Wednesday, October 27, 2010

IPhone 4 Price War Heating Up...

IPhone 4 arrived in Malaysia sometime in Sept, and there is a price war between the 2 main mobile operators, i.e. Maxis and Digi.  Maxis just recently put out a teaser price of $990 for the 16GB phone but u must sign a 24-month iValue 2 contract of $155/mth.
Digi meanwhile is giving out a $58/month ( no contract) but the cost of the phone is higher at $2090.  Assuming you stay with the plan for 24 months, the total cost for Maxis is $4.7K, while the Digi is ~$3.5K.  Hmm... tempting.  Maybe I will wait for Iphone 5 instead.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Raining Season...

This year we have been having our more than usual amount of rainfall.  Looking at the weather map, and forecast for more rain, I suggest to get prepared with an umbrella, and no need to wash your car as you'll get a free wash in the next few days.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Merdeka ( Independence Day) Hike to Pantai Kerachut

Entrance and Registration Area of the Park
Trail to Pantai Kerachut
Funny Weather Forecast Wood SignBoard
Meromictic Lake with lots of algae. Could be due to low tide now.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Visited Batu Ferringhi Market

Souvenir and Gift Shops

Charlie Burger Kiosk
Trishaw Man Looking for Customers
Visited Batu Ferringhi Night Market which is at the hotel row ( Holiday Inn, Rasa Sayang, Golden Sands, Park Royal) at the north of Penang  about 2 days ago.  This place is famous for selling all kinds of items esp. counterfeit goods, and frequented by tourists and locals alike looking for good bargains. There seems to be a lot of new shop lots sprouting all over there since the last time I was there.  There were also a couple of trishaws which were attractively well lighted. At the end of the trip, I went to a "famous" burger kiosk called Charlie which is just after the Park Royal Hotel.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Penang Bridge Marathon... Trying to Prepare for it

The Penang Bridge Marathon this year will be held on Nov. 21st. Well, that leaves about 3 months to prepare for it.  I signed up for the half marathon which is about 21km, and paid $40 for registration. The run is going to start pretty early at about 3am, so I guess need to get a good early night rest. I have started to track my run with my Nike+ Ipod Nano to keep track of my speed and distance.
Now just need to be consistent and build up on my mileage.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Great story on someone who makes the most of one's station in life

When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say, "I used everything you gave me." ~Erma Bombeck

Sometimes we tend to beat ourselves up comparing ourselves with others that seems to have the talent and abilities, but the point is that we are different and we need to make the most of what we have been alloted in our individual station in life. Here's a heart warming story of someone who seizes life and make the most of it despite many obstacles....

The extraordinary glass doll

2010-08-12 18:03
Chen’s mother has been taking exceptional care of her since she was young, and has supported her to go on with her life in a meaningful way.

Photo courtesy: Sin Chew Daily

She has been suffering from osteogenesis imperfect that has caused her body to become atrophic and unable to walk. She is called "glass doll" even though her heart is not made of glass…

The "glass doll" Chen Jing Qi has an unusually strong mind that has helped her through the darkness of life. Through self study, she has finally published her own book aimed at inspiring other people through her extraordinary experiences.

Self study at home

During an interview with Sin Chew Daily, Chen admitted that she had not gone through any formal education after kindergarten due to the lack of special schools suitable for her at that time.

Moreover, she was rejected by ordinary primary schools and was forced to end her school life. Nevertheless, the eagerness to study was still burning inside her heart and she has since begun her self-studying life at home.

In order to learn, she would accompany her elder sister to the tuition centre and sit beside her so that she could learn from. After a couple of years, she began to listen to music at home and she took down the lyrics of her favourite songs.

She has improved her vocabulary from the song lyrics, and has put in greater effort than ordinary people learning from home. She wanted to have a bright and colourful life and refused to become illiterate.

Sharing stories on blog

When she is at home, Chen enjoys sharing her stories through her online blog and this has indirectly helped enhance her writing skills.

One day, a friend suggested that she write a book in order to share her stories with more people.

To motivate other children suffering from similar condition, Chen has authored a book A Happy Life Journey Without Footprints based on her own experiences.

According to her, during the month she was writing the book, she would recall the past events and would put on a smile savouring the lighter moments in her life. She never thought of giving up writing as writing remained her main interest.

Inspiring parents with disabled children

Her main objective of writing the book was to encourage parents who have disabled children not to give up or abandon their children even if they are physically imperfect. She believes all handicapped children deserve happy and cheerful lives like her given the loving care from their parents.

Chen enjoy sharing her life experiences with other people, and has therefore made plenty of friends who remain faithful to her till this day.

Chen has an elder sister, a younger brother and two younger sisters, and she sees her family as her greatest support in her day-to-day living as well as a source of happiness.

