Saturday, November 28, 2015

Meritus Pelangi Resort, Langkawi: Quite Possibly the Best Hotel on Cenang

Meritus Pelangi Beach Resort & Spa is quite possibly the best (and only) 5 star hotel along the popular Cenang Beach in Langkawi. If you want a super nice place to stay in Langkawi and your budget is USD250/night, this is the place. Seriously guys. So good I cannot. We stayed there a year ago as winnings of the #SkytrexSelfie contest. HEHE


Kenneth awkwardly freezing as he realizes too little too late that he's caught in a panorama shot

Decent room, classy furnishing 

A little sitting area which the third bed was set up on

the ultra luxe toilet. so huge it had a closet and a small bench to the left. no bathubs cos who needs them when you're in langkawi?!? 

at the outside balcony

everything just looks better when you're on holiday. even a normal kampung scene

one of the reasons why i love meritus so much is the kid's splash area. it's a huge area with this foamy material on the floor that is always surrounded by water but not submerged by it. reminds me of when we were kids and the car porch at home would be flooded just for fun. of course i spent most of my time here

hot dao cannot open eyes, but the weather, so beautiful, just see the pics below:

the beachside bar and the gorgeous view *heart eyes emoji*

the beach is SWEET like sugar, man. not only is it one of the more secluded portions of the popular cenang beach, it's got a beautiful view of the small islands across the waters. plane spotters would also enjoy its close proximity to the airport - planes regularly whizzed by whenever we were there.

HEUHEUHEUHEU

Why I Blog

Why am I still blogging here? I write here to remember the things I publish on this little blog. One year from now, two years from now, I can remember the things I chose to share with you. I write here to share the lessons I have learnt from parts of my life - and I hope if you read it, something will help you where you are. I write here to record the observations from my travels (however bare), to tie a value to it.

I write here to have something to look back upon.

I write here because I can :)



Monday, November 9, 2015

5 Scandalous Lessons I Learnt in the Last 90 Days

Be mindful.
Be mindful about what you think/do/hear/say/act upon, because every one of your actions either bring you closer to your goals or further away from it

Ubuntu is a living, breathing thing.
Treat it well and practice it daily. Don't abscond it to second position because "you can do it better/faster". A little teamwork goes a very, very long way.

It's not impossible. 
Really. It's not. You just have to set your mind to it and do it. And ask for help - it's always there. You just need to ask.

Resentment and guilt kills you.
So just move on already!

Know what you want.
Know what you want.


*Actually I learnt more than 5 lessons.

Friday, October 30, 2015

#mymacau | Long Wa Tea House, Macau


One of the more charming spots we visited while in Macau was this 60-year old tea house, Long Wa Tea House. Known by its Portuguese name, Casa de Cha Long Wa (casa = house, cha = tea?), this establishment hasn't aged a day! It even has its own Lonely Planet page.

We started our day here with a hearty dim sum breakfast, washed down with top quality Chinese teas. Their specialty teas include the Dong Zeng "dancing tea", Guan Yin tea and other various teas.




Food-wise, we had a very local breakfast. Due to its proximity to Hong Kong/China and similarities in culture, you will find that the Chinese cuisine in Macau doesn't differ too much from either. We had tasty whole steamed chicken, stuffed brinjal (my favourite!), fried flat noodles with beef, something like Cantonese yin yong (so yummy), pork buns, siew mai and steamed cake.



As you can see, Long Wa has a super cool vintage vibe that's been well preserved, right down to the Mao Zedong posters on the wall. What I love about this place is also its large windows that let in natural light. It's a perfect spot for whiling the day away or to grab a quick breakfast before hitting Macau's city center! Add this to your must-visit while in Macau. 

Sunday, September 20, 2015

learn unlearn relearn [20 sep]

Self-denial vs. denial of self's desires

The Best Sleep I've Ever Had: Sheraton Macau Hotel at Cotai Central Review




I was invited on a trip to Macau recently and was put up in Sheraton Macao on Cotai Central. Cotai is the name of the reclaimed land in Macau, and is where popular attractions like the Venetian, Galaxy, City of Dreams and soon-to-be-opened Studio City are located. This particular Sheraton has over 3,000 rooms spread across two towers – Earth and Sky, and holds the record of being the biggest hotel in Macao (at time of publishing), and the biggest Sheraton in the world.

The hotel room I was put in, the Deluxe Club, allows check in from the Club Lounge on Level 4 – a quiet respite from the bustling lobby on the ground floor, which overlooks the casino. This is truly welcome, because the amount of human traffic on the ground floor is unbelievable!  At check-in, we received a small glass of cold juice and a cold towel, before being ushered to our rooms. Guests with Club privileges also had buffet breakfast on the Club Lounge floor.


My room was 2850, an almost-pool facing room on the 28th floor that was located at quite a walk away from the elevators. Deluxe Club rooms come with a signature Sheraton Sweet Sleeper bed, which has been touted to reduce fatigue and improve blood circulation (But then again, you may argue that those are effects of sleep in general, hahaha). Anyway, you know it’s going to be a fantastic sleep when your bed has its own paragraph in the hotel press release. And I’ve been raving to anyone who would listen that it’s the best bed I’ve ever had.







