The case of the faulty iPhone

Earlier this year, a friend a mine bought a brand new iPhone 5. He was an avid Apple fan. He bought 2 iphones before, an iPod Touch and a MacBook Air. He was a happy and satisfied Apple products user until some time last month when his iphone's screen started turning greenish-purple. Since it's still 5 months under warranty, he sent it to the authorized Apple Service Provider here in KL. To his dismay the wouldn't fix the iphone because according to the the fault was "accidental damage". Meaning somehow the owner was responsible of causing the damage to the phone whether by accidentally dropping it or knocking it or whatever.

Not satisfied with their answer, my friend called up Apple directly at their number and explained his predicament. Well actually I did all the talking cause their customer service rep was an Aussie guy with a thick Australian accent. The conversation didn't go really well because half the time he didn't get what I was talking about. I don't know whether it's the noisy background or I talked much too softly. The gist of our conversation was that he stuck to the official report from the service center saying that it was "accidental damage". He told me to try to accept the fact that I somehow had damaged the phone myself based on the diagnostic from service center. In the end I asked for his email address so I can write to him directly and explain in details which I did and the email goes like this:

Dear Mr Ben,

Following our phone conversation earlier this evening, I'm writing this email to further present my case in detail.

I bought my iPhone 5 earlier this year and I've been a very satisfied user up until a month earlier. A purple hue started appearing on the screen of my phone and it got worse as time goes by. So I sent it for repair at an Apple Authorised Service Provider (Machines KL) since it's still under warranty. Imagine my disappointment when the result of the diagnostic was 'accidental damage'. I took really good care of my phone and as far I can remember, never exposed it to water or liquid save for my little sweaty palm from time to time (being human I suppose we all can't avoid that). I use my phone everyday and I don't recall abusing it or accidentally causing serious physical damage to it (whether you believe it or not).

The service engineer claimed that a small gap inside the screen had caused the liquid corrosion inside the phone which caused the the fault to the screen. What I would like to contest here is if I had deliberately damaged the phone why can't I find any scratch or dent outside the phone? Surely if I had knocked the phone on something hard, there'd be some sort of visible physical proof right? But no, my phone is spotless on the outside. Hardly a scratch on it.

I would love to admit that I had physically damaged the phone if I had actually done it but the thing is I can't since I didn't do it (believe it or not). Here you can see the gap on the external of the phone where I managed to insert a piece of paper into it. Could it be possible that my iphone is actually defective from the start to begin with?

You see, I consider myself a avid and loyal Apple user. I've bought an iPhone 3GS and an iPhone 4S before and they worked flawlessly for years, sweaty palm and all. But my iPhone 5, turns purple 5 months before the warranty expires. Today I'm beginning to think that I'm not very lucky with Apple products. My MacBook Air (s/n: REDACTED) has a bloated battery one week after the warranty expires and as much as I plead to the Apple Service Provider to consider my case they wouldn't have any of it. Furthermore I rarely use my MacBook Air and kept it stored much of the time so I couldn't possibly 'accidentally damaged' the battery as well. That said, I accepted the fact the MacBook is already out of warranty so I forked out my own money to have it repaired.

My iPhone however is still under warranty so you would understand my dismay when I can't get it fixed at the service center today. Yes I understand you probably get cases like this all the time and you can't possibly entertain all of them in good faith but I'm hoping that you would take my case into consideration as an exception. My friends and family call me the unofficial Apple evangelist since I have nothing but good things to say and promote about Apple to all of them. If I don't get a positive outcome the case of my faulty phone I'm afraid I would lose all hope on Apple and it's product in the future, once bitten twice shy? Yes, losing one customer wouldn't probably matter too much to you but it really matters to me. I've always find Apple products to be genuinely beautiful, reliable and a great investment for me. After this I'm not sure any-more.

Apologies if you find this email too lengthy or boring. Again I'd be grateful if you could take my case into your kind consideration. Look forward to hear from you soon. Thank you.

Kind Regards

Aaron Aziz

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

p.s my mobile number is +601[REDACTED], call me anytime

To be honest I didn't have high hopes even after sending that lengthty email. He did said he can't possibly entertain or give exception to every "accidental damage" case that they encountered. Still it's better to try than paying RM1,000 plus for a replacement phone which should be covered under the warranty in the first place. The day after sending the email, I got a phone call from a Singaporean number. It was from an Apple representative and guess what? They agreed to make an exception to this case and replace my friend's phone absolutely free. So now my friend is a proud owner of a brand new iphone 5 and a really happy and satisfied Apple customer again. All hope and faith on Apple Inc restored. I suppose my long and touching letter did had some effect on somebody at Apple so I'm glad I could help out a friend here.

The moral of the story is, even if all hope seems lost there's no harm trying and trying your very best to overcome a problem or obstacle. Explore and exhaust all avenues before giving up. Second, Apple products are not perfect and some of them do get faulty from time to time just like any other electronics device in the market. Third, I don't know about other manufacturers but at least Apple still have somebody decent and understanding at their Customer Service department. As evident here, they still value their customer's satisfaction over profit. Next time your Apple gadget broke under warranty, you could try this method and email Ben like I did.

