Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Dec 2010... where I am at this moment.

I can't believe it as we reach the end of 2010. The year passed by so fast. I hardly even realized time had moved by so swiftly.

I have a very engaging job with TNT Express. It's all about targets, dates, meetings and reports. Really keeps you busy that you hardly remmember the time spent in the office. Before you know it, it's 5 pm and it's almost time to head back. :)

Whatever it is, it is indeed a blessing I got this job and that work is alright. Which job does not have it's fair share of trials and tribulations???

December to me is a time to crack my head thinking of what presents to get. I have finally gotten presents for my relatives and close friends. But for my immediate family that matter the most, it will be a very difficult. You really do not want to disappoint them and you wanna get something that is worth it considering how close you are and how often you see each other in the year. I guess I get too analytical because I live with them and know what interest and dislikes them.

Christmas 2010 will be in Subang Jaya at my brothers new home in Subang SS14. It will be a stones throw away from where my aunty Connie used to stay (partly growing half the time), SS18. I as you may know am not a big fan of leaving my dear Penang what more during the Christmas season. However, with the exception of this family event, it will be a must for me. Honestly, once I have my own family, things will be different. Deffinitely wish to celebrate this important part of the Christian calendar in my own hometown.

This round of Christmas, it will be quite special as my sister will bring down her boyfriend from the land down under. My task is to fetch them from LCCT, Sepang on 24th Dec. Wish them all the best with God's grace.

Most likely as my dad would prefer, we will attend Christmas Eve mass at Assumption Church, Jalan Templer. From the agenda, Christmas Eve dinner at my cousin's house in Taman Tun, Christmas lunch at my brother's house and dinner... TBA. Haha!

In Penang on the other hand this December 2010, I have taken up the tedious task of organizing the carolling for the Eurasian Youth. Things are not going smoothly due to lack of workforce, demand for the carollers and time(pretty last minute like 1 and half months before). I know people who booked their carollers months in advanced and they would be our competitors. Oh well, confirmed were booked for Senior Citizens and Kids Christmas party held on the 11th and 18th Dec respectively.

I do hope to do a small Christmas gathering at my house on 17 Dec 2010. That is the only time I am free and my parents would have left for KL already. :) Time to party! Haha! I really don't feel like cooking due to time crunch and practicality so will just order KFC and Dominos pizza. Just a very simple celebration has long the thought counts. Pls do not treat this as an invitation, thank you! :D

I would say, I spent much less time blogging in 2010 than before. I dunno why? Busy I guess. But I do hope to blog more in 2011 as I find it fun and an avenue to voice my thoughts. Really brings out my creative side that has been kept idle. :)

I am disappointed that time management this year was not my focus. I shall make that my resolution for 2011 then. There must be a balance between work and play.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year 2011!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Jobless... I have been there.

Photo courtesy of Google Images
I have always wanted to pen this post but found it hard to find the right words. Pls bear with me as begin this grim task. It is hard to gather my feelings of what I went through. It was a valuable learning experience.

I was very lucky to have started my first job in Dell Penang in 2006. I never really wanted to be in Penang. It was a flook shot that my mom found a job vacancy article in The Star for Dell in Penang. I thought of giving it a go for the fun of it. I got the job and was extremely happy beginning to work before I even graduated. Working in Customer Care was a learning experience for an introvert that I was then and the fresh grad without any working experience. I even came from a different line; IT.

It was a good experience. Finally earning my own hard earned money. Working over-time to make even more. The drinks, the parties, the holidays, the clothes, computers, handphones and my Myvi. I was leaving the dream at that time.

In 2008, a stupid feeling kinda hit me telling me I feel like doing more. The temptation was there to jump industry into SAP a business IT industry. I left Dell with great memories and a bit bitter cause I sensed some gap in my team's management. It was not really a Dell fault but human factors.

In September of 2008, I started my IT course in SAP in Kuala Lumpur. It was a month course costing the price of a Proton Saga at that time. It was difficult for me. I was not a very IT kinda person same as to when I was in university and found it hard to keep up with my other classmates. I completed the course with certificate of completion but never could passed the 1 time exam certification.

People must be surely wanting to know what made me go into IT when I didn't not have interest. Honestly, it was pressure from family although they will deny this till my grave. I know they cared for me and wanted to see me do well but may be they overlooked my ambition.

I left KL feeling very sad in early October of 2008. I could not take the gruelling train-rides to KL from Subang where my brother lived. I could not take the high paced life. Not forgetting the high volume of pretentious and fake people in KL.

