Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Straights Quay @ Penang

Straights Quay is a new seafront establishment in Penang island. Well, not exactly new, just much newer than places like Gurney Plaza and Queensbay Mall. It's part of a bigger development area called Bandar Tanjung Pinang.


I like Straights Quay as a place, during weekdays. There's not many visitors, there's a nice sea view, some nice boats to see, and a few nice places to sit down, have a drink, and relax. Perfect place to get away to when you are feeling frustrated/depressed/confused/any bad emotions.





While I like this place as a place, what I don't like, is the roads and the amount of traffic I have to weave through to get here. Even worse is the exact same amount of roads and traffic to weave through when heading back, which more or less rendered the relaxing session pointless... >.<

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

A Boring and Mechanical Game

What if I tell you that there is a game that requires you to put $1000 (or RM 3000) to open an account, and allows you to make around $60 in a week on average. That's 6% returns in a week, or more than 300% returns a year.


This percentage, I'm sure, would put all those fixed deposits/investment links/mutual funds to collective shame. And it would render all those salary increments obsolete.

Of course, it requires you to do spend a lot of time monitoring the charts and trends, come up with a set of formulas that you think works, open a demo account that is free of charge, do a lot of stress test to verify the formulas over a long period of time, and then only fork out that $1000 to open the real account, and stick to the formulas for as long as you are playing the game.

Rich Dad said: getting rich is a boring and mechanical process. Most people wants to get rich quickly, and likes to get involved in a lot of excitement.

The moment you feel confident of your so-called skills and try to play the game differently/raise the stakes, disaster strikes.


Your skills are actually the mechanical process that you spent so much time deriving. Once you forsake this process in favour of spontaneous decisions, you're screwed.

It all depends on whether you can endure the boredom if you want to play this game. If you can't, then this game is not for you.

This game, is called the FOREX TRADING.

FYI, I am still in the Demo Account Stress Testing stage. And I have been stuck at this stage for more than half a year. And I still have not have enough confidence to jump to the next step. So unfortunately, I'm still not really making that 6% a week returns.

Monday, October 24, 2011

3 Years

I can only say: time flies...

Without knowing it, the 3 years mark just passed. In other words, it is now the 4th year since I headed up north from home...

Sometimes, actually most of the time, I don't know how this 3 years passed by so quickly. I don't know what I did for myself thus far...

Some say, 3 years is a cycle in the employment industry in Penang. After 3 years, you leave for much much more money better opportunities. Apparently, this cycle is not applicable to me. In fact I just recently signed a 1-year bond with the company for sending me to the States to help out with my counterparts with some real work sponsoring me on a lavish US trip...

But when it comes to mindset, it does look like this 3 years adds up to a cycle...

First year:

I had my first job for 4 months, then quit and became jobless for 4 months, before I got this job. In more ways than one, I was considering myself to be a fresh grad making a fresh start. And 1 month into my new job, the economy downturn hit, the company announced a 35% drop in revenue and increment freeze; 2 months later a 10% pay cut.

These all made me appreciate the nearly last chance to jump on board. Trying to take on as much knowledge and skills as possible, I embarked upon a process of working late nights and working over the weekends and public holidays. I was constantly putting in at least 50% more effort than what I was paid for.

Second year:

For the first half of the year, I was fairly motivated. I got my first increment and promotion. Things were looking very good indeed...

And then my peers in the same company different division, and different companies around Bayan Lepas got their promotions one by one. This is when I begin to feel sort of short changed. You see, when everyone around you gets the big jump in salary that comes with the promotion, and you realized you did not get the same jump, naturally you will start to feel depressed.

I was beginning to question my worth to the company, and my commitment to the company. Is it worth giving that extra 50% or more, in return of getting the same % of increment as my team mates, maybe at most 1-2% more? And the promotion increase is pathetic compared to my peers! This is when the demotivation starts.

Third Year:

I witnessed some sort of a mass resignation within my division. And I witnessed the property price sky-rocketing RM80k - RM100k within the time span of 1 year. And I witnessed inflation going up by at least 15%.

The increments and the bonuses does not even cover these increases in costs. Instead of moving ahead, we are actually moving backward the longer we work.

And then there's news of people who jumped to a new company, and get a massive boost in salary. What the fuck is going on??!! Is seems that the employment system in Malaysia is rewarding the jumpers and not the loyalists!

And then there's some managers in the company who said of the jumpers: "These people ah, they don't know the company is very good to them, they are so greedy one."

What'd you expect, numb nuts? If the system rewards the jumpers, and with the cost of living racing ahead of normal increments, how can you expect no one to want to look for newer pastures?

I've spent the best part of this third year feeling depressed and demotivated about money and the system. Make no mistake, my manager is very good to me. I can feel that he tries to give me as much as he can. Just, there is only so much a lower level manager can do.

Fourth Year:

Just signed a fuckin' bond which will effectively tie me down for the year. Not sure how I'm gonna get through this year though. For the record, I still feel as demotivated as I have ever been...

Thursday, October 20, 2011

SQ0011

Our return flight from LA to Singapore was slightly different compared to last year. We're having the brand new A380 double decker plane!



Same transit airport, the Narita in Japan, nothing much to show here...


Hehehehe...

That... is the end of my US Trip 2011 =) ... Back to reality, again...

Monday, October 17, 2011

LA: Santa Monica

After a quick tour on Hollywood and Universal Studio, we were ready to head to our next planned destination, Disneyland.

