Subsidy in Malaysia

There is an ongoing effort of the Malaysian government to reduce subsidy for food and petrol. They have been pitching the argument that it's getting costly to do so, especially petrol, and that they need the money for development of the country.

I used to believe this should be the right approach based on economics. Otherwise, the market price is distorted and thus causing inefficiency.

However, now I rather have those subsidies directly benefiting all Malaysians than to have them reduced with savings in the hands of the government. Why? Simply because I don't trust the government to channel the savings entirely for the good of the people and I bet I'm hardly alone in thinking this way.

Mix rice (again)

I wrote about the increase of price of mix rice after Chinese New Year few months ago.

Recently, I had this at Sri Damansara, just before going for tuition class:
RM5 mix rice

Guess how much it was? A shocking RM5! Just for a drumstick and a portion of long beans and this was in a normal coffee shop, no aircond and not in the heart of KL.

Inflation in Malaysia is crazy. I'm a little worried whether I can generate enough income in future to afford such inflation.

Trains & Fire Brigade

While Ban and I were in Australia, we followed my sister and her family on an outing to Canberra Railway Station where they had exhibit of trains of older model and a few fire trucks. In fact, on that day, there was free train ride to Queanbeyan on one of those old models. Unfortunately, by the time we were there, the train was already full and ready to depart and the next one would be hours later.

So we spent our time looking at the trains, inside and outside, as well as the fire trucks. My sister had tea in the train's restaurant cabin too.

Not much I could say as it was quite sometime ago but I do remember the rather nice warm weather (precious during the autumn chill) and the kids generally had fun.

Train museum 1

Train museum 2

Train museum 3

Train museum 4

Fire brigade 1

Fire brigade 2

Losing

It used to be that my dad was not shy from confronting people with regard to certain conflicts. The most common kind of conflict concerned his family. I remember when a restaurant in Medan recommended a crab dish that turned out to be spicy (we didn't know that when we agreed to order), he express his displeasure because we ordered for the entire family which included my youngest sister who was just seven years old. He said that the restaurant should have made it clear that the dish was spicy in view of presence of children.

Regardless of whether he was right or wrong, my point is that he reacted that way with respect to such incident. Just imagine how he reacted when it came to bigger and more important issues.

However, as he aged, he mellowed and came to avoid conflict when he can. It seems to be particularly true once he reached his 50s. He still behaves the same way when in Malaysia and possibly in Singapore but when in truly foreign country like Australia, he shrank away even from the simple incident such as poor service. I remember a particular incident when my sister decided to stand up for him and reprimanded someone for being rude to him. It would never happen when he was younger or when he's in Malaysia, as he would have done that himself. I guess he just want to avoid conflict? Shrug.

I too find myself shrink from conflict especially if it only affects me. If it affects my loved ones, wo-ho lo behold the person who inflicts pain on my loved ones. They'll have more than what they can chew. I also will not hesitate to act on poor service.

Though I still no qualms dealing with third-party, I seem to shrink away from conflict involving people I personally know as I get older. At first I thought maybe I know more people and hence there are also more aggresive people, who are opinionated and who do not hesitate to put me down if my "argument" is not solid. I especially disdain people who simply wave their hands to sweep away my arguments, either with condescending words or in condescending  tone and with respect to such people, I used to stand my ground.

But I'm doing less and less of the above in recent years and my self-esteen seems to suffer from this. I'm not sure why. I know I dislike conflict. The whole process of pain being inflicted, finding closure, forgiveness, agreement etc is just too troublesome and emotionally draining and so I supposed I prefer to simply avoid it.

Even more troubling and disadvantageous in such situation above is my gradual lose of coherent articulation of my thoughts. I seem to be losing my vocabulory quickly in recent years. I stammer and pause more often now as I struggle to find words to describe what I think.

I'm losing and I don't know how to turn the tide.

Fatigue

Ever since I came back from OZ, I've been feeling tired the whole day. At first I attributed it to jet-lag but I doubt so now since it's still ongoing after more than 2 weeks.

Ironically, I feel the freshest on the morning after the day I came back to KL. Thereafter, it was all downhill. Tired in the morning. Tired in the afternoon. Barely can keep my eyes open by 10pm. Strange.

The upside from the OZ trip is that I finall managed to wake up before 10am and enjoy the remaining hours of the morning. I do hope to wake up even earlier.

In spite of this fatigue, I still try to keep to my routine. I guess as long as I'm doing something, although can't be too long on it, I'll forget that I'm tired. Exercise helps a lot. Hope to go for Dynamic Flow this Sunday.