Even if she has a rather tiny build, she has a big faith that has helped her maintain an always cheerful mind.

Chen Zhao Min, a local young lady of note, recently launched her book Being Rebellious and invited the "glass doll" Chen to share her experiences with her.

Chen Zhao min hopes her readers would understand that instead of go after the meaningless material life, they should cultivate their spirituality and gain back their self dignity. (Translated by LIM LIY EE/Sin Chew Daily)

Source from : ( Sin Chew Online News)

Census 2010 ( 6th July till 22nd Aug)

Just yesterday I had a census enumerator dropped by my place to get some "data" from me. According to the enumerator, the census purpose is to get look at what is the average Malaysia family size, education level, income level, type of vehicles he or she drives,  different house appliances they own,...etc.  Some of the questions that they ask I thought were pretty personal. Anyways, I just gave whatever info that is requested to help our gov't assess how well or bad we have come along compared to 10 years ago from the last census.
Out of curiosity, I visited online the Malaysian's Gov't Statistics Dept, who is  basically is coordinating this survey, and find quite a wealth of information on their website ( Dept of Statistics, Malaysia). The only thing that is behind my mind, is how accurate are these data considering how many people will be truthful to tell everything, knowing that there is a mistrust between the people and the gov't. Well, let's see in the next few months what is the outcome of the census.
Hmm, our gov't are keeping up with the times, as they are even  on FB. Just do a search for Banci 2010 

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Income Tax... No refund yet

I submitted my income tax nearly 3 months ago sometime in mid-April thru the online submission or E-Online but haven't received my refund yet. Not sure what is the reason for the delay, since I just saw an article in the newspaper  2 days ago that 95% of those who overpaid their taxes were refunded totalling about $10.8 billion. That got me thinking about sending a mail to the IRB.  They just replied to me yesterday and referred my case to the Penang office.  I did see some articles too that the IRB sometimes out of blue will send you a love-letter that tells you that you instead owe them some back-dated taxes.  ( Not sure what is going on, anyways keeping my fingers crossed that they will let me know if I still will get my refund cheque.

Below are some of their contact info from the e-mail...

In the event you required further information on this matter, kindly liaise with Encik Norhisham bin Mohd Khafid
the Public Relation Officer of the branch at:04-2620280 / 04-2612255 ext 43234
or at his email address: /

Should you need further assistance, kindly contact our Customer Service Centre at :

Quick Reference :
Salary Group (No Business Income) :  03-4289 3600
Business Group (Self-Employed/ Partnership) :  03-4289 3700
e-Filing :  03-4289 3535

Main Line :  1-300-88-3010 or 603-4289 3500 (Overseas)

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

George Town World Heritage 2nd Anniversary is Today

Today is the 2nd Anniversary for George Town being declared as a World Heritage Site. The state declared a public holiday today but not all corporations observed it.  Bummer.  Anyways, here is the link to all the events..

Friday, June 11, 2010

Grocery Shopping...

There are a couple of main hypermarkets in Penang namely Carrefour, Tesco, Giant, Jusco and Sunshine. Each of them tout themselves as being the cheapest among their competitors. Usually, they are cheaper for some items only. So it depends on what items you are looking for.   For example, recently Giant was selling the Campbell Canned Soup 300gm was going for $2.99 compared to >$4 from the rest.  Tesco recently have cheap sales for the J&J pH5.5 600ml Body Wash ~ $5, which normally retails at >$6.5.   My dad swears that Sunshine has always the cheapest Listerine Mouthwash. ( I have yet to compare prices).  Sales, I notice normally starts on Wednesdays, so that is preferred day for shopping before all the cheap items are out of stock at the end of week. Just bring your own bag since Monday to Wednesday is "No Plastic Bag" days.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Nearly half year is gone.. quick recap.

The year 2010 started with much expectations for things to get better esp. for the economics of the US and Europe. There are also hopes for less natural occurring environmental destructions, but we had one very serious man made disaster courtesy of BP at Gulf of Mexico.  Penang generally haven't had any incidents that made the headlines, except for some political related showmanship btw. the ruling opposition party with the incumbent ruling party which is now playing the opposition role in the state.
Apart from the very hot and humid weather we have been experiencing now which is very unusual, Penangites have been going about business as usual. ( Air Conditioners sellers probable getting more business as usual this year). Only thing that will probably happen in next few weeks is a loss of workers productivity due to the upcoming World Cup.
I hear that this year's durian is the best as just the right amount of rain arrived this year, so quick get some before the season ends next month.
Let's hope for more good news on the economy and political front for the rest of the year.

