Friday, 17 June 2011

Happy Fathers' Day, Abah!

When I was a young child, my Abah was always away from home -- at university doing his first degree when he was already a working adult, and later at Stanford University doing his Masters (we, the family, was with hime at that time). He was constantly away doing this research and that research throughout his career in the education field. I would like to think a lot of my love for learning, writing and curiosity comes from him (and wanderlust definitely from Mak!)

So, after many years of retirement, it was no surprise that Abah at 69 last year took the decision to pursue a PhD. Not only at any university but online Asia e University (AeU)., dual-mode multinational university. His area of study centering on something very close to his heart - loosely described: something on the management of public schools in Malaysia. AeU had a scheme for senior citizens and he was raring to go. With his love affair with the Internet and passion for the topic, it was fantastic to see him "come alive" again.

But now, some months down the road, Abah is at a crossroad.. he has second thoughts to continue with his new adventure. Not because of the hard work that entails such a project but rather because of the bewildering mobile broadband service that is hampering the process. Time and again he would call us the children to help him out with the erratic connections and the complexities of getting customer service to respond.

He had earlier on terminated the fixed broadband service he had at home because of its inconsistency and went on mobile broadband (courtesy of my SIL, Kak Lili). But mobile wasn't really working for him either. Whenever he had broadband problems, he would call up the service centre and would convey his grievance to the person on duty. But more often than not, such agents launch into geek speak that bewildered and frustrated Abah. And they were constantly telling him in the consultations, could he please get somebody who could understand what they were saying. Clearly they were talking down to him and seem to be thinking that he was some helpless and illiterate senior citizen.

So, slowly, the fire in him is getting snuffed out -- thanks to the competencies of these customer service aka helpline agents. If online learning creates opportunities for continued learning, online communications service is clearly something else.

My Abah has been quiet this past few weeks - mulling his options on whether to continue with the course or not. I know he doesn't want to throw in the towel and he doesn't want to accept defeat. But the challenge technical-wise is proving to be a bit much for him. Members of his family are all proud of him for having even the courage to embark on the initiative. And for us, it is not a sign of failure should he decide to discontinue. I hope he sees it like that too..

Whatever you decide, I'm behind you 100 per cent, Abah. Your courage, dedication  tenacity and lust for life is something I hope to emulate and take with me wherever I may land in life. Obstacles and roadblocks do not make you a lesser person. And shame on us younger ones who think that of an older person.

I wish you many more adventures in the coming years and I hope to continue to share them with you. Happy Fathers" Day, Abah!

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

BBM Me :))

Guys, this is new to me..maybe not for you. Apparently, you do not stand a chance of getting anywhere with a girl if she gives you her mobile phone number. But if you get her BlackBerry PIN, you are in the running, bro!

These were the wise words imparted by Jason Lo, CEO of mobile prepaid service provider Tune Talk at the launch of  its new BlackBerry prepaid service on Tuesday. 

And you know why? Apparently with  text messaging (SMS) the most you get is an exchange of one or two lines with the lady. But with the BlackBerry Messenger, you could just be shooting off 50 messages at each other at one sitting without even realising it. You could sneak into her mind and mess with her brains just like that, said the seemingly experienced Mr Lo.

Being relatively new to the BB scene ( babe's a Torch, y'all), I can truly relate to the BBM bit - tho not in getting the girl part. Tho, I don't use the prepaid service from Tune Talk which is said to be the cheapest around so far (yes, Mr Lo, I will go check the truth of your lecture -- that we're all overpaying here in Malaysia..), I am very attached to my BB and am on it nite and day and having a grand time gossiping..let me rephrase that, discussing the issues of the world with my pals!

Jason Lo (right) with  BlackBerry Country manager Y.S Tam at the launch of Tune Talk's BlackBerry service.

By the way, with such apparently cheap service, those who are looking forward to the PlayBook - the tablet from BlackBerry should be happy to know that they could have their cake and eat it too. According to  BlackBerry country manager Y.S. Tam, the gadget will be coming to Malaysia soon in the July timeframe at a competitive price. exciting!