Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Are Muslim converts a discriminated/disadvantaged lot?

YES!!! If you asked me! And why you may want to know, right?

I've never thought of if this way, although at times certain transactions may be less convenient, until I experienced it the hard way, TWICE and that's enough!

Be warned - extra long post!

Case 1

Pregnant and close to due date, (last year) went into a bank (CIMB) to withdraw some moolah. Not convenient for an ATM transaction, so I went to the counter. Knowing that the name on the account is that of my previous name, I provided the officer with my IC and my convert card. (And just in case you don't know, my previous name, the whole name, still exists in my new name, so if you compare, there's no reason to think that it may be 2 different people at all.) Few seconds later, she tells me that my name in the system is not the same as on my IC and she is unable to proceed with my transaction. I have to go to my 'home branch' (which is like 40km away) to change my name before she can do anything.

My question to her:
1. I have given you my convert card which states both my old n new name, with my IC number, so why can't you use that? (short of saying - you blind kah?!!)
2. My home branch is far away, can't u change it for me? (you think I got nothing better to do? In the IT-age, you trying to bluff me that you can't do it for me?

Guess what she said?
1. Nope, it doesn't match in the system so I can't allow it.
2. I can't. Its easier if you go there and do it yourself, anyway. (if my branch was in JB/Kedah/Kelantan and not 40km away??)

At that point of time, i was fuming and called hubby who was waiting in the car. Immediately he came up. But while he looked for parking, I demanded to see her manager and this other lady was as 'lazy' and unhelpful as she is.

I told her, an internationally recognized bank, HSBC has no qualms allowing me to do transactions like this. RHB too allows me to do transactions like this. And what is so wrong with another local bank? She says that's the rule. But haven't I showed them enough proof?

When hubby came in, he reiterrated the same. After some heated exchange of words among the 3 of us, she relented, saying ok go ahead. Can allow. And right after that, hubby asked her 'Is that the way you treat or discrimate converts, while you yourself is a Muslim? What kind of image are you trying to project? More so you're doing that to a pregnant lady??' She kept quiet.

Immediately I told that officer, 'Please take out ALL my money and leave on the minimal amount necessary (RM10, I think) for me to keep the account alive, after which I will ensure its dormant. No point wasting my time with people who treat others like less than human. It's as though I was trying to cheat them.' And its not like I've got millions in the bank to begin with. The officer then asked me - should I change the name for you? I told her, do what you feel like doing, and give me the money I asked for. The rest, I'm not bothered as I'm not going to do another transaction with this bank, so I don't need to know which name its under! (couple of weeks after, I received a letter notifying me of the name change)

When we got the money, the manager passed it to us and apologized, with tears in her eyes. We looked at her and told her, 'its too late. It's ok, don't have to apologize. You should've thought about your actions/words in the begining.'

(May I also add that we told her that we'd write to the press. Maybe this was what worried her, as we got all their names down.)

Case 2

Few days back, after finding out that I may need to go out of the country for work, I went to renew my passport which had expired in 2009. Wasn't prepared, so I went to the Subang branch immigration office and asked the info counter what I needed. I also told the office that my name on the old passport is that of my previous name and he told me to hold on while he checked again.

He came back n told me that I only needed to get a letter from JPN to confirm my name change and the other docs were the same as normal renewal, i.e. form, photo and copy of IC and the old passport. I went home to get my old passport and got the letter from JPN.

Went back to the same office 3 hours later (yes, kelana jaya to petaling jaya to cheras and back to KJ), sat infront of a young lady and she looks through my documents. Gave her the JPN letter and then suddenly she says I need your birthcert. At that instant, I exploded (controlled, slightly). I blurted out 'excuse me, I came here 3 hrs earlier and that officer, yes that guy there (pointing), told me this is all I needed, so I went home to get my passport only. If I'd knew I needed the BC, I'd have brought. Why can't you guys be firm and standarize?' She claims this is standard and dunno why that guy didn't mention. Seeing I was angry, she went to her superior and this slightly older man came to tell me that they will process my application first and then when they call me, I bring my BC. Did you notice that now it's an application? Not a renewal?

MY question is, do you think I'm illegal that I needed to show proof of my BC? Isn't my IC proof enough that I'm Malaysian with both my names stored there, and my convert card too? I actually asked JPN what's the name on the IC and she told me both names are in the chip. So what's the problem, immigration people?