Monday, May 3, 2010

A good article on how the country is run like a company...( appropriate for Labour Day)

A talent for disservice and dishonesty (by Mariam Mokhtar)

Just would like to share a link about the current Malaysian politics scenario. If current politicians are graded or have their performance measured as if they are in a company, they would have either been demoted or sacked.  For a country to progress, the leadership or politicians will need to be competent and of a certain IQ. Sadly, too many petty issues get in the limelight while the country real issues are put in the backburner.

It has been hot and humid for past few weeks...

The weather this past few weeks have been getting hot and humid lately. I am not sure how long this is going to last but for sure, not a good time to be outdoors. Not a good climate especially if you have to store electronics or books in a closed environment. I have been using dehumidifiers based on calcium chloride to absorb the moisture from the air, and most of them have been used up, i.e.  filled with water, and therefore needs to be replaced.  I have been keeping my camera gear in air tight containers with dehumidifiers (see pics) to make sure they remain dry and not get moldy. 
Penang weather today....
Mostly Cloudy
Temperature:29°C Dew Point:26°C
Barometer:100.7 kPa Wind:n/a
Humidity:83.9 % Visibility:8 km                     

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Penangite "Culture"

Today, I just decide to ramble about typical Penangite "culture", which some of it is also applicable to Malaysians....
  1. Penangites are known for being very thrifty. In other words, they go thru great lengths to avoid paying anything more than it is necessary, and if they can get it free, even better... and they will  have a sense of triumph when they managed to get a good deal.  Some examples,... they will try to avoid paying for parking fee, and often park illegally by the roadside, and as close as possible to their intended destination.  They will also compare at different shops for a particular item to save a couple of cents.
  2. Penangites are also known to be very informal and not very particular about dressing up. ( maybe more applicable to guys). Slippers and round necks are favorite attires esp. during the day time where it is usually hot and humid for most of the year.
  3. Penangites are usually law-abiding citizens, but you do get a few "Kiasu" ( afraid to lose) drivers on the road, who jumps queue, ignore trafffic lights, and never seem to use their indicators when making a turn. ( trying to save electricity?)
  4. Penangites in general loves to eat, and you can see almost every coffeeshops are usually crowded thruout the day. And you can find eating places at every imaginable empty places ( see pic); by the side walk, in the alley, on main road,...etc.
  5. Penangites are usually anti-establishment from the political aspect. I guess they felt they were being short-changed by the federal gov't esp. for spending allocation for infrastructure which has been lacking considering that they contribute a high% of the income tax to the federal gov't.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Earth Hour in Penang... No noticeable lights out

Took pictures of the city of George Town, Penang during the Earth Hour where lights are supposed to be switched off from 8:30pm till 9:30pm. I did not see anything diferent this year. Last time, I can see more lights being turned off. Why the lack of support for this year? No one cares now?

Before 8:30pm

After 8:30pm

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

New Economic Model

Below is an excerpt of what to expect for the NEM at the end of this month. My thoughts included ( in bold fonts)...

The New Economic Model (NEM), which is expected to be unveiled at the end of
this month, could have eight key initiatives aimed at achieving a high-income
economy, source said. As expected, among the proposed actions plans, which are
being firmed up, are strategies:
– To move towards a high-income economy (Nice... but how?? Sounds very high level)
– The phasing out of subsidies, which may follow Indonesia’s model of subsidy
reforms ( Phase out subsidies ... also include removing high tax rates on automobiles? This is an indirect subsidy policy as this protectionist policy fosters an inefficient car company due to no competition)
– The continued gradual removal of affirmative action policies ( how gradual is gradual ? 10 months or 10 years? How about a qualified non-Malay CEO for at least 1 Government Linked Corporation(GLC)  for a start. Just 1.. not asking too much)
– To restrict the employment of foreign workers across all sectors in order for local
workers to have more job opportunities (most jobs pay are too low for locals... raise the min. hourly wage.  Business cost may go up, but so does spending power. It will come back full cycle. Just don't pay peanuts, as you will get peanuts in return).
– The measures of “Green” or environmental initiatives ( Need more details on green.... One good initiative is improve on the public transport system la.  People forced to drive and pollute the air with their automobiles since the public transport is not convenient and undependable)
The new model is expected to be announced by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib
Razak at the annual Invest Malaysia conference on 30-31 Mar, will likely pick up
where last year’s sweeping reforms left off. (Financial Daily)

