Thursday, July 17, 2014

Mie ... My Own Enemy

When some people said the worst enemy is yourself ... I think they are right. These few days I have been battling with my insecurities, laziness, procrastination and sudden low self-esteem. Just because, I was so not up to driving in Brisbane. 

I don't like driving to be honest and I don't like driving big cars. I would say my driving skills are among the WORLD best (hahahaha considering I had been driving in Malaysia's worst traffic cities) but I just don't like driving and it always made me stressful having to drive to work or running errands etc. The funny thing was, the other day when my friend drove me from my Sir Fred Schonell Drive to Kenmore, I felt like taking over the wheel.

Looking back, those years when I used to take bus or taxi to work in Damansara, I couldn't wait to own a car. How cool I would look driving in my sunnies hehehe. But finally when I owned one, reality began to sink in. It took me 6 months (hmm maybe less) to gain the confidence to drive away from the usual route to work. However, to my surprise, I met a friend who had stayed in Kuala Lumpur much earlier than me, love driving, but never venture out from Puchong. By the time we reunited, I already had Froggy for 3 years and Klang Valley was just at the end of my fingertips (and that includes Shah Alam, Bukit Beruntung, Kuala Kubu Baru, Sungai Buluh as well as Putrajaya and its surroundings). Thanks to family members who often request for favours and thought KL is like Simanggang hahaha

Last night I couldn't sleep. Worrying if I couldn't handle the rented car and the GPS. Wondering where to go with the car after the pick-up (yes ... I  decided to pick up a day earlier). Honestly I was baffled myself, this was not my first time driving in Brisbane!!! Guess what, I prayed to God ... seeking His divine intervention in this stupidity. And yes ... it worked. At least this morning I find myself got up, took my bath and head for the city ... stress free but blank!

Another surprise awaited when I arrived at Thrifty counter at Brisbane International Airport terminal. Instead of giving me the Toyota Corolla hatchback compact car that I booked, they decided to give me a bigger, and sportier car ...Mitsubishi Lancer .... hohoho. I just don't like sedan car! Somehow I didn't complain and accepted it.

Having said that ... that little White Baby and me click off immediately. I took a few minutes to get myself familiarised with the "mechanics" , shortly after I found myself cruising to Sunnybank despite forgetting to adjust the rear and side mirror (and put the auto gear on 2 instead of D which made loud sound when I hit the pedal). Felt like taiko pulak ...

Sunnybank gave me another challenge ... parking space during lunch time! Oh damn. Never knew this place is a HIT during lunch. Put on my KL driver cap and voilaaaaa ... parking was a breeze and sangatttttt kemas berbanding orang sebelah! Minor adjustment later, me and White Baby felt like me and Froggie! Yes, my baby is in good care of my sis.

Few hours later, I arrived in Kenmore with White Baby, with renewed confidence and plans to visit Ipswich and Toowomba tomorrow! Excited, excited! Okay guys ... meet White Baby 832. Sure kena loteri esok!

Macam la kereta sendiri kannnn .... kalau kat Malaysia tak mampu mak nak bawak Lancer uolsss

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

A Year In Brisbane

I had been wanting to update this blog since beginning of the Winter Semester Break. However, small little things caused me to procrastinate. One of it is ... I don't know what to write. The usual excuse, I know. As I read through my previous posts, how it was apparent to me how less and less creative I had been.

Having said that, I thank two courses last semester that inspired me to write again. I realised writing, particularly "reflective writing" is one of my strengths. In fact, it helped me through my courses this semester. It helped me to organise my throughts, provided me the "mission" and "aim" for my research and most important of all, ignite some passion on topics I find boring. I don't remember which famous classic actress that said this but it has something to do with "you need to fall in love a bit with your co-star in order to nail the love scene"... does it make sense?

I contributed "expectation not met" as one of the main reasons I seemed quite lost this one year. Despite many wonderful (as well as terrible) things happened throughout this one year .... it failed to give me the profound impact that urge me to write about it. I love sharing it on Facebook anyway. Yeaaa ... I find micro-blogging via Facebook stimulating. Maybe because I got feedback almost immediately.

