Monday, May 30, 2016

Best Decision Ever

You know how sometimes you think back to your past and you came across certain incidents in your life, and the decision you made at that point in time? And how, in retrospect, you feel you made one of the best decisions ever because you see the benefits now?

I have a few life changing decisions that, in retrospect, were the best I’ve made: marrying my wife, choosing to bite the bullet and bought our current house vs looking for houses in other areas. But what I really want to talk about today was choosing SKTM was perhaps the best decision I didn’t know I was making. 

Jane was not an easy child to bring up. She was extremely fearful of people, things and change of environment. She expressed her fear through tantrums and screams and inconsolable crying. She was afraid of her kindy, and so we suffered her fear and screams for the first two years while she get used to the kindy. She only enjoyed her kindy in her this (and final) year. That was a relief for one short year. Even that short year saw some changes in her life where her mother had to work part time and so there were some baby sitting arrangement - which she didn’t like and cried as well.  

Without doubt when she went to Primary One early this year, it was another change and a very traumatic one for her. So, we had hell in the first quarter of 2016. But at that point in time, we really did not have any choice when it comes to education unless we have lots of money, which we don’t. We prayed and hoped for the best. Praying that she will get used to school. If kindy took her two years, perhaps this will take equally as long? My mood was not the greatest during that time. I have tolerated this for almost 6 years. What’s another two years right? I tell you, the negative energy then was toxic and draining. I dreaded going home. I hated school holidays. I disliked weekends. My co-workers thought I am a bad father for not liking weekends and school holidays. I have no mood to play computer games. I could have escaped by having excuses such as working late, go drinking with colleagues in the pretense that it was business socializing but that’s just not my character. We need to go through this together, husband and wife and family. But freaking hell, there were times I was just so pissed. I used Awesome Notes to write my feelings when she was screaming and I was angry. Looking at my notes now gave me a chill, because while you don’t keep grudges against your child, I could tell through these diary entries of how toxic it was for us. 

But the whole thing underwent a 180 degree transformation the moment she went into SKTM. From that very first day at school in April, the turn around was instant! There wasn’t even a cooling period, or a period of slow recovery. It was abrupt and complete. And for the past two months, we had bliss. The interactions was pleasant. She was lovely. Sure, she still fight with her sister Kat over little things, but those were just quarrels, and there’s reason for the quarrel. But that fear-induced screams and tantrums were not there anymore. They just disappeared into thin air, poof! And were distant memories. I do not know if it was the school, or it was the super compassionate class teacher, or it was just the ball fitting into the circular hole. It just clicked and all is well. I have started back my Apple Music subscription. I find myself enjoying music. I have just completed Offworld Trading Company, a computer game. My life is slowly picking itself back up. I might just be able to join the MBS boys’ trip to Cameron Highlands this June. We will see!


Friday, May 27, 2016

Rimbayu’s Wisteria


I went and see this show unit and found this particular design very tastefully done. They really maximize the floor space making the house very spacious and bright. Really liking it a lot. 

Uber in Malaysia

I have started taking Uber when visiting clients. It is so convenient especially when going down town to Kuala Lumpur. Uber is comfortable and I could do my email, WhatsApp, Twitter, phone calls or reading while in the car, stuck in the jam, without needing to worry about tapping and driving. But the more important feature for me is that it accepts American Express corporate card. At the end of the month, when I sit down to do my expense claim, I could automatically pull these expense from Amex into my system without needing to key-in each trip! Uber also conveniently provide me email receipts and all I need is just to print them and attach to my claim. Super duper easy. What is your Uber story?



Management > Technical

IBM failed in its true identity years ago when management started making more than their top technical staff. It was not unusual for top rated staff making more than their management chain in the early Watson years. Matter of fact it is the core issue for most US based companies, management seems to thing their job is more difficult than the high end engineer developing the next generation of products. via Cringely
Oh my, this statement is so direct, to the point, of the whole issue with tech MNC companies. It’s actually kinda sad. It is happening in IBM, hp, Microsoft, Oracle. Even Dell or Lenovo. And it is the reason why tech startup is becoming successful such as Google, Facebook, etc. The money should go where the skills are. Not where management, project managers who just know how to track progress.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Put this near your heart


My 5 year old daughter made me this and she told me that when she married and not living with me, I have this purple love that she made to keep it near my heart so she’s always near me. 

This little girl is always thinking far ahead and have some wild imaginations. 


MOE Advertisement

MOE Advertisement


Well, well, well. What do you know? I saw this advertisement in The Curve. I didn't expect MoE, Ministry of Education, to advertise about education in a popular mall. Why? Are people not going to schools? Are people sending kids to private schools? To international schools? Or perhaps home schooling are getting more popular. Ever wonder why, Mr MoE?






What's interesting though, is that the photo above featured students from SKTM. My daughter said she recognise the girl in the photo and upon inspection of the badge in the photo, she's right!

IFTTT and Evernote and Awesome Notes

IFTTT and Evernote and Awesome Notes
In my quest for the perfect Blogger iOS tool, I'm trying this oldies called IFTTT. This is a popular tool that connect two apps together to create a workflow. IFTTT stands for "If This Then That". I could connect Evernote to Blogger which means if I create a new Evernote document, it will publish to Blogger. Pretty nifty huh? There's thousands of this "recipe", one of the popular ones is "If I create a new contact, update Google Spreadsheet". That's really cool.

Now what happens if I create a note in Awesome Notes, the best notes taker for iPhone, sync it to Evernote. Will IFTTT take this recipes and publish to Blogger?

Tags:
May 26, 2016 at 11:10PM
Open in Evernote

abc Children Specialist

So we sent our kid to this children specialist in Center Point for fever caused by runny nose and phlegm. Very simple symptom right? But, the bill turned out to be RM263! wtf! Seriously! The consultation was $90, which is already more expensive than our usual child specialist. But then, the doc started giving out 5 bottles of medicine - one cough, two to clear phlegm, one to prevent lung allergic and one fever med. Each of these cost $35 or $40! My gosh!!!! Seriously! Are you kidding us?

The Doc is very patient and will take time to explain, which is really nice. But I just  don’t understand why she wanted to push so many medicine. Is it necessary?

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Swiss Bank BSI shutdown!

Ravi Menon, managing director of the Monetary Authority of Singapore, said BSI’s behaviour was "the worst case of control lapses and gross misconduct that we have seen in the Singapore financial sector”. via FT
Monetary Authority of Singapore - want to keep image of Singapore as being clean! Kudos to Singapore! And shame on you, Malaysia.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Is AI a problem for Apple?

The BlackBerry’s success came to an end not because RIM started releasing worse smartphones, but because the new job of the smartphone shifted almost entirely outside of their capabilities, and it was too late to catch up. via marco.org

This eye opening article painted a grim future for Apple, if Google's gamble on artificial intelligence is right. Everyone's into some form of AI. Google, IBM with their Watson, Microsoft and Apple with Siri. Is this the future of computing? And if the future of computing lies with machine like intelligence being the centre of our life, will those scary scenarios portrayed by movies like Terminator or Space Odyssey come true one day? 

Teachers

I think everyone agrees that teachers play an important role in cultivating interest in school. But how many good teachers do we have?

Today, Jane was having slight fever and didn't go school. This evening, as she laid on the bed, she asked if she could go to school tomorrow. She said she really want to go school because she missed her class teacher. Her class teacher WhatsApp my wife asking if she was ok. Cikgu said missed Jane's inquisitive questions. Jane asked her 'macam macam soalan' (all sort of questions) because she sits just in front of the teacher's table. What surprised me was Jane's willingness to open up and ask questions. It's not something she easily do with people she does not know. That means, she must have really liked this Cikgu and is very open towards her. The other time, in the group WhatsApp, another parent share a picture of another sick child, being comforted by this Cikgu in the canteen. Such compassion she has. It is teachers like this Cikgu that bring faith into the system, no, faith in humanity.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Malay literacy

We started to question.. have we done the wrong thing by sending Ryan, an obviously non-Chinese speaking and pretty much a banana boy, to a Chinese Primary school. He went thru a very tough time during Standard 1.. to the extend that he dreaded going to school. His results other than English and Math, weren't encouraging then. His spirit was really low. Now that we realized that with this approach, we could be doing it at the expense of Malay literacy. Is it worth while? via Mom Says
Stumbled upon this article while Googling. All Chinese Malaysian parents have this dilemma. Sigh!

Send you to orphanage

Yesterday Jane told me that the teachers started to hand out exam results. One girl in her class have 98% in her English. Another girl got 40%. This other girl was very upset and she exchanged paper with the 98% girl and rubbed off her name and wrote hers. The teacher found out and scolded her. Send her to the disciplined teacher and to educate her that this is incorrect to do so. She started crying and said that she's scared to bring a 40% mark home because her mother will "put her into orphanage" and her brother will "poison her food". It's sad what parents said to their kids. Instead of words of encouragement, they put it negatively.

One of the reasons we pulled Jane out of Chinese school was because of the fear instilled by the teachers. But if the parents themselves put this fear, whether consciously or subconsciously, it will have a longer, permanent damage.

Myself is a product of threats and beating via belt. My results were good during Primary school because of the fear of the leather belt. But come Secondary school, when my father was not able to teach me due to more advanced level, I was not able to do as well as my peer. I was hardworking and disciplined. But I wasn't using my brain a whole lot more.

I don't know if things will be different for Jane, since we didn't put a lot of pressure on her. Her results were not stellar, for example, her Maths was 70%. When she told me about her Maths, I said "Well done! Bravo! That's great, Jane! Did you know what was the reasons you didn't get a correct answer for this and that?". I think these were the right words to use, but I sometimes doubted myself.. Bravo for 70%? What if she decides that 70% is good enough? Am I encouraging mediocrity?

On the other hand, she sometimes told me her friend is so good, can get 90%. She already have peer pressures on her own.  And pressure from teachers. I think she does not need pressure from her parents. Our house should be a house of comfort and trust.

Parenting is a balancing act...... I hope I am juggling the right balls.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Cost of Living - Malaysia vs Singapore

To date, Malaysia’s average monthly disposable salary is RM3,505 (US$869.10) while Singapore’s is S$4,152 (US$3,028.38). The bad news is, Malaysians do not only earn less than their neighbours across the causeway, the weaker Ringgit currency compared to the US dollar (with an exchange rate of roughly 3.9 versus the Singapore dollar’s 1.36 at this point in writing) also means that imported goods that are sold in Malaysia often cost more in the Ringgit quantum. via iMoney.my
There’s a really nice Infographics posted in iMoney on the monthly expenses incur by working professionals in both Malaysia and Singapore. The Infographics gives a nice pictorial and will be useful for Malaysians thinking of moving to Singapore.
The Infographics ended by saying that:
You need S$8218 to maintain the same standard of living as RM9,500 in Kuala Lumpur, assuming both are renting.
I believe that this conclusion is very key to many Malaysians. If we chose to go to Singapore, naturally, we will be renting a place to stay. And by renting, it doesn’t sound like Singapore is going to be cheap for you. This is especially true if you already at the tail end of settling your mortgage loan, which means you will have a house you don’t need to bear the burden of monthly instalment in Malaysia. By going to Singapore, you will have that rental amount to pay for. The Infographic listed a S$2,000 monthly rental for a 1 bedroom apartment outside the city centre. OMG!
Recently, I have a few colleagues who found a job (in the same company) in Singapore and they moved their family there. One big question that is always on my mind is how much do they pay an experienced worker? Both my colleagues told me that it is roughly 70% of what you get in Malaysia. That means, if you earned RM10,000 today, moving to a similar position in Singapore will get you S$7,000. Which sounds pretty good because that’s RM21,000 after currency conversion! (S$1 is RM2.90 now). But don’t forget, he’s gonna rent an apartment for his family of 2 kids and a wife. And rental is around S$3,000 or more. That left S$4,000. He said that he’s currently not a PR, and that PR is a bit challenged now because of the control and so his children’s education in Singapore is very expensive - going to be like an expat. Probably that takes another S$1,000 cut for 2 kids education. That is why his wife has to look for a job as well, otherwise, it’s unsustainable.
While it’s not a bed of roses, there are still many who wanted to start a life in Singapore. The main reason is that Malaysia has degenerated into a shit hole of slump in the past 5 years, which such a corrupted administrations, super high cost of living and a host of safety concerns. Going to Singapore may be tough at first, but you do get a peace of mind and soul.
What are your thoughts?

Friday, May 13, 2016

Texting and Driving..

In all three interventions -- absent minded, emotional and texting -- the researchers found that the drivers' handling of the wheel became jittery with respect to normal driving. This jittery handling resulted in significant lane deviations and unsafe driving only in the case of texting distractions. In the case of absent-minded and emotionally charged distractions, jittery steering resulted in straighter trajectories with respect to a normal drive and safer driving. via Sciencedaily

So study shows that if you are thinking of something or when you are emotionally distress, you can still drive well. That’s because your 'sixth sense’ can still help you control your steering wheel. But when you are texting, your sixth sense is not in control and as such, it’s easier for you to drive out of you normal lane.

Please don’t text and drive. It’s not worth your live. That other party can wait.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

20 years

How time flies. In the upcoming 3 weeks, I would have spent 20 years in the current company. 20 years! That must be quite an achievement. Many people I know in the company wondered how I survived. Some new comers were not even able to last 2 years. 20 freaking years...

There’s no secret really. I spent half the years in doing technical roles, solving problems. Technical is hard - but it’s binary. Can do or cannot do.

Sales, on the other hand, is a web full of intrugue and black holes. There’s a lot more things to juggle - clients, partners, internal politics, your bosses, weekly reviews, pointless reporting! No wonder people can’t survive.

In the past 3 years, I have been involve in sales and I find myself struggling to keep my sanity.
Why does sales have to be so complex. It’s really just a question of profit and loss. Of discount level and selling price. And yet, the redtape of this company complicates it hundred fold.
No wonder no one is selling. We are busy arguing!

Fintech

"Fintech is challenging the status quo of the financial industry. New business models will emerge. Delivery channels will challenge existing norms. Transaction costs will be reduced.

"Rather than looking at the fintech revolution as unwelcoming, financial institutions ought to embrace it as an opportunity,” Muhammad said yesterday at the Global Islamic Finance Forum 5.0 (GIIF 5.0). via thestar
Fintech is disrupting financial sector. This is really nothing new. We see things like Pay Pal, Ali Pay, Wechat payment, etc become more and more popular. What I think is interesting is that Malaysia banks are recognizing this and is now taking steps to embrace this technology. Another technology that is also coming in strong into the industry is blockchain, the technology powering bitcoin. Innovation is such a wonderful thing as it is challenging the norm and making our lives, as consumer, so much easier and better. And innovations breaks tradition and breaks apart any hold that corporations want to shackles on consumer. I wish I have the knowledge and tech savvy to be part of this revolution. Back to the books maybe?

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

This is often at the back of my mind

Sometimes I look at the amount of administrative work I have to do daily, simply because I am working in a heavy process-bound company, and I remember this quote from an ex-colleague:
I will not be seen as failed because of the failure of the company.
It’s very true, you know. He may be a star salesman. But he can’t sell because of the beauracracy of the company. But if he continue to stay in this company, he will not be able to meet his quota, quarter after quarter. It’s not because he can’t sell. He’s bound by the red tape.
Sure enough, once he left the company and joined another, he excels.

Pressure to score

He had written: "This is not my chemistry paper but the last exam I am writing. I am so bored of my life. I don’t want to live any more. When I am dead, I do not want my body to be taken to India.” via TheNational.

This has to be the most outrageous news that I read this week. A 16 year old hanged himself because he wanted to make a statement to the school board to reform the teaching methodology! What the hell is the world coming into, these days, where we give our kids so much pressure to perform in school that they have to find another way out? Does the problem lies with the school board, the parents or the society?

Friday, May 06, 2016

Exams!

Next week is exams week for Jane. It’s probably her first time doing exam. In her times in Tadika Seri Soka, she didn’t have any exams, so this is a new experience to her. She didn’t really like it but yet, on her own accord, she always ask us for help in her revision. And we can tell that she wasn’t extremely stressed by the exams. She’s afraid of it, but she’s braving it.
One interesting thing though - in SKTM, the exams is always before the school holidays. Just like in my old times when we can celebrate the exams with a long break. But in the SJKC that she left, the exams come AFTER the school holidays! The kids must be so stressed during holidays with the impending exams over their mind. I just don’t understand why.

Thursday, May 05, 2016

Storm

Tonight is one of the heaviest, loudest and most scary thunderstorm in my life!

I'm in an Estima, with 5 gentlemen, going to a MD meeting and the nigh sky lights up constantly!! It's scary!

I am on expense account!

It’s funny. When we have visitors, we usually treat them when we take them out for lunch. When I took my American colleague out, he insisted on paying for his own lunch. When we argued, he said that he’s on expense account and it is the company that is paying for it.

Similarly, when I am in the States, my colleague would take me for dinner and a drink, and they will ask, you are on expense account, right? And so, we will go dutch.

I am sure they are not cheap skate. It is just their culture of being independant and paying for their own food.

Soup

I had a really nice noodle soup this morning. It’s nothing special, just that the hot soup felt so good and comforting. This caused me to think about life in Western country where the food will be different. I can imagine having cold sandwich for breakfast and I am not a fan of waffle or bagels. So, maybe overseas living is not something for me. Sure, we can get used to it but I will surely miss Malaysian fodd. There is a charm to having warm stomach, eh?

Wednesday, May 04, 2016

Pringles first commercial

I’m a huge fan of Pringles. I am sad that they decided to outsource to a different manufacturer locally. What they have produced does NOT even taste like the Pringles I knew. Regardless, nothing can be done. We live in a 3rd world country that pretend to be first world. Things we consume or bought are made of lower quality, but priced at first world price - we don’t even have real condensed milk, just some sweetened creamer. Our potatoes chips are faked. Even a bowl of noodles these days have less meat balls. But the prices did not go down. Not at all.

Anyway, I stumbled upon this Pringles commercial. Sounds like stacked potatoes is a new thing back then! Amazing.

Do I have anxiety?

Reader of DubiousQuality wrote in on this topic:

Finally, about 20 years ago, all 3 things converged at once. Depression, anxiety, and panic. I suffered for about three weeks. Could not sleep, could not eat, I was barely functional. I suddenly realized I was like a drowning victim. I felt like I was being pulled under and that my system was being pumped full of adrenaline. I felt the fight or flight instinct, but there was nothing to fight or flee from but my own mind. At that point in my life, I had a rather poor opinion of psychology as a science, but I realized I needed help. via dubiousquality

Hmm, interesting. The stress for the past months sounds eeriely similar.

Economy is bad?

Have you noticed that it is very difficult to get home improvement work done these days? My roofing (pergola, to be exact) had some problem ...