Close kiss

I wonder which one went that close.

Close kiss

DVD drive kaput?

One night, Ban and I wanted to watch an episode of "Avatar: The Last Airbender". We usually watch it on my laptop. However, that night the DVD drive was not working i.e. no DVD was detected. I tried a few other DVDs and the result was the same. Using the Device Manager, it was confirmed that the device was working properly.

This happened before. I remember that it was a little out of alignment and needed a little manual adjustment to fix it. We tried that too but still didn't work.

At this point, I gave up and wanted to get it repaired. I went to BML, upon someone's recommendation (albeit for accessories, I think), at Damansara Jaya. The moment the lady there heard that my DVD drive stopped working, she immediately advised me to buy new. She maintained this advice despite the alignment problem I had in the past and also without taking a look at it. Furthermore, she recommended an external DVD reader/writer as it it is, according to her, cheap and hence no reason for me to get the existing internal one repaired.

Tempting though I was to just get over this problem and purchase the external reader/writer (RM169), I decided to not to make such rash decision as I learned in the past it usually turned out not to be in my favour in the end. After some discussion with William, I decided to try another shop.

I was planning to approach Jayacom at Digital Mall but for some reasons, I decided to google "dvd reader is not reading the dvd". That was when I came across this nifty assistance on Microsoft website:

Microsoft Help

I was running this when I came across someone's suggestion in the forum to just clean the lens. Oooooh why didn't I think of that? I already have a DVD lense cleaner at hand. I tried and voila! It worked!

That saved me money, time and effort. Phew. Close one.

PS: "Kaput" is currently an English word, according to Dictionary.com :)

Checkers @ Bukit Damansara

Recently, 5 of us had dinner at Checkers. I was the only one who had been there before but it was only once. It was fortunate that I made reservation albeit only 3 days before. It turned out that it was fully booked that night.

At the start, we resolved to try their signature dish, Lord of the Ribs (LOTR), since it is unlikely we'll frequent it often due to budget constraint :)

LOTR 1

It is huge and could easily feed at least 2 people. In case you think the bowls are small, here's another picture with the RM1 note:

LOTR 2

And no, that note is not a mini-note :)

Spanish mackerel

The Spanish mackerel was surprisingly moist as we expected it to be otherwise judging by its look. It was lightly seasoned and tasted just right.

Jamaican chic

The Jamaican chicken was delicious! The portion is quite large too for its price.

Rum chendol

Lastly we ordered rum chendol, which was not on the menu. We came to know of it from a food review and wanted to try this unique chendol. Turned out that it was ice-cream, not shaved ice. It was quite yummy although the rum was a little too rich for me towards to end.

The aftermath:

LOTR deboned

Finished

Checkers bill

The price per person was not as expensive as we expected but then again we're mostly small eaters :)

Shares Part II

Following from Part 1, here's the average annualised dividend yield thus far with respect to the dividend-paying shares:

Div yield

Please note the following:
(1) Dividend yield = dividend amount / cost of shares
(2) Annualised dividend yield = dividend yield x frequency of dividend payment (e.g. 2 times a year, 4 times a year etc)
(3) Did not exclude any special dividend payment
(4) No dividend yet for SP Ausnet as I have purchased the shares only recently

Autumn once more

It's been quite a long time since I was in Canberra during autumn. Probably more than 5 years ago. The reason is because I don't like the cold weather. I much prefer spring. So I went to Canberra during spring the previous two times. Warmer weather (can even wear short pants on some days!), flowers to look at, more energetic and, likely, happier.

However, this time I made the trip during autumn. There were a few reasons: the fact that I am now living in Malaysia and so have to deal with different airlines and their pricing strategy, and also the fact that I'm on a smaller budget since I'm on a smaller income now.

So the opportunity came when I spotted cheap Air Asia X. Not as cheap as I could get hold off, due to timing, but significantly cheaper than normal: RM1,271 plus another RM195 for pre-ordered meal (one-way), 20k check-in baggage, pick a seat and 1 set of comfort kit. That's only for KL-Melbourne. I had to also purchase a domestic flight from there to Canberra and back.

This time I went with Ban :)

Naturally, I showed him my university: The Australian National University. It was there that made me realise how much I had forgotten how autumn looks like. I didn't take as many photos as previously. Here are the photos I took at ANU:

Autumn ANU 3

Autumn ANU 2

Autumn ANU 1

Autumn ANU4