddenly had extra time when the new year started. So as what a normal human being with extra time would usually do- we had a Netflix marathon (did you really think I joined a running Marathon?) and oh my god it FELT SO D*** GOOD!

I guess the both of us have been working two jobs ever since we got married 2 years ago and never had that little extra time to really enjoy the extra time, if you get what I mean. I'm even watching Gilmore Girls back from Season 1! With a lot of visits to the pantry for snacks and coke and vitagen and then super ring and lays. Is this what weekend feels like? Hahaha so jakun!

But...I guess God knew us too well though, first weekend into the new year I had to go back to the office to work. The best part though was because we now have that little extra time, so Aiman waited for me to finish work so we could head for tea time after at a nearby cafe :)

Oh little blessings in life. Alhamdulillah for everything! Imma happy girl :)))))

Friday, 6 January 2017

Around this time

...3 years ago, I was busy stuffing as much as I can into a suitcase, sitting on it and trying to zip it up alltogether because I was physically exhausted! and I wanted so badly to go and have a big breakfast before I had to get on that flight back home to Malaysia, for good. It wasn't an annual leave or a compulsory leave. I was in transitioning from London office to KL's.

Time has definitely flown by so quickly, because that means I've been in my current department for 3 whole years now! Longest department I've served so far in my time in CIMB (minus the short secondment to CEO's office I had in between). Longest I've served before that was about nearly 2 before CIMB sent me to do Masters at Imperial College London.

I must say though I still love my job and find it as exciting as I did when I first joined. Department I am in is always evolving, why? Because we face clients and we get the opportunities to create conversations and do presentations (heck trying to sell a deal!) to C Suites and I still get the jitters sometimes. You know those butterflies in the stomach when you walk into a CEO's office and go "I sooo wnat this deal!!" -  it's crazy adrenaline rush dude! and it's fun! In the midst of all that you get to learn new products rather so often.

Or those deals that take more than a year to complete because it gets complicated as days and months passes by? Sometimes pressing for time which means you need to do a few sit visits in a short period of time and you're required to take odd-hours flights? Tiring, but fulfiling indeed coz depending on which industry you were covering at that time, you'll get to learn something new like when I first stepped foot in a fertilizer plant and nearly puked from the very very VERY strong ammonium nitrate smell.

No doubts there are ups and downs and that's only normal in any job. Nobody's job is easier than anybody else's, but I sure do have an awesome team and colleagues who never let a day passes by without cracking jokes! hashtagawesomecolleagues!

Sometimes it's not about winning the deal, but getting to know people out there - and my job allows me to do that and I'm grateful for that! :)))

Wednesday, 4 January 2017

Be Kind Always

Some people feel the rain, others just get wet. Struggles. Appreciate your struggles, it will only make you stronger if you can get through it. Everyone has their own sets of struggles and often or most times, no one else will understand your struggles unless they are in your shoes. 

Case in point: Children who are disobedient to their parents would be the same people who would tell their own kids to be kind to them in the future. Why? Because they now understand that mums weren't lying when they said labour pain is enough for them to earn her kids respect for the rest of her life!

Same goes for different types of struggles. People may look happy, strong and jovial on the outside but we will never know what battles they're fighting within. Being kind would help a great lot for you know not if the people you help would be the people you run to for help in the future. Elderly is by far my greatest weakness today. I cannot see  them begging by the roadside or even see them eating alone - I feel so so sad I can cry! Like where are their children? I cannot even see elderly guards on duty. They should be enjoying some time off doing things at their own sweet time instead of guarding a jewelry shop shouldering a huge responsibility throughout the night whist eating biskut kering to stay awake :' ((((((  I always make an effort to smile and say hi to the guards at my condo and get them pizzas when we order delivery for ourselves. Sometimes I forget that they stay up night and day making rounds and sitting on that chair and escort guests to our unit just to make sure our safety is taken care off. And yet we sometimes forget to smile and say thank you even when we walk pass and sees him sitting there happily drinking his teh ais in that half tied plastic. Bless them for working so hard!!

I cannot even see people stranded by the roadside these days, I'd tell Aiman to stop so that we can help them repair their cars or at least give them a ride to the nearest safe point. Setback is we no longer can freely stop in the middle of the road at night to help, we don't know if it's safe and that stresses me out. Once I saw a dog so lost and hungry, I gave him Aiman's dinner coz I can't stop tearing thinking this dog is really stress and he needs food to have energy to go wherever he needs to go. We made a huge turn to find the dog again after that and fed him. Even dogs have struggles guys :(

One of my resolutions this year is to be kinder and to help anyone I can as much as possible. Kinder to anyone and anything as long as it doesn't cause me problems :))

Tuesday, 3 January 2017

Goodbye 2016

Not sure about you guys, but I felt like 2016 was one of the longest years I've had...and yet I've not been able to blog as much as I would like to! Hardest year too I must say.

