Friday, February 27, 2009

Dear Malaysian Politicians


I got a surprise in the daily.

Truth to be told, I'm numb to all the mud flinging, nude photographs, fence jumping, resignation, and dirty games in Malaysian Politics. I've stopped reading Tun's blog, I've stopped reading RPK's blog. And soon, I'll stop to care who rules this country because since March 8,2008 election, PKR has failed to give me the impression that they are any different then BN.

But then again, who are we kidding? They are politicians, and politics IS their job. Coupled with the natural instinct of survival and to stay in office, any smear campaign, violence, intimidation will be used in desperate moments. Malaysian politics has yet to mature, and it's a long journey ahead.

=======================content of the open letter/advertisment=======================
A letter of appeal to Malaysians Politicians.

Dear Malaysian Politicians,

Please stop the power chase, call for a truce and focus on the economy.

I do not claim to speak on behalf of all Malaysians, but I have strong convictions that many share my sentiments.

Our concern today is not who rules the country or heads the state governments but the looming bad economy.

Whether Barisan Nasional or Pakatan Rakyat leads, it is meaningless if Malaysians have no job to go to, no money to pay rent and no means to put food on the table.

I am a business owner, like other business owners and managers of corporations I have a responsibility to ensure people under my care and payroll continue to have jobs and a decent income to take home. We work hard and willing to go the extra mile to make sure our nation not only survive this crisis but come out stronger and wiser. We need your help.

Let me explain. I am in the business of Training, Development and Consultancy and have 20 people in my team.

Saedah is 42. She keeps the office clean and helps organise the training rooms. She has four children and her husband is unemployed. She was first hired on a part time basis, because she is very hard working and has a great attitude, we offered her a full time job to help provide a stable income for her family. Even then, when her third child started school this year, it was a struggle for her to buy new school uniforms and other necessities. Saedah lives on a ‘kais bulan, makan bulan’ basis, so, if she is jobless, her tap runs dry.

Samsuri is 27 years old. He lives with his sister and her family in a low cost government flat in Sunway. He does our despatch, helps with various clerical works and occasionally acts as a driver. During the first week at zubedy, we learned that he not only did not have money to buy new clothes and shoes for work, he had no money for lunch. Like Saedah, if he has no job, his tap runs dry too.

Alicia in Client Servicing turns 26 this year. She lives with her dad who is 71 years old and retired. Her mom passed away when she was little. Alicia is a hard-working team member, has a gentle caring outlook and fun to be with. (We like to poke fun at her as she blushes easily). Last May her dad went through a major operation, thank God he has recovered well. Alicia needs a job, both for herself and her dad.

Sudesh, 38, is one of our facilitators. When his father passed away last year, he moved back and lives with his mother in Seremban. He shuttles between Kuala Lumpur and Seremban daily, leaving home sometimes as early as 4 in the morning and returning late at night. He is no stranger to hard work and sacrifice, he knows what he needs to do to survive and to care for his mother, but he too needs a job.

Like fellow Malaysians, every one of us in zubedy needs employment, those that live from hand to mouth like Saedah and Samsuri and others like Alicia and Sudesh with family to care for. We Malaysians need the Malaysian economy to be strong. We need you, our leaders, to work hard and to work together to make our economy viable.

So this is my plea.

Pakatan Rakyat, please stop your attempts to take over the federal government and persuade BN’s lawmakers to join you. Stop all legal proceedings, no more 916 and let go, just let go. The nation can wait till the next general elections if they want change. By doing so, Malaysians will see your party as caring, unselfish and gracious and give you their support in the next elections.

Barisan Nasional, please stop any attempts to take over PR states and win over PR’s lawmakers. You have proven your point with Perak. The nation can wait for the next general elections if they want your party. Focus all your talent, energy and hard work in steering the country out of an economic downturn. By doing so, Malaysians will see your party as caring, unselfish and smart and give you their support in the next elections.

BN and PR! Call for a truce. Get together and compromise. Someone has to give in. Or has hate consumed your heart till it blinds you? You can do it. You have enough intelligent people between you. I am sure you can find solutions. Take the nation to heart. That is why you are in politics in the first place.

Focus on the people.

Focus on the economy.

