OUTSOURCING never works (for empolyees)

oh Why oh why oh why, company like to outsource services to a 3rd party.

My company has sold our former IT support department. They sold the business for big bucks and outsource our IT services within the deal, win win situation. They get the business and contract we get the cash.

But someone has to lose, and we the employees are the one to lose. In order for this new company to make money, they would have to make cuts, the quick cut is to move office offshore, to India for example.

Today, I called the helpdesk and was surpised it has happened so soon, it was no long a Bromie, it was a non-english speaking Indian. He can’t even say Simon and kept calling me Diamond. Fair enough form filler, just fill that IT request in.

So I thought I would get a called back from someone British. No, the phone show the India IDD prefix 91. Rathinder or whatever his name was, I would just call him Rat, was trying to tackle a simple problem for me.

My laptop has a program installed to monitor and maintain the Windows profile size under 10Mb. This is basically the Application Data folder. I have many applications, the whole MS office + Visio +  IE etc, and other personal settings there are big enough to go over the 10Mb limit. And when I plug in my USB sticks with Portable Apps or U3 apps. The profile size shoots up.

What I really want them to do is INCREASE my profile limit to 20MB? Anyway, he started to clear my IE cache files, some temp files, but it was still over 10MB. Next he blacked out the sceen,  so I couldn’t see what he was doing, He rang me back and said he gave me a new blank profile and said I won’t have that problem again.

DO NOT treat me as some STUPID Westerner Rat! I knew exactly what he has done and point out to him, firstly you have removed all my settings, personal preferences, printers, favorites, templates, the list goes on. Secondly when I add these back in, the profile size will be exactly the same as before!

Therefore all you have done was wasting my time. So then I told him to bugger off, spent sometime feeling angry and reset my laptop to what it was.

They need to watch more Eastender for their English course (that is what they actually do right?). and give up IT support because they can’t do it.

So I have just lost my IT helpdesk, it is now IT wastedesk.

No support, we are on our own.

I am contemplating a complaint or just a quiet protest by never ever speaking to them again or both.

So that profit of selling the business is translate into employee dissatisfaction. Surely now that we are a customer of service we have our rights, yes, looks like the complaint is a must.

ps feel sorry too for all our previous Bromies IT support who might have to contemplate a new career in India!


Jimmy’s Kindergarden

It was a trend to send your child to kindergarden/pre-school and still is.

From the age of 3 to 5, I attended Jimmy’s Kindergarden in Aberdeen, Hong Kong. Believe me, I still have a lot of memories, even though it is more than 25yrs ago. I will try to give you some highlights.

For a start, my name is Ka Man Ng. I hated the name when I was young. Here was one of the reasons why.

There was a girl in the same class as me with the same name Ka Man Ng, although the Chinese character was different, but the pronouniation was the same and therefore the English name was spelt the same. Yes my name sounded girly in Cantonese! Please give me a break.

Aside from name calling, in those days you scribble and draw alot. I was rubbish really at either. I was already a funsionist (see previous post) by then, I once stuck a canyon into a pot of glue to see what happen. I was told off very loudly and the teacher told my mum afterward, bad times.

I was already a Chemical Engineer back then, mixing the dye into the glue to create colour glue! or the other way around to make sticky ink! There was nothing wrong about trying to be creative.

I remember my favourite toy was the plastic cash till machine, when you pressed the button the draw came out. chi ching.

So when will I have a shop then! Not anytime soon…

The highlight of the year was when Uncle McDonald from yes the “McDonald’s” came by and visited. Brainwashing the kids to like junk food, not on really. But it was really the best time, you get free burgers, some lucky ones.

I was really thick back then, stupid and dumb. I was so quiet the teacher thinks I am a crazy child, also given that I stick things in glue, not normal apparently. What do they know!

Next time when I am back in HK, I will dig out some photos if they are not too embarrassing.

Any other Jimmy’s out there, it is a very small world you know.

Link on google map:


Facebook and Me

It is August 2009, and I now have a facebook account. Reconnecting people I know, barely knew, anyone I merely remember talking to.

