EngLee's Path

A blog about Eng Lee's life, a freelance programmer in Royal Klang Town (Malaysia).

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Becoming A Father

My baby Adelyn was born last month and I officially become a father. Time past really fast, can't believe my last post was one year ago. Too many things happened during the year, becoming father is one of the significant event for my wife and me.

To all father-to-be, I strongly recommend you to be in the labour room. It's really a lifetime opportunity that you must experience to know how a baby is born.

Over the month, we really learned that it's really not easy to grow a child, especially at this stage when cry is the only mode of communication.

At least things are getting better now when she learned to know day and night.

Just started to bring her out for shopping few days ago. After the day, you don't really remember much about what you have seen at the mall, you only remember about comforting her throughout the day. All you are shopping are only her clothes, toys or other necessities for her. It's no longer NAS, hard disk nor SAN storage system, it's breast milk storage system we are shopping.

Even when you are eating, you need to take turn!

All these may scare you, but you will be happy and contented when you see her sleep soundly. That's the joy of parenting, I guess.


Sunday, September 12, 2010

Singapore Trip

The last time I went to Singapore was few years back when I was in UTM. Time flies, that was at least 6 years ago. It was last weekend that I revisited this "expensive" place again. I feel like I have accumulated sufficient purposes to go there again.

Ever since Genting started the casino in Sentosa, I have always wanted to see how nice the place is, especially when I have seen so many mock up designs and videos when I was with eGenting.

Secondly, I have always wanted to visit my friends who work in Singapore. They have been there for years and I have not have the chance to see them in Singapore yet.

Of course, there is also plan to get myself an iPad, which has been launched in Singapore and not Malaysia. I don't know why things reach Singapore faster than Malaysia, although the two countries are only separated by a tiny strait.

There is also pressure by my wife who has not been to Singapore since her kindergarten days, although I repeatedly told her that Singapore is nothing different, only more expensive.

After we planned everything, we also lucky to have GeekCamp held at the same time, which we could join a few sessions.

With a very limited time, less than 48 hours, and so many things to accomplish, it's definitely a trip that makes you tired, not to relax yourself at all.

With Seh Hui blogged in great detail on our itinerary, I am not going to repeat the same words. Go: A Brief Singapore Trip by Felix Leong.

I am sure you can see how tiring we were, if you read how much walking we have done from his blog.

My version of the trip is actually much more tiring compared to his, because we have the most "exciting" time after he left.

I wrote this on the bus, with my new iPad, right after it happened:

The Last Minute Rush

We had a very exciting rush at the very end of the trip. Our last point of exit will be The Plaza, which we will leave by First Coach bus at 6:45pm. We were having our dinner at The McDonald's at Boat Quay until 6pm which we thought we are only one station away from Nicoll Highway station, the place to get ourselves to The Plaza.

While we were walking to the station, we realized that we need to travel to Dhoby Ghaut to switch to Circle Line (another MRT line), to get to Nicoll Highway. At that point of time, we thought we still have plenty of time and MRT should be much more reliable than our LRT back in Malaysia.

Things got much more exciting when we reach Dhoby Ghaut station. We saw a train about to leave and the alarm rang right before we entered. We failed to step in.

The next train that we boarded the train did not move. The door opened and closed for a few times. The time was 6:20pm. For the fifth time it opened, we decided to run out of the station to take a cab. It was a very risky decision because we have no idea which direction are we heading and taxis could stuck in traffic jam.

As we reach the street, instinct told us to cross the road. We saw more than 10 taxis but they are all hired. The time was 6:30pm and we have no idea which direction and how far are we. As we run, yes run like crazy, along the street, we were lucky to find someone just got off from a taxi!

The taxi driver told us that we are very near to Beach Rd and asked us not to worry. All the traffic light turns red as we go along. It seems like we are destined not to leave Singapore at that time.

Finally, when the driver told us that we have arrived, he told us that Parkroyal is supposed to be The Plaza and we do not see any sign of green bus as described by my sister, who is leaving with us.

As he U-turned and drove past Parkroyal, he realized that The Plaza is actually a building behind Parkroyal. We were relieved to see the green bus. We reached the bus at 6:43pm. And, we boarded the bus and left the place at 6:50pm.

This experience is priceless.

Our feeling, even after so many days is simple: Don't visit Singapore anymore! It's going to be a trip that makes you tired. Don't get cheated by the advertisements that describe Singapore as shopping heaven, I was unable to buy a single item from Orchard Rd, after spending hours at the place. Or probably the problem is not the place, the problem is ME!

If you are more interested with the iPad than my trip, I have shared my iPad thoughts on another blog few days ago. Go: iPad from Singapore.


