Monthly Archives: March 2007

Quantitative Analysis Course, Day 1, 28th March

Today is registration and icebreaking day.

Upon registration, one has to pay RM100, then it’s off to the other room for online registration.

At 9.30am, the icebreaking session started which lasted all day.

There were 76 of us, 4 from Sabah. Apparently there’s a fifth Sabahan, but at the time of writing, he hasn’t showed up yet. Among those from Sabah, predictably, I was the only one from the state civil service.

The other 3 are: Zamzam a.k.a. Zam (Tawau), Halizah Hanafiah (Tawau), an Information Systems Officer and Rohiman Rahia (Sandakan), an Admin & Diplomatic Officer.

There are 2 guys from Sarawak: Jabu anak Dugu (a town planner) and Setebin @ Roslan.

There were 2 icebreaking games in the morning.

The common self-introductions, where we were divided into groups of 10. Then the whole group made a big circle, and each small group goes into the centre, facing the big circle then introduce themselves. Once in a while the 2 very polite session facilitators (Imran and Bet) would do a “memory test”, asking a random participant to recite the names of the persons who’ve just introduced themselves. Continue reading

Quantitative Analysis Course, the arrival, 27th March

I will be in INTAN Bukit Kiara, Kuala Lumpur 27th March till 10th May for a Quantitative Analysis Course, a compulsory course for recipients of JPA’s Hadiah Latihan dlm Perkhidmatan (HLD).

My flight from KK was on 27th March. Arrived at KLIA 12.30pm. Took a taxi (cost RM66.60), arrived at INTAN Bukit Kiara 1.30pm. Traffic was light.

Accomodation

There are 2 Asramas/Hostels – Asrama Anggerik and Melur. I got the impression that Anggerik is for foreigners, and Melur, locals.I have since found out that actually there are some foreigners staying at Melur and that Anggerik is also open to locals if rooms are available. Most, if not all, of the foreigners are participants of the Malaysian Technical Cooperation Program (MTCP), which have been in existence since 1980. Shame on me for not knowing that. So, we do have something like JICA I suppose. The MTCP program will go on till end of April, so I suppose I can move to Anggerik after that, if I wanted to.

I was put up in Melur – there are a total of 200 rooms there.

Continue reading

Would we ever see a Hooters restaurant in Malaysia?

Of all the multinational restaurant chains in the world, a Hooters restaurant will have probably the toughest time breaking into Malaysia.

This American enterprise has  425 restaurants in most states in the US and 19 other countries, including 3 in Asia: China, Singapore and recently, South Korea. Next up: Israel middle of this year. In China, the 4th Hooters restaurant is going to open in Beijing in July, and they plan to have, in all, 10 restaurants there.

The controversy isn’t the food, it’s the policy of the company: targeting male customers, and an all-female waitress staff, dubbed Hooters Girls. There are 200,000 of these girls around. They are selected based on their all-round good looks. You would recognise them by their distinctive uniform: white spandex tank top with the Hooters owl logo and the location name on the front, very short orange running shorts, glossy ultra sheer suntan pantyhose, white socks, and white athletic shoes. Example below is Hooters Girl Ms Melissa Poe:

Continue reading

Linda AF2 (Malaysia) vs Patcha AF2 (Thailand)

I could not find the video below anywhere else on youtube, so it could be a rare video of Linda Nanuwil (Linda AF2) who in August 2004, days after finishing as runner-up in Akademi Fantasia 2, did her first live appearance in Sabah. The song is the emerging Kadazandusun classic “kosorou ko nopo nangku doho” (do you still remember me?). The video made the rounds almost 2 years ago. As far as I know, there is no “official version.”

Now compare that to Patcha AF2 who like Linda, finished runner-up to her country’s (Thailand) version of Akademi Fantasia. Apparently dubbed Academy Fantasia, Thailand had its second season in 2006, 2 years later than Malaysia. Here she is singing “Don’t cry for me Argentina” live with the Thailand Symphony Orchestra.

I think it’s quite a fair comparison – both are amateur videos.


Tell me who is better, Linda or Patcha?

WordPress lessons learnt

I learnt two big lessons recently on things related to wordpress:

When hosting a blog on wordpress.com, or any free blog host for that matter, read the TOS first. And don’t even think about breaking them. My piece of advice for everybody else is: don’t host your moneymaking blog at free web/bloghosts. The hammer can fall anytime. In my case, to make matters worse, I didn’t have any backup. But still I had plan C: I managed to salvage most, if not all, of my posts via google cache.

If you have your own hosting, and are running wordpress, be VERY careful with the General Options – WordPress Address and Blog Address settings. Read the documentation thoroughly before attempting to change any settings there. In fact, I think there should be a big red sentence there to warn unsuspecting wordpress newbies about this. What happened to me: I changed both settings, found they didnt work, and put back the original settings. It didn’t work. My blog lost all its formatting and I could not access the configuration panel. I followed the steps outlined in wordpress codex on how to use myphpadmin to manually change 2 fields (whose entry needs to be changed to the original blog URL) in the wp_options table, but somehow there was an error. So what I did was export the wp_options, change the 2 fields offline then import the table. Of course this time I remembered to back up the existing wp_options table first.

    Top web communities run by Sabahans

    As of now.

    I am concentrating mainly on web communities run mainly by Kadazandusuns, so if I missed anything, pls inform. I have not devised a proper requirement to make the list, only that the forums must only allow posting by registered members. Hence sites allowing anonymous posting are automatically disqualified.

