26 March 2008

Flying on low cost airlines

Last Sunday I flew back to Kota Kinabalu from Kuala Lumpur on Airasia. I heard one passenger complained about not getting to sit next to the passenger’s fellow traveler. The passenger remarked that those traveling together should be able to sit together and even wanted to improve their choice of travel arrangements instead of using low cost airlines. If you could afford better, why did you fly on a low cost airlines?

All I can say that particular passenger is probably ignorant of how low cost airlines work. Most low cost airlines do not issue out assigned seat numbers. All you get is a boarding pass and you can choose where to sit, except the crew seats, of course. The reason being passengers will tend to be on time when there is no assigned seat.

If the passenger intends to sit in a particular seat (window, aisle, front, back, etc) or with fellow travelers, then the passenger should arrive early in the airport and be the first to queue up at the boarding gate. If a passenger arrives late, then the passenger will most likely have to sit somewhere they do not want like the passengers I mentioned earlier. So, in order to avoid such a problem, always always arrive early at the airport. Otherwise, you’d be complaining like the passenger I met.
(230 words)

24 March 2008

A well deserved break

I just came back from Kuala Lumpur. We had a very long weekend break in Kota Kinabalu - two back-to-back public holidays on Thursday and Friday and then, the weekend. I spent four days and four nights with friends.

I arrived on Wednesday night. The next day, Thursday, which was also a holiday in Kuala Lumpur, my friends and I went for a picnic. On Friday and Saturday, I spent time with a very important person in my life. It was nice to meet each other again. I also bought four books and a couple of t-shirts.

On Saturday night, we cooked dinner at home. I didn't do much except helping out a little on cooking. Then I spent the evening talking to my friends. Before I went to bed, I finished reading one of the books I bought earlier and this was at 3.30am. It's a habit of mine to finish a book (except for textbooks) at one reading. I just can't help it.

Then on Sunday, my friends and I went to a shopping mall for window shopping, shopping and lunch. It was a large mall, so it was tiring (for me, at least). I bought a magazine (Details), a pair of cuff links and a pair of tie.

All in all, it was a well deserved for me. Thank you to all (you know who you are) for making it happen. I hope to see all of you again soon.
(249 words)

20 March 2008

How to look younger than your age

When I tell my students how old I am (not the exact year, of course), most would invariably ask me how do I look younger than I am. My answer is not some elixir of youth, plastic surgery or any of the latest beauty secrets like botox (ewwww).

My secret (well, not anymore now that I'm sharing it with you) is to lead a worry free life. It doesn't mean that I'm happy all the time. There are times when I'm not, but I try hard to minimise them. Life's too short to fill it with too much worries.

How do you do this? You must first separate problems from inconveniences. Many people mix their problems with their inconveniences. To them, everything is a problem. A problem makes us worry to no end. An inconvenience is probably just temporary and takes little to solve.

Let me demonstrate this with an example. Lets say you are at home and hungry and you need something to eat. You enter the kitchen and head to the fridge. If you open the fridge and find no food inside, then you've got a problem. If you open the fridge and find a slice of cake inside, then you've got an inconvenience.

Once the distinction between a problem and an inconvenience is clear to you, you are on your way to a worry free life and hopefully looking younger than your age.
(245 words)

On the air again

Nope, I'm not on the radio or anything. Actually I'm on a flight to Kuala Lumpur while writing this. It will probably get posted when I get to the home of my friends, who are fetching me tonight.

Actually, I don't enjoy flying although I've been flying before I turned 12 years old. I've flown on many flights to all continents except Central and South America (and course Antartic and Artic). Still, I never feel safe when I'm in a plane. Here's the thing, if a simple toaster can breakdown, how about a plane?

Anyway, I feel safer on tonight's flight. Well, I'm lucky as the captain of the plane is a schoolmate of mine. He's a year older. Back in secondary school, the other students used to say that I was his younger brother because we look alike. I beg to differ. I think I was the cuter one. Hahaha. Anyway, after school, I think he joined the Royal Malaysian Air Force. After some time, he become a commercial pilot.

