An explanation and a TUMI luggage epiphany

The main reason I haven’t been blogging is because anytime I feel like I want to write something, I scare myself out of it because I think… Well I have to commit time and effort into writing something really long and thoughtful and well-structured (like before). I used to craft each one of my posts the way one would an essay, I suppose. I’d think about what it is I wanted to say, how best to say it, and I’d enjoy the process of selecting accompanying clipart (the more cartoonish and exaggerated, the better) to illustrate my points.

In general, I used to take maybe a day or two per post… With the exception of the extra-long ones back when I was tracking the drop in oil price and the ripple effects on government budget[k I just randomly linked two old posts, not sure if I linked the most relevant ones haha]

But I realize I shouldn’t have to see things that way. It’s so easy to let the trepidation of starting (or restarting) something new, or something big, or something big and new scare you off.  And then nothing gets doneEver.

When I started this blog I did it for myself more than for other people. I had a lot of ideas, a lot of thoughts that I wanted to put down on paper because I’m very aware of how difficult it is to find even the most basic references in Brunei (what credit cards are, how to do routine stuff). It’s an even greater challenge to find insightful pieces of writing that stand the test of time. A lot of articles that go viral have a tendency to be deliberately provocative pieces addressing specific controversial incidents (e.g. a Ministry reshuffle, a policy change). Sure, these inflammatory articles erupt into a raging fireballs and get people talking for a while but they extinguish and become irrelevant, outdated, and forgotten just as quickly.

When I write, I hope to spark ideas and insight, to fan the flames of thoughtfulness and learning. The stuff written here isn’t meant to be sensational or particularly ground-breaking. I wanted (and want) to be able to get myself and my readers thinking differently about the more boring, every day stuff like personal finance, what it means to be financially independent (especially against a backdrop of a welfare society that’s unintentionally grown complacent and severely reliant on government handouts). Y’know, the ~general economy~ and just ~general life~ in Brunei. My tagline still rings true – I write about adult stuff, and that’s essentially what I want to do.

At the height of my blog, I had a lot of free time. I held a full-time job (and still do) but work was manageable and I did a lot of side reading about the stuff I eventually began writing about. I’m not going to lie – some days I had enough free time that I was drafting posts at my work desk, haha. It’s been two years since then and a lot of things have changed. One thing that has surprised me despite the ensuing inactivity is that this blog has sustained a pretty strong readership.

And every time I log in and see that I still get views – some people still stumble upon my blog on Google or who knows where and go on to read through pages or pages of old posts – I feel a pang of guilt and regret that I haven’t been able to keep this going.

People are looking for good things to read, heck even I am. I suppose I’m “lucky” (?) in a sense because I also like to write, I genuinely do. Life got busy and I got scared because I thought aw nuts I can’t commit to a two day post, maybe some other time. But now I realise… Y’know if I wanna write just write. I don’t have to commit to writing a book (which I’ realize I’ve almost done), just sit down for a couple of minutes gad dammit and say whatever it is you want to say! Taking actual baby steps is more important than telling people you plan to run a marathon.

So that’s my going-in attitude right now!

And how this started was today I was doing some online window shopping and I happened to also notice some advertised vacancies and I was hit with an epiphany… And I thought to myself damn I need to blog about that and I decided to just tell you what it is instead of scaring myself off again.

So I need a cabin bag bah.

11113117-young-woman-runs-with-a-suitcase.jpg
I’m not even gonna bother looking for non-watermarked hahaha

The 4-wheel spinner, lightweight type cabin luggage.

I travel a lot – that’s what’s keeping me busy half the time, it’s work – and I don’t have a good bag for a 2-3 day trip. I lug around a duffle but it gets pretty heavy and my old cabin trolley bag the wheels ilang sudah the rubber cos it was old so it’s kinda rusak.

And I was looking online and saw a TUMI one for sale at about BND $450 (discounted from $800). I thought to myself hey that’s pretty “cheap”, I’d casually looked at the TUMI ones at KLIA yesterday (I just got back on work trip where I was lugging around my aforementioned duffle bag) and they were crazy expensive – upwards of $1200!

And well the cabin bag is pretty, sturdy, light, has four wheels, is a good investment etc. $450 is a lot of money, don’t get me wrong…. But market price is double that, and I’m a sucker for steals. Plus I travel a lot and would be looking for a good brand which will last years. TUMI is designer though and I’ve never owned anything TUMI but…. Maybe just this once? (I thought to myself).

So I added the bag to my cart to mull it over.

About half an hour later (cue dramatic video montage about national unemployment rates not improving, government emphasis on entrepreneurialism and SMEs, underpaid i-Ready apprentices: the new manpower reality) I stumbled upon a list of vacancies, which included:

  • Waitress (full-time)   $300/month
  • Tailor (full-time)  $400/month
  • Tuition teacher (part or full-time)  $160/month
  • Account Officer (full-time, 1st degree required)  $800/month
  • Music teacher (full-time)  $1000/month
  • Tukang gunting (full-time)   $300/month

 

 

I removed the item from my cart, closed the window, and decided I’d be okay to lug around my duffle bag for now.

