Category Archives: Social Networking

Important Lessons from “Excess Baggage”

I’ll skip the age old adage of “thou shalt not do things at the eleventh hour” go to themore  important life skills I learnt from my little adventure.

1. Smiling and be polite.

This would be the easiest of the lot for me and anybody else to practice. I have a very outspoken personality and talking to strangers is not a problem for me. I lost count how many times I said Please and Thank You. “Please can you hold the door for me”, “Thank you, that’s very kind”, “Thank you so much!”

All the assistance I had made my journey to Gatwick made life a bit easier and these strangers did it without asking anything in return.  Dress decently, look good, ask nicely, and people would –God willing – be obliged to lend a hand.

2. A Friend in Need is a Friend Indeed.

I honestly can’t thank my friends and friends of friends enough for helping me through. It is not the status of the person that determines how much help you receive; it is the level of familiarity and trust. In my case these were the people who are very close to me. Half of them are undergraduates like myself, the rest are working adults.

Ordinary people who know you well will be more willing to offer assistance than high ranking officers who are simply acquaintance (in most cases, these type of people will only acknowledge you if you happen to have what they want or if they want to associate themselves with your successes).

3. Communicate

I sent out and reply messages and calls right down to the last bit of power left in the Blackberry. Seriously, thank God for the creation of internet and 3G! Without them I couldn’t have reached so many people and exchanged so much information in short notice.

Social networking sites can be very useful when used in the right way. Also, word your help request properly.  “I need help” and “I need help with [insert request] by [date, time]” makes a lot of difference in the type of respond you get and the speed at which help is provided.

Stupid train and waiting lounges not equipped with power points for charging. At that point in time I was willing to pay a pound for even 15 minutes of charging time which would last me another half hour or so. Recent mobile phone models charge to full battery pretty fast, my Blackberry timed about an hour and a half to be fully charged from almost zero capacity (I only got to recharge it when I reached home).

I know I probably sound like a wreck in my status updates, in real life I sound and look quite collected apart from looking a bit tired if I say so myself. Perhaps I should consider working in the air traffic control office. For that job the operator is required to notify the pilot or ground staffs of any foreseen problems and provide emergency protocols in a calm manner. Can’t imagine someone going “OHMAIGODDD, YOUR LANDING GEAR ISN’T WORKING!!!!” over the radio when the pilot is already sweating it out navigating the control systems.

4. Take and keep only what you need.

I missed my first train by two minutes because I had too many things. Had I travelled with one luggage and a backpack I could have ninja-ed onto the train in good time. If physical excess baggage is already capable of causing so much hassle, imagine the burden of emotional baggage.

This incident forced me to get rid of old stuff I hardly use or no longer need. The urgency of the situation made very clear the essential things that I really need. I had a lot of clothes (70% of it was plain white shirts, practical lingerie, and socks) as I was preparing to work the day after I arrive in KL (fortunately the company had a delay on forwarding me the joining details so I’m due in the office only on Monday)

Old, holed pyjamas – throw.  Free t-shirts – sentimental value but not much loss, bye-bye. Primark shirt – the cost to pay for the extra baggage can buy hundreds of the same article, discard.

All of this made a humbling experience. In case I turn snob, please remind me of all I’ve been through and the people who helped me. If that doesn’t work, whack me with a wok. Credits to mummy for bringing me up with survival skills. None of steps I took is taught in any lectures or text books. You have to figure out for yourself when faced with life’s challenges.

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Excess Baggage

Before I begin my story, I would like to thank everyone who stayed with me online, offline, and in prayers when I landed myself in a tight spot before my departure from London. Raising £170 in just about 2 hours would not have been possible without contributions from Ms Foo, Mei, Q, Ivan, Ms See, and Ting Ting. I have never felt so touched by responds to my status on Facebook.

Thank you all so much.

My room was still a mess when I called the taxi to transport my belongings and myself to the train station. Earlier I nicked the weighing scale from the bathroom to weigh my luggage. Initially I had only one box, one medium sized luggage, and a small luggage to hand carry onto the flight. The total weigh of the things intended for cargo was just under the 30kg baggage allowance.

As the taxi was called for I realised I still had quite a number of things to bring with me strewn across the room. Panic mode: ON. My train was due in half hour. I grabbed the more necessary items and stashed them into my backpack and spare bags. The rest I swept into a large bin bag to discard. I left behind two foldable umbrellas (I had a total of six umbrellas) and three huge sets of colourful post-it notes as public property on the table in our puny common space. I discarded the less competent free pens from careers fairs and events. I left behind many spoons, my pan, a saucer, a mug, a jug, a large towel, a small towel, and a list of small miscellaneous items.

When the taxi arrived I was bringing down my luggage, cleaning the room as much as I can, and somewhat still packing, all in succession. I was literally jogging with an average of 10kg weight lifting up and down the stairs 4 or 5 times.

I left my keys at a friend’s asking his favour to help me keep the Quran ( I COMPLETELY FORGOT ABOUT IT >.< ) and a bit of cleaning up. If you’re reading this, I’ll return the favour whenever I can, alright? Sorry for causing trouble!

I first made a trip to a friend’s house to deposit a borrowed coat and books before rushing to the train station.

I almost, almost gave up carrying my things at the train station until one of the staff members offered to help. I missed the train which I booked tickets for, so boarded the next one.

