Friday, January 29, 2010

It's not so Boring and Greek after all...

For the past two weekends I've been attending Corporate Financial Management (CFM) classes. The first lecturer we encountered was Dr Harvey Gill. He eased us in to the toughest ICSA subject - it isn't too bad (yet) and lots of memory work which we're supposed to have already done during Financial Accounting (and which I can't remember a single thing). His advice was to read The Star Biz section everyday and The Edge weekly publication. When we met the other CFM lecturer (whom Dr Harvey calls 'Uncle Chee'), he recommended the same thing, besides reading a finance reference book.

So, I've been trying to read Star Biz this past week. Honestly, I've never finished reading the whole section yet. I'm always just getting through to the first 5 pages before I'm somehow disrupted everyday. Initially I thought I'd have to read with a computer in front of me, so that I can look up the business jargons on but I've grown lazy and just try reading as much before falling asleep! The partially unread Biz sections are piling up in my room - I only flick the Biz section from office because I don't think anyone reads that part.

Anyway, my point being that it's true what Dr Harvey said. He said we would first find it such a chore to read the Biz section but after a week, we will start getting interested. Personally I found that it's getting interesting because I see all these company names which I've either seen on billboards or buildings or product labels etc which were only words to me before, but now I get to see what drama is happening behind their boardroom doors! With all the announcements these PLCs have to make to Bursa Malaysia according to the Listing Requirements, we get to speculate whether the company's in the pink of health or not.

And the current EON Cap takeover bid by Hong Leong... Interesting... I'm actually seeing (oh well, reading actually) what I studied in my previous ICSA courses, in action. All the procedures, EGM, permission from Bank Negara, MSWG etc. Hope this interest lasts (at least till June!). ;)

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

A Quiet but Good one

The quarter century egg is speaking here.

About a month back, I decided to try a social experiment on Facebook - I hid my birth date on my profile (just for the heck of it!). I didn't know I could do this until I discovered that a good friend had done this too. I wasn't sure whether I'd remembered her birthday correctly in December and turned to Facebook to lok for a birthday notification, but there wasn't any and I was 80% certain that I had the right date. When I searched for her profile, I realised why there wasn't a birthday notification - there wasn't any birthday listed on it! And so, here I am today reporting on the outcome of this social experiment.

It was pretty surprising that certain people whom I'm not too close with, remembered my birthday (and perhaps the FB friend update feed did do its part too). Previously, I've always wondered whether the tonnes of FB birthday greetings you'd get were all empty wishes just because your name was listed in the birthday notification column (as I'm also guilty of issuing these frivolous birthday wishes from time to time). At times I feel that FB has made friendship so virtual and physically disconnected. Your friends on FB are not necessarily your friends in person, eventhough you've met them face-to-face before.

However, I've found that most of my dearest friends used other means (besides FB) to connect with me. SMS, e-mails, Skype and two trickily calling me out for dinner! hahaha... And although it wasn't a "one big noisy party" thing, I'm very touched that I was able to spend quality time with intimate groups of friends and family these past few days.

It all started on Saturday, when YC arranged a dinner meetup with BC, Jac and BY. We ended up at Delicious, One Utama and for some reason (perhaps too much chocolate), it turned into a "LL" night! hahaha... Everyone was talking and acting crazy! And at the end of the night, they surprised me with a chic necklace/earring set and YC got me a book which I've been hesitating to buy (because I was waiting for someone to lend it to me! haha).

Then on Monday night, my best coursemate buddy from university days dated me out. We had a pancake dinner at Paddington House of Pancakes. I never knew they had such great food (athough a bit pricey for their serving portion). Later, we had iced chocolate at Chocolate Lounge (my treat.. hehe) and talked and talked until it was almost 11pm. It's amazing how we can easily talk past 12am whenever I meet up with her, and the fact that she just got married and that hasn't changed her is even more amazing! She's really one of the most 'high-achiever-but-down-to-earth' persons I've come to know.

And then today. Mom gave me something that I really do not deserve. I think I will return it to her when the time is right. As for the moment, I need it in order to get "something" done. Time will reveal what this "something" is.