I still think Facebook is kind of evil, I won’t go into the detail. But I am on it now.

Exposed, cut wide open. But for sure I will use it as my photo gallery, an advert for my website.

Then the Me bit in this blog entry.

I don’t know if anyone know, I have an excellence memory, there are so much memories, stories in my head. I kind of need to do a download.

So coming soon to this blog, I will start writing a new category called “Stories around Simon”

These stories will range from when I was growing up in Hong Kong, Primary School, Secondary School in Truro, University in Manchester and Work in Manchester.

I will start one next, sometime our lives to so fast that we never have time to look back.

A “MBE” follower

This is where I currently live, on a top floor apartment of The Box Works.

If you drive along the Mancunian Way, it is behind that Urban Splash giant spaceship sales office thing.


One of my neighbour is Tom, he is the founder and Chairman of Urban Splash. (The Box Works was developed by Urban Splash.)

You can read about him here. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tom_Bloxham

He recently spent a few bobs putting up many art works in our common corridor. I worked out it must be several thousand pounds or more on face value.

Very kind of him, it must also enhance the value of my property too.

I’ve just found out he tweets (use Twitter), so I thank him on that and he is now following me on Twitter too!




Day 2 of the Wedding

Are you ready for a long blog?

Day 2

Got up around 8 am. Already thinking fast, since there was a surprise planned for Dave. Our Chem. Eng. Uni. mate, Lawrence and his wife Connie had already travelled up the night before from Southampton to attend the wedding, and Dave did’t know this, but Charles did. I will have to pick them up from their hotel on route and not letting Dave know.

Dave’s mum offered Chinese tea and Dave’s dad’s home made roast pork buns, yum yum. The video man had arrived, and the whole thing of David leaving the house was filmed!

(sorry, I kept switching between Dave and David. We used to call him Dave at Uni. but he is known as David at home and by everybody else?!?!?!)

Natalie (Charles’s wife to be) decorated the already awaiting Bentley with a teddy bear couple in the front. There wasn’t anything else need to be prepared. I then set off with Natalie and two empty spaces in the back for Lawrence and Connie.

On the way to the hotel, I noticed someone else was following me, it was Heego, the other usher. I was waving frantically to signal I was not going direct to Matfen Hall. After a lot of waving, I did actually lose them on a round about. I did manage to call one of the passenger and luckily they knew the way.

Pick up Lawrence and Connie, who were in their summer wedding going outfittings matching with hats (very cool). They were going to get notice! We arrived at Matfen Hall at about 10am. The groom and some families had already arrived. He was happy to see Lawrence of couse, not quite a full surprise but very happy.

The sun has kindly came out for a lot of photos. Dave had hired a photographer couple, Nigel and Chrissie. With us the usher’s (more like pusher) help, a lot of photos were taken in the short space of time. We really did help them I would like to think. One thing never went missing was David’s smile. He must be very happy in side.

They had also hired the String Quatet, a 4 girls violin band playing exceptional music at the reception. As a very novice violin player myself when I was younger, I have very much enjoyed the performance.

The ceremony then took place, there was some readings, exchange of vowels and the registrar lady was good. The usual stuff then more photo opportunities. I do mean alot… David has a large extened families…

Next was the Chinese Banquet in Newcastle’s China Town. Not everyone was going to this. I was there though and the first task is riding an invisible boat with wooden paddles with the bride and groom behind us (ie passengers on the boat!). It was a very snakey boat I can tell you, we paddled and paddled around the Chinese Restaurant with loud drum beat. The paddlers included David’s very ecentric and energetic aunties, who were enjoying it very very much. Well as the boat sailed along, we the supposed strong lad ushers got into it, in an attempt not to be out-shown by the aunties. And it was being filmed as well and how embarrassing was this be, I won’t be able to imagine if not for the couple but for us.

