Friday, August 28, 2009

A quiz

Stumbled upon this quiz that was given to me quite some time ago. But it is still quite puzzling and not many people can solve this. If you miss one point, you'll mess up the entire thing. It tests your analytical ability.

There's 25 variables, 24 are given below. On average, 98% people failed to solve this.

Try it!

1. There are FIVE houses.
2. Each House has it's own Unique Color.
3. They all have different Pets.
4. They all drink different Drinks.
5. They all smoke different Cigarettes.
6. The Englishman lives in the Red House.
7. The Swede has a Dog.
8. The Dane drinks Tea.
9. The Green House is on the left side of the White House.
10. In the Green House they drink Coffee.
11. The man who smokes Pall Mall have Birds.
12. In the Yellow House they smoke Dunhill.
13. In the Middle House they drink Milk.
14. The Norwegian lives in the First House.
15. The man who smokes Blend, lives in the House next to th House with Cats.
16. In the House next to the House where they have Horse, they smoke Dunhill.
17. The man who smokes Blue Master drinks Beer.
18. The German smokes Prince.
19. The Norwegian lives next to the Blue House.
20. They drink water in the House that lays next to the House where they smokes

The question is: Who owns the ZEBRA?

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Trip to Thailand - Day 4

Our last day in Thailand. We're leaving back to KL. A relief, for me at least, since I had a big restrictions in terms of food. I did not have confidence with halal status of the food in Thailand.

A relief, except for the 200km that stands between us and the Krabi airport! We had to start our day early. Our flight was scheduled to depart at 1255 so we had to be at the airport by 1055 to check-in our baggage. But unfortunately some people decided to take their time having breakfast, oblivion to the scale of distance we have to cover in order to catch our flight.

Actually I was not really agreeable to the idea to go to Phuket. Preferred to stick with the plan and go to Ao Nang instead. Better beaches and much closer to Krabi airport. But by going to Phuket, we went further than Krabi. A lot further. It's like after spending a day at Genting and your flight next day is at KLIA. Instead of spending the night at KL, you go to Kuantan instead. Get the idea?

The journey was mostly boring. Through small towns and villages. But we eventually barely made it to the airport on time. And after an hour in the air, we were back on Malaysian soil. Good to be back!

Transport to Krabi - THB800

Hujan emas...
People ask me, how was the trip? I would say, enjoyable! But set your expectations right. Go there to enjoy the sights and take lots of photos. You'll get nice photos almost anywhere you point your camera. But if you're like me, want to see the sceneries and enjoy the sea as well, like having your cake and actually eating it, I would say, there are better options.

If you have never been to our very own Redang Island, please try to. At least once in your lifetime. I did last June, for the 4th time. Stayed at Mutiara Redang Resort, which has sandy beaches with barely any rocks at all! Very enjoyable and safe to swim in. The water was much clearer as well. Can clearly see the sandy seabed even from the jetty with about 5m water depth!

The snorkeling experience at Taman Laut was also much better, with designated area to snorkel (no boats to fight with!), no sea current, with lots and lots and lots of fish. Even my non-snorkeling mom can enjoy the experience, by feeding the fish right from the jetty.

So if you've never been to any of our island escapes, trust me, ours are not that much inferior from theirs. As people say it, 'hujan emas di negeri orang, hujan batu di negeri sendiri. lagi baik di negeri sendiri...'

Trip to Thailand - Day 3

Bye-bye Phi Phi
Our last day on Phi Phi Island. Last night, over dinner we decided to go to Phuket. Original plan was to transfer to Ao Nang beach, but some people really eager to experience the famous Phuket nightlife. We checked out of the hotel early, had breakfast and made our way to the jetty. Kind of sad having to leave since I felt there was still a lot to explore on the island. Took the first ferry out to Phuket. We left at 9:00AM.

About 2 hours later, we were in Phuket. We had our van waiting since we already purchased the transport to Patong beach, on the ferry. We took off in a white van to the famous Patong Beach. The driver took us to a hotel, near the beach and Bang La Road. Later we would discover why he highlighted Bang La Road to us.