Monday, March 22, 2010

Wish List#3: More Parks Needed

I believe Penang has a high number of active folks who would love to have more recreational parks for them to breathe in the fresh air and for a place to exercise. Sadly, there is only a handful of parks in Penang, and you can tell by the crowd you see on the weekends that there are not many choices. The most popular  park is now the Botanical Gardens and Youth Park. Both are located very close to each other, and the single lane road access becomes a bottleneck.  There is a big renovation going on at Botanical Gardens with more parking lots, but some long term planning needed to widen the access road as there is only a single lane road going into the park.
A couple of parks or places of recreations in Penang now are:
a.  Botanical Gardens - nice lush surroundings with many trails (
b.  Youth Park ( Taman Belia) - Lots of exercise machines, and skate and skateboard rink.
c.  Air Itam Dam - Nice place for running but a bit isolated and not safe esp. at late evenings or very early mornings  ( Video)
d.  Bukit Dumbar, Jelutong - A bit small for a park built on top of a underground reservoir. Not enough greens to provide a cooling atmosphere.
e. Metropolitan Park, Relau - haven't been there yet.
Other notable smaller areas esp. for hiking are:
a. Bukit Hijau ( Green Hill at Island Park)
b. Bukit Jambul ( Hiking Trail to the top of hill)
c. Pearl Hill , Tanjung Tokong ( long road up a hill to a Sultan's residence)

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Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Open Day at Malaysian German Society ( MGS) on 20th March

The MGS will organize their yearly MGS Open Day and Flea market in  their spacious compound on Saturday, 20th March 2010 from 3pm onwards!
For further info....

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Shoe Making Industry in Penang... A Dying Tradition

Jimmy Choo and the shoemakers of Penang | My Sinchew
Jimmy Choo and the shoemakers of Penang

The shoe-making industry used to be the pride of Penang. Photo courtesy: Sin Chew Daily

The half-century old Lian Aik Shoe Shop at Campbell Street. Photo courtesy: Sin Chew Daily

There are only a handful of old shoe shops left at Campbell Street. Photo courtesy: Sin Chew Daily

Xie Quan Chang (R), and Li Kok Qiang relating the history of Penang's shoe-making industry. Photo courtesy: Sin Chew Daily

The shoes-making industry in Penang has once become the priority of the island's manufacturing industry and was profoundly respected by the public.

Modern people today may find it unbelievable that even some Singaporeans were willing to become shoe-making apprentices in Penang.

Jimmy Choo pride of Penang

A small island like Penang is also able to produce an internationally acclaimed shoe designer, Jimmy Choo (Zhou Yang Jie). Although Jimmy sealed his achievements in the UK, he started learning the skill of shoe-making back in Penang.

Therefore he is truly a pride of Penang's shoe-making industry.

Ever since its founding by Francis Light in 1786, Georgetown has evolved into an international city in the region. It has played an important role as a place for foreigners to conduct their businesses and the shoe-making industry was developed since then.

Jimmy Choo used to be an apprentice at Hong Kong Shoe Store in Penang. It is believed that his outstanding shoe-making skill was picked up from there and has brought over to the United Kingdom where he successfully built his career.

Precious leather shoes

Two of the senior shoe-makers on the island, Xie Quan Chang, 61, and Li Guo Qiang, 65, said during an interview with Sin Chew Daily that in the past the luxury shoes which the British used to wear were leather shoes with hidden thread, and the shoe-makers in Penang had mastered such talents prior to the 1960s.

It was time-consuming to make leather shoes. Besides, it required outstanding skills and some of the apprentices were still unable to produce a pair of good leather shoes even after learning for four years.

A skilled shoe-maker could normally make only a pair of shoes of hidden thread in one day, and some might need a couple of days!

The shoes were relatively costly and could cost more than a thousand ringgit today. Moreover, it is hard to get unless you buy them in the UK.

During the early days, majority of leather shoes were made of leather or sheepskin and the shoe-makers were required to sew the thread through the skin of these shoes.

Such thread-hidden shoes were out of sale since 30 years ago and it is today regarded as precious antique shoes by modern shoe-makers.

Over a hundred shoe factories

Half of a century ago, shoes made in Penang were warmly received throughout Southeast Asia as well as among foreign tourists to Penang.

At that time, there were over a hundred shoe factories in Penang producing shoes for local as well as oversea markets.

Xie's father, Xie Quan Sheng and Li's father, Li Rong were both engaged in the the shoe-making industry. According to them, the techniques of adhesive shoes were spread here from Singapore.

Due to the convenience of pasting only the shoes bottom with glue instead of sewing, about three pair of shoes could be produced within a day.

The change in techniques has gradually turned many small-sized factories into medium-sized ones capable of mass production.

Initially, the market prices of adhesive shoes were about the same as leather shoes although they were much easier to make. However, mass production has led to price competition and leather shoes gradually disappeared from the market due to sharp decline in shoe prices.

Well-known for its diversity

The past shoemakers in Penang had different skills and thus the shoes they made were of different styles and this has diversified the shoes produced in Penang.

Unfortunately, the shoe-making industry here has slowly been replaced by the more competitive and bigger shoe-makers in China.

