Sunday, May 20, 2007

Happy day for you?

It was a happy day for me. Why?

For Chelsea fans, congratulations on winning the FA cup.

For Man Utd fans, in YOUR FACE!!!! But you did win the Premier League title.
shorttalk: I actually went to the bar to watch this match. There were loads of Man Utd fans around us and it was obligatory for me and my friends to provoke them. Hahaha, I mean it's just football and they can really get very emotional when their team loses, it's the UK after all.

For those who don't know who I support in football (I actually got asked this question during one of my interview to make sure there's no conflict with the office atmosphere), the answer is none other than........

Yes, I do have to admit myself to being a Juventus fan and also a Del Piero fan. It was absolutely disastrous when they were involved in the Serie A scandal which resulted in them demoted to Serie B.

No matter, the past is the past and the current Juve is rejuvenated under Didier Deschamps.

After bombing Arezzo 5-1 with 3 games to spare, the Old Lady is back in Serie A. Oh YEA!!!!

One more season to go until we get to see some European action once again from Juve.

Now, all follow Del Piero and go "YEEEEAAAAAAARRRRRRRRR"

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Job Update & Palm Oil Bitches

Firstly, my job update. I went for an assessment day 2 days ago with a human resource consulting firm(Mercer HR), I thought it went pretty well. The HR personnel contacted me yesterday to deliver to me the news that I got rejected, AGAIN. Nothing much to note here, other than the fact that she told me the reason I failed was because they think I was more suited towards working in the life/non-life insurance business rather than on pensions.

A note to you Malaysians who don't know about pensions. Pensions in Malaysia is managed by our lovely KWSP who is known for a lot of mismanagement of money but nonetheless is the BIGGEST investor in the Malaysian market. Things here in the UK is a bit different however as they were no central agency managing everybody's pensions.

Sure there is a state pension but most of people's pensions really depend on their employer. For instance, if you're an employee of Tesco, then Tesco would be responsible for your pension. It is however customary that they "sub-contract" these responsibilities out by taking up a trustee to do these work.

It is required by law that every trustee has to appoint an actuary to help them value their funds at least once every 3 years. This is where consultancies such as Mercer, Watson Wyatt and Towers Perrin come into play. Weirdly, many misconceptions about actuarial jobs being "boring", "mathematical" isn't always true. From the lots of interviewers I've had, most of them admitted that A-levels maths is probably the only requirement for them to do their job.

This however does not mean that an actuary doesn't have to know the sophisticated, complicated side of statistics and mathematics. They still have to sit for exams and most likely the exams are going to involve these high-level problems(hint hint). So basically, the hardest part of their job is to sit for exams????

Hmmmm............... anyway hope that gives you an insight on the things an actuary does in pensions. I however, am really starting to question what kind of career I want. I mean it's not possible that I know it now but is actuary a good choice for me?

On a lighter note, read tomorrow's The Star to see a very familiar article pop up.

Well...... not too familiar but on an issue I've already mentioned ---- Palm Oil.
Read my previous posts here and here.

If you're too lazy to read, then I'll give you an idea of what I was trying to say.

It is true that Malaysia needs and is surviving on Palm Oil. A lot of corporations are even making a hell of profit out of it, such as IOI corp and PBB(who incidentally is taking the firm private now). It is a blessing to Malaysia when somebody came up with the idea that palm oil can be used as a biofuel to replace petroleum. But yet another smart ass came up with the idea that palm oil is very inefficient in terms of the lots of waste it produces which offsets any merits we get from it.

A few examples of the problems we are facing because of palm oil are haze, deforestation and waste mis-disposal. Just take my words for it that it is a real upset to see the palm oil industry facing such attacks.

Today, though the attacks have suddenly got stronger. Apparently a group of western NGOs are planning to lobby against palm oil. If they succeed, we might see all palm oil products taken off the shelf in supermarkets across Europe, and that's a BIG threat.

The report from The Star says that Malaysia will be sending representatives there to talk with these people. I quote:

Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Datuk Peter Chin Fah Kui
said he would explain the truth to British MPs in London and members of the
European Parliament in Brussels about ”our efforts to conserve the environment
and biodiversity while we develop our palm oil industry.” [Source: The Star]

Well, given Malaysia politicians' track record of being bad at negotiations (crooked bridge), I'm not expecting to see this go too well. Take a look at Mahathir's video on youtube here to get what I mean.

Watch the stock market, as this is a make or break situation for Malaysia.

p.s. sorry for the pictureless post, I'm in the IT center(library) so I don't have the luxury of cutting n pasting pics :D

  1. Delegation heads for Europe to counter anti-palm oil lobby, The Star, 19 May 2007.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Bocor every month

Talking about no post to update, after the circus incident last week in Parliament, where 2 MPs, namely from Kinabatangan(of Keluar Malaysia fame) and Jasin(of Close one-eye fame) argued (with a straight face):

Mana ada bocor, Batu Gajah pun tiap-tiap bulan bocor juga (Where is the
leak? Batu Gajah leaks every month too).”

