By James Chow

Protected: My Love-Hate Relationship with the Police

There has always been a love-hate relationship between me and the Royal Malaysian Police.

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On one hand, they are perceived to be severely corrupt, hugely inefficient and heavily biased particularly when it comes to political matters. That is, at least, the wide perception. On the other hand, they are a very pleasant, friendly bunch (at least those that I have met were) especially when they are trying to negotiate something out of you… if you know what I mean. Winking smile

Generally, I have never met the HK-drama-style ‘bad cop’ who is rude and yells at you when asking the most ordinary questions. Most of the law enforcers that I have met were fat-bellied, chatty, and always grunts “selamat petang tuan!” with a big, pleasant smile. Lots of people that I know despise the Force, but I can never fully decide if I hate them more than I like them.

I’ve just had an experience of that nature yesterday.

I went jogging with a friend at the Bukit Kiara jogging track late Sunday afternoon and as usual, parked my car at one of the many parking lots in front of the park entrance. I didn’t want my wallet to be pressing onto my ass while I jog so I left it in the drawer in front of the passenger seat. My friend also left her mobile phone in the same place.

After the jog, we went back to my car all thirsty and sweaty, only to find that my car’s hazard lights were flashing. It was the exact type of flash that you get when the alarm is ringing… only that it wasn’t ringing.

Suspecting nothing at first, I unlocked the car using the remote control and when we got into the car, my friend discovered that her phone was missing. The pieces immediately fell into place: the flashing lights but silent alarm was the sign of a car’s alarm system being tampered with, or the siren had simply rung till it timed-out. I checked the compartment. Indeed, my wallet was gone too.

Screw this, I thought. There were some RM200 in cash in my wallet and a 50 Euro note that I had brought back from Rome. For some reason, I wasn’t particularly sad or distraught over my monetary losses. Instead, my first thought was that I was very lucky to have removed all my UK-cards from my wallet last month – my student card, ISIC, Barclays debit and ATM cards, driving license, even my 16-25 Railcard, YHA, Subway and Ryman membership cards. They were all very important memorabilia from my student life in the UK.

So I called up my banks to cancel all my credit, debit and ATM cards. The thief acted really swiftly. I received a text on my phone a couple minutes later saying that my credit card had been used at the Samsung Brand Store in PJ for the sum of RM2199 at 7.36PM. My car was probably broken into at around 7PM because we had only left it at 6.30PM. So this guy drove from KL to Selangor, found a parking lot at Digital Mall, requested to buy a Galaxy S4, filled up forms and photocopied ICs (probably mine)… all in less than 30 minutes! Who is this? Flash!?

Anyway, the good guys at the Public Bank fraud department decided that this was a suspicious transaction and after calling me twice and failing to reach me (my phone was on silent mode), the transaction was denied. Kudos to the guys at Public Bank, boo to the greedy thief. Hah! If you weren’t that dumb and greedy to attempt buying a Galaxy S4 and instead had merely used my credit card to purchase <RM500 stuff you would have succeeded. Loser! You must have also looked so dumb in front of the Samsung store cashier staring at my friend’s phone waiting for the bank to call in.

I think my friend suffered the greater loss here. She had not backed-up anything from her iPhone and there was a huge scare when she remembered that she had stored some bank account passwords in her phone (bad move, I know) and her iPhone was not passcode locked.

So we immediately got home and blocked all her accounts and after all the urgent things had been settled, there was only one thing left to do – make a police report.

We both groaned at the prospect of making a police report as we knew that it was going to take a long, long time. I am quite content to expect absolutely nothing from the police in terms of recovering our stolen items. The report was simply necessary as a precaution because I had lost my identity card and the thief could do a lot of mischievous things with it.

We arrived at the Bangsar police station past 10am (I had gone to Midvalley to buy a new wallet) and found some six to seven police officers cramped in a really small office. Consistent with my past experiences with the police, the officers tended to me warmly as I made my report. I told them my story: I went jogging at Bukit Kiara at around 6.30PM and returned to the parking area at 7.30PM to find my car’s alarm lights flashing but the alarm wasn’t ringing, and about 10 minutes later I received the text from my bank querying about the credit card purchase.

I tried to give as much information as possible. The timing of the theft, the item that the thief had attempted to purchase, the store’s name and location… but it seemed to me that the only thing that they were interested in was exactly which ‘Bukit Kiara’ I was talking about. They repeatedly asked me if I saw a golf course to which I answered no. I told them it was the jogging track along the hill, not inside the golf club. I even showed them on Google Maps the exact street and location at which I had parked my car. But they still spent some 20 minutes discussing among themselves and trying to figure out which Bukit Kiara I was talking about.