Then I cooled down a little and spoke to the lady nicely, telling her that perhaps there should be a standard doc or info for all of them to refer to so they won't cause such inconvenience. YOu know what she replied? Typical lazy gov staff - 'Oh we already have this, and I dunno why that other person didn't tell you. We also have a checklist already.' I asked 'so if the checklist exists, why didn't he give me?' Now my voice raised, she kept quiet.

And prior to this, she actually asked me why I converted. I asked her, what's the relevance of this? Why do you need to know? For fun, can or not? she say she wants proof, so I say for fun, got proof? She kept quite and asked my for my kad nikah. Because she saw I ticked 'married'. The guy at the next counter already noticed that I was one angry customer. Any angrier, the whole office would've heard me.

1. Is the IC not good enough for any official transactions? IF not good enough then what's the point of carrying it around? Waste time and resourced putting up the JPN office to make IC for people.
2. IS there a reason there's so many red tapes for a muslim convert (mualaf) in this country? And you call yourself an Islamic nation?
3. Is this the way you are trying to show other religion that Islam is a very compromising religion? When the very people who are making life difficult for us are also Muslims themselves.
4. Don't ever give the excuse that this is the law/rule, because in Case 1, you could bend the rules. Rules are created by human, and if required, it can be changed. No? Then why at last in Case 1, I got my moolah and the officer could change my name without me going to my home branch?

I assure you, this will be sent to the press.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Sibu, 5 years on

*photos from here

I only arrived here at almost 10pm (by the time I got to the hotel) and here I am, reminiscing memories 5 years ago when I first came here as part of the Explorace event which I took part in.

It was Explorace 3 (yea the 3rd season). So far, what I've seen from the ride from the airport to the hotel, most have not changed, only additional commercial development. Airport is also under renovation and the hotel (Tanahmas) has also been renovated. Rooms are much better, but crappy TV channels. All sports and news channel from all over the movies!! Arrrgh!

I can't wait to explore it tomorrow morning...

Monday, April 18, 2011

Disastrous Energizer Night Race!

First it was a disastorous night race, then it was the most incompetent immigration bad can it get? Let's hope it won't 'follow me' to Sibu tomorrow! Yes, 5 years on, my 2nd visit to Sibu. Wait! I have digressed.... The most anticipated, 1st run in the F1 circuit was on 16th April. Yes, THE saturday night. HAving registered for 21km, and not ran for a month since the Bareno Run which I also did a 21km, I thought I'd just hit the road and do my best. Somehow, as I arrived, I was already pissed off even before the race started. Such a huge venue but no proper directions to get people to the starting line, or even to where we were supposed to collect our headlamps or to anything and anywhere!! Do you think everyone in this country has had the previlege of visiting he F1 circuit? Did they even think that 10,000 people will throng this place and abit more proper management is required? Yes, it's the crappiest race ever, and Energizer Night Race has just won hands down!! Took me 30minutes just to get to the headlamp collection area. It was so stuffy I think if I arrived any later, I'd have fainted. It took me another good 10 minutes to find the 'lane' to get to the start. With such a wide area, the organizers had to arrange the sensors for the timing chip to only about 10 feet wide!! And so it took me a good 2.5minutes just to get pass the start line. I was fine with the rest, for now. Until I came to the 2nd water station, with 2 miserable tables, ultra small paper cups and only 2 people maning the place, runners had to self-serve themselves. What on earth is this? No medic to be seen when I wanted one too! After the loop outside, which I was really happy with my timing, I went in and found more undesirable conditions. Everyone was scaterred everywhere running all over the place. A few officials were at the supposedly 5 & 11km finishing area but they were swamped with runners. RUnners are running on their own honesty. No one is around to ensure that they are doing 1 or 2 loops. What's the event again? And everyone was hovering everywhere leaving no space for even the 21km runners to run properly. Something in my foot told me to go abit more and then stop, literraly. I felt a blister coming and decided not to suffer. No point, no one benefits from it. And so I stopped, turned around and walked out. Did anyone care? NO! Took me another 30mins to find the way out and get to my car. Thank God I decided to just leave without the goodie bag as I already imagined few thousand people rushing to get out of the parking area. If only it had been organized better, I'd have enjoyed my race, I'd been able to get the tapes I required to temporarily relief the discomfort. Did I chicken out? I think partly I did, but Iguess it was somewhat a smart move. I bet my weekend 20km would be anytime better. LUckily I didn't get 'cheated' by the people at the carparks. What could be worse?? In the next post I shall elaborate!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Kenyir oh Kenyir!

