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Saturday, November 27, 2010

saying Goodbye

I don’t plan to write a blog entry about the things and people I’m going to miss in UTP. However, what I am going to do, is to tell how it feels to wave at the people you appreciate for the last time that you probably won’t see for a long time to come. In some cases, maybe never, but online social networking makes long distance connectivity possible. Nonetheless, you and I know its just different afterwards.

Just a few days ago, Mizah invited me over to have lunch with Syadia and Farhan, a little get together before we’d go separate ways. Its a little funny because I don’t meet these people much, but I really like them a lot, haha! If Syah had been there, it’d have been pretty much complete, its a real pity I haven’t met him lately. He’s the guy that hooked me onto Family Outing and Korean pop music after all!

Over lunch, we talked about some of our course mates that we know are going to get married soon, when all four of us aren’t hooked up with anyone. It really does tell you that time has passed and some of us are even at the stage of life where marriage is a serious thought that comes around. We’re all stumped though, we all have absolutely no idea who Afifi is getting married to before the year even ends!

Syadia Syadia’s all smiles

Our future jobs was also something we went on about. We’re all excited. Mizah’s already planned what to treat herself with the funds from her first pay check. I haven’t even thought of my little ‘gift’ just yet. Still, we’re all rather nervous about what’s in store for us next year. While I guess all of us are hoping that PETRONAS will consider us, there’s never anything guaranteed. Its a wonder where all four of us will be just a few months from now. God willing, we’ll all have good jobs, good wages and a good job environment.

Plenty of laughs went about, and it was just nice. There wasn’t anything particularly fantastic about our conversation, perhaps other than my description to the two girls about Farhan’s ‘breasted’ mouse pad, which his rather conservative roommate said was ‘interesting’, hahahaha! The best thing about that time was just having us appreciating each others company, which was just enough. The personal touch with the people you really appreciate is always important.

Farhan Farhan

After lunch, Farhan and I waved goodbye to Mizah as we got out of her car. She left the next day. Syadia’s leaving next week so I’ll try to meet her before I leave. Just a few hours ago, I said goodbye to Farhan too when he came to return my Tintin comics. He’ll be leaving a day before I finish my exams. He’s got to be one of the most friendly, open minded and straightforward people I’ve met. He’s totally my kind of person. He’s the kind of person if you tell him to tell you if you’re bad at something, he’ll really tell you that you are bad. There’s no pretence with this guy.

The night before, I called Salwa out to chat, since she left the day I went for lunch with the other three. An old schoolmate, and definitely one character people can’t miss once they’ve met her. She’s probably the craziest person I know and she’s very upfront about her ‘aegyo’ (which is why I think I kind of avoided her a little in high school =b). She’s the only girl I know who is totally crazy about video games, she’s a huge console fan. She even won a ticket to a ‘Video Games Live’ event because she posted the most twitter entries on video game soundtracks!

Salwa and Christon 
Salwa and I at the farewell batch dinner

DC comic characters on the television screen is something she’s really into and we can talk about them for hours and hours and hours, which we actually did that night. Behind all that though, she’s a fine girl, crazy, but yet with a fair bit of substance, she’s not the type that’s full of hot air or anything.

You see, with people like that, its easy enough to bid farewell on the outside with a simple wave or saying goodbye but there’s still a bit of me inside that says “Please don’t go.” Regardless, I still move on because they’ve got their own paths to take and I have mine too even though its a truth that hurts somewhat. Saying goodbye to Farhan and Mizah wasn’t emotional or anything, but it does feel a bit of a pity to have to see them go.

Of course, these won’t be the only people I’ll be leaving once I make my way out of UTP next week. There are others too, I may or may not have my chance to say goodbye to all of them. I do hope I’ll be able to say goodbye properly to at least some of these people, because there are always a few good people that you love, because of who they are to you. That is why I’m glad I got to meet Salwa and Farhan especially. I’ve had to leave friends behind several times, when I moved to Ho Chi Minh, when I moved back to KL, when I moved to Tronoh. Then, I didn’t really think saying goodbye was important. I do now though, so I hope I’ll have the chance to do that.

Monday, November 22, 2010

thinkers Trap

Growing up, growing older, the way I think about things have changed. I suppose most people including myself would credit that to a transition from naivety to realism thanks to the many unpredicted challenges or problems we’ve faced in our lives.

Maybe as people grow older and gain more experience in life, their capacity to look at things from multiple perspectives increases. It sets the stepping stone in which people use to open themselves to a variety of influences. Its that kind of platform that can divert teenagers from mainstream to indie music or change a copycat into an inventor or innovator. It can even serve to influence people to think that maybe their traditional heroes are the actual villains.

Pondering about all these things play a part in us finding ourselves. We start thinking more to try and grasp a better understanding of the overwhelming world that surrounds us. Our whole outlook on life is based on what we understand of whatever we’ve bothered to think about.

