Tuesday, December 23, 2008

What Malaysians Want

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My question which might become a theory - Can we make certain assumptions on what are people thinking of, how is the current general mindset and what's interesting in a certain country or region by looking at what they search for?
Today I came across Yahoo's Top Searches for 2008.
According to the link Yahoo's Top Searches for 2008 for Malaysia are as below.

Anwar Ibrahim
Pakatan Rakyat
RPK
Lee Chong Wei
Siti Nurhaliza
Selamat Pagi Cinta
Vanessa Hudgens
Resepi Kuih
Josef Fritzl
Pontianak

The first 2 are very related to Politics, with the 3rd item (RPK) also closely related to the same scene. This could mainly be due to the recent elections and still heated politics going on.
The 4th, Lee Chong Wei is interesting. He is a badminton player. Eventhough badminton is a favourite Malaysian sport, I am surprised to see a specific player searched upon so highly. Is there a huge female following who search for Lee Chong Wei??
5th is Siti Nurhaliza, I'd be in the assumption her search rate would have dropped compared to 2007.I can't seem to be able to find a similar summary for Year 2007. Still getting 5th spot in 2008 after marriage and low visibility is impressive for the least.
Selamat Pagi Cinta is a Malay Movie, this one I can't comment much since the last Malay movie I saw was Cicak Man 1, which by the way was pretty good.

Vanessa Hudgens - She is one of the stars in Disney's High School Musical. Recently gone thru some major publicity I believe.

Coming in on 8th is Resepi Kuih. Looks like Malaysians are true to their love for food. I too love Malay kuih, especially for evening drinks (minum petang).

Josef Fritzl is 9th, this one I'd rather not comment much.

And last is Pontianak, a Malay version of a Vampire. There's a movie related to this and this could be possibly why people search for Pontianak. Good thing we can say Malaysians are more interested in Vanessa Hudgens pictures than that of a Pontianak.

So to summarize, Malaysians have a wide appetite, from politics to actress to movies and food.

Now compare this to what per Yahoo, Singaporeans searched for most in 2008


Mas Selamat Kastari
Lo Hwei Yen
Edison Chen
F1 Singapore
Beijing Olympics
SGX
Dawn Yang
Xiaxue
COE
Beach.Ball.Babes


Now look at what USA searched for most

1Britney Spears
2WWE
3Barack Obama
4Miley Cyrus
5RuneScape
6Jessica Alba
7Naruto
8Lindsay Lohan
9Angelina Jolie
10American Idol


Go figure!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Penang Bridge - Implementation of Tidal Gate Flow System

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In the Star Paper (Thursday December 11, 2008, ), I just read that Penang Bridge will implement a Tidal Gate Flow System. This should be good news for the bridge commuters. The current conditions are not smooth is the least I can say.

The efforts to limit the usage time of heavy vehicles during peak hours was a good effort to start with. But traffic is still bad.

Going back to the Tidal Wave Gate, if I understand this correctly, it is a controlled entry from 2 or more entry points into the main span (double lane) of the bridge.

Just imagine 2 large waves colliding, it will create a huge destruction! And it's nothing to do with Tsunami. :)


The Star Article on Penang Bridge (click picture for a clearer view)

However if a small wave 'collides' into a large wave, the smaller wave 'integrates' into the larger waive with lesser impact. I'm not sure how correct is my understanding. Actually in Dec 2007 I wrote to PPSB to f/back about the issue whether there a way too many toll booths providing entry into a 2 lane traffic. Either the bottle neck has to be reduced or regulated.
My Suggestion to PPSB (click picture for a clearer view)




PPSB / PLUS Reply (click picture for a clearer view)


Good job to the authorities on for taking initiatives on trying to fix a long issue. (pun intended :) )
Deep down it feels good that the suggestions given were taken into consideration, regardless if it's related to my suggestion of not. It still feels good.

Another feedback I gave previously and got a reply from PPSB was putting a larger indicator on the 'Tambah Nilai' counter, as it is not visible from far, and in heavy traffic, once you're in the wrong lane, it's hard to change lanes to get into the tambah nilai conunter. Notice now there is an LCD Digital Display for the Tambah Nilai thought still not large enough for my liking.

Let's hope this improves the traffic. Probably in the first few days, there will be havoc from users not familiar with the system, and those trying their best to be Queue Cutters!

