From stilettos to steel toes


My life have changed from a corporate world to the dirty world of gas…


The current Lahad Datu incident reminded me of stateless people. I knew of 1 person personally, who is stateless. Why stateless? Cause officially he’s not a citizen of any country…

Apparently, he’s not an isolated case – there are a pool of them, at least in Brunei (I’m sure there are many in Sabah/Sarawak, but I never met/knew one). So these people are folks from rural area, who didn’t have proper paperwork like birth certificate. So when they claim their citizenship, Malaysia said they are bruneians and vice-versa. So neither side accepted them, hence they are stateless. The guy I know has been working in Brunei for a while, so he was granted Brunei PR. So for international travel, he uses Brunei passport. Interestingly, he can travel to Sabah & Sarawak, no problem, but if he wants to go to peninsular he needs a visa!

I also know of someone who is Bruneian but part of her family is Malaysian due to the border issue. Her family own a big piece of land in bandar bordering limbang. So when the parents divide the ownership of their big piece of land some of her siblings ended up with the land on limbang side. After the border was remeasured & declared, her siblings on Limbang side became Malaysian and Brunei side became bruneians.

So anyways, land bordering and all are just so complicated… And it is sad that in some cases the inconvenience had to be bear by the people. I’be learnt a bunch of interesting stories from Borneo, which is literally unheard of here and these are some of it. Will try to pen it down for my keepsake when i remember. And no, I don’t miss Brunei.

Filed under: Uncategorized

I Left Brunei & Shell, Part 2

So I got a new boss end of 2010.  I heard bad words from the streets about her (yes, she is a lady, mother of 2).  Initially things were going okay.  My 2010 year end performance review was done with her and my previous boss.  Collectively, they have agreed that I have been performing beyond expectation and I was promised a good rating (read: above average).  When the rating was released, I received an average rating.  She knew I was disappointed and she claimed that she was not there to justify my rating when the rating was being challenged by the committee.  Till this day, I honestly do not know whether she’s telling me the truth or she had purposely downgrade my rating.  I just had to believe her at that point. 

2011 came and it was a tiring year for me.  Running 3 parallel projects on my own is really draining especially when I really don’t have anyone to help me out.  The progress of one project was extremely slow because I had to deal with a difficult contractor and the project itself had to go through so many “red tapes.”  Any decision has to go be approved by the committee and it slowed things down.  She didn’t like the progress, so I have asked her to join me to meetings several times so she understood the procedure.  She refused and kept on saying, “I don’t need to go, I trust you.”

Clearly she did not.  Mid year review came and she told me that my performance is complete unacceptable given my status (as an expat) and I have performed below par.  It is weird of her to say that when I think 70% of my tasks and target for 2011 has already been completed.  But that was the triggering factor of me leaving as I know I will continue to suffer working under her and I had to do something.

I had 2 choices at that point: 1. to end my contract earlier and request a transfer back to KL or 2. resign. Option 1 is likely not going to happen as it requires her approval as my superior, so I’m left with option 2.  At this point my morale was very low, I was really stressed and to some extent it was affecting my life at home.  I got agitated very easily and I have to consistently vent out the “pressure.”  I started job hunting but I wasn’t successful.  

Not long after that, I got pregnant again.  With the stress surrounding me, I guess I didn’t get much chance to enjoy it.  The boss was among the first to know cause I thought she’d go easy on me.  I guess I was wrong.  Pressure on office job amounted and field work also did not get any mercy.  I still had to go to control room twice a week and I still remember in my 1st trimester, she asked me to do a permit to work (PTW) audit under the scorching hot Brunei sun.  Suffice to say, things did not get any better for me…

After unsuccessful attempts to finding an alternative back in Malaysia (not even a single interview), we decided that I will decide on a deadline – after which I will just resign without securing another job.  Furthermore, I won’t likely get any job as I was pregnant.  We figured that we’d wait until the little one comes and I was settled then I will continue job hunting again.  