    Judging from publicly viewable statistics of its forums, the most popular Sabah-based web communities could very well be the following, sorted by number of members (if that number is not available, by number of posts):

    1. Sabah Forum : members: 4319; most ever online: 51; threads: 1,291; posts: 8,638.
    2. Jebat.net : Members: 2391; most ever online: 47; threads: 406; posts: 3780.
    3. The #Kadazandusun : members: 767; threads: 1,377; posts: 20,500
    4. Guritom.com : members: 707; most ever online: 17; threads: unknown (but should be a lot judging from no of posts); posts: 54,510 [UPDATE 13th Dec 2007: according to Cicak, guritom.com is no more.
      UPDATE 15th Jan 2008: According to sunsuron, guritom is now known as socmedia.]
    5. Nuluhon.net : members: 342, most ever online: 13, threads: 199; posts: 18,498.
    6. Sabah Rhinos : members: about 600; most ever online: unknown; threads: 1,677; posts: 81,428.
    7. Kadus Entertainment : members: 3,113 [UPDATE 1st August 2008]; most ever online: unknown; threads: about 1,400 [2,417 as of 1st August 2008]; total posts: about 12,000 [21,421 as of 1st August 2008].
    8. akademifantasia.net: as far as I know, this site was established by a Sabahan. Members: 500+; most ever online: 270; threads: 354; posts: 5495
    9. Bayau.com: Members: 330; threads: 295; posts: 390

    Then there’s the Chinese-language web community sabahlife.com, of which I know very little about.

    Of course we are some way off the pace set by national-level web communities like jiwang.org which has been running for 10 years, apparently has more than 50,000 registered members, running on 5 separate domains. I took a peek just now and it had almost 400 members online, and that the forum had almost 5,000 threads and more than 80,000 posts.

    Most of these Kadazandusun-focused sites offer streaming audio. One blog that I know does is dbos-fm.blogspot.com. Other web forums like the KDCA forum do not attract many people.

    Badminton: All-England 2007: the quarter century wait is over

    Update 11th March

    My rare moment glued to the TV happened this evening, during the 2nd set of the men’s doubles final. After having been disappointed so many times by so-near-yet-so far final matches dating back from the Razif-Jalani and Soon Kit-Kim Hock days, it was indeed a strange feeling seeing China’s world number one ranked pair crack under pressure and making one too many unforced errors.

    When I saw that shuttle flying cross court to our left side of the court, I knew it was probably going to be out and with that, a quarter century of waiting would be over.

    All coaches should do what Rexy Mainaky did on the sidelines: he kept pointing to his head, telling his proteges: focus!

    The TV showed Koo (or was it Tan), turning around, saw where the shuttle landed, and erupted in ecstasy. The expression on their faces said it all. The connection back to Razif-Jalani ‘82 is now complete. Where Soon Kit-Beng Kiang-Kim Hock & Tan Fook-Wan Wah failed at the last hurdle, Kien Keat-Boon Heong unbelieveably succeeded.

    Prepare for a rapturous home welcome, just like Hafiz experienced in 2003.

    Next, the World Championships, the Olympics, the Thomas Cup and the world no.1 spot.
    **********
    When I follow newsreports about our sporting heroes, I always want to see what is it that we lack when facing challenges at the highest level. What do the others have that we don’t have?

    I’ve been doing this for years, and the answer is always the same: lack of mental toughness, the ability to persevere under immense pressure – to maintain extreme focus.

    Not lack of fitness, or fitness equipment, or luck, or skills, or determination, or even confidence – sometimes, our stars are guilty of being overconfident.

    OUM: tutorial 4: 11th March

    I’ve been a part-time tutor for OUM for 4 years (since January 2003). Every year there are 3 semesters, but I’m only involved in semester 1 (January-March) and 3 (September-November). There’s a short semester (May, 3 tutorials only instead of the usual 5) but I was never asked to work there until earlier this week where they asked me whether I’m available then – I’ve asked another friend to handle it since I think I’d be preoccupied with other things in May & June.

    I’ve handled tutorials for 2 semesters every year except the September 2006 semester where I took a break – had another project to do.

    So this is my 8th semester doing tutorials for OUM. For the last 3 semesters, including this one, they’ve been holding the tutorials at Universiti Malaysia Sabah’s campus. They’re planning to have their own building but there needs to be certain number of students before it will be approved by their HQ. I can’t remember the exact number, but something like 8,000 students. At the current rate, OUM should have that number of students in the very near future, more than any other university offering distance learning like Unitar and UiTM.

    Christian dating website

    If you’re a Christian into the online dating scene, it should be obvious that Christian singles the world over can be found on dating sites.

    In fact, on the year 2002, Wired Magazine forecast that: “Twenty years from now, the idea that someone looking for love without looking for it online will be silly, akin to skipping the card catalog to instead wander the stacks because ‘the right books are found only by accident.’ Serendipity is the hallmark of inefficient markets, and the marketplace of love, like it or not, is becoming more efficient”.

    2 years ago, there were already more than 800 lifestyle and dating sites. Market share in this area is increasingly being dominated by commercial services run by the likes of Yahoo! Personals. According to a study done by the Online Publishers Association (OPA) and comScore Networks, US residents spent USD470 million on online dating and personals in 2004, which is apparently the biggest percentage of paid content on the web.

    ipodsweepstakes.com gives away an ipod a day

    There are a lot of offers floating around purporting to give away iPods. Most of them make it very difficult for you to actually get the iPod. The usual words come up: cumbersome, too many forms, too many signups.

    There’s good news for US residents: enter iPodSweepstakes.com. They give away a free iPod every single day – they’ve given away more than 3,000 so far – no need to buy anything, no credit card needed, no friends to bug to be your referrals.

    As if that’s not enough, you can actually get more than 1 iPod! As well as winning an iPod, you can *earn* a free iPod by doing simple things like taking a survey or requesting free info.

    So, what are you waiting for? Get a Free iPod from iPodSweepstakes.com Now!