UPDATED 23 December 08 - As I mentioned above, knowing Penangites, there will be havoc the first few days. Looks like the authorities gave up after the first day. :p

A snippet from TheStar

"BUTTERWORTH: The Malaysian Highway Authority (LLM) has ordered a trial run of the “tidal flow” system on the Penang Bridge to stop because its implementation does not help overcome congestion on the bridge."


Drive Carefully.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Home Tuitions for All Levels

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Home Tuitions for All Levels in Penang

A friend of my dearest Chotu provides personalized home tuition for students of all ages.Guarantees improved results as
various study methods, including mind-mapping, flow-charts etc, are implemented for students to comprehend their subjects.Students gets 100% full attention.













Standard 1-6 English, Bahasa Malaysia, Maths, Science
Form 1-3 English, Maths, Science
Form 4,5,6 English, MUET
College/University/Working Adults/Foreigners


English, TOEFL, IELTS,Interactive Communicative English,Hokkien Language, etc


*Intensive Holiday Programs are also offered.


Contact: 016-4384854 (Ms. James)


Saturday, November 1, 2008

EPF Investment Options : ASW

1 comments
Let's discuss investing from your EPF savings, how, how much can you withdraw and the options, including Capital Guranteed investment options.

EPF
Investment from Account 1 - Withdrawing for investment, how much?


The Employees Provident Fund (EPF) aka Kumpulan Simpanan Wang Pekerja (KWSP) is what it stands for.

It is commonly known to many that you can withdraw stipulated amounts from your EPF Account 1 for investment. The typical or would I say options for investment have been Public Mutual and now CIMB. But most of this offer investment with a certain risk, ie no capital guarantee.

Later on I will talk about an investment option that is RM1 for RM1. I am not sure how the capital guarantee is stipulated though, so please read thru the prospectus clearly.

First let's understand what you can withdraw and how much. Go to the EPF / KWSP website, choose your preferred language, Bahasa Melayu or English.
Look for the Pull Down Kalkulator or Calculator, then click on the Pelaburan or Investment Tab.
You should now have a webpage with the EPF Investment Calculator

This calculator should answer your questions on allowable amount of withdrawal. If you want to understand more on the method of calculation, you can go to the EPF Press Release on the details by clicking here.
Basically you can withdraw X amount , which equals 20 percent of your total savings in EPF Acc 1 minus a required minimum savings defined by age.


EPF / KWSP Investment Options
Ok, so now you know you can withdraw an X amount of Ringgit Malaysia. What are the investment options in EPF. In other words, where can you invest your EPF savings to? There has been much publicity for Public Mutual, and now CIMB. Alas, if you started slightly before the current recession and market downfall, probably you're making a loss. So should you continue to Dollar Cost Average (DCA)? Read here on some thoughts about DCA.

Permodalan Nasional Berhand (PNB) / Amanah Saham Nasional Berhad (ASNB) does offer some alternatives. The reason this funds are not that 'famous' is probably coz the agents work for PNB, unlike other trust fund agents earn on commission basic, so .... Among others PNB offers ASD and ASW.

ASW (Amanah Saham Wawasan) is open to all, however the non-Bumi units have all been take up. The reason for the high demand of this fund is it is fixed at RM1.00 for both buy and sell price. In other words, could this be said as capital guaranteed? However I believe they do charge management fees etc from the profit made, so what happens if they loose money?
Since 1999 till 2007, they have recorded an average of 7.8% dividend payouts. (this would end up higher if you count for compounded interest rate).

So for your hard earned EPF money, this would be an option to consider, especially if you're a safe player, and taking into consideration the current market situation.

If you're interested, you can get in touch with any ASNB offices. The Penang office is located as below. You can also call them and request if their agent can come meet up with you.

ASNB
No. 2777, Jalan Chain Ferry,
Taman Inderawasih,
13600 Perai
Pulau Pinang.
Tel : 04-3994381 / 3994375
Fax : 04-3994404

This blog entry answers the below questions
  1. How do I invest from my EPF / KWSP account?
  2. How much can I invest from my EPF acc?
  3. What options do I have for EPF investment options?
  4. Is there a safe or risk free investment option for my EPF savings?
Happy investing!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Fungus, Mould, Mold, Kulat

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Some update on my experience with Fungus, Mould, Mold, Kulat in my apartment's furniture.

Also refer to my initial entry on Wood Furniture Mold

The rainy season is back. Yes, monsoon. Seems the humidity level is up. My aircond's dehumidifier can do but so much.

Seems like the efforts I took lasted for nearly 1 year. Maybe it's better to move out. Anyway, here's some tool that might help in the Mould war.


