Sunday, July 30, 2006

Double Red Happiness

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Oh yes!!! Schummi and Massa did another 1-2 in the German GP!! And with Alonso only finishing 5th, the drivers' championship is hotting well and trully up. What a dominant performance by the scarlet red team, they were at 1 point 30 secs ahead of the third place driver at that point, Jenson Button. Schumacher is now only 11 points behind Alonso (last month, it was 25). Schumacher only needs to "win" the remaining 6 races to clinch his 8th title. Small order;)

The other red happiness was that Man United finally signed its first player for the new season. The highly rated Michael Carrick caused MU £15 million pounds and is part of the fantastic trio (together with Frank Lampard and Joe Cole) who came out from West Ham's youth system. Last of the 3 to make a name for himself but still did it for Tottenham Hotspurs last season, hence the move to MU this season. Hope there's more signings to come after Van Nistlerooy's move to Real. Such a pity to offload a player who's just scored 150 goals for you.

On a smaller note, went go-karting again under Shell's karting club. This time around, it wasnt at Sepang but at Elite's USJ rest area. 2 races, Started 7th and 6th. Finished 6th and 3rd I think. Don't care cause it was plenty of fun. Had lots of wheel-to-wheel action. We used the drift layout (whatever that means). Just had 6 corners. Short and nice la!

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Shell Idol Quarter Finals

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Date: 26/07/2006
Time: 6.00pm
Venue: Shell IT Theatrette, Cyberjaya

First public performance in Shell IT:P Looks like I wont be leaving Shell quietly. Shell IT people, vote for me!!! Semi-finals next week!!!! Some photos:
Calm before the storm.
Crunch time!
Judges happy, I'm happy!

Saturday, July 22, 2006

May This Encourage You

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Finally have the courage to share this. Please do not miscontrue as some ploy to gain sympathy. I wanna use this to encourage those who may have gone through the same problem or in fact, any sort problems since the solution is always the same. This is the testimony I gave during this year's Easter party, one day before my birthday, which is 24/4. Got video to prove it too. After giving the testimony, I sang this song:)

The Video (6 minutes, so watch this only if you're really bored)


The Song


Break-up, New Zealand, Reasons
Just want to share with everyone very quickly how God has helped during a very difficult situation recently. The situation was none other than my girlfriend of 3 years has decided to break off with me during the beginning of the month. She has left for New Zealand October last year and had found a permanent job there not too long ago. I guess the main reasons for the break-up are the long distance and our different outlook in terms of our future direction.

Sacrifice, 2 lessons, negative feelings
I think all those who know both of us know that I loved her very much. I had given a 100% percent emotionally, mentally, physically and financially to make this relationship work. However, through this very painful experience, I have learned 2 very important lessons. I’ve learned that we can never substitute gratitude for love. A relationship can only be sustained if both parties feel the same way. I also learned that when a relationship goes bad, there are no right or wrong parties. Both have equal responsibilities and therefore no one should be blamed for the failure. You know friends, I could have easily victimized myself and settle into depression, anger, bitterness, hate and fear, fear that what if this is the last one. After this, no more chance of finding another life partner, fear of uncertainty in the future. But I can choose to let go and bless her. Why?

3 simple facts
It’s simply because of 3 simple facts. I know that God is in control. There is nothing in this world that will surprise Him. I also know that God has the authority and power to make things happen as long as it is within His plans for me. Most important of all, I know that He loves me and He is good. Despite this setback, His plans for me has not changed. These plans will continue to bless me, not to harm me. He has really given me a sense of real peace and assurance in my heart though it has been difficult emotionally for me. Yes I have cried, yes I have looked back and really feel it’s a great loss and ho sek but as I look towards the future and as I align myself with God’s will for you, I can only sense great hope. And He has blessed me with such caring family (my parents have been nothing but supportive for me when I told them the news). I have also been blessed by very dependable housemates, friends and colleagues. They have allowed me to not dwell too much on this issue and moved on with my life.

Difficulties and 2 choices
So what’s my point today? Just to share with you another sad love story? You know, all of us will go through difficulties at various stages our lives. And most of the time, when these things happened, they are beyond our control. When we are faced with a challenge, we have a choice in our hands. We can choose to say, this is so unfair, this shouldn’t happen to me. Why me? And continue to wallow in self-pity, hatred, depression and bitterness. Or we can choose to say, ok, since this has happened, there is no point in indulging in negativity. Let’s make the best out of everything and surrender things that are beyond our control to God because God is in control, God has the authority and power over everything and God loves us.