Then food, I was starving by then after the paddling. Standard Chinese Wedding Banquet food came, Proper Chinese Roast Pork, Scallops in bird’s nest, Chinese Style Roast Chicken, Steam Fish, Whole Prawns, Shark Fin Soup! etc…It was alright, nothing special, ok average…

During the serving of food, there was some form of entertainment. Uncle 1 sang on karaoke, then Uncle 2 then Uncle 1 came back then Uncle 2 again. la la la la la. oh they have finished…

Some Hong Kong TV game show style games with David’s sisters and young cousins.

David’s Chinese Speech. I will just tell you the gem of a line.

David said to Joyce’s dad in Chinese, “You won’t lose a daughter, you will gain a son”

Applause everywhere, kind of standard stuff but you just have to hit it.

I really thought the best was the photo montage/slide show that they did from their young age to teens to be together. It was done up very nicely and very moving. (I will note this down for the future!) sweet…..

Charles then has to tell everyone their love story. It was interested to some but Charles kind of just did how they meet and how he had proposed. It included london eye and catching a bus. Please fill in the blanks.

Yes you are right, they met on the London Eye and David proposed on a bus.

Sorry I am only playing with you. He chase Joyce, while trying to catch the same bus to work and chessily as Joyce has described it, proposed during a ride on the London Eye.

And there were more photo opportunities with the couple, with Joyce in her Chinese Wedding dress.

Next was the tea ceremony back at David’s parents. We didn’t go, it was family stuff anyway. We drove to the Church where the coach will pick us up and go to Matfen. I was only thinking that we would be drinking so I ditch my car. While still has time, Charles has nearly passed out on Natalie’s lap. A quick Nlap, haha. (Damn I forgot to Twitpic it)

The evening reception started with some free drinks, great I need some after a long day! I was feeling a bit tired too. The main event for the night is cèilidh dancing.

I was very much unsure if this would be any fun at all. The bride and groom then finally appeared just about an hour late. They then went round the floor and greeted every guests. (This took really long). I was only saying to Samuel (the other usher) Speech and Cake, Speech and Cake. We were at the end of the line waiting for them for hours to come around. When they did finally came to us, I said exactly what I was thinking.

“Dave. Speech and Cake”

As directed Dave then delivered a quick speech and cut the cake with Joyce.

After then the first dance. …

The lovely couple danced for a few minutes before the best man (Charles) and the brides maid (Deborah) followed. But then after a few seconds Charles was dancing with Natalie (not sure I would call that dancing though). And in a split second I ask Deborah to dance, and in the heat of dance floor, I got her to do some spins. For this I am sorry! I hope the camera was still on the couple, that we haven’t stolen the show, or I hadn’t embarrassed Deborah.

Then we stayed on for the first cèilidh dance too, for this I am also sorry. But for what it is worth, I thought we danced well together, I kind of enjoyed too. Then everyone took some air and more dancing until the buffet dinner. Nothing much to comment there.

Next was the special lantern event, which was a surprise. We the ushers lighted the lantern up, let it gather hot air and off they went into the sky, one after another. The C in Charles really stands for competitive, and he said “wow mine is the first one yes.”. Yeah whatever… It was the most moving part that the big lantern by the couple went the highest. This is a very fitting sign and that I hope their life together will be forever lid-up.

There was more dancing, I kind of stay out until near the end where I was dancing with Lawrence! He danced like a girl! only joking Lawrence. Everyone was in the spirit of it. Girls were dancing with Girls, guys were dancing with guys anyway.

I really had fun, it was great time. I am really dreading the photos and the video though. And by the way, I was sober so I have no excuse either.

Thanks Dave for inviting me. It was great to see you on your happy day.

They are on their honeymoon now, around the world in 3 weeks! good luck…

3 Cheers

Hip Hip Hurray

Hip Hip Hurray

Hip Hip Hurray


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Day 1 – Picking Up the Bride and Games

Day 1 – 10th August 2009

The bride had a Chinese Banquet with her side of the family, she came from Edinburgh but it was held in Glasgow. In Hong Kong the Banquet is normally a joint event in the evening, but in UK this is normally in the afternoon, so that Takeaway can still be opened and people can travel home etc. I was not at the banquet. I was one of the ushers for the Groom. Therefore as one of the “brothers”, I had to be at the “Picking up the Bride event”. This was where the Groom literally goes to the Brides house with gifts and money in exchange for the Bride. In olden days, that what it was, like selling and buying a daughter.

