A love letter to Singpost

Dear Singpost,
I have a story to share with you, on the difference between good and bad customer service.
 
Me: I have an important mail containing legal contracts to be sent out. I am resending the same set of documents out again because the delivery service I used previously lost the mail. I need to make sure this gets to my recipient this time round. Do you do same day delivery to this place?
 
DHL: I am really sorry, I would love to help, but we don’t do local delivery.
 
Customer service officer sounded very apologetic and sorry for me.
 
Me: I have an important mail containing legal contracts to be sent out. I am resending the same set of documents out again because the delivery service I used previously lost the mail. I need to make sure this gets to my recipient this time round. Do you do same day delivery to this place?
 
Singpost: Yes we do. By using Speedpost, you will be given a tracking number, and you can check the status of your mail by phone, or online. You will be notified when your mail is delivered.
Customer service officer sounding very excited and hardsell.
 
Me: Don’t read off the script. You guys lost my previous mail…..
 
And Singpost told me I could use Speedpost Express Service for me to get my mail to my recipient within 2 hours. But when my mum went to the post office to send it out via Speedpost Express, only then we found out it’s for corporate customers.
 
Not giving up, I checked online, and found I could use Speedpost Priority. However at the post office, the rude Singpost staff told my mum there’s only a Standard service, and gave the “use it or leave it” attitude. I was on the phone with my mum and I heard everything. Singpost, this is the kind of customer service you give. I guess the monopoly is doing a disservice to Singaporeans. We have no choice when it comes to mail delivery service, and that made you complacent. If you do a search over internet on the complaints and number of lost mails, blunders Singpost made, you will find it disturbing.
 
Dear Singpost, you have caused not only anxiety, but also wasted so much of everybody’s time. I had to make so many calls over the past few days, and to be put on hold, just to trace my mail. My mum had to help me get my papers in order again. And my recipient had to run about her office, checking with the mail room over and over again. We all have important work to do, yet we are wasting so much time because of your mistake. To top it off, your attitude has been unacceptable.
 
Success is not just about how many different types of mail service you provide to customers. It’s about the quality too, if you can win your customers over with competence and empathy. What is the point of having so many different services when customers are always trying to look for alternative mail service because they don’t trust you? Customers end up using you when there is no alternative, not because they trust you.
 
It’s okay to make mistakes. But more importantly it’s important to understand what went wrong, and make a genuine effort to make things better. I was anxious the mail got lost. But I am even more disappointed by your arrogance and complacency. It only reinforces the idea Singpost will fail again.
We can have several telcos in Singapore to have competition, so that customers can have options and better service. There will be new bus operators to offload the stress on existing service. Perhaps it is time that we put an end to the monopoly of our mail service as well, since previous fines didn’t seem to help and make Singpost service better.

[Recipe]: Parmesan Chocolate Cinnamon roll

I’ve finally came up with my own bread recipe! Another item ticked on my bucket list.

I’ve always been a big fan of cinnamon, and couple of days ago I had a craving for it. The cheese was added last to protect the surface of the bread, but I didn’t want to use any egg wash. The thought of cinnamon and egg didn’t appeal to me, but I wanted a savoury kick to the bread, and therefore the cheese.

Parmesan Chocolate Cinnamon Bread

Parmesan Chocolate Cinnamon Bread

This is a really simple bread recipe, and I used whatever was available at home. It’s not the perfect recipe, you can definitely play around with the measurements to improve the taste to your liking. What I did here was based on experience and estimates.

Ingredients:

Bowl A:

100g bread flour

1 1/2 tbsp sugar

1 tsp instant dry yeast

135 – 145 cc water (warmed to not more than 45 degree Celsius)

Bowl B:

100g bread flour

30g unsalted butter

1/3 tsp salt

Bowl C:

1 tbsp sugar

1 tsp chocolate powder

1/2 tsp cinnamon powder

Finishing:

Grated Parmesan Cheese (as desired)

Steps:

