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.

Day 40: #Celebratelife365

Lunches recently are so much more fun. Have been meeting up with old friends for lunch. Today its with my primary school friend. We were classmates since primary 1, that makes 23 years of friendship. My primary school class is rather close knitted one, we still met up and have gatherings very often after graduation. Right now we have a group chat.

Time always passes by so quickly when you spend it with the right company. We had so much to catch up. An irony that this friend and I stay quite near each other, but we have to meet up in town because our offices are near.

I’m going to ask more friends the next time, and that can be another mini gathering.

#Celebratelife365 #Thrive

The tissue paper uncle

I was at Middle Road on Tuesday, and I didn’t see the uncle. He’s the one I always go to for tissue papers. I felt uneasy.

So I went again yesterday, again, he wasn’t there. I got worried. I haven’t seen him in nearly a week, I hope he is alright.

I decided to try my luck again today. I was so glad to see him! But I saw him with a bag of medicine, different bottles of black mixture and he was taking them. I waited by the side for him to finish his medicine, I didn’t want to rush him. He didn’t see me. I had the $10 note in my hand. I gave a sigh of relief, uncle hasn’t been well. Phew, I’m glad to see him again. I don’t know why I have this emotional attachment with him, but I really don’t want anything terrible to happen to him.

I went up to him, passed him the note. I didn’t take any tissues from him today, I don’t need them. I have been buying from other aunties and uncles, but I don’t feel as strongly for them.

As we talk about SG50 this year, let’s not also forget this group of elderly. You can see them everywhere. With all the celebrations to thank them for their contributions, I also think there is this group who don’t ask for much. Let’s not forget them. Before we do any big campaigns to help them, let’s start work on our own first to help them.

Day 36: #Celebratelife365

It’s been a while since I last watched a play. It always bring me sweet memories of my days on stage. Those were the junior college days. I acted, I wrote scripts, I made props. I drifted from theatre after going to the university.

I was then pulled back to theatre when I worked as producer for Good Morning Singapore. There was a regular segment on arts and entertainment, and we would interview guests whenever there was a new drama performance. I got to meet many famous playwrights, and even met familiar friends such as Joanna Dong. We have a close bond, she is the daughter of my LEP teacher in NYJC. And at the same time, I got to watch nearly all of these performances, which I am truly thankful for.

In case you wonder, I watched a Chinese show today, 天門決. Tomorrow is the last day, there are 2 more shows, one in the afternoon, and the other in the evening.

Simple pleasures like these are more then sufficient to keep me happy.

Cheers!

#Celebratelife365 #Thrive

Day 29: #Celebratelife365

Decided to go out in the evening at 5pm for a short jog today, it’s been a while since I last did an evening run. The weather has been really hot and harsh recently, and I can feel the heat burning on my skin. For many months, I have been wearing sleeveless tops and dresses because I find it too hot. It’s after my Las Vegas trip that I find the Singapore weather too hot.

I went out in the morning to Middle Road, and then to Orchard to run some errands. The weather was really hot, there’s no way I could jog in that. I saw a lady jogging, and I still cannot figure how she managed that.

Anyway I saw the skies were partially grey, but rain didn’t cross my mind. I looked at the skies again before changing into my running attire. (Just wanted to make sure it’s not that HOT.)

It was a short jog, I wanted to be back for dinner by 6pm. I like to sit by the pond after my jogs, to rest and look at the people and surroundings.

Punggol Park

Punggol Park

Although it’s always the same view, but I am never sick of it.

Shortly after I got home, it started to pour heavily. And the skies were not overcast when I reached home. I was in the shower and I heard thunderstorm and rain. I was lucky to get home in time.

The jog, the scenery, the rain. I love my life.

#Celebratelife365 #Thrive

#TributeToLKY: Dry your tears. Chin up. Move on.

Sunday, 29 March 2015, Singapore bade a tearful farewell to our FIRST Prime Minister, Mr Lee Kuan Yew.

Dark clouds gathered, heavy rains poured, but that did not stop many Singaporeans from lining up the streets to send Mr Lee Kuan Yew off. I stayed at home with my parents watching the live telecast on Television. I chose to stay at home to watch it on television for a few reasons. One is to support my friends in the newsroom, they have worked hard to bring you the coverage, especially this live coverage. I was cheering for Augustine and Glenda, especially. Yes, there were live streamings, but a part of me prefers to watch it on a TV, because I can pay attention to the details on a bigger screen, and with less distractions. Two, I don’t know how much I would cry, so I rather stay at home. I’ve cried in public many times, and I am not shy of crying in public. But this time round, I rather be private. Third, I really want to see Mr Lee through the whole journey, aptly put in Chinese, 全程目送. And lastly, I want to catch as much glimpses of Yipeng as I can. I was in the same junior college and university as him, and he was never stingy with his good mornings or hellos to me, and to others. I know he was a darling to his late grandfather, and my heart goes out to him. I lost my grandparents, I was close to them. The feeling was crap. I want to see Yipeng, and make sure he is holding it up. Many times, I wished I could give Yipeng a hug.

10 eulogies were delivered during the State Funeral. Both sons presented the first and the last. Mr Lee Hsien Loong started with his eulogy, and he did his best to keep his emotions in check. Though there were points when he shared more personal anecdotes, and his words choked up. Throughout his speech, he addressed his father as Mr Lee Kuan Yew. Every time he said that, I cringe. But it also gave me the strength and motivation to become stronger.

Mr Lee Hsien Yang closed the session with his eulogy, and we saw a son sharing his fondest memories of his “Papa”. Mr Lee shared how his father didn’t want the children to feel like a privileged group, and the kind of upbringing in the family. I’ve seen this for myself, after being schoolmates with Yipeng.

2 sons, 2 eulogies, we heard and saw the many faces of Mr Lee Kuan Yew. Some people have asked why the ceremony at Mandai Crematorium is a private one. We should give Mr Lee Kuan Yew and his family some private moments. Since Mr Lee’s death, the familh has been in the limelight. Mr Lee Hsien Loong gave a final eulogy, and calls his father fondly by “Papa”. We need to give them the time and opportunity to grieve.

Some have said, Singapore will not continue to strive withour Mr Lee Kuan Yew. I beg to differ. He has left behind a legacy, and it’s now for us to build on it, and make Singapore even better. He gave up his life for Singapore, and we shed our tears because of his contributions. The dead will not return to life, but the living can continue the spirt of the dead. Personally having experienced the deaths of many closed ones, including Queena and my brother who died in their prime, I’ve learnt to see farewells in a postive light. Queena and my brother were outstanding young people, with a bright future, but God decided their time with us will be short. However short, they left behind many things to celebrate. They were both fighters, strong-willed, sweet-natured, caring and loving individuals. Similarly, we should also celebrate Mr Lee Kuan Yew’s life. He has lived a fulfilled and meaningful life, and great achievements for us to celebrate.

We cry when in grieve, that is absolutely normal. But there will be a time when we will dry our tears, toughen up, move on, and make lives better. The physical self may have left, but spiritually, emotionally they will always be with us.

As Mr Lee Hsien Loong said today in his speech, what has Mr Lee Kuan Yew left for us. “Look around you.” He wouldn’t want us to destroy the beauty in Singapore with our tears. His policies, his plans, they were all meant to make strong Singaporeans who will shine in our own ways.

Rest in peace, Mr Lee Kuan Yew.

Today, I want to celebrate Mr Lee’s well-lived life. #Celebratelife365 #Thrive

Day 22: #celebratelife365

Stayed out later then usual today, on my way home now. I haven’t done this for a long time. Thankful for the peace and security in this country, my home.

#celebratelife365 #thrive

Day 19: #Celebratelife365

No mistake in the header. It’s day 19. I decided to skip a day on 23 March 2015, because it’s a sad day for me, a Singapore’s daughter.

The mood is still heavy, the pain is still raw.

I was working on my final paper for my marketing course, and I came across this article by Arianna Huffington. Huffington post launches Huffpost Gratitude. It is an initiative to encourage people to give thanks, and be more appreciative. This is exactly the same reason I started this #Celebratelife365 project.

Today, I saw my results for one of my marketing module’s final paper. I did very well. But it would be even tougher if I didn’t leave in a safe and peaceful environment that allowed me to work and study in. I thank our founding father, Mr Lee Kuan Yew for providing us with a place we are all proud to call home.

He lived an eventful life. He made some tough decisions, and not pleasant. But as he lay there in the coffin, I hear kind words said of him. We get graded for our lives after we breathe our last. Thank you for living such an outstanding life, Mr Lee.

#Celebratelife365 #Thrive

#RememberingLKY- When Mr Lee’s eyes met mine in SGH

Monday, 23 March 2015, Singapore lost our first Prime Minister, Mr Lee Kuan Yew.

As a nation, we mourn the lost of a strong man.

As a person, I am still trying to accept the fact that he is gone. Back in the days when I was still a journalist, there were already prep work for this day. “Today” was work to me. Now I am no longer part of the newsroom, “Today” I lost someone great. I knew this day will come, but it’s still a hard fact to accept.

I am very sure I will not feel so much grief at this point in time if I were a journalist. I have gone through the deaths close ones in my life, my grandparents, my brother. I had to see through their funerals, so much needed to be done. Grief hits me only much later. As I watch my ex-colleagues from the newsroom bringing reports of the wake, and documentaries remembering Mr Lee Kuan Yew, I feel the loss. I am already missing this man. Singapore feels different, we the children of Singapore have lost our father.

I can still remember this one occasion when I met Mr Lee Kuan Yew. I was in SGH with my grandfather, and I was attending to my grandfather who was on the wheelchair. Mr Lee was with a few nurses, he was there for a medical checkup too. There, his sight caught mine. He gave me a grandfatherly smile. That was nearly 10 years ago, but it felt like yesterday. Mr Lee Kuan Yew is a tough man, but he showed me his soft side. He continued talking to the nurses, and they were all smiles. This scene kept replaying today. Mr Lee Kuan Yew gave me a good country to live in, safe and secure. A good education so that I can do my part and contribute to the society. As I type this, I can no longer control my tears. This is a story that I seldom share. Thinking of it now, I can see from his grandson’s eyes, Yi Peng, what a dear grandfather he was.

PM Lee statement– This is from our current Prime Minister, Mr Lee Hsien Loong, his “live” address at 8am on the passing of his father. I didn’t see a Prime Minister talking to the nation. I saw a son who just lost his father, and felt his pain of the loss. PM Lee first spoke in Malay, Mandarin then English. The address was short, merely 7 mins, but it must have felt like forever to PM Lee. When my brother passed away, I crafted 1 Facebook post to inform friends and relatives of our loss. It was a short message, but with every character I typed, it was a stab in my heart. PM Lee has my utmost respect for this statement.

I share this from social media, aptly recapping Mr Lee Kuan Yew’s life- A life dedicated to Singapore. Thank you Mr Lee. #ThankYouLKY

Lee Kuan Yew Life

李光耀先生,感谢您对新加坡的奉献。

Why I stopped buying #tissuepapers

Tissue paper packs

I’ve stopped buying pocket tissues from shops for a long time. It was a conscious decision.

These tissue papers you see above are from one person- an uncle in wheelchair in Middle Road. He’s the same person I chose to “buy” tissue paper from in my earlier post in 2014.

There should be more. I’ve used some of them, and many times I see the uncle sleeping, so I just left the money on the tray and left.

It’s not only this uncle who is doing this “business”. There are so many others, and not just in Middle Road.

Most of them are old, on wheelchairs, and some are handicapped. What can we do to help them? How much can they earn by selling 3 packets of tissues for $1? (Maybe $2, I don’t know for sure, because I always give at least $5.)

I mentioned this to a friend, I want to do more to help them. How many packets of tissue papers do we need? How fast do we consume them?

My heart aches, especially when I see the elderly, and they are all alone without family to take care of them. These folks remind me of my grandparents. I love my grandparents dearly, and I did anything I could in the past to protect them when they were still around. This explains why I cringe each time I see old folks who are alone, and suffer just to earn some money to survive.

I have been thinking, what can I/we do to help these people who needs help? It’s obvious selling tissue papers won’t get them enough money for living expenses and medical bills.

I keep these packets as a constant reminder of how lucky I am. The collection will only grow. I get them faster then my consumption.

I will continue to #Stopbuyingtissues from the stores, and think of how I can help all of them better, not just one uncle.

#Oldfolks #Singapore