Shoemakers choosing to quit

In fact, after Penang lost its free port status in 1969, the number of visitors buying duty free items has declined sharply. This has forced the shoe-makers to search for alternative livelihoods, resulting in the decline of local shoe-making industry.

Penang Shoes Association was established 98 years ago with the objective of protecting the right as well as welfare of shoe-makers on the island. The association also used to provide free meals to poor shoe-makers in the past.

Four shoe shops remaining

Until recently, there are only four old shoe shops remaining at Campbell Street, down from the original 20, as the public prefer to shop at Komtar, one of the famous shopping complexes in Penang. (Translated by LIM LIY EE/Sin Chew Daily)

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Chinese New Year Celebration this Weekend Feb 27-28th

Latest Events - MyPenang CNY Reunion celebration
MyPenang CNY Reunion celebration
27.02.2010 - 28.02.2010 17.00 h - 23.00 h
Esplanade, Penang - George Town

Time: 5pm to 11pm
Organizer: Penang State Government
Tel: 604-650 5136

Music + Local Food + Bazaar + Concert + Midnight Party

MY PENANG CNY Reunion Celebration 2010 & 'Chap Goh Meh' Celebration jointly organized by the Penang State Government and go international and co-hosted by MY Astro.

This Chap Goh Meh ( 15th Night)  full moon... get ready for a colossal event in the heart of Penang Heritage city...

Over two days on 27 & 28 Feb 2010, MYPENANG REUNION celebration & full moon street party will be the playground for friends, relatives and visitors. Experience a truly Malaysian Chinese New Year with an exciting line-up of artistes from Taiwan and Malaysia! There's something for EVERYONE.

-- 27 Feb 2010 --
5pm-1am @ Esplanade Penang
It begins with vendor stalls kick starting at 5pm followed by a 45-minute MYPENANG Variety Show featuring for the first time, Nyonya PohChu and Bahku Hokkien Rapper, KO-AI. Soon after, catch Astro's young & energetic MYFM radio DJs on centrestage and welcome celebrity entertainers from Taiwan and hot Malaysian stars: popular rock duo from Taiwan Y2J 神木与瞳 (pic below), Cindy Yen 袁咏琳, Genie 卓文宣, Thomas Jack 东于哲, Danell Lee 李桀汉, Chen Keat Yoke 曾洁钰, Alvin钟健桦, Juztin Lan Kah Fai 刘界辉, Astro battleground 舞极限 as well as the entire MYFM radio DJ troupe! It's going to be fun fun fun! Get your 2-day festival pass for entry!

Then, at the stroke of midnight, adjourn to G Hotel for a full moon party unlike any other in Penang featuring Lap Sap's BLINK and XU as well as DJ Goldfish for a FIRST collaboration between the three - GBX. It's gonna be crazy!

Program for 27th Feb:
5.00pm - MYPENANG Bazaar opens
7.00pm - Emcee (MYFM DJ) welcomes all!
7.30pm - Arrival of Penang State Chief Minister
7.45pm - MYPENANG Variety Show (DEJAVU magicians)
MYPENANG Variety Show (Nyonya PohChu & KOAI)
MYPENANG Variety Show (Datin Mei Lin singing performance 2 songs)
MYPENANG Variety Show (9yr old boy singing performance 2 songs)
8.4 5pm - Nyonya PohChu & KOAI welcome MYFM DJs
9.00pm - Launch Gambit by Astro Battleground (6 mins dance)
MYFM Stage (3 ASQ sing CNY Song)
MYFM Stage (Juztin Lau Kah Fai - 2 songs)
MYFM Stage (Cindy Yen - 2 songs solo + 1 duet with Danell Lee)
MYFM Stage (Ah Yoke - 2 songs solo)
MYFM Stage (Alvin - 2 songs solo)
MYFM Stage (Thomas & Jack - 2 songs)
MYFM Stage (Genie - 2 songs)
MYFM Stage (Danell Lee - 2 songs)
MYFM Stage (5x DJs - 1 CNY song)
MYFM Stage (Y2J - 3 songs)
MYFM Stage (Closing by 5x DJs and all artistes and Variety Show)

-- 28 Feb 2010 --
5pm - 11pm @ Esplanade Penang is Chap Goh Meh!
Throw the traditional mandarin orange if you're still single, ladies! Otherwise kick your heels back and enjoy the 80s Schooldays Party co-organised by REDfm's DJs. Love songs dominate this Chinese Valentine's day.