3 responses
What about you friends? Do you have a burden in your heart that you cannot let go? I believe that tonight, the fact that you are here is no coincidence. I don know if what I just said just now made any sense to you. There’re only 3 things that you can feel, you either walk away from here tonight untouched, unmoved, unchanged from the whole experience. Or worse still you may feel offended, what is this fella doing, trying to say, trying to brainwash me. I’m smarter than all this. Finally, hopefully, you will go home tonight and think, not bad la. What this guy said actually made sense. Maybe I should try this the next time I have a problem. My friends, if you have kind of feeling, it’s not me talking to you but God talking to you directly. Feel free to ask us more questions later and we will answer them gladly. I would like to end the session tonight by singing this wonderful song. This song summarizes what I’ve just said very beautifully. The first time I heard it, I fell in love with it. Hope you will feel the same as well.

Friday, July 21, 2006

UK Visa Photo Requirements

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For anyone needing a UK Visa, you gotta bear in mind their requirements for a portrait photo is a bit different from the usual passport-size photos:
It has to obey the dimensions (45mm(H) x 35mm(W)), have light background (white, light grey etc) and must have a dashing-looking chap in the middle:P

Actually the photo is a bit of a lie since the lady photographer actually used Photoshop to 'smoothen' my skin and brighten the colour. FYI, I did not asked for it, she did it voluntarily:P Twice some more since the PC hanged and had to to rebooted first time she tried to print the photo:)) Very nice shop because the lady told me if the British High Comm rejects my photo, I can go back and get it corrected for free;) Kekeke!

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Just another day in office

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My office space for another 1 1/2 months:

Much safer than my old office in old job:
Though I must say, the old office was more "mobile" and "cool":))

Monday, July 17, 2006

Essential Stuff to Bring When You Go Study Overseas

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This is based on the many experiences of those who had gone before me:))
An Apple Macbook.
According to a friend, you bring this to the library and it's bound to attract plenty of attention, especially amongst the fairer sex.

A Digital camera. As for me, I went for the one with the highest optical zoom and most reasonably priced: a Panasonic FZ-7. Pardon the mirror image as photo was taken using my Macbook's iSight camera, not bad eh quality.

Of course, you need a good rucksack to put those gadgets in. What better than a Targus iBag. Ok, Targus is the real brand, the iBag is my own invention. But Targus, if you wanna sell your bags at more expensive prices, just do like I did, put an Apple sticker on it. Anyone with an iPod and 1/2 a brain would buy it. So, anyone from Targus, if you read this, leave a comment and we'll talk business:))

Last but not least,
Memories of fantastic food...

... and of those who care about you;)
Awwww...so shweet:P

Sunday, July 16, 2006

What An Amazing Year!

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Just a chronology of events that had happened since September 2005:

September 2005
The third and final kaki-linux/business-partner/colleague/all-round-buddy left for UK to take up his masters. Shawn, following in the steps of Jay (2002) and Chuan (2004), went to Edinburgh to do his masters. I was the only one of the quarter left in Malaysia.

End of September 2005
My family had a major financial crisis as my dad's workshop just could not sustain itself anymore, after 20 years in business. Rising costs, increased competitions, expensive machines, change in market expectations all contributed to it. My dad even had mild depression and was admitted to hospital for a few days. We finally decided to close the shop and he went off to Tampin and became the service manager for a friend's Perodua service centre. Praise God cause the moment he reached there, he and my mum who visits him every weekend, started attending the local church and met very very great people there, who gave such strong encouragement and support. We were also able to refinance the business debts etc though the interest was very very high. Banks, nothing but legalized "ah longs":P

October 2005
My then girlfriend, Pohar, left for New Zealand for her 6-month working holiday. Started this blog and initially called it "Stuck in Malaysia":)). Also began my yearly masters applications to UK. Applied for British Chevening, Erasmus Mundus, Shell Chevening. Later on, added Khazanah Scholarship to the list.