Mid October, I handed in my resignation letter without any fall back plan citing personal reasons (2nd baby is due).  She was shocked, but accepted the resignation, and surprisingly asked me if it had nothing to do with her.  Of course I lied and said no.  With God’s will, a couple of weeks later, I received an offer for an interview with GL.  They wanted to take me but me being pregnant held them back.  After some negotiations, they decided to take me in.  Alhamdulillah.  

Honestly, I could stay, but having to work another year with that amount of workload and not learning anything new, in my opinion is a waste of time.  I’d rather be doing something more rewarding even with a massive pay cut. She handled my departure well and managed to secure my “replacement” on time.  It was just painful to know that my “replacement” had to handle only 1 project.  My 2nd project was given to an external party to work on it independently and my 3rd project was almost finished that it was handed over to another engineer.  It was painful as I have repeatedly requested to be shed off from my workload, and my wish was only granted because I left.

Shell treated me well and they even counter offered me a position in KL.  But the position requires a lot of traveling and with the 2nd baby due, I had to decline.  I guess it wasn’t meant to be… Not for me.  And with a heavy heart, I just had to bid farewell to one of the largest company in the world.

Looking back, I honestly has no regret.  Despite still thinking of the prospect of returning to Shell, leaving was an eye opener.  And working in Brunei for too long wasn’t really good for my career as I have no network in Malaysia and didn’t understand the working culture here very well.  It has been well over 13 months, I am still sad by the way I left.  I wish my departure from Brunei was much sweeter than this.  But that is life…

Till this day, I have been asked numerous times why I left and I just can’t explain how complex it was to me.  Typically I just simply answer “I had a terrible boss.”  GL life was good and even with the intense pressure of meeting the deadline, it was only half of the misery that I had in 2011.  I had to say, I’m sad to leave GL, but I’m hoping that I reach the greener pasture that I was looking for.  Hopefully I will last here for years to come.  Only time will tell… Wish me luck!

Filed under: Uncategorized

I Left Brunei & Shell

I have been wanting to write about this for a long time – the reason why I left Brunei and Shell.  I guess I only decided to write it now because I have really really come to terms with that fact and I feel that now I have completely moved on.  Today, I have marked my last day with GL Noble Denton – the company that I joined after leaving Shell and I served 1 years 1 month and 4 days to be exact.  I guess it is long enough for me to realize that returning to Shell is almost impossible and if it ever happens it’ll only be years to come (read: I really don’t know when).

Leaving Brunei honestly was not easy albeit the fact that I never truly enjoyed living there – but I had to leave (saying forced to leave is probably a bit too extreme) so I didn’t really like the way things ended.  I have honestly cried a few times and having to sink in the fact that I’m leaving really hurts.  BUT it has to be done…

The real question is then, why did I leave?  Honestly, the actual reason is I no longer see myself going to the career path that I want in Shell.  I was initially assigned to be in Brunei for 2 years, but because of Transition 2009, my boss suggested that I stay in Brunei and opt for a different role to secure my position in Shell.  After some considerations, it was best that I stay even when the position is going slightly off from the career path that I wanted.  My contract was eventually extended to Jan 2013 and I was holding 3 projects in my plate.

Life was good until I was assigned to a new boss at the end of 2010.  To be continued…

Filed under: Uncategorized

Nak kata bodoh… tak…

Apa ke bangang boss aku nih? Haaa.. Aku yg nak marah pon cam rasa nak gelak je. Bodoh sgt mistake dia hari ni. Ni satu aku notice, boss aku mmg TAK PERCAYA aku langsung… Balik2 kata I trust you. I trust you, my ass!

Ok, untuk citer ari ni. Basically kalau keje kat any oil & gas plant ke platform ke, kita ada P&IDs. Ataupon layman term dia Engineering Drawing. P&ID ni ada sume detail psl process flow & equipment ko. So, di zaman serba moden ini, org buat P&ID pakai apa? Of courselaa pakai AutoCad. Apa kelas pakai program lain.. Anyway ada program lain ke? Takkan ko nak buat Engineering Drawing pakai Photoshop kot, ye tak? Pakai laa hotak sket..