There are the usual amenities you’ll find in a hotel room – TV, minibar, writing desk blah blah blah. Extras I spotted were the iPod dock and a folding ironing board (which I had difficulty opening and ended up using flat on the floor) and torchlight in the cupboard. Terry cloth slippers, bathrobes, hangers (that are not attached to the cupboard, yay!) and a digital safe make up the rest of the lighted cupboard’s contents. Shampoos are Sheraton branded (mandarin and mint scented, so yummy!), bottles of water available for your consumption (no idea why they placed these in the toilet, of all places). 



(I didn't see it, but) the Family Suites in Sheraton Macao are something special for the kids. Not only are there bedrooms for kids, but these are kid-sized and kid-themed bedrooms! I’m not sure if it’s Kungfu Panda, Shrek, How to Train Your Dragon or Madagascar, but the kid’s bedrooms are decorated with merchandise/bedsheets from these Dreamworks animations.

There are two fabulous pools for your use. My room was facing the Jaya pool, which was closed on the day I wanted to see it. The other pool, Sala, is a more family-friendly attraction. I say attraction because it had, like, 9 pools scattered around. Some were free-form, there was one that was slim and thin, and others surrounded cabanas. Some of the cabanas were decked out in Dreamworks animation wallpapers and had kid-sized tables and chairs in them, so cute!

Sheraton is connected to two other hotels (Conrad and Sands) through the Shoppes, a network of shopping malls. The Shoppes that connects these three are “Shoppes at Cotai Central”, and across the street you will find two other Shoppes – “Shoppes at Four Seasons” and "Shoppes at Venetian”.

I enjoyed my stay at Sheraton very much and would recommend it for any traveler looking for a place to stay in Macau, for its satisfactory accommodation, excellent location and host of amenities that are great for the whole family. Tourism as a whole in Macau is booming and growing at a very quick pace, and hoteliers have already established themselves all over the island - so you as a tourist will actually be spoilt for choice!

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Why Do Bad Things Happen To Good People?

Why do bad things happen to good people? The same reason why good things happen to bad people. We will never know. 

Speaking from my own experience, I don't take being a Christian to mean that I will be blessed all the time and only good things will happen to me. I know that sometimes, not so good things will happen to me. And those moments, moments in which things don't work out the way I think or believe they should, keep me grounded and drawn towards God. In those times, I come to realize the brevity of my being and the frailty of life, and I find myself drawing closer to the only thing I know real and reliable - God himself. To put it simply, it is a humbling experience.

Philosophical reasoning aside, I personally don't know why God inflicts pain in the form of starvation and poverty on the many peoples on the earth (And I have a problem when people start framing their sentences as God "inflicting" something on someone, because that phrasing itself already sets the up observer against God). But I do know that blaming God for the injustices of this world, most of which are man-made, is a futile effort. You can do it all you want but it's not going to bring you any sort of satisfaction. Besides, the earth is a fallen place, full of sinners like me. If you are straight up denying God and the tenets of faith like truth, righteousness and justice, yet expect God to answer to your question, I don't know man, maybe it's time to read a book. 

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

My Experience at The Canopi Glamping Resort, Bintan Island



This is a very rare moment where I get to pretend I am a travel blogger so bear with me. 
Thank you to Jon & his family for the hospitality and invite n__n


Bintan Island is a popular island in Indonesia that is most commonly accessed via Singapore due to its proximity, and is not to be mistaken with Batam island (also an Indonesian island close to Singapore). Bintan is also home to popular beachside/island resorts such as Banyan Tree Resort & Spa, Sanchaya Resort and Club Med Bintan, hence its popularity with Singaporeans (or is it because the Singaporeans came, so these resorts were built? Hmmm) Quite 5 star lah. The island also has a lot of attractions - such as the 500 Lohan sculptures, temples and historic chapels, along with mangrove tours and eco farms.

The Canopi is a brand-new boutique, glamping-themed resort on Bintan Island. Glamping is glamorous camping - camping in the outdoors with all the comforts and more of a resort. Besides the unique glamping feature (where you stay in a literal tent!), the unique thing about #TheCanopi is its location tethering the Crystal Lagoon - South East Asia's largest salt water man-made lagoon!

Here's a look at how each of the glamping tents looks like. Take note of the safari-themed items (like the chest of drawers, standing lamps and chairs - too cute!)!

The walls (thick fabric) can be rolled up to reveal the surroundings. We had a lagoon view tent. Other tents behind us (no lagoon view) had outdoor Jacuzzi tubs


Open air shower because what else would you expect from camping?

Toiletries are generic...would have been cute to be Body Shop/L'Occitane :D

Super cute stationery. Would be better if there were a Sumatran Rhino or Komodo Dragon paperweight :D OMG I should just open a boutique hotel consultancy

Since I have no caption for this - Jon said "Wah this is like Camporama man. Can hear people talking outside the tent"

The great thing about The Canopi is that there's a whole host of activities to get into at the resort itself. Loan a scooter or a Segway and loop around the lagoon, or buckle up to ride a muddy circuit with one of their UTVs. You can also tour the lagoon with a cute little pick up or in their solar-powered yacht. There is also a water sports section (with inflatable trampolines, mini pyramid etc) further down the resort, which was still under development.