  1. Separately, prepare mixture for A, B and C.
  2. Warm water, and test for temperature. Make sure it does not exceed 45 degree Celcius, or it will kill your yeast. (I am happy whenever my water measures more than 40 degree Celcius. You only want to use the heat to help activate your yeast,)
  3. Pour heated water into A and mix with your spatula until the yeast is activated. You will see bubbles forming. Ensure there are no lumps in the mixture. (You can use your spatula to break up the lumps.)
  4. Pour B into A and mix. Do not break the butter with your spatula. You can scrape the dough mixture onto your kitchen top. (Scrape the bowl clean, you don’t want to waste any mixture.)
  5. Knead the dough for about 8 – 10 minutes. As you knead, you will realise the surface of the dough getting smoother. Once it is about 80% kneaded, spread the dough out and pour C onto the surface. Spread the mixture with your fingers. (When a dough is 100% kneaded, it does not break when you stretch it. Based on my experience, 80% is about 3-5 kneads away from it.)
  6. Roll up the dough into a ball and knead. Make sure you do not over knead it as you want to create a marble like design in the bread.
  7. Form a ball, and seal the bread, and place it into a bowl. Make sure the seam side is on the bottom. Cover the dough with cling wrap, and send it for proofing. This will be the process called “Bulk Fermentation”.
  8. After about 30 minutes, check on your dough. It should double in size. Take some plain flour, dip your finger into it. Using the same finger, punch a hole into your dough. You will know your dough is ready when the hole remains after you pull out your finger. Degas your dough, lightly make around 10 punches,.
  9. Then divide your dough into 8 parts. (Based on this recipe, you should get about 400g of dough at this point in time.)
  10. Mould them into balls, and set aside for bench time, for about 10 minutes. You want to let the gluten inside the dough rest after getting disturbed.
  11. Degas the dough again, and mould them into balls.
  12. Place them onto your baking tray. (or mould). I used a disposable cake mould because I wanted to make pull and tear bread. You can place the individual dough onto the baking tray and bake. It does not matter,
  13. After you have completed rounding your bread, cover the baking tray with cling wrap. Set it aside for second fermentation, for about 20 minutes.
  14. During the last 5 minutes of the second fermentation, preheat your oven to 160 degree Celcius. You might want to tweak the temperature accordingly depending on how hot your oven is. In my case, I used a convection oven.
  15. At the end of the 20 minutes, cut a cross on the top of each bread. Make sure the cut is at least 5mm deep.
  16. Take the cheese out from the fridge, you want to use super cold cheese, or it will get burnt during baking. Spread the cheese on top of the bread.
  17. Bake the bread for about 12 – 15 minutes.
  18. Remove from oven after baking, let it cool and you are ready to serve!
Ensure you do not overknead the dough if you want a marble like design bread. Once ready, you can send this dough for bulk fermentation.

Step 6, 7: Ensure you do not over knead the dough if you want a marble like design bread. Once ready, you can send this dough for bulk fermentation.

Dough after bulk fermentation.

Step 8: Dough after bulk fermentation.

Bench time. Allow the gluten structure to rest and come together after being disturbed.

Step 10: Bench time. Allow the gluten structure to rest and come together after being disturbed.

Spread super cold Parmesan cheese to cover the incision made, and you are ready to send it for baking.

Step 16: Spread super cold Parmesan cheese to cover the incision made, and you are ready to send it for baking.

Fluffy bread. Yums.

Fluffy bread. Yums.

“You can be unhappy.”

I recently watched a documentary series on Channel NewsAsia, “Facing Death”. It talks about the challenges critically ill patients and their caregivers face.

I could very much relate to all the stories mentioned. I saw shadows of myself within the show.

However one thing struck me the most. A consultant from Dover hospice said in her interview they need to let patients know they can feel sad, they have a right to do that. We try so hard to fight for happiness everyday, but have we forgotten sadness belongs to the other side of the coin. Everyone is trying hard to construct the ideal world of “happiness”, but what does it really mean to be happy? In the ideal world, we were told to share happiness, never sadness because it will make us look weak. Often we hear people say “never be judgemental”, but unfortunately we all start forming images in our heads with every little bit of information.  We size people up. Unfortunately, it will never be a complete picture because we will never know the complete picture. It’s not about looking beyond what is apparent, it’s about moving beyond the apparent. (On a side note, recent campaign by MCI is about not being judgemental. I personally think it’s a meaningful campaign,  and I hope it achieve good results in reminding people to have more empathy. You can look at the series of videos on their Facebook and YouTube page ➡gov. sg)

We watched the movie “Inside out”. We talked about sadness, we admired him.  But has it really changed our lives?

It is sad to think that we have to deliberately remind ourselves it is okay for one to feel sad. There is always a cycle to everything in life, and they go up and down. Nothing will stay up there forever. Did the pursuit of “a happy world” made us lose the sense of empathy?

The best way to connect with people is to show empathy. And empathy is shown by accepting and acknowledging people for who they are. It can be as simple as telling someone “it’s okay, you can be unhappy.”

I am the badass

Life is an uphill. I walked. I climbed. I stumbled and fell. Covered in bruises, cut and bled.

I continue to walk, with injuries. Limping sometimes, but I try to move whatever inch I can. Remember the times you injure your knee, and you try to take the stairs with an abrasion.

It’s a long road ahead with no end. I can’t change the path I took in the past. No magical eraser can do that. I will continue to move forward.

I missed a step recently. I may be in pain recently, but I will survive.