1. Varnish or Shellac.



Usually I go for Clear so I can use with any colored furniture.


On the back it's written it protects from Mold. How true?

2. Hygrometer (yes the tool to measure humidity). And no it's not called Hydrometer. Curious how you'd pronounce 'hygrometer'? Click here.

Hygrometer (somehow the picture got rotated?)



3. And here are the PICTURES. Even looking at them gives you the itch.



Most people might confuse it with just dust. Look closely that it forms a pattern.

HELP!



Thursday, September 4, 2008

Learn Hindi

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Learning Hindi Language in Penang and Northern Region of Malaysia.
Ever wanted to learn a new language? Understand the language of your favorite movies, especially Bollywood?

I myself, besides being a vivid English movie fan, do enjoy watching Hindi movies to a certain extent. My latest favourites would be 'Jab We Met' and 'You, Me or Hum'. To many Hindi movie lovers, we've seen the movie relying on the subtitles, but then, wouldn't it be nice to understand the dialogs itself?
So if you're one of those like me who have a liking for the Hindi Language, be it because of the beauty of the language, be it because you like Hindi movies, or Hindi Stars, like Shah Rukh Khan, Salman Khan, or maybe Katrina Kaif, Kareena Kapoor and Aish. Or you are planning a trip to India, be it Kashmir or to see Taj Mahal. Or maybe have a business and work relationship there. Even maybe you're eager to learn a new language.

Here is our opportunity to learn this language.

Read on...

Based on the picture I got below, Hindi is a widely spoken language in India. It is also one of the National Languages. The light blue shows areas in India where Hindi is widely spoken.
Zaminib Enterprise offers Hindi Language classes to a wide audience, ranging from children to teenagers, and all the way to working adults. Among classes held are at the YMCA Penang.

You can contact Zaminib Enterprise at 012-4117086 or email below for further enquiries.

Also you can call YMCA at below for further info:
211, Jalan Macalister, 10450 Pulau Pinang, Malaysia.
Tel : 604-228 8211
Fax : 604-228 9094

This entry answers the below question:

1. Where do I learn Hindi Language in Penang?
2. How do I understand Hindi movies?
3. How can I learn a new language?
4. How can I translate Hindi songs.
5. How do I get learn about Bollywood.

So yes, it's true. Malaysia, Truly Asia, a Melting pot of many cultures.
ps- Some people locally here, refer to Hindi Language as Hindustan or Hindustani.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Gold Investment Options in Malaysia

22 comments
Investing in Gold in Malaysia, what are the options and how?

Gold investment in Malaysia has not been very big and is not as popular as Unit Trust, which has taken Malaysia by storm, some earning big time, some not in Unit Trust. For people like me, I made a little in the initial days of Public Ittikaal, but with most of the funds launched in recent years, have lost much.
Notice that eventhough Public Mutual claims that it has won awards again and again, most of the awards are for 'older' funds. The newly launched once do not fare that good, even in the 1 year category.

So now what? There's a couple of options I guess, but let's talk about investing in Gold. Some sources say gold is a good hedge against inflation. Doing some more detailed research, it seems this might not always be true, as price of gold also does go down. Would a price of a Roti Canai ever go down? Well that's my 2 cents.

Anyway, gold is always gold. What we call precious metal, and I would think currency might devalue by so much during financing crisis, but Gold would still have value right?

From my research, among others there are 3 main ways to invest in gold so far.

Option 1: Kijang Emas Gold Bullion Coins

The Kijang Emas Gold Coin


The Malaysian gold bullion coin, the Kijang Emas issued by Bank Negara Malaysia launching in 2001.

From Bank Negara's Press Statement

Malaysia is the 12th country in the world to issue its own gold bullion coin. The Kijang Emas now joins the ranks of other international gold bullion coins.

The design of the obverse of the Kijang Emas depicts a barking deer ("kijang") in its natural habitat in the Malaysian jungle. The reverse side features the hibiscus, the national flower of Malaysia.

The detailed specifications of the Kijang Emas is as follows:

SizeFace valueWeight (grams)Diameter (mm)Gold purity
1 troy ounceRM20031.10537.099.99%
1/2 troy ouncesRM10015.55028.099.99%
1/4 troy ouncesRM507.78022.099.99%

The purchase and reselling price of Kijang Emas is determined by the prevailing international gold market price. The daily market price will be posted on the BNM web site.