November 2005 - Februrary 2006
Work was tough. Plenty of pressure, training the juniors, coping with finance department's demands to finish projects fast to get payment. Work motivation went down down down. In between, was called for scholarship interview by British High Commission wrt British Chevening. Wow! First time in 3 times I was called for interview. Must have improved since started applying in 2002:)

March 2006
Finally quit Open Source Systems (3-1/2-year first job) and went into Shell IT, thanks to the recommendation of housemate, Leng Chye. First day at work, found out no need to work shift as I was placed into the Unix Security team. Fun! Love the tasks I gotta do. So everytime people ask if I'm busy, they're always surprised when I said "I'm constantly occupied":P

April 2006
3rd setback of the year. Pohar decided to break up with me to concentrate on her work. She found a wonderful job towards the end of her working holiday and would be in NZ for at least 2 years. Though it was tough, I wished her all the best and blessed her. I believed God wanted to use this experience for me to really learn to rely 100% on Him and Him alone. Btw, I also failed the British Chevening interview:(

May 2006
By God's grace, everything turned for the better so so quickly. My family and I were able to turn the business loan into a house mortgage thanks to UOB. The rates were fantastic! We now only need to pay RM2k a month instead of RM3k, saving RM1k of interests alone each month!! (That's why I said, banks=> legalized loan sharks!). Praise the Lord!

June 2006
Even better news! I've finally got the chance to take up my masters! I secured the Erasmus Mundus scholarship! It's so amazing because God's timing was just perfect. Though I didnt get the British Chevening, I actually got the best scholarship out of the 4 I applied! Even more amazing: Khazanah and Shell Chevening actually contacted me for interviews as well after that. The callers actually sounded disappointed when I apologized and said I already had another offer. Wow, God's blessing just kept pouring in! I was really humbled by this whole experience!

July 2006
Started to handover my work to colleagues. As I reflected back on the 4 short months of work in Shell, I realised I actually did a lot more stuff than I thought. It was just that I enjoyed them so much that to me, it wasnt really an issue. Amazing how job satisfaction can actually make one work so much better:)) This was on top of the team-building, inter-D stuff I was involved in as well. This 6 months in Shell has been fantastic!! (Got one last event I'm joining, wont tell yet what is it:P) Also passing Pohar's car back to her family, after doing some minor repairs:P Finally free of a "under-powered, small wheels, high centre of gravity Korean car":P

5th September 2006
It will be my last day in Shell!

7th September 2006
Will arrive in Manchester and stay a few days at Jay's place.

9th September 2006
Hope to be in Edinburgh then.

11th September 2006
Course induction will start!

What an amazing year! What a turn-around! And one thing has been consistent throughout this major-ups-and-downs year! God's presence: in difficult times, He has kept my chin up and heart strong. In good times, He has kept my feet on the ground. Thank you Lord!

Saturday, July 15, 2006

The Living Bible

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Lord, I pray that I'm like the deacon to people around me:)

Source unknown:
His name is Bill. He has wild hair, wears a T-shirt with holes in it, jeans, and no shoes.

He is brilliant. Kind of profound and very, very bright. He became a Christian while attending college.

Across the street from the campus is a well-dressed, very conservative church. They want to develop a ministry to the students but are not sure how to go about it.

One day Bill decides to go there. He walks in with no shoes, jeans, his T-shirt, and wild hair. The service has already started and so Bill starts down the aisle looking for a seat.

The church is completely packed and he can't find a seat. By now, people are really looking a bit uncomfortable, but no one says anything.

Bill gets closer and closer and closer to the pulpit, and when he realizes there are no seats, he just squats down right on the carpet.

By now the people are really uptight, and the tension in the air is thick.

About this time, the minister realizes that from way at the back of the church, a deacon is slowly making his way toward Bill.

Now the deacon is in his eighties, has silver-gray hair, and a three-piece suit. A godly man, very elegant, very dignified, very courtly. He walks with a cane and, as he starts walking toward this boy, everyone is saying to themselves that you can't blame him for what he's going to do.

How can you expect a man of his age and of his background to understand some college kid on the floor?

It takes a long time for the man to reach the boy.

The church is utterly silent except for the clicking of the man's cane. All eyes are focused on him. You can't even hear anyone breathing. The minister can't even preach the sermon until the deacon does what he has to do.

And now they see this elderly man drop his cane on the floor. With great difficulty, he lowers himself and sits down next to Bill and worships with him so he won't be alone.

Everyone chokes up with emotion.

When the minister gains control, he says, "What I'm about to preach, you will never remember. What you have just seen, you will never forget."

