Monthly Archives: February 2007

Persidangan Penyelidikan Nasional (National Research Conference), INTAN Bukit Kiara, 27-28 February 2007

Update 2nd March 2007:

Arrived at KK 7pm last night on MH2662 on a B737. When I went to KL, the flight number was also 4 digits, but the plane was an A330. All these while I thought that the big planes have small flight numbers – how I was proven wrong.

Taxis do not like to go to INTAN Bukit Kiara because of the lack of opportunity to get passengers on the way out. How I did it: I struck a deal with the taxi driver (En Ismail Rahman) I met on the morning of the first day. Got his handphone number. Had to pay a few ringgit extra in fare, but since it’s claimable it’s still worth it, rather than agonising over how to get a taxi. I did ask around for people with whom I might be able to tag along, but did not get anyone suitable.

While at PJ I had the opportunity to try Bukhara Briyani at Syed’s restaurant. I spent quite some time at the nearby MMORPG cybercafe. It was one of the best cybercafe’s I’ve ever used – spacious, well-managed, clean, nice design, nice chair, nice earphones, big LCD screen. Worth the RM2 per hour charge.

The nearest LRT (Putra) to PJ is Taman Jaya, which is about 20 minutes leisurely walk to PJ De Inn. KL Sentral is a quick 5 stations away and costs RM1.60 one way. Very fast, no fuss, no jam. My only grouse is that the walkway from Taman Jaya to PJ De Inn is not properly done – at some stretches the kerb is nonexistent or uneven.

More trivia: If I heard it correctly, JPA spends a total of RM900 million a year on training. This includes pre-service and post-service trainings.
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I have just completed the above. It was held at INTAN Bukit Kiara, near Petaling Jaya. The speakers, mostly local academicians, focused mainly on statistical methods in conducting research.

I attended it as part of the requirements for JPA Master’s course scholarship recipients.

For 2007, there are about 300 scholarship recipients for Masters level courses, and 60 for PhD level. I did not manage to find any other Sabahan :-(

During breaktimes, I asked around and found that as expected, most of the recipients will be doing their courses locally, but those choosing courses not available in Malaysia will be selected to go overseas. For example, this one guy who’ll be doing some kind of Veterinary Management in Australia. Also I met some guys who just came back from the UK after doing their PhDs on rubber matters, their scholarship provided by the Malaysian Rubber Board. As for IT-related course, I only managed to find one guy: he’s planning to go for an Information Security course at a local uni.

In my case, I applied for overseas but was given local. Definitely the course I was thinking about is widely available in the country. I was wondering, what kind of justification do I need to give if I really wanted to go overseas. What kind of IT/Comp Sc courses are not available in Malaysia?

As for the local universities, all local public universities are accepted by JPA, but 3 private universities are also accepted:

* Multimedia University (MMU)
* Universiti Tenaga Nasional (Uniten); and
* Universiti Teknologi Petronas (UTP): this one not suitable for me cos all are related to petroleum engineering;

I am targeting at least one of these local private universities, and of course several IPTAs, including UTM, USM and UMS.

Next month I have to be back there again for a month and half for a Quantitative Analysis course.

Will be going back to KK tomorrow.

MINT Credit Cards

MINT, the UK personal finance company, has on offer 2 credit cards:

The MINT Credit Card is a normal credit card to do debt transfer and general purchasing. Introduced in 2003, you can choose either the standard version or the MC2 card, a funky-shaped card (bottom right-hand corner removed). Apparently this shape change has not been done in the UK for almost 40 years. Both offer 0% interest on balance transfers and purchases until December 2007.

The MINT Gift Card is perfect to give as a gift: it’s a prepaid credit card. Therefore, instead of giving a loved one a gift that he or she does not want, why not simply give him this card, and (s)he can choose whatever gift (s)he likes? This card is relatively new, having been launched in September 2006.

Qualification: MINT credit cards are open for UK residents aged 18+ with minimum annual earnings of £10,000.

nationsfinance.co.uk: the personal finance site

Nationsfinance UK is a personal finance site that offers information on best deals available for everything you ever wanted to know to handle your personal finance needs including credit cards (who doesn’t have them these days?), saving accounts, mortgages, insurance (home, car and travel) and many more. This information is arranged in tables for easy comparison.

Nationsfinance does the hard work for you – they have formed alliances with the UK’s major financial institutions to make that happen.

In addition to comparing the products offered by the various financial institutions, they also give information-packed latest articles on personal finance which are updated daily.

As if that is not enough, you will also be given free access to its personal finance guides.

Check them out.

How to choose a financial advisor

There are many financial advisors around, and as expected, all of them claim to be the best. The truth is, even the best ones might not be the best for you. The reason is that each of us have special needs. For starters, different people have different financial situations. A simplistic look into other people’s financial situation would not tell the whole story. A seemingly affluent millionaire could be surprisingly worse off than a middle-class salaryman.

So how do you choose the right which financial advisor for you? The first thing to do is to review your finances and decide whether you need a financial advisor in the first place. We might think we know best and therefore don’t need to engage the services of a financial advisor, but definitely we would not have as much knowledge on financial matters as someone who’s had such training and experience.