My analysis of The Canopi:

  • Great, tastefully decorated rooms
  • Nice touch to provide 2 umbrellas 
  • Dunno why but I got fabric burns on the soles of my feet from the carpet (a sort of hemp material). Should provide terry cloth slippers 
  • Needs welcome drinks or a plate of cold fruits for arriving guests :D
  • A welcome kit would have been fantastic! It would contain a map of the resort ala treasure map, a to-do list of items ala activity sheet (would be so cute for the kids), ponchos, a picnic mat (both can be Canopi branded lolol).
  • There should also be an add-on option on their booking website for BBQ food. We saw many guests bringing in their own booze and food to cook in the pits

On that last note, the food selection at the resort is quite sparse (western food plus a few local offerings) that range from RM30 onwards (yeah sorry I am not familiar with Indonesian rupiah). If you want snacks and booze, better buy them at the Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal before departing. Otherwise you'll have to drive to the closest town centre (which consists of a few shops and a hawker centre) to get some food.  You can also get kek lapis from here. There is also another town about half an hour away from the area but we weren't looking to go that far. Also, they do NOT accept SGD any longer so please convert your cash into IDR (there's a money changer at the terminal).

Still no caption, so...Indonesian time is one hour behind Singapore/Malaysia's

The Canopi website

Saturday, August 15, 2015

5 Things I Should Have Done with my Income

A little background as to why this is my topic of choice: This year, two very important things happened to me which helped me to take better control of how I spend my money. The first is a short prep talk by Jeevan Sahadevan, and the second is a Compass course (which I am still in the process of completing).

Unbeknownst to me, most of my income was spent at Mr. DIY monthly

After working for four years (going into year 5, come September!), I still have not achieved any amount of financial independence and freedom that I thought I would have by the time I were an adult. How embarrassing.

All of this boils down to poor financial education. 

(Despite my stupid financial education, I have two things to take pride in - first, my strict regime in handling credit cards. I didn't get one until last year, and only then used it to pay for petrol and NOTHING ELSE. I always made sure I paid off the dues on the day it is due, or earlier. The second thing is the routine payment of my car loan.)

Today I share with you the 5 additional things I would have told myself about my income when I first started working.


1. Do not touch the money in the EMERGENCY SAVINGS account
Ideally, we should put 10% or more of our monthly income into a savings account. The purpose of this account is to have reserve money on hand, in the event of an emergency. Some people can save up to 30% of their income, but I would recommend you start with 5 or 10% and work your way upwards. 

For me, for the past years of working, I was disciplined in putting aside that money, but had little discipline in what defines an "emergency". Holiday with the girls? Sale at Cotton On? Birthday treat for myself? Anything and everything warranted a use for the extra money. I depleted my savings very, very quickly.

Now I know better. This money is not to be used for debts, expenditure, treats or holidays. It's to be used in the event of a job loss or economical instability, or to be put towards the down payment of my first property purchase, or to be used for my further education. It's very boring, but very necessary! 


2. Create a FUN JAR
I would have put aside about 10% (or however much I could afford to put aside for that month) into a FUN JAR. This Fun Jar would fund my FUN stuff, like the things I mentioned in point 1 - holiday with my friends, buy stuff at the Cotton On sale, or treat myself on my birthday. 

Another plus point is that this amount can snowball. It's not like I go on a holiday every month - so at the end of three months, I could have as much as 30% of my income in my FUN JAR to spend! I highly recommend doing this alongside your emergency savings account. 


3. Manage the 90% as well as you manage the 10%
It has been indoctrinated in me that 10% of my income belongs to God and goes to tithes. As we tithe or pay our zakat, we are actually saying to God, "thank You for the sustenance and provision". So you can say that giving is a form of worship. 

I have been religiously giving 10% of my income to the church every month, without much thought to how I spend the remainder 90%. This year, I have been taught that all 100% belongs to God. I am merely a steward of the money that I have, and I have been a sucky steward of the 90%. MIND BLOWN! This principle (from Compass) changed the way I looked at my finances and how I manage it. 


4. Create a financial goal
It can be modest or outrageous, but have something to focus your energy and effort towards. Here are a few popular ones for those who are new in the workplace:

- Pay off student loans 
- Pay off hire purchase (car loan) ahead of time
- Set aside one month's salary in emergency savings
- Have a retirement plan (PRS)

And this one, I highly recommend to everyone to do - give your parents some money every month. They paid for the cost of your life, man. A small token for them each month would make them happy that you thought about them. It's not the amount, it's the thought.


5. Get a financial adviser/mentor
This person would not be a financial consultant, or a unit trust rep nor my insurance agent, but someone older, wiser and with more experience than me, who can help me plan out my finances with their great counsel. Uncles, aunties, your parents, your parent's friends. 

Mostly, I spoke with my mother regarding my monthly expenditure, but I do wish there were more people I could bounce my thoughts off with. "Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed."

Finally, I hope you will be able to be content in whatever state you feel you are in - like Liz Lemon here.



Okay that's all for this series! I hope you learnt something. 

Thursday, July 16, 2015

The Imitation Game & Suicide Squad Sneak Peek











Watched The Imitation Game recently, and I rate it above The Maze Runner. And because it has Benedict Cumberbatch, I also rate it above this year's Avengers movie.

The Imitation Game is a story about Alan Turing, a mathematician who cracked the German-made and owned Enigma machine/code during the World War II. The device he created, the Turing machine, became known as the rough prototype of the now-known-as Computer. Amazing! But he died young, committing suicide after a year of being exposed as a homosexual :'(

It's a good movie that tells the story beautifully, whether through dialogue, acting or the set. I think my mum would like this (I judge most movies by whether or not my mum will like it - she has great taste in a lot of things. Hi mum!)