Batu Gajah here refers to Batu Gajah's MP(DAP) Fong Po Kuan, who incidentally(like all other DAP MPs) have a blog here. Thinking that this matter should be easily resolved had Bung Mokhtar and Said Yusoff issue an apology of the statement, they went further by saying

“It is normal to play with words,” he(Bung Mokhtar) said, adding that it would be wrong if the statement had been made with malicious intent.

Mohd Said said the statement was made in the heat of the argument.
“I don’t see what the fuss is about,” he said. “It is normal to play with words,” he said, adding that it would be wrong if the statement had been made with malicious intent.

Shame shame la. Finally today YB Sharizat wants to take this matter to Cabinet. Even Najib 'bung' in to say
the remarks were not supposed to be taken seriously and that there were certain
parties out to make a big deal of the issue.
Hello Najib, if you still want the ladies to vote for you, better get a grip and become more sensitive. I'm pretty sure that had you have said this during your years in university(of nottingham), you will be subjected to great hatred.

Certain parties out to make a big deal?

Now I can see the issue of pariahs made by RPK here. Heck, even pariahs have their own respect, these 2...... no respect from me sorry. Being politicians doesn't give you freedom to make sexist remarks in public, let alone a parliament session.

Mind you, the sittings at that session was supposed to serve the following function:
The sittings last week were an extension of the March 19 to April 26 meeting for
Parliament to deliberate on several important bills like the Anti-Trafficking in
Persons and Employees Provident Fund amendments.
[Source: The Star]

So instead of 'solving' problems, they create more problems. I say throw these MPs out of parliament, make damn sure to let them know
You serve the people, and if you don't serve them
right, you're out.

What say you on this issue?

  1. Sexist remarks to be brought up to Cabinet, The Star, 15 May 2007.
  2. Sexist remarks becoming the norm?, Elizabeth Looi, The Star, 13 May 2007.
  3. Let off despite 'sexist' remarks, The Star, 11 May 2007.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Circus show, Microsoft and Sugar

How are you people?

Just fresh from watching the greatest circus show on earth, the only thing I want to utter out of my lips is "how the hell do we elect these monyets?" Both BN and DAP ought to take some time out to think about what they just did in the latest show. Yes, I see rude politicians and I see politicians who wants to make a small matter big. So what's the result in the end?

I don't care if you want to run it like a civilised nation or you want to continue the circus show time, as long as you churn out the results, that's the most I'm asking for. Remember more monkey shows two years ago, the infamous "Keluar Malaysia" quote? That's suratkhabar lama I know, look at how the Yang Dipertua handled both situations, speechless.

Enough of politics.

So I promised to blog about the recent RM10.50 Microsoft deal for Malaysian schools.

Not exactly "fresh" news but I had to take a stab at it because it's so related to MORSEHack.

I read about this a few weeks on linuxtoday, and any news related to microsoft trying to get some market share back from allowing linux to eat up all the 3rd world countries is BIG news!!!!

This is one of them. Microsoft is offering student suites at USD3 per copy of software to students on third world countries, but with a lot of catches:
  1. The Government (of the qualifying country) must subsidise more than 50% of the purchase price of each PC, with the other 50% borne by the students.
  2. A minimum of 10,000 PCs must be ordered and supplied by the Government within one year.
Aih, a bit old school this news. If you're wondering why microsoft is so desperate to do this, you should check out the One Laptop per Child initiative. They are running on an Operating system called Sugar, here's a screenshot for you. I'm actually pretty impressed by this.

Nothing too great, it gives a person the basic things needed for everyday life computing. Heck, my mom doesn't even uses computer and this would suit her nicely. Things a person need in their OS are:
  • Web browser (you need this to surf the internet)
  • Email client (Yes and no, if you're using web-based email clients you don't even need this)
  • Calculator (probably useful for students)
  • Word processor (Typing documents)
  • Spreadsheet (Not even needed sometimes if you're not doing office work)
  • Picture viewer (essential)
  • Movie + audio player (very essential)
  • Paint (To draw)
I think that is about the things one needs in their OS, and they have all of that in Sugar, pretty amazing yea?

One thing you will realise when you look at the screenshot, there's no Microsoft applications, meaning no worries of any copyright infringement issues etc, pretty neat eh?

Anyway that's about the only reason I can think about why Microsoft took this drastic move. I seriously think the government should reconsider using linux rather than microsoft. At RM10.50 per software it's still way more expensive than FREE.

Plus, what about all the technical support (follow ups)? How much would Microsoft charge for those? Dear oh dear, it's just getting more and more desperate.

  1. Microsoft pitches student-help plan, The Star, 7 May 2007.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Update on Job Hunt

smalltalk: Hello Transport Tycoon, Goodbye life. Life after dissertation that is.

Weee, I've got an assessment day with Mercer HR next week, so hopefully it will go well and they offer me a job...... any tips guys?

It's gonna be 2 interviews, a written exercise, a group exercise and a presentation to make the day complete. So tough to get a job......... sigh.

Anyway that's it, haven't heard from the other companies yet.

I did however went to London last Friday for an interview with a reinsurance company. Not too sure if they liked me, but I certainly like the interviewer, she's such a nice person. Plus she tried to hook me on to this other actuarial recruitment company, sweeeeeet.......