Once you decide that you do need a financial advisor, the next step is to have in mind want you want him to do for you. A financial advisor can guide you on a wide array of money matters, including investment decisions, and managing debt. Some would have specialist skill in one or more areas. Therefore you need to identify your real needs before consulting an advisor on them. You might need to select an advisor who is an expert in one particular field, rather than someone who knows a lot, but only in a general sense.

Why Linda AF2 and Felix AF3 websites shut down?

If Linda and Felix are really serious about their fanbase, their websites would still be up today. As it is, both have shut down in the last few days. Attempts to go to Linda’s site or Felix’s site will redirect to Kadus Entertainment website instead.

One cannot expect the fans to continue maintaining the website. After the honeymoon period is over, after the initial euphoria dies down, hard reality sets in. It costs time and money to do a good job. I would go as far as saying that it’s a full time job, you need at least one person on it. And that person should be on the artiste’s payroll.

Not all are like that, some others are still maintaining their presence, although the same lack of maintenance culture is glaring: one claims to be an official website, but could not provide an updated schedule, and the last press clipping was in October – hello, it’s been 4 months! The other one’s last news update was in 2005! Where has she disappeared?

Our artistes need a paradigm shift. Western celebrities break big news on their websites first, like Van Halen with their reunion announcement and Pamela Anderson with her break-up news.

Don’t tell me our celebrities are busier than the American megastars?

MS ISO 9001:2000 Compliance Audit: we made it!

Valentine’s Day 2007: after a nerve-racking wait on the third and final day of our compliance audit, where we had to wait from 10.30am to 1.30pm for them to do their report, the closing meeting was finally held at 2pm. The result was that we’re recommended to get the certification, on condition that action on the five minor nonconformances (NCs) and several observations are taken within 2 months. Then they are coming back here within a year to followup.

So, in the meantime, we could heave a sigh of relief and high-five each other. No thinking of the followup meeting first, that can come after CNY.

All those months of hard work from the team had been worth it.

eCards at eGreetings.com

The in-thing now – it has been a while really, is paperless greetings, of which one popular method is selecting virtual cards (ecards) on the web before sending them off. As opposed to traditional means of sending out greetings, they can reach the other side of the world almost instantaneously.

Egreetings.com offers customisable free funny eCards for all occasions, including birthdays, valentines and more.

They offer a free 1 month trial membership – that enables you to send unlimited ecards. A 12-month full subscription costs USD13.99.

So why should you be a member when you can easily reregister after the trial membership is over? The big reasons is that you can schedule your card to arrive on a future date. That’s a little hard to do with traditional cards.

Examples of images available are as follows:

Not your usual expectation of what Cupid looks like

For this part of the world, one a little on the risque side

Still not too late for this one perhaps

Tamparuli’s piece of history: the plaque located near the market & hanging bridge

It’s been there for more than 46 years. I took this pic last month.

You could surmise that there was a flood on or around 18th May 1960.

I stand to be corrected here, but I think the worst flood ever in Tamparuli was in January 1999. And the second worst is in

1960 (or was it 1962). Anyhow, the river must have been swollen, raging, whatever. Did you see the river a few days after 5th

January 1999? It’s absolutely frightening, it’s at least 10 feet above the bridge and so very swift. Nobody, I mean NOBODY,

not even the World and Olympic swimming champion Michael Phelps or Ian Thorpe will ever be able to swim across.

Even if it’s not flooding, you should know that rivers are known to “eat” people once a year.

MS ISO 9001:2000 Compliance Audit

Our department is currently on its 2nd day of compliance audit, conducted by 2 gentlemen from SIRIM, En Rahim  and YM Tengku Aidil.

I as Lead Internal Auditor was audited this morning for 90 minutes. I like to see things in a positive light, so I would describe my audit session simply as a great learning experience.

Our internal auditing team, comprising of 13 people are allowed, even encouraged to observe how these experienced external auditors do their work. Myself and 2 other colleagues followed them in most of the audit sessions involving several divisions and 2 KSITs.

Tomorrow, the last day, will be D-Day: we will know whether we’re getting the certification or not.

Even if we do get it, celebration time is only temporary for they’re going to come back within one year to do surveillance audit. Later, in 2009, they’ll come back again for reassessment.

megaglobe.com: to try this yet another search engine

Now in beta, apparently, Megaglobe is going to be launched pretty soon.

Megaglobe claims to be one better than other search engines, including Mr G, with prioprietary technology dubbed “Pay Per Valid Click,” which claims to protect advertisers from invalid clicks. And as all advertisers know, click fraudsters are real money leeches.

It claims to be available in 45 languages. 45? Does Google even have that many?

To add further credibilty to its claims, Megaglobe is has been accepted into the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB), which members also include luminaries such as Google, Yahoo! and MSN.

In addition, it claims to have 310 URLs and most major currencies (to be more specific: 50) will be supported for its advertisements and “sp*ns*red spots.”

For those interested, you can get beta testing codes by writing to them via press@megaglobe.com.