I returned to Penang jobless for 4 months. I was lost. I depended on my parents to settle bills. This was a moment in my life that I really appreciated my parents and felt truelly blessed! I could not afford my car bills and phone bills as it was eating into my savings.

As I looked at my girlfriend at that time, friends and family going to work each day, I felt a sense of gap from them and especially financially felt the gap from them. I was earning RM 0 a month! I fell into depression. I tried my best to apply for customer service jobs in Penang as I was comfortable in that line and was doing well. I never got the jobs! To make matters worst, the 2008 economic recession hit and Malaysia began to fill the pinch with the American companies established in Penang cutting jobs.

All I wanted was a job then. Anything. Even a job at McD or KFC would have been appreciated. What could I do as I was desperate for a job? Anything would be fine has long I could get some money.

Living without a job when you have commitments was not easy although my commitments may be little for some. It was very depressing. Sometimes I felt of selling and getting rid of everything I owned just to survive. It was hard to be living the high life and just drop to the bottom. Really, I fell.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

The holy month of Ramadhan

(Courtesy of Google)

It's not easy to restrict yourself from food and what more water! Eating in Malaysia is a culture. We are spoilt for choices and have the luxury of convenience in eating; you can get food anywhere and anytime. Then for the workforce, so called due to stress, they eat a lot claimming to have used up their energy before that. Eating regularly is also healthy to avoid gastrics and diseases related to food disorder. Then there are other who claim they are too busy working that they have no time to eat!

It is well noted in Malaysia the holy month of Ramadhan@ fasting month @ Puasa before the Aidilfitri celebrated globally by Muslims. The day starts with a meal before morning prayers around 5 am. The fast begins when 1st prayer of the day starts (5 times a day is the total prayers for Muslims). The fast last the whole day till around 7 something PM the same day(2nd last prayer for the day).

I totally have respect for Muslims who follow the fasting month. It is not easy. Not even a sip of water. I doubt I can do it! :P

Unless one is sick or going through menstruals, they are exempted from fasting. However, do people really fast? I do not think it is a law in other countries to fast but in Malaysia it is.

Today for the first time, I was asked by the Malay stall owner if I was Malay. Oh boy, I freaking exploded and my uncle held me back. I said,"How dare you ask me?". He replied my face looked Malay. What to do lah I am Serani and a bit dark. I was pissed and lost my appetite although I was hungry before that. As I ate I thought and my uncle told me it is normal.

They actually in Malaysia have to confirm if one is Muslim or not during fasting month. If he sold to a Muslim, all his food utensils will be confiscated by the police. According to the law, he was doing his job.

I am a guy who does not really like to fight with people. After eating, I went to pay and also apologised and shook his hand. He also apologised and explained to me the situation in Malaysia.

As much as I hated for being accused unnecessarily, this is what you have to face if you are tanned skin in Malaysia which is discrimination. For a Muslim who does not follow the fasting month, it is a crime and is punishable.

I can't believe people are being forced to practice their beliefs or faced penalty. Based on my religion as a Catholic, you are thought what is right. However, it is not a law or force. You decide what is right and what you are comfortable doing. From a general overview and not relating it to faith, you can tell people what is right but it is up to them to consider what is right and wrong.

I think the religion varies based on culture. Probably in a more liberal country, the decision is left to the individual to follow or not to follow. I look at it as we are only human. How to avoid sin?

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Building of mosque near ground zero, New York

(Photo from Google)
September 11th 2001 will always be on our minds. The day the world stood in shock over the attacks of the World Trade Centre Towers in New York City. I have been previlledged to view the twin towers in 1995 during my family trip to New York.

As the planes hit the towers, we saw smoke and even people jumping from the towers. Then it all fell and killed even more people that were trying to evacuate the remainning levels of the building including police, paramedics and fire-fighters.

It was a very sad day for the whole world looking at that devastating dissaster. I can only imagine the bigger lost felt by the families of victims that perished that sunny morning.

We all looked at who and how the attack happenned. Terrorist who were from a Muslim background were involved in planning and executing this tragedy. The world began to grow hate towards Muslims. They felt that the religion was more harm than good. Boarder security was even more tighter at arrival points to most western countries.

But should we be mad at Muslims? Is this a response against Muslims or a response against 'people' involved in the tragedy?

Lately, there has been so much debate and objection over the construction of a mosque close to ground zero. Sometimes I feel it is so politically motivated amongst political parties in USA. What's the issue?

We all are geared to respond to acts of terrorism. However, going after the religion is no point when actually we should be going after the terrorist group involved. It is not a war against Islam but it should be seen as a war against terrorist. Terrorist are not Islam alone. Islam is like any other religion when it comes to teaching good values and beliefs that are worldly accepted.

Just imagine if a group of Christians would have brought down the Towers. Are we seriously going to ban a church near to the area? I sense a certain degree of biasness.

This would be a test against the USA, an economic giant, on how they treat citizens of the world. It would be a symbol of their shallowness should they go against the construction of a mosque. They always brag about freedom and justice. This would be the opposite of their belief.

I am voicing my stand that the mosque should be erected and we should respect Islam.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

When will Malaysia enter the World Cup?

Image courtesy of Google

I have been keeping track of some of the World Cup games of 2010 in South Africa. Although as most may know, I am not a real fan of football but would not mind watching a game or two for fun. I hardly know the players names! Haha!

What I have noticed in the games, is the high level of quality of sportsmanship and caliber of the players. You can notice the amount of strategy involved and the spirit of togetherness amongst the players. By looking, the players from the same team are like robots on a conveyor belt at a factory, working together to achieve the end product @ goal!

It's really like a 'war' out there with shoving and pushing. These are all acceptable by the referrees at an international level surprisingly. The smaller Koreans are not intimidated by the bigger Westeners. They gave their opponents a real good fight. It's really hard to choose a good team or determine who will win the world cup. Every country I admit is playing well. Let's also not forget the ball is round and that anything can happen!

As a Malaysian, I think to myself. Why am I supporting another country rather than my own country Malaysia? It is because we are bad! The fact that I am using 'we' is because I feel that the football team in Malaysia is part of my country that I love so much and call home. We are certainly not up to the bar compared to other countries that have progressed steadily in football.

The reason we are bad can be due to many factors. The slack in the processs of indentifying potential talent is one of them. The people behind the identification process are just too narrow minded. Football is big in Asia especially Malaysia. It should not be difficult to find really outstanding people who love the game and posess the passion to win in football. It is not necessary to search in the kampungs@countryside as there could be really good talents in urban areas as well. People should widen their horizons and find more sources of good talent.

I also feel that the management in sporting associations do not have the knowledge, training, education and experience to run such associations efficiently. This is unlike the West where we have coaches and referrees that have for example sports science degrees. It looks like the blind leading the blind over here. They just do not have a clue how to run such sports associations.

Players should also NOT be limited by race. I see majority of the players on the Malaysian squad are Malays. Could there be racism involved? I always thought there would be equal opportunity in our country. That would be sad really. I am most certain football is appealing amongst all races in Malaysia and I am sure you can identify really good players out of their community regardless of race. In St Xaviers Institution in Penang during my school days, there were football matches held at the quadrangles and the players were mixed Malay, Chinese and Indian.

There could be a lot of money / fraud involved to make a few people happy be it the players or the team managers. The government naively tries to promote something good for us here but people are taking advantage of funds and incentives. So much money of the rakyat is spent and just look at the end results. Looks like a bunch of kindergarten kids running after the ball rather than proper planning and strategy in-line. There is less passion for the game but more focus on the rewards as a national player.

I can imagine that it will be such proud news to note that someone from the kampung is now playing for the state/country. The players and the player's parents will bask in the popularity and attention from the kampung people. They will renovate their huts to look like Beverly Hill mansions and change their old Protons for Mercedes. This is so typical and can be widely seen. To add to the statuesque, it would be a plus point to get national titles like Datuk or Tan Sri.

So what about the glory of the game?

This is the reason I keep asking myself about when will we ever see Malaysia enter the World Cup. I hope you guys think about it as well.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Is there no such thing as second hand cars?

(Volkswagen Passat image courtesy of Google)

I travel quite a bit from one end of the island to the other end each day for work. Weekends no need to say lah as I am out of course... a lot! I am also a car guy. I love cars; the technology and innovation is just overwhelming at this point in time that I wonder what more can car manufacturers invent to make the car better. That said, I am also an economist, a person who compares value for money @ typical Penang kiam-sap/ stingy.

I can't help but notice the amount of new cars on the road. I think we are like in the middle of the PJ* series of car registration numbers. I think the Penang people are certainly rich. All having the latest Mercedes, BMWs, Hondas, Toyotas etc.

New cars these days are not cheap. If you exclude Malaysian vehicles, we are talking atleast RM 70k for a new non-national car. Of course one that was built in Malaysia though or as it is called the Completely Knocked Down (CKD).

A lot of people are taking big loans to get nice new cars. Banks are also capitalizing on this especially when the interest rates have recently gone up. I think it's like > 3.5% . From months and months to years(up to 9 yrs) to pay for a car.

New car sizes have actually become smaller for the price you are paying today than when it was the 1970s and 1980s. Cars back then came with more metal and less plastic! Haha! I can never convince you more; compare my 2007 Myvi with my dad's 1994 Volvo 940! All the metal of my car doors could make just 1 door for his Volvo.

Whatever happenned to checking out the local Motor Trader or Classifieds for good old car. I don't mean old as in antic. More like a 'used' vehicle. Used vehicles range from a couple of weeks old to years. Some have been very well taken care and even restored. Getting a used car would be a steal these days considering the trend towards new cars. You can get a pretty good used car for so much less than new.

For example, my bro who has a friend who has a 2 year old Volkswagen Passat 2.0. The car is great but he wants a car that can please him more in terms of technology, safety and style. His a car guy of course. Brand new then RM220k. Now... ur ready for it......................RM 140k.

Now this is nothing to be alarmed. However, have you ever realized or calculated after interest the amount of money lost on your own?

That is why I am suggesting, if you can't afford a new car or if your economically aware of the surplus in money to get a new car, get a used car. You would be paying much less for the same specification of a car but after 1-2 yrs. Cars have a manufacturing life-span of around 5-8 years in the market before they reach end-of-life. So the car would be relatively new/ up-to-date.

Considering how much value of a car depreciates, it wouldn't be a waste NOT to take a look at a good used car.

With todays stringent motoring rules especially in countries like in UK, the car will be thoroughly checked to ensure it is safe and technically sound. Car companies as well like Toyota and BMW also sell pre-owned/ used cars basically, that have gone through checks and restored to be sold as quality used cars. This is a good place to look for a used car as these companies have a reputation to uphold.

Spare parts I believe are plentiful for most cars on Malaysian roads so even if you can't get a new one, you can get a refurbished replacement part. That also if the chop shops in Malaysia are still around. Can get some pretty reasonable used parts.

But besides getting a used car, just imagine how much money you would have saved for other things like property that appreciates, better health insurance, funds for further education or going for a holiday. Come on people! That is what well spent money can earn you.

However with all this said, if you think about it, it is this new car segment people that over-flow the used car market in years to come for us to get our hands on them and offer us a wide variety to choose from! :)

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Do we really love kids?

(Photo courtesy of Google)

There was a time in our lives when we were kids. Some of us mischievous, some could not wait to be adults and some who just wanted to be kids forever. We all come from diverse cultures, beliefs and financial backgrounds.

We all relied on our parents or guardians to take care of us and being there for us as pillars of support physically and emotionally. Seriously it is not easy being a parent. Being an individual is hard enough, what more taking care of another human being who is helpless@ kids. It would be a responsibility that covers satisfying the basic if human needs; eating, bathing, walking.

With the rising cost of living and some being influenced from our materialistic friends, it becomes even harder to keep up with the 'Joneses' and support a growing child.

It is so nice to see friends or relatives with cute babies. For some of us, we feel a certain emptiness that invokes us to compete and follow in pursuit to acquire a child just to be accepted into that social circle. This sometimes would be done without consideration of current financial earnings, added responsibility, devotion of time and space.

Are we really cut-out to be parents? Are we willing to support and bring-up a child?

These are the questions both parents need to analyze before going all out to conceive a child. We must truly stand by what we believe in and what are our needs at this point in our lives.

Lately, it is saddening to see so many child abuse cases. What has happened to Malaysians? Why are we becoming so aggressive?

A mother carries a baby for 9 months in her womb, enduring pre-natal syndrome and going into labour. So much is done to bring a life into this world. However, some individuals lack the understanding and appreciation from God for being gifted with kids.

From kicking, to punching, to throwing... how can someone be so heartless and over-powering?

Where are the morals in an adult Malaysian despite so much emphasis on Moral studies throughout the stage of schooling?

Kids are kids. They do silly things. Due to their maturity and experience, they act in so-called foolish ways.

It seems we are using our kids as punching bags to vent our frustrations. How can we blame them when it was us who brought them into this world?

Sometimes, it is due to certain carelessness that we accidentally conceive a child. It is our fault and we should not punish an innocent human being.

I am sure it is sad for those couples that are having difficulty conceiving to see people that are gifted with kids, show no appreciation, love and care to their kids. Some couples really want to be parents and devote their energy to the well-being of their kids. It is considered such a joy and blessing to have kids for them. I am sure they are also happy and considering that in time to come when they begin to become frail, they do have their kids to take care of them. These are the people who deserve to have kids but sometimes due to biological and health constraints, they may not be as fortunate to be called Mom and Dad.

I would like to appeal to all Malaysians to stop child abuse.

Thank you.