So for now, consider myself trying to work hard for the interview next week.

Monday, May 07, 2007


Will be absent from the blogging scene for a few more days, at least until Friday, my absolute deadline for my dissertation.

In the meantime, will have to put down some to do list when I come back including....
  • tag from KY a.k.a. Freethinker(I hate tags)
  • Update on the most recent RM10.50 offer from Microsoft to third world governments and its impact on MORSEHack.
  • Update on my job hunting.
Erm..... that's about it, see ya all in a few days. Sorry arr I promise to be back with more goodies goodies.

p.s. paiseh KY, have to do your tag a little later k?

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Adverts, Twin Towers and Skydiving

smalltalk: Lunch interview today, wish me luck. Fingers crossed.

I have to admit, when I heard about Mahathir's mega projects I thought it was really a big black hole for everybody's tax money. But it did some good in the end, although a small amount of people REALLY profit from it.

(A certain somebody who is now making a move to take his company, Maxis, private :D )

For those who are wondering, I got this off's website. Look, the 2nd easiest tower to recognise is out twin towers. It really put Malaysia on the global map doesn't it? Here's another nice pic of it.

But here's another mega project that you might have seen in the newspaper for the past few days (or weeks).

The once "mat-rempits" have done the country "proud". Check howsy's post on this for more info. The big question is, how did it put Malaysia on the world map? Did we benefit from this jump?

Trust me, do a search on google for news on "Putera Umno" or "North Pole" or "Skydiving". The only news you can see about this are from Bernama, Malaysia's very own news agency.

If there were so many records broken, why haven't any other news agencies reported it?

And there is one big flaw. There were NO photos whatsoever that they made the jump. The only photos were taken when they were on the ground. Chances are most of them didn't actually take the jump?

The only pics I could've found are here, here and here. So what's the truth? We demand some proof on taxpayers' money well spent.

I don't know, you be the judge on this. Whatever.

  1. Series of Skydiving records broken, The Star, 3 May 2007.
  2. Putera Umno Skydiving Team Returning On Thursday, Syed Azwan Syed Ali, Bernama, 24 April 2007.
  3. Comment: Exuberant energy at the North Pole, Rehman Rashid, NST, 27 April 2007.
  4. Successful North Pole Landing for Putera Umno Skydivers, Syed Azwan Syed Ali, Bernama, 23 April 2007.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Fraud in schools? Believe it!!

I should actually nominate johnleemk's blog Infernal Ramblings as one of the blogs that got me thinking. But I'm not into all these awards thingy as it's just another lame attempt to cook up something that would last for a few weeks.

Anyway I've came across this post of his about "Educationist Defraud a Charity" which he'd written a few day ago.

It was a very valid story and it reminded me of my alma mater. Let me summarize his story first.

His ex-classmate was involved in raising some fund for a charity (outside school I presume). After they had managed to collect an amount which in john's word is "not unsignificant", "the teacher in charge of advising the organising committee told them that she wanted half of the proceeds for the school."

Yes I know what you're thinking. Low-life etc etc.

Let me relate to you a few stories of my own.

As you may have known, I've started putting nuffnang ads on my blog to raise some money to be donated to my secondary school.

Let me tell you this. I'm actually not too keen on doing this for many reasons. One of the main reasons is that we would never know how these money have been put to good use.

I know that with the money, we have been building more classrooms, demolishing my beloved tennis court etc. Word has it that the contractors involved in these are charging the school at extraordinary amount.

What makes it worse is that they are on the board of directors of the school committee. They would also consistently donate RM3k or a little more to the school everytime there's a donation drive. The question is they donate, just to earn it all back from these contracts which would be easily worth more than RM500k? When I was still in school, I was told by the headmaster (whom I know personally) that we still owe the contractors a huge amount of money.

What is it with these people? First, we don't get enough funding from the Education Ministry. Second, our own donation drive (huge ones I assure you) would be just like a money making machine for these contractors.

Word also has it that the contractor involved was on the brink of bankruptcy. Now? He owns a huge hotel called Star City in the middle of Alor Star. How did he turn around? By getting petty cash from the school through his fraudulent schemes of being on the school board and the contractor involved at the same time.

I would call this a scam but I think this is much much worse. He's not conning just 1 person of their money but a whole bunch of ignorant people. Now I understand why my parents were reluctant to donate their money last time when I was trying my best to persuade them to.

I'm telling you "SMK Keat Hwa" in Alor Star. Stop asking for charity until you have proven that our money has been put to good use. Shame on you.

Onto my second story. Another school involved in these scheme is my primary school, SRJK (C) Keat Hwa (H). Here's a story that shocked the nation not too long ago. Photo taken from Paul Ooi's blog.

If you don't know. One of the teachers fell to his death after falling from a ceiling which is infested with termites. I'm telling you this, the SAME contractor is involved in this.

Nevertheless, I'll still donate as I've claimed earlier. For a simple reason that I really want them to improve. The next step would be for them to correct their mistakes and hopefully put all these money to good uses.