Saturday, 30 January 2016

What Malaysia’s university student can do to earn extra income

Not too long ago, the media in Malaysia was abuzz with stories of public university students revealing that they are on instead noodle diet and often go without meal due to high cost of living. There were also complaints that money disbursed from PTPTN had to be used to help their family members back home that are facing monetary problem too. As usual, all blame goes to the government in mismanaging the economy, the implementation of GST and our “beloved” Datuk Ahmad Maslan.

While I agree that the cost of living have increased tremendously, especially in Klang Valley, and yes, I agree that the government are partly to be blamed, but I have to say that instead of complaining, whining and blaming, our university students lack the drive to look for side income to improve their standard of living. If their zeal for complaining and blaming can be used in looking for side income, whether in groups or individually, their situation would have been different. Sadly, it is a case of talent being used the wrong way.

Busking for school fees on Orchard Road
Last Saturday, I took a walk at Singapore’s Orchard Road. On short stretch between Mandarin Orchard and Takashimaya, I saw three different students doing three different things but the message is the same. They were using their talent, over the weekend, to earn some money to pay for their school fees. One was selling handmade earrings, the other handmade cards and the last one was doing street performance. 

Instead of using their energy to whack the government, these students are using it to increase their pocket money and make a difference. This sort of scene is actually very common in many cities in developed countries. However, I never come across university students in Malaysia doing anything that can increase their pocket money along Jalan Bukit Bintang. All that I know is that the side pavements of Kuala Lumpur’s most famous shopping street are full of foreigners peddling their wares. The Myanmar boy that sell stalks of roses told me that he make between RM 70 to RM 100 each Saturday night.

Peddling on the street and doing street performance are just two examples of what students can do to increase their pocket money. Besides that, there are many other ways in today’s connected world. I’ve known of university students in China who use Alibaba.com’s platform to make side income, Korean speaking students giving weekend classes in San Francisco and many more.

It makes me wonder, if foreigners can do this, then, what is wrong with Malaysia’s public university students? Are their syllabus too overwhelming that they can’t even have spare time to earn side income whether individually or in a group? Too pampered? Lazy? Easier to complain than to do? I am lost…

Thursday, 21 January 2016

The extremely kiasu Singaporean

Embarrassing!
Recently, a photo of a super duper “kiasu” Singaporean luxury car driver was shared on All Singapore Stuff. He was seen maximizing his “kiasuness” in a truly unusual method to be able to pump more fuel in his car at a petrol kiosk in Johor Bahru by placing a jack under one of his car's rear-wheels, tilting the vehicle slightly.  

As said and believed by some, this practice would allow car owners to pump more petrol in the car as the tank is tilted.  However, expert claim that this act is illogical because the size of a car’s petrol tank is actually fixed.

Oh well, this kiasu uncle is not the only Singaporean doing this in Johor Bahru and other parts of Malaysia where the price of petrol is relatively cheaper. They can be spotted easily, including my hometown, Teluk Intan and with various other methods too. 

Wednesday, 13 January 2016

The Lau Keng Ee, Chan Swee Teik and DAP’s connection

From left: Lau, Chow, Lim, Chan, Ng and unknown person.
Someone sent me this picture to assert the DAP State Assemblyman for Pengkalan Kota, YB Lau Keng Ee’s connection to Dato’ Jackie Chan Swee Teik alongside the leadership from DAP Penang including Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng, my former party boss Chow Kuan Yew and DAP’s MP for Tanjong, Ng Wei Aik. This picture can’t prove that Lau Keng Ee owe money and refused to pay back to Chan Swee Teik as claimed but it does prove of the close relationship between Chan and Penang DAP’s leadership. 

Tuesday, 12 January 2016

My genmaicha story

A brew of  genmaicha, its green color denotes freshness. 
Very few people and almost none of my tea drinking friends knew that besides the wide arrays of Chinese tea and TWG’s Silvermoon, genmaicha from Japan is among my favourite tea. Many thought that I do not like Japanese tea at all. I’ve often complained that I do not like the raw and grassy ultra-expensive gyokuro green tea and I gave low ratings for Sencha. Yet, those who have often heard me asking for Ippodo Genmaicha at Japanese fine dining establishments are equally puzzled.