In other news, the recent Comic Con has led to the inevitable release of the peek into Suicide Squad. Apparently the sneak peek was supposed to be exclusive to Comic Con, but after so many people pirated it online (in low quality), someone in Warner Bros. decided to upload the HQ because "it's meant to be seen in HQ" and of course news outlets everywhere went nuts with it. The release wasn't that hot in Malaysia though because racial tensions were on everyone's mind.

Here's the peek! (I think Margot Robbie is going to be the next Megan Fox)


6 Things I Wished Someone Told Me When I First Started a Job

Fresh out of college, first foot in the workplace; here's what I wish I could go back in time to tell myself:

1. You will no longer have the luxury of having dinner with the whole family 
Work will take up time. If it ain't work, it's the commute to/from work. If you can't leave work on time once a week to have dinner with them, always make it a point to have ONE meal with your family per week. Sometimes I do early breakfast with mum, before work, and sometimes I make it a car ride with my sister. Face to face time with family is important. (I really do wonder how working moms and dads do it!)

2. Keep a hobby, and keep it going
So you're a grown up now. That doesn't mean you have to abandon your interests! You can be playing board games, making art, practicing judo, hiking in jungles and going to raves when you were a teen, and you can still do it (and should!) when you're a little older.
Fun activities which we enjoy doing keep us passionate and interested, helping us to recharge and refresh to take on the daily grind. Also, when you were younger, you probably had less money to spend on your hobbies. When you're older, you get to spend more on your hobbies. Rather than walking in Taman Rakyat, you can now, for example, spend a weekend in Taman Negara.

3. Set a financial goal for yourself
Some popular ones include: Being financially independent by 25. Having an emergency savings fund of 6 month's expenses/salary stashed away. Putting aside 10% of income each month into a savings account (this one is tougher than it seems).
The whole point is to NOT spend away your whole month's income within that year. It's easy to earn money but difficult to save, and failing to plan for your income is planning to fail with your finances.

4. Meet up with like-minded people
I would recommend hanging out, catching up and being in touch with people who are working/in the marketplace. They can be your colleagues, or your college mates, or a group of close friends. The whole purpose of meeting with these people regularly is not just for networking and socializing, it is also for your (and their) personal and career growth.
Just to share, when my group of girl friends and I meet up to catch up, we always end up talking about work! These meet ups are sanity checks for us, and sometimes we get advise and encouragement from each other - whether to stay on and preserver in our workplace, or have the courage to speak up to our boss for a well-deserved raise. Never mind that we're in vastly different industries -  one's in a bank, one's with a start up and one's with a retail/fashion company.

5. Start praying for a life partner
Or, if you are already seeing someone, start planning for the future seriously. Maybe a 5 year plan? Idk. But if you, like me, are single when you've just started working, now's a good time to start praying for one. The first time I heard this advise ("You have to start praying for a life partner, even now"), it was from someone who was just gonna get married, and I was like Whuuuuut when he said it, 'cos it was not my priority at that time and I thought that my special someone would just be walking into my life. BUT there is benefit in seeking God's guidance for this.
As you pray for your life partner to manifest qualities you seek for, be prepared also to be the person who will attract someone like that.

6. Stop hating on kids
If you, like many of the people my age, hate kids, it's time to grow out of that. You are looking at the future leaders of Malaysia and it's time to treat them that way. Instead of throwing a death stare at the noisy kid in the airplane, ask him or her what they think of the current economy situation of the country.
LOL jokes. But there are ways to treat children well, and that way is to treat them as you would have liked to be treated  by adults when you were their age. I find it works remarkably well when I speak to them with sense, taking their opinions seriously.

7. Speaking of kids...Don't lose your childlike wonder!
I cringed as I typed that out, but what I mean by this cliched line is to have the curiosity and wonder of a young person through the many phases of life. You'll always find something to love or learn.


That's all from me for this click baitey article, hope you read to the end! *Thanks Daryl for pointing out that this has 7 not 6 things >.<, title not amended*
What do you wish someone told you when you first started a job?

Friday, May 29, 2015

song selection May 2015

Putting some songs here in case I forget about them. Thanks N for introducing me to the first two! 




This song ^ is so 90s but was probably made in the past few years only. Space/psychedelic rock can only be found on BFM so you obvs know where I heard it from.


Ok, yang ini betul2 dari 90s. It doesn't remind me of anything in my childhood though...

How to Answer the Question "What Do You Really Want To Do?"



Today, I was posed the question I feared the most.

The question I fear even more than "How are you?".

The question that I pretend I didn't know the answer to.

The question was,

"What do you really want to do?"

This is similar to a question posed by LS last year, when I told her I was leaving the agency. "Start with the end in mind. Otherwise, you'll find that time will fly by you, and you didn't even get to decide for yourself what you really want."

I really do think this question should be a must-answer for all SPM students. And to receive their SPM cert, they have to answer it legibly, logically and also with no fear for the future. This would seriously help them set a goal for the future and help them to work towards achieving it! As TP would say, "If you don't set a goal for yourself, how would you ever know where or what to work towards?"

That brings me back to one of my ambitions when I was in school. Back then, I did not like [no H8 mate] the education system SO MUCH that told myself I would become an education reformer for Malaysia. I would think of the best method of learning for students, how to make school a more collaborative environment and how to ensure students learned holistically.WOW! I sure had some great ideas then.

Today, I think my dream (well it's not even a dream...just ONE of the many things I envision myself enjoying doing until my interest lasts) is to be a magazine writer. WHAT, A MAGAZINE WRITER? REALLY? NOT EVEN AN EDITOR, AISHA? Yeah.

I've seen the perks that magazine writers get, man. Sponsored fam trips overseas, fine dining, tailored travel experiences, sneak peeks to newest products, goodies and freebies, and even the occasional celeb sighting. So enviable! But of course sometimes writers also get sent to cover weird assignments in less than stellar conditions...but I think the satisfaction of getting a great article published would really push me through all that. Why not editor? Cos editors have to edit other people's writing. Heh.

The question posed is quite hard to answer because the possibilities are ENDLESS, but I realize that if I don't answer that question myself, other people will (yaya I know, you've probably seen that quote on 9Gag before). Someone also told me that before from their own personal experience, and another person posed that question to me earlier this year - and both are way more senior than me in age and life, so I think there is definite value in The Question.

I really do see the importance in asking and answering The Question for yourself every now and then. It's crazy and it's scary, but you have to do it. If your heart is in the right place, I believe God will be for you and with you, whatever your plan is. Correct anot, correct anot.

So, what do you really want to do?

Sunday, May 24, 2015

8 Days to June

Here we are, tumbling into the end of May when MAY JUST BEGAN LIKE, YESTERDAY. Man, this time thing is making me rage panic for no reason. Next thing you know, I'll be sending little Hibiscus Sunshine to her first day of kindergarden!

News items that people were talking about this week/month:

Taylor Swift's Bad Blood Music Video
Tay Tay rounded her posse of unbelievably talented girlfriends to start a "war" with Selena Gomez. They include Lena Dunham, Ellie Goulding and Cindy Crawford.

David Letterman retires
My late father used to watch his shows late at night, when it was still showing on NTV7. Didn't really got the jokes as a kid but watched it anyway since I was up at night LOL.

Briefly:

  • Jared Leto as the Joker
  • MadMen ends its run with an iconic Coca-Cola ad
  • GOT gets fans riled up with an episode



Nobody Wants to Take in the Rohingyas and Bangladeshis in Boats
It's not just an issue between which-country-should-take-in-the-migrants, it's also the longstanding issue Burma has with the Rohingyas - which must be resolved or addressed at a more serious level. As I read, so far, Indonesia and Malaysia have accepted the boat people in for shelter after almost a week of dangerous "human ping pong". Providing shelter for these migrants/immigrants is a HUMANITARIAN thing. It does not condone the act of human trafficking. Just felt like I had to put it out there because a lot of Malaysians wanted them to die in the sea.

No Change to the 6% GST on Pre-Paid Reloads
Pre-paid top up is a serious business in Malaysia. This issue affects the people where it hurts them, because pre-paid is generally used by the lower income segment/migrants.
After GST came into effect, a 6% charge was put on top of your top up (i.e. You pay RM10.60 when you purchase a RM10 top up). Understandably people were upset, as this is not a service thing, and telcos have generally absorbed the 6% tax prior to the implementation of GST.
After a flip flop, the govt. decided that a user will only be charged GST when they use the credit. So you pay RM10 for an RM10 top up, but if you use it, you only get around RM9 worth of credit. 

Yes, this is definitely one of the more "WTF" moments of the month. 



That's pretty much all my 12am braind can think of (I am a morning person). On a personal note, I had a really good Friday night leading up to Saturday night. It must be the people and the fellowship and God, just God, all around. 

Friday, April 24, 2015

6 must-know facts you never knew about your income tax!

(...because you never had to pay tax!)

Filed your tax returns? Good on you!


1. Even if your salary isn't taxable, you still have to get a LHDN account and submit your income yearly. 
- Don't have one?
- Go to your nearest LHDN to register, or sign up online! (It's like Facebook. You'll get a login [your NRIC] and a password. Keep this somewhere safe)
- Once you register, you'll get an income tax number. You'll want to pass this to your employer (Yes, even if you're earning peanuts) so they can do auto debit to LHDN each month once you're taxable.

2. Your EA form is your LYFE. 
- You will normally get this from your employer around March/April. If you don't get it you may go bug them for it.

3. Books, sports equipment, medicines, personal laptops 
- Keep receipts if you purchase any of the above and scan them (because some receipts fade over time). You will be able to file this for deduction.
- Personal laptop can only be claimed once in a few years (3 or 5, can't remember) but the amount is RM3,000.
- Petrol, toll, etc cannot be claimed. Neither can car service or repair work, nevermind the fact that more Malaysians drive than they read.

4. Love your KWSP, life and medical insurance payments and PRS plan (private retirement scheme)
- All these you will also be able to claim.
- I just filed these in but I'm not getting the 100% amount, not sure why, maybe that's how this works. Please proceed to file your documents for this and input in, if you have any of these.
- Your amount for KWSP will come from your EA form under "G"

5. 30 April
- This is the deadline. Well, I'm not 100% sure, but people keep telling me to file my tax before end of April.

6. PDF after "hantar"
- The weird thing about HASIL is everything is in BM. Back is "kembali". Enter is "hantar".
- Anyway the important thing here is the thing that happens after you hantar. There is a button at the bottom of the page that says something like "Muat turun dan cetak" so you click on that, because that's your proof of submission.
- A PDF will be downloaded into your computer and you can keep and file this for your reference.