Saturday, August 07, 2010

Gunung Nuang - Second Attempt

Gunung Nuang, the highest peak in Selangor (1493m), has always been an unaccomplished task in my mind for years, after failed to conquered it few years ago. During the last attempt, we started quite late in the morning, and it was raining heavily throughout the climb. Moreover, Gunung Nuang is known for its 'evil red earth' section. When the red earth is wet, it becomes very slippery. My badminton shoes can't take it. Although we managed to get to the false peak, it remains as an uncompleted task in my mind.

This time was different. We have great weather, we started damn early although it was really an impromptu trip without much planning.

Woke up at 4:00am, gathered at 4:30am to have breakfast. Reach the place at 6:30am and begin our journey to the peak at 6:40am.

The direction to the place is quite straightforward. This guide by COREZONE is quite complete:

From Leisure Mall Cheras, drive towards the Kajang hwy. You will pass a TOLL. First exit after the toll will take you to Hulu Langat if you keep left. Go straight at the first traffic lights. You will get to a second traffic lights with a police station at the T-junction on your right. Take a left turn at the lights. Go straight a long this very very long kampong road. It will take you pass many small kampungs along the road, i.e. Kampung Batu 14, Batu 18, etc. (you will see exits for Ampang, Semenyih, Kajang, etc. but keep going straight). Sg. Hulu Langat is on your right side.

Towards the end of this long winding road you will arrive at the last kampong along the Hulu Langat river. You will see a big TNB pump station on your left with a football field in front of a bus stop. The road breaks into a V (there is also a bridge going across the river). Take the road LEFT of the football field.

Follow this road. You will see a very very old signboard describing G. Nuang. The road curves right and will take you to directly to a Puncak Niaga gate. Just before the gate, turn left and you will end up at the G.Nuang ranger station & parking lot. There are some chalets for rent. Est. time from Cheras, 45mins - 1hr.

The only thing that is wrong about the guide is that, the traffic light with the police station on the right is actually the third traffic light, not the second. Maybe the second traffic light is a new one. Secondly, the estimated time could be faster, if you are going to the place as early as 5:00am.

Back to our hiking trip. There are actually a few milestone to meet before we can reach the actual peak.

As provided in the guide, these are the expected timings:

1.5 hours - Logging Trail from parking lot (fast time, 1 hour)
30 mins - River crossings at campsites (fast time, 10 mins)
1-2 hours - Evil red earth section (fast time, 45 mins)
1 hour - Rocky section & tree root scramble (fast time, 30 mins)
40mins - From "false peak" to REAL PEAK (fast time, 20 mins)

We are at the acceptable range because we managed to reach the false peak at around 11:00am, although not the entire group. In our group, we also have some losers who did not made it at all, not even up to the second campsite (Kem Pacat).

Though we were enjoying our lunch on the peak as early as 12:00pm, we have very bad time after that. We have been reminding ourselves to U-Turn at 2:00pm no matter where we were.

As we have waited for more than 30 minutes on the peak and do not see any sign of our other friends coming up, we decided to head downwards so we could back home early.

However, after 30 minutes down, we see a friend still coming on the way up. We cheered him up and encouraged him to get on the peak, and we shall wait for him at the false peak. We didn't know this is the worse decision ever made.

We waited for more than an hour, even went to the peak again to search for him and we finally get him with us at the false peak at 2:30pm. He has both his thigh muscle cramped.

The journey down become extremely slow. I even had the chance to swim at the waterfall near Kem Lolo for more than an hour (the water was great!), while waiting for our friend.

Things went even worse when it started to rain after that, at around 6:30pm. The pace went even slower.

We finally reached the car park at 8:30pm. Our "loser" friends had been waited for us since 2:30pm. Imagine! We have spent 14 hours on the hill!

I must say it was a great experience. Few lessons learned:
  1. Always keep the team in group. If we were to move together with the weak or injured, they will be motivated to keep going.
  2. Don't bring the weak, Nuang is never for the faint-hearted.
  3. If you break things down to the smaller size, you find it much easier to conquer. We know we have how many sections and how many hours for each section. With that, you will definitely do it. Without breaking down into small pieces, it will be a never ending hike. (This could be applied to everything we do in our life)
  4. Always bring rain-coat (not umbrella) and torch lights (with new Energizer batteries).

Looking forward to go for hiking again. It's really not easy to spare time for these kind of activity at this stage of my career, but it really feels good.

Something I heard from foreigner group-mate (not in exact word) during this trip: "This trip is painful, very painful, but I like it. This is exactly what I wanted to feel."

I agree with him.


Tuesday, January 05, 2010

It's Another Year

It's already 5th day of this new year, I haven't got the time to review what I have done last year and to set new goals for this new year. Remember I did this last year on the very first day of new year!

Looking back my goals for 2009

  1. Lose procrastination attitude and stay motivated to accomplish my monthly financial goal. [No more procrastination! Yea!]

  2. Abide by the schedule I created for myself. Be discipline! [Mission failed. Where's my schedule? Blame it on room renovation!]