Program for 28th Feb:

5.00pm - Welcome to My Penang Reunion CNY Celebration - Doppelganger Acoustic Showcase
7.00pm - Dondang Sayang in front of City Hall
8.00pm - Kompang, Gamelan and Caklempang music by Sek Tunku Abdul Rahman from Nibong Tebal

8.30pm - Malay Cultural Dance

8.40pm - Speech by Chief Minister of Penang
Cultural Dance
RedFM DJ and local celebrities Royce an Ah Yoke (Tiger Woohoo actors) - at the main stage
Nyonya PohChu & KOAI welcome REDFM DJs - Nisha & Adrian - at the main stage
10.30pm - Lion Dance on stilts in front of City Hall

11.00pm - Fireworks

7pm to 10.30pm - traditional throwing of orange activities at beach front
** crowd invited to Town Hall


Purchase of one Ang Pow of RM12-00 will entitle you to a free drink and a lucky draw.
Tickets can be purchased at the following location:
• Guang Ming office at 67 Macalister Road (12pm-6pm)
• Crepe Cottage at 77A Gurney Drive (8pm-11pm)
• Queensbay Mall at Penang Tourism Booth (12pm-6pm)
• G Hotel at Gurney Drive (12pm-6pm)

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Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Why is our EPF Dividend so low? How to beat inflation with these puny rates?

The Employee Provident Fund (EPF) rate is getting lower and lower to around 4-5%.  With inflation rate at least ~3%, our actual interest gain is actually 1-2%.  How to retire when you get returns this low?  I say, better to pull some of your money from your EPF account to invest in Mutual Funds or the ASW2020, which gives better returns ( albeit with slightly higher risk). Let's see how much we are getting for Yr 2009.
Some helpful links below:
Link to approved Fund Mgrs: 
Link for Retirement Calculation :
Year - Dividend
2009            ??
2008 4.5
2007 5.8
2006 5.15
2005 5
2004 4.75
2003 4.5
2002 4.25
2001 5
2000 6
1999 6.84
1998 6.7
1997 6.7
1996 7.7
1995 7.5
1988 - 1994 8
1983 - 1987 8.5
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Saturday, February 20, 2010

Penang Government Portal for Enquiries and Complaints

I would like to share with you all my experiences using the Penang Gov't portal for the public to direct their enquiries and complaints with regards to anything, e.g. traffic, noise, bad services,...etc. So far,  since started using it, I find that they do followup  on your enquiries,  and respond to you fairly quickly.
The website is .   Below are some pictorial examples taken from the website. You need to register yourself before you use it.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Malaysian Drivers... Driving like Motorcylists

Lawless behaviour of motorists shocks JPJ chief ( from The Star)
PUTRAJAYA: Road Transport Department (JPJ) director-general Datuk Solah Mat Hassan thought he had seen it all — but no, some motorists still continue to surprise him with their reckless behaviour on the road.

On his way from Kota Baru to Kuala Lumpur on Wednesday during the ongoing Ops Sikap XXI, he managed to photograph 93 cars blatantly flouting traffic rules.

“The drivers either overtook along double lines or jumped queue using the emergency lane.

“Some even used the road shoulder. I cannot imagine the kind of catastrophe that could have happened if there were people on it (road shoulder),” he told a press conference yesterday.

He added that he also alerted his officers to stop two cars and slap the drivers with summonses because they were “driving way too dangerously”.

Solah said that between Feb 8 and Wednesday, 2,968 photographs were taken of motorists committing various offences, including failure to stop at traffic lights, overtaking along double lines, jumping queue and using the emergency lane, drivers using their handphones and failure to buckle up or motorcyclists who failed to put on a helmet.

“The photographs were taken by my undercover officers, by the public and me.

“We have proof that these people committed road offences; there is no way they can deny it. We will slap them with the maximum fine of RM300,” he said.

However, JPJ officers caught only three heavy vehicles travelling during the Feb 12 and Feb 13 ban period. Of the 5,000 buses checked, only 11 failed tyre and brake tests while two drivers tested positive for drug abuse.

“With the long holidays coming to an end, I am pleading to road users to be mindful and patient. I also urge the public to play their role in capturing photos of vehicles flouting the law, so that we can take action against the drivers.

“The JPJ needs the public’s help so that reckless drivers will not get away unpunished,” he said, adding that photos could be emailed to

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Saturday, February 13, 2010

Very disturbing if this is true... A leopard cannot change its spots.