This is by no means a complete guide to filing your income tax but I just wanted to share what I know to all my friends :D And also as my guide for next year's filing.

Friday, April 17, 2015

thoughts on leaving

Quitting my job was probably the hardest thing I've had to do in a long time. It was a major life decision I made on my own, at my own time. It wasn't an overnight decision though - the thoughts were in the backburner for more than a year, but I always managed to put it out with more work. There came a time when I had to face it upfront and be honest to myself. Not quite sure when, who, or how this happened, but it did.

I spent most of my young adulthood growing years in the agency (3 going into 4 years) and spent a lot of my waking hours at work, so the people I hung out with at work basically became an extension of myself. And to tear myself away from that - man, that was tough. And made tougher because I am very sentimental by nature and had no one to talk to about how tough it was. Not many understood and some chose to isolate themselves, which I of course being sentimental took it personally lah! (Looking back, the sucky ending really helped me to look forward to what was ahead)

The scary thing is, up till the day I left, I wasn't 100% sure that it was a smart move. Over time though, I found that those thoughts will soon chip itself off me - bit by bit - being replaced by better and more sensible thoughts and experiences. It's a bit like...a lizard...losing its tail...and growing a new one...or something. LOL

All said and done, I am very grateful for the many, many things I've learnt at my past workplace and was given the opportunity to get my hands on. Among others, it has brought me to explore Singapore in a myriad of ways unthinkable to the regular traveler, got me to research into iconic brands of the century, have a sampling of what goes on behind a luxury event and consumer event, put my hands on the social realm and split myself nine ways at times - pretty fun and unexpected, and above all, lots of teachable moments and people I could draw and learn from.

If anyone from the agency is reading this, from the bottom of my heart, thank you for making my years at Brandthink great ones.

"I got bills, I gotta pay - so I work, work, work, everyday!"

Great songs to start the weekend. Hope you have a productive/restful one! 


This is a song to go with a Honda City ad. Watching the music video reminds me of how angry I get when people in front of me block the whole walkway and walk slowly xD


If Lunchmoney Lewis' anthem doesn't get you pumped to go to work every day, I don't know what will. HAHA. (Actually I know...it's a little more cash.)


Waaaah this song is like super throwback to my childhood, yo.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Nature Captured

Image by Ryan Deboodt

The world's largest cave in Vietnam is so huge, it has its own climate and ecosystem. Surreal. Check out a drone-captured video of it here.

Image by GP Orbassano

Image by GP Orbassano

Aren't the photos above gorgeous? So serene, it would make for a good desktop background. 

A newly emerged island was photographed for the first time. How do islands come about? When there's an underwater friction stemming from a volcano. That's why the newly emerged island off the Pacific was still quite hot and smelt like sulfur. Haha hope I'm right with this layman's description. Read the article here

Friday, March 13, 2015

Songs I Shazam-ed this week

The only reason I listen to the radio is because my CD player and USB reader are both spoiled. Radio's not that bad, you guys. In terms of song choices, Red and Traxx take the cake. BFM and Fly have pretty rounded programming that I always fall back to. All the DJs on air are annoying, except for the guys on BFM's Morning Run and Fly FM's Ben and Hafiz. Hehehehe.


I Will Possess Your Heart - Death Cab for Cutie
There's an eight minute version of this song. Ain't nobody got time for that! Here's the radio edit (4 minutes).


High and Dry - Radiohead
Aaaaand I'm late on the Radiohead wave, too.



Chris Cornell - She Can't Change Me
This song is from 1999. Wow. Never heard of it till last week, and it stood out for me because of the vocals. It kinda sounds like someone from Audioslave or Staind (Okay just did a search, Chris Cornell indeed was indeed the lead vocalist of Audioslave. And he played in what would later become Pearl Jam!). Did a little bit more digging and did you know this guy did some RNB/hip hop thing with Timbaland in 2009? Weird for a rock artist, and weird on the first listen, but I think it works for the song below. This is kinda like what I was saying last week about Paul McCartney going from Beatles to working with rap artists - going beyond your comfort zone and embracing change.

 

Okayyyyy, that's enough rock history for the week!

You won't believe what went viral on the internet this week!

1. This article on finding it hard to like attending church (shared by 6 of my friends within the span of 24 hours)

2. Obama reading mean tweets about himself on the Jimmy Kimmel show


3. The new MacBook design
Nobody cares about Apple Watch and its three designs - Sport, Edition and regular (Well okay so people are talking about the price tag and saying they should just buy an Omega). But more talkability is on the mediocre update to MacBook's design - thinner, lighter, smaller and an even more compact keyboard. I bet it feels like an iPad with a keyboard.

4. Cinderella live action movie
OMG OMG OMG OMG. Can't wait to watch this. If I can find the time to. T_T
Here is the only place you will be able to see Frozen Fever, the short sequel to Frozen. Also news has emerged - Frozen 2 is in the making!

Okay this week's compilation is pretty low key but it's been a busy week at work, okay :(

Friday, March 6, 2015

4 things my friends were sharing this week on Facebook

1. Michael Keaton & Jimmy Fallon act out Birdman scripts written by kids
Okay so this is actually about a month ago, but it's pretty funny so I'm putting this first. Kids were invited to write a script based on the title Birdman (without actually knowing the story) and the talkshow host and the star of Birdman acted them out. I heard lots of great reviews about the movie from friends so this will definitely be something worth watching.



