First Day At My New Job


They didn’t really have much of a choice. There simply hadn’t been enough sales to meet the overheads; not for well over a year. It was a small wonder that they retained us for as long as they did. Personally, I would have made the same decision; only difference is, I would have done it much sooner. Under the circumstances, I guess bearing a grudge would not be very appropriate. This was why I didn’t torch the place down on my last day at work.

That was ten harrowing months ago. During that time, I’ve had my car re-possessed (twice); my credit cards have been cancelled and I’m waiting to for my date to appear in court; my insurance policies have lapsed, leaving my insurance agent none too pleased; and I’ve had to sell-off my entire collection of vintage Montblanc pens so that I can continue to have two half-decent meals a day. Oh, and about two weeks ago, my fiancรฉ ran off with a plastic surgeon from Singapore. Apart from that, everything is just fine, thank you for asking.

So, during the past ten month, I’ve been circulating my resume to almost every company in the English-speaking world. I guess in a recession there simply isn’t a market for a lawyer who can also double-up as a Linux systems administrator, and who is also desperate enough to do anything (no matter how menial) as long as he is gainfully employed. And so, I am very thankful to the owners of this business for having offered me this job.

OK first off, I am drawing close to a quarter of what I was earning at my previous company. This isn’t too bad considering 25% of whatever I had been earning before is always going to be better than 125% of zero. But here, I no longer have a company car at my disposal. No big deal; I already have using public transport down to an art. I know public transport isn’t very efficient, but it sure beats having to walk all the way from Gombak to Ampang – and back again everyday. I will, however, miss my old corner office that came with an excellent view of the Shah Alam skyline and an ever-willing secretary to do my every bidding. But hey, this is a recession – I mustn’t be too picky. Just having a job – any job at all – ought to be good enough. However, since my new bosses insists on me wearing a suit to work, I have had to dig out my old two-piece Hugo Boss so as to comply with the new corporate culture. Still – no big deal.

On the plus side (let’s be positive for a minute), instead of a dishy secretary, I now have two very able-looking lads assisting me in my responsibilities. I guess they will do. Come to think of it, without them, I think I’d probably die. So, I shan’t complain. Every little bit helps.

But unlike my previous place of employment, this place has a corporate kitchen and bar tasked with keeping the food and drinks coming. As long as I keep it within reason, my boss will not question whatever I consume; I do have to sign for it, though. Just how cool is this? Now I can look forward to pretty decent meals while working – without having leave the office, or even having to pay for it. Maybe this is a new corporate strategy for keeping our noses to the grindstone. Whatever it may be, I am not complaining.

My first day on the job hasn’t been too bad thus far. At the briefing I had conducted earlier, my two assistants warned me about the volatility of the Korean market. Simply put, that particular segment can get pretty nasty – and things have been known to get ugly on more than a few occasions. The boys made it very clear that several Korean clients were way beyond their capabilities to handle, and that they had often end up on the wrong side of a beating. They also made it abundantly clear that if there is going to be any trouble with Korea, they will have to rely on my skill and experience. This means I will have to deal with it, thank you. I told them I did not intend on letting them down – and tried very hard not to show any apprehension while doing it.

The early part of the day was spent in my little corner observing how my charges went about their work. All seemed pretty routine and business-like: So far, so good. But for good measure, I occasionally exercised the tried and tested technique of ‘management-by-walking-about’ – walking through the office floor and visiting the various departments to make my presence felt, thereby making sure everything was ship-shape and, at the same time, averting any potential trouble. Often, in my new line of work, this is all that’s needed to keep things humming along. To ensure operational success in this business, you need to let everyone know that there’s ruthless maniac running around with a very big (metaphorical) stick. It also helps, too, if everyone knows that he isn’t too inhibited in wielding it.

As I sit down at my desk to enjoy my Chinese fried rice,fried chicken wings and beverage of choice, I am glad that quite apart from my legal and IT qualifications, I had been crazy enough to train for the qualification that has allowed me to secure this current job. It may not be much of a job – but at least I do have one. Just goes to show that one simply cannot learn too many skills.

But even before I can get in my first sip, there is a tremendous sound of crashing and people screaming coming from a room not too far away. One of my boys rushes in, pleading desperately, “Sir, it’s the Koreans again! And I think they’ve hurt Zaki real bad…”

I nod my acknowledgement, discreetly palm the ‘yawara’ stick in my pocket, and rush to the scene. It is time to put my qualification as a Shotokan karate instructor, and my experience as a semi-professional kick-boxer to work – in my new profession as a chief bouncer at a karaoke lounge.

Hopefully, I won’t have to hurt anybody – least of all, me.


The above is a work of fiction. I still have my current job (for now)ย ย  ๐Ÿ™‚


29 thoughts on “First Day At My New Job

  1. Errm Bangkai,
    I can do with some more practice of my Iriminage to make my sensei proud, so if the Koreans come again, can you call me? ๐Ÿ˜›


    Sure! However, I doubt the wisdom of using Iriminage in a confined space like a private room of a karaoke lounge, though. But if I can find the space, can you teach the the technique? Caveat: My break fall technique sucks and my osteoporosis is even worse ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Mat B

    This piece is actually optimistic. It certainly shows that you’re “looking at the bright side of Life” (an expression that is borrowed from Monty Python’s Life of Brian). I like it. Corporate setting instead of grungy, smoke-filled basement with blue-sy electric guitar twangs. Bro, you certainly have a wide repertoire. Keep ’em comin.

    de minimis

    Good to see you again, my friend.

    Here’s my take on this: We all have choices. We can look on the bright side of life, or we can dwell in the shadows of gloom, slowly driving ourselves to the brink if insanity by contemplating a doom that may or may not come.

    I’ve made up my mind. I’m saving the ‘driving ourselves to the brink of insanity’ bit only if the doom part ACTUALLY come – but by that time, it wouldn’t matter any more, would it?

    In the meantime, whenever I go out, I’ll wear a carnation in lapel, whistle a merry tune, think happy thoughts and smile at everyone. Sitting in my corner, writing bitter blog entries condemning all and sundry is not going to do anyone a bit of good.

    Will you come with me. sir?

  3. Mat B
    OK, first thing first.

    My initial thought: Oh no! Kesiannya Mat Bangkai! Never knew he had been suffering in silence for the last 10 months. I wished I had known much earlier; perhaps I could be of help, somehow.

    My subsequent thought: Cettt! Story-mory rupanya! How could I be so gullible..

    To paraphrase dm – plse keep ’em comin ๐Ÿ™‚

    puteri kamaliah

    But ma’am, bak kata perpatah Melayu: “Luka di baju nampak di mata, luka di hati, siapa yang tahu… ”

    Ma’am, you are not gullible – just kind-hearted and brimming with empathy.

  4. I read this before you put the disclaimer at the end, and didn’t know how to react. ๐Ÿ™‚

    I had wanted to ask you the name of the place so I could sneak a peek. In my pregnant state, they might think I’m a fellow bouncer and let me in without batting an eye. ๐Ÿ˜‰


    All of this actually happened, ma’am. However, the time-line is a bit off: The events took place some 17 years go. The place? A swanky karaoke lounge called Club Twin located on the top floor of Plaza Yowchuan.

    They’ve torn down Plaza Yowchuan recently. There goes a monument to quite a few memories!

  5. They have torn down Plaza YowChuan??Each and every single bit of that building including the basements?If the Pyramids is Malaysian ,in its place will be a new condohotoffmall complex by now.

    Nice day


    I know what you mean, sir. The ‘turn-everything-into-condos’ school of urban planning is quite entrenched in the Malaysian housing developers’ psyche.

    Then again, we (the market) are also to blame – we keep creating a demand for these monstrosities. But I will miss Plaza Yowchuan.

  6. It did occur to me you were going down memory lane.. but my initial reaction was like everyone else i guess – la kesiannye.

    So many casualties of the sluggish economy already ๐Ÿ˜ฆ


    Yes, ma’am. This was a small diversion into memory lane.

    The funny thing about being a casualty is that its all in the mind. I have a friend who swears that he is a casualty of the sluggish economy because he has had to sell-off his BMW. This left him only with a Mercedes and a Murano. Tough break, huh?

    On the other hand, I know another guy who lost his house, his job and most of his investments but yet doesn’t even remotely think that he is a casualty of the recession (the one in 1997). This is the way he sees it: I have had it super good for the past 15 years, but now that God is giving me a bad year or two, should I bitch about it?

    This guy may have lost everything. But he hasn’t lost even an ounce of faith and dignity.

  7. Hi Matt,

    I was taken back initially when u mentioned โ€œKaraokeโ€ Lounge. Trust me, u wouldnโ€™t want to work there. The โ€˜singing coach & her able assistantsโ€™ charges MR80/hr with minimum charges of 8 hours & not to mention the drinks charges & other value added โ€˜extrasโ€™.

    Heck Iโ€™m still paying off me credit card bill from 2007 when 10 of us โ€˜stumbledโ€™ into one in downtown KL. It was quite an experience tho ๏Š


    PS – Oh their favourite hit is; “Hey Big Spender”.


    I know exactly what you mean. But during the time when I worked there (way back in the early ’90s), the ‘singing coach and her able assistants’ used to charge RM40/hr – not including drinks, tips, and ‘extras’. I guess that does work out to be about RM80/hr in today’s terms.

  8. Mat B

    I will indeed join your merry stroll. Which tune shall we whistle to, bro? And, “lapel” suggests a jacket. Are we going formal on this one? ๐Ÿ˜€


    It’s come as you please; a tux is just as welcome as a tie-and dye T-shirt. The point is, we are out to beat the blues, my friend. And of couse, kick the sh*t out of defeatist stinkin’ thinkin’

    Glad you’re coming along, bro!

  9. Mat Boe

    The end is always better than the beginning, God promises that. As long as you don’t declare it `the end’, you keep chugging along and you do have to acknowledge that it always gets better. …and your pieces are getting better and better, sir.

    Tok Milla

    I’ve always suspected that what you said is true, ma’am. If I thought hard enough about it, things always get better – eventually. Sometimes things are so bad we dare not even hope. Then suddenly – BAM! – out of nowhere, God turns things around for us. When you have been kicked in the teeth as may times as I have, you tend to see this happening quite a lot. Phew!

    And ma’am, you are too generous with you compliments. But I ain’t complaining ๐Ÿ™‚

  10. I nearly bought your story! Then I remembered you selalu cerita pasal your wife and takkan fiancee lari..karang kena balun dengan bini.
    Then I remembered about your prosperity girth..manaboleh you nak kickboxing and karate?


    Ni cerita dulu-dulu, datin: masa muda-muda – about 17 years ago punya cerita. Masa tu belum kondem lagi ๐Ÿ™‚

    Tapi sekarang dah hancai!

  11. ooooh cerita rupanya yang tak ada kena mengena dengan yang hidup atau yang sudah tiada? kak teh sejak dua menjak ni dalam keadaan blur and can buy almost anything. I think the snow got to my head.

    kak teh

    I suppose extreme climatic conditions can take a toll on the best of us. Hope you found the posting entertaining, though

  12. phew!

    i’m glad i stumbled into your blog amidst all those depressing socio-political blogs.

    as a 60year-old with a heart condition, i must thank you for the memories (not yours, but mine that you have evoked)



    Between you and me, sir, I find so-po blogs depressing, too. So let’s not go there. Some are good, though. But most are simply too pre-occupied with knocking something or somebody – without offering any solution except repeating “Let’s change the government!” (or something equally lame) over and over again.

    Let’s keep our spirits up, work hard and pray for the best. We can safely leave the moaning, groaning, complaining and criticizing to others. Life’s too short to be miserable, right?

    And thanks for visiting, sir

  13. Sir,

    I have been sneaking in and out your blog all these while, but not once leaving a trail behind until today. For some reason, this entry really hits me.

    Your writing style has always been captivating me, I just luuuurve them. I will be the first to queue to buy your book if ever you decide to write oneโ€ฆ ๐Ÿ˜€


    Thank you, ma’am. You are too kind.

    And you are a very eloquent writer, too: I went to have a peek at your blog

  14. La…nasib baik cerita fiksyen aje…Bagi hajar baca pun bagus, boleh dia isi Buku Nilam dia..he..he..he..


    No entirely fiction, though

    Er… what is a Buku Nilam?

  15. Goodness, I thought you had lost your job. I did not know till I read the end. Your sharing clamped me and I was feeling so bad for you having to go through a whole bunch of things (I was a little confused with the fiancee part, though. I always thought you had a wife. That should have clued me in, huh?
    That said, as I kept reading, I was glad you found something to keep you going.

    Good writing, MB. As always, I enjoy whatever you put out (writing, of course). ๐Ÿ˜›


    I was wondering where you had gone. Glad to see you again, ma’am.

    Yes, the fiance part was a dead giveaway, wasn’t it? Glad you enjoyed this.

  16. Salam Mat,
    Couldn’t help but tersenyum sorang2 bila habis baca your fiction… keep it coming bro.! It helps, especially with the current fiasco in Perak!

    Dhahran Sea

    Always glad to be of service, sir!

  17. I was thinking.

    “hooboy, the Koreans are getting their asses kicked sooo bad.”



    Err… I think they gave as good as they got – and I’ve got the scars to prove it ๐Ÿ™‚

  18. You are supposed to know Dhahran Sea.

    Glad your Tiger Malaya days in London have some use later in life.

    I waiting for your mountain bike coach story.

    A Voice

    Of course I know Dhahran Sea (I think). He was from our pioneer batch – Sabahan, if I’m mot mistaken.

    Actually, I was billed as the “Mean Malay” in the semi-pro circuit – a rather grandiose name for someone with only two pathetic wins out of twenty one bouts, though.

    Now, why didn’t I think of that? I’ll be serving up stories of my (mis)adventures as the national montain bike coach soon.

    Stay tuned…

  19. Change a bit of details here and there, you’ll get a non fiction version of my life. ๐Ÿ˜›


    Didn’t know you were a bouncer, too! Show me your moves someday?

  20. Awesome piece. Though I knew earlier on that it’s not real, (got to peek at the last sentence written in blue), I still enjoyed every bit of it. Noticed from the comments that this was based on real experience. Why Koreans?


    Most of it is true – but it happened long, long ago. Why Koreans? They can get rater unruly at times – at least, they used to during my watch.

  21. Sir Mat Bangkai,

    I was reading this wonder-taining-ful blog for quite a while now. Still am.

    Even went selowww-ly thru all archives. Best laa!

    Ntah kenaper, baru niila, ada berani comment skit.


    Jo Toyer

    Thanks for visiting, Jo. And I’m glad you liked my postings.

    Lain Kali, jangan lah takut-takut nak komen – belasah je, OK? ๐Ÿ™‚

  22. Hi Bangkai,

    I’m Andrea. Arrived here via Kak Teh’s blog.

    Wow! you really got me there.. until I read the last line.. sheesh!

    The devil they say, is in the details. And something tells me that this is not 100% fiction. *laughs* Enjoyed the post v much. Mind if I link you to my blog?


    No, ma’am; it is not 100% fiction. This was a rough sketch of what I went through in the early ’90s. You’re a perceptive one, aren’t you? Glad you enjoyed my post.

    I’d be honoured with a link.

  23. Hahah Mat B, I did say change some of the details. No, make it a lot of details. hehe


    What’s a few major changes among friends? ๐Ÿ™‚

  24. wow, talk about bouncing back after being laid-off!

    i tip the ear-flaps of my peruvian windstopper to your protaganist, mat bee. ๐Ÿ˜€

    mek yam

    Good to hear from you again. ma’am.

    The protagonist is one tough cookie, eh? But he’s one sentimental softy underneath all of that. What got to him most (during that recession) was not being able to afford to buy his 4-year old son his favourite sweets as often as he would have liked. To me, this facet of his character was most the intriguing.

  25. hi bangkai.
    i’ve been a silent reader of ur blog for quite some time, actually.
    really enjoyed ur posts.

    i tot this one was real, though. aisey… fiction rupanya!


    Glad you came to visit – and that you have finally decided to surface.

    I’m also glad you liked my postings. Thanks.

  26. Happy to see that you’re still full steam with the brilliant writing. Excellent! I do miss my karaoke days and singing whilst standing on the battered sofa in the private rooms. Ah life was so simple then. ๐Ÿ˜‰


    Again, ma’am, you give me more credit than is due.

    And yes, life was still so simple then…

  27. Salam , what a great piece of work. It felt so real. Though…u working as a bouncer tu macam ada tak kena je…? That’s where I sudah SASPEK…i sudah terKENA. Padan muka saya. ๐Ÿ™‚


    Actually, I did work as a bouncer at a karaoke lounge for a stint back in ’90 (or was it ’91?).

    Sekarang memanglah tak kena… dah tua. Tapi dulu-dulu (masa masih slim) kira OK jugak lah.

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