Anas Zubedy
Managing Director
Zubedy (M) Sdn Bhd
=======================content of the open letter/advertisment=======================

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

A Malaysian Undergratuate

I came across Times Higher Education World University Ranking news article (THEWUR) and it as brought up memories during my University Days. I still remembered that segment of my life, and I appreciated higher eduction to some extent. I was in second year when University Malaya (UM) ranked top 100 (placed 80something i think) and the administration celebrated with banner placed at every light post in the campus. But it was short lived when THE realized that the earlier scoring was wrong, and based on new scoring system, UM has dropped rank below 200.

Malaysian politicians then bombarded the unfair ranking system and claimed that its very western biased. Some even asked to totally ignore THEWUR. This got me thinking, why ignore it? A ranking system is up there for a purpose, a yardstick to measure progress and true potential. Its like national examinations every students have to go through, UPSR, PMR, SPM and STPM (for form 6). Without a measuring tool, we won't know if a student is capable for a certain job function. Likewise you don't get doctors who failed human anatomy, or pilots who don't know how to read maps and plot flight routes, or engineers who don't know maths.

Anyways, the main reason I wrote this is to reflect upon my university life. Especially the people that surrounds me, undergraduates/students. I've got to admit that the first year of uni was a culture shock to me. It's all fend for yourselves/dog eat dog, and the amount of discipline one need to have to not miss a class, and handing up assignments on time, because lecturers aren't going to nag. There are way too many students (approx 1200) for 02'/03' intake science faculty. And everyone has to go through the same classes as foundation. After completing the compulsory courses for the first two semesters, we were given our major. No one told me that foundation is that hard. I've to compete with kiasus who hog all the reagents at the lab table, and the very same kiasu who hogged the Bunsen burner the following lab class. They played tough, I played dirty, I copy their work.

When I got my major, it wasn't what I initially planned, but I later found out that Environmental Science isn't a bad course and found it very relevant as ISO14000 was the talk of the industry by the time nearing my graduation. The group of people that I'll be spending the rest of my major with are totally different from the competitive bunch that I've met in foundation. This new group of people are still kiasu, but not competitive and would chart the easiest course of every assignment. They are probably kiasi. For example, one particular class, Critical Thinking, where students are thought commonsense, problem solving and interaction. I LOLed at this course because we are suppose to learn all this during our 11 years of formal education.
Anyways, there is this assignment which I remembered till today, which is a mock job interview. Students will draw lots to be interviewer and interviewee. Before the interview, we were asked what job to be interviewing for. I suggested a pyrotechnician, something that's totally out of the ordinary and will definitely stimulate the thinking capacity of an interviewee on why he/she is interested in a dangerous job that makes things explode/burn or anything that goes boom. Unfortunately the entire class voted for a post as a college lecturer, something which has been done over and over and fail proof.
Two things can be said for critical Thinking class of 03' (or was it 04'??) they severely lacked creativity as the interview went on extremely dully. Like, general questions on job scope, pay and benefits. Emphasis on the word general, nothing specific was asked. No 2, Very kiasi, choose the easiest job interview for a graduate. No wonder they were too afraid to try something as exciting as a pyrotechnician, heck I won't even mind if the job interview is for a street cleaner, how often do you see a graduate interview for a street cleaner?

Another observation during my later years in university, the students are so accustomed to being spoofed that any class that doesn't revolve around copying notes on the screen, or lecturers reading aloud their hand notes. The students will shrivel up in their seats during Q&A sessions or when the lecturer asks a student to explain an article for reading assignment. Henceforth my use of the word student instead of undergraduates because I see no significant difference in behavior between middle school students and a supposedly undergraduates. And I kid you not that UM lecturers do read off slides for an entire 30 minutes out of their 45-50 minute lecture time.
Dr Ghufran, Dr Ismail Mat, Dr Azarae, has left quite an impression as they are the said few who does not spoon-feed students. I enjoyed their class entirely, but not for the rest of the students, especially in Dr Ghufran class where it consist entirely of lecturer-student interaction (since his class has less then 30 students) and his reading materials are given through his online portal a week before class. He will start the class with "what do you understand from the article?" and I will always be the first to speak after him. There was once he asked me to give others a chance, but most of the time there weren't any volunteers, until he start calling out names. Its easy to spot who has been doing their homework and who did not, especially when no one asked anything regarding the article. Another thing in particular that I liked is that he uses Science Journals for his reading assignments, again, something rarely practiced by other lecturers which normally consist of notes written by the lecturer himself or snippets and quotes from reference book. Reading a Science Journal on the other hand requires referencing work by checking the listed reference at the end or footnotes. Big bonus if you take a step further by comparing with other similar studies. Not a hard task since being a UM library member automatically gives access to Science Direct online journal, and lets not forget the mighty know-it-all, Google.