The Kijang Emas is minted by the Royal Mint of Malaysia and distributed by Maybank Berhad and Bumiputra Commerce Bank Berhad, which will also entertain further enquiries.

For details on buying from Maybank, click here. In Penang Island, you can only transact at the Main Branch at
Cons: PENANG MAIN OFFICE SSC
9, Lebuh Union,
10200 Penang,
P.O. Box 297,
10730 Penang


Price based on last traded day of blog entry
International Gold Price : USD 837 per ounce
Kijang Emas Daily Prices
SIZE (oz)
SELLING (RM)
BUYING (RM)
ONE
2949
2857
HALF
1502
1428
QUARTER
765
714
This is a very very important link that is not easy to google, Bank Negara Malaysia's (BNM) link to see daily trading prices, and also to compare prices since 1997 till-date.
http://www.bnm.gov.my/index.php?ch=12&pg=141

Cons:
You can only buy and sell your Kijang emas at certain branches.
You have to physically store the gold.

Pros:
You have a physical gold, and it should carry it's own value.

Option 2 : Maybank Gold Savings Passbook Account GSPA
This is more like a savings passbook, but you 'buy' gold instead. You do not get the physical gold, but just a passbook to state the current grams you own.

From Maybank Website :

Maybank GSPA Features

Eligibility
Individuals
Joint account - maximum of 4 persons.


Features & Benefits
999.9 Gold


Minimum purchase
5gm for opening GSPA.
Subsequent deposit/investment must not be less than 5gm. To maintain a minimum balance of at least 1gm at all times.


Trading unit
Minimum 5gms in multiples of 1gm



Withdrawals
The withdrawal of gold from GSPA will be converted into Ringgit Malaysia at prevailing gold price.

GSPA account holders are allowed to withdraw the gold in below format:

Physical gold
Gold Wafers @ 10, 20, and 50 can be withdrawn at selected branches. A conversion charge to cover the shipping and insurance will be charged for the physical gold withdrawal.

Cash
The amount of gold holdings can be converted to Ringgit Malaysia equivalent at the prevailing market (gold) price. The amount in RM will be credited into a Maybank deposit account of customer.



Record / Passbook
A GSPA passbook will be given to the account holders upon complete the procedure of opening the GSPA account.

The passbook is for deposit and withdrawal purposes. Deposit, withdrawal and closing of GSPA are available at any of the Maybank branches.


Fees and Charges
Withdrawal of physical gold is subject to conversion charge to cover the shipping and insurance. The fee is various and depending on total physical gold to be withdrawn.

Questions? Our FAQ may help.

Current price per gram based on GSPA
Gold Savings Passbook
DATE
SELLING (RM/g)
BUYING (RM/g)
22 - Aug - 2008
94.51
87.42


Option 3 : Public Bank Gold Investment Account

The concept is pretty similar to that of Maybank. Some excerpts from their website:

Gold Investment Account

Key Benefits

  • To earn potentially higher return from appreciation in gold price.
  • Convenience of investing in gold as trading is carried out through a passbook.
  • Small difference between selling and buying prices.
  • Affordable initial purchase and subsequent investment.
  • Invest in gold without having to keep the gold physically.
  • Gold is the best possible hedge against inflation.
  • Alternative investment avenue to build up personal gold portfolio which is cheaper compared to invest in gold jewellery as the latter will incur additional cost on workmanship.

What is a Gold Investment Account?

  • Gold Investment Account is an account which allows individual customers to purchase the purest available gold commodity in 99.9% fineness at daily prices for 1 gram in Ringgit Malaysia (RM).
  • A passbook will be provided to the account holders and every purchase/sale order will be recorded in the passbook.
Eligibility
Individuals (resident or non-resident) aged 18 years and above.
Personal or joint
Minimum Initial Purchase
20gms
Minimum Balance in the Account
2gms
Minimum Subsequent Purchase/ Sale
5 grams and must be in multiple of 1 gram
Gold Purchase
Gold purchase will be based on the Bank's prevailing gold SELLING price quoted in RM per gram.
The mode of payment accepted for purchase of gold are :
- cash
- debiting of account
- house cheque
No physical gold deposit is allowed.
Gold Sale/ Withdrawal
Gold sale will be based on the Bank's prevailing gold BUYING price quoted in RM per gram.
Withdrawal options available are :
- Cash
- Crediting of account
- Physical gold withdrawal*
Account Opening Requirement Customer is required to maintain either a savings account or current account prior to opening a GIA to facilitate the debiting of service fee, if any.
Service FeeAn annual fee of RM10 will be levied on the designated deposit account on the first day of the calendar year if the account balance is below 10gms as at year end.