First glimpse of Phuket
But first, lunch. We toured the small town for halal restaurant. Luckily we found Cairo Restaurant. At last, proper halal food after 3 days. We all had good lunch, additionally with the big portion for everybody. And to our surprise, it was cheaper than Phi Phi. But of course, only comparatively. Back home, I doubt we'll say RM35 lunch as 'cheap' hehehe

After lunch, we stopped at the beach. Big dissapointment. The beach was only slightly better than our Port Dickson, and I think almost everybody knows how bad PD is. So go figure. The beach is totally over-hyped. Murky water and not-so-white sands. So just went back to the hotel to rest.

Cashless Phuket
Then Anis and myself rented a small Honda Click scooter since we wanted to find an ATM which would accept our Malaysian card. We saw Thai CIMB on the way to patong, so we wanted to try that. It was a bit scary since we're not sure if my license was valid in Phuket. Worse still, they kept my passport as collateral.

But we can't find the CIMB, later it didn't matter since Fahizam & Erman already tried their CIMB Malaysia card, but it didn't work. So we tried to use our credit card at money changer, also to no avail. Lucky we still had just enough cash for dinner and transport to the airport. But it meant, no souvenirs for us. Only some postcards. Next time, should be more prepared. Should've had my Visa PIN number instead.

The kinky Patong!
Dinner was again at Cairo Restaurant. Later we had fun watching Marco fulfilling his promise to try out durian, right after dinner. Thanks Marco, you're a good sport. At night, Bang La Road is transformed! Almost all the bars had live dance show. Performed by scantily clad girls and ladyboys. A lot of 'happenings' right in the open, by the roadside bars. Definitely not a good place to bring your child to! In this town, it's the guys that get harassed!

But none of us were really interested and we went back to hotel.

Accomodation at Phi Phi - THB700 (twin sharing)
Ferry to Phuket - THB300
Land transfer to Patong - THB150
Accomodation at Phuket - THB550
Lunch - THB320
Postcards - THB50
Scooter rental - THB200
Dinner - THB300

Trip to Thailand - Day 2

Our second day on Phi Phi Island. BTW, my posts will be devoid of photos, for two reasons, I haven't got them and I will create a fotopage to place the photos and link it back here.

Naturally we started the day early. After a short breakfast, we headed out to the 'town' to find a snorkeling package that suited our budget. We then decided to rent a traditional 'long-tail' wooden boat for the day. The boats were unique that they have their non-marine engine perched right on top of the propeller shaft. We were quoted THB3500 but Anis managed to negotiate it down to THB2500 only.

The Beach
Our first stop of the day, the ever-famous Maya Beach at the adjacent Phi Phi Ley Island. This is where 'The Beach' was filmed. And, if you Google for Phi Phi Island's pic, chances are you'll get a pic of this beach. My first impression, the water was not so clear. But the sight was breathtaking. The terrain around the island is different. The island is like a big rock that fell from the sky to the middle of the sea. It is made of tall rock walls and towers.

But before we set our foot on the beach, we had to pay conservation fee, which was THB200 per person! That's like 4 times then what is charged in Malaysia! But to our dissapointment, the beach was strewn with sharp rocks. And there was no fish at all, so no snorkeling.

Just spent like 10 minutes in the water and decided it was not worth it. Walked around the island and found a passage that led us to the opposite part of the island, to Lo Sa Ma Bay. We had to clim a slippery wooden steps to see over the rock. And the sight was simply amazing. A natural lagoon with crystal clear water with a rock tower, right in the middle, facing the open sea.

Lo Sa Ma Bay
After the dissapointing visit to Maya Beach, we asked the boat man to take us to Lo Sa Ma Bay, which seems more promising. There's no beach here so we had to snorkel off the boat. But it was not easy as sea current was quite strong. And the marine life was not as much as I expected. After about 30 minutes and many photos later, we were off again.

We made our next stopover at Piley Bay. This is simply an amazing place. The boat was guided further into the island, between tall rock walls. Suddenly we reached a part where the water is shallow and greenish. But go forward a bit more, at the end of the passage, the water is so deep that it is deep blue! It's like a lake, but with no edge. Since the shallow part is sandy, so we spent time swimming here instead. But again, the place was devoid of any marine life, which rules out snorkeling.

For lunch we headed back to Phi Phi Don Island. The boat man took us to a resort at Phak Nam Bay. Only salad lunch for me. Eventually, we spent more than 2 hours here to relax under the trees on the beach. Very relaxing, while Marco was busy tanning himself in the hot sun.

Then we continued our journey. On the way back, we stopped at a snorkeling spot. For me, this was the only proper spot to snorkel with a lot of marine life. I noticed the fish around here were different that what I used to see around our Redang or Perhentian. Andaman Sea vs South China Sea. I just wish there was no current and the water was clearer. Visibility was only about 3m at best and fighting the current without flippers are not fun at all. Nevertheless, we spent quite some time here snorkeling.

Harmless sharks?
We then were brought to a spot where 'harmless' black-tipped reef sharks can be sighted. Harmless? Mmmm... The boat man anchored at a spot and pointed the general direction where we should head to, about a good 50m away, along some rocks. Both Fahizam and myself, jumped into the water, eager to see some sharks.

But in the water, it was different story. Visibility was bad (about 2-3m only), the sea was quite choppy and current as usual was strong. With no fins and life jacket that was constantly seeping in water, leaving us only half afloat. That was like someone took us to a jungle safari, at night. Stopped at a spot. Blinfolded us, tied our hands behind our back and then ask us to go out of the jeep expecting to see some 'harmless' tiger. We decided, not to proceed. Not worth the risk. We should at least have been guided and accompanied, equipped with proper equipment.

'No'-Monkey Bay
We then stopped at Monkey Bay, where supposedly there were a lot of monkeys. But when we were there, no monkey at all. Only rotten fruits by the beach, the only sign that indeed there were monkeys. Not that I cared of. Not when I can see monkeys even at my office's disaster recovery center. So instead we just 'monkeyed around' swimming in the sea and took more photos.

It was already quite late. And we were all tired. But there's still one more thing to do, viewing the sunset. Apparently, it was not just us, but there was like 20-30 boats floating in the gap between Phi Phi Don and Phi Phi Ley, to view the sunset. It was stunning view indeed.

Later at night, we were all exhausted. Again, we had a scrumptious dinner of seafood tom yum, grilled white snapper, tiger prawns and barracuda! After dinner we were all too tired and retreated back to the rooms.

Mineral water - THB40
Snorkeling - THB500
Conservation fee - THB200
Lunch - THB320
Dinner - THB480

Friday, August 21, 2009

Trip to Thailand - Day 1

Went to visit Thailand last weekend. Organized by my dear Anis. It was 5 of us, Anis, Marco (Anis' friend from Italy), Fahizam & Erman. The following are the travel blog of the visit

Departed from LCCT on Air Asia flight to Krabi. Actually it was my first time going overseas, well not counting Singapore which I visited looooonnnnggg time ago, when I was still a small boy. So obviously, I was a bit excited and nervous at the same time. My first time going to a foreign place.

The flight was delayed for about 30 mins but after just about an hour we were already in Krabi! So excited. Immigration was a bit slow, since it was just a small airport, but we all got through without any hassle. The only thing I regretted was not putting the bag covers on, as a result I lost a few small items which were placed in the bag side pockets. Oh well.

Right at the exit, already tour agents were calling us promoting their tour packages. After a short survey, our tour organizer quickly sorted out transport to Krabi jetty. We took a 1/2 hour bus ride and then we were dropped off to wait for connecting transport to the jetty. We were on our way to Phi Phi Island!

The boat ride was smooth and the sea was calm. In fact we just stayed on top of the boat, outside to enjoy the scenery and cool wind in our faces. I just wished it went a bit faster. After 2 hours, we reached the ever famous island. To our surprise, there were tour agent booths right at the jetty. All were promoting accomodation package on the island. Apparently there are tons of resorts and chalets strewn all over Phi Phi Island! Maybe like more than 30, really. The tour agent booth save our time and effort from walking from one place to another. They all have pictures on the wall of all the resorts available and we just need to choose which one that suited our budget. We decided on a budget chalet, Phi Phi Don Chukit Resort, facing the main beach with a superb sea view. We paid at the tour agent booth and they quickly arranged for people to transport our bags in wheel carts to the resort, which was about 10 minutes away on foot. No cars on Phi Phi Island, only on two wheels.