The whole process gave me the impression that they didn’t really care about the details of the case. All they wanted was the mandatory information (time, location, items lost etc.) to fill into the report and get the job done. But that’s totally fine with me. All I wanted was the report, anyway.

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At 45 minutes before midnight, my police report was complete. I sighed in relief and was looking forward to my dinner/supper when I was told that I had to go to the police station in Pantai to give my statement to the investigating officer! I was like OMG can’t we do it here!? But apparently there were no investigating officers in this station. Steaming mad

We arrived at the Pantai station and were again greeted pleasantly by the front desk staff. I really love their courtesy and we greeted them back warmly. I was supposed to look for a certain Sergeant and an officer kindly showed me the way into another building and found the Sergeant’s office. My smile, however, quickly faded as we discovered that the officer had gone out and I had to wait for him to come back.

When we finally managed to have our statement recorded, I had to retell the whole thing because apparently the guy had to make a report of his own.

The investigating officer was a jolly fellow and the whole session sounded more like a coffee chat that a statement recording. Among other question, he asked us if our phone was under warranty and if there was any chance we could claim it back, and if we had downloaded the ‘Find my iPhone’ app… and if there was a lot of people jogging at Bukit Kiara. Confused smile

He also seemed more interested in whether I had locked the car door when I left the car at the parking lot, rather than the crucial piece of information that I had: the text message from Public Bank which revealed the exact time and location of the thief’s movement after the crime. Like, the thief tried to buy a friggin’ smartphone at a Samsung store; SURELY he would have left some tracks!? Aren’t you interested?? Seriously, does it really matter now if I had not locked my door (which I did)? Wouldn’t how the thief had got into my car be of much less significance now that I have actual clues on the identity and movements of the thief?

Theft is a crime in the Penal Code. Don’t you want to arrest a criminal?

The officer seemed indifferent to the text message that I showed him and after I reminded him of it for the second time, he glanced at the message and asked with a confused look: “What is this message? Who is it from?” When I told him that it was a fraud prevention measure by my bank, he queried: “So the shop sent you this? How would the bank know he had purchased from this shop?” Annoyed

Anyway, after a rather lengthy explanation he finally noted the existence of the text message in his report. And that was when he uttered what was probably the most epic sentence I’d heard that night:

“So… err, if you guys have the time… you can go to this Samsung shop (I had Googled up the full address for him), tell them what happened, and ask them if they have CCTV footage of the store.”

Perhaps noting the stunned expressions on our faces, he added:

“You know lah, we are quite busy here… but don’t worry, if they refuse to give you the footage, say that the police – say my name – Sargeant XX asked that you hand over the video. Then you can bring it back to the station. Alright?”

My brain literally stopped. A police officer had just asked me to do his job. In my stupor I nodded and said: “Yeah… OK.”

I left the station at 1AM tired, hungry and… amused. It didn’t matter, I had got what I needed – the police report – which would allow me to get a replacement identity card without incurring a penalty fee of RM200, and to defend myself in case my identity card had been misused.

But other than that, I expected nothing out of my two hours of dealing with the Royal Malaysian Police. These guys were really nice people, yes they are! The investigating officer, in particular, was very friendly and was smiling all the time and I must say I had a rather good time chatting with him. But with that I have exhausted all the good things that I have to say about the Force.

I’m not generalising and I know there are lots of good cops out there working tirelessly and risking their lives for our safety. Maybe I’m just unlucky. From those that I have met, I’m afraid I do very much feel that they are an inefficient bunch of slobs.

Thus is the love-hate relationship that I have with the police! Peace. Smile

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By James Chow

Protected: Accenture BUM 2013

It’s half-past-five in the morning and I am here sitting in my office. The whole floor is deserted and I am friggin’ exhausted.

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No, I am not in early. I am never in this early. Nobody in Accenture ever is. I have been here since yesterday… and my brain is fuzzy as hell.

Every now and then night shifts are needed in our project to monitor certain critical processes which require 24-hour supervision. Monitoring jobs, however, are boring and require actions only ever so rarely. So for most of the past 10 hours I have only been sitting here hitting the ‘refresh’ button idly.

So I’ve decided I am going to blog about the Accenture BUM event that happened last weekend in Resorts World Kijal, Terengganu!

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What is BUM? BUM stands for Business Unit Meeting – probably the biggest misnomer ever. I had imagined an Accenture  ‘business unit meeting’ to be all formal and boring but this was exactly the opposite! Smile

I had my doubts on whether to join the 3-day event or not. After all, it involved a gruelling 6-hour journey to the state of Terengganu. But rumour was rife about how crazy the previous BUMs had been and that there was going to be free flow beer. Surprised smile

Plus, the whole event – accommodation, transportation, meals and stuff – were all sponsored by Accenture. I also get an extra day off on Friday, so why not?