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in the mean time there’s instagram

I know this is a real cop-out but I sort of micro-blog (in Instagram stories and pictures lol) on @yazmynz so do check that out if you’re interested.

I started up that account because I wanted to post all my home-related and joint-union i.e. being-married-related things on a separate account, which I decided to leave public. It’s been about three months since we moved into our first home together, and our space is coming together so nicely. Work has been really busy still (with me having to disappear on business trips over the weekdays only to come back to a mountain of dirty laundry). We don’t have domestic help so we do all the household chores ourselves. I’m excited about having our own kitchen (we very recently finally acquired an oven – which honestly was such a critical missing piece) and now I’m iski about cooking and re-learning how to cook again.

So in that sense I’ve yet to find time to sit down and write, but our home is shaping up to be such a cosy, private retreat that I’m looking forward to the day I can actually get down to it. The initial stages of marriage and moving into our first home was stressful and I was constantly trying to stay on top of work, chores, and all of that… And as the house was barely furnished, we had to put together most of it ourselves. Nevertheless, the dust is beginning to settle and the house is growing into a practical, functional, and pretty efficient space (that still looks good!). I intend to post before and after pictures, and even details about where I got certain things and general “if you’re gonna invest in some stuff for your home, what would I recommend” things. I’m so pleased because a lot of things we got for our home are “expensive” (to some people) but honestly are good investments (in a value for money perspective) in my eyes. I find too many people cheap out on things like beds and sofas… But y’know you see and use those things everyday! And it’s not just personal use, it’s used by your family, your guests, etc. Unless you switch up your furnishings every year, these expenses are generally a one-time purchase. Anyway I’m getting ahead of myself. But yes, we splurged on some items but for other items… Well let me just say Daiso is brilliant hehe.

If you’re interested – don’t say I didn’t tell you where to find me!

When I created this blog it was to write about adult stuff (and that’s still the tagline). While finances (and wedding planning – no, I didn’t forget!) is a big part of that, furnishing and building a home is another and… Well that’s what I’m busy with right now :B

Banks: Fee waivers + promos at the Brunei Consumer Fair (24 – 28 Jan)

Dear loyal readers, just a quick one (literally) to tell you to check out the Consumer Fair that’s going on right now if you’re interested in any banking services or loan facilities.

This is the best time to:

  1. Sign up for a credit card
  2. Apply for a loan
  3. Switch your salary from one bank to another

…if you’ve andang been meaning to do it. There are a lot of offers and, most importantly, fee waivers that I encourage you to take advantage of. For example, if you sign up for a Platinum Visa credit card with BIBD, they normally charge a BND 250 (!!!) annual fee (unless you spend a minimum of 18k or something ridiculous on the card over the course of the year).

I signed up for a credit card during a promo period about a year ago (possibly the Consumer Fair also) and had the annual fee waived for three years. That’s a $750 saving! And mind you, if it wasn’t for the fee waiver I wouldn’t have signed up for the Platinum card to begin with. It doesn’t make sense to me to pay high annual fees because dude banks should be paying me to use their credit cards not the other way round! But this way I get the extra benefits of a ~Platinum~ card for free (i.e. more rewards points per transaction which can be converted to cashback or Royal Skies points, better discounts at participating retailers and restaurants).

I know a number of people who signed up during non-promo period and that’s bye bye $250 each year just cos they didn’t time their sign up well.

And if you’re curious, yes I do intend to cancel the credit card after three years if they don’t offer me another fee waiver nanti.

I found this on the BIBD instagram page:

BIBDCFpromo

Baiduri and StanChart need to step up their social media game because I couldn’t find anything for them, but I’d encourage you to either go to the Consumer Fair or call them up to find out if they have any special offers, fee waivers, or promotions.

To answer the question of one of my readers who commented in my last post (MissJ), I actually haven’t decided which bank to commit my salary to yet now that HSBC has closed shop! For now, it’s done the natural transfer over to Baiduri – I’ve yet to pick up my new cards so I still use my HSBC ones – and I haven’t yet decided on whether I want to move to SCB yet.

MissJ raised a good point about Standard Chartered being an international bank unlike BIBD and Baiduri, and that happens to be one of the driving considerations for moving to Standard Chartered. But as I once discussed when I compared savings accounts across banks, Baiduri does have superior savings interest rates with their Multi-Tier and Multi-Rate offerings.

So the jury is split still with me and I’ve honestly been so preoccupied with everything else in life that I’m unable to make a decision (and am too malas to right now), so I’m going to let my salary remain in Baiduri for now. I may switch to Standard Chartered in the future and I’ll be sure to let you know if/when that happens. You can be certain that’ll happen during another edition of the Consumer Fair or any other promotional/festival period 🙂

 

But ya I’m aware we have yet to resume normal programming on Myn’s Desk; cannot even begin to tell you how hectic the start of 2018 has been. Work life, family life, newly-married life, social life… All of it; it’s a maelstrom of semi-organized chaos here.Read More »