I’ve never explain my liking for genmaicha but a gift of this tea from my neighbour today rekindled my memories of Kyoto in 2007 and how it all started. My friends and I were visiting Kinkakuji Temple and came across a traditional Japanese teahouse. The three of us asked for three different types of Japanese tea which we then shared. I can't remember which of the Japanese green that I asked for that day but I immediately took a liking to genmaicha after complaining of the rawness of the rest.

At Kinkakuji Temple, Kyoto, circa 2007.
I love its combination of fresh grassy flavour of green tea with the aroma of the roasted rice. Before we left, I asked the teahouse owner where to buy the tea that was just served to us. The owner scribble something in Japanese on a piece of paper which none of us can understand. However, after asking the staff at the ryokan that we were staying, we were led to the Ippodo Teahouse. I was later told by my Japanese friend that the Ippodo Teahouse is one of the oldest in Kyoto that sell premium Japanese green tea.

From my friends too, I learn that genmaicha (玄米茶) is sometimes referred to colloquially as "popcorn tea" because a few grains of the rice pop during the roasting process and resemble popcorn. This tea was invented by Zen monks who mixed green tea with the browned rice stuck to the bottom of their cauldrons and originally used for religious purposes. Subsequently, it became a popular tea by the masses because of its relatively cheaper price.

As the tea is best consumed fast while it is still fresh, like all other green tea from Japan, I seldom keep any genmaicha at home. I can’t finish the tea as fast as possible and after a few disappointments, I’ve decided that it is best to just have them whenever I get to have them. Lastly, many thanks to Aunty Lee Lian for the genmaicha, fresh all the way from Japan. It is a coincidence for prior to this, she never knew.

Saturday, 9 January 2016

Lau Keng Ee, is Chan Swee Teik showing something fake?

Chan Swee Teik at a press conference. 
YB Lau Keng Ee, the DAP state assemblyman for the constituency of Pengkalan Kota in Penang who is recently involved in the incident of failing to pay off a loan made to him by businessman Chan Swee Teik is someone I considered an old friend and foe whom I knew since my DAP days. He joined the DAP more or less around the same time with me. Back then, Lau Keng Ee was into some computing business and at the same time serving as constituency assistant to Chow Kuan Yew. We were active in DAPSY Penang alongside Koay Teng Hai, Lai Hon Meng, Tan Han Wooi, Teh Lai Heng and Yeoh Soon Hin.

In the 2004 general election, Lau Keng Ee contested for the first time in Pengkalan Kota against Lee Hack Teik before beating Lee in the 2008 general election. The Lau Keng Ee that I knew back then was an honest and amicable man albeit having a maverick tendency. After all, which politician are not maverick in order to survive?

I wasn’t surprise at all when the press reported of Lau Keng Ee’s denial of ever taking a loan from Chan Swee Teik. Or even if he did take, there is nothing wrong with an elected representative taking a loan from someone. During my time in DAP, YB Phee Boon Poh is the main contributor to the party’s coffer in Penang. There were also times when the late Tham Weng Fatt took a little loan from me or other party colleagues which he later paid.

From Lau Keng Ee, for what purpose?
Now that Chan Swee Teik who is also known as Jackie have shown the two cheques signed by Lau Keng Ee and a few photographs to assert his claim that Lau did in fact took a loan from him or whatever the story goes, I hope Lau can come up with a better explanation.

Besides asking for Lau Keng Ee’s answers, I would also like to ask, assuming the two cheques shown to the public by Chan Swee Teik is indeed real, why is Chan Swee Teik keeping two uncashed cheques dating back to 2014? As a collection? Lau asking Chan not to cash them because there is no money in the account? Chan waiting for something else?

Why is Chan Swee Teik not cashing them ?
It is also said that Chan Swee Teik provided a luxury car for Lau Keng Ee to drive but I hope it is only hear say but to ensure transparency that is the core value of DAP's fight, can Lau Keng Ee please answer this allegation too? And what about the threat to sue a Penang based Facebook page? 

Silence is not always golden.

P/s: Chan Swee Teik, during the press conference mentioned that Danny Law Heng Kiang knew and heard of his demand to Lau Keng Ee to settle the debt, so Danny, what you have to say? I hope you don't tell the people that this is not your father's money so you have no right to ask. 