Plenty of times, what we know doesn’t seem to be enough. With a spiritual emptiness combined with a lack of answers, a need to think even more develops so we can be more assured of ourselves, about our knowledge too. I don’t believe I’d be wrong to say that people do feel better when they think they’ve become a little smarter. Who doesn’t smile when they’ve solved a difficult puzzle they hadn’t done before? Its a good feeling. Being smart is important to many, if not everybody.

In this ‘age’ of smart, everything is supposed to have an explanation, and to have detailed accurate ones too. There’re probably millions of academic research papers published all over the world today that are supposed to thoroughly explain a multitude of previously unexplored fields of knowledge. In the current age of ‘realism’ as well, thinking deeper almost always relates to something darker, where so much needs to have a depressive connotation.

Gaining knowledge is a fine thing, and I’ll say its always interesting to find out something new that you had no idea about. Sometimes, its as simple as a new song you’ve discovered over the radio or something as exciting as the discovery of a new technology. Having more knowledge is not only interesting, but it is important for society to move forwards.

What does bother me is that being smart and knowledgeable has become too important to many individuals that much pride forms within them because of it. I also believe the trend to be a deeper thinker has just led many people to simply be darker thinkers, where more negative than positive thoughts come out from their mouths whenever they talk about something, all in the sake of being ‘real’, apparently everything in life is unfair, depressing and corrupt. What’s more worrying is that these people think they know everything and always think they’re right when they speak. What’s worse is that people believe them, thanks to their charisma and zeal to say whatever’s in their brain.

Bringing all this back to myself as a person, I admit that I myself am a realist, I like to see things for what they are. I don’t dream as much as the creative types do, but at the same time I’ve refused to engage things with the intention to be a know-it-all and I have rejected  the idea that to be ‘darker’ means to be more mature. If at all, people have downplayed and underestimated the power of ‘light’ compared to the ‘darkness’.

For me, the only thing that I really need to know is a simple truth, that my Creator loves me. As I know this, there’re plenty of things that I don’t need to question, plenty I need not debate about, or unanswered questions to fear. Why? Whatever it is that needs to be known, God knows it already. If you’re by his side, He’ll let you know what you need to know in perfect timing, so there is no reason to fear or to chase endlessly after answers you don’t know.

Choosing Jesus Christ helped me to understand something, that I don’t need to know everything, that I don’t need to constantly worry about my future, because He’s got my back. Whatever it is, He will provide. I don’t need darker thoughts to understand the way the world works and fight back at it, because the light that God shines is able to overcome the overwhelming, which is also why I don’t need to be a qualified theologian, the deepest thinker or the smartest man alive to live a fulfilled life. Honestly, you don’t have to think so much, let God do the thinking for you. After all, for what its worth, His brain’s probably a lot larger than yours.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

finished Project

TRONOH, PERAK: Christon Emang, project developer for the procurement document management application proposed in early 2010 has recently completed the project and delivered the final presentation to the panel of examiners selected by Universiti Teknologi Petronas (UTP) on Thursday.

Prior to the beginning of the project, Christon was not even sure if he would have a project to develop. His idea of making a simple document management system for procurement departments did not catch on with the first lecturer he approached to be his supervisor.

EDMS Presentation Title Slide Christon’s final presentation, the title did not catch on initially.

Initially turned down for an unoriginal idea, he shared his thoughts on what he felt at the time, “It was disappointing because we’d been told during our internship that we could always propose a project based on business needs that we noticed. However, it seemed that it wasn’t good enough and I was resigned to look at taking one of the proposed projects offered by the lecturers within the Computer & Information Sciences Department of UTP.”

Uninterested or unable to comprehend a majority of the project titles offered by the department of Computer & Information Sciences (CIS), Christon continued to enquire, eventually able to obtain the blessings of lecturer Emelia Akashah who agreed to be his supervisor.

Christon was pleased to partner with Ms. Akashah for the project, “I was pleased to know that Ms. Akashah was able to see the value of the project, that although small in nature, was important because it would be able to meet the business needs of SCM departments in any organisation.”

Partnering with C# programmer Desmond Diong as well, Christon embarked on the project. The software that has been put together is a .NET application integrated with a SQL Server database. The system allows for contract related documents to be stored in a single repository, classified according to their respective hierarchy, categories and project owners. Unique to the software is the way that it has been designed to ensure users follow a procedure that helps to ensure that documents are stored properly, preventing common human errors that occur in document management.

SCM Contracts EDMS Splash Page The system caters for contract documents specifically.

Having the system designed, tailored according to specific needs was vital in proving that the project was a viable solution, proof of concept of how simple minimalist systems can solve document management issues faced by any organisation, large or small.

“The difference between this and other document management solutions, is that this has been tailored specifically to the procurement department in question, implementing controls that guide users to filing contract documents properly. It meets a very specific, perhaps a niche target group,” Christon revealed during his presentation.