Don't miss out on this golden investment!

The returns of Gold Investment Account are subject to prevailing market conditions. Terms and conditions apply.

Note:
* This option is currently not available until further notice.

For more information, please visit your nearest Public Bank branch or call free phone at 1-800-88-3323 during normal working hours.



Summary:
As you can see, it seems over short term, there is still the buy low sell high challenge as gold prices fluctuate significantly just between days.
You will also always bear the 1st day losses of and when you purchase, as Bank's Selling Price is higher then Buying Price.
Personally, if I could afford it, I'd buy some for a long long term investment
An interesting Malaysian blog specifically on gold investment, options and types I have come across is http://jutawanemas.com/

All the best.

ADDED on 25th Feb 2010:

Dear readers, as many have been asking about the many gold investment taking companies in this blog, and also many have been promoting certain schemes or companies, I advice you to be very careful in making your decision. I do not endorse any of the comments here either. In fact I reject some comments that I find rather dubious. Recently I received the below comment :

"hi guys..im raziman frm BNM. fyi as for today gold label sdn bhd is an legitimateorganization that are registered under bnm and mof. pls take notetq
Posted by Anonymous to For Your Information at February 24, 2010 1:26 PM"

Being cautious, I sent an email to BNM (Bank Negto double confirm, my email being

"Dear Sir/ Madam,I have received the below comment from a user, would like to confirm thevalidity if BNM first"for today gold label sdn bhd is an legitimate organization that areregistered under bnm and mof. pls take note". If yes, thank you for the confirmation. If it is not registered, pleaseadvice."

BNM's reply as below
Thank you for your e-mail dated 24 February 2010.

Please be informed that Bank Negara Malaysia (Bank) never gives licence or approval to the abovementioned company to collect deposit from members of the public. For your information, if the investment scheme clearly offers an investment opportunity by collecting deposits from the public and investors are promised investment returns within a certain period of time, whereby the original investment will be refunded, it maybe contravene Section 25(1) Banking And Financial Institutions Act (BAFIA). This investment activity is against the law and you are investing at your own risk. Please invest only with licensed financial institutions only.

An easy way to identify and verify whether or not a company is licensed by the Bank, you can refer to the licensed institutions list on our website by following this URL http://www.bnm.gov.my/index.php?ch=17&pg=54&ac=57 If the company is NOT LISTED on our list on the website, it simply means that the company is NOT LICENSED NOR APPROVED by the Bank to offer any financial services or products.

You may also cross check with Securities Commission's (SC) licensed/alert lists on their website :1. http://www.sc.com.my/eng/html/licensing/licenseMain.html
2. http://www.sc.com.my/eng/html/licensing/investors/Alert_list.html
3. http://www.sc.com.my/eng/html/licensing/investors/IApg_other.html

You may also refer to the Financial Fraud Alert site in our website that aims to enhance public awareness on the dangers of falling prey to illegal financial schemes by providing access to vital information on these schemes at http://www.bnm.gov.my/index.php?ch=232 If you have any information pertaining to illegal deposit taking activities or illegal foreign currency dealings (forex) or a victim of such activities or scams you can send details of such information or complaint together with the documents to the Bank as follows:

Special Investigation Unit Bank Negara Malaysia
Jalan Dato' Onn 50480
Kuala Lumpur
Fax: 03-26987467

I have yet to check with MOF (Ministry of Finance). So finally are these companies legal? Well, please do the due checkings as adviced by the above reply. I would also like to say syabas to BNM on their quick reply, (in ~2 working days) and also that their website offers options to the Rakyat to gain advice and f/back.

Happy investing.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Registering your company

21 comments
Business Registration

Previously I had always thought that if I ever wanted to register a company, I'd have to drive all the way from Penang Island to Mainland, drive around and around looking for the Companies Registrar Office.

Some enlightenment from a friend, and I have come to know of an interesting information. Yes, another useful For Your Information, that you can register your company here in Penang Island itself. More later. Some intro to this first.

From my understanding there are 2 bodies (or depts?), that are mainly responsible for registering companies, one for sole-proprietorship (milik tunggal) and partnerships (perkongsian), and another body which handles Pvt Limited (Sdn. Bhd) etc.

You would register your sole-proprietorship under Suruhanjaya Syarikat Malaysia (SSM).

The main office for Penang is located at :

Tingkat 6-7, Bangunan KWSP,
No. 3009, Off Leboh Tenggiri 2,
Bandar Seberang Jaya,
13700 Pulau Pinang.
Tel : 04-397 7793
Faks : 04-397 7713

Now the good news, SSM has set-up a mobile counter (Kaunter Bergerak) which among others is located at Level 2, Kompleks Pasar Bayan Baru, Penang.

Yes! There is a counter right in the Bayan Baru Market / Food Court, located behind Sunshine Square.

They usually have 2 sessions per month. Refer below for the days SSM sets up a counter there for 2008.

Besides registering your business there, you can
  • Register changes
  • Close/Cancel Registration
  • Modify
  • Updated
  • Pay Compounds
  • Seek Advice
  • ETC
What's my end user experience? The personnel were very friendly and helpful. It took me just one hour to register, and didn't need to bring much documentation besides my NRIC.
For self named company's the rate was RM50 and trademarks RM80 if I recall correctly.
In total, it took me just nearly an hour to register and get the Business Certificate.

Find the SSM mobile counter by clicking here.

2013 Jadual Kaunter Bergerak click here.
Good job to SSM!

This entry answers the following questions:
How do I register a company?
What is needed to register a sole-proprietorship?
Where do I register a company on Penang Island?

Monday, July 28, 2008

LTMC Taekwando Centre

0 comments
Looi Martial Arts Taekwan-Do Centre (LMTC)

Welcome to the world of Taekwando. Taekwando is one of the famous martial arts originating from Asia.

From Wikipedia "Taekwondo is a Korean martial art and the national sport of South Korea. It is also regarded as the world's most popular martial art in terms of number of practitioners.[1] Kyeorugi, or sparring, is an official Olympic sporting event. In Korean, tae 태 跆 means "foot"; kwon 권 拳 means "fist"; and do 도 道 means "way"; so taekwondo is loosely translated as "the way of the fist and foot"."

Taekwando, besides the benefits of learning self defense, also has the benefits of disclipining one self to exercise and keep fit.

The LTMC offers GTF (Global Taekwando Federation) Teakwando Martial Arts training.

The instructors, 4th Degree Black Belt Ms Andre Looi and Ms May Li are friendly, helpful and knowledgeable.

Among the classes are those held every Sunday from 2-5pm at the Kompleks MasyarakatPenyayang / Caring Society Complex field, which is located next to the Governor's Residence. Classes are also conducted in schools.

Below is a training class conducted at the Caring Society Complex field.


Yellow belt grading.
Getting Ready (Charyeot)

The Chopping Kick

2nd part of the grading is to do their respective patterns.
A Block

Between stances

A Red Belt training on his slapping kick. Nothing beats having a target to kick at.

A green belt launching his slapping kick.


Interested? Want to learn some self defense? Want to keep fit? Contact
Chief Instructor Andre Looi at 016-4725255
Instructor MayLi at 016-4788968
Office : 04-2260944
LMTC Website : http://www.geocities.com/looimartialarts
Or just come go over to the LMTC Dojang, Kompleks Masyarakat Penyayang Field, Jalan Utama, Penang during the classes (2-5pm) to enquire.
(Click here to see a map of the location)

This entry answers this questions:
1. How do I keep fit?
2. Where do I learn self defense or Taekwando
3. Learning Martial Arts in Penang.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Pantai Kerachut

1 comments
Scenic Kerachut Beach

There are many secrets of Penang. Unlike the famed beaches of Batu Feringghi & Teluk Bahang, which have been pretty commercialized, there are many virgin beaches around.

Pantai Kerachut would be one of them. You will have to trek your way there or take a boat.

Get started at Taman Negara at Teluk Bahang. From this entrance point, you can trek towards a couple of places, including Monkey Beach and Pantai Kerachut.

You'll have to trek thru a footway made thru the forest. Trekking takes around 1 hour 30mins on a medium to slow pace. Difficulty level would be nice for beginners to intermediate. Unless you're fit, just take a leisurely walk rather then to run all the way. Well it IS a scenic walk, and you're going there for the nature.

We nearly missed the final left turning into Pantai Kerachut. Arriving at the beach, there is a small bridge to walk over the Merimetic Lake, was dried out. Interestingly this lake comes to 'life' when there is high tide.

Greeted by a fabulous viewA nice safe area seems to have naturally developed for children to play in, if you look closely in the above picture.
If you climb up the 'cliff' on the right side, a pretty nice viewing and photo spot.