Pangkor Island trip

This weekend I went for a company trip/team building session at Pangkor Island Beach Resort. This trip involves the non-teaching staff of the school from both primary and secondary campus. We left early on Friday morning. I had to wake up just before 5 to catch the 6:00 am bus. We got to the Lumut jetty in Perak around 10:00 am and had breakfast before taking a ferry to Pangkor island. Now I've been to Manjung and Lumut in Perak many times visiting my in laws but we've never been to Pangkor island. So when my company offers to take us there, all expense paid I didn't miss this chance.

We took a special chartered ferry which ferries passenger straight to the Pangkor Island Beach Resort private jetty in a 30 minutes ride. Pangkor Island Beach Resort is situated on the north part of the island facing the straits of Malacca.

It's a 4 stars hotel which offers various types of room, amenities for meetings and banquets and about a dozen recreational activities. They've got the entire Teluk Belanga bay for their guests so the beach is very clean and well taken care of.

The were about 100 of us participants and all of us get to stay in a twin-sharing room. My room costs about RM350++ per night and has a beautiful view of the beach.

After lunch (which was delicious) we get straight to our first activity which was treasure hunt cum team building activity. We were divided into several groups and sent out to look for clues around the resort. It was a tiring yet fun activity and my team (purple) won first place thanks to our great team effort.

In the evening we had a lovely dinner by the beach eating an array of marvellous seafood barbecue. Next was the much awaited lucky draw session with an interval of some performances from the staff.

For the lucky draw, everybody got at least a 50 ringgit Jusco voucher will the really lucky ones go home with an LCD TV, Samsung Note 3 and an iPad among others. As you might have guessed, I just won the lousy Jusco voucher. Never been really lucky with lucky draws so I'd half expected not to win anything special that night.

On the second day, some of us went out to Pangkor town some 7 kilometers away for a bit of shopping and perhaps sight-seeing. Pangkor town is a small and idyllic town on the east side of the island. Beside the jetty, there's several souvenir shop, kopitiams and local shops selling products from the sea. I didn't miss this chance to buy the local's famous blue-eyed anchovies. The anchovies cost just RM13 a packet but the round trip to town with the island taxi costs me 40 fricking ringgit. I call that daylight robbery.

Before we leave, I get the chance to do some canoeing. It's my first time trying out canoeing and it was surprisingly easy. My friend and I paddled about a mile into the open sea before turning back. We didn't even get the boat overturned or anything.

Apart from canoeing, there's other water sports to do like catamaran sailing, snorkelling and fishing. There's also play golf on the small golf course, play tennis, do archery and cycle around the place all for a price of course. The canoeing and cycling that we did was included in the package, naturally.

We checked out at 12:00 pm and took the same ferry to Lumut. We had lunch and did some last minute shopping in Lumut town. At around 2:00 pm our bus departed to KL. I must say I had a good time in Pangkor, especially staying and eating at the 4 stars resort for free part.

I hated the bus ride though, there was music blaring above my head for 4 straight hours. If I can afford it I'd rather drive myself there then experience that bus trip again. Other than that, I look forward for such trips by my company again in the future. Thank you very much for the organizer.

National Museum

When was the last time you visited the National Museum? 5, 10 years ago? Never? I remember my last and only trip to the National Museum was about 20 years ago when I was a kid. It's amazing how I didn't think about returning there all these while.

So I decided to bring my family to the museum earlier this month. The admission ticket was surprisingly very cheap at RM2.00 for Malaysians and RM5.00 for foreigners. Kids below 12 and uniformed school children gets in free.

We started early in the morning where's there ample parking and not so many visitors. First stop was the indigenous (orang asli) people craft museum situated just next to the parking lot.

There was some really fascinating orang asli craft and merchandise to see in that little museum. We learnt tiny bits about life and culture of the original settlers of Malaysia.

Next stop was the National Museum itself. I remember when I was kid, this museum looks humongous. 20 years later it looks a lot smaller to me. Maybe then I was small and the building was bigger back then.

The museum was divided into several different eras of Malaysia's history. For the prehistoric era to the Malacca sultanate times to colonial times and finally post-independence Malaya.

Some really ancient dead guy and his possession. You know what they say - you can't carry all your precious belongings to the afterlife. They will always become someone else's.

A cave woman and her children. For a cave woman she looks quite hot.

Skulls of our ancestors.

Pretty but no match against the colonial firepower.

You ain't winning any war with cannons that small.

Earlier this year I learnt that Hang Tuah might just be a fictional lore just like Robin Hood and Merlin.

The main lobby. Current exhibition is the formation of Malaysia.

The moment we sold our sovereignty to a foreign power. The Pangkor treaties.

Colonial era.

Japanese occupation.

Early education for locals.

Literature figures.

Emergency era.

Before they become rags for their political master, the Malay Mail was actually a respected daily.

Proclamation of independence.

The royal headgear of the Malay sultanate.

As of now they can't find any Asian looking mannequin so these will do for now.

Exploration room supposedly for children but we were completely ignored by the staff there.

During our visit, much of the front side of the museum is closed off for the construction of the MRT line so we couldn't take pictures of the iconic place from that side.

I wish there was more to see at the nation's premier museum. But for 2 ringgit I can't expect Louvre type exhibition can I? Still I hope there would continue to expand and improve this important national heritage. For the time being let us all visit the national museum.