Racist Umno Youth propaganda in London   ( from MalaysiaKini website)
Ahmad Naim
Feb 11, 10
Hi, my name is Ahmad Naim, and I am a first year student in the UK. I write about my experience last weekend in London where I overhead a discussion by Umno Youth leaders.A student in the UK is exposed to many experiences. The apolitical learn to be political, the apathetic become aware, the previously anti-social join student-run clubs and harness talents they never knew they had.
And beyond these positive developments, I learnt a few days ago that a first-year student such as myself can also find that the Malaysian Dream can be stomped upon even in a land that teaches us the values of democracy, freedom and equality.
I learnt of the impending arrival in London of a large delegation of Umno leaders from a few friends from Kelab Umno London. There was to be a private session between the delegation and Kelab Umno leaders/members. For the record, I had contemplated joining the club which swore to be run solely for the purposes of the welfare of Malay(sian) students in the British capital.
But ever the student I am, procrastination is my middle name. In any case, I was not overly keen to meet with the Umno delegation which included the Umno secretary Datuk Rauf (something) and around six or seven Umno Youth exco members (some look like post-graduate students, so I cannot tell the difference) and ladies.
However, because food was on my mind I decided to accompany my friends headed down to the Malaysian Students Department, or MSD (located next to Malaysia Hall) anyway.
Respecting the private nature of the discussion, I sat outside the modest room housed by the MSD gobbling away (self-paid) while the session was being held. Unknown to those inside the room, much said in there was audible to those sitting near the back partition. The window overlooking Queensborough Terrace where MSD is located also makes it quite easy to look into the hall.
Armed with a book, I tried reading while sipping a 'teh tarik' but I couldn't seem to bring my mind to concentrate on reading. Disturbing words of racist politics could be heard coming through the cracks of the partition.
The only person to take the stage was the quite sizeable Umno secretary Rauf whilst the Umno Youth exco members also fielded questions from the floor. I wasn't eavesdropping but the booming voices – especially those of Rauf and one Umno Youth member by the name of Megat – made it quite easy to make out the racist remarks which were spilling out of their primary orifice.
In his rant, Rauf called non-Malays 'bangsa asing' who were trampling on the Malays in 'Tanah Melayu'. I remember a direct quote, 'Jangan biarkan bangsa asing pijak kepala kita' as though the non-Malays were interested in little else than seeing Malays fail for their sinister, selfish goals.
There was also a vigorous defense of Nasir Safar's recent comments against non-Malays which branded non-Malays as beggars and prostitutes. According to one Umno Youth exco member present, those comments were not at all racist but quite contrarily 'just facts'. My oh my, I saw a Chinese couple next to me trying to tune out the words and focus on their meals.
Throughout the session, non-Malays were treated as the enemy and whilst they did praise Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak, there was no mention of '1Malaysia', unity or multiracial nation- building.
During some moments in the session, they sounded nothing less than Vikings on the path to war – an Umno Youth exco said something to the effect of Umno willing to fight to the death against threats made by non-Malays. These threats were, strangely enough, never detailed.
Regardless, what I found most disturbing was the fact that these individuals, by all accounts, are (I think) high-ranking Umno leaders. Rauf, for all intents and purposes, as I Googled, is the COO of Umno. Whatever one thinks of Umno's sloganeering via '1Malaysia', the fact is that if even these individuals cannot help but promote the diametric opposite to what '1Malaysia' is supposed to entail, then what hope is there for Umno and BN?
As much as what Najib says and does counts above all else, it is most shameful that his generals are doing their best to derail the Malaysian Dream. Najib's decision to fire his aide only last week was commendable but he was just an aide. Will he take similar measures against people with positions in the party who speak out against '1Malaysia'?
I may be just a kid yet, but if Najib is to succeed as a reformist, then he must make sure the entire – or at least much of the party – follows suit. Otherwise, even the son of a lifelong Umno member will think twice about voting BN. Sigh. Shaken I was despite not sitting in at the meeting. Umno propaganda is indeed powerful.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Yao Si Ting... Lovely Voice ( Get her latest "VOICE" album)

Since Valentine is coming soon which coincidentally falls on the same day as Chinese New Year,  here's a suggested album to get from Yao Si Ting, a Chinese singer from Guangzhou. Cost at Popular Book Store is ~ RM$38.

You can listen to an excerpt of one of her songs titled " Only Love" from YouTube...

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Cross Country Race in Penang on February 28th

Penang Cross Country Race which is sponsored by the the KSK Bayan Lepas and Penang Amateur Athletic Association (PAAA). The trail is about 6km long, and you will be going thru hilly areas, vegetable gardens, traditional villages, fishing villages, coastal and country roads. Please download the entry form from this link:
 There will be accomodations that can be arranged nearby for those from outstation.
 Closing date for entries February 19, 2010. For more information, you can find it on ( it is in Malay but u can use Google Translation)

Friday, February 5, 2010

Wish List#2: Traffic Management

For a small island as Penang, traffic management could be better.  There are a few fundamental traffic management flaws that I see that makes the traffic worse:
a.  Too many traffic lights; it just slows traffic.. Use more U-turns instead for traffic that wants to cross to the other side.
b.  No proper "ring" highways roads that provides the main artery for traffic flow. Just imagine a hwy that circles around, and with exit points to the main towns, e.g. Air Itam, George Town, Gelugor, Bayan Baru,...etc.
c.  No proper bike lanes since Penang has lots of motorbikes
d. Too many illegal parking that blocks traffic flow... Police not showing their presence.