About ¾ of the journey to Reading I was hunching over my bags at the space between two carriages. Thank goodness the officer who checked my ticket did not notice or ignored that the ticket was only valid at the booked time. *Phew*.

I asked and was given a bin bag from the guy behind the counter at the food carriage and threw more pens, a notebook full of separation process notes (I know in which book to find the same information and in more detail), a towel, and a t-shirt. By this time I knew I would have to pay for the excess baggage because I didn’t know what else to throw out. I sent out my first S.O.S on Facebook to get someone to alert my mum of a quick message I posted on her wall (my current phone plan does not allow international dialling).

My mum handles all the financial arrangement for my tuition fees and expenditures while I’m studying in UK, naturally she is my first port of call. Adx called my mum and thank goodness she picked up after  several missed calls. Mummy explained that even if she is to put a standing order at the time (it was almost midnight where she is) the transaction would not go through until the next day. The remaining options were to borrow money, or put her over the line at the check-in counter and pay by credit card.

I thought I had overdraft. I knew I had overdraft, but just wasn’t sure how to use it. I tried calling the bank but it didn’t go through as I cannot remember my telebanking security number.

Oh boy.

I recalled reading the price list for extra baggage on the airline webpage so I approximated having to pay £150.

“Desperate mode : ON.

Peeps, I need to raise £150 in the next two hours. Will pay back in the next couple of days. Anyone willing to help please let me know I’ll PM the account details.”

N N. 12th June 2012, Facebook.

Within minutes I had five respondents requesting for my account details. At Reading I had to switch trains and was lucky to have a member of staff helping me out with my belongings as it was peak hour when people are making their way home from work. From Reading to Gatwick I was making calls and replying messages in one of the best fundraising effort to date. £170 in about two hours, I get paid 15x less per hour for my part-time job.

During a short break between influx of communication I thought that if charity bodies adopt a more entrepreneurial approach, that is to apply for start-up funds and make more money out of it people would be more willing to contribute as in a way it showed that the contribution was a worthwhile investment and the charity body is sustainable. I didn’t get to brew the idea longer as after that spark of thought I had to concentrate on the matter at hand.

Never in my life had I thanked God so many times in a day.

I thank God for the helpful station staffs that helped with my luggage.

I thank God for the people who had genuine concerns and I am ever so grateful to have them as friends.

I thank God for the couple who held the lift doors while I try to get all my things into and out of the lift.

I thank God for the security people at the doors for holding the gate as I doubled back to get all my things together.

May God bless you all.

At the check-in counter, the total weight of all my things was still over the overweight. After a short nagging by a senior-looking lady I repacked my things and threw up more t-shirts (the ones I had for free), a discounted dress from H&M, a Primark shirt, torn jeans, and pyjama pants that hung an inch above my ankles. Brought the total weight down to a fairly acceptable level and paid the £140 levy. I arrive at the departure gate 10 minutes before the closing time. The moment I stepped on board the plane I felt like I’ve completed a leg of Amazing Race – Mambang version.

Penggoyang Kaki Profesional

Penggoyang Kaki, or Leg Shakers if directly translated, is the equivalent of the Lotus Eater in English literature. A ‘company’ set up by two aspiring individuals at the tender age of 19, it aims at recruiting the best of the procrastinators and lazy bums.

The CEO is a first year Chemical Engineering undergraduate in the University of Bath, and the CFO, first year Economics undergraduate in University College London. Instead of obviously revising their academic materials or preparing for exams, they occupied themselves on the company’s set up. Truly the best examples of Penggoyang Kaki Profesional.

To those who are naturally productive, fret not! We can specially tailor Penggoyang Kaki training courses to fit your personality. Be it a 101 on “Innovative Procrastinating”, Living In A Pile of Week/month/year-old Laundry and Survive, How to Look Like You’re Paying Attention in Lectures When You’re Not, or simply Sitting Down and Doing Nothing, there is something for everyone regardless of age, sex, qualifications and unproductivity levels.

No admission or processing fee, and no pain all gain policy. Send in your resume today!

HAHAHAHA. Honestly, I am thoroughly enjoying this. I’ve been studying/staring at my notes for so long my left eye has begun to twitch uncontrollably. I just hope my wits stay with me until the end of the week. Revision has been intense, intense, intense. LAST paper on Friday babeyhh!

P.S: Just search up “Penggoyang Kaki Profesional Sdn Bhd” on Facebook and you’ll find us 😉

Facebook Deactivated (again)

At 12 hours before two coursework deadlines are due, two liters of coffee, twenty butter cookies and 140 winks later I actually managed to complete both assignments and hand them in within two hours to closing time. Euphoria. That would not have happened had I not deactivated my social networking account the second time.

I have not acquired the discipline to leave incoming notifications alone, resist the urge to like and comment on a ‘sensational’ status, chat with a friend who is online or stop updating my own status every other hour (or more frequently). With exams in a week and tonnes of materials to be studied, drastic actions had to be taken.

Disconnecting myself from over 400 ‘friends’ (which not all of them I communicate regularly with) did not feel so terrible after all. I do miss a select few of them. Apart from that it felt good to be able to spend one full hour actually doing some quality work. I even had time to catch up with several online manga series which I used to be an avid fan of. I even did some cleaning up of my room and spent time with a crazy bunch of friends from Dublin who came down to Bath for a couple of days.

Check – I’m happy!