So many significant things had taken place in 2016 and I'm thankful for all the good, the not so good and the in betweens because I believe that things happen for a reason. Sometimes I think that there are no problems at all to begin with because Allah has decided for you to go through that event on that particular day for a purpose, at that time, and you are supposed to find a solution out of it after which you rely fully on Him! It's amazing that when you accept it all, things feel a lot easier to go through :)

There were big decisions that were made in 2016 that would shape what our 2017 and beyond would be like and I must say that some were really tough decisions to make - but very glad we made it.

This 2017, I vow to be a better person, be kind to others no matter what and to be true to my intentions at all times. It doesn't quite matter what others may think/assume you're doing (it for) but at the end of the day, only God sees the unseen and if your intention was good, then good it is in the eyes of God InsyaAllah.

Happy 2017 everyone! :)

Monday, 24 October 2016

Great Leadership with Long Lasting Impact

I am privileged to have met and always be surrounded by amazing people and during this London trip I was reminded why it was very hard for me to leave this country to go back to Malaysia for good. The amazing colleagues and mentors I had here in London.

One of them was this previous boss of mine. Patrick was the first I had met, right after Masters for an interview for a job at CIMB London - he was heading the London Securities office at that time. Scored a job, he became that very trusting and dedicated Boss who allowed me to start relationships with Malaysian Sovereign Wealth Funds in London and he'll back me up at initial meetings. Today, he is more than just that and is an amazing friend to both Aiman and I who never fails to make time for us to check up and offer wise advice to us. I have major respect and love for this amazing ex Boss of mine! I think being able to have that huge respect for your Boss speaks volume of what kind of Boss he is. 

We made time to meet (he even postponed his meeting to the next day and spent the entire afternoon with Aiman and I) and spoke about global mega trends and real hard changes that are coming our way sooner than we think and I agree that not many will be ready for it, but we will adapt InsyaAllah.

Maybank London, you are no doubt in good hands with Patrick leading the team. In fact Malaysia is lucky to have had him in both Banks 😊 Nope, he is not Malaysian Chinese. He's Korean. And he insisted I take a picture with the famous tiger. 

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Awesome Colleagues

I walked into our London office and the lively vibe just made me feel right at home! I mean I've left this place for almost 3 years now and the receptionist still remembers me as this girl who would come into office very happy in the morning. I guess it showed that I loved my job then whilst I was here. 

Went into the trading floor and some of them were still there from my time previously, but there were also new friendly faces and a new head leading the Trading desk out here in London. Man, I'VE MISSED THEM! What did I do to deserve all these, God is too great!

Mickey and Sophia introduced me to their new colleagues before we all headed out for lunch. Yup, they all cleared their schedule so that we could catch up! 

These are half of the team I used to work with in our London office who always had my back at any one time (always made sure I had halal food too!) and they're one of the reasons I looked forward to going to work at 6am every morning. You spend a good amount of time with them and you'll just know that they'll make good company for the rest of your life! Of course I'm remembered as this only Malaysian girl working in a Malaysian bank, always in her own world singing to Disney songs on the trading floor during trading hours whilst everyone is busy screaming.

I used to remember the times when we took clients out for drinks and they'd make sure I have orange juice and fish and chips and funnily enough one time, when the team went through the bill the next day it was a whole long list of alcohol before it came to 5 Orange Juices and since then they'd make a joke that I looked kinda hungover from too much orange juice. 


Monday, 17 October 2016

London Familiarity

Image result for tower london bridge
Recently we decided to take advantage of the Matta Fair and chose to fly to London. 

Why London many had asked?

There is something so familiar about it that is so special to me personally. Having studied in this busy city for both my Undergraduate and Masters degrees and later on continued to work here made it felt like home away from home. The familiarity of the alleys, the ability to walk without fear across its busy streets, the familiar friendly faces, the familiar rush on the 
tube, everything. 

In fact there was one night when Aiman and I had decided to walk all the way from Holborn to Marble Arch and then hopped onto a bus back to Knightsbridge where we stayed when suddenly I felt stress. I told Aiman, the city feels too familiar that I felt stress for walking out late at night because my body felt like I had assignments to complete and work the next day. Completely forgot that I was on holiday right there (Read: Mandatory leave)! I used to be in bed by 10pm last time (if I wasn't out with clients).

Oh London, you feel all too familiar I could stay here forever and ever!

Monday, 10 October 2016

That Blog Name

I often get asked how my blog name ever got so long?

To be honest, it was that one time in Uni when I was bored and was tired of studying so I thought hey why not start a blog. But then I had no name (till today I struggle to give Project names to all the deals I do at work!). When I looked around on my table for inspiration, all I saw were books and books to study and assignments to complete. Clearly this was one of the things that made me want to start writing somewhere else.

My degree.

Economics, Mathematics and Statistics.