David’s Auties and Uncles has brought with them to Edinburgh a trailer full of Chinese dry food and sea food. (These are expensive stuff I can assure you, dry mushrooms, dry scallops etc.) It is also a modern Hong Kong tradition that the Groom has to carry out a number of tasks set by the bride maid and sisters before he can go and pick up the bride. It was kind of a difficult barrier and for the sister to test the groom, but it should be in very good humour too.

Task No.1 – Press up and eat cream cake with just your mouth

The Groom was not quite warmed up yet and look over to see if any brothers of about 20 would help. But in the end, doing it himself, it wasn’t that hard, plate on the floor and just press down and eat. Yum Yum

Task No.2 – David has to sing AND DANCE with some brothers a song by Back Street Boys. This was because Joyce is a fan.

Oh being filmed as well! I was definitely not going to join in.

Raymond did and actually look really enjoying the dancing too. Right what’s next ladies.

Task No.3 – Blind folded David has to feed his brothers with Charles (Best Man)’s verbal directions

Feeding fresh dipping and chunky water melons with Charles directions. It fact it was way too easy. PASS, what’s next.

oh the reason for this game was that the sisters want David to understand he needs to be directed and instructed!

Task No.4 – Shout I love you in 10 different languages, I said to David to do it in accents. They won’t have it. Someone try to use their iPhone, I was using my Windows Mobile, we couldn’t get anything quick. He did manage to do English (obviously), American, Australian, Mandarin, Cantonese, French, Japanese. They kind off let David pass this one by asking him to shout I love you a few more times.

Task No.5 David has to read out loud a prepared note.

The idea was to embarrass David and put words into his mouth. He read it out and job done. Next.

Task No.6 – David has to identified his bride’s lip stick mark out of a pack of 20.

This was too hard, near impossible. And it was so difficult.

So he failed.

I can’t remember whether it was this task or previous task that there was a forfeit for failing a task. It was cutting Charles’ toe nails

It was kind of gross thinking about it then and now. Charles was being his sensible self and with common sense kindly reminded that once David has cut his toe nails, he would probably use the same hand to pick up the bride!

Common sense prevailed and not toe nails but hand nails then. There we were nearly 20 of us, none was coming up and say they have long nails. For some reason it ended up with me, so David cut my little fingers nail even deeper than it was!

Task No.7 – The apartment is on the 3rd floor, and for every step David took, he has to say something good about Joyce.

Sorry but I kind off used my “smartassy-ness” and said to Charles (who was also my mate at Uni) pick up Dave and he doesn’t actually have to do anything. There we were I was on the left, Charles on the right, picked up Dave and gone pass the sisters’ barrier. He was through…legging it up the stairs.

“Go…Go…Go…” we both shouted.

The sisters were obviously outraged that we had cheated them.

There we were blocking them (20+ girls) on the staircase. I have to let you know that I am 6’1+ and Charles is mid 5′ ish. We did form a very good blocker human wall. We slowed them down but the wall did broke down eventually.

All that time, David didn’t actually get into the apartment. There was a stronger barrier at the door, Joyce’s aunties. They were much more tougher than the younger sisters.

No games just negotiation. You know what MONEY. It is a Hong Kong Tradition. Charles has already prepared a red pocket of £100. Typically they would want £10,000 but £100 is realistic. The sisters would take this and share between them and return a penny. So it will be £99.99p. The Cantonese pronunciation of 9 sounds like “ever”. Therefore a lot of 9 = long 9 = long ever = forever. Sound good right!

Charles was being mindful and said, one hand money one hand goods (the goods was the bride!). The auntie sisters want to check the money first. Not until it was taken out from the red pocket, David was allow to go in.

But there was more procedure like presenting cups of tea to the bride’s parents, elder relatives etc.

Once everything was done and calmed down. We all has to make our way down to Newcastle where the real event was on the following day.

After a long drive from Manchester to Edinburgh now I have to make the journey down to Newcastle. It was very worth while and fun so far.