Nak dijadikan ceritanya, plant aku nih nak guna satu software. Software ni salah satu feature dia, boleh highlight equipment overdue (for inspection ke maintenance ke) kat P&ID. But in order for this software to do so, P&IDs ko kena follow a certain AutoCad setting. Tak bleylaa ko suka2 hati je nak masukkan P&ID ko tu dlm software tu. So aku suggest, kitorg nya drawing focal point utk attend training utk blaja buat setting tu.. Sbb kitorg ada beratus2 drawing, kitorg send jelaa drawing kitorg kat vendor.. Tapi bila nak maintain, drawing focal point kitorg tu nanti taulaa nak buat.. takyahlaa nak berjuta2 kali gi vendor kan.. tu namanya cost saving.. Aku dah gi kat boss drawing focal point and dia dah pon approve utk mamat tu gi training..

Skali.. meeting hari ni.. boss aku ni balik2 tak puas hati laa kenapa mende ni jadi camne.. Apa masalahnya dude, 1st of all, bukan staff ko, 2ndly tak effect pon KPI ko.. so berdolak-dalik laa and boss aku lagi tak puashatinya sb sume org side aku.. including all other bosses.. Skali dia x puashati rupa2nya sb drawing focal point kena blaja AutoCad (mmg dah tau AutoCad kena blaja psl setting tu jek) and we have to maintain our P&IDs in AutoCad.. Aku ckp “Our P&IDS ARE in AutoCad, in fact the master copies ARE all in AutoCad.” Tapi dia tak puas hati, still argue2.. sampai satu tahap sume org perasan kenapa yg dia marah.. so everyone was like “The P&IDS ARE in AutoCad.” Masa tu barulah dia termalu sendiri and cuba nak cover..

Aku ni plak cam rimas gile, so aku tanya laa, “how can you not know the P&IDs are all in AutoCad?” Tau tak apa jawapan dia “Because I’ve never seen it in AutoCad.” HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHA… Aku cam nak gelak golek2 malangnya aku ada dlm meeting room.. Memanglaa doink! Ko nye comp manader AutoCad.. Manader company nak issue AutoCad license kat sume org.. Gile ko.. berjuta2 tu dowh.. Anyway, sb tulaa ada drawing focal point, buduh! So that dia sorg je boleh buat changes kat AutoCad tu.. pas tukar, dia issue drawing in PDF!!! It doesn’t take a genius to figure that out laa..

Oh, and you have how many years of experience? 10 years? Hmm graduate in what? Mechanical Engineer? Tu pon ko tak tau?? Ko takde common sense ke?

Ah yg klakarnya.. boss besar tadi nak cover boss aku, so dia buat lawak, “In the old days, the P&IDs are all handmade on tracing paper..” Wakakakakakakakkakakaka..

Adoilaa boss aku nih.. To make things worst, aku penah spend almost 1/2 hour psl issue AutoCad ni kat dia 2-3 minggu lepas.. And berulang2 kali aku ckp “The P&IDs ARE ALL in AutoCad.”

So aku pon tatau nak ckp apa… Boss aku ni bodoh ke? Takkanlaa mende simple camni pon tatau.. Oh, dia tau, taknak pecaya ckp subordinate je.. dah kena sindir ngan boss besar baru tau…

Filed under: Uncategorized


Sometimes we forget to be thankful for what we have. But honestly, we need to look “down” and be thankful everyday, and don’t forget to look “up” to motivate ourselves. But don’t look too high up, life as the Beckhams is surely out of reach.

Anyways, I think I feel a little better since a few days ago. I’m just letting things go with the flow and hopefully something better will come to me. I’m taking a break from job hunting now – not too much option in the job market these days and the world economy is not being so kind to us.

Today, I receive a bad news. Another turn down – not even shortlisted for an interview. And this is job no. 2 that I kinda feel confident that I can get, after the first reject that I got. But it’s in Singapore… So maybe, it was never meant to be in the first place…

Well, life goes on. I don’t wanna dwell on my sucky job anymore. Because other than that, life is great. I just need to be thankful more often…

Filed under: Uncategorized

My time is up…

Saya sudah tidak tahan lagi dengan boss saya. Boleh tak hari ni confront dgn dia pasal project progress pastu dia bagi jawapan yg sinis. Cam b*** jek!!! Cam siyal… Silalah buat kerja saya kalau ko rasa senang sgt.