The last time time I met him was many years ago. It was also on a flight, only that time was on my way back to Kota Kinabalu. I'm not so sure if I get to see him when I disembark later. If I see him, I hope he remembers me when I call him by his second name LB.
(237 words)

16 March 2008


I'm in one. I found out about it lunch time last Friday from another colleague. I was dumbfounded when she told me about it. I feel really bad for her and the others who will or may be affected. The others include me too. Like her, now I feel pretty much demotivated about work. If it happens, which I sure it will, it's just a matter of time, then I'll have another reason to do something else with my life.

With the latest development, it seems that the only that keeps me here is going to happen much later than I expected. I'm not so sure if I'm going to able to wait some more. Whatever it is, I recently saw three interesting job openings in the industry I was in before. I guess that's the cue for me to update my resume (which hasn't been updated since I started teaching) and send out my applications.
(159 words)

13 March 2008

In two hundred fifty words or less

Now I know its a tall order but since I decided so, or else I'll have to eat, no pun intended, my own words. If you read from the beginning, you'll know that I capped the limit for each post at 250 words. Now, I can say its easier said than done.

But the reason for my limit is to make it easier for the readers (not too many at this stage though). There are some good blogs out there but I've lost interest in them due to their long posts, especially the long and winding ones. Sometimes, I feel like screaming, "What's the point?"

As I said, it is hard to limit myself to 250 words but I have come across blogs with only 100 words per post. Amazing. But here I am, sometimes having more than 1 post for a related topic. Sometimes, I just have too much to stay on some thing. Anyway, I'll try to minimise this in the future, (now we at 175 words), I promise.
(180 words)

Why I do what I do? (2)

The long answer is while doing my masters, my lecturers would inquire if I was in the teaching line. When I say 'no', they’d be surprised, saying that the way I conduct myself in presentations and discussions seemed to suggest I was.

One lecturer even suggested teaching when I told her that I’d be looking for a new job as I quit my old job to study. That got me into thinking and what do you know, two institutions of higher learning at home were hiring when I completed my masters. So, I applied. Anyway, I got a job with my last (so far) corporate employer before I got my current job.

In my previous job, my salary was double my salary new. Sure it was a drastic cut but I'm not a materialistic person. For example, a car for me is just a means to get from point A to point B. It doesn't have to be the latest Japanese or Continental model. As long as I get to pay my bills, which are not much anyway and buy some stuff for myself from time to time, I'm happy.

Teaching, however, rewards you in other ways. Only thing is now, after a few years doing it, I'm not sure if I want to continue on. And its not because of the money, but because of my own personal satisfaction. We’ll see how things turn out in the future.
(248 words)

Why I do what I do? (1)

I am actually now on my third career. When I graduated from university, I joined a local company for a short time before moving to another company in another industry where I worked for sometime before leaving again, this time to study full-time.

After completing my studies, I worked for yet another company before ending up with the organization I'm with now, an institution of higher learning.

A stark contrast between the two worlds, corporate and academic, is in the pay I get now. Before this, I earned a lot lot more than now. The other thing is the way things get done. There are so many administrative red tapes in what we do here.

When I told them I had decided to teach, my friends asked what got into me or worst, what was wrong with me. It's not everyday someone does this, I know. Most experienced people would go from academic to corporate but not from corporate to academic. It's just not done. Not very often anyway.

When I first came here, I am often asked by my current colleagues why I am here. Well, the short answer is that I want to try teaching and I want to contribute to the country by teaching our youngsters. How patriotic am I? Well, not very, as there is a longer version of this in my next post.
(237 words)

12 March 2008

Me, myself and I (2)

What else do I have to tell you about myself?

Ok, I told you that I've been to a number of countries due to study, work or holiday. Countries that I've been to are Azerbaijan, Australia, Brunei Darussalam, England, France, Germany, Holland, Hong Kong SAR, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mozambique, Myanmar, Thailand, Singapore, South Africa, Switzerland, Turkey, United States of America, United Arab Emirates and Vatican City (technically in Rome, Italy but its still a sovereign state). I’ve also been to two out of the Stans (Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyztan, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan).