With the project finally complete and submitted for evaluation, Christon does have hopes to obtain a favourable result. Working on the project throughout the year had been challenging, with changes to the software even being made within an hour of the final presentation.

FYPII Presentation Examiners Ms. Akashah with an external examiner evaluating project presentations.

“It was very frustrating the night before the presentation because a component of the system was not working the way it should and I just could not find out what the problem was. I suppose it was the stress though, because the next day, just before the presentation, I was able to rectify the problem only within a matter of minutes,” Christon shared.

Christon was not the only UTP student to present his project, as many others under the CIS faculty were also evaluated for their projects. Friday marked a historic day for the CIS students as it was the last day of project presentations, signalling the completion of their final year projects. However, there are still documentation procedures to be completed.

“I’m not sure about the others, but as for myself, I’ve not been given permission to finalise my project report to be hardbound as Ms. Akashah requires that I make any necessary adjustments according to comments from the presentation examiners that have yet to be received. I’ve also been asked to submit all documentation and a copy of the system itself,” Christon explained.

The person in question
Christon at the final presentation venue.

Nonetheless, Christon does feel liberated and expressed much relief at the completion of the project. “I’m really glad that the project has been completed, and of course I’m happy that the presentation went generally well, which I believe indicates that I may get a favourable result. Still, the most important thing is that its done, and I won’t have to keep worrying about it anymore. Thank God its over!”

Copyright © 2010 *Humz News Network

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

the Magic

The grin on my face, I couldn’t hold it in, even though I tried. It wasn’t because of laughter. What was it then? It was something I haven’t felt in a while and as I think about it as I type this, it does feel a little nostalgic, it was a happy moment.

The last time I probably felt that way was when I witnessed Lucien Barbarin sing ‘Shake It and Break It’ with the whole of the Preservation Hall Jazz Band behind him. I have to say that night in the PETRONAS Philharmonic Hall was truly special. I haven’t seen anybody play music in front of me that made me feel the way I did then. 

Lucien Barbarin 
Lucien Barbarin, a really entertaining guy, can bring joy to a place.

A few good friends brought me over to a place that I hadn’t been to before. It was just as well since I never explored Ipoh a whole lot. There’s good reason for that, firstly I don’t possess a car, at least not on campus. Secondly, after being to a few shopping malls and several eating places in Ipoh, you can’t help but think there isn’t much else to see in Perak’s state capital.

I’d been told about it before and it seemed pretty interesting at least. I didn’t know what to expect really. Its not like I had low expectations or anything, but it wasn’t like I was expecting to see Sunrise Jazz festival musicians in front of me either. I wasn’t sure what kind of a jazz cafe Ipoh would be able to conjure up. In fact, I wasn’t sure what a jazz cafe would even be like since I’d never been to one before.

When we arrived, I was a little surprised to see it was a little shop lot in an area I was slightly familiar with. I think my expectations of the place was a little larger than it should’ve been. For some reason when my friends told me about it, I somehow pictured a wide open area with blue dim lights and a round semi-circle stage in front, a little like the stage of American Bandstand as depicted in the movie Dreamgirls albeit a little less grand. I think my brain was hoping a little too much as far as Ipoh was concerned.
I thought I might see something like this, minus the Dreamgirls.

When we walked in though, all that didn’t matter because once I stepped through the entrance, I could feel the wonderful atmosphere of the place. It was small no doubt, a little tiny cafe that I would’ve never thought to come to on my own. Yellow dimmed lights made for a cosy, lazy mood, not a bad place to relax. The performing area wasn’t large itself, it was probably smaller than the size of my hostel room. It could just fit in a four piece band. I could barely squeeze in to get to the drum set. Wait, get to the drum set? You’ll find out why later on.

Dimmed Lights Mostly dark but lit just nicely for you to see what’s going on.

We sat down and had some drinks to keep us company because we’d be there for the whole night. A few musicians were already playing, and I was intrigued by this instrument in the photo above that I’d seen Switchfoot using live during the bridge of the song ‘Always’. It had a guitar neck but it wasn’t a guitar and it was played with the neck flat down on a keyboard stand, played by sliding fingers down the frets and plucking the strings. Anyhow, something you should know is that all these guys were rather old. Most of them with the exception of one guy was probably over the age of 50 and they were good musicians too. 

They played a lot of old songs, some of which I knew but had no idea what the titles were and several that I’d probably never listened to before throughout the span of my 22 year old life. They were playing without a drummer for the set and it was fine without one really. You don’t always need drums to have pleasant music, millions of song covers on YouTube should prove that to you.

For the next set, this young Indian lady, who probably isn’t anywhere close to 30 years of age was invited up as a guest singer. The kind of songs she was going to perform needed a drummer to be the backbone, but the resident drummer was busy cooking in the kitchen! Not a bad job to have wouldn’t it, cooking and playing music in the same place. The bassist kindly announced over the microphone, “Anyone here a drummer?”

Drum kit The small drum kit, