Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Emotions on Living In Malaysia

So, AR, our psychologist in training, suggested that I put emotions to the few items I listed in my blog, “Living In Malaysia”. In that post, I questioned the viability to continue living in Malaysia as the future looks bleak. He said that once I put emotion to my list, I will be able to bring forth my unconscious mind, thereby, I will be able to tell if I am acting out of past traumatic emotions or that I am clear in my statement. This is so I don’t make a drastic decision based on generalizing and base on emotions.

So here goes:
  1. Education – emotion – Disappointment – I didn’t do very well in STPM. But it wasn’t shabby either. But I was not offered a place in local University. On the other hand, my chocolate brethrens not only got into good University, some of them have government sponsored scholarship to overseas Universities. Things have not improved for the past 18 years after I graduate. I don’t think things will improved in the next 18 years when lil sen finished her STPM. I am disappointed that the system has failed me in the past and I am certain that it will continue to impact my children.
  2. Inflation – emotion – Stress and fear – I am afraid I will not be able to afford a good live in Malaysia at the rate inflation is going. I don’t think I will be able to afford overseas education for lil sen and her sister. And even if I do, I am afraid that I will have to make many sacrifices in life. Already I am not able to change to a new car (my Proton Wira turned 12 this year). Will I continue to be stagnant in the next 10 year? So I have a fear that the quality of life for myself and the family will be impacted at the rate of the inflation.
  3. Traffic – emotion – Anger because it was a waste of time – I still remember spending 2 hours getting from Kepong to TAR College in Taman Melawati. One way. In a day, I spent 4 hours getting to and fro to college. What do I do? I slept in the bus most of the time. In today’s crime laden day, you can’t even sleep in the bus lest someone snatched your bag away. But that is another story. I felt that the journey was a complete waste of time and it was inefficient. 4 hours of life wasted on commuting. I feel that things have not improved. In fact, it has worsen because now I (or one of my family members), will have to fetch my children to school. Two people’s time wasted – total of 4 hours!
  4. Politics and Stability – ok, I can’t tie an emotion to this because I don’t dwell on politics much and I have no prior bad experiences with it.
  5. Public Safety – emotion – fear – I read too much and heard too many snatch thieves and burglary incidents happening to relatives and I am afraid that it will happen to my family. Today, I double and triple lock my gates/door. I also ensure our room door is bolted. Is this the way to live? In fear?

Does it help?
No idea.
I think I want a refund of AR’s services!

Edit:

This transpired between AR & me:

AR:
yr next excercise 
list down malaysia vs a spot u think is safe 
each section put down the pros and cons 
it shd include .. home and work environment 
we will go thru the list  
ok? 
50ringgit pls  


Ringgit :
but i didn't feel 'helped' - how to pay u! 
it's another disillusioned i have .. malaysians are all crooks! 


AR:
let me summarize what i gathered 
u r dissapointed with the malaysian system that u feel it's failing u and yr family 
hence this makes u angry and at times u were lost if this is a safe place for u and yr family 
u pretend a better day tommorow because u believe in ideal world 
however, where u living today is not meeting your expectations 
with all these accumulated .. u starting to feel disillusions followed by anger  
u want a safer place with more ideal system for yr family and yrself 

Ringgit:
good! 
i need to c&p this! 

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Color

Wow.. I just read about a really great app. As a standalone, I think this app will not work well. It is a group app. But even as a group, I believe it may not get the traction it deserves. But I can't imagine what it will value-add to app like Foursquare or Facebook Check In. It would be awesome!

The app is called Color, not Colors. No S. Read about it here:

An excerpt:

"Color uses pattern recognition to figure out when multiple people are photographing the same event or object. In fact, it uses multiple criteria to figure out when people are in the same place paying attention to the same thing or kinds of things, then joins together their content streams within the app.


Color picks the best pictures and features them, while sharing all pictures. So if you’re a concert and take a picture of a performer from the 20th row, you might see another picture of the same performer taken by someone in the 2nd row. At a concert, the pictures taken from all over would keep flooding in. So during the event, you might take five pictures from one perspective, but see on your phone 100 pictures from 20 perspectives (as would those other 20 people).

Color magnifies your experience. It connects people who are interested in the same things in the same place, and shares their pictures and, later, other content.

Color is a way to magnify your view of things. If you’re in line at a club, and use it outside, you’ll see a stream of pictures taken by people inside.

Color is going to catch fire at high schools. Kids will fire up Color in the morning, and all Color users will see a stream of photos taken in real-time all over the school.

Color will be very interesting at industry events, parties, sports events, festivals, and other gatherings.

Color is about real-time location based information about what’s going on right now — text, pictures, audio, video — any kind of content that can be captured with a mobile device".

