Monday, June 16, 2008

The Spelling Bee

Last Saturday, my AF1 participated in the RHB-NST Spell It Right (SIR) competition for the state level competition. She represented her school along with 3 other girls from her school.

Details for RHB-NST SIR H E R E

It is a spelling competition for schools throughout Malaysia and the event last Saturday was for Selangor state level competition. Competition for Primary school was held on Saturday and for secondary school was on Sunday.

Here's how the competition works, there were 4 schools to a group and each school has 4 participants making 16 kids for each group. The group were then seated on stage and when their name is called go to the mike and spell the work that the judges will tell them.

If the student gets it right he/she will return to his/her seat. If they get it wrong they are to leave the stage. Once everyone has spelled their 1st word, they will go to the 2nd round with whoever is left onstage. There are 3 rounds of ie successful students who correctly spelled 3 words will remain onstage. Whoever is left after 3 rounds will then go into a tie break to determine a winner for each group. Each group winner will then proceed to the final round to determine the state champion who will then represent the state to the national finals.

Well AF1 did quite well, She completed the 3 rounds, and after 3 rounds they were left with 3 participants and all 3 were from her school. However, she lost out to the eventual champion, her classmate in the tie breaker round.

I am really proud of her. I have to admit, when it came to the tie breaker round, there were some words that even I could not spell!

I think there were about 43 schools competing, and AF1's school emerged champion in the school's category besides her classmate that became the state champion.

Well had to spend the whole morning at the mall waiting for her to compete, but it was worth it.

AF1 had her grading for her poom belt the same morning, but eventually she chose the SIR competition, as she postponed her taekwando grading.... At least she got the experience that a lot of people dont get.

I am really really proud of her.....


Tuesday, June 10, 2008

A short trip up North

The weekend in the middle of the last schools holidays, Mama and I decided to take take a short break and take the kids away from KL. We were undecided where to go and after Mama making a few inquiries (most of the hotels at our favourite getaway locations are fully booked) we decided Penang it is.

Started our journey on Saturday morning, with our maid packing lunch for us, as we thought of stopping somewhere for lunch....The drive was a pleasant one, no traffic jam, the North Southe Highway was clear and we arrived in Penang way before lunch time.

Proceeded to my SIL's place as we will be staying over at her place for one night. However, we ended up having lunch in a beach at Teluk Kumbar which is near her house. Aahhh.. the sea breeze on our faces blowing gently made lunch so much better, far away from the daily hustle and bustle of my routine.

Didnt do much that afternoon, just hanged out at my SIL's place while they were out for a Kenduri and her kids extra classes. Well it was supposed to be a break and relaxation time. Went out to get some goreng pisang for tea for everyone... and when my SIL came back they brought another load of goreng pisang and other kuih as well.

Dinner was again at Illyana's... well I have to be frank, when in Penang, all I can think of is food. My AF1 can attest to that. Well it was a dose of Ikan bakar, Kerang rebus, Sotong goreng, Tom yam campur and ketam... (meleleh air liur mengenangkan dinner malam tu...)

The night ended with the 4 girls, my AF1 & AF2 sleeping with their 2 cousins.. and my AF3 not allowed to join, being the only boy.

Woke up early and went out with Mama in search of breakfast. Our destination was taman Tun Saadon Market. The delicacy that we were looking for was serabai.... I dont really know how to describe it but Penangites would know it... But the disaster! Horror! The serabai stall was closed! And it was closed for the next 4 days! Ouch. So we ended up with other type of kuih and various types of nasi... nasi tomato and nasi dalca packed away for our breakfast.

By noon we were out and about, and arranged to meet with my other SIL that came down from KL as well to go shopping at Chowrasta. Arrived at Penang Road and about 1 pm, had lunch at Hameediyah Restaurant somewhere near there for for Nasi Beryani. We were lucky since we got there before the restaurant was packed. My Penang SIL couldnt join us at Chowrasta, since they had to be elsewhere and would only join us at the hotel in Batu Feringghi later that evening.

We ended up buying 2nd hand books at Chowrasta and my other SIL did some shopping, comparing price for another round of shopping at the Batu Feringghi night market.

On our way to check in at Batu Feringghi, managed to stop at Island Plaza to get AF3's birthday cake to be devoured later.

Checked in at Holiday Inn Freingghi along with my SIL from KL who had checked in a day earlier, relaxed before going to the beach and pool. My SIL from Penang checked in to Parkroyal which was next door, and everyone went out to have some fun by the beach.

The kids really had fun at the beach and pool and we went to both the hotel pool :) and my AF3 finally had the courage to go down the water slide at the pool, though not alone since I was there going down the big slide with him.

We had him cutting his birthday cake at the beach, and it was nice day indeed.

Dinner was a restaurant nearby with all 3 families congegrating together. After dinner it was stroll to the pasar malam, which was along the road in Batu Feringghi. I got my DVDs which was at RM4 per piece (buy 10 get 1 free), Mama got for her mum a handbag and got herself a purse. I couldnt go far since my AF3 was already tired so I left Mama with AF1 to continue with her sisters while I took AF2 & AF3 back to the hotel.

That morning went down for breakfast early, again managed to get seats before the crowd started to swell...

Did nothing much after that, relaxed at the room before checking out and headed back to KL.

Initially wanted to stop by a famous mee udang place in Juru, but circumstances did not permit it, so just ended up at the McDonalds drive through before driving back to KL arriving safely that evening.