The beach is serene, white un-polluted sand. The sound of the waves goes on uninterrupted.
Nice feel of the white pure sand.


Some shade to enjoy the view and not get burned.

Mini durians? :p

A 360' view of from the beach.

Beware; swimming in the sea water is not encouraged here due to possible jelly fish sting.

Contact info (for more info, for activities, camping request etc)
Superintendent
Penang National Park
Jalan Hassan Abbas
11050 Teluk Bahang
Pulau Pinang
Tel : +604-8813530 / 8813500
Fax : +604-8812016
http://www.wildlife.gov.my/
tnpp@streamyx.com


Summary : This answers the question where would I go for a nice scenic jungle walk/trek and then enjoy a beautiful sandy beach.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Best Call Rates to India from Malaysia - Haja Call

38 comments
Best Call Rates to India from Malaysia - Haja Call

I recently shared the benefits of using iTALK and mentioned there a specific calling cards which give better deals to call certain countries.

Also noticed that in my Google Analytics, people were looking for cheaper calling cards to India, Pakistan, Bangladesh.

So to answer all this questions
1. What's the cheapest calling card to use to call India, Pakistan or Bangladesh? 2. What's the best Call Rates to India from Malaysia 3. Calling card to India from Malaysia? 4. Best way to call Bangladesh, India or Pakistan from Malaysia?

Here's my sharing.

Haja Call.

Yup that's the name of the calling card. Now here comes the surprise, based on the latest call did, noticed that for a RM20 valued card, it gave 70 minutes (yes seventy mins) of call time to a fixed line / house phone in India.

This I believe based on my experience, beats iTALK, Digi, Jaring and the whole lot, hands down.

Haja Call Calling Card is available in 2 types, first for making calls from fixed lines and the other one I believe for making calls with your mobile using the Call Me Back function.

The sad part is this card is not available at most centres selling prepaid or calling cards, probably as it caters to a niche market.

ps-If you need help buying this card, leave me a comment with your contact or just fill up the Zaminib Order form on the left column. I'll be glad to help purchase Haja Call for you, and won't publish your comment as it would contain your contact info.

If you are planning to travel to India, here's some helpful information and tips Visiting India
and Traveling to India.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Direct Access 2% Petrol Rebate

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Direct Access 2% Petrol Rebate - Yes one more c/c company has jumped into the bandwagon.


I recently stopped using my Direct Access Credit Card since reward points were only valid for 1 year, and that makes it pretty hard to accumulate points to redeem anything. Unless you're a big spender.

Recently however, I noticed they have changed this by making points valid up to 2 or 3 years.

And now, another bonus, yes 2% back, (until a certain time) at any petrol station!



That's pretty good. I believe CIMB has a 2% $ back for petrol purchase in Petronas, but this is better to me for 2 reasons
  1. Works at all petrol station
  2. And you can still get points on your Real Rewards or Mesra if you use Direct Access, unlike CIMB and Maybank Petronas where you are not allowed to swipe your reward card anymore.
  3. Cons is it's only valid for a limited time.

My summary? I'll be using Direct Access for some time.

PS - Heard RHB travel money c/c gives up to 5%?
That's tempting isn't it.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Save on Your Phone Bills : iTalk from TM

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Save on your phone bills : iTalk from TM

Believe it or not, one of the best ways to reduce your Telekom Malaysia (TM) phone bills is by using a solution from TM itself. It's like an oxymoron, reduce your costly TM bills by using cheap TM solution. Yes, what I'm referring to is iTALK from TM.

My home phone bills used to come up to RM70, and now, only around RM20, that being RM15 for the rental and ~RM5 for local calls and taxes.

Yes, I'm saving $$
.

The rates to call from iTALK (home phone) to any national or mobile number are a lot cheaper then calling direct from your home phone.


From TM's iTalk website http://www.tmonline.com.my/italk_mobile/sec-callrates.html
Call using Fixed phones Mobile phones
1 800 87 3535 15 sen per min 17 sen per min



Note : iTalk is charged based on a flat rate. The call rates are in per blocks of 20 sec.