Paling menyampah bila menyindir aku pasal terminology yg management pakai. Jgnlaa nak blagak sgt yg ko dah pangkat HOD. Semua org tau ko kaki mengampu. Mungkin aku ni belum lagi jadi management tapi ko tggulaa di hari aku resign nanti semua project ko akan crumble down. Just you wait… Who will get the last laugh..

Masa tu ko boleh blame aku sb aku lah pemusnah segala plan. TAPI ko sedar tak ko rely on sapa selama ni.

Oh btw, sapa yg modify budget plan aku sampai Finance salah submit aku nye budget request? Sapa? Lu pikirlah sendiri!

Filed under: Uncategorized


This blog has turned into a venting tool to me. Most of the things I wrote is really depressing. I do occasionally write about Brunei especially on their lingo. I have a few more stuff to write about that, but I’ll put it off to God-knows-when.

Anyways, I’ve been down for the past couple of days. The last job that I applied to, I was rejected! The thing is, I was rejected within 48 hours, and I didn’t even get an interview. To make things worse, it’s the job that I think will most likely take me.

So today, Duan’s friends are planning for a steamboat dinner. I didn’t want to go since Hilmy needs me at home. But this afternoon, I decided to go. I figured, I need this. It’s been years since I have a social life. So a dinner out once in a while is okay. I spent less than 1 hour with Hilmy. I kinda feel guilty, but I guess I need a break. It was good, and I’m glad I did it.


I’ve been having a LinkedIn account for almost a year and was never updated. Since I got rejected yesterday, I decided to polish it and I’m trying to add people to connect with me. I was hoping, maybe, someday, somehow, I can get hooked up with a better job. Internet can do amazing things… I hope it’ll work on me.

Anyways, I found some old colleagues, my age on LinkedIn, who are now at manager position. And I’m no where near that. It is hard not to say that I envy them. But somehow, sometimes I feel I should be better at career progression than this. Cause I know my capabilities. Somehow, I always stuck in a position that is not taking me anywhere.

But really, I shouldn’t compare myself with any of them. Our lives are different, and as much as I envy them, I may not want to do what they are doing. It’s just that sometimes, I’m trying to justify myself that blaming the company is the right thing to do…

Anyways, I don’t think it’s wrong to envy them, what they’ve done in life and how great a career they have. Because maybe, from there, I can find inspiration on which path I should take from here…

I really hope to hear good news. Two weeks of no news is bad news… *sigh*

Filed under: Uncategorized


Urgh… enough about my job already. Work has been good since the boss is not around. It’s funny since I get a lot more done when she’s not around even when I’m not as efficient as I should be.

Anyways, my parenting skill is certainly horrible. I’ve been asking advice from my mom to attract Hilmy to eat more stuff to add variety to his food intake. I’m just not patient enough to try so many things. He’s allergic to eggs and beef. He refuses to eat any veggies especially greens and any type of fish. So he’s sole protein source is just chicken. And I have to snack him on fruits.

He’s having constipation issues for the past few months now and on top of that, he’s low in iron (just like me). So the doctor is putting him on laxative fluid, which is fine since I can mix it with his juice. But now he has to drink iron supplement, which tasted like vanilla and he refuse to drink any of it. We literally have to force it down his throat! I feel miserable, and I feel like a failure! Any tips to soften his strong will to take the iron supplement? Urghhh…

Sometimes I feel like a fail parent, but to be honest I need to persevere and be more patient. And it isn’t easy…

Once in a while, I like to blame it on my job. Stress at work makes me even more stress at home. It’s true though, but I have to learn to handle it. And it is sooo hard! I’m not sure how people can get through raising a 2-year old and a baby at one time. Kudos to that!

