Wednesday, 13 July 2016

English Mistakes in Blue Labyrinth Preston & Child

I just found 2 mistakes in this book. What's their editor doing? Are the writers in too much of a hurry to publish that they are making mistakes in their writing?  These days, their writing is getting more & more shoddy in order to publish quickly in a year.

I read your books to get inspired by excellent English, not to have to worry if it's right or wrong or worse to have to correct it in my head. Didn't you guys say you read plenty of the old writers such as Sir Arthur Conan Dolye? How can you get it wrong? 

I really loved your first Pendergast novel. Your writing has changed a lot since then in your hurry to meet the deadlines. Some things cannot be rushed. Can't just churn out book after book according to deadlines & money.

1) Chapter 16 page 75. "protesting what they considered tomb desecration.".
Should be: protesting against what they considered was tomb desecration.

When I read the sentence, I thought it was odd. It didn't sound right.

2) Chapter 4 page 18. "The man did not return Pendergast's glance, instead pulling a Sig Sauer P229 from his jacket and placing it on the shelf of bay 17.".

Should be: instead he pulled ... and placed.

Listing/Selling Without Paypal on

It's sad that in this day & age, it's still not possible to sell online across the world. Why? Because of monopoly. Domination by a single entity. There is no choice, no good or better options with regards to Paypal.

Can you list/sell an item on without Paypal? No.  Some forum comments say you can list with merchant accounts (pay a fee). But if you un-tick Paypal option, you can't list. You can try.

Can you list/sell an item on with just a confirmed e-mail on Paypal? Yes. However, you can't receive or send money.

How do you sell from Singapore to an audience without Paypal? Impossible.

Even if it's not, how to sell to an overseas audience without Paypal? Add to that, you don't want to give up your personal information via sending & scanning documents to unknown entities such as Skrill & all the other "legit" money transfers options.

If say, I am willing to receive cold, hard cash through the mail, I would still have to provide an address to the buyer.  Not comfortable with that?

How about subcribing to a PO Box? With Singpost being so shitty these days, it would be risky to have the mail go through an extra step to a PO box or to a private suite address.

Say, I suppose it's fine for a buyer to send cash to my address & the buyer don't mind waiting 7 days or more for me to receive it, there is also the high cost of sending the item overseas (not to mention the number of days it's going to take for buyer to receive it).

No buyer is going to bear such a delay & few buyers will be ok with high overseas delivery cost (Craigslist hunter is different. His deals are within the US).  Already, some people say they would rather buy from a US seller without much waiting time, than from a China or overseas seller. Just like on Qoo10, buyers prefer local sellers.

How is an overseas seller going to compete?

So already, you see holes in the idea that the world is now so convenient. 1) Paypal problems 2) Mailing system problems.  How is this modern & advanced?

The ideal method is to receive money directly into my bank account with no surrender of personal data to some entity that handles my money for me (such as Qoo10 that is technically a seller's employer since Qoo10 holds the cash that is owed to sellers for 2 weeks before paying sellers).

I don't want fees because fees add to product cost that gets passed to the buyer. Buyer wants cheap. All these fees eat into sellers' profit. But sellers still pay the fees because they need the selling platform with a governing entity mentality. Paying fees becomes a small price to pay for the traffic at such a platform.

It becomes a very awful & ugly cycle. Behind a simple buy & sell is all this crap.

I become restricted to selling only in Singapore which is a damn small market with damn stingy buyers. I have products that I can't seem to get out of my hands. Stuck with inventory & can't move any damn thing.

What will Craigslist Hunter say to that?

I must have the money straight into my bank account. I don't want any surrendering of personal documents to an entity to receive money. I don't want to deal in Bitcoins. 

Tuesday, 12 July 2016

China Alibaba Investment in Singpost & Lazada

Well now you know why these 2 companies are doing badly. China.

Singpost & Lazada (I almost typed Laxative). I just finished reading a complaint by a buyer about Lazada that uses TaQBin.  Below quote is from Todayonline June 2, 2016.

Alibaba is also a strategic investor in Singapore postal and logistics services firm SingPost and recently also bought over Lazada, a growing e-commerce platform in South-east Asia.
 “We believe Alibaba is a very, very solid business,” said Mr Arora, pointing at SoftBank’s 28 per cent shareholding in Alibaba after the stake sale.

Very, very solid business. Frankly, I don't think anything is solid, let alone "very, very"  solid.

Tuesday, 5 July 2016

Confirmed: SMRT Trains Made In China

That's why always break down.  As we have known all along.

So who still says Made In China is good? Who still say "depends on brand"? China can't even make a goddamn QC lightbulb, let alone a train or plane.

Bro always say China should just stick to planting rice. Everything also don't know & cannot learn.

I haven't been taking trains since last year. Been avoiding as best as possible in case break down. If bus breaks down, at least passengers just get off & get free ride on the next bus. But train break down will be terrible underground as previous cases have shown.

Sources from China and Singapore told FactWire that problems with the trains have surfaced since they began service in 2011. They said the trains were of poor quality and glass next to passenger seats have shattered repeatedly.
In December 2011, SMRT experienced its worst train service disruption to date, which the operator suspected were caused by the C151A trains, the report said.
Another former SMRT worker said, “(Chinese-made trains) are very cheap. How can you have (something) that is very good and pay a very cheap price? So this is (the) trade-off.”
The CEO earns millions but buy cheap trains from China. Don't know where all these CEOs come from. Hire all the wrong people. They should make me CEO. If I were leader of this country, I'll make sure Singaporeans will enjoy better lives.

A Chinese manufacturer is secretly recalling 35 SMRT trains due to cracks and structural defects found in them, according to a report by FactWire of Hong Kong on Tuesday (5 July).

A source from the Chinese railway industry told the Hong Kong news agency that Singapore train operator SMRT was shipping the defective trains back to manufacturer CSR Sifang Locomotive & Rolling Stock Company for replacement and repair.
One of the China railway industry sources said that the quality issues of the C151A trains began to worsen in 2013 due to serious structural problems.

Monday, 4 July 2016

EMS/Speedpost SG Delivery: Mystery Solved

1 July Friday 2016

When the delivery guy finally rang my doorbell at about 6.45p.m., I was prepared to scold a lousy-looking man who hasn't been delivering my parcel for the past 3 days during which I waited & waited & gave up 2 days of swimming for.

When I looked through the peephole & saw a casual-looking guy in a polo shirt adjusting his chest pouch, I was thinking in look-down way: "It's a private courier like Taqbin & Qxpress.".

When I opened the door, EH? I was pleasantly surprised to see a young, pleasant-looking Singaporean (?) Chinese guy who looked somehow familiar as I went near to take the parcel from his hands.  Well, I can't possibly scold him. He didn't look the sort who was intentionally & maliciously delaying parcels. He wasn't the Evil Delivery Man.

His eyes weren't beady. His complexion wasn't dark. And he had such a pleasant-looking face. Damn.

He reeked of cigarette smoke however, for a while before it dissipated as I interrogated him. 

"What happened to Speedpost?" was my first question once I took the parcel from his hands.

He gave me a genuine-looking curious look. So I elaborated.

After talking to the friendly, forthcoming guy who seemed honestly unaware of what is going on,  I finally found out what the heck is happening.

It is not the delivery guy's fault. In fact, he doesn't know what is going on. He only knows that people have complained to him about the Indian call centre. He didn't even know that I have been waiting for 3 days. As far as he knows, he only picked up my parcel this morning.

I said, "But yesterday, it was with a courier but then returned to service centre.".

He said it wasn't him.  He said if for some reason they cannot finish a load (of example, 50 parcels), they will pass it to friends who can finish it for them. But usually, all parcels will be delivered by the end of the day.

Does he return to Speedpost service centre at the end of the day?
He thought about it & said he only sometimes returns to the service centre at the end of the day. Not every night.  He says they deliver until 9p.m. & if person is not home, they will call the person. They try their best to finish delivering all parcels.
(However, the Indian call centre gives the impression that their couriers return to the service center every end of the day at 6p.m. & workload is heavy, resulting in undelivered parcels that will be re-delivered the next day.).

I said the online status says the parcel was picked up at 9.20a.m. this morning. Was it him? Did he pick it up at that time? I mentioned that previously (some years ago), there was a lady who appeared to be a contractor who delivered punctually at 10.30a.m. & when I checked the online status, it would say parcel was picked up at service centre at around 7a.m..

He said the private contractors cannot pick up parcels earlier than 11a.m.. They have to wait until the regular Speedpost staff are done, then it's their turn. Which means, no, it wasn't him who picked up at 9.20a.m.. (So who entered that online status?).

