Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Has Kim Bay won me back as a customer after the fly incident?

"What? Your boss didn't tell you to reserve a couple of vouchers for me??" I said, amused with the answer I just heard.

"Yes, nothing from boss leh..." the cashier replied.

Oh, the catastrophe! And here I was with my friend hoping this restaurant could convince us to drop our boycott and have our dinner with them...

Back in June 28, I blogged about my disgust with Kim Bay HK & Macau Restaurant at The Spring Shopping Mall. At that time, I decided to boycott them as a result of the incident. The soulless meal as well as the staff's indifference towards the incident triggered my action to not step into Kim Bay ever again.

A couple of weeks later however, I received a phone call while I was at work.

Me: "Hello?"
A man with a polite voice: "Hie is this Ah_Mike?"
Me: "Yes I am. May I know who's this?"
Polite voice: "My name's Steven and I'm calling from Kim Bay Restaurant..."

I stopped doing my work the moment I heard that. My mind was clouded with pessimistic thoughts...something along the lines of "if you dare to talk shit about my restaurant again I will beat you up/sue you/rape you/call mommy".

Of course, that wasn't the case:
Steven: "I got your number from your friend Louis Wong. I called because I heard about your complain from him..."
Me: "Uhuh..."
Steven: "and I would like to sincerely apologize for the unfortunate incident. As such, I would like to offer you two vouchers to eat at Kim Bay for free."
Me: "EHHHH???"

I was really taken aback by his words. Seriously, this is the kind of customer relations you wish a lot of companies (especially companies in Kuching) should do!

So I told my friend about the vouchers but since he was away for a holiday, I had to wait until he was back in Kuching. After his return and a few more schedule clashes we finally meet up for dinner at Kim Bay last Sunday.

I was told by Steven I could pick up the vouchers at the counter, which I did just that. Who would have thought the staff was not aware about that.

"So how?" I asked, with my irritation level going dangerously high.
"Er...sir, maybe you can pay first?"
"No, I came here to use the voucher by tonight."
"Err...how about I get your contact first, then I let the management call you on Monday? So you can eat first no need to pay tonight"
"OK la"

So my friend and I sat down and looked at the menu. We knew the vouchers were worth 10 ringgit each so obviously we were looking at the dishes under RM10:

I went for the French Style Fried Rice:

Drinks wise we both ordered Jasmine Tea...otherwise "over-budget" liao!

It wasn't long before my dish came...

This was his:

Hey they both look very much like in the menu!

And our food review?

When we were done with our meals, there was a man who approached our table. He's Albert, a relative to Steven, and he came all the way just to pass us our vouchers!

That was a really nice thing to do; coming to meet the customer instead of waiting. It was also nice of him to sit down and just have a small chat with us.

But we didn't get to use it. While we were at the counter to pay using the vouchers, Albert treated us for the dinner! OK so maybe RM20 was nothing to him but still...we only knew him for like 10 minutes somemore.

So as a conclusion, yes I will be coming back to Kim Bay. No more boycott...but of course I'm not saying the food's all fantastic at Kim Bay, but neither was it crap like the lunch set I had the other day. According to Albert the fly case was only the 2nd case in their time of operations (the other being some sort of a bug). I will certainly bring my other friends to eat at Kim Bay again...and of course our honest opinions of our food for customer feedback :)

We know things like this is unavoidable...but if restaurants make the effort to apologize and win back customers I'm sure their business will be better.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

My TV's telling me something...

I was watching some television last Sunday morning when I saw this football match:

In an instance I was sure my television was telling me something.

I have every right to believe my TV is very much a fUcking hardcore Manchester United fan :) Wait maybe it's a fan of Everton...

Later that night, Arsenal barely managed to draw with Liverpool thanks to Pepe Reina's superb own goal.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Learning from the top bloggers at the Asian Bloggers Conference

A couple of weeks ago, I made a trip down to Kuala Lumpur for the Asian Bloggers & Social Media Conference, which was held at Berjaya Hotel.

I've been blogging about six years now (one year on a very personal blog on a very crappy blog site) yet I felt I've still got much to learn about writing stuff that could, would and should entertain my readers. With the desire to learn more and meet new people, I decided to fork out RM150 for this conference.