Be careful how you live. You may be the only living Bible some people will ever read.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Go-Karting: The Best Choice for Team-Building Event

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Me and my housemate were tasked by our manager to organize a team-building event for our department last month and it finally happened! We chose go-karting because we're both racing and car buffs (I have to admit I'm slightly more fanatic). It was held last Saturday morning at the Sepang F1 Circuit's Go-Kart Track. It was the closest the 23 of us could ever get to racing at Sepang, I suppose.

It wasnt easy being an event organizer and at the same time, raring to go racing but I was able to do it cause my Shell buddies were great folks and helped a lot during the position tracking and point scoring when we were racing. Sayang sekali for my housemate, he had to work night shift the day before and couldnt make it for the event itself:( All in all, I didnt have as tough time as I thought:)

There were 2 phases to the event. The first part was the qualifying races which were used to place the drivers into 4 teams based on the positions the drivers finished in each quali race. There were 22 males and 1 female. Ok, everyone thought it was gonna be like unfair for the lady but plenty of male egos were bruised as she outqualified all the males in her group, which was incidentally the first group on track, by a pretty large margin. It pretty much helped to set the pace of the day as everyone gave their best, no holds barred from there onwards:))

After that, the four teams with 5-6 members each then raced in 6 races with each team sending 2 drivers out for each race. My team was a bit "handicapped" as we only had 5 members. 2 of us had the chance to race 3 times rather than twice. None of us were complaining:P Guess which team won in the end???:)) The handicapped team of course!!!! We did the Renault over the rest as although we only won 1 race but we had a lot of 2nd place and 3rd place finishes (just like how Alonso won his championship:P) and won by 8 points. Btw, the scoring systems we used were those sanctioned by FIA for Formula One with 1st=10pts, 2nd=8pts, 3rd=6pts, 4th=5pts, 5th=4pts, 6th=3pts, 7th=2pts and 8th=1pt.

Everyone had loads of fun and wanted to come back again for next round. Well, guys, there might be a slight problem cause I actually under-estimated the budget. Not my fault, the Shell Karting Club president forgot to tell me about track rental fee being a separate amount and I, err, also forgot to count the in-laps (laps you take after the race to bring the karts into pit):P Hopefully all will be ok as I'm still sorting out the budget with the track organizers as well:)).

Ok la! After so much text, here are all the photos:)

Had quite a bit to do in the early stages. So had to distract my colleagues with food (background) while I got things sorted out:P
But once the races started, things smoothened out by themselves and everyone just jumped head-long into fun fun fun!
Wasnt long before it was my turn. Boy, did I had a lot of fun or what! I started a bit cautiously not knowing where the limit of the kart was. But it wasnt long before I threw caution to the wind and started sliding the bugger around the track like nobody's business. The g-forces around certain corners were fantastic. The full-throttle last corner was absolutely spot-on. First corner was tricky but fun. One really absurd thing did happen to me during my qualifying race. They didnt put enough petrol in my kart apparently and because some of the corners were banked, my kart actually died twice:)) As I sat in the kart, waiting for the marshals to come start my kart again, I thought to myself, "So this is how Raikonen feels everytime his car dies" :)) Thank goodness it happened in my quali race and not my actual race. How I fared? Not bad la. 2 3rd places and 1 5th place. Satisfying cause I always finished above my starting positions. So, that's a consolation. Also realised it's so easy to do a Fisichella, i.e. drift out of the race mentally and not give a 100% at every corner every lap. Guess that's why there can only a be a few Schumachers and Alonsos around.

Last but not least, some victory poses:
Group photo:
And of course, lunch at everyone's favourite Golden Arches. "I'm Lovin' It!"
More photos here.;)

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Carrier Aircon For Sale!

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As I'll be flying off to UK pretty soon, I thought I'll sell off the current room aircon I have. Price is about RM500 (negotiable, excluding de-installation cost:). Interested? Email me at ngyahloon(AT)gmail.com. Here are some photos of it:

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

What Materazzi and Zizou really said to each other

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Materazzi: Yo Zizou, you know, my chest, it has da more hair than your head da!

Zidane: Oh zeally, you wanna take a closer look, you bribe-taking %$^#$@#$!
But seriously, in a split moment of madness, one of the world's greatest player retired with despair and disgrace hanging to his name and reputation when it should have been so different. I dont think there are any words that accurately describe this horror of horrors. What a tragedy!