In the morning. he only goes to "kio" (pick up) leftovers or remnants left behind that Speedpost staff can't do. For instance, if a staff is on MC or has resigned (I was thinking 'resigned'...). The route is then left open for private contractors to take over. However, Speedpost prefers getting their own staff to do it because such staff are cheaper.  Private contractors are paid at a higher rate per box/parcel (very low $. I won't reveal how much.).

At such a super low price, you can imagine how much even lower that Speedpost staff are paid. No wonder they quit.

Based on that, it is also therefore not true that contractors are paid commission for every unsuccessful delivery since it is in their business interest to deliver all the parcels by the end of the day.

He was even obliging enough to ask usually what time I'm home so that he will drop by accordingly. When I shook my hand & said, "Noooo,  I won't be ordering again.", he replied with disappointment, "Then I won't have business.".  (With Speedpost like that, how to give him business? A pity.).

He also confirms that Speedpost has outsourced their call centre. "Everything is outsourced.".

Do you drive a Speedpost van?
No, I have my own vehicle. 

Did your vehicle breakdown?
He looked puzzled, "No.".

Then who entered those ridiculous reasons for unsuccessful deliveries?
"I don't know.".  It wasn't him. He wasn't holding any handheld device. He said after successful deliveries, he will tell his boss who will update with Speedpost. But whether his boss entered those reasons, he doesn't know. I think since it's Speedpost's website & his boss is just a contractor, it is Speedpost staff (India call centre?) doing it.

Bro pieced together the scenario: Speedpost receives the parcel, but own staff unable to handle it. Stingy Speedpost waits for contractor to pick up at some specific slot (perhaps busy contractor). Meanwhile, online status bullshits about parcel going in & out of service centre with all kinds of ridiculously false reasons (vehicular breakdown, new address could not be located, etc...). Actually, the parcel never left for days. Result: customer waits for 9 days.

Based on his scenario, my scenario: I think contractors are only too happy to pick up parcels so there is no need to wait for any slot when they are free.  Therefore...

Speedpost receives parcel, but own staff unable to handle. Stingy Speedpost don't want to give to more expensive private contractor. Prefers to wait for either own staff or cheap contractor.  After days of not getting either one, decides to open to more expensive contractor. Result:  customer waits for 9 days.

That would be how Singpost became rich enough (millions) to acquire more shares in the China company 4PX. Pay staff the least & sacrifice the customers.

Bro said, it's all about money. He rubbed his fingers together.

Earlier today, I called Singpost for help but no help.  From the website, I realized Speedpost has no physical address for me to pursue. Singpost Malay woman on the phone said it's just a processing area (she wouldn't give me an address or phone number of a manager.).

"Let them do their job." were her words.

I said, "That is IF they are doing their job. If workload a lot, that is understandable. But this is intentionally not delivering parcels. Then it is a different matter.".

She repeated, "Let them do their job." & said she has entered a "small note" to Speedpost & see if they can deliver today.

Useless talking to such a stupid, useless woman.

Based on a Hardwarezone advice from an upset customer last year, I then went down to my post office to talk to the manager who said she called & a liason will call me 'today'. I didn't ask who she called but guessed it was the India call centre. I said, "No use calling them. They are very good with false assurances.".

She said, "No, no. This one said will liase with you today. I said you came down here.". She confirmed with me that I'll be home the whole day.

I said, "What happens if still no one calls? And the parcel still didn't arrive today?". (This is Friday & everyone will be off tomorrow.).

She gave me the "that's all I can do for you" look.  "You can come back to me & I'll call again.". 

I said, "Then keep calling & calling??".

She had no answer.

As expected while talking to her, that the asshole liason didn't have the brains to wait for me to get home before calling. I am at the post office, how can that idiot call my home??  Luckily, bro was at home. True enough, when I got home from post office, he said Indian man called with heavy accent, said 'checked' & confirms parcel is with courier now. -.-

Conclusion: Just don't use EMS/Speedpost unless you are willing to wait whole days at home. They will deliver the parcel (I have not read of cases of non-delivery), but you have to wait.  Speedpost has become Tortoise Post.

What used to take just 1 day of delivery, now takes 3 days or more. Once that happens, your parcel is held hostage, you can't do anything until it is delivered by who knows who. If you're lucky, a contractor will pick it up fast & deliver to you, but only after you've waited days + an entire day & almost going out to dinner.

To be honest, I almost wanted to speak to the police after the 2nd day of seeing the crazy excuses of not sending my parcel.

Collapse of Singpost/Speedpost: