Treasure Hunters, CEO-wannabe Speech & Apam Manis

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Written on 12/27/2008 10:54:00 am by sikapitan

Treasure Seekers...

I’m here in Penang for the second time in a week. The first was with my mates the Actuarist (there’s no such word, but it sounds cool) and the Coverliner for Maxis’ Sports and Recreation Club Treasure Hunt.

We were virgin treasure hunters, and thought that it would be better for us just to drive straight to Penang, enjoy the food there, and forget about the hunt. But as soon as the first puzzle came up, we were hooked, and the competitive nature of these high-performing individuals *insert laughter here* would not let the hunt die by itself.

We didn’t win, of course, but we had loads of fun, and I think we’ve the raw talent to make this work the next time. Yes, there should be a next time, and I count on the Actuarist to make this happen (I lack the motivation to help others...sigh).

Now, if only they had made it MILF hunting, then I’d definitely be super-motivated....

Graduating...again?

As you may or may not know, I was part of the Maxis Graduate Trainee Program. Now, every time I mention this, it becomes a source of confusion. Are you an intern? Are you training? Are you on contract basis? The answer to all is NO.

We are permanent employees, doing real work (or pretending to) and get paid with real money, not Monopoly-cash. It’s basically a management associate program, and I’m glad that they’ve just announced changing the name to Maxis Management Associate Program for the sake of future batches.

We are supposed to be high-performing graduates from reputable universities with an extra drive to succeed in the corporate world. Which just makes me wonder why and how I got into this in the first place? Suffice to say that there wouldn’t be any more UiTM candidate after me...*insert sigh of relief*.

Just to make it even more comical, we had to have a proper graduation ceremony, marking the end of our one-year program. This is despite all of us already fully integrated into the various business units within Maxis. With full graduation robes for us and the Management, we couldn’t look more intern-like doe-eyed virgins of the working life.

It was a bit surreal to give a speech on behalf of the graduating batch of 12 & 13. First, giving a graduation speech, in robes and that pointy thing on your head, for something that you can’t really call an education program is weird. Secondly, there were graduates from all these top universities of the world, and this kid from UiTM got the call to speak on their behalf.

I think it might just be an affirmative action program *insert sly grin here*. But whatever it was, I hope that it was good enough for them. At least I made a few people laugh (I can’t stand staid, serious speeches).

When I went up to take my scroll (can you believe this? Am I going to include this in my CV? Do I need a CV?), the CEO (Mr. Sandip Das, and not Ananda Krishnan like many assumed. AK is head of the company that owns Maxis) whispered, “You shouldn’t give a better speech than the CEO...”.

That felt good, a source of validation from the highest level. But it made me wonder, should I then be my own CEO?

Foodie Galore

As mentioned above, I’m here in Penang. I left on Christmas Day, which happens to be our 1st year anniversary (Happy Anniversary to my mom and dad as they share the same anniversary). Just to note that I couldn’t wish for a better Anniversary gift than the fact that my wife is doing well coming to 7 months of her pregnancy.

Anyway, I brought my in-laws along for this trip. I mean, with my brother-in-law and his family (which includes Radhi and Fey, two of the cutest kid around IMHO) off to New Zealand for his PhD and everyone else going here, there and everywhere, I thought it would be nice just to take them out and let them think about something else.

My goal is to be rich enough to be able to bring them, and my own family, for a nice trip overseas. So maybe this year it’s Penang, but I hope that next year I can take all of them to one of our neighbours, and with God’s grace, maybe the year after I can afford to take everyone off to Europe or whatever.

Back to Penang. I’m useless when it comes to navigating in Penang. Not because I’m not a good driver, it’s just that I don’t know much about Penang and its attractions, despite hailing from Penang and spending at least a week every year there (usually for Hari Raya).

So I deserve a bit of brick-bats from the pop-in-law for not really knowing my way around Penang. But I had a goal, and that goal is to bring Led and Ibu to all the pretty famous food experience here in Penang.

We started with Nasi Kandar Kayu (beside Hotel Vistana). A lot of people say that it’s not authentic if it’s not dingy, dirty and the food not held by the mamak’s bare hands, but a lot of people also thought that Mawi is a great singer...Anyway, Led was pleasantly surprised with the taste, and I think it pretty much covers up the whole Nasi Kandar thing.

For dinner, my parents (who also drove up to Penang) brought all of us to Hainan, a pretty expensive restaurant that serves unique Hainanese dishes that always leaves me wanting for more. Between lunch and dinner, they (wife, Led & Ibu) had Muar Chee and Sotong Bakar from Gurney Drive.