I'm not saying that everyone in UM is like that, but a majority of them are. Many has yet to get accustom multiple sourced reference then to rely 100% on handouts. Then again, it's hard to kick the old habit as learning has always been a one way traffic, teacher-talks-students-shut-up-and-listen since preschool.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Food for Thought

What is the one thing that you are unwilling to sacrifice during hard times, like the current economic recession? I've already cut spending on two of my favourite hobbies, 1/6 military figures and on my car. The last action figure bought was mid last year, and i've put on hold my custom oil catch tank along with a list of suspension and powertrain improvements which i planned to install into my lethargic ride.

I can't stop spending on food (i guess the title spoiled the suspense)


I'm a big fan of beef, especially steaks. It's a monthly ritual to visit steak house like victoria station (pictured), and my current favourite, peppered beef at Tony Romas.


Lobster at Victoria Station. Though not a monthly affair, i hardly miss one to two visits per year.


In addition to pisang goreng, vadai is now part of my tea time snack.


Fast Food! It's fast, convenient and cheaper then steaks. With their current lunch time promotion Mc Value Meal of RM6.25(after tax), a sinful lunch has never been more affordable.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

House Hunt: Menjalara18

I've been thinking about getting a place of my own since mid last year. There are several places of interest near my workplace and one of them is Menjalara18. The price tag is above my budget of quarter million Ringgit, but it's a fine place none the less. And it's almost completed too (Malaysia has a history of abandoned projects, regardless housing or commercial).






I liked the design Type B allot. Not only is it bigger, I can utilize the room opposite the master bedroom as a walk-in-wardrobe.



Construction Progress

might visit the sales office this weekend.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Proton MPV: Exora!

Proton MPV has a name, Exora.


Named after the Ixora flower.

Priced at 80k, it's definitely a steal, it's the same price of a 2009 honda city (thanks to the anti-competition taxation system). I'm not an MPV person, but it does interest me as a commercial vehicle for my business. Looks big enough for medium load delivery where I do not require a rental lory. Vans (even privately owned) gets harassed frequently by the police and JPJ. MPV are least targetted. Furthermore, the Proton Exora looks rather low profile, doesn't attract much attention and it's actually decent looking, unlike older models such as the Juara.

Hope to see it soon in the showroom.

source

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Banana Talk in Google



My 2 month old blog is finally listed in google. I'd have to say that I'm quite impressed that it didn't take long to get noticed in google. My old friendster blog was 3 years old before showing up on the google radar, but then again, how many people will actually google for Banana Talk?

Happy Economic Stimulus Day


If the world is heading towards a recession, it's definitely not showing on this day. Not only were the price of roses as more then doubled, but the florist was packed with orders, there's hardly place to walk to collect my bouquet. So was Victoria Station Restaurant. Other then the expected customers of young dating couples, there are also family gatherings at the fine dining-ish restaurant.

Happy Valentines Day

Friday, February 13, 2009

Satria Neo CPS Launched!



The Neo CPS is finally here! I was invited for the launching but I had work priorities. Plus there are more deserving club members, especially those active ones who kept the club alive. Anyways... checkout the review at paultan.org

First looks, it looks GREAT! I like it how the new bodykit compliments the lighter color, especially iridescent white, the same color as my current car.
It's 10k cheaper then the Neo R3 (which is at very limited production) doesn't comes with the fancy dandy suspension setup like the R3 or Recaro interior. Not a big deal since the main difference in suspension setup is R3 springs which cost RM500 for the entire set, camber and toe settings that cost RM100 in labor fees, and 17" advanti rims with performance rubbers that probably cost RM5k.
It's also 10k more expensive then the M-line model, my current ride. With that amount, I can spend it on a 4G92 transplant, which is way better then the CPS. According to paultan they have 'fixed' the oversteer issues as the new CPS has different front and rear track as compared to the old Neo. I already like how the current Neo handles, especially with the tendency to easily induce braking oversteer for some sideway action. Understeer is so boring. Yes, I'm sounding like a sour grape.