Wednesday, 6 January 2016

Error on WOFS’s 2016 Feng Shui almanac

Without fail, for the past many years, I will purchase a few very important Chinese metaphysics or Feng Shui related publications as a guide, with majority of them from the very much respected Lilian Too and Joey Yap. Treating them like my bible, I will then do the necessary feng shui audit for auspicious sectors, inauspicious sectors, and conflict sectors before deciding which door should be the one I need to use to get in and out of the house. Thankfully, the three places that I call home these days have two doors that can be tweaked to be the main door.  Call me superstitious, yes; I admit I am one, for I check the Tong Shu or Almanac before heading for a trivial matter such as haircut.

Taken from WOFS's 2016 Feng Shui Almanac
I was checking out WOFS’s 2016 Feng Shui Almanac a while ago when I notice an error on its Flying Stars 2016 page. For the Southeast sector where the flying star 1 resides in the year of Monkey, it was printed with the heading AFFLICTED ILLNESS STAR. For those who are familiar with Lilian Too’s writings and publications, flying star 1 is supposed to be LUCKY WHITE STAR. A check with other publications confirmed that flying star 1 will be in the Southeast sector in 2016 and the flying star 2, the AFFLICTED ILLNESS STAR resides in the center. There is no other error except the heading. Though it is just a small error, it can be confusing for some. I hope that the team at WOFS will take note to ensure such error do not occur again in their other publications. 

Monday, 4 January 2016

I will fly with Rayani Air

“I will fly with Rayani Air……………” Before I could finish my sentence, I was cut off by my group of colleagues with various comments, none which are kind to the airline.

We were having a group lunch to mark the first official working day of 2016 when I suddenly brought up the topic of Rayani Air. This Islamic or syariah compliant full fledge airline have been under heavy criticism since its maiden flight in December 2015. It is in the news again today when it announces that it will appoint Datuk Haron Din, PAS’s spiritual adviser as its advisor pertaining to Islamic matters.

Rayani Air has been called with many labels including ISIS Airline for its bosses’ bold idea of making it an airline that runs in compliance with Islamic practices. Many have deemed this idea inappropriate for a multi-cultural and multi-religion Malaysia. Equally as many people are waiting to see how long will this airline stay on air and whether will it receive a government bailout or subsidy because it is “Islamic”. Needless to say, the call to boycott this airline is equally loud too.

To be fair to Rayani Air, I will fly with them before giving my judgement. I want to experience for myself how it is like when I fly with a “religious” airline in a time when half of Malaysia are calling for the practice of moderation with the other half are drifting towards the extreme.

Unable to connect to the server

I am looking at the Kuala Lumpur – Kuching route that this airline is starting in February 2016. However, I think my flight journey with Rayani Air doesn’t start well. The airline’s website www.rayaniair.com is not accessible despite a few tries via my laptop and mobile phone. Ah….probably the World Wide Web is not syariah complaint thus the hiccup….lol!! Nevertheless, I will try again. 

Saturday, 2 January 2016

Five years since you left us

Dear PG,

Though it have been five years since you left us for eternity on 2nd January 2011, the heartache in me is still very much of a fresh wound inflicted as if only from  yesterday. I'd wanted to this write blog to celebrate to your memory and there are many wonderful and crazy things from yesteryears that I would love to write but I find it hard to move beyond the next paragraph, much less the next chapter. At the thought of our youthful days gone by..........

I promised you not once, not twice but many times that I will not cry when I think of you and that I should be laughing instead, I hope you will forgive me for breaking the promise. I know you will, because, nobody understand me more than you do. You know that holding back my tear is one of the hardest things for me to do, just as hard as for me to change my principle of calling a spade a spade. I hope I will find my strength one day to celebrate your life, and put it all in writing instead of mourning year after year of your passing with doing nothing but crying.

You used to joke that my tear drops were too generous because they flow freely while I teased back that I drop on your behalf too because you are too stingy with them while generous with all other matters. I had wanted very much to prove to you that I can be stingy and selfish too, but alas, you know better that I just can't. 

Last but not least, I want to say an eternal thank you for being my guardian angel, a role that you have been since we first met on that fateful day on one the many corridors of University of Auckland many spring ago. Wherever up there you may be at now, I wish you happiness. Rest in peace, my dear friend. 

As always, your Little J 



                                                                                                                                           

Friday, 1 January 2016

Happy 2016!!

Greetings from Singapore. 

Wishes you and your family a happy and blessed 2016!!