Later at night, had seafood dinner, since that's about all that we can have. Even though we were told the island is a Muslim island, we still had some doubt on the food so we were sticking to seafood. After dinner we just spent some time walking along the main 'road'. Seeing the nightlife on the island. There were quite a number of bars, dive shops and souvenir shops along the walkway. Then we all retreated back to our chalet to rest.

Taxi to LCCT - RM65 (for 3 of us)
Bus transfer and ferry - THB400
Tit-bits - THB70
Accomodation - THB700 (twin sharing)
Dinner - THB420
Toiletteries - THB220

Map of Phi Phi Island

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Where else can you find this?

It says, 'All items are free'!!!

This is at SAS training center, plaza sentral. Been there few times for training these past few weeks. And of course, the machine will be the center of attraction at every tea break we had hehehe

Search di Awan Biru @ Bukit Kiara

Was offered free ticket to the above concert. Since I have never attended a paid concert, decided to go. There was way too many people, especially worrying with H1N1 spreading fast. But some of them are quite young, which I would think are not really from the 80's 'rock kapak' generation. Quite surprised actually.

The concert started an hour late. Search themselves were caught in traffic to the venue. Lucky to the fans who were struggling to get in. Traffic and crowd management was very bad. Had to literally squeeze to get through the entrance. A lot of people were complaining about the congestion.

And in the first song itself, there was a 5 minutes blackout on stage. Preparation seems to be lacking. In fact, it was the bad sound system that was the highlight for the rest of the night. The guitars were not balanced. Bass guitar overpowered everything. And the guitars come and go as it wish.

Amy was just being him. OK, but not outstanding, not at his age now, but clearly still have a lot of influence with the audience. Half way through the concert, Kid joined the stage. So at one point, they tried to do G3-like guitar solo duel, but that immediately showed their lack of skills and quickly, they ran out of ideas and became boring shred show.

They seemed to focus more on the younger generation and play their relativly newer songs more. But it was obvious it's the older generation that is their bigger fans at the concert. Admittedly, I only knew like 1/3 of the songs played that night. But when the older songs were played like Isabella, Fantasia Bulan Madu, Gadisku, etc.. more people sang along, the screams were louder and the crowd responded better. Especially during their last song, Pawana.

In all, I would only give 5/10 for the concert. Due to the technical glitches and the songs selection. If not because I met another friend there, I would have left early that night. But then, I admit, I'm not really a die-hard Search fan hehehe

Manager interview

I applied for a manager post about a month back or so. And was shortlisted and called up for the interview, 2 weeks ago. Until now, I haven't got the result yet. But if you ask me, I was not fully satisfied. After the interview I think I could've went through it better.

But at the same time, it also made me realise of some shortfall of the system. Now I understand why there's quite a number of managers that I know of, but in my opinion (and others opinion) that they don't deserve to be one. Because it depends a lot on how you talk and how witty you are. People like me who are naturally not so witty and always need some time to think to make sure of a correct answer will be at a disadvantage. Even though you may actually be very good.

But the system as it is, I think I have devised a few plans for my next interview if I will ever go through one again.

1. Be specific. Identify something specific that I have done and make sure it's highlighted. Should be able to relate the details as well. Telling them that I do a lot of things (simply because I am) without the details will not impress them. So it's better to do just a bit, but make sure I remember it and highlight every details

2. Sensationalize. Just like newspapers. It has been at many instances that people rave about something I did, but for me it's just another task I completed, in a day at work. So I have to learn to identify and 'market' these

3. Complicate simple things. So when being asked, 'How do you solve problems?'. Rather than just say, 'I prefer to discuss in team to solve problem & escalate to higher level for advise & direction' which takes more or less 10 seconds to answer, I should say 'I would analyze the problem. Try to ascertain if the probolem is within my and my team's capabilities and skillset. If yes, work on options to solve it and finally employ the best options. If not, try to obtain assistance from people external of the team. While if still unresolved, to consult higher management for advise and direction on the situation'. That would sound much more impressive! But then, sounding impressive is the name of the game

4. Be compulsive. When they ask, quickly answer with something. Don't pause to think, they'll make faces while I'm doing that.

Hopefully, I can keep all those in mind the next time I'm attending an interview hehehe