Winter and New Year.

Lifestyle

If BBC doesn’t report, I won’t know it’s the election day in Australia. It seems I live in this country but I know nothing about the politics, whatever hung parliament or absolute majority, it’s really not my business.

It was cold last week, days after days, it just rained, finally it’s a sunny day today. I went to the gym in the morning, when I was back on the bike, with my hoddies, I could feel the sunshine in the wind, it reminded me the Chinese New Year. In my memory, winter is always the New Year time, firecrackers, dumplings, family, what else?

However it’s still the winter in Australia, winter break is short, central heating is still on, and I have to work hard on my studies. From the beginning of the semester I could feel the pressure, new subjects, awful lecture, I need to use every minute to study, otherwise I won’t catch up. Last week, there was a piece of good news, I was approved to enrol for the research unit in the last semester, that is 1 year later. So I can write two 30000 word essays for my business law degree, which is quite a shortcut if I am going to do a PHD after graduation. PHD, another 5 years, old goat I will be then. My god, shall I do it? I don’t like multi-choice question.

Also from last week I found accounting was quite interesting, and it was always happy to get the balance sheet balanced. So as an accountant it’s easy to feel satisfied, just let debit equal to credit. There is no need to talk to customer like sales, no need to work for solution like marketing, just make it equal, as simple as it, and I like it.

It was heavy last week, I talked to my father for 2 hours on the weekend through Skype. When I am older, I found I really enjoyed the pleasure to talk to my parents, even when they told me a small story from my childhood. The distance is sometimes so beautiful.

Raining raining Melbourne.

Lifestyle

Melbourne is a dry city, it seldom rains especially in winter time, now it’s raining.

Everyday afternoon I take the shuttle bus to have classes, then go back at night. It will go alone Dandenong road, which is a main road, very wide. If it’s late, few people are on the road, I would think the side road on the left is the opposite lane, and the bus is driving on the right, then it’s not Australia any more. When I am passing the flyover in Chadstone, it reminds me the 3rd ring road in Beijing. Oh, raining Melbourne, full of imagination.

Yesterday was a good Monday for me, Chris booked the ticket to Australia in October, Robbie told me he was travelling in New York and Arvid sent me a greeting message. Usually I don’t have many friends in my life, once I notice there are some, I will feel happy, pretty simple life, isn’t it?

Some of my classmates can earn some money through part time job for daily life already, I am not sure I need to find a job as the classes are already very heavy for me, do I need to follow them? At least I have registered a RSA course already, probably I will get more then a certificate after 2 years, some other skills as well.

Which Country has the Slowest Post Delivery?

Lifestyle

This month is my unlucky month of postcrossing, most of my cards were sent to Russia and China, which means they can only arrive after maybe 30 days. I have to wait till next month to get my new send-to addresses.

As a new postcard crosser, I have only sent cards to less then 50 countries. From my stats, I found different countries have extreme different delivery speed, some countries are very fast, some are not. My record shows my slowest list of travel time:

Brazil 36 days
Belarus 36 days
Russia 35 days
Estonia 33 days
China 28 days
Costa Rica 24 days

These countries are active but very slow, this reminds me a funny story. In China there is a post service called post via Surface, once I sent a card to the States using this service, 2 months later I was told the card didn’t arrive. Then I sent a air mail replacement, after 10 days, it arrived. Another 1 month later, the sent-by-surface mail finally arrived.

Different from normal mails, there is no sender’s name and address on the postcard. If it can’t be sent to the right person, it won’t be returned, in this case, it’s a lost card. There are so many lost cards in China but never since I was in Melbourne, but what will happen this month?

Anyway, hope this month pass soon.

Call Centre.

Lifestyle

Australia is a rich country, most of the low salary industries are outsourced, for instance the call centre.

My housemate once told me there were so many call centres in the city, during the lunch break, many Indians will come out for chatting and smoking, very astonishing. I haven’t seen any real call centres, though I can’t get rid of the call centres.

Chinese call Indians A SAN, hard to find the origin but everyone calls that. My first time to talk to A SAN was because of 3 Mobile. I signed a 24 months cap with 3 on the first day I came to Australia, I called the hotline when I was back home as I need to unlock the phone, strangely I found it was an Indian operator rather than an Australian. I remembered clearly my English was very poor (even worse than now) in those days and that Indian accent made me very nervous, so within nearly 10 minute, the other side couldn’t understand what I asked for, finally I hanged out.

Telecom companies rely on call centres a lot, for the call centre outsourcing companies, telecom companies are their customers. Interestingly, the sales operators in those telecom companies are all Australian, they just outsource the customer service representative, which means before you sign the contract, you can talk to a nice Australian for any enquiries, after you sign the contract, please speak to Indians.

Another call centre I usually use is my bank HSBC, this bank has rules to divide its customers, premier accounts are all served by Australian operators. Just once I forgot the premier call number, just called a number from its website, then an Indian girl picked up my call, as soon as I told her my account number, she said, “I understand you are our premier customer, I will put you through our premier service line, hold on please.” So for the bank, if you have more money here, then you can talk to Australians, if you don’t have enough money here, then talk to Indians.

Those call centre companies can be sometimes in India, last month I called 3 for changing my cap, a nice A SAN man asked me to wait for “just a minute”, after 5 minutes, he said sorry and told me the system was very slow. It wasn’t something urgent so I asked if he watched World Cup, he was quite excited and said yes and we chatted a lot before he finally changed the plan for me.

Working in call centres is a hard job, narrow place with a phone, then hundreds of calls to different people in one day, for everyone it can be very boring. So next time if you heard a lazy sound, don’t blame him, tell him a joke, cheer him up.