Strovek Writes

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Sunday, December 29, 2013

Altar Girls

The Cathedral in Penang finally allowed girls to serve as Altar Girls. This is the first time I have actually seen this happen. I do not know if this is a common practice so I did a search and found that it is not common. It is strange that at age of equality between the sexes, we still see many areas where only male or female are allowed.

It might be a minor change but I am sure that such practice can be a shock to conservatives. Since I have not heard of any protest, I guess it is acceptable to all in the parish. 


Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Papa John, I Tried but You Disappoint

Since discovering Papa John’s Pizza, I tried making it one of the food outlets to visit when in Kuala Lumpur. However, after two visits, I have decided that it will not in our list of places to visit. Here is my experience.

We visited the first outlet at Berjaya Times Square in our previous trip. During the trip, we signed up for the B Card. The card is a local loyalty program covering many food outlets. The service provided in the outlet was decent, however, when I asked about the promotion that was shown in front of the outlet, none of the workers in the outlet knew anything about the promotion. Why would you put a large banner without knowing anything about it? I just asked out of curiosity but was not very happy with the response.


This week, we decided to make another visit to Papa Johns. This time it was at the outlet in Sunway Pyramid. The main reason was to claim the birthday treat that seen in the B Card newsletter. However, when I asked about it, I was told that I had to bring a printout to claim the treat. It would have been a simple matter of having a few forms available at the outlet or having a printer to print those forms but neither was available. Since it was a 6” pizza, it is not really a great loss. We decided to have our lunch in that outlet and ordered one of their set meals. However, when the meal was served we found only four breadsticks instead of six shown on the picture in the menu. The service provided at the outlet was poor. The waiters and waitresses were not very enthusiastic.

I thought the whole idea of having promotions is to improve customer satisfaction and a few simple steps would have made me a repeat customer but instead I am not happy and will not visit them again. Too many businesses do not know how satisfy the customers!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Life is Precious


Three weeks ago we came across a body of a young man who just committed suicide. He was a 24 year old engineer. I do not know why he committed suicide at such a young age. However, he fail to realize the anguish his death has to his family and those who loved him. Imagine the amount of sacrifice a parent has to go through to pay for his further studies.

Sometimes when we are lonely and have no one to talk to, our mind starts to wonder and ending it seems to be the easiest thing to do. This is especially true when we are also faced with other problems like owing money or being rejected by someone we are in love with. At that moment, everything is all gloomy and sad and we just want it to go away. I felt like that for a moment while in college. At that moment it was very tempting to end it and call it quits.

The best movie to illustrate how a person can have impact to others without realizing it is the 1946 movie, “It’s a Wonderful Life”.

I recently came across an article of someone whose life fell apart but managed to bounce back. It took her seven years. Seven years may seem like a long time but seven years is a short time if we compare it to a typical lifespan of ninety years.

Each of us are provided with the tools not only to survive but to flourish. It is up to each of us to find out how to develop ourselves and reach our full potential.

Suicide is not the answer, the ending is too abrupt, you cannot let your life story to end so suddenly!

Friday, December 13, 2013

OCBC Titanium Cash Back Changes

cohdra_100_4264.JPG
By cohdra
(Morguefile)
I received a notice with my last OCBC credit card statement that they are revising the cash back rate from five percent in selected categories (and one percent for everything else) to a flat one percent for everything. As part of the change, they removed the cap of RM 50 per month cash back. What is not mentioned in the announcement was whether they are changing any other benefits for the card. The bank also removed another benefit of reimbursing the GST with an annual spending of RM10k and above.
 
Based on what I read on the Facebook page for OCBC, many customers are not happy with the change. Several customers threatened to cancel the card and encouraged others to do the same.
 
Based on my spending, the cash back will be substantially lower since my monthly cash back is well below the RM 50 limit with very few exceptions. However, based on what I know about other cards, the cash back is still one of the best in the market. Many of the other cards provide higher return but has terms and conditions.

One option for getting a higher cash back is to upgrade to their World MasterCard which has a 1.2% cash back rate. However, that card comes with a RM388 annual fee (waived on the first year). The additional 0.2% cash back will not be enough to offset the annual fee.
Although I am disappointed with the changes, it is expected, I have seen reduction of cash rebates by other companies as well, the last one was Smiles loyalty card. The deal was just too good to maintain.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Microsoft Still Have Competitive Edge

I have used Libre Office and Google Drive for most of my work at home. However, there are times I find it necessary to return to Microsoft to get things done. The alternatives do not seem to be able to get the right functionality.

SkyDrive Excel ribbon


I do not know if this is due to pattern or because the developers of alternatives do not know how to do it. The one option is the ability to copy and paste banking data and recognize the balances as numbers instead of text. Google Spreadsheet can’t do it, Libreoffice also failed. The balance column consist of the currency sign, in my case MYR and the comma delimiter. I found two products that recognize them instantly and both products are from Microsoft. They are Microsoft Excel and Skydrive version of Microsoft Excel.


The Skydrive version of Office provides very little functionality compared to Google Drive but this is one function that works well.


I also found that Microsoft provides me 50 Gigabyte for free compared to 15 Gigabytes from Google. However, Google do not count document created in its native format against the 15 Gigabytes. I do not know if they will change that policy in future but this offsets the difference between the two options.


As for the comparison between Libreoffice vs Microsoft Office, I am still a lot more comfortable with Microsoft Office. The interface is more intuitive. This could also be due to the pattern restriction.