  3. Complete all projects on time. [Improved]

  4. Setup my own software development office. [Accomplished]

  5. Lose my belly and build a strong and healthy body. Aim for body weight of 75kg, by visiting gym at least twice a week. [Mission failed, but weight is quite near due to heavy work load and stress, not the healthy way.]

  6. Read at least one book a month. [Mission failed]

  7. Get Competent Communicator title in Toastmaster. [Mission failed. Didn't go for Toastmaster anymore due to tight schedule]

Other things accomplished

  1. Signed the certificate of marriage, legally got myself a wife. If you think this is not an accomplishment, you will know it is one when you get married.

  2. Got myself into a different business world, changed my mindset and perspective in managing business.

  3. Setup a new business with a new office in a new field.

Do I have any other accomplishments? Should have blogged more so I do not need to squeeze my brain now.

Goals for 2010

  1. Financial: Double my net-worth by end of year.

  2. Health 1: To sleep early, by 12:00am daily and wake up early by 8:00am. (I'm writing this post at 2:00am?)

  3. Health 2: Join a gym and go at least twice a week. 75kg is still my goal, but I want it the healthier way.

  4. IT Office: Get myself a few programmers to reduce my work load.

  5. Time management: Allocate at least 1 days a week for myself and family. To regain control of my own time.

  6. Personal development: To improve communication skills, hopefully thru Toastmaster.

That's it. And... maybe writing more blog posts should be one of my goals..


Saturday, August 15, 2009

Three Discoveries from Sunway Pyramid

Sunway Pyramid will soon become the next The Store
All shops are closing down at 9:45pm on a Saturday night. Can't find much people there. Or is it due to H1N1? (From my perception, The Store is doing very badly in the past few years and it's never a place for young people like myself.)

Men's wedding band is much more expensive than women's!
Went to check the price of wedding bands. Men's wedding band doesn't come with diamond but it costs at least 1K more than women's, because of the weight of the platinum to make it look bigger.

Carl's Jr don't serve sauce anymore
Recent years, I started to prefer Carl's Jr than McD's, mainly due to the fries which tastes better, their sauce, and the bigger size of the burger. The sauce, especially the Santa Fe sauce, tastes damn good. Now, they don't even serve Mayonnaise for me to dip the fries.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Amanah Saham 1Malaysia

The Prime Minister recently launched a new fund, Amanah Saham 1Malaysia.

From TheStar:

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak announced the incentive at the launch of the new trust fund, which has 10 billion units, with each unit going for RM1.

Amanah Saham 1Malaysia is the biggest trust fund in the country, and will go on sale from Aug 5.

With the name 1Malaysia, the first thing that came to mind is, we all live together as Malaysian and not separated by races. We will go out claiming ourselves Malaysians, NOT Malay or Chinese or Indian.

But somehow, in contrary, the package is distributed according to races:

To ensure that the units are fairly distributed, Najib said that for the first 30 days of sale (Aug 5 to Sept 3), 50% of the units have been allocated to bumiputras, 30% to the Chinese, 15% to the Indians and 5% to other races.

So, are we really heading for 1Malaysia? Or do we still separating ourselves by races?

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Fitness Center Pricing

I went to a fitness center in Petaling Jaya, a chained type of fitness center yesterday. Since I'll be in or crossing PJ everyday, it might be a good idea to get a gym membership in PJ.

I had a strange feeling after I went for a tour and consultation about the package pricing of the membership.

The price starts at:

Joining fee: RM700
Processing fee: RM140
Monthly fee: RM245 (or RM265, can't remember)

My feeling: Impossible. How they can survive with this rate?!

Second price:

Joining fee: Waived
Processing fee: Waived
Monthly fee: RM175
Contract: 1 year

My feeling: Sounds more like it.

Third price

Joining fee: Waived
Processing fee: Waived
Monthly fee: RM155
Contract: 2 years

My feeling: 2 years is a little bit too long.

Fourth price

Joining fee: Waived
Processing fee: Waived
Monthly fee: RM123
Contract: 2 years

My feeling: 2 years is still too long, but the price is good.

Fifth price

Joining fee: Waived
Processing fee: RM140
Monthly fee: RM131
Contract: 1 years

My feeling: The package is just nice, but I'll need a HSBC card, which I don't.

In the beginning of the session, when we tried to reduce the price, the consultant claimed they are one of the premier fitness center and emphasis that they are not pasar malam, we can't simply bargain. So, they are NOT pasar malam, huh?

At the end of the discussion, we were thinking, the package is nice but we think the price can go lower for sure! They have came down from RM200+ to almost half of it now.

Don't ask me about which center is that, I'm not going to tell you.

Not to talk about joining or not because I have not made up my mind. I have a feeling like fitness center is built to cheat people's money. They tried to squeeze as much money from you. We could have agreed at any price before we reach the lowest.

So, they are no different from cheating, agree?

Of course, this is business but why can't they just give one standard package?

What happen if the members are discussing about the pricing after they joined?

Share your experience on this, if any.