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We departed from KL at half past six in the morning on Friday and arrived just before noon.

The hotel – Resorts World Kijal – was quite awesome! Not only was it absolutely enormous, the resort also came with a private beach, golf and archery ranges, a sea sports centre, courts for almost every major sport, as well as huge swimming pools!

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So after checking into our rooms, we had a nice lunch and our schedule started off with the usual boring stuff: welcome speech by our country managing director, presentation of some corporate recognition award, and a long update session on the latest Accenture news and relevant technologies.

In the evening, there was still no sign of the rumoured free beer, so we bought some of our own and just chilled on the beach.

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I got to know quite a few people from my project as well as others. Our conversations were warm and cordial at first, talking about how interesting our projects were and work stuff but after a few beers our opinions about work and bosses became much more… well, liberal and honest. Smile

We also played some Frisbee by the beach before dinner, during which we were entertained by hilarious performances by Accenture new joiners. My friends and I were, fortunately, spared from being forced on stage.

And then to everyone’s delight, IT ARRIVED! The rumour was true: a truck full of beer arrived and unloaded boxes dispensing unlimited ice-cold beer!

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From then on, Accenture BUM 2013 started becoming epic.

There was an Accenture band performing at night by the beach and they were pretty cool. Although they lacked a proper electric guitar and drum set, the band managed to perform lots of awesome gigs and drove the crowd wild pass midnight.

Our ‘designated drinker’ Gabriel was also a key ingredient to us having a really fun time on the dance floor. Party smile

*Photos © Accenture photographer Ryan Sim where indicated.

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We danced with a lot of people that I didn’t even know, and got to know a number of people from our project with whom I had met but not really got to know.

Despite sleeping so late and having drunk loads of beer the night before, we managed to wake up early next morning for breakfast and the Bootcamp, which was like the official main activity of the trip!

The military and fitness-themed team-building session consisted of five rounds of rather physical competitions among the five Accenture sports teams. Each Accenture employee belongs to one of the teams and I am in team Phoenix!

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So how physical were the activities, exactly? Well let me just say that in that morning alone I have witnessed people fainting, vomiting, suffering from heatstroke, and countless people lying on the floor panting and covering their faces… utterly exhausted.

If Accenture had not thought of bringing in the tonnes of bottles of water which arrived after the first round of activities, I think we would have died. Seriously that was how I felt before the water arrived.

But it was still very well worth it. Smile Our team was awesome!

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There was a pub quiz session in the afternoon. The odd thing about this pub quiz was that it was not held in a pub, and neither was there sufficient beer.

There was a guy serving beer but he was tucked in a corner at the very front and was very difficult to reach. So other than the first glass which was distributed to everyone, we didn’t have much to drink.

Nonetheless, the quiz was interesting because it kind of reflected the Malaysian general interest. Unlike some pub quizzes in the UK, I hardly found any questions on world affairs, history, or literature, only a few on science and geography, and the majority of questions were about movies, songs, football and popular culture.

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After the quiz, we changed into beachwear and headed to the seaside! Apart from some haze in the horizon, the weather was absolutely perfect!

There were more people on the beach that afternoon than on the first day. I met and chatted with a number of people, including a senior manager, from other project. Having confirmed that free flow beer was a reality, nobody bought beers anymore and everyone patiently waited for the taps to start flowing in the evening! I also got to know that the beer was generously sponsored by Guinness Anchor Berhad, who was an Accenture client.

On the beach, I participated in a really intense futsal match and played some more Frisbee (we had a few experts in our project), before jumping into the sea for a relaxing dip!

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We chatted about everything under the sky while floating in the warm seawater until it was past dinner time.

This dinner was probably the most interesting dinner yet!

Not only were there lucky draws with multiple iPads and Note 2’s and Galaxy S4’s and a freakin’ nine-day all-expenses-paid trip to Spain for two up for grabs, the most interesting part was probably the charity auction!

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Here’s how it worked: Accenture volunteers would offer services or pledges to the winner and anybody can bid for it. Bids started from RM100.

‘Smaller’ services like having a girl sit on a muscular dude doing push-ups went for a few hundred bucks.

A well-known hardcore smoker who gleefully pledged not to smoke for a day for each RM100 bided ended up (reluctantly) contributing RM3,000 to charity and wondering how he was to face tobacco withdrawal symptoms for a month.

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A rather big-sized guy was ‘forced’ into a pledge to lose ten pounds in ten weeks for over RM7K. Hot deals: A date with two Accenture girls also went for thousands of ringgit but the final pledge – a car wash by an Accenture girls’ team in ‘special outfit’ –sold for RM30,000! Thanks to managers and senior managers who sportingly threw in portions of their exorbitant five-to-six-digit salaries!

The dinner was all-in-all extremely entertaining and full of laughter and cheers. The night then got even better when the tables and chairs were later removed to form a huge dance floor, and an extremely great and well-equipped band jammed away with epic songs from Guns N’ Roses to Jet to Cee Lo Green.

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It was absolutely crazy. The atmosphere was euphoric. There was unlimited beer and there were bottoms-up in every direction, we had the crazy Gabriel who went awesomely berserk after drinking, the band was godlike, and we knew every damn song that was being played.

Everyone was screaming their lungs out and jumping like there was friggin’ lava on the floor. Many times at the end of a song I did not believe I could scream or jump anymore and then some epic intro boomed and we were like yeeeeeeeeeeeahhh!!!

Nobody drank less than ten glasses during the concert. That night was high as hell.

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Despite the fact that the noisy party was probably disturbing the sleep of the remaining guests, the resort management generously allowed us to extend the concert until 1AM, after which we headed over to one of the suites of the committee for the after-party!

We had only had beer so far and our eyes lighted up when we saw the Jagermeister and whisky and vodka on the table. This had all been planned!! Open-mouthed smile

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I met a lot of people that night and even managers joined in the drinking fervour. There was hardly any sense of corporate hierarchy that night, and everyone just opened their hearts and had a great time. Some seniors were videotaping some of our drunk juniors commenting on their supervisors and they were hilarious.

There was even a Jacuzzi in the suite!

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We did not go back to our rooms until our designated drinker Gabriel was down and watered the flowerbed with puke. He was the life of the party and also our noble martyr. We have nothing but respect for this guy. Smile

All in all, Accenture BUM was much more fun that I had expected!

The sun tan and intense muscle pain from the trip will fade, but the awesome memories, gossips of which girls hitting on which guys (e.g. the ‘angel in white’? Smile), and friendships made will last a long time.

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By James Chow

Protected: A Little Bit About Work

Working in Accenture is a roller coaster ride.

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The people are great, but the workload is unpredictable as hell.

Last week, I worked on Friday (a public holiday) until 10PM and on Saturday for literally no pay, plus frantically getting my tasks done with an empty stomach / having meals in front of my laptop.

Today, however, our team spends a lot of our time reading news articles and checking AirAsia fares and writing blogs (me!). Despite the apparent waste of time, this is probably fair because if you consider the amount of unpaid overtime we do and take a monthly average, we are still doing much more than 8 hours of actual work per working day every month.

Such is the Accenture life, at least in my project it is. I am currently assigned to a business transformation project with Celcom as our client. Last week was the ‘go-live’ of the first phase of the project… so life was hell during and around that day.

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In fact, we had an off-hours roster last weekend and I was technically on-call on Saturday and Sunday night 10PM – 7AM, during which I might just receive a call and be expected to go to office in my pyjamas. BUT fortunately I am still a newbie and not of much value to anyone (yet!) so I was spared.

Despite the hard work I think this is quite rewarding because we are helping a very large business improve their efficiency and performance. There is much to learn and lots to explore. And on the other hand, the occasional free time allows me to update my blog and catch up on some of my UK posts!

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You see, I’ve written a number of blog posts in the UK without actually completing and publishing them. So this is my opportunity to fill up the gaps.

A little bit about what I do: Formally, I am an Analyst in the Consulting Workforce in the Technology Growth Platform in the Communications, Media and Technology (TGP) Operating Group of Accenture.

In layman terms, I am an entry-level consultant helping clients from the technology industry develop solutions to improve their businesses’ performance. My current client is, obviously, from the telecommunications industry.

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I do think (for now, but I suspect this belief is going downhill) that CMT is a great industry to work in. Unlike many other industries, CMT has a healthy balance of business and technology (which is awesome) but has the downside of having some of the tightest deadlines and least work-life balance ever.

Nonetheless, Accenture has gone to lengths in making us believe that our respective industries are the best there is.

I attended an Accenture dinner last week, organised by the CMT operating group, in Sheraton Imperial Hotel. CMT Group Chief Executive Robert Sell and a number of senior Accenture leaders came all the way to Malaysia just to have us believe that “CMT is the place to be”. Indeed that was the slogan of the night.

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I don’t know if I can genuinely believe any of that but I am really not that concerned. I am still new to the world of consulting and am eager to work in as many different industries as possible. I believe the wider you see the world, the better you can perform in any one part of it.

So for that night, the only thing that I actually took in and digested fully was the wonderful dinner.

… And all the beer at Retro Club afterwards. Party smile

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