A delightful miracle happened today. Last week, I'd discovered my parents had a bulk of Citibank points which had accumulated without them even realising. Siezing the opportunity, I volunteered to check out what we could redeem with the points we had. It was a choice between a Nokia smartphone and a Nikon camera (well, actually it was what I felt most appealing in the catalogue... hehe). Anyway, somehow or another, I got my way and we decided on the camera! (No, I did not twist their arms and demand that we take the camera). So here comes the miracle part... After placing the redemption order through phone-banking  at almost 11pm (and which the Citibank girl provided really friendly service - good example of what the service industry should be like, unlike our friends in Streamyx and SenQ), we were told that delivery will take place after 14 days - which would have been middle of next week. However, before I could even break for lunch today, dad called and said the camera was here! Just in time (J.I.T haha) and dad said it can be considered as my birthday present! :)

Later on, Ah Yee texted me that Uncle wanted to "belanja" me tonight. I was really touched, almost bawled right there in the middle of the office! However, I had already made plans to watch Sherlock Holmes with a friend (this year I'm maximising my privileges - for the first time I claimed my free GSC movie pass!). In the end I decided to go out for supper with them. I felt like I was collecting presents today! First it was my colleague - she left something on my desk. Then Ah Yee and Uncle brought a Perlini's paper bag and a shoe box into the car when they hopped in. The necklace and heels were really nice! Just in time for my friend's wedding dinner this Saturday! haha

Gosh, I feel a bit guilty for not spending time with my parents today. At the moment, I can't recall ever not having a birthday family dinner together. But today was great! And I praise God for it!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Biawak Visits The Gas Station

Yesterday night, mum and I had a hysterical screaming session in the car after pumping petrol at the BHP station near our home. Mum was reversing the car from the pump kiosk to drive over to the air pump (for tyres) at one end of the petrol station.

Then I saw something dark and long with a swishing thick tail "climbing" the floor towards a car which was filling petrol right next to us. The man quickly stepped up on to the tiled kiosk curb whilst holding the pump nozzle! Turns out it was a BIAWAK! (monitor lizard) I bet that man was shitting-in-his-pants-nervous! hahaha but the biawak decided to scoot under the car and cross over to another small car nearby.

I don't know what happened then because mum and I were busy scream-laughing and maneuvering the car to the air pump kiosk. Apparently the two men filling petrol into their car tanks heard us and were staring amusedly at us, not knowing whether to keep a poker face on or start laughing.

Well, the biawak then decided to try getting a free meal from the convenience store at the petrol station. The poor thing didn't know that there was a wall of glass separating him from all the packaged goodies in the store and kept knocking his head at the locked glass door. Or perhaps he knew about the glass and was just knocking as a means to ask to go in? Anyway, the two BHP staff on overnight duty came to the glass door and tried to gesture it to go away. It did.

The biawak started "climbing" our way - towards us! We started screaming again and I told mum to drive away and don't open the door. The last I looked, the BHP guys were laughing at us too!

Thankfully, the station has two air pump kiosks, so we drove to the other one and did what we had to do and went home.

What an experience! I never knew monitor lizards still existed in a highly populated/developed area.

I guess I AM a Gen Yer Indeed!

I thought I was different, but I guess I'm not. Read this Star Biz article and you'll see (if you are a Generation Yer). I've reproduced it here, in case they take it down in the future:

Top 10 ways to get rid of Gen Yers in your office

Deloitte Insight - By LIM PHUI CHENG

GENERATION Y – a perpetual hot topic. How to attract them, retain them, put up with them? Or that one solution that tempts many but no one wants to say out loud: Get rid of them altogether, and save yourself a lot of headaches.
Much research has been done on Gen Yers and what makes them tick. Using those findings as a basis, let’s look at how to get rid of them.
1. Ban Facebook, Twitter and all other social media websites. While not a panacea for clearing your office of Gen Yers, this is a good place to start. A survey done by Deloitte shows that some teens consider lack of social networking at work a significant detriment in choosing a workplace.
2. Don’t let them work from home. Or anywhere that’s not the office. Gen Ys value and almost expect flexible schedules. Not letting them work from home – or anywhere other than the office – is a sure way to frustrate them.
3. Don’t tell them why their work matters, or how it will be used. Everyone appreciates knowing the value his work adds, especially Gen Y. One Gen Y in a focus group pointed out that they are constantly “looking for a sense of the bigger picture”.
4. Give them as much mundane and repetitive work as possible. Gen Yers believe they can learn quickly, take on significant responsibility and make major contributions far sooner than older generations think they can. Personal development is usually a high priority for them. Assigning them mundane work is therefore an irritant in both the short and long term, especially if you can combine it with No. 3 above.
5. Tell them off for not working 100% of the time in the office. Technological advances have broken down the disconnection between working hours and non-working hours. With round-the-clock email and demands for answers, many Gen Y knowledge workers feel they are effectively on call 24/7.
Consequently, they believe that they need to take more breaks throughout the day, often through video games, iPods or YouTube. Tell them that they’re not paid to play around during company time whenever you see them goofing off in the office – even if they worked till midnight last night.
6. Evaluate them on the number of hours they stay in the office a day, rather than the quality or quantity of work they produce. Combine this with No. 2 and No. 5 for extra impact.
7. Never praise them or thank them for putting in the extra effort. Gen Ys are willing to work hard but within reason. Asking them to put in time and/or effort they see as unreasonable and/or unnecessary is guaranteed to irritate them. Don’t forget you can rub some salt into the wound by giving them no praise or recognition whatsoever, or acting as if their extra effort was run of the mill.
8. Give them anything but transparency. Gen Y came of age in a world of layoffs and corporate scandals, fostering a belief that businesses in general value their own financial gains above everything else, and that business talk about the importance of people is largely insincere.
One Gen Y in a focus group commented: “We are looking to be loyal to an employer if that employer will be loyal to us, but we don‘t think business operates that way today.”
Utilise this scepticism by making promises you never deliver on or even address again. If they can even tell you made any, under the layers of fluff.
9. Tell them work-life balance is a fantasy only held by the ambitionless. One survey found that almost 90% of Gen Yers have either a primary focus on family, or they divide their focus between work and family. They favour family and personal time over the rewards that usually accompany increased job responsibility.
Now, this is a golden opportunity; pile on the hours, while telling them that eventually they’ll grow up and realise that they’ll have to prioritise their career just to make a living.
10. Use these phrases as often as possible: “Do it because I said so.” “That’s the way we’ve always done it around here.” “You have to pay your dues.” “You young people don’t understand working life.”
Gen Yers hate being disrespected. They have been raised to feel valuable and very positive about themselves…and to question authority. Send them the message that you expect them to respect you due to your higher rank alone.
Once you’ve successfully cleared all Gen Ys out of your office, and hopefully deterred any other potentials from applying, sit back and relax. You’ve managed to save yourself a lot of time, trouble and headaches, in the short term. In the long term, as the workforce ages and older generations retire, you may experience a problem.
The truth of the matter is that Gen Y is simply too large to ignore, both as workers and consumers. Companies that don’t figure out how to harness this growing resource are likely to find themselves at a distinct disadvantage, not only in the talent market, but in the broader market as well.
Effectively attracting, managing and retaining Gen Y certainly poses a challenge, especially while taking care to cater to the rest of your workforce. However, research has shown that all generations basically want and value the same things.
The difference is that priorities, expectations and behaviours may differ noticeably. With a little creative thinking, and an open mind from all employees, organisations can find solutions that appeal to all generations.
For instance, coaching and/or mentoring arrangements support Gen Yers’ desire to learn and develop, while giving older generations an opportunity to contribute and feel valued. Other programmes such as flexible work arrangements appeal to not just Gen Y, but also baby-boomers considering sabbaticals and Gen Xers who value flexitime and telecommuting.
The most important question to ask yourself is not “how should I manage Generation Y?” but rather, “how can I make my company a great place for all generations to work?”
● The writer is a consultant with Deloitte Malaysia’s human capital consulting practice.

Thursday, January 21, 2010


If you want to eat with your friend earlier, then tell me so that I can arrange my own dinner. For some reason, you decided not to tell me and so every week I have to eat alone while you two look on. I feel hurt by your insensitivity. I feel like telling you to just meet me there so that I don't need to waste my time and petrol to travel half way home just so that all three of us can go in one car. Insensitive. And you're not even aware of it.

Maybe it's best to follow someone's attitude. Absence makes his/her presence more valuable.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

What's with all the Weddings?

Everyday when I log into Facebook, I see someone's been tagged in someone else's wedding photos or someone is announcing their engagement or someone has posted up their pre-wedding photos or someone had a bridal photoshoot just for fun (???). What's up with that?

I'm approaching that time in life where peers are settling down... In fact, in 2 weeks time, I'll be attending my first peer wedding dinner - one of my best friends from university! :)

Monday, January 11, 2010

Itchy Hand... Now You Pay!!!

Shit! I always do these stupid stuffs... I was meddling around trying out new blog themes... and I didn't save my original template! Now I'm stuck with remnants of the new theme integrated with my old theme!!!

It's 3.30am and I can't get it to look like it used to!?! Sob sob sob... Looks like I'll have to use the new theme then... will need to do some tweaking though... oh no! Another round of trial and error CSS... Shit Shit Shit!!! =(

Friday, January 08, 2010


My brain is pounding from reading about all the bad news. Why do people harbour so much hate? Can't they think properly before they act? What is this country coming to?

Acting recklessly and not even bothered to enlighten themselves of what the true issue is here. This is fanaticism! They say they're acting in the name of their God, but is it alright then to sin in the name of their God? Hacking. Arson. Vandalism. Is this really what their religion teaches? I doubt so. Although I am not of their faith, but I believe all religion teaches to be good. If it teaches otherwise, then something is seriously wrong.

There is no boundary separating politics, religion and racial supremacists. The brainwashing has been so thorough that the people can't even differentiate now. What is this country coming to?

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Rejoicing Today!

Today, 3 wishes of mine came to pass! Perhaps wishes may not be such an appropriate word to use, more of prayers/wants...

Due to last minute gelling of certain travel plans, I had to approach my boss to request for an extraordinary leave. I was really worried since the night before when I was briefed of the plans and had planned to offer working from wherever I am (if he said NO). On top of that, I suddenly realised that I'd forgotten to add in the ICSA exam dates - which would imply that the leave had to be prolonged! Although I didn't tell anyone, I was praying like a nervous nut while driving all the way to work. And honestly, I was in a state of serious doubt of whether my request would be granted (God, forgive me of little faith!).

It was peculiar that my boss came in early today, as these past few weeks he has been really extremely busy with meetings outside office. And when I finally garnered the courage to Skype him requesting a meeting with him, he was free and willing! I can just imagine what he thought I wanted to meet him for - resignation? hahaha... but no, I just stated the situation and after some stalling comments about procedure (I think he was thinking it over), he said it should be FINE! And well, he did say something else... which is P&C at the moment, and which leads me to my second prayer answered!

Some may know I've been having moments of directionless-ness these past few months about my career. I was torn between personal interest, money, gaining experience and sitting in my comfort zone. I've been praying for direction and was even prayed for by my Alpha group leader months ago. What my boss told me today sort of settled the money and gaining experience issues I had. Praise the Lord! However, the plans have not been set in stone yet, so I'm hoping it will come to pass soon enough!

The third wish was a silly one. I wanted a table calendar for 2010. And whoever I asked, also wanted one! Then lo and behold, my supervisor comes into office and distributes table calendars to everyone! Yahoo!

It's a good day today! Very much blessed!! =)

Monday, January 04, 2010

Sudden Death

About two weeks ago, a Vietnamese foreign worker died of a heart attack in a restaurant in SS2, Petaling Jaya. He was 22. He was planning to celebrate the culmination of the long weekend off in my hair stylist's home the next day. He died with a friend in the same room, who was oblivious to his last struggle for breath because that friend was listening to music. By the time they noticed he had died, the body was blue and in the state of rigor mortis with his arms lifted above his head in apparent struggle. He was planning to go back home after his contract was up.

It's sad how death can come at such a young age with no prior tell-tale signs of disease. And to die all alone in a foreign country, only to be sent home to the family in a box as part of the plane's cargo makes it all the more worse. :'(

My Heart 'Gushes' at the Sound of Music

Those who've read L.M. Montgomery books will probably have come across phrases about how the "heart gushes" in a certain situation etc. Somehow I "feel" that way these days whenever I listen to certain songs! My heart "gushes" when I hear solid bass line and tasteful drum rolls paired together. Somehow, lead or rhythm guitar don't make my ears prick up as such. So much so that it makes me want to learn to play bass or drums (although I do have the facilities at home... hmmm...).

If I were a heavy metal junkie, that would be reason enough. But I'm not and what I'm referring to is contemporary music. Its curious why music has become so much more real to me this past year. It's like I feel so much more when listening to music than I used to. And LK's influence has spoiled me in the sense that I almost always cringe at low quality sound files (128kbps is insufficient) and too much modern synth or drum machine is just a turn-off! When I listen to a song on repeat, I start picking out any weird synthesiser fillers used such as meaningless synth violin rifts or that fake harp (harmonica) signature sound that the boy band Blue insists on using in every song (YUCK X1000)!! And it is SO ANNOYING! Its like some tic in my brain - keeps on repeating and gets emphasised by my thought process...

American pop music these days are just so plastic and squeaky clean, that I now crave for something more organic - unplugged with good acoustics (Raising Sands by Robert Plant & Alison Krauss is a thumbs up!). The modern Brit stuff are trying to either go indie/retro/lo-fi or atmospheric, but too much of it is making every song sound generic. But I guess their mastering is still not the 'oh-so-perfect pop' of the former. Gosh, I'm getting really picky ("yim chim"), I'm just glad I've not reached the level where satisfaction only comes when the recording has the warm crackle of the 33⅓ rpm LP album or the subtle-but-barely-there hiss of the ⅛ inch cassette tape.

P.S: Bet you were thinking I was talking about the musical, just from reading the title! haha... love misleading people! ;)

Friday, January 01, 2010

A new experience to start a New Year

As I'm typing this, it's around 2.30am and I've just finished eating my 'postponed' dinner. 'Postponed' because we just came back from church! Yes, this is my first time attending a Watch Night Service! I've always wanted to but was too chicken to follow someone...

Initially, that was on the day of CL's departure, we had decided to go for the celebration at Dream Centre. However, at the last minute, we decided to go back to our church because we were bringing someone else along. The road was surprisingly clear, especially on the Sprint highway and we arrived just in time, right at the moment when the congregation started singing praise & worship songs, i.e 8.30pm sharp. I didn't really look around but I think the main sanctuary was about 60-70% filled, with not many 'young people' in attendance.

Basically the order of the service began with praise & worship, followed by testimonies, a number by the choir, Holy Communion, more praise & worship, long service awards & election of the first 2 elders (it seems this is something new) and SP's message on the church's tagline/motto/vision theme for the new year.

Due to the watery eyes I'm starting to have as a result of consistent yawning bouts, I'll cut this short and say that I heard the soft thuds of the fireworks outside while we were praying. I'm guessing it's either from the KLCC area or Bangsar/Curve area.

The testimonies were uplifting - too many, till Pastor S had to "timeout" them! One young guy reminded me of my weirdo friend, from the way he talked and the things he said (saying "clap clap for us" hahaha). And then there was a young couple who'd gone through trial after trial with their baby daughter's health and to see them praising God and keeping their faith up! Wow! Amazing. Another elderly lady was cured from a 15 year cough while another sister had received multiple healing in different parts of her body throughout the year (that people started to laugh in amusement).

Surprisingly, the first person to text me a new year greeting was my industrial training supervisor! And I had saved his number as 'Mr K'. I was pretty shocked that he still remembers me - after all, it's been about 2 years and I had signed up for the wrong industrial training at the time! Later on while I was in the service, came texts from one of my very first friends - Nisha, good friend YC, form 6 uncle - PJ, sayangz Jac & JH, ex-boss and current boss... to name a few... Thankfully I had the presence of mind to put my phone on silent, if not, it would've been 'ding dong' -ing the whole night through!

OK I'm dropping off to sleep already. Post more when I've had enough shut eye time.