Avis had other ideas though. They gave us a GPS unit that does not have the fuse on the charger. As a result, our GPS died as we were exiting the car park.

With no GPS, it was impossible for us to find a place 40 miles away from LA and feel confident of making it back. At times like this, a man's gotta do what a man's gotta do, which was: ditch the plan, head somewhere that is easy to go, and easy to head back to our hotel after that.

This means... Santa Monica!

One good thing about Santa Monica is that, there are multiple car parks that provide free parking for the first 2 hours and cheap rates after that. One such car park is located in a shopping area called Santa Monica Place, and this was where we parked our car at...




It was just 3pm when we arrived, still too early for the beach, so we headed in the other direction, towards a pedestrian section called the Third Street Promenade.





This place feels a bit like the 16th Street in Denver, only that it has more street performers.



I even got some videos, albeit not very clear ones... it is from a black guy that claims he is on America's Got Talent, and he specifically told us not to refer to him as A Black Guy in Santa Monica if we're to upload his videos into Youtube... duuhhhh...


He's kind of nuts though... and interesting...


We spent about 2 hours on the street watching the street shows and going into shops. At about 5pm, we made our way to Santa Monica Pier...



The crowds are crazy... Pier 39 San Francisco and Pleasure Beach Blackpool are no match for the sheer number of heads here...


The main reason we come to Santa Monica Pier is because it links to the beach...


What's there on the beach? Well... there's is a saying that goes "What happened in Vegas stays in Vegas"...

There's a new saying now that goes "What happened in Santa Monica Beach stays in Santa Monica Beach"...




Actually, there's nothing much happened here lah, we didn't bring any beach attire, and what we were wearing were not really suitable to hit the sands, so we just strolled along the pier watching the beach. Sorry to disappoint you all...


That was pretty much it... we had a very forgettable dinner, headed back to Avis, returned the car, went back to the hotel, and called it a day...

Thursday, October 13, 2011

LA: Hollywood Universal

After 3 weeks, it was Bye Bye to Loveland (again), and Hola, Los Angeles (again)...

Having had the eye-opening-but-less-than-ideal experience last time around, I decided to do things differently this time. Had a quick breakfast at the hotel,


and then, instead of trying to book a city tour or locating the public transport hub, we made our way to the nearest Avis and got ourselves into one of this:


Ford Focus, this is supposed to be the car built on Mazda3's platform. But I can assure you, it is nothing like it's Japanese counterpart. It drives much like a typical American car, and drinks petrol very very much like an American car. Am not gonna elaborate more, I hope you understand what I mean.

Anyway, it does the job of getting us from A to B, so that's good...

Our first stops of the day was much like my first visit: to Hollywood Boulevard and Universal City. Instead of driving to Universal City, we drove to Hollywood and parked our car in a certain Hollywood & Highland shopping mall. Because parking at Universal City was $20 and parking at H&H was $5.

I'm not going to talk much about Hollywood, you can read them from my last visit here.

But, driving to Hollywood and making it our first stop in the morning does have its advantages. For example, there is no crowds and we get to walk around more relaxingly. We also get to see interesting things on the floor.





To save on the parking fees, we took the Metro (some sort of LRT/MRT in LA) to Universal City.


Again, I don't have much to elaborate on this place, you can read my review on this place on my last visit here and here.

There's Universal Studio that charges exorbitant entrance fee, there's a Hard Rock cafe, there's bla bla bla bla bla,,,


The main reason I came here again because the person travelling with me is a first timer in LA, so... yeah... you got the idea...

I did spot something interesting though...


Apparently the girl above was getting married having her 15th birthday celebration. How do I know? Because I asked her, flirted a bit, and got her laid asked the shop attendant of a souvenir shop that she went into. I also learned that in the States, every birthdays from 15 to 21 years old are big affairs, especially for the girls...

Sunday, October 09, 2011

Harley Davidson @ Loveland

I'm not the biggest fan of bikes. I prefer cars 1 million times more than bikes at any given day. So I wasn't particularly excited when the team decided to make a quick visit to the Harley Davidson shop the day before we leave Loveland for good.

One notable feature of this particular standalone Harley shop is that it is located very close to Hooters. In fact they are just separated by a car park that both the outlets share. We got used to calling this area H&H or Harley Hooters.



Anyway, let's get back to Harley, sorry for the sidetrack...

Like I said, I'm not a bike enthusiast, so I don't know how to distinguish the good, the bad, and the bad ass bikes. Forgive me if the pictures I took cannot satisfy your Harley lust.

The thing with Harley is that, most of the visitors to this shop already owns one or more Harley, and keep coming back for more. So before we enter the shop, we already saw quite a few Harley bikes parked outside the shop.






Once we got into the shop, it was quite an eye opener...

We were surrounded by bikes,


more bikes,

and much much more bikes...


Give me a few bikes, I will snap at all of them and post them on my blog, since I do not know which one is awesome...

Give me hundreds or so bikes, I don't know how to snap anymore, so I just randomly snapped a few that looks different to me...

Like this 3 wheeled bike,


and this shorty-unfriendly bike...


They also have a section that sells grossly overpriced jackets, t-shirts and souvenirs. I had even less interest in them, so I did not take any photos of that section.

So... that was my Harley Davidson tour...

Sunset @ Centerra Loveland

Photos taken rather randomly while waiting for seats at dinner on one hungry Wednesday, with zero regards whatsoever on photo angle, frame, quality, etc etc...

5.45pm

6.00pm

6.30pm

6.45pm

7.00pm