Thursday, August 30, 2007

Blipvert Update

Blipvert #1

The 3-day Merdeka weekend officially starts for me in a few hours. Everyone in the office is looking forward to it i.e. not really taking anything major on so they could have the weekend free.

Planning to go home to my parents house tonight before deciding whether to go out a watch the Merdeka eve countdown festivities at Dataran Merdeka tonight or go and watch the Merdeka Day parade at the same venue on the following day. Being that this year is the 50th anniversary of Malaysia’s independence, being able to participate in either event would be a significant event that the family can share. At least we can say in years to come that we were there to celebrate when Malaysia turned 50.

A lot has gone through in the past 50 years and we all should take stock in the journey that has brought Malaysia to what it is today. It is also a time to look forward to what we as a nation need to bring the country to the next level. I’m excited every time I think about it and if I’m lucky, I might even be able to watch the next time Malaysia adds another 50 years to her independence.

Blipvert #2

A colleague of mine almost became the victim to a credit card scam. I have heard about it but this was the first time I actually witness it with my own eyes.

He got a call from someone who told him that she was from the credit card service center. She told my colleague that she was calling him to check his credit status and wanted to verify that they have the correct credit card number on record. She proceeded to give my colleague the first 4 digits of the credit card number that they have on record and asked him to verify. The strange thing was the 4 digits were wrong so my colleague give her the first 4 digits of his card. She then gave the second 4 digits which were correct and then asked for the next block of 4 digits from my colleague.

At that point, my colleague realized that something was fishy about the call. He asked the female caller again if she was calling from the bank to which she answered no. When he asked her why the bank doesn’t have his credit card info on file, she quickly apologized for calling him and hung up. Had he not become wise to the fact that there was something wrong with the whole thing, he could have easily given his credit card number along with the authorization code over the phone to a total stranger. I was in the office when he got the call and I could hardly believe that it was happening. I wonder how many people have been conned this way?

According to my colleague, the caller was a Malay female with a nice sounding voice. The way she talked sounded professional as if coming from a real service desk up to the point when she hung up. Since the bank that issues your credit cards already have your credit card number on file and would communicate directly to you via mail, there is never a valid reason for someone to call you up on the phone to verify your credit card number. So if you are a credit card holder, be wary of such calls.

Blipvert #3

I am about to make a decision involving my retirement fund.

I was approached by the son of one my acquaintance who is a full time agent for Public Mutual selling unit trusts. I’ve always be intrigued with the idea of investing in unit trust since I can actually make use of the money currently locked up in EPF to better use. Quite a few agents have approached me in the past about it but for one reason or another it was never the right time for me to start. I guess seeing my first 6 figure number for an amount of money that actually belonged to me was the main motivation for me to start now. After 11 years of working, I feel that it was time for me to make use of what I already accumulated in EPF to plan for a bigger nest egg when I retire.

We spent some time discussing the options and the packages that I could invest in. As with many unit trust agents, they try to butter you up to get you to buy what they want you to buy. Instead of falling into that trap, I simply told him to cut the bull and tell me which unit trusts he buys and I will buy those. To me, if the agent is not confident enough to buy his own product, why would I want to risk my own money buying it. In the end we narrow it down to 2 unit trust packages and another that I would be buying as well later in the year when I have more cash. I asked that I get some time to think about it over the weekend before signing all the required forms next week.

Being able to be financially independent by the time I retire is a goal of mine. I have seen how hard my parents have to work even after they have retired to make sure that everything was paid off. No doubt that they were earning less than I do now but they also didn’t have the financial opportunities that I have today. It would be silly for me not to take the opportunity when it comes my way.

Blipvert #4

I have another alumni dinner coming up after Hari Raya Puasa this year. Since I’ve already worn all mine and my father’s batik shirts for various alumni functions, it was time for me to get a new batik shirt made. I’ve decide to go ahead and purchase the material that the alumni sells to make the official alumni batik shirt since I don’t already have one. I should have done this earlier since it would have saved the trouble of having to decide which batik shirt to wear to my alumni functions.

I’ll be sending it to the family tailor this weekend where the whole family have been sending our shirts and baju Melayu to be made for the past 15 years. The tailor practically knows every thing about us and has detailed records of how our body measurements have changed across the years. Of course this meant that he could easily get away ribbing me when I sent in my cream colored material to be made into my Hari Raya baju Melayu this year. One look at it and he declared that he would make sure that it was made well so it could be my “baju nikah” as well! Of course, every time someone said that particular “N word” directed to me when my mum is within hearing distance it would indubitably result in her asking the person who said it to pray hard for me that it will happen soon.

It was cute the first few times she does that but it gets really old really fast.

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