Just a last note, this place was recommended by Mama's cousin and I will definitely make it a point to stop there the next time I am up north.

Exerpts from his email indicating the place, with pictures credited to the original photographer


Nama Gerai Pak Su

Buka jam dari 12.30 tgh hari – 11.00 malam

Khamis Tutup

1) RM 10 aje sepinggan 5/6 ekor udang besar (mee/nasi goreng)

2) RM 10 aje sepinggan 2 ekor ketam (mee/nasi goreng)

“Click kat WikiMapia Map”

Now doesnt that makes your mouth water.....

Friday, June 6, 2008

The Presenter

Yesterday my company had a function at Sime Darby Convention Center. I was given the opportunity to make a presentation by my VPat that function on his behalf.

The presentation was a technical presentation, more on technology updates, migration to newer technology, the company and my division's technology adaptation roadmap, my division roles in the development and updates on key milestones for the components of the upgrade. The presentation was to take place at the ballroom, with approximately 150 person, ranging from the Directors, to Division heads, VPs and Senior Managers throughout the company.

Two things were running through my head, firstly I was excited for the experience to give a presentation to that number of crowd, since before this the most I have given a presentation to was only about 50 people and first time I will be talking at a big venue such as this. Second was the downside, I am actually trying to keep a low profile with the management because of my previous frustration (see here), so now either I am going to do well, and raise my profile or I am going to screw up big time....

The reason I want to keep a low profile is that the top guns are looking for people to be roped in to the Change Management group as Change Agents. Pleaaaassee.... Its not something that I look forward to do since I like what I am doing now and a new project just kicked off which will keep me occupied till October.

Coming back to the presentation..... I was the 3rd presenter after the opening speech by one of the board of directors and I was allocated 30 minutes for my spot. Everything was running behind schedule by the time we to the break and I was suppose to go after the break.

So there I was on stage with the slides projected behind me... I did start out a bit nervous, but then after a couple of minutes I got warmed up and I did crack something to make the crowd laughed and relaxed (it was intentional, ok!). Everything went quite well and I was fielding any questions that was thrown to me confidently, and all in all I thought I did ok... although I did spot a few in the crowd who dozed off....

The MC did not inform me when my time was up and I actually was on stage for one hour before I wrapped up... phew... one hour talking? Never thought I could do that...

During the next break after the 4th presenter I was showered with kudos by my colleagues for a good presentation. What a relief. I even got an SMS from my VP for a job well done and he wants my materials as the foundation for further training materials for the non technical personnel in the company. I was really honoured.

Going back to the earlier Change thingy.... I was right, the director did mention to my VP saying that I would be a good candidate for the team. Luckily for me my VP said that he wants me to stay put since I am needed where I am now to run things... if they keep pinching people from all the essential division... then who are going to run things? Thank God for my VP....

There you go.. at least something cheerful or high point for me to write about my job....and to top it off I gain valuable experience in standing there in front of a big crowd and managed to pull it off. It may not be a big deal to some people but it is a big deal to me since I never did excel in Public Speaking and never had the gift of the gab.....


I am Astro-less


It has been another one of those moments. Last Tuesday my Astro was hit by lightning (the 2nd time in five or six years). But fortunately this time only the decoder and the transceiver on the dish was spoilt. The rest of the items, tv, amp etc was spared and working fine.

Therefore I called my regular Astro repair man to have a look. He confirmed that the transceiver is faulty and took away the decoder for further inspection. A phone call later confirmed the motherboard is gone and needs to be replaced.

My options are:

1. Replace transceiver (RM40) and replace motherboard of the decoder (RM 180+) - not a bad option since I have the old Phillips decoder which is reputably the better and more robust of the types of decoder that Astro supplies.

2. Go and get a new set and register a new account (RM 199 - not sure of any hidden cost though) - the upside is I will get a new set, the downside is I have to go through the hassle of registering a new account and cancel my old account.

3. Called up Astro and they have this scheme for a replacement decoder for RM 169. Their authorized service person would come and confirm that the decoder is faulty and arrange for the replacement. I still need to pay for the transceiver replacement (RM 40). However, what Astro failed to tell me is the there will be an additional service charge by the service person of RM50. I got to know that from my regular service man. Ouch that will come out to be more than option 1...

Finally I decided to go for option 1 and right now waiting from my regular service guy when the decoder can be ready. Hopefully by weekend I can get back my decoder.

I am going to miss the French Open finals... already missed the semis.....
I missed my weekly dosage of Life, Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, CSI ....


Updates (1 week later)
Finally got my Astro back. The repair man sold me a previously owned (marketing jargon for 2nd hand) for RM150. So everything totaled up to RM 190 (RM 150 decoder + RM 40 transceiver) not bad eh...

Happy Birthday AF3

It is actually a belated birthday entry. His birthday was on 1st June. We celebrated it in Penang on the beach at Holiday Inn, Batu Feringhi. (more on this Penang trip in another entry)

Had a tough time finding a cake since I was not familiar with shops in Batu Feringhi, but managed to get one at Metro Jaya Island Plaza along the way.

Celebrated by AF3 cutting the cake (no candle blowing since it was too windy) and surrounded by his cousins, aunts, uncles and Grandmother.

He got his Birthday gift, when we got back to KL, a set of Hot Wheels set (the one that can do loops and so on) and of course his Speed Racer DVD which we got in Penang (RM4 each maaa...)

So AF3, happy birthday to you.....

Well thats the last birthday for this family for this year....