Yesterday, our second day, my wife spent 3 hours going over Queensbay Mall. I can’t understand the logic of coming to Penang and spending time in a carbon-copy of MidValley, but never deny a pregnant lady her wishes. Then we had lunch at this place (I forgot the name) at Batu Maung, beside the LKIM station. The whole Kari Kepala Ikan experience was wonderful, and pretty affordable too. This is definitely recommended.

On the way back to the hotel, I had to stop along Penang Road and buy those sumptuous Apam Manis from Apam Guan. This guy has been around for 40 years at the same spot and the crowd waiting just showed that he’s still got the touch.

Today, on our way back to KL, I plan to buy these famous goreng pisang at Tanjung Bungah, and then have the famous Sg. Dua prawn mee for lunch.

Man, it truly is a Jalan-Jalan Cari Makan experience. And people ask why I’ve gained weight...

Foot up YOUR a**!

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Written on 12/16/2008 02:08:00 pm by sikapitan

That 70’s Show, which used to be one of the funniest sitcoms around, is officially CRAP.

Officially, the last episode was aired in 2006, but as is common for us here in Malaysia, we get to see it now – 2 years later!

Anyway, if we were to ignore the out-of-date element, the season they’re showing on Astro every Monday night is the 8th season (I think). No more Eric (Topher Grace) or Kelso (Ashton “Punk’d” Kutcher). Both went on to bigger things.

Remember, the episode we’re getting in Malaysia was filmed two years ago. That’s when Topher played a major role in Spider-Man, and a few other movies. Ashton’s busy with his movies as well (and Demi Moore…how MILF can you get?).

Back to the show. It’s crap. It’s lousy. There’s this new character called Randy, played by Josh Meyers, and he must be one of the lousiest comedy actors I’ve seen from a U.S production. It’s MIND-BLOWING how lousy he is.




Even Fez is no longer a guaranteed laugh. And that reflects on the low-quality jokes permeating in the current (or outdated) season. I won’t even start on how they have denigrated Hyde into a drunken fool.

It’s getting harder and harder to find quality sitcoms. I really like 30 Rock, but it’s a bit too off-beat for everyday consumption, you know what I mean?

Where’s the next “Friends” (which they’re still showing…and I can’t get enough of that show…BRILLIANT!)?

About a Stretched Ligament

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Written on 12/15/2008 12:03:00 am by sikapitan

The doctor said its suspected stretched ligament. Sounds great, but it doesn’t feel so good honestly. Football injuries sounds cool, but only if you’re a pro. If you’re an average player (by the standard of your local kampong circuit), then it ain’t so hot.

So I’m out of playing anything for the next few weeks which probably will turn me into a TV slob all over again. You see, I was never a sportsman by any stretch of the imagination. When I was in primary, I did play a bit of badminton and football, but I was known to be rather...fat.

Even in secondary school, I never did get into sports as much as I’d like to. You cannot beat natural talent, and natural talent is one thing that I didn’t really have. My arms and legs are freakishly weak, and losing weight didn’t help me with gaining natural pace.

But I kept on playing, and got a bit better that it didn’t become an embarrassment. Football in high-school was a lost cause, simply because there were too many good players out there. It didn’t help that there’s a gang-like feeling with footballers, which I totally understand.

It kind of changed at University though, just like a lot of things in life. It was an opportunity to show what I can really do, and I’m not just talking about football. Freed from the shackles of impression gained pre-pubescent, I turned into a confident man, and this translated into my performance on the football pitch.

I guess that’s why, till today, when I play with my high-school friends or people that I know from high-school, I’m a bit clumsy. I guess they’d be surprised to know that I can play as a striker in tournaments, and I’m pretty good at it too.

People don’t believe if I tell them this, but it’s true. You want proof? Just join (or watch) me play on Thursday, Friday and Saturday night and see the difference. Thursday’s a new crowd, and they’re pretty good but even then I can be proud of how I’m playing with them. Saturday’s a pretty relaxed bunch of new friends whom I’ve had the pleasure of being acquainted after high-school, and it’s safe to say with them, I’m a brash, loud, over-confident, dribbling-manic player.

Friday’s crowd consist of ex-SMSU students. This is where I get all quiet, and stick to the basics. I don’t venture forward as much, and most of the time I just sweep and pass the ball. And even then I tend to make mistakes I don’t normally make.

It’s a bit too inconsistent for my liking, and what’s weird is that the very next day I could be galloping up and down against international high-schoolers and scoring goals left, right and centre.

I know some friends who have managed to totally transform themselves from the image imposed in high-school. One even managed to be something of a “hot-stuff” amongst the ladies even though he was nothing more than an annoying twat in high-school. It doesn’t have to be one-way only.

Bad boys who were too cool to be bothered with school have turned out straighter and nerdier than the nerds in high-school. Hot girls turned fat and ‘makcik-like’ while previously unknown entities turned out to be smart, sophisticated and totally desirable women.

Do you guys notice this amongst your friends, or even yourself?

Yoga or Not, We Have More things To Get Emo About...

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Written on 12/01/2008 01:55:00 pm by sikapitan

Sometimes I think us Malaysians, as a lot, are busy-bodies, always trying to meddle in the affairs of our neighbors. Seriously, whether guys or girls, one of our favorite pastimes seems to be trying to know what our friends are doing, who they are dating, how much they’re earning.

I mean, well, it’s a bit hypocritical if I don’t admit that I do enjoy a bit of gossiping. But I think as a nation, we have gone a bit too far with this whole Yoga Fatwa issue.

First of all, a Fatwa affects only Muslims. Duh. So imagine my surprise when the non-Muslims kick up such a big fuss over it. Right. Some went on to claim that the fatwa is an insult to their religion.

Why? It clearly states that I can’t eat pork, but is that insulting to Chinese? More importantly, other religions also have rules against their believers from following Islamic practices. When my Chinese friend says that to baca doa and praise Allah is against his religion, is it an insult to my religion?

I completely understand it because obviously his religion would not allow him to follow Islamic practices. If it did, then there’s no point to having different religions. So why can’t they understand that the fatwa is not an insult? Could it be because they’re thick-headed, ignorant racists?

I am not angry because I am a strong, principled, pious Muslim. Far from it. But my anger is based on principle. Don’t mess with other people’s issue, especially if it doesn’t affect, and will not affect, you. Perioud.

On that note, I don’t understand why Muslims are so worked-up over the whole fatwa either. I can accept dissent and discussion, because I think discourse within the Muslim community is a healthy development.

But I take it with a pinch of salt when some Muslims starts to criticize the fatwa and get emotional over it when well…they’ve not really shown they are in a position to be religious experts.

For example, take Ninie Ahmad, one of Malaysia’s leading personalities on yoga. In the Star, she said that her faith in Islam was strong although she had been practising and teaching yoga for eight years.

Shhh...don't tell JAKIM I'm dressed like this...

Right. Look at the picture above. Ironic. I think I agree with her. Yoga definitely did not erode her faith and obedience to Islamic principles. Just kidding, Ninie, if you're reading this...(which I highly doubt...)

Look, I am no moral police. But it’s kind of funny when I hang out with Malays at bars (I don’t drink, but they do) and they get all worked up whenever the issue of religion is discussed. There they were espousing that JAIS shouldn’t conduct raids because it is against personal privacy, while having a cold Heineken.

I might agree with their opinion (hey, I’m not saying they are idiots) but it’s a bit weird to criticize something or be morally righteous about one aspect of Islam while at the same time neglecting to abide by the more important ones.

I have to admit that sometimes I too get these mixed up. I sometimes have to catch myself before launching into a tirade against “oppression” by Muslim fundamentalists.

Now, I want to train my sight on the fatwa. I would not like to comment on the merit of it, because I actually do think they have a valid reason for declaring the traditional practice of Yoga (please note they are not prohibiting the physical “stretching” parts etc.2) as potentially eroding one’s faith. I understand their job, their role to lead fellow Muslims on a righteous path.

But it has to be admitted it would be impossible to monitor yoga practices that crosses the boundary and turned into a mystical Hindu practice. Therefore, I can conclude that this Fatwa, just like the Fatwa against smoking, would have trouble in being gazzetted as a law.

If you ask me, I don’t really care. Because I bet a lot of Muslims have enough problems trying to pray 5 times a day, and not doing Yoga will not compensate for this anytime soon. The Koran prohibits drinking, yet bars are filled with Malays drinking. The Koran prohibits "free sex" (even though you pay for it...), yet 3GP videos are full of Malays romping about from as young as Form 1 (that's sick...). So do we have a deeper problem here to be worked up about?

Heck, if there’s something I want to get worked up about, it would be the fatwa prohibiting Malay girls from taking part in beauty pageants...what a waste.

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