JUNE 12 — I learned the hard way there's a reason people are willing to pay hefty fees for couriers such as DHL.

Expensive? Yes. Efficient? Also yes.

Choosing the cheapest registered post option isn't much of a savings when your parcel has to go through the customs clearing process via Pos Malaysia.

On paper, it seems easy.

Get your invoice and proof of payment ready, then email them over along with your tracking number to a specific address and wait for them to get back to you with the fees you owe.

I emailed.

No reply, no acknowledgement of receipt, nothing. I had no proof the email had been sent besides not getting a notification that the email recipient did not exist.

The writer had to resort to the ‘new Malaysian way’ of getting anything done — get pissy on social media. ― AFP pic
The writer had to resort to the ‘new Malaysian way’ of getting anything done — get pissy on social media. ― AFP pic

Then I asked Pos Malaysia's customer service what else needed to be done.


How long would I have to wait? How do I know my email even went through?

No answer.

On the third day after I had emailed, I then resorted to the new Malaysian way of getting anything done — get pissy on social media.

After tweeting (there is no way in this universe to say X-ing without it sounding like a sex act) Pos Malaysia, I immediately got a reply and an assurance they had sent over my docs to the people concerned.

In a few hours, I finally got a reply.

It's rather infuriating if you ask me. Must I resort to always having to prod some hapless social media support agent to get answers to my issues with nearly any service?

Can't support channels actually do that thing they're named after?

Oh, I forgot, most businesses have decided chatbots are great alternatives to actual customer service people.

Anyhow I am still waiting for a reply but in the meantime have discovered Facebook groups dedicated to Pos Malaysia horror stories and offering runner services to help clear your parcels in a day instead of waiting for a disgruntled post office worker to check emails after being yelled at by the social media rep.

In other news, bird flu continues to make the news, this time for killing mice. Not lab mice but hapless rodents who had consumed milk from bird flu-infected cows.

Cats have also died the same way and while only a handful of humans have become infected, there has only been one death so far.

In other apocalyptic news, every week in Malaysia, there have been storms and trees falling over.

What used to be the odd occurrence now seems to be frighteningly regular and a reminder that climate change is indeed real.

It seems a traumatic worldstopping event, Covid-level, is just around the corner but “no there's nothing to worry about, really” seems to be an unspoken mantra.

Meanwhile the UN secretary-general was upset enough with fossil fuel companies to call outright for “clamping down” on them.

In a world still addicted to oil, I doubt that will have much of an effect and going electric isn't a solution when the reality is that even for Malaysia, what powers our electricity is coal.

Not very green now, is that?

The world is going mad and what's an average citizen to do?


I am buying masks. Planting tomatoes and greens. Making buckwheat noodles from scratch.

Weaning myself off fowl and red meat and taking frequent breaks because I cannot afford for my mind to shatter when the world again goes insane.

My recent Covid infection shattered my short-term memory to the point that I cannot remember what I ate in the morning, only that I ate something.

Yet I take comfort in my gardenia bed that I grew from a single pot.

It had almost died multiple times from the burning heat or my getting up too late to water it but now it flourishes taking up an entire garden bed.

The routines I hardwired, to tend to my plants first thing in the morning, keeps me somewhat sane and at least, even if the world doesn't come to an end I have the promise of flowers... and tomatoes.

* This is the personal opinion of the columnist.