Update: Testdrive Review by paultan.org

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Chap Goh Mei

Chap Goh Mei (the last day of Chinese New Year) is the Chinese version of valentines where single and available ladies will toss tangerines (with their names and contact number written on it) into the sea/river/lake or any water bodies that that the organizers choose as venue for such event.

Last Monday night sweetheart and I went to the Taman Jaya Lake (near Amcorp Mall) where such festival was held. The first immediate reaction was it's not as crowded as last year. I wasn't armed with any decent camera for night shots, so no pictures for this post.

I observed the joyful atmosphere of desperate and eager single guys fishing the tangerines out of the lake with makeshift fishing nets on extended pole. Then I saw a small boy, holding his father's hand and tossed tangerines into the lake. Nothing was written on it. A wicked thought crept into my mind.

Chap Goh Mei Grinch

Here's my thoughts on how to add into the fun.

Write "Terima Kasih, Sila Cuba Lagi" on the tangerines and toss them in.
When I was still schooling, I patronize hawker stalls setup in front the school gates, it's illegal, but it is them who sells 'Tikam' a game of luck. For 10 cents I get to choose a scratch card. Upon scratching, it'll reveal my prize (normally cash) but most of the time I didn't win anything, and the loosing card were written "Terima Kasih, Sila Cuba Lagi", Thank you, please try again.

Advertisement/spammers.
Chap Goh Mei reveals untapped marketing opportunities. Have your company logo, name and contact number printed onto the tangerines and then toss them in. Loan sharks, penis enlargement, escort services and "Ubat Lelaki Kuat" are the most appropriate business nature for such event.

Lastly, the lowest of the low. Bogus numbers.
Imagine, picking up a tangerine and it's written "Sally, looking for young handsome guy, call XXXXXXX" Upon dialing, instead of a lady named Sally answering, it's some random guy or worse, loan sharks, penis enlargement, escort services and "Ubat Lelaki Kuat" sellers.

I'm still here

What looks like another dry spell is actually me slogged with work, lots of manual labor in renovating the new factory. If i want things done right, best do it myself. The renovators aren't well informed about clean room standard requirements. Probably that's why I got them for cheap. This is why i now treasure my quiet time after work, resting my brain.

Nevertheless I still do read your blogs and do comment on them from time to time, other the watching CSI or Frinnge or DVD movies.

p.s. tagged wasap as in what's up

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Renewing Driving License Online

My driver's License is expiring soon (Thanks to Wai Leng for the reminder) and what lazier convenient way to renew them then an online Driving License Renewal from the JPJ portal. Upon clicking on the Online Driving Renewal button, I was brought to the following page.


Here is where driver's particulars are filled in. There's an option for delivery where an additional field will open up to fill in the address to where you want the license to be delivered. I opted for it to be delivered to my office.


The next page is the confirmation page. Double check to make sure what I ordered was correct. RM5 delivery charge and RM2 for "convenient" charges sounds fair. Although petrol price has dropped to an all time low of RM1.80 (regular), I'm using premium which cost 45 cents more, plus I really dislike crowded places, especially queues. So, a total of RM7 to avoid what I dislike getting into is a bargain for me.


Payment method. Since I do not have a myreg account, I'll have to pay by Master Card


Blank page. Seems like there are still issues with online payment system. I'm not too worried because I wasn't given the chance to key in credit card info, but such error slashed my confidence on this online payment method for government agencies.

I've made many internet purchases, paid my credit card bill and car loan installment online which went on smoothly. Even my university entrance application was done online, the very same year that the government introduced online registration for university applicants. I got the course that I wanted. But something as simple as renewing driver's license got me a blank screen.

Guess I'll have to queue up at the nearest JPJ branch for my driver's license renewal.

I HATE queues.