And you know what, it really breaks my heart, when I scold him, he ran away to find his bibik. But I’m taking it positively, I’m thankful that she’s there doing a great job taking care of him and listening to all of my requests. No this and that, she just obeys to me.

So the problem is me… I need to be in control and be patient. God help me!

Filed under: Uncategorized

Nothing’s changed

The malay saying is right, “ikut hati mati, ikut rasa binasa.” Sometimes I feel it might be easier if I resign now! It’s not true though… If I resign, I will create a lot more problems. Non work-related problems, which I can’t get away from. Urgh… the more I talk about my job, the more I despise it!

Today isn’t any better. One of the technicians that I work with has received the green light from his boss to seek for a transfer. Good for him! If he succeed, he’ll be promoted to exec level. He has requested for transfer twice before and both requests were rejected with the excuse “business needs” him to stay. I think it is a lame excuse… It’s not fair for the management to do that to him because they are essentially is prohibiting his promotion. It’s really affecting me… honestly… cause I know, if I have the same chance, I’d be turned down as well. Urgh!!!

Anyways, I had my mid year review last week. After telling me that I have to find a way to meet my project target, she goes on to say something that supposedly make me feel better about this whole thing. She said, “Well, after all of this is over, think about how marketable you are.”

I was like, “BS! Btw, it should be how marketable you will be.. dohhhh.” Well, I didn’t say that, I want to… The thing is I knew she didn’t meant it, so why the f should I care. Instead, I said, “It really doesn’t matter you see, I don’t like doing this work and even if I spend the next one and a half year doing this, I don’t know how it’s doing any good to my career.” Very well, that shut her up and she went silent for a few second before talking about something else.

Well, I didn’t say it out loud, but I think that is enough hint for her to know that I’m not happy. Not happy with my job scope and even not happier that I’m being pushed & not appreciated. Oh yea, for the record, I didn’t set the project target, she did and she even refuse to change it when I said that it is too optimistic and impossible to achieve. I can still remember her saying, “We’ll keep it this way and we’ll revise it depending on the progress.” Urgh!!! BS!!!

The point is, I had enough… But I’m stuck, for how much longer. I hope not for long. Someone, please offer me a job! I need one!

Filed under: Uncategorized


Today, I contemplate to resign without even securing a job. It’s really crazy how I feel these days. Similar feeling I had when I resigned back in 2007. The reality of life is, working in a good company doesn’t guarantee a good job. To be honest, I’ve no regret leaving my previous job, but I would still recommend others to work there. Because honestly, most people may not end up in the same place as I was before.

My current situation is, good company, bad role! A very familiar situation… I made up my mind to leave last time and see quite a possibility of doing the same this time round. I’m weighing the option on when I should draw the line when I shall resign, regardless of whether I have a job offer in hand or not. The possibility of being unemployed is not appealing, but living in stress is even worse. I rather get off from my misery than stay in this kind of situation. Because life is too short to be stressing out on work all the time. And life doesn’t have to be this way… If I let my stress be with me, it’s my fault. If I can’t get over it, then I should get away from it. It’s a matter of choice really, but some people may have a different opinion. But who cares, this is my life, my call!

My boss doesn’t know the stress that I’m in. I have a midyear review coming up in a couple of days, and I’ve been thinking on whether I should let her know or not. The thing is, if I tell her, then she said I’m incompetent, but if I leave later, she’ll say I’m not up to the challenge. So what’s my option? Looking at my current situation, the latter option is a sweet revenge, and the former seems like an opportunity for her to pull me down.. so I’m tempted to choose the latter..

Why am I so certain? Cause today is the day that she told me, if I don’t meet my project target, even though the other party is holding up the progress, it is just unacceptable & I’m just not good enough. So it’s clear to me that however much effort that I’ve put in this, if in the end someone else is holding it up, I’m not getting my cake. I think the sign is clear and I’m done doing this job.

Ya Allah, please make things easy for us and let me out of my misery… I know I’ll find something decent for me, for us soon. The peninsular is calling and I’d rather be there…

Filed under: Uncategorized


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.