Weekly update!

What in the world is a Standard Male?

Yes, I missed last week’s report, but achievement unlocked, at least a blog post every week so far?

The past one week has been crazy.

I said goodbye to my company and will embarking on a new adventure after Chinese New Year.

I also got the keys to my house on Tuesday (WHICH IS THE PART I’M EXCITED THE MOST ABOUT, CAN YOU TELL???) and with it, all the new homeowner headaches that come with it.

Most of which I got done today.

Paid for the water to be reconnected to the house. Syabas says it’ll take 3 working days, so I’m looking to have running water by next Thursday latest at the house. Applied for the meter to be reconnected to the apartment, this will happen within 3 working days. And then also changed the name on the Cukai Taksiran aka Land Tax with MBPJ. That needs to be paid, but I think I’ll only do it tomorrow.

So yes, HOUSE!!!!!

Which brings me to a relevant tip.

If you are purchasing a home in Malaysia and the home owner has closed both the electricity (Tenaga Nasional) and water (Syabas in Selangor, not sure for other states), make multiple copies of your COMPLETED Sales and Purchase agreement (aka SnP or SPA, depending on what your lawyers use for acronyms).

You will also need copies of your NRIC (if a Malaysian citizen, not sure for foreigners, sorry!). Bring at least RM500 with you in cash, or just RM200 (for Syabas) and a credit card if you don’t want to carry so much money.

I would also recommend taking a full day off.

For Tenaga, aim to be at the Kedai Tenaga by at least 1130am. I was in the New Town branch, and there was a short queue. You can apply online for the power to be reconnected, but I found the offline application to be quite painless. Get a form, fill in, and then show it to the Customer Service Officer. You’ll be submitting the application form, a copy of your NRIC and your SnP.

Hint: if the account is closed, bring along the old account number. That way, when you submit the completed form and your SnP copy, they’ll be able to confirm and let you know the status of the power meter in your new property. Then take the number and wait till they call you.

Remember I said to bring cash or credit card? Once your number’s up, they’ll process your application and take a deposit. This will be dependent on the previous usage of your new house, so they’ll charge you a rough average. Mine was about RM250, and I opted to pay by credit card.

Once you’re done, grab a snack or head over to the 11th floor of Menara MBPJ to change the land tax to your name. You’ll need to submit just your SnP copy and complete the form. Depending on the queue, this can take anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour. Mine was done on a Friday, so it took about 20 minutes, mainly because they had to look up the name of the property.

It’ll be about time to break for lunch, so go and have something to eat before you get into the car. Aim to be at Syabas by 3.30pm latest (I went to Jalan Templer). This is where it gets tedious; you’ll need to get a form from the counter, fill it up (and they ask a LOT of questions in that form) and then submit it with your SnP and NRIC copy to the customer service counter. They’ll ask for a witness to sign your document; just ask any customer there to sign for you. They usually will.

The first submission stage is where Syabas’ process annoyed me. The first customer service person flipped through my documents to make sure all the sections were filled, and then asked me to take a seat; her colleague would process the documents first. This was a twenty minute wait as there were a lot of people before me; it seemed that what she was doing (the second colleague) was simply removing the irrelevant sections of the form, double checking my details, and then RESTAPLING everything.

Really though, did you really need two copies of everything Syabas, and did you really need to have the customer service person do that when the counter person could? No wonder Syabas loses so much money; this process could have been streamlined in so many ways without incurring as much wastage!

Oh yeah, once she calls out for your number, take it and have seat. This part took about ten minutes; when my number was up, I submitted the document and then paid the deposit, which was only in cash (this is why they have an ATM on the premises). Then I had to wait for them to complete the stamping procedure.

By this time, it was already 4.45 pm, and the doors were closed (Syabas closes at 4.30pm, so you will want to be INSIDE the building before then). Once you’ve collected your stamped copy, you’re good to go. Water services will resume 3 working days after you’ve done everything.

With that, congratulations, you’ve just completed the pre-renovation stage!


I’m a great believer and encourager of minimalistic writing apps. Heck, I still have Baara’s Q10 on my PCs, even though it hasn’t been updated in years. because it simply works. I love these things because they remove all distractions and by extensions, excuses for not writing.

Where Q10 wins for me is in the Timer app. They have a nice timer add on that will show the number of words you’ve written after a set time, which is perfect for Nanowrimo word wars. It’s one of the best ways I find to get started when I have writer’s block.

The most gruesome version of this timer among writing apps, is WriteOrDie. It’s a little more extreme in the sense that if you started writing and stopped halfway, it would give you a grace period of up to a minute before it began deleting your words, one by one. This meant you needed to continue writing, but if you were stuck looking for a specific word or phrase, you wouldn’t be penalised too harshly.

Though seeing your words disappear one by one is a nightmare to any writer (which is why I don’t use it). :p

So imagine my surprise when I saw The Verge reviewing Flowstate as the writing app that will delete everything you’ve written if you leave your keyboard idle for more than a few seconds.

A few words is one thing, but imagine if it had been 200 words of prose? Dude, NOT COOL.