What do I do when I'm travelling? I usually gravitate towards museums, buildings and historical sites. I love London and Paris for all the museums. Chicago and Sydney for modern architecture. Istanbul, Rome and Yogyakarta for historical sites. For fun and shopping, you can't miss with Singapore, Hong Kong and Bangkok, but make sure you come during the sales season. For natural attractions, however, I'd stick with my home state, Sabah. It's just too beautiful to be ignored.

If I have the money, I'd like to visit more countries, of course. We'll see. Maybe I get to blog it here.
(200 words)

06 March 2008

Me, myself and I (1)

I was born many years ago (yes, I am that old) in the hospital of a small town somewhere in Sabah, a state in Malaysian Borneo. Before I turned one year old, my family moved to Kota Kinabalu, the capital of Sabah and we have been living there ever since.

After I attending primary school, I got a scholarship to a top boarding school in West Malaysia for secondary school. The school, I believe, played a strong role in making me who and what I am today. Gosh, writing about it reminds me of my time and the people I met there. If only I could turn back the clock. Don't worry, I'll blog about it in the future.

After secondary school, I completed my bachelor's degree overseas. It was also on a scholarship. I don't consider myself brilliant but as luck would have it, I got what I got.

Since then graduating, I've worked for a financial institution, two multinational companies and a institution of higher learning. In between, I managed to complete my master's degree, also overseas. Currently, I'm teaching at an institution of higher learning in Kota Kinabalu.

In addition to studying overseas, I've also lived and worked overseas. Besides Malaysia, I've lived and worked or study in three different countries. In Malaysia, I've lived and worked in Kuala Lumpur and Sarawak. In addition, I've visited more than 20 countries either for work or vacation.
(245 words)

05 March 2008

Beginilah aku

That's the title of this blog which roughly means to "this is how I am" in Malay/Indonesian. The words actually came from the lyrics of an Indonesian song that I really like. The song is a beautiful duet entitled "Bukan Lagu Cinta", sung by Marcell Siahaan and Karen Pooroe. It was composed and written by Dewi Lestari, who happens to be Marcell’s wife. The song is from Marcell's aptly titled "Hidup" album, produced in 2007. All the songs in the album are nice to listen. I got it during my vacation in Indonesia over Chinese New Year 2008.

The part of the song lyrics with the words in particular is below:

Saat semua kata kehilangan makna
Saat segala upaya terasa hampa
Sekaranglah itu, beginilah aku

The English translation is as follows:

The moment all words lost their meaning
The moment all your labors are fruitless
This is now, this is how I am

When I started to think seriously about the title, I wanted something that is simple but covers what the blog is all about. And the blog is about me. So, this is how I am and I hope you will accept me as I am, with all my shortcomings.
(206 words)

04 March 2008

Numero uno

I've been wanting to start a blog for sometime now. So, this is it. I'll try to keep blogging as much as I can but you will never know. I plan to blog about anything and everything.

I also take pictures, so I'll post of them here once in a while. Please feel free to use the pictures, but it would much appreciated if they are properly attributed. I'll do the same too. A mention of this blog web address would suffice.

If you like what you read or see, just go ahead and link this website to yours. I hope you don't mind if I do the same. Also, upon your request, I can also link your website to mine.

I write in both English and Malay, but will probably use more of the former. As neither is my first language, I humbly apologize for any mistakes within. Anyway, as a student, I thoroughly enjoyed writing element of classes or courses I took.

Lastly, to keep my blog short and simple, I plan to limit the words I use in each post to about two hundred fifty words or less. Thankfully, Windows Mobile got word count.

Oh ya, by the way, you can call me Jae. Not a Korean but to some, I look like one. I'll tell you more about myself in my next post. Before I forget, thanks for coming by my blog. I hope to keep you coming back here, you hear.
(250 words)
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