2. Delhi bus rapist blames victim in prison interview
The treatment of women in India by certain quarters of society is appalling. The perpetrator's comments are as sick as you can imagine, or even sicker. I hope mindsets will change for the better after the Daughter documentary is released on International Women's Day.

3. The Dress
This is an interesting case in the study of how and why things go viral. The Dress became so apparently because it caused a deep divisiveness between the people who viewed them.
Also: This public service announcement (PSA) cleverly using the dress to send a message about violence against women.



4. Jho Low & the corrupted everything
A LOT of my friends were sharing this one piece of news about Jho Low's involvement in 1MDB (I cannot be sure if the above is the article in question). Somebody has some explaining to do. This guy's name is starting to sound as dirty as Taib from Sarawak (google Taib Sarawak and the first suggestion is "Taib Sarawak corruption". Not I say one, Internet and people say one, ok?)
This Says article is also worth reading, having been shared widely as well.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

We Went to Sekinchan and You Won't Believe What We Found!

Sorry for the clickbait. You may now proceed with the blog post.

One sunny day, my family and two of our friends went up north from KL to the small coastal town of Sekinchan. Sekinchan is synonymous with paddy fields and good seafood, being a major rice producer in Selangor and being close to the shoreline. Surprising how being close to the sea means abundance in agriculture!

We spent some time in a rice factory/gallery (there's only one in Sekinchan). Nothing much to shout about but you get to see a small part of the operations, churning out bags of rice 24 hours a day. The entrance fee of RM4 also comes with a cute and small packet of rice, remember to claim it on your way out!


After the brief visit, which was not punctuated by photo taking (because the rice had already been harvested, leaving brown fields everywhere instead of the picturesque green fields of waving paddy), we headed a little down the road to a small fruit farm. This is my favourite among our stops of the day in Sekinchan, because it was a small business (unlike the rice factory) and the owner of the farm showed us which trees produced which fruits. We spotted pomelo, rose apples, green lemon, kasturi lime and passionfruit growing in the small farm. Can you believe a thin branch can hold full-grown pomelo fruits without breaking?! If I go back there I must ask the farmer how it can be so strong.

There are a few tables and chairs up front. Buy some fruits (fresh off the farm, of course) and drinks and chill here a while.

Then we headed off to the Sekinchan Wishing Tree. I really have no idea what this place is called, but it's next to a temple and near the beach. The Wishing Tree is essentially a huge tree (20-30 feet tall?) dressed in red strips of cloth. Each strip of cloth is tied to a coin, and on the cloth are written people's wishes. You can get yours from the temple next door (for a token, I believe) and swing it up high to land on a branch. I don't believe there's any cultural or religious significance to this action. If that kind of novelty is not for you, then lay back in one of the swings and hammocks, put up your feet and take a nap. Awake feeling refreshed and buy a bubble game or a kite. The wind in this area (close to the beach) is amazing for these activities.


When the sun goes down, find a table and a seat at any of the makeshift stalls nearby for dinner. There are also halal vendors, not to worry! That evening, we feasted on juicy balitong, firm and tasty blood cockles, stingray cooked in a spicy paste, fried crayfish in rice noodles and washed it down with beer and juices, while feeling the salty sea breeze in your hair. This is the life, man.

At night, somebody wanted to go pee so we drove off the side of the road, near a row of shops. Mana tau there was a huge gap in the middle of the road leading to the drain (uncovered)! So our car's front tyre went straight in. This was literally in the middle of the road, like the hole is supposed to be covered with a block of cement. Anyway, some bystanders came and helped us push the car up and away. But then they demanded for money for their help. So we suspect it's a syndicate that they use to prey on unsuspecting drivers who are unfamiliar with the road - they move the cement block to let people fall into it. The off-road there is unlit, by the way. Lesson learnt: if you really want to pee, just go to a petrol station and don't bother with the shops.

Beautiful day out (bar the hole experience), simple yet satisfying! I highly recommend a day in Sekinchan for anyone who's not been there. Recommended times of visit (for full-blown ripe paddy field) is March/April, apparently (citation needed haha).

Monday, February 16, 2015

elastic hearts


Confession: I actually cannot tahan Sia. I hate Bulletproof and Chandelier sounds like a whiny song. But when someone showed me the music video to Elastic Heart, wow! Totally changed the way I look at her music. I think it's the only song of hers which I will listen through in entirety. The video above is a depiction of the battle between the two sides of Sia, one portrayed by Shia LeBouf and the other by child dancer (of Dance Moms fame) Maddie Ziegler.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

This Week in Virality (2)

First of all, there is no such thing as FIRSTABLE or FIRST ABOVE. Second of all, these are things that made the Interwebz on fleek this week. No cats needed and I'm not talking about Valentine's because later JAIS come close my blog how? (Urhhh anyway the only Vday news is that everyone is uploading couple photos)

1. The Grammys 
The 57th edition of the annual music awards took place this week. Lots of things were spoken of - Sam Smith taking all the Grammys (Adele flashback!), Rihanna's meme-worthy pink dress (her after party look is stunning),  and Kanye trolling Beck (my favourite of them all).


2. NYFW 2015 
Fashion week season is here and the only thing I'm hearing so far is Kylie Jenner walking in Kanye Wests' Adidas show which was attended by almost every celebrity popular today (the collection was not well received, and I too am no fan of the sheer hoisery being worn as pants *lansi face emoji*).