Sunday, March 27, 2011

iPhone app: Labelbox

I think WSL or any photo blogger would appreciate this free app. It allows you to label your photo with masking tape, cellophone tape or those machine created letter protruding tape. Or even a flowery ribbon. And you can write on top of the label so people cannot steal your photos. All this is done within the iPhone itself. Simple and elegant. Take a look!

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Fake Pringles in Malaysia?

The photo above was taken at Jaya Grocer. Jaya Grocer is well known for carrying imported goods. They are in the same market as Cold Storage, bringing in imported stuff to cater for the more affluent folks.

In the photo above, the Pringles can are of the same height but one of them is thinner. The thin one is cheaper by HALF and it doesn't taste like Pringles at all. It taste like Mr Potatoes. It's a local flavoured Pringles. I don't think it is a fake one but I think P&G decided to make it locally to keep the cost down. Otherwise who would be able to eat Pringles?

This shows, yet again, how bad our inflation is and how we end up getting more inferior product - just like our condensed milk.

I can tell the difference because I ate Pringles for 20 years. I find it unscrupulous of P&G to repackage Mr Potatoes as Pringles and as such I have boycott them.

Sad.

I really like the original Pringles.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Ringgit is Poor

After all the talk about inflation and education, I need alternative income.
And as such, I have enabled Ad-Sense in my blog.
Please support my writing (LOL!)

Edit: I have also enhanced the blog post. Below each post you will see a "Reaction". If you like my post, please click it. If you dislike, click it also. Maybe I will consider what people like to read and write more of that. Or maybe not.

Australia PR

Back in 2002, I applied and received a permanent residence status to Australia. I still remember the one simple sentence on my visa: "bearer may remain in Australia indefinitely". During my application, and that was in 2001, AUD$1 is equivalent to RM2.10. Today, AUD$1 is equivalent to RM3.00, an almost 42% increase. Something have gone awfully wrong, somewhere.

If someone is a parent in 2000 and saving money for his daugher's Australia education, in 10 years time, this guy is 42% poorer. That means, his children education is almost cut BY HALF! Sure, there is fixed deposit but our FD rate is a measly 3%. So what can he do? His daughter will not be able to go Australia for education. He either need to take a loan (and he can only hope his age allows it) or his daughter will have to settle for .... and I paused in this sentence for almost a minute - because I can't think of a good alternative - is it twinning? ACCA? Local private colleges? Long distance study? Half work-half study? Sell house to pay for education? This parent probably have sacrifice a lot of stuff - he probably didn't upgrade his car or go to that vacation to save for the education. And it turns out it is not enough and he has to take more loans?

It's not like AU education is a must. I don't mind sending little sen to local Uni if she were given a place... that's a big IF... or if the quality is half as good as Singapore.

So anyway, at that point in time, I decided not to actively pursue a life in Australia. This roundabout decision has partly to do with not willing to move out of comfort zone, partly to do with the "Malaysia is not that bad mentality" and partly to do with a potentially good career with the current company I am with.

Since then, Joey, Anti Ringgit and "the Old Man I hope I don't emulate (sorry can't find link of his story)" has applied and moved to Australia. A couple of friends emigrated to Singapore. Most of them do it because of the family - seeking a better life. None has looked back since.

Do I regret the decision not to pursue a new life in Australia? Not really. If I did, I would not have met and marry Miss World and have a beautiful little sen.

But what of now? What now indeed! It's a forced exodus. There is almost nothing to look forward to in Malaysia. Aside from parents, which is important too, what else is there? Do we want to move forward or get tied by the past?

Living in Malaysia

Over the past three weeks, I have been reflecting on what the future holds for the family. It's probably a phase many parents went through and I am no exception. This is the phase, during quiet moments when the baby was asleep, snoring peacefully, that each parent thought about what kind of life this baby will lead in the future. And I thought about what I can do to provide. And as I go through all the areas, which I will probably discuss in detail later, I become helpless. The future doesn't look that good. At least in Malaysia. And then I realize why we have so many friends/people leaving the country.

First and foremost is education. Most parents would enrolled their children in Chinese school. I think there is no doubt in that. The state of our Kebangsaan school is in a shambles. I could attest to it as I reflect all the 'buat kerja sendiri' periods we had. And the blank faces of our teachers when we asked them questions that are out of the norm. And that was at a time when our teacher and education quality was higher. I cannot imagine what it is now, what with the English in Science and Maths subject and then not anymore and then yes again. And I also heard that the government is even rewriting history - Hang Tuah and Hang Jebat is not in the history books anymore! If this is the state of the education in Malaysia, how well would our children be equipped in the future? Do we really need to resort to 'tuition centers' to be the source of education?

And even if the children manage to pass and score reasonably well in the exams (notice I said reasonably well as I am not a proponent of the "always must be number one in class" type of parent), what happens then? Do you think they will get a place in the local Uni? I don't think so. While the government claims that there is meritocracy in placement, this is not happening. If a top student could be by-pass in the selection, what will happen to a reasonably well scored student? We are competiting, not on merits, but on birth rights and it is a losing battle. I have lost when I was in Form 6. My children will too. And so will theirs.

So what do we end up doing? We send our children overseas. And this comes with great cost, monetary as well as opportunity cost to us as parents. As parents, we definitely will do everything we can to create this opportunity for our children. But what if we can't? What if we lost our job or we are not able to save enough to send the children to an oversea education due to the rising inflation? And remember that our currency is weakened by the day. The exchange rate is already not favourable to you now. What makes me think they will be 20 years later when little sen is ready for overseas education. Did we then leave it to fate? Did we just destroy that chance?


Secondly, inflation - seriously - at the rate things are going, our children will not be able to afford an apartment when they leave school and come out to work. I once remember reading Tony Pua's blog and he said that the so called condensed milk that we buy from Jusco is not even milk. They are called sweetened creamer. That means, they are not produced from the tits of the cows. Why is this so? Because dairy products are control products and the government had a price cap on it. So the manufacturers are not able to sustain it and as such, they created sweetened creamer as a substitute. And our government then accepted that as a dairy product. If we are serious about controlled produce, we should not even accept the creamer as a substitute, So it is all a farce - sure it's a small matter you say, but think about the implications. I am just using condensed milk as example of our serious our inflation is undermining our quality of life. The condensed milk example was something that happened 10 years ago. These days, we have petrol losing subsidy, price of cooking oil and sugar rising, our teh ais is now RM2/glass, an almost 100% increased in the last 10 years. Food is getting expensive. And what do we end up with? Cheaper alternatives.

We are getting better jobs and better pay than our father. But the quality of our lives doesn't improve as much. It negates the better pay that we were getting. In fact, I dare say that the better pay is also a farce - we are not getting a better life at all. If anything, we are stagnant, not improving.

Just like the quality of life is a psychological veil to mask the reality, traffic is also getting worse. We have better roads than our forefathers. Our roads are wider. But yet, we are stuck longer in traffic trying to get to work. Our productivity did not improve. Our quality of life did not improve. We missed meetings and appointments due to traffic. We have LRT, KTM and monorail but they are not effective. We have BMW and Mercedes but they are crawling instead of zooming at their top speed. And just like the better pay thus better life being a farce, our better roads and better cars are an illusion that we have progress, when indeed we are not. We are still stuck in Ice Age in our traffic management. And you know what's funny? The funny thing is, we pay for a better highway (via toll), we get trapped in jam and we all just sucked it down and accept it as a way of life. So 39 years of my life and traffic has not improved. What does the future hold for the children? Ice Age 2?


Let's not even venture into politics and stability. I have stopped reading our newspapers. I hid myself under my own political ignorance. I want to base my children future on what I experienced in life, not something I read and participate over teh tarik. So, I am not even going to talk about politics. When my friends speak of politics, I will change subject. Because there is just no point in this. I don't even want to know how our government flaunt our hard earned money on unnecessary projects that doesn't improve the quality of life of the citizens - all they do is improve the size of the politicians' pocket.


Point number 4, is public safety. Who feels safe living in KL/PJ? Who lives in fear daily? Just last week, a member of my Buddhist society, a 80 year old grandma, was a victim of snatch thief in Tesco Mutiara Damansara. Fortunately, she wasn't hurt. Just think about it. This incident happened to someone I know in a place 5km from where I live and work. Goodness, I wonder why are we accepting this and why is there no public outcry to our government to do something about it. When our government, under Badawi, did do something which he publicly talks about - he sent high tech gadgets and build more police stations but didn't increase the number of police officers. Did you notice that are many so called police stations mushrooming in shop lots around PJ area? It's really a joke. We have better gadgets and empty stations but no body to use them. Why do we do build it then? Of course, it's an infrastructure projects and that also means more money to the politicians. I will have two daughters and a wife. Honestly I worry for their safety every day. If I don't do anything, I will continue to worry for the rest of my life.

So what do people normally do? They moved to gated community and further hid themselves in the illusion that they are safe. Is this the trend? Are we giving and building illusion for our children in the next 20, 30, 40 years?


It's getting  ridiculous! We have to fend ourselves by hiring our own security house to guard the Taman we live in. We have to pay for our children's overseas education. We pay high price for low quality products especially food. We have to waste our precious time going places. And the most ridiculous of all - we still have to pay 27% income tax to a governement who spent them mindlessly - not for the betterment of the society but for the betterment of their own personal lives.

There's so much more to say. I just want to stop lying to myself. I don't want to live in an illusion. I want to belief but things around me as well as what our governements are doing are not helping me in my beliefs. In fact, they are going all out to show me that there is no point in this fight, that it is a losing battle.

I will speak more in future posts.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Monday, March 07, 2011

A Pair of Tits is following me!

Yup .. a spammer and bot called "Naked Unique Tits" are following my blog.
Enjoy a commercial break while reading :)

Change iPhone Backup Directory

If you were like me, recently owning a spiffy new and fast SSD drive, you will note with despair that when you sync your iPhone with iTunes, the software will back up your iPhone data into c:\users\ringgit\appdata. This is on a Windows 7 platform. There's nothing wrong with that except that the backup is stored in c: which is the SSD drive. While SSD is a fast drive, it comes in a very small size. My 120GB intel SSD cost RM720. With RM720, you would be able to get a 2TB (2048GB) drive! So speed comes with a price. And as such, you don't want those valuable storage space taken up by iPhone backup files.

Typically, a iPhone has 32GB. So, a one time backup would take 32GB of the drive. Two backups would take 64GB and before long, my SSD would be full.

Fortunately Windows 7 allows you to easily move your \appdata folder to another drive by clicking Folder Properties and clicking Move, much like how you would move your My Documents, My Pictures or My Music.

Do that and your SSD will thank you :)

Saturday, March 05, 2011

Coffee Shop

There are many coffee shops in Aman Suria. It's a good thing. I patron all of them except Sun Ying Loong. SYL is a famous coffee shop serving Ipoh's white coffee. Some said they are the original Ipoh White Coffee. There are two branches in PJ, one in A Suria and the other in K Damansara.

The reason I don't drink there is because of bad service and expensive drink. They charged a premium to their teh tarik and coffee. About 30 or 40 sen extra. Why are they doing this and why do people continue to drink there is beyond me. It's not like they are a a/c place. They are just a normal coffee shop.

Today I was eating at a new coffee shop. They charged the standard rate. But it got me thinking. Why have we not heard of a coffee shop charging Less than usual. I'd imaging the profit margin of drink is high and if you charge 20 sen cheaper, you should be able to pull in more crowd. But you don't hear of this at all.

Instead, people continue to pay a premium. This explains the continue mushrooming of premium cafe like Pappa Rich, Pak Li and Old Town White Coffee.

It boggles the mind that Malaysians are not demanding for lower or flat rate. We must be very rich!

So the next time you see a raise in sugar or flour or whatever, shut up. Coz you obviously could afford it coz you are still patronizing these expensive shops.
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Friday, March 04, 2011

SSD - optimize space and futher improves boot time with SpaceSniffer and Soluto

Yesterday I bought a 120GB intel Solid State Drive and my PC is on afterburner! Such amazing speed. SSD is the way to go if you could afford it. Windows runs like an iPad. App launches instantly! No wait time. My Windows Experience Index, a rating system of CPU, memory, gfx and HDD speed, are normally pulled down by the speed of the hard disk. With the SSD installed, Windows Experience Index report my CPU index of 7.1 and my HDD index as 7.5. For the first time ever, the hdd index is faster than the CPU index!

This morning, I have also discovered two really cool PC utilities - seriously, they are so cool I want to blog about it.

The first is called SpaceSniffer. Ever wonder how come your hard disk is running out of space? Which folder is the one that has huge unncessary files? Do you see yourself going to each folder and right click to check the properties to find the folder size? It's very tedious isn't it? SpaceSniffer is a cool exe (without needing to install) which will map your folder in pictorial format and show you graphically the folder size and by clicking on each folder, it zoom in, ala Google Earth style, into that folder and show you, again in pictorial style, the files and its relative size. At a glance, you can find the culprit. Very advance, very 21st century tool!

Soluto is the other tool that will track your PC boot time and will tell you how much time each services took to load. It will also recommend to you if you need the services and if you are not sure, it will also tell you what millions of PC users think of that services -whether it is a waste of time and can be removed or whether it is cruicial. This tool will help you improve your boot time. It's not as great a discovery as SpaceSniffer, to me, but it was very cool, nonetheles.

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Terrible Two

They are right. Terrible Two is indeed Terrible. Little sen is just at v1.10, not even v2.0 and she's already behaving like a Terrible Two. Honestly, it's not something she could help it. She just couldn't find peace within herself - either because she fear sleeping, jealous of her upcoming sister or just too excited and too curious about everything that she would threw tantrum if her demands are not met. Sometimes, she doesn't even know what she wants. She knows what she don't want but she can't tell you what she wants. Is this just a baby thing - er.. no .. wait ... EVEN ADULTS ARE LIKE THAT! The only difference - she expressed it out loud while we adults just sucked it down and move on aimlessly.

Anyway, she's just wearing all of us down.............................

My only consolation - "this too, shall pass" - can't wait till she turn 3!

Don't WhatsApp /SMS when driving

This morning, we received news that one of Jane's classmate passed away after fighting for her life for 4 days. She was cycling in her A...