Category Archives: Ramblings

The ones not under specific categories.

5 Dramatic Ways to Save Money after KL Public Transport Fare Price Hike

What's going up in Malaysia 2015Let’s face it. It’s getting more expensive to live in Kuala Lumpur, now that everything is on the rise. It started with the petrol price earlier this year. Followed by the implementation of the 6% GST, which has caused the prices of just about everything to increase. Even the prices of the supposedly unaffected items. Some even increased more than 6%.

Yes… Malaysian traders, big and small, are very quick to take advantage of the GST.

Early November 2015, RapidKL announced the new fare structure for the LRT and monorail, effective 2 December. The responses from the public were immediate: everyone disagreed with the new fares.

Who wouldn’t when the increase is more than 100% from the previous fare? Well, not all 100% but, instead of a gradual increase of a few cents over a period of time, the public was rammed (down the throat) with amounts that just don’t make sense.

RapidKL new fare structure announcement

Since we can’t really boycott and stop using the LRT, monorail, KTM commuter and buses to go to work, let’s think of some ways to reduce the impact of the price hike.

I’ll start with the 5 methods below. These are aside from the more usual methods like riding motorbikes, carpooling, work from home etc.

1.  Ride a bicycle / scooter / rollerblade / rollerskate / skateboard.
Since cycling is the in thing now in KL, why not take a ride every morning to work? They do it in China, so why can’t we do it here too? Think of the benefits: you get to exercise everyday, you help in reducing air pollution, you won’t get stuck in traffic jam etc etc.

Alternative Transport

2.  Walk / Jog.
Yessss… impossible as it sounds, you actually can walk or jog to your workplace. How long it takes depends on how far you stay and how fit you are. Of course, you will have to start walking around 3 in the morning, again depending on where you stay.

Man running

3.  Ride a “sampan” / canoe / boat.
This only applicable if your house and office are near a river. Also applicable during monsoon season. But beware! The power that be may decide to charge toll.

Sampan river toll

4.  Mi oficina mi casa.
Which means, my office is my house. You will definitely save a lot on utilities. Not to mention the monthly rental too.

Office Bed

5.  “Puasa” all year long.
Not only will you save a lot on food, you will also get lots of “pahala” for “puasa sunat”. And eventually, you will get the body figure you want. Great, yes?

Empty Plate

There you go… 5 additional ways of saving money during this disastrous time. What do you think? Doable? Hehehehe… If you have other ideas, feel free to share.

The best sunset photo I have ever shot

Unlike my brother who uses his cameras as a source of income, I do not identify myself as a photographer, mainly because I only take photos as a hobby. Yup, only for fun. Not that the thought hasn’t crossed my mind, but it just takes too much effort to turn it into a business. Not to mention the amount of money I have to spend to buy all the equipment required.

For now, I will just stick with my first generation Sony NEX-3 I bought a few years ago and keep on taking photos for fun.

So…

The best sunset photo I have ever shot is this one:

Sunset at Kuta Beach, Bali, Indonesia

Yes, I used my NEX-3 to capture it. It was during my one-day-one-venue trip in November 2013. Seriously, it has to be the craziest holiday in my life. Kuala Lumpur – Bali airport – Lembah Rinjani, Lombok – Mount Rinjani – Senggigi Beach – Gili Trawangan – Senggigi Beach again – Ubud, Bali – Seminyak – back to Kuala Lumpur. Every night at a different place.

Yeah, crazy. But fun too. That was my first time ever climbing a mountain. And spending one night on top. Bloody cold! I actually wrote about the trip but it’s still a draft in my posts folder. Hehehehehe…

Anyway, back to the best sunset photo I have ever shot, it was taken at Kuta Beach, Bali. I guess I was at the right place at the right time to be able to produce something like that. But I really love it. It just has to be the best sunset photo I have ever shot. Hehehehehehe…

What do you think?

WhatsApp or WeChat?

Unless you are using a Nokia 3310, or other phones of similar… mmmm… advanced features, then highly likely you will have WhatsApp installed. It is like the default chat app for every smartphone in the world. Everybody has WhatsApp. Everybody is chatting on WhatsApp. You meet someone and instead of “Can I have your number?”, you get this instead: “Do you have WhatsApp?”

You don’t know what WhatsApp is???? Gasp! OMG!!! My 65-year-old father uses WhatsApp and you don’t know what WhatsApp is? Machaa, seriously, you don’t deserve to use a smartphone.

WhatsApp Logo

Hehehehehe… but yeah, it wouldn’t be far from the truth if I say that WhatsApp is the most widely used chat app in the world.