Another reason, I have to admit, is I began to question the definition of friend. Do you really know your friend? I experienced a very sad situation recently that made me questions this. Is your friend a friend if he/she befriend you to dig your dirt and used it against you? I am not proud what I did in retaliation ... digging his/her dirt and used it against him/her. On top of that, prior to moving to Brisbane, my professional career expanded to a point that I began to witness "unwanted interest" on my personal life. 

The funny thing is ... my life is an open book, I shared almost everything on social media but looking at how a person mind can be distorted by self interest be it political, ego, religions etc etc ... I began to wonder about my honest intention to share about my life. I began to fear writing and sharing too much especially nowadays your good intention may be "misinterpreted" or turn into "accusation/lies". Looking at Malaysia and Malaysians today ... "whatever you say will be used against you". It is very sad as life used to inspire me with its many mysteries, the unknown and the possibilities. 

Coming back to this blog somehow reminded me on why I started it many years ago, and why many people visited it. I told myself, it was meant to share positive matters, issues, opinions plus happiness ... not ignite hatred, spreading malicious lies, or condemnation. I am a Malaysian, with a mind of my own and entitle to my opinion. You may agree or disagree with me.

I thank friends and readers of this blog for your support. I will restart again ... this time with renewed spirit and energy.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Finally .... I am a STudent (Part 2)

If Fairy Godmother do exist in this world, I am sure she is Datin Zaitun. Hahaha ... she does look like one hehehe.

Anyway, prior to Datin Zaitun's call to my office that morning there were series of incidents throughout 2008 and 2009 that sort of like open my mind to the reality of my service and the office politics within the public sector. I couldn't recall what made me so oblivious to my surroundings ... Was I too dedicated? Maybe ... Was I "slow" in terms of the latest news and gossips? Possibly... Was I not ambitious? Hmmm .... depends on the situation. Maybe I just "don't bloody care" (say it in the most British accent please).

Having said that, I loved what I did in the Housing Ministry. I learned a lot about the property sector .. from legislation to town planning, land administration, conveyancing, housebuyers protection, banking and finance, valuation, rehabilitation, project management, construction ... I learned and study a lot. Met lots of people, worked with lots of experts on different areas of property development, and I guess the one that gave me most satisfaction is solving house buyers problems and educating them. Everyday I arrived at work 6.45 am and finished work at 7.45 pm ... initially because I want to avoid jam but later ... I guess I just love working.

Then came my first HLP application in 2008 ... was (i think) motivated to further my study that time. And then came the interview session when we were ask to present our proposal to a group of panels selected by JPA. It was quite different back then ... you apply, got your interview and then you prepare proposal. That was the time I realised that I didn't know what I want study about. Everyday I tried to think of a fancy topic but till the day of the interview nothing came out from my brain. 

Despite loving what I did in housing, I could not find an area that I want to specialise in and that is related to my work. Land? I know about land law and land administration but I don't do the job. It is just related to my work in housing (developers license processing) and I must know the processes. 90% of my works in the Housing Ministry deal with The Housing Development [Control and Licensing] Act 1966 (Act 118) but most of the complex legal matters were undertaken by the Ministry's legal advisors and public prosecutors, and law is not core business of a PTD. In the end, I decided not to go for the interview until I know which area I want to focus on and related to PTD core business.  My love affair with housing came to an end in 2010, 2 weeks before I got the call from Datin Zaitun and I shared that in this entry.

It took me quite a while to digest Datin Zaitun's "offer" and to "process" it later. I did have plans to "mintak tukar" but you know once you start to immense yourself in your work, you began to forget it. But somehow, I couldn't resist considering her offer (I wrote about it here) and worse of all ... I said YES to her before I know what the job was all about. Dah kata YES baru sedar ... OMG Penang! I don't know a single thing about Penang. Yes .... my family is from Penang (my dad lah) but Penang is like so strange to me. Not only I will be in a new Ministry ... I will be in a new OPPOSITION State, new working environment, new job scope, new set of team ... OMG OMG ...a TOTAL OVERHAUL!!!!

After a while ... I decided to take up the challenge. It is not everyday your prayers are answered and your wishes are granted kan. Somehow ... I still feel pressured and takut. 

Did I do the right thing?

Now I got 4 teeth and nothing can stop me now!
 to be continued .... (boleh but novel blog aku ni)

Monday, July 29, 2013

Finally .... I am a STudent (Part 1)

Tadi masa dalam kelas "The Voice In My Head" keep on interrupting me with ideas and inspiration for my next entry. Hmm ... should I start with my Europe trips, or should I start with my new life as a student. So while reading comments on my previous entry, I decided to go along with Si Yoyop punya statement in her comment "Mcm aku mo jg smbg study hihi."

Well my dear sigu ... bukan mudah ya untuk aku mau sambung study ni. It was a very longggggg and tedious process.

I told many friends, especially those who are in the same service with me ... I was not interested in academia. In fact, I learn faster and a lot more through experience, on job training as well as observation (provided that I have a clear goal or objectives for that observation set in mind). Academia, unfortunately in my experience, requires lots of memorizing, attending monotonous boring lectures, copy and paste sources from Internet, confusion over academic and technical writing, if you ask questions it means you are stupid or you might offended the lecturer etc etc.

And to be honest, I am not a person that go through life with a life planner. My job, my environment and my family memang banyak drama so I never get it plan except for financial planning and retirement planning.

Perhaps in my early life ... like most other people, or like my ancestors before me... we don't have the luxury of choice. It is either take it or leave it (or live with it), swim or sink. And the saddest part is "I don't really know where I am heading to". So normally, we let the sail sets it course until we came to a point either to turn back to where we started or if we finally find out what we want from our life we set for a new direction.

I envied those who have choices or know what choice to make. Like, "I know what I want to eat tonight" to the point of "I know how wanted it to be cooked and served at what time and with what I want to pair it with". I might looked or acted I know something ... but in fact .. there are many incidences I just follow someone I trust punya decisions. Like when we were in uni, Si Yoyop nak join PALAPES and I was considering archery. But disebabkan "Yoyop" and "Palapes" macam tak jive since I never saw her involved in sports before I jadi curious. I might want to do archery, but I still listened to her reasons rather than considering whether it was the best option for me.

Then my dad gave an "order" to join PALAPES and that sealed it ... making me the third person in my family to join the military after my grandfather and my father, without a single clue of what PALAPES is all about.

And because of that, I dedicated 10 years of my life from 2003 in the art of making the choices and picking the right choices. Seeking the answers like what do I want, what do I like, where do I want to be .... questions relating to a very complex subject .... ME.

Initially I was overwhelmed with the amount of choices that I have in life. From simple thing like choosing a shampoo that works (selalu beli syampu based on harga or kewangian ... yelaa time tu masih student yang depends on parents money) to something much more complicated like my new apartment interior design concept. Few life matters that I let "takdir" make the choice for me are like "jodoh", "pertemuan" dan "maut".

Oppsss melalut from the topic ... so how I ended up being a student and some more Tourism student. A far different bidang from my undergraduate studies that is Computer Science. Yop ... it took me about 6 years.

It all started from the routine morning breakfast sessions with my friends Ramli and Kolony at Ali Maju or sometimes Cafe Mesra. Ramli, a person I have high regards on when it comes to critical thinking or "thinking far far" was lecturing me as usual on applying for Hadiah Latihan Persekutuan. As usual, I told him off .... I am not an academic person. I don't know what area I want to be majoring in ... and many other excuses. Somehow that year in 2007, ME started to explore that possibility.

To be honest ... I couldn't quite differentiate Masters program over Bachelor degree program. My sister did her Masters program before but I didn't bother to ask sebab malu (she might gave me that "haa takkan ko tak tau" look). I have friends that did postgraduates ... again I also didn't bother to find out. And I don't understand some of my seniors and fellow colleagues motivation in furthering their studies. Seriously ... most of the answers I got was ... "dah bosan bekerja" or "time ni lah nak kumpul harta".

However, I learned and discover something valuable from this experience ... I want my postgraduate be "an area that I am truly interested in", "will benefit me in terms of career advancement in the future (which also means working in the private sectors or opening up a business) and "enable me to contribute to the nation". Lots of thinking and researching happened during this time ... looking at my current job, my future in the civil service, skills that I do not possess in order for me to succeed in my career and of course the critical question ... am I happy now with my work.

Honestly, my findings truly amazed me. In the information gathering process ... I was astounded that many of my fellow colleagues "knew what they want and what works best for them" in relation to working environment like years ago. Thus the mintak transfer thing (which I don't quite like to advocate personally). Whereas I on the other, work in reverse .... we may not have the luxury of the choosing the IDEAL job so make your job IDEAL ... hahahahah yeaaaa that is the secret of my 7 years and 3 months of serving with pride in the Housing Ministry.

 Then came that unexpected phone call from Datin Zaitun ... short, sweet and to the point. 

"Jaime ... ko taknak ke balik kampung? Ada post kosong kat Penang. Jomlah join tourism ..." and I was in the middle of preparing reports for our PEMUDAH meeting with KSN.

But I know whom I want to vote for in the next Student Union election.

.... to be continued (idea tengah banyak kan).

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Howdy From Down Under!!!!

Actually akak dari minggu lepas terpanggil-panggil nak update blog ni. But sepanjang 3 minggu ni memang pelbagai rintangan lah harus kutempuhi ... penuh onak dan duri hahahaha ... bersastera sekejap. Yelaa banyakkkkkk uols perkara-perkara yang menyebabkan jantung akak ni berdegup kencang, blood pressure up and down and makan tak kenyang, tido tak basah. Kalau ikut amazing race asia memang ada chance menang!

So ... I am not going to ramble about the challenges that I had to face ... suffice to say ... ayat pertama nak update di blog ni pun dah mengambil masa 1 jam, then nak familiarise dengan lagi. Should I write in English or should I write in BM. In the end, I decided to write in Manglish ... dengan style Rambomadonna.

Memang lama tak menulis in this personal space of mine in this blogosphere. Kalau nak cerita dari awal ke akhir why I didn't update my blog memang banyak. But to sum it up, it was my gut feelings telling me to lay low for a while. On Facebook, only your friends have access to your updates. I am very selective of friend requests. But in blogs ... you just never know. Something innocent thing such as posting a photo of you doing funny faces may ended up being politicised. It is true ... I am not making it up ... one editor for a very strong NGO in Penang got herself in trouble after posting a photo of her doing silly pose on Myspace. And she became the source of malicious attack by some politically motivated groups despite all the great community works that she did. It happened 2 months after I was posted to Penang.

Then of course, works started to catch up with you. Meetings, travellings, functions etc etc ... I found that I barely even have time for myself. Events or incidents that are "blogs worthy" became old news. I accidentally read a comment by an ex staff on his Facebook (he forgotten to log out apparently) commenting that "the new director nampak selekeh semacam jer". Can't blame him.I was really selekeh ... ya lah I myself was quite shock getting the posting order to Ministry of Tourism, Penang Office while I was in the Property Development Lab with Dato' Idris Jala (despite seronok dapat kerja di tempat baru). My DG asked me ... "you did so well here in Housing, why leave? Did we do something wrong to you?" 

Nobody is indispensable.

I did posted a few entries .. mostly work related these 3 years. But deep down I know my style of writing and what I want to write. To be honest .... there are many happy, sad, exciting stories while I was in Penang. Maybe I will cover that back in a form of a flashback ... alaaa ... banyak pun my entries dalam flashback format.

Hahahaha ... kan dah melalut ... ambik kau flashback.

I arrived in Brisbane on 16th July .... with no idea whatsoever how Brisbane look like. Information on Brisbane pun "nada". Well ... hahahah to be honest, I thought I will never make it to Brisbane.... hahahaha .... nanti lah akak crita. But a week later, reality started to sink in and tup tup ... I am already on my 1st week of my course huhuhuhu.

Now that I dah tak terikat to my post or work except for my bond with the Government of Malaysia.... I think I wanted to be more honest in my writings. Especially on matters that I think should be given special attention or deserve to be made known. My last trip to three important cities in Europe and now staying in Down Under ... I guess there are many things that Malaysia should learn. However in retrospect ... there are also many things that Malaysia are far better that Western countries, and how I wish I saw that earlier. 

Esok lusa ... since I am quite free ... I will share a bit about my uni life. Hahaha ... sambil-sambil update blog ni ... I sebenarnya tengah beli buku online. Murah kau beli online. Dekat AUD 10 - 20 per book. Ok ... catch you guys later :)

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