I pick up Charles and his wife to be Natalie, and we had a good chat on the journey. Charles is also a Chemical Engineer and currently working Night Shift commissioning a chemical plant in Saudi Arabia. More money but he said he would jump the chance to come home. It is kind off tough out there without pork and sex. (by the way I am not quoting him, but it is funny if he did actually said these words.)

Back to David’s parents house, where it would be my accomodation for the next two nights. We were greeted by his Mum and straight away she offered us some food, so that we won’t collapse. David must be so tired by now and deemed not able to take the bride to her hotel room at Matfen Hall where they married.

So Simon the driver step in, the bride, the bridesmaid, Charles and a lot of luggage cramped into my car. It was near 1am and I have done 7+ hours of driving already, but I had enough in me to take on this very important task. I drove steadily through the country lane after lane in pitch dark condition, after 30 mins safely arrived at Matfen Hall. That was half the job, concentrate Simon, you had to get back in one piece. And I did with Charles, David’s mum offered us some more food.

After a shower and wash up, there was more to do. Charles and I helped Susan and Amy (David’s sisters) to find a soundtrack and print out the lyrics for David and Heego to sing on karaoke. (They never did by the way!!!!!!)

Finally got to bed by half 2 ish. Eyes wide open, adrenaline was pumping, can’t get into sleep. When I did around 4am, needing to get up at 8am, at 5am, David had got up, and started to check on people. He came into my room,

“Simon” Dave said

“Dave” I said with a tired voice

“Nothing” Dave said and left my room.

Many Thanks Dave, and sorry for my panda eyes in your wedding photos.

end of part 1 the big day tomorrow. please read the next blog

Passing on tradition

One recent time, I was at a client site.

An engineer said: “I thought the presentation you guys did was very good”

And he went on, “I actually print good ones out and keep them in this pile.”

He then said, “It is as good as the presentation given by March Consulting on Waste Minimisation years ago”

HANG ON, did you said MARCH CONSULTING??????

I am actually the LAST March Consulting employee before March became Enviros. (I still have a March Consulting contract.)

We luckily have some proof on us, so it was really to our amazement more than anything that we HAVE maintained the standard if not exceeded it.

I was over joy. To me, it was a really good compliment.

Hip Hip Hurray. Hip Hip Hurray. March Consulting will always lives on.



It is the word I am taking out this moment. Fusion in my dictionary can mean many things. It is normally mixing things together (mostly good things). I am also going use it for a mixture of good skills.

It is a dish too, a curry pot or a casserole of good things.

Anyway, it is a mixture of good things. Like people a mixture of good skills, a mixture of good knowledge.

What I can see of this world is the slowly decline of FUSION people. This generation of the work force is becoming a procedure follower, a systemic machine.

Without the fusion of knowledge and skills, it is very difficult to be inspired, to be creative. People are becoming dull.

Am I saying that to be talented you need to have the openess to accept fusion? Yes.

Mix experience around from different situation and combine to form super experience.

I am on a journey to build a catalog of human profile, certainly a fusionist will exist amongst a list of many.

Fusionist – Generally described as open person with a wealth of knowledge and experience in a wide range of subjects and topics. A fusionist is always interested in new things and demonstrate a steak of talent.

New Microwave

I bought a new Microwave over the weekend.

It is a Panasonic NNA554W. It cost me £150. It is a combination one, microwave, grill and oven.

Shopping at Argos is a pain for these item, the description never tell you everything. You have the buy it, open it and to see whether it is what you are after.

So I went to Currys and Comet. What Currys has got, Comet don’t what Comet has got Currys don’t. So can’t really compare. But at least you can slam as many doors, press the door open button as many time, you can still walk out the store without purchasing one.

Finally set my eye on this Panasonic, white but stainless steel inside (must have for me), the brand is good too.

Then today, just check the COMET WEBSITE, it is on for £16 less, you can collect from store.

It is very difficult to shop from both side. Being a techno nerd, I am disappointed I didn’t check online with my windows mobile. A little £16 of a lesson is a good price to pay.