I was excited when registration for Kenyir Triathlon opened. I signed up immediately. That was almost 2+ months back and at the back of my mind, I'd think I would have time to train.

But hey, I've got to train all 3 disciplines...not just a 30min run every evening!! I thought I could do it.

Unfortunately, with my crazy work schedule, i.e. alot of travelling and slightly longer hours than usual, I didn't even have time for my 30min run!! Oh boy, was I in trouble or what? And yes, bout 2-3 wks before race day, I decided I was not ready. I cancelled my hotel booking and made arrangements for my race pack to be collected on my behalf. :(

yes, I was SAD. It was supposed to be my comeback race, knowing it was a tough route, I was determined to conquer it for the 3rd time. But it would be my first tri-race since 2006.

I guess I'll have to wait till next year for my next Kenyir. And thank God I didn't go as it rained the whole race and it would've been a horrible day as the kids had to stay in and hubby wouldn't have been too happy....I guess things did happen for a reason!



For the first time, I'm going to Aquaria, and we brought the kiddos along too....

Well in actual fact we had free tickets to grandstand seats for the F1 race, but unfortunately it was last minute and we couldn't find anyone to help babysit. So we had to change plans and away to Aquaria we went. :)

AIR1 refused to budge when we were at the touch pool, though he wasn't interested in touching any of the sea creatures, he just wanted to observe. We were stuck there for a looong time. Took us ages to convince him there were more exhibits ahead.

When we reached 'gecko', same thing happened. He screamed and threw a tantrum when we tried to ask him to move along. He loved the otters and was amazed by all the fishes. Especially the Arapaima (Dragon Fish). He just stood there observing the 3 Arapaimas swimming, one looked as though he had a bad case of osteoporosis (all hunched).

As we went through the tunnel with the walk-a-lator, he was mesmerized, but refused to let me take a photo of him. We went through that twice. Coming out, AIR2 was sleepy and hungry so while I fed her, Daddy & AIR1 sat in front of the 'largest screen saver' where fishes were swimming 'inside'. A shark was sleeping at the side and AIR1 was kept busy trying to 'wake it up' while enjoying the antics of all the other fishes.

It was a loooong day but fun.

He wasn't in such a good mood as he was having slight flu, and we took turns carrying him. Oh boy! IT was quite a work out.

Now we postponed bird park, so perhaps that will be next.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011


No, no I've not...I've just been on the move alot!! Out at site, in and out of KL and when in the office, I'm just so bogged down with things to finish up! And this poor blog is neglected!! Took the kids for 'Rio!' screening! The tale of a flightless blue macaw, the last of its kind. Animated, 3D and it was really good. The best part was - both kids sat right through the show with no noise, no fuss all focussed on the show!! Lots of music and very captivating! AIR1 wanted his own 3D specs but didn't want to wear it. Thank goodness the cartoon didn't look totally blur like how it would on a normal 3D movie. Otherwise we'll probably be dizzy. After the movie, we wanted to extend his 'encounter' with birds by taking him to the bird park. Unfortunately he was very tired & cranky, and he fell asleep even before we existed the car park!! Can u imagine?? So it was homeward bound. Looks like another round of animated movie is possible! :)

Friday, April 1, 2011

One day out!

Guess where we're going?

Mummy, tak nak!! Keep the camera!

Erk, my son camera shy??


F1 driver in training?
Ice cream truck driver for a start also can.

It was a fun-filled day for him. AIR2 was not featured on as many rides but I guess she somewhat enjoyed it too. The cool air (abit too cold for her as she wasn't 100% well), the new environment and all that excitement.

It was a loooong day for them and AIR1 almost fell asleep in the cable car ride back. He hung on, until we reached the car.

The adults? watch them have fun and go with AIR1 for his rides! Hubby managed to sneak a ride for himself while we waited. the moment he went on his ride, AIR1 screamed as he wanted to go along.

Kenyir is now off as I'm not prepared to race. Next year perhaps.

Next road trip? still planning, but this Sunday will be a movie outing for all! Rio premier screening....I hope AIR1 will sit and watch and AIR2 will not make a fuss.