One example of constant traffic jam and provides bad reflection of Penang as whole especially for outstation visitors, is the main hwy that winds towards Jalan Mesjid Negeri, near Tesco.  Visitors driving in to Penang via the bridge will get bottled up here when heading towards the northwest part of the island.
The main reason for the messy jam is the traffic light at Jalan Delima and 2-to-1 lane merge at the underpass.  Whose bright idea was this, since this is a major artery road to the north?  If Penang road network is liken to a human blood circulation system, the human will get a "heart attack" with all the clogs  in the systems.
May I propose a solution to this longstanding issue? Remove the traffic light at Jalan Delima and provide U-turns for traffic that needs to exit or enter Jalan Delima.
For now, complaints on traffic jams in George Town can be made to the operations control room of the George Town police headquarters at 04-2181880.

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Sunday, January 10, 2010

One of my favourite Japanese restaurant.. Matsuki

There is a Japanese restaurant called Matsuki at Jalan Pemenang, which is close to Gurney Drive, that I frequent quite regularly. I liked the place as not only is the food great but the prices are reasonable, and if you order a set meal, you get a free scoop of Haagen-Dazs ice cream. And I love ice cream. :) There's also lots of ample parking at the front.  My favourites are the Sukiyaki, and the Udons.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

"Allah" can keep it.

The Home Ministry on Tuesday filed an application to stay the execution of the High Court
ruling that the word "Allah" can be used by the Catholic weekly magazine, Herald. The
application was filed at the High Court Registry here. On Monday, the ministry lodged an
appeal with the Court of Appeal against the ruling. On Dec 31, High Court Judge Datuk
Lau Bee Lan ruled that pursuant to Articles 11 and 12 of the Federal Constitution, the
Herald had the constitutional right to use the word in respect of instruction and education of
the congregation in the Christian religion. (Bernama) 

My opinion:
Just one word " Allah", and current government is all worked up over who is allowed to use it. There must be some "copyright"  or "all rights reserved" over this word that the government thinks they solely owns the usage of it, and decides who has the right to use it. I guess if they feel so attached to it, they can keep it.  Frankly,  there are some who says that the reason that the Catholic weekly magazine wants to use the word is that there is a hidden agenda to make Christian's God appealing to the Muslims. What nonsense! Aren't there existing laws in the country where any non-Islamic religious publications or events, esp. Christians; there must be a disclaimer written somewhere that basically says, " For Non-Muslim Only"?   I don't see any protest coming from other Islamic countries esp. neighboring Indonesia that get all worked up over this, since they use the "Al-Kitab" there.

I just googled " Who is Allah?" and a few good "balanced" links came up which are worth a read...

The name of الله Allāh, written in Arabic call...Image via Wikipedia

Sunday, January 3, 2010

2010 New Year Wish List for Penang: Wish List #1

Since it is the beginning of 2010, I will come up with  the top 10 wish list for Penang over several days. Hopefully the Penang State Govt. will get to see this list and fulfill the wishes of this "rakyat" ( citizen). Here's Wish List #1

1 Bring the Shine Back to Penang.
The state of Penang is known as the Penang Darul Sampah ( Trash), and you can see it everywhere. Just look at the drains or rivers, or sea. You can see plastic bottles, styrofoams, cartons, bottles,...etc, proudly displayed for all to see.  Just visit a Pasar Malam (Night Market) and you'll see trash all over.  Once after buying something at a Pasar Malam, I was looking for a dustbin to discard the trash, but could not find one. The trader just told me to throw it on the road, and someone will clear the rubbish later. I guess there is a system here, i.e. throw now, and later someone will clear it.  My take is that this will create a mentality that basically teaches everyone including kids, that since this is not your house, and someone will clear it later,  it is perfectly fine to throw your rubbish anywhere.  What is a dustbin for if no one uses them? The gov't of the day needs to change the system and policy to educate the public that it is never right to throw your rubbish everywhere, and expect some garbage man to come clean up your mess later. This is one bad habit that will take strict enforcement from the gov't to get everyone to comply. If need to get example of how to enforce, just do a "lawatan sambil belajar" ( learning while visit) trip to Singapore.  Over there, even construction works e.g. road or buildings looked neat and no debris overspilling over public areas.  Since this year is Visit Penang Year, I am sure tourists appreciate clean and pleasant, and not smelly surroundings. 
Picture of traditional Malaysian Pasar malamImage via Wikipedia

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year 2010.. Scenes of PG from 2009

WELCOME 2010.... Have a great year ahead....