I think as a gimmick, it’s a horrendously bad idea. And yes, i think it is nothing more than a gimmick, really. There are far less painful and terrifying ways to get into the flow, and watching your entire page disappear because your cat startled you or your baby’s crying in the other room is a horrible way to get people to write. And at 10 USD for the app, I’d rather just get Write Or Die. It’s available on Mac, iOS, and PC, with Android coming soon.

I suppose if you are the kind of person who likes having to retype an entire assignment because you stopped for a snack or a toilet break, then yes, maybe Flowstate is for you. But seriously? Might as well spend that cash on the people who came out with the original concept, aka WriteOrDie.

Habit musings

Good morning…

The thing about habits and rituals is that they are short cuts. Programme your mind and body to carry out certain rituals and once they become habits, they are fairly effortless. I say fairly because sometimes there are days when you would not want to indulge in them, but in a lot of cases, it takes just a little prompting more than usual to do so.

And it takes time to do so. Time and effort. So before you embark on a new habit, the question you need to ask yourself is, “How much do I want this habit?” which is then followed by “Do I want this badly enough for the rest of my life?”

A lot of my habits are “eh, why not, there seems to be no harm in doing them” which ends up failing quite… spectacularly, if they take off at all. I am still trying to work out a fitness habit. For now, there are too many outside factors I can’t control affecting my activity choice, so I’ll need to go back to the drawing board and decide what exercise I want to try next.

The writing habit is one of those that start off well, but then slowly becomes forgotten. This is definitely more of me than it is of anyone else; writing is a form of therapy for me as well, and sometimes I stop writing because there are things I’d rather not confront.

Which is kinda silly if you think about it, but also very true. Writing what terrifies me, what my failings are, how I fail, and even how successful my plans turn out to be makes me feel terrible at times. If I fail, it’s because I fail as a human being. If I am successful, I am humblebragging… yes, even to myself.

I tell you la, cannot win this kind one.

It’s Jan 21 now, and I’ve managed to stick with at least jotting down a few notes everyday. It may not be the full 30 minutes or three pages people say you should write, but for now, it is enough.

I need to learn to celebrate the small victories that are mine again, instead of only focusing on the large ones where I disappear into the background.

How’s your morning going?

Week #2: Hang in there

Saw some cats while I was running!

Right, this is the second week of the year, or rather it’s come and gone, and so I should be writing down what’s happened.

Or at least the parts I want to make public haha.

The weekend was fairly eventful – met up with people, got some writing done, and I even submitted a few short pieces elsewhere! The submitting also revealed I have submitters’ remorse; the moment I did so, I instantly regretted it.

But what’s life without taking chances, right?

I went running on Monday and that was fun. Well, not so much as it was a brisk walk + jog. I did not have as much aches and sores as I thought I would, though I managed only a sad 3km in one hour. Annoyed at the rain too, which started coming down in the last twenty minutes, so I ran nearer to my house instead of going to buy dinner like what I wanted to do earlier.

And the rain never quite turned out any heavier than just a piddle. Which was annoying. But I had a good dinner and the next few days were spent meeting up with people I’ve not seen in ages and whom I have missed. They put things into perspective, even if I never told them.

Actually now that I think about it, last week’s theme was simply “The end is in sight, hang on.” It was just before the madness of mid month, and with it, my period. Which was again quite troll but that’s a story not for this blog.

As of today, it’s 17 days to closing another chapter of my life. If I remove the weekends, that’s 13 days left. I hope things will proceed smoothly.

#1 Status Update

Right, so I am going to write this on the 8th or the following weekend of every week for the rest of the year, mainly as a way to keep myself accountable.

Most people have goals during the New Year. I decided to take a different tack. My resolution this year is to create new habits. I am trying to learn to analyse my habits, how I work, what works for me, what doesn’t, and perhaps more importantly…

Understanding what motivates me, and what keeps me going.

One of the things I started last year after reading Monica Leonelle’s Write Better, Faster was to create a Google Form to track my work habits. This form had several purposes: to keep track of the time I was most productive, to understand how long I focused on specific interactions or actions, what kept me going, when I stopped, etc.

Looking back on the data is slightly embarrassing. This is not because the data shows me slacking off, but because I have not been as diligent as I should have been monitoring everything. However, it did come up with some interesting data sets.

And so I have resolved in 2016 to use those data sets to my advantage. I know that when dealing with mind numbing numbers, I tend to begin zoning out around the 20th minute mark. However, I can focus all my energies while I am there.

Then, when it comes to interacting with people, I have a bad habit of interrupting my current task to reply to them. However, since last year, I’ve made some improvements on ignoring my Skype and email to focus on the task at hand. A second monitor helps; I just shift my primary display to the secondary monitor, and then put the task I need to complete on the laptop monitor.

Of course, this sometimes backfires (like me not realising I have not checked my Skype in over 20 minutes for something that needs a fairly urgent reply) but overall I think it has helped me focus, somewhat?

Now, to figure out a way to minimise the amount of “blah” and “mrehhhs” when I write my emotions in the field.