Excuse me, sir.. it’s the green circular thingy with a spike coming out at the bottom left, bordered with white, and with a white phone right in the middle. Right there ==>>

But here’s the thing… there are other apps out there which are as good as or even better than WhatsApp. Examples: Viber, Telegram, BlackBerry Messenger, Line, WeChat, Kakao Talk… the list goes on and on and on…

If you’ve been using WhatsApp for a while, I’m sure  you know its common features already. Although I can guarantee you that a lot of people don’t know that they can hide their Online status. It’s useful if you want to hide from someone. That is, you don’t want that person to know you are actually using WhatsApp at that moment.

How to do that? Ask Mr. Google. Hehehehe…

WeChat Logo

In my Sony Xperia Z (yeah, I’m still using my first generation Z), I have WhatsApp, WeChat, Line, Facebook Messenger and Telegram installed. Except for Line and Telegram, I use all of them regularly.

Personally, however, I prefer WeChat.

Here are the reasons why.

1.  Phone number not required.
You don’t need to share your phone number to use WeChat, unlike WhatsApp. I find this particularly useful when I want to chat with someone I just met online. Ehem! Of course, you can still use phone numbers to add people to your WeChat friends list.

2.  Animated emoticons.
You can download a lot of animated emoticons, even animated gifs which you can use while chatting. It’s a lot more interesting and fun than the flat emoticons WhatsApp has.

3.  Free voice and video calls.
When you’re connected to wifi, you can do free voice or video calls. WhatsApp can only do voice calls, not video calls.

4.  Moments ala Facebook.
It has Moments, which is like a simplified version of Facebook. You can update status, upload photos, get your friends to like them and comment on them. The one thing I like about WeChat’s Moments is that only mutual friends can see your comments. Oh, not to forget, you can set your Moments to be public or restricted. Even to your friends.

5.  Privacy.
You can block people from messaging you. And from calling you. And from viewing your Moments.

6.  Browse people around you.
WeChat has People Nearby… useful for you to see who’s currently online around you and chat with them. Obviously, if you are not online, you can’t see other people and they can’t see you.

7.  Shake it shake it shake it!
WeChat has Shake. You shake your phone and you get to see a list of people who shake their phones at the same time. Then you can chat with any one of them.

8.  Games!
You can play games in WeChat. Great way to spend your time while waiting for someone to message you. Pretty great games too!

I’m sure there are other features of WeChat which I haven’t discovered yet but out of those points, the number 1 reason why I prefer WeChat to WhatsApp is that I don’t have to share my phone number to communicate with anyone.

Now that you have read my 8 reasons for preferring WeChat, are you still going to solely stick with WhatsApp? Maybe you should do like I do. Use both! And FB messenger, Line, Telegram… Hehehehehe…

Yes, I do love writing…

I love writingDespite the date of the last post I wrote, which was about 5 months ago, I really do love writing. Seriously. Everytime I came across an article, or a picture, or an advertisement, or something that I considered interesting, I immediately thought, “I should write about this.”

Which, of course, almost always never happened. Hehehehehe…

I have these roadblocks that never fail to stop me from actually sitting in front of my laptop and starting to write. How many? I have no idea. Let’s list them down and see how many I can get.

Roadblock #1: I cannot write at home.

Yes, too many distractions. The tv, the bed, especially the bed, the housemates, the boredom, the tv, the bed, the other websites…

Roadblock #2: I like to write at work.

Which, of course, is something totally out of the question. Unless the boss is not around. Hahahahaha…

Roadblock #3: I have to be alone to be able to write.

It’s true, isn’t it? How can I write when I have my friends around me?  How can I focus on my writing when they gossip about this guy or that guy? How can I stop myself from not joining them gossipping? Hahahahaha…

Roadblock #4: I cannot write at night.

Which is actually quite true, even though I did post something ages ago when it was dark outside. Mental conditioning? You know… day = work, night = rest? Bullshit, right?

Roadblock #5: Mmmm okay… What else?

Wow! Only 4. And I thought the list would go on until at least 10.

Okay, I’ll be honest. All these so-called roadblocks are just excuses. And it all comes down to one word: LAZY! Hehehehe…

Yes, I love to write (I do) but I’m just too lazy to do it.

Umpiring USM-Penang International Netball Tournament 2014

usm-netball-2014-3

Once upon a time… 3 years ago (I think), I was part of a team competing in this tournament. This year, I was part of the team umpiring in this tournament.

Once upon a time… 3 years ago (I think), I was one of the players who, aside from throwing balls around the field, also threw around expletives to the umpires.

What?? They suck! Big time! Hehehehehe… Well, most of them, anyway.

usm-netball-2014-4

This year, however, I was at the receiving end of the expletives, although, thankfully, not as much as some of the other umpires. It was a completely different experience, and quite an unpleasant one, I must say. Irritating too. But then, players being players, and this is talking from experience, they always thought they were correct with regard to the penalties e.g. contact, obstruction and so on. While sometimes they were undeniably right, sometimes they were also not.

usm-netball-2014-2

The thing with men’s netball is, the game is really really fast. And it is especially more challenging when it comes to the shooting area, where it becomes really physical. Almost all of the less-experienced umpires, including myself, find it really difficult to catch all the errors the players made.