EconoMathemathStistician. Get it? :D

Saturday, 8 October 2016

Sad Fact Is

So today, this line was used at me which I thought was far too harsh: "Takpe lah you tolong perkaya kan orang yang sudah kaya...oops sorry sorry" because I bought some duck scarves. 

Just reading that it's clear that the person was NOT sorry, having said it all in one line. I was shocked! Beyond shocked in fact. I replied stating that we should be happy for entrepreneurs that are doing well. Whether they get rich because we as customers chose to buy their product is nobody else's business. It's a willing seller willing buyer scenario we are in. 

Reply I got? "I am happy for Malay entrepreneurs when they work hard but I am not happy with salaried people chasing hard after ducks...after buying too many ducks, it will eventually be as expensive as the handbags"

So it's ok to buy expensive handbags but not too many duck scarves? Mathematically, I am still trying to understand this statement. Or how then do we encourage younger generations to be motivated and inspired to do better and earn higher in the work force if we don't set a target in life ie. what would you like to at least achieve in x number of years?

I felt it was not only an unfair statement to all salaried people (again we worked hard to get our salaries) but to also my friend who had worked so very hard to build this brand to what it is today.
  • My question is, did dUCk ever forced their customers to buy their products? No. Customers have a choice.
  • Did this person have the right to speak on behalf of everyone who had also worked so hard to earn their salary? No, at least I don't think so. Everyone has a right to manage their own financials.
  • So if salaried people like the brand and product, dUCk is to be blamed for existing? No. Again, duck never forced their customers to purchase anything.

There's a fine line between giving advice and being blatantly shallow and rude. So in the 6 years that I've worked in a Bank, I'm not allowed to purchase something that I like? So why work then, because at the end of the day, you would use that money to buy something that if bought in big quantity (no matter how minimal the cost is) would deplete your money. Not that I asked them for money either to satisfy my wants and needs. It is mind baffling to witness someone able to say such a thing when nobody had done anything wrong to you.

My point is, question about rezeki is no one's place to ask, nor should we compare our lives with other people. That would be the start of a problem that never existed. Some people may afford it some may not but we believe that Allah SWT has allocated what is there for us fairly in this temporary world we are in. Always work hard to strive for the best! And learn to be happy for someone else's successes too (being salaried is a good sign that we should be grateful for too). 

How would you know if that person that looks rich doesn't have their own struggle too? We don't know so let's not be too quick to judge. The world would be a much happier place that way. Don't you worry, I do wear non duck scarves too guys, I know my limit :))

Friday, 7 October 2016

Hibiscus Leaves

Yup, those hibiscus leaves are believed to be able to soothe down fever and help one get better - or so I was told. So Mika has been getting on and off fever the past week, and finally two nights ago he vomited out all his medication, refused to even hold down anything from water to food to his cute animal biscuits. 

It's true what they say - Grandparents would spoil and do anything for their grandchildren, thank god for them! Definitely God sent/heaven sent. 

So mama and papa actually went out on a little adventurous walk by the roadside to look for Hibiscus. Couldn't find so they decided to walk further up nearer those residential area in Subang. Nope, none too. So Papa suggested "Maybe we should go to the area near the school, because it's a national flower". Off they drove off to a school nearby. NOPE. None either. 

By now, it was already dark, and they probably would look like crazy trespassers trying to get hold of our national flower. Haha I love you Mama and Papa!! *makes me smile so wide everytime I think about it* In the end, Mama found it the next day, by some roadside, which she funnily parked her car, went down and plucked those leaves with her shades on. I'm sure you guys would think that is cute instead of crazy right? That's crazy LOVE right there for her cucu, may Allah SWT continue to bless my parents for being so awesome!

My next question is, is it that hard to find Hibiscus flowers in Malaysia? If so, how can the next generation learn more about this beautiful Hibiscus that previous generations speak about? Sooooo.....where is best for me to go find hibiscus huys?  

Wednesday, 5 October 2016

Stressful Business Partners

Oh my goodness, our house is so messy! We've got a pile of laundry undone. 2 pitches to do. A thousand and one emails to reply (sorrry we'll reply soooon!) and we NEED sleep. Ok, maybe not Aiman, he falls asleep even whilst doing work.

So the other day, we had an urgent deadline the next day, but so much more to do the night before. I looked at the couch and Aiman had peacefully gone to sleep, and obviously that stressed me out because he said that he would do the task first thing when we get home, finish up and then only we head to bed (no matter how late that is). Woke him up (he got angry in the process, but I'm used to it), dragged him to the work table, started talking to him and by the time I looked at the laptop, he was already sleeping sitting down facing the laptop.


Today, we laugh about it because it did look very silly and stressful at the same time and I don't want to go through it again! I'm the kind of person who does not like to do things last minutes eg we get invited to do a pitch, I would have started working on it 3 weeks before. Aiman? 3 days before.

We breathe down each others' necks all the time. Yet, we wouldn't trade each other for anybody else :)