Friday, August 26, 2011

Pou Chuk

This means to boil porridge in Cantonese and the term is used to describe chatting over the phone for a long period without a care to the charges incurred. This term was coined over 10 years ago when the cost of making calls became affordable and making long distance calls were more popular than writing letters which was a cumbersome task to many people. The term may be taken to describe what the housewives would do while waiting for her porridge to cook which takes some time, that is make long distance phone calls.

Several months ago when I subscribed to the Streamyx Blockbuster Deal 110 (which is a combination broadband voice package with 1Mbps max download speed) the phone company promoted it by offering free unlimited fixed line-to-fixed line calls nationwide. It became an instant hit for families and friends to connect as well as slowdown the rising trend of going mobile and wireless. I too had contemplated cancelling my fixed phone line when I then had to pay for national calls with a limited 60 hours monthly Internet access paying RM44 for Internet connection and RM26 for fixed line rental which was ridiculous. That translated to over RM70 monthly for limited Internet and a careful usage of fixed line calls. The Blockbuster Deal 110 charges RM110 for unlimited Internet access and unlimited fixed line calls. It suits me and my wife who can now pou chuk with her grand daughter Victoria and father any time and for any length of time.

I was getting a little impatient with the download speed so I thought spending another RM30 monthly to upgrade my broadband to 4Mbps, a 4-fold increase from 1Mbps, will be a terrific deal. I signed up some 2 weeks ago. Although the voice package was unchanged, my wife still boiling porridge over the phone, I felt taken for a ride. I was like buying a Porche and promised a 200kph speed on the previous 110kph limit on the Internet highway. However I cold not feel the speed. Video still stream as slowly as before and buffering take some time. Web pages load up at the same old speed, maybe a little faster but not noticeably so. Speed tests using various tools confirm the faster download speeds, varying from 2-4 Mbps, but somehow this did not translate into actual experience. Was there some undiscovered bottlenecks that can be opened up? For me as I wait I may do some pou chuk myself literally speaking.

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