Thursday, November 21, 2013

blazing paths, building careers at the TalentCorp SFCF

Although it's been a while since I started off with my first job-hunt a few years ago (seriously, I feel almost middle-aged in my company now), I still remember all too well the feeling of "err so what now" that pretty much everybody experienced immediately after graduation. But the good thing is, there's always somewhere you can go to search for that first big step you'll take towards Being A Proper Adult.

Like the Sector Focused Career Fair by TalentCorp at UiTM, Shah Alam last week!

A joint effort between TalentCorp, Graduan, MDeC and UiTM, the fair focused mainly on Shared Services and Outsourcing (SSO) in various industries, namely Oil & Gas, Electronics & Electrical, IT, Telecommunication, Biotechnology, Finance, Accounting, Healthcare, Tourism, FMCG and Education.

They had quite a bit of stuff going on there - there were the requisite career talks as well as "Couch Corners", which were literally cozy corners with beanbags where students could get comfy and let loose with all the questions they had with people at the fair. And obviously, there were the VIPs, like YB Senator Dato’ Sri Abdul Wahid bin Omar, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department.

Over the 2-day event, the fair attracted about 4,000 visitors, which was great as the SFCF is a valuable opportunity for graduates to meet with CEOs and HR reps from participating companies, including big name companies like HP, Shell, BASF, IBM, Kimberly-Clark and more. If you gotta start somewhere, might as well start big right? ;) It's a win-win for everyone, since those very companies often scout for potential talent from the graduate pool as well, and there's no better place for employers and potential employees to cross paths.

If you're keen on pursuing a career in one of the SSO industries, there's no need to wait for the next career fair - just hop on over to TalentCorp at their pages here and here for more information. Go beyond getting a job and start building a career now, young people!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

take me away, travelar & digi

I haven't been everywhere, but it's on my list.
- Susan Sontag

It's probably no secret to anyone who knows me that I love traveling, so I was pretty excited to find out about this contest by Nuffnang, DiGi and Travelar where 2 lucky bloggers would win 3D2N hotel stays in either Yangon or Bali!

Since I've been lucky enough to cross Bali off my to-go list, this time around, I would love the opportunity to travel to Yangon with Travelar, so that I can add the list of things to do below to my travel experience archive:

1. Visit the Shwedagon Pagoda


The Shwedagon Pagoda is Yangon's most iconic landmark, and it's not hard to see why. The magnificently gilded Golden Pagoda stands at 325 feet so it absolutely dominates the city skyline, and it's existed for 2,600 years (!!), making it the oldest pagoda in the world! It's a photographer's dream, and I'd be one happy cat if I had the chance to capture its beauty in person.

2. Practice my haggling skills at the Bogyoke Aung San Market


With over 2,000 shops offering everything from antiques, to jewelry, to souvenirs, and even everyday toiletries, you could probably find anything you wanted in Yangon's largest market. I'm absolutely horrible at haggling ("Kurang sikit, tiga sepuluh? Tak boleh ah? Ok lor..." *pays*), so this would be a good chance to level up my game!

3. Get lost in downtown Yangon


One of my favourite things to do when I'm in a new city is to go out and get lost, and Yangon looks like the perfect place to do that! With all the people, the colours and the colonial buildings that the city centre is famous for, a walk downtown would easily occupy me for hours :)

4. Stroll along the banks of the Kandawgyi and Inya lakes


I like to balance out the frenzy of cities with some good ol' R&R close to nature when I travel, and the two biggest lakes in Yangon would be perfect for that. This is the Kandawgyi Lake, and that huge structure is the Karaweik, a replica of a royal barge with a restaurant inside. You can also enjoy song and dance shows, called pwe, on the Karaweik in the evenings!


The Inya Lake is the bigger of the two lakes, and is apparently popular with the locals as well. Fun fact: the lake is best known for the house by the lakeside where Aung San Suu Kyi’s spent most of her time in house arrest, and also its popularity as a romance hotspot with young couples from the nearby Yangon University!

5. Hitch a ride on the Yangon Circle Line


I'll admit, this is probably the item on the list that intrigues me the most after the Shwedagon Pagoda :) The Circle Line is a 45.9km long train route that passes through 39 stations, forming a loop around the capital connecting the rural areas and suburbs of Yangon. A ride through the whole loop will take about 3 hours (not exactly Usain Bolt standards), but costs all of 1 USD (perfect for budget travelers), and looks like an awesome way to see how the locals live!

So that's my list of top 5 things I'd like to to in Yangon! But never let it be said that I don't share the good stuff, so let me share a list of my top 5 favourite things to do in Bali, y'know, just in case you happened to have booked a trip there with Travelar or something :P

1. Go temple-hopping

Temples are to Bali like sheep are to New Zealand, so it's quite impossible to not visit at least 1 or 2 temples during your stay! The temple in the picture above is part of the 11th century Gunung Kawi temple complex, where the highlight is these massive candi carved into the cliffside rock. The temple below is part of Goa Gajah, which was built in the 9th century and served as a sanctuary.

2. Feast on bakso and babi guling

Sorry, non-halal alert! Hehe. But yes, babi guling (Balinese roast pork) should definitely be part of your must-eat list in Bali. The babi guling most popular with tourists is in Ibu Oka, but to get the real deal, just ask your cab driver to take you to his favourite babi guling spot (like we did), and enjoy this feast of rice, pork, crunchy pork lard, and goodness-knows-what-else-but-it's-delicious.

And bakso! Ohhh the bakso. It's a dish of meatballs, noodles, and other stuff served in soup, and the bakso from this particular stall just outside of the Legian beach in Seminyak just made my trip. It was drizzling slightly, and the seller had run out of the "other stuff" and only had the meatballs and soup left, but we took a bowl each anyway. I don't know what it was about that bakso because it sure looked just like ordinary, unassuming meatballs, but they were best meatballs I ever had.

We had bakso again later in the trip, and we got a different variant, this time with filling inside the huge meatballs, but it wasn't quite the same. So yes, try out the bakso everywhere and lemme know which one's your favourite!

3. Sip on the most expensive coffee in the world

Kopi luwak (civet coffee) is made from coffee beans that have been ingested by civet cats, and is one of Indonesia's most famous exports. You can try some kopi at farms you can find throughout Bali, though you might feel a little guilty at the caged civet cat pacing around just a few feet away from you :| But still, give it a try - it's not half bad (no shit), and has an interesting flavour! I can't remember how much the price was, but it's not too bad if you only have a cup.

4. Get a tan at the beach

Bali is an island, so not going to the beach would be like having nasi lemak without the sambal - you're missing the whole point (and why even bother, really). There are plenty of beaches for you to choose from - Kuta is the most well-known, but its popularity means it can get rather crowded and noisy with its nightlife as well, but if not, Legian and Seminyak are fine too. If you're looking for one with even less people, try this list maybe!

5. Catch the sunset at Tanah Lot

Tanah Lot is a pilgrimage temple on a rock formation, and is among Bali's most famous sights. It was one of my favourite parts of Bali, because it really is as pretty as it looks in the pictures!

As you can guess from the picture, hordes of tourists descend upon this (not so big) piece of rock every evening to catch the sunset, so you'll be in for a disappointment if you were expecting a peaceful, meditative experience there. But it's definitely still worth the trip, because this place really does look its best during sunsets, even in cloudy weather!

And that's the end of my 5 favourite things to do in Bali! If you want a shot at winning yourself a cool hotel stay at Yangon or Bali, give it a shot here. Otherwise, start planning your trip with fantastically low prices at Travelar, or check out my travel blog for some inspiration :D

Monday, May 7, 2012

from christchurch to queenstown

You know it's bad when writing an opening paragraph for something on your own blog feels like the strangest thing to do. Anyway, I figured I'd at least try to blog about my NZ trip, instead of hoping my memories don't give out 25 years later or something.

So yes! New Zealand. Denise and I headed for a 6-day trip to the South Island almost a month ago, and we went on a "self-guided tour", which basically means that your accommodation and transportation are arranged, but there's no one tour guide to shepherd you around. It's not necessarily a bad thing to travel this way as opposed to the DIY self-discovery long drives that NZ seems to be built for, because if you only have a short time there, getting someplace fast is a good thing - there's a looooot of ground to cover if you wanna see everything. Plus, you learn things from the bus drivers who take you around that you wouldn't probably have known if you travel yourself.

We landed in Christchurch but our time there was short; it was almost sunset by the time we checked in and stopped groaning about the 10-hour flight.

Dorset House, Christchurch

Dorset House was our home for the night, and yes, it's a really pretty place :) The only thing about it is that it is a bit of distance from the city centre (which we never got to see wtf). Otherwise, they pretty much have everything you need and D loved it because of the 100MB complimentary wifi that they provided -.-

First impressions of New Zealand:

Lake Pukaki

It's a really lonely place.

Well okay fine this was taken along one of the highways, but still. I'd expected Christchurch to be bigger and more populated, but any building higher than 2 storeys there kinda stuck out. And the suburbs looked something like this:

Geraldine, NZ

This is actually Geraldine, one of the towns where we stopped for a while but most of the small towns there looked somewhat like this. And I couldn't comprehend it when we passed by the TINY town of Tarras, which would probably fit comfortably into one floor in Pavilion, because I'd never understood what a "small town" meant until then.

One of the most popular routes to take if you're heading south from Christchurch is to pass by Lake Tekapo and Aoraki Mount Cook, both of which are great for photos (yes, I'm a nerd). One of the most photographed things at Lake Tekapo is the Church of the Good Shepherd...

Church of the Good Shepherd

... and it is hands down, the church with the best view in the world :)

View from altar in Church of the Good Shepherd

Seriously. I've had my fair share of chapels and cathedrals during my '09 summer in Europe, and lavish splendour à la Rome's St. Peter's is one thing, but never have I seen a church with a view at the altar overlooking a lake.

Speaking of lakes, another thing I noticed was the insane colouring of some of the many lakes we saw during the trip:

Lake Pukaki

Lake Pukaki

This is Lake Pukaki, another lake we stopped at shortly after Lake Tekapo, and the water in both lakes are a solid turquoise shade. WHY. WHAT SORCERY IS THIS. It's only much later that I realised that it was probably due to minerals, but I sure was stressing for a bit trying to figure out why the water looked like it was coloured with some kindergartener's crayon.

After about half a day's driving we arrived at Mount Cook, where lunch came with a view at the Edmund Hilary Alpine Centre:

Edmund Hilary Alpine Centre

There's a Hermitage Hotel there too, which is cleverly built right at the bottom of these massive mountains:

Hermitage Hotel

I think there are trails for people who wanna take walks/hikes around that area, but sadly we only had enough time to make manic squirrel runs to take a few photos before we had to get on the bus again. Still wasn't too bad though, because with landscapes like Mount Cook's, even a 10 minute walk will give you pretty awesome photos...

Mount Cook National Park

Mount Cook National Park

Mount Cook

(I'm using the last one as my wallpaper now :P)

And that's it for the first part of the trip; next up, my favourite place - Queenstown!

Saturday, May 5, 2012

hello, world

Yup, it's that time again where I fuss about blog layouts and whatnot.

AJ Hackett The Ledge Queenstown bungy jump

So I'm trying this because Blogger's dynamic views are weird and stuff and I just want a wiiiiiide space for photos. Testing, testing.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

marvel's the avengers

I can't believe The Avengers will be premiering so soon - I still remember everybody getting uber buzzed over the trailers last year!

So NuffnangMY asks: what superhero would you be if you could create a new member for The Avenger’s team, and how would you save the world?

Took me a while to think of something that wasn't "stopping time" or "invisible woman" or some totally common superpower for the plebeians like that; Yuen kindly suggested an superhero named "Grammar Nazi" (She'll stop you with one swing of the banhammer!) but nah. I've decided that my contribution to The Avengers would be the Dubstep Dude.

What? Dubstep is damn power okay. Just look at this video, behold the epic power of dubstep starting at 47 seconds in:

It works on all levels. During fights, Dubstep Dude could emanate sound waves so powerful he'd blast the bad guys in The Hulk's direction, where the big green guy would just proceed to crush them into dust. Or Dubstep Dude could use the sound waves to help propel Thor's hammer way further than it would've normally reached.

And besides, there's the point where everybody hates dubstep, so it could help irritate the hell out of the villains ("WAAARRGHHH WHAT IS THAT NOISE WHERE'S THE BEAT??") and make it easier for The Avengers to take them out while they're bleeding from their ears.

"But what if The Avengers hate dubstep too? I think Thor is more of a trance guy."

Aha! I knew you'd say that. The Avengers would all be inoculated against the effects of dubstep, so instead of being annoyed, they would enjoy a good dose of Skrillex while they go to battle.

C'mon, with that, even if Dubstep Dude wasn't the most valuable Avenger in battle, at least the movie would have an awesome soundtrack :P

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Of all the flaws that come with being human, the fact that we are born to be emotional beings, tied to other emotional beings, has to be the worst.

Because when the anchor that keeps everything in place is gone, everything else is like a furious thunderstorm which will smash you up against the jagged rocks and reduce you to little pine splinters.

And it hurts, so much, when the thunderstorms don't stop.

Friday, October 7, 2011

stay hungry, stay foolish

"At the end of the day, what are we but the sum of the people who'd mourn their loss if we were gone?"

I still remember writing this almost a year ago, and I've never quite been as forcibly reminded of it as much as today, when we all woke up to the news that Steve Jobs had passed on.

By this time of the day, everyone has said what they needed to say about Steve, but I just feel compelled to... I dunno, say something, somehow.

I've always been lusting after Apple products ever since I first laid eyes on the bondi blue iMac, and the only thing stopping me was, well, the lack of dollar bills which still stop me from getting a Mac today. And I'd always been fascinated with how Steve, with his personal backstory worthy of a summer blockbuster, managed to turn an electronics-manufacturing company into a cult with a global following.

One of the things about Steve Jobs that remember reading about the most was his approach to design - his need for a product he was creating to be simple, intuitive, and just work. And that inspired me to try to think that way about my work as well whenever possible - not that I'm designing anything earth-shattering lah - but for things to make sense, and fit together to tell a story.

It's strange to feel sad about the passing of someone you've never even met before, but it's not so strange anymore when you see all the tweets, Facebook updates and zillions of articles online paying tribute to Steve. My personal favourites were this Wired article on Steve's life story and how he came to be, and Brian Lam of Gizmodo's account of hard choices and regrets over the iPhone 4 leak a year ago.

RIP Steve :(