Compared to TM's published rates for Personal (home phones) national calls plucked from http://www.tm.com.my/personal/telephony/long-distance-call.asp#national
Distance (km)
Homeline/Businessline to
Homeline/Businessline
Full Rate
7.00 a.m. -
6.59 p.m.
Reduced rate
7.00 p.m. -
6.59 a.m.
Operator Assisted**
(charge per 3 mins)
Band A (Not Exceeding 50km)
10 sen/50 seconds
10 sen/60 seconds*
35 sen
Band B (50km - 150km)
10 sen/20 seconds
10 sen/40 seconds
90 sen
Band C (Exceeding 150km)
10 sen/7 seconds
10 sen/14 seconds
RM2.7

Note:

* Currently, TM charges for each 75 seconds
** Operator Assisted
- Service charge per effective call is RM1.50
- Per block of 3+3


Assuming above are latest rates published by TM, as of date of publishing this blog entry, you can see that for any calls exceeding 50km, you get a significant savings.

The best way to get iTalk to work for you is, buy a iTalk card, set it up in your house phone following the attached step-by-step. And you're done, just call the 1800+ number and iTalk automatically detects your phone with the loaded credit. In other words, no need to key in Pin Number everytime you call. And when you top-up using your house phone, it automatically adds it to your current balance. This is a big benefit compared to some other calling cards where you can't combine cards.


Another great thing is the call-me-back feature (missed callback). Yes, I believe a couple of other local companies introduced this before iTALK came about. Once you have set-up your house phone (or if you're setting up just your mobile) for iTALK, call the 1 800 87 3535 number, you can also setup your mobile for Missed-Callback. Once setup, just dial 1 800 87 3636, the call will terminate and call you back, key in the number to call and wait.

Below is the comparison
iTalk rates from http://www.tmonline.com.my/italk_mobile/sec-callrates.html
Call using Fixed phones Mobile phones
1 800 87 3636 ( Missed Callback ) 24 sen per min 25 sen per min

Compared to TM from http://www.tm.com.my/personal/telephony/long-distance-call.asp#national
MTX Area
Homeline/Businessline to Mobile
Full Rate
9.00 a.m. -
8 .59 p.m.
Reduced rate
9.00 p.m. -
8.59 a.m.
Operator Assisted
(charge per 3 mins)
Band L (within MTX)
10 sen/20 seconds
10 sen/30 seconds
RM2.10
Band M (Adjacent MTX)
10 sen/8.6 seconds
10 sen/15 seconds
RM2.10
Band N (Non-Adjacent MTX)
10 sen/8.6 seconds
10 sen/15 seconds
RM2.10

Note:

  • The above call charge is effective from 1st Jan 2005
  • A service charge of RM 1.50 is levied for the effective call made via Operator Assisted service
  • MTX denotes Mobile Telephone Exchange Area

You can also make International Calls using iTALK. Comparisons by going to the below links.
For TM International Call Rates http://www.tm.com.my/idd/country/a.asp
For iTalk International Call Rates http://www.tmonline.com.my/italk_mobile/sec-callrates-pg2.html

I'm not going to compare each country as it's too much. Lets just take USA as an example,
TM

Country
Country Code
Rate per minute (RM)
Time Difference
(hours)

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
1
0.90
-13 to -16
Calls are charged in blocks of 6 seconds or part thereof

Vs iTalk

DESTINATION

COUNTRY
CODE

Normal Access
1 800 87 3535
(per min)

Mobile Call Back Service
1 800 87 3636

(per min)

IDD


FIXED

MOBILE

FIXED

MOBILE


USA

1

0.15

0.15

0.30

0.30


So even with Call-me-back, it's a lot cheaper.

Note, that for some countries like India, Pakistan and Bangladesh, there is an a lot cheaper calling card in the market, which is not only cheap, but based on my experience the connect rate is higher. I will share this in my future blogs.

Local Calls - Just use your house phone. "Each local call is charged at 8 sen for the first 2 minutes or part thereof and 4 sen for each subsequent minute or part thereof."

Tip1: When making calls using Missed Callback, do not press the 'SEND' or 'YES' or 'CALL' button on your mobile phone as this will instruct your mobile phone to make a direct call instead of via iTalk

Tip2: Usually if you buy higher reload values at shops, you might be a slight 'discount'.

Summary - iTalk is a real saver.

PS- I noticed many people searching for below numbers, so here you go:
i. To make call and activate thru Fixed Line, dial 1800-87-3535
ii. For call-back to your mobile and to activate thru your handphone, dial 1800-87-3636 or 03-5636 3366

Thursday, May 8, 2008

KFC Discount Voucher till 31st May 2008

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Not sure if this are true and valid, forwarded to me by a friend. I can't find it on KFC's website, but if you're going there, why not just print it and give it a try?
I'm sure planning to...Getting hungry now.













Yup, it's Linger Licking Kentucky Fried Chicken.
 

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