Call me the badass.

Sorry lungs.

Dear lungs,

I’m sorry for all the stress I’ve given you in the past month. I know I’ve been coughing non stop, and sometimes so hard. I also know the antibiotics were harsh on you, and made you worked so much harder.

Of all my organs, I think you guys work the hardest. I’ve never touched a single cigarette in my life, my biggest damage to you was the latent TB I’ve got 10 years ago. I’ve recovered, but I know both of you will never be the same again.

My face is flushed from all the coughing, and I know how horrible you must be feeling now. 

I’m trying my best to stop the cough, seeing the doctor and taking my medicine diligently. But do give me some time as TCM takes a longer time to take effect. I hope you can understand and hang in there, believe me this will be over soon.

Regards

Mavis the human

#Happy2016!

How would you describe your 2015 with 1 word? I still can’t figure out mine.

It was rocky but I had learnt much from it. It made me a better person. My most recent trip to Yogyakarta also changed my life, which I will share the details in the travel series that I am currently writing.

And if you were to choose a word to wish for the life you want for 2016, what would it be?

Have a good 2016, blessed with good health and peace.

Merry Christmas!

2015 happened in a flash, and we are now celebrating Christmas!

Thank you to all who loved me, and stayed by my side through all the good and bad times.

Merry Christmas 2015

Image done with Canva

Merry Christmas to everyone! Stay healthy and smile!

Love, Mavis

Thank God!

For 10 secs, I nearly had a heart attack! I thought I lost my ipad, then I realised I left it in the cooking studio. I called the school, no one picked up. I tried to look for Rena’s phone number (my teacher tonight), only to realise I don’t have it. I wasn’t sure which other instructors are still in the studio, but I thought of Angie, so I called her. Thank goodness she was still there and found my ipad! Really  thankful to her,  and thankful to life. No matter how much bad things happen, there are still good things that we should be grateful for.

PHEW! 

So IN LOVE with Microsoft #OneDrive!

I had some issues with my OneDrive app on my iPad since couple of days ago, so I decided to send a feedback to them about 3 hours ago.

And barely 3 hours later, Microsoft OneDrive team wrote back to me to ask for further details to help me with the troubleshooting. They have impressed me, really efficient and professional!

I started using OneDrive a few months ago when I saw them offering 1TB of free storage. Upon futher exploration, I found out that using their app, I could make changes to my Microsoft documents on my iPad directly. To me this is very useful as I can create and edit documents on the fly, and then send it via email with just a click if necessary. I have connected my gmail to OneDrive, you do not need a microsoft email to set up your account. You can also connect your office email to Microsoft. If you are using the desktop version, you can also connnect your Skype account within Web Outlook. This definitely helps those who use Skype to communicate at work.

Minutes after I sent OneDrive team my reply with what happened exactly, they came back to me with a solution. That was really fast!

I followed their steps, and tadah! Everything is working now! These guys are so awesome.

I’ve tried so many cloud services before, and whenever it comes to technical help and troubleshooting, it has never been as smooth as what I have just experienced. Microsoft OneDrive is something I really strongly recommend. If you are looking for an alternative cloud storage, why not try OneDrive a chance?

我哭了。

我已经很久没有收看新传媒的电视节目了。但是我知道《志在四方2》将在电视上播出,只是不知道确切日期。我很期待这部电视剧,却不知道它已启播。所以我到了Toggle网页,如果已经播出了,我会观赏随选电视。找不到。后来发现原来今晚是首播。

看着,看着。我不知不觉哭了。

我的心情是激动的。我看见了熟悉的工作环境。我看见熟悉的工作模式。我看见熟悉的场景。我看见熟悉的机器。这一切的一切,勾起了许多美丽与难忘的回忆。即使是当年发生紧急状况时的那种焦虑,现在回想起来也是甜蜜的。因为一个简单的梦想,我吃了不少苦,却也成就了许多。因为年少气盛,横冲直撞的态度也让我撞得头破血流。但很庆幸的是每一次的经验都教会了我很多东西。

我以为以前爱看电视是因为工作关系,不过今天我发现爱看电视是我的本性。我还是会目不转睛的锁定荧幕,即使是广告。我毅然决定离开电视圈,往另一个梦想迈进。这是一个很崎岖的道路,充满了荆棘。有时真的感到很疲惫,也很沮丧。不过回想起当年的闯荡电视生涯,我也挣扎了不少,但我最后还是克服所有的困难,也闯出了属于自己的一片天。我通过自己的方式,走出一条属于自己的路。以前能做到,未来也肯定能做到。这未来肯定就在眼前。

我会继续勉励自己。我的未来就掌握在自己的手里。想哭时就尽情的哭。想笑时就尽情的笑吧!