And, of course, the players weren’t really helping with all the “Come on, ref!”, “Are you blind?”, “Contact!” and some other less pleasant remarks. Which is why we try to avoid umpiring the men’s games. Hehehehe…

usm-netball-2014-6

It was a last minute invitation by one senior umpire to be part of the umpires for the tournament this year and since I didn’t really have anything planned for the weekend (except for the inter-insurance bowling tournament), I thought, what the heck. I could do with the extra cash too. Hehehehe…

It has been a long time since I last touched the whistle (not counting the LSUS Segambut the Saturday before) and umpiring for the open games, particularly the men’s games. Phew! My heart was pounding real hard and there were butterflies in my stomach. Damn nervous! But all in all, it was a good experience. Even with the hot and wet weather.

usm-netball-2014-5

usm-netball-2014-7

usm-netball-2014-1Will I do this again next year? Hmmmm… well, I have one year to think about it. Hehehehehe…

To the players, on behalf of the umpires for the tournament, I would like to apologise for all the unsatisfactory umpiring we did. Play clean, next time, so that our job would be easier. Hehehehe… Before you say anything further, maybe some of you should try being at the other end of the whistle for once. Peace! victory

RM2,500 starting pay enough for graduates?

graduatesWhen I started working, wayyyyy back in 1997, my starting salary was only RM1,400. Which was then raised to RM1,600 upon my confirmation after 3 months. Since I had no idea what was the “good” salary at that time, me being a fresh graduate and have no close connection with the people who are already on the job, I thought RM1,600 was pretty awesome.

But that was more than 15 years ago, where things were pretty much laid back and RM50 can get you so much more.

I read this article with the same title from The Rakyat Post and it struck me how so much different it is now.

RM1,600 back then was actually more than enough to for a fresh graduate to live comfortably in Kuala Lumpur. Rentals were affordable, food was cheap, public transport was more or less reliable… At the end of the month, I usually have some extra to put aside.

Now? Let me ask  you this question:

How much is more than enough for you to live comfortably in Kuala Lumpur these days?

The article mentioned that, in a study done by Jobstreet, most jobseekers who have degrees do not think that a salary of RM2,500 per month is enough, and that they expect at least RM3,500 per month as starters. Some even asked for RM6,500!

Being an oldtimer, let me just say this: Get real!

Depending on the industry, most employers will never even want to pay you RM3,000 if you are a fresh graduate. Especially when there are a lot of you out there applying for the same job. It’s a take-it-or-leave-it situation. If you don’t like the pay, there’s always someone else who does. So be realistic.

What you need to do is get a job first, stay for maybe one year, then start looking for better opportunities. One of the fastest way to get higher salary is actually by jumping jobs, but it wouldn’t make you look good in your resume if you have too many in-between companies. It gives the impression to your future employer that you do not intend to stay long in his company.

apartment

Living in big cities like Kuala Lumpur or Johor Bahru or Penang is really a challenge in cost management. From experience, after living in Kuala Lumpur for 17 years, here are some advice which you can take note, maybe even follow:

  1. Live within your means.
    If you want to buy something, ask yourself first, “Will you die if you do not have it?” Okay that was a bit extreme but you get what I mean. Hehehehe…
  2. Plan ahead.
    Especially if you have travel plans or own a car. Your car, because of the fuel, insurance, road tax and car maintenance, really put a dent in your wallet.
  3. Keep track of your spending.
    This is rather tedious since it basically means you have to record every single sen you spend. I did this for a few months until I lost focus and started to just take note of the big spendings. But this will really help you going in the right track.
  4. Get a part time job.
    There are a lot of options available out there. Unit trust consultant is a good one. Insurance agent is also good. Online business is very popular nowadays and, done properly, it can actually earn you more income than your full time job.

In short, it is never enough when it comes to money. You just have to learn how to manage it.

So, is RM2,500 per month enough? My answer is, it depends. On what, you ask? It depends on a number of factors such as where you live, whether you are renting or have your own place or you stay with your parents, whether you have a car or you use public transports, and what your spending behaviour is like.

Share with me if you have other factors that answer the question above.

Do you have the Mukabuku Compulsive Disorder Syndrome?

If you have Facebook account, ask yourself these questions:

  • Do you update your status more than once or twice a day?
  • Do you refresh your news feed page every 10 minutes or so?
  • Do you become agitated if you cannot access Facebook everyday?
  • Do you lose sleep over Facebook?
  • Did you buy a new smartphone solely so that you can access Facebook everywhere?