3. Chinese New Year Branded Content/YouTube Ads
There's a lot more going around, but these are the ones I really like.

Maxis' #ThisIsMyName *Wah made me tear*
Cilisos & Smirnoff Ice's banana problems *this one is nicely done*
Ribena's Turn Up The Huat *I really like this one*
Hitz FM's Goat thing...meh. Literally and figuratively.

4. Political news
Anwar sentenced to 5 year's jail and PAS spiritual leader Nik Aziz passes on.

5. Every conceivable article about 50 Shades of Grey 
Can we please make a pact to stop reading/sharing them? Errbody knows it and it's all the same thing, packaged and repackaged again.
I kinda like what Sgag did though - 50 Shades of Suey, hahaha. Cannot find link because they don't meta tag their posts sorreh.

POP QUIZ: Do you know which emoji I am referring to when I say *lansi face emoji*? :D

This Week in Virality 1

Friday, February 13, 2015

Rock On!


So beautifullllllll. (I'm about 15 years late to the Incubus bandwagon LOL)


Jack White, I (kinda) love you!



This song is performed by Paul McCartney, Dave Grohl and surviving members of Nirvana, according to its Wiki page. I just realized how Paul McCartney is an emblem of "change is the only constant". He's 72 this year and just collaborated with Kanye West and Rihanna - crazy! But that's how you stay ahead of the game and wow people - by not conforming to the norms and doing things out of your comfort zone. The result can be really great...




Why I Quit Waze and You Should, Too

It is shocking how much time I spend in the car on the road to commute to work daily. With the increase of the number of cars on the road during peak hours and no improvement to the public transportation system in sight, you can be assured of more congestion and a one hour journey to what would normally take 30 minutes.

In light of that, which driving app should you spend your time on? Here I give you a biased opinion as to why you should dump the popular traffic-telling app Waze for Google Maps. (Yes, I am aware that they are both owned by the same entity - but hear me out! There is a different user experience for both!)

Try it out for yourself for a week and let me know if you see the difference. I for one feel less stressed while on the road, knowing Google Maps will not take advantage of me or let me waste fuel going through a kampung road to get to Paradigm Mall.

With that, I present...





1. Waze gives you a longer and more expensive route.
- Proven true. If there's more than one way to get to your destination, and even though there is a shorter way/no toll route, Waze will always set your default route to the one you use the most often. Regardless if that frequently used route will take 2 hours and 2 tolls, and the shorter one, 30 minutes and no toll. (Exaggeration but you know what I mean!)

Why you should use Google Maps: 
- It will always show the route, distance and ETA
- It won't set a default route for you
- It doesn't give you a 5-second countdown to choose your route.

2. Waze data is unreliable! 
- I have seen my ETA cut and increase drastically at different times because Waze cannot make up its mind as to how many cars are on the road. One moment there will be 300 cars, the next there'll be 30. As a result, your ETA changes one too many times. I find this very stressful to my driving experience and super stupid, because hello, real time data, geez.

Why you should use Google Maps: 
- Instead of grumpy driver icons cluttering the colored road, you get a road that's clear of obstacles in varying colors. Red for super jam, yellow for moderate and blue for smooth.
- The road statuses are more often than not ON THE DOT. Very accurate readings, more so than Waze. I don't know how Google does it but it's amazing.
- Less stress, better driving time!

3. Waze has ads popping up in the map

Why you should use Google Maps: 
- No ads.

4. The destination on Waze's map is not always there
Yeah. I tried looking for KLPac once (a pretty popular location) but it led me across Sentul to some car workshop. I am aware that you can search for locations under FourSquare or GoogleMaps in Waze itself, but what is the use of that? A traffic telling app should be able to know where I am going and set the destination for me, not simply find a default location presumably close to my destination. Nonsense.

Why you should use Google Maps: 
- Okay sorry I cannot vouch for the accuracy of Google Maps' location, but if I am already choosing Google's maps as default on my Waze, that should already tell how much faith I have in it Vis-à-vis Waze.

Okay, now you try it out and let me know what you think. Or are you already on #TeamGoogleMaps?


Sunday, February 8, 2015

The Shortcut to Wisdom

Isaiah 33:6
In that day he will be your sure foundation,
providing a rich store of salvation, wisdom and knowledge.
The fear of the LORD will be your treasure. 

Something Pastor Arun said at service today spoke into the recesses of my heart. "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom. If you don't have fear for the LORD, you don't have wisdom!" The gospel of grace is a powerful thing, giving freedom and life eternal to all who believe in it. But sometimes, too much emphasis on the grace portion, and not enough on obedience to God's commandments, will prove to be destructive.

I pray that my friends will have the fear of God in their hearts, and may this godly fear and reverence for God be their treasure. May God, who sees this in them, respond by pouring out his rich reserve of salvation, wisdom and knowledge. He is the sure foundation of our lives.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

This Week in Virality (1)

The news that made the Interwebz hot and shiny these past two weeks, as told by my Facebook friends:

1. Backstreet Boys live in Malaysia 2015


2. This list of English words in Malay/Malaysian context



3. Unfriended movie trailer (I've not watched this, it's late at night and I want to sleep ok)


4. Frozen Sequel!! A few images were released this week, see more here. (Surprised not many are talking about it yet)



5. This article about the super ganjil creature found in Sarawak, that turned out to be...



I think I missed out on a few virality stories, do share if you came across any this week. Hopefully this will be a weekly thing! :)