I had high expectations from this conference; unlike most delegates I had to pay for my own flight and accomodation (Dato Sri Tony Fernandes would be proud to know which airlines & hotel I am supporting). I almost couldn't make it in fact had my immediate boss took almost forever to approve my leave.

So let me review this conference in as much as I could possible remember:

Day 1 (28 July 2010):
Even before the conference started I had a poor impression on the Berjaya Hotel staff already. As I arrived at the lobby I asked a Berjaya Hotel personnel on the location of the conference. Coming from the hospitality industy I was very amused this personnel did not smile one bit; sure he told me where it was, but I was left to wonder if he knew his job requirements included smiling to guests within the hotel.

The small matter aside, the day went well. I had the chance to sit beside the lovely Annna, who had no idea about this conference prior to me telling her about it.

The above video showed the venue of the conference...plus Annna's way to opening a Mentos packet. Nice one!

One of the other reasons I've decided to join this conference was because Dato' Sri Tony Fernandes was among the speakers for this conference. Wow, the man behind AirAsia was really entertaining in his speech!

Then there was the other famous person I wanted to hear:

YAB Tun Dr. Mahathir! I still have a lot of respect for what he has done for the country, not including some of the more...interesting actions he made in his time as the Prime Minister.

YAB Tun Dr. Mahathir giving out mementos to some of the speakers.

His speech, though interesting as well wasn't quite as entertaining as Dato' Sri Tony Fernandes.

So as YAB Tun Dr Mahathir was about to leave the conference...

Annna sprung on the opportunity to take a photo with Dato Sri Tony Fernandes! Heh.

More speeches of course for the rest of Day 1. There was a mix variety of topics that cater to the delegates with business suits and to the bloggers. Have a look at the programme here; to me I took great interest in listening to Ahmad Nazuwan (of Beautiful Nara blog), Joyce Wong (KinkyBlueFairy) and Khailee Ng (Youth Asia).

Not to offend the other speakers on Day 1, but I could relate most to this three. For Nazuwan I met him when he was in Kuching for his Project Alpha online show (and Annna and I are just a calefare in the show...heh), Khailee for him being an Executive Director at around my age (Read: Envy) and Joyce...well, she's hot! Quite a Kinky Blue Fairy with her awesome hairdo :)

Day 2 (29 July 2010):
Day 2 was just about as remarkable as Day 1. Of the more memorable speeches, I learnt alot about law and blogging practices from Mr. Eddie Law, marvelled at Niki Cheong's presentation slides and his answer to the difference between a blogger and journalist, and having to keep up with Mr. Amit Varma's strong Indian accent.

Of course, what is this conference without argurably the most popular blogger in Malaysia, Mr. Kenny Sia himself!

Sempat take photo some more lol.

Honestly though, while people in Peninsular looked at him as a celebrity well-known blogger, I looked at him as the boss of my second home, Level Up Fitness. And as a fellow Kuchingite, it was a very nice gesture of him to acknowlege Annna and I (at least, just by our names) in his speech :) His speech itself was also enlightening to me as he taught the ways of how a company should approach bloggers differently from journalists.

Towards the end of the conference was a panel discussion among the speakers from both days, plus special guest Datin Paduka Marina Mahathir as one of the panelists. Being a panel discussion, it was expected to have questions from the delegates for them to answer.

Kenny Sia talking about freedom of speech during the panel discussion. Do not ask why I recorded him instead of Joyce Wong or the other panelists.

However, as Niki Cheong (being the last panelist to have his say) was halfway through his speech...ALL HAIL A CERTAIN FASHIONABLY LATE V.I.P TO SHOW UP AND RUIN THE DISCUSSION!

With V.I.P YB Dato' Raja Nong Chik's presence, the organisers had to hastily end the discussion (without the Q&A session at all) for this big shot to give his closing remarks. Dato', do you know how bad I wanted to ask Kinky Blue Fairy on how can she be so sexy with her wild hairstyle kah??? much I needed to know the remarks I made in my own blog is safe & ethical or not??

The Summary, and Lessons Learnt:
Despite the conference ended with quite an anti-climax, I felt my time and money for this conference was well spent.

Here's a little bit of what I've learnt from some of the speakers (in no particular order):
Beautiful Nara - Always be funny and engage your readers.
Beng Soo Ong - Get full confidence from customer reviews, positive and negative reviews
YAB Tun Dr. Mahathir - Stick to the truth
KinkyBlueFairy - Blogging fuels other interests
Dato Sri Tony Fernandes - Don't just sell...brand!
Khailee Ng - Share good reasons for young people to tell their friends
Niki Cheong - Don't think of social media as cheap & free
Kenny Sia - Don't expect bloggers to write just because you gave them goodie bags!

So is it worth coming to the next Asian Bloggers & Social Media Conference? Well, it depends to be honest. If the programme next year is just about as interesting as this year's, the conference is on the weekend, without that business attires, and certainly without any kind of government VIPs for a closing speech...I'll most definitely would go again.

It's not just what you learnt from the speakers; it's also about networking with the delegates. I am very thankful to flirt with meet new people from Malaysia and even some from abroad...all whom I get to share my experience with.

I wish to thank MyEvents and for organising this event and all the respective speakers for their tips and hints...otherwise I wouldn't be updating this blog as often!

P.S. I apologise for the lack of any video of any of their speeches...that's because I was recording all their speeches on audio instead :) As much I would love to share the audios though, for the benefit of those who actually paid to listen to the speakers (myself included) it will not be given out for free! No, wait, let me rephase that...I can give you two audio speeches for free (because these two audio recordings were interrupted by a phonecall -__-)! OK whattttt.

However, if you comment on this post and follow me on Twitter then I could consider giving out a couple of the full speeches to you. Even better if you plan to give me some money. Hehe ($_$).

Monday, August 09, 2010

162nd Old Thomian Association Dinner

Last Saturday, I attended the 162nd Old Thomian Association Dinner.

It was held at SMK St. Thomas Kuching itself and as an ex-Thomian I loved the idea of having a reunion dinner at my own high school, rather than a typical one at a budget, er, classy hotel.

Unlike the hotels though, the school does not have a big space to do the dinner indoors...so the event was divided into two parts: dinner at the carpark as shown above...

...and the boring speeches interesting performances part inside the school hall.

As I was there a little bit early, I decided to walk around the school for some "memory-lane-wtf-since-when-got-this-thing-wan!?" moment. And true enough, I did have that "gosh-time-sure-flies" feeling.

I haven't taken much photos of the school since I wanted to conserve the battery life of my phone for the videos later...but among the big changes included:

The expansion of the staff office block, where I used to get a talking to by my teachers...

...and a nicer, safer walkway down to the school canteen. Back then, the concrete path was uneven, taking quite a number of victims by making them fall.

Oh, back then the area was more plain grass than the current leafy environment. I am not surprised if various types of flower showed up here in the near future, to the joy of any boy who would flirt with a Form 6 girl with a plucked hibiscus...or possibly to court a more 'feminine' boy (as the school was notorious for..in my time at least).

Some parts of the school remained the same as far as I could remember though like this pathway at the main building.

Anyway, enough of the tour. There was a section in the school where the organizers showcased the history of St. Thomas School. From school achievements to "The Square" student newsletter, the annual school magazine, important people who were Thomians and even the ties and badges used over the years.

Bugger, last time their ties so nice wan...silk material somemore...my year leh? Crappy plain dark blue cotton tie with a school logo so big you can tell which school I was from kilometres away, prompting you to call the police because I lepak outside school during school hours!

I continued to look around, hoping to see any one from my batch, or at least a familiar face. Aside from Gerald, the owner of Sarakraf and Alvin Leong...by the time dinner started, I felt I was in some old folks dinner instead!

Like seriously, most of the attendees are old enough to be my father and mother...heck, some of them are old enough to be my GRANDFATHER! Thankfully I got my schoolmate to share the akward feeling, and a couple of guys at our table are actually younger than us (but are not ex-Thomians...they were here only because they have the tickets...OK...)

Maybe for the old-timers they thought I'm still a Form 5 student, escaping from the other St. Thomas students who were there to help out this event. Maybe they are right...because at that moment in time I would rather hang out and talk DOTA or teen-friendly topics to the school boys than to feel like I'm somebody's kid/boy-toy!

Food was good nonetheless. Banquet Restaurant provided the dishes.

It was raining earlier and it got heavier, so thankfully the timing was just nice for all of us to move into the school hall. After the usual welcoming speech, we were greeted with a boy playing a big Chinese drum...followed by a couple of singing performance by the school choir team.

Ah, yes, the school song! Honestly I doubt any other school songs in Malaysia is as awesome as this!

Ok...so I kinda forgotten the lyrics. But hey, last I sang this was nine years ago!

As the choir team left the stage, I took the chance to cuci mata...and spotted a pretty girl within the team...ah, the RM50 dinner seemed worth it already!

From there on, the night became boring, with more speeches dedicated to teachers that has no relation whatsoever to my class. On the technical side of it I couldn't quite understand why someone presented a photo of a late teacher (my father's teacher somemore) in Microsoft WORD instead of Powerpoint...

It became clear that this stage of the event was not well thought, as more and more attendees started to leave. Towards the end of the event, the MC mentioned a performance by "The Showdon", a school rock group that won the school's "Battle of the Bands" contest. And how did they fare?

OK la I guess. Who knows this video would bring them fame?

Then there was a second performance by a group of students who could play Chinese musical instruments, in which I shamefully do not know the names of such instruments. I was sure this performance would be more entertaining to the Thomians with an age difference of at least 20 years between myself and them.

Interestingly, this group of performers would later be joined up by "The Showdon" members in what the MC said "to showcase the combination of traditional music with modern music". Er, that was done many times before I'm sure.

And what song did they pick to showcase that music hybrid? RASA SAYANG of course!

I can fully understand the boys weren't exactly excited to perform that piece.

To cut it short, after the performance there was a lucky draw (only two hampers...geezz!) and another performance by the school choir team. By this time, most of the attendess had left and I was paying more attention to that pretty choir girl than filming.

Maybe if I actually had my ex classmates together the night would be a little bit more interesting...but knowing my mates well we would be celebrating our reunion at a pub with lots of beer and not cordial orange juice.

In my humble opinion, I feel this dinner would be better if there was a school play by the current students, portraying the history of St. Thomas and the unity we had among Thomians...otherwise it looks like the next reunion dinner will most likely be at a hotel again.

In due time, I might consider joining the organising committee. Whether I am dedicated to the cause or prepared for some kind of internal politics remains to be seen. All I know is they could use a young blood...a kid to spice up this event!

And now would you excuse me, I got Starcraft 2 to finish!

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Soo Wincci's MV Audition at Level Up Fitness

A month ago (yes, sorry la it was a month ago!), Miss Malaysia World 2008 Wincci Soo came down to Kuching to do her upcoming music video and she was looking for a male actor to be in her MV. Interestingly enough she and her producers decided to do the audition at my favourite gym, Level Up Fitness.

I only knew about it the morning itself, and since I sort of knew her before she got famous (and wanting her signature and photo of course!) I thought I should take a look at the audition itself. I had an injury near the eye though so I had major doubts I can be selected to begin with. No matter, I wore an eyepatch to the audition.

Upon arrival, I saw familiar faces from my gym taking part in the audition.

All the best to my gym buddies, cause they had no idea what an audition for a music video was like!!

Up first though; a man all the way from Miri just for this audition!

And he was very good at acting! My gut feeling told me he must be a freelance actor or something...

Up next was my joker friend Johnston with his audition....

I don't know what they were joking about (since me no understanding Mandarin), but all I know was he was stunned and clueless! HAHA!

It wasn't long before my gym instructor Jeff went up on stage...

And fellow colleague and Level Up Fitness trainer Mr. Taugey took his place on camera as well. Him trying to get Wincci to be his girlfriend...funny as!

So at this point, I was dying to try out the audition as well. So I signed up...

...only to be dissappointed with the criteria! :( Oh, and a broken English moment...

While I was waiting, I got to see my friend Steve doing his audition as well:

The way Wincci kept running during the set sure distracted me :P

And finally, my name was called up. I dreamt I would have gotten either the 'get-her-as-your-girlfriend' scene or the breakup scene. And...

Gee, just because I wore an eyepatch that doesn't mean I HAD TO PLAY PIRATE with her! Gargh! Don't make me be Captain Mike Sparrow!

Anyway, it was all fun and memorable night :) I'm really glad Wincci came all the way to Kuching for her MV shoot...otherwise where and when the hell can I get the chance to take photo with a gorgeus babe like her la!?

Nice for her to remember me too...although she thought I was from Taylor's A-Levels...which I'm not and I'm not smart enough to be part of any A-Levels student!

So support her music, buy original or just watch her 'Beauty with a Purpose' video on YouTube. Show your purpose to the beauty!