Facebook AddictIf you answer Yes to all of them, then it’s confirmed. You have the Mukabuku Compulsive Disorder Syndrome. No, you will not find it anywhere on Google if you do a search. And no, it’s not really a new disease, although, I warn you, it’s really a very very very infectious one.

Still can’t relate the questions above with the name of the disorder? You see.. in Malay language, “muka” means face, and “buku” means book. So there you go. Mukabuku. Facebook. Sounds African when you put them together, no? Hahahahahaha…

Seriously, though, Facebook addiction is really something of a concern nowadays. I have friends who became agitated and broke in cold sweat when they could not access Facebook. I also have friends who slept late, or didn’t even sleep at all, because of Facebook.

Okay, I used to be one of them. Actually, I am still one of them. Although not as chronic as before. So how did I cut down? Simple. Don’t play games on Facebook. Those are really the major cause of all the sleepless nights, lifelessness (since the players really prefer to be playing games rather than socialising outside with their friends or go to work), tardiness, grouchiness… you name it.

Facebook Games

It’s fun, yes, but if your life becomes no life, then it’s really time to stop. Or at least, cut down. I play one game now, a major reduction from 5 a few months ago.

So… are you strong enough to cure yourself from the highly infectious Mukabuku Compulsive Disorder Syndrome?

And they still never learn!

Every year during bulan puasa we read in the papers, or watch on tv, or listen to the radio, about kids blinded or fingers cut off or burned some parts of their bodies all because of mercun (fireworks). Without fail!

And yet, they still never learn!

This is the latest example, posted in Kosmo! Online today.

Mercun meletup dalam tangan

Seriously, what is it about fireworks that make rational people go dumb? Is it the noise? The colours? The fire? It must be the thrill. I see it every time I go balik kampung when my nephews and nieces play with mercun. Not to mention the adults especially when the really big fireworks were brought out.

Okay, so I joined in when the big ones were launched. Nice colours… 😛

But honestly, if you got injured playing with fireworks, all I want to say to you is… “Padan muka!”

And kids, please… safety first.

Puasa puasa puasa…

Happy PuasaPuasa is just around the corner. Not counting today, we only have 2 days before we start fasting (provided the anak bulan is seen this Sunday evening).

Are you guys ready? Let’s do a basic checklist and see whether you know all of them 🙂

But let’s do a disclaimer first, just to avoid misunderstanding and unwanted remarks.

I am not an authority on things related to religion. This post is intended to be lightly informative and a little bit of fun. If you need further info or clarification, kindly seek the relevant people.

Okay… on to the checklist, then…

  1. Niat puasa – still remember it or do you need to be reminded again? You do know that you have the option to either do it nightly or do it once at the beginning of the fasting month, don’t you? And no, you don’t have to say the niat puasa in Arabic. Any language is acceptable as long as the intention is there 🙂
  2. Waktu berbuka – it helps if you know the actual time for solat Maghrib, especially if you are breaking your fast outside and do not have access to tv or there is no mosque nearby to hear the azan.
  3. Doa berbuka – while not compulsory, it’s still nice to know the actual doa for break fast. If not, you can still use the usual doa for eating. You do know the usual doa for eating, don’t you?
  4. Suci – which is to say, you are free and clean from hadas besar i.e. you have already taken your mandi wajib, or mandi hadas, or mandi junub, or whatever name you want to call it.
  5. Rules for puasa – you do know the rules for fasting, don’t you? No eating from dawn to dusk… no sex during the day… no intentional vomitting.. just to name a few. You don’t? Then what are you waiting for? Go find out! I guess item no. 4 also falls under this category but I thought it’s kind of “nice” to have it separate 🙂

So those are the basic things you need to know about puasa. If you think I have missed others, feel free to highlight them to me. I stand corrected.

Do you want to know what are the things I really like about the fasting month? One, I got to lose weight (Man, I’m damn heavy!). Two, I can save some money since I will not be eating breakfast, lunch and dinner. But the one thing I like the most is that the air feels 10 times cleaner. No cigarette smoke!

I would also like to take this opportunity to apologise to everyone for all the wrongdoings I have done to any of you, whether intentionally or not. Forgive me yaa…

Selamat menunaikan ibadah puasa

ayusli.com V3: It’s finally up!

ayusli.com
Yeayyyy!!!

Now I can start writing again…

After almost 8 months in hibernation (50% due to my own laziness to kick myself to get to it), I finally got my blog up and running, although this time I have to start from scratch since I lost my backups when my laptop was stolen in December last year (that’s the other 50%).

There goes 3 years or so worth of writings. Sigh…

Anyway, this gives me the chance to start everything from the beginning… which is actually kinda cool since I can now get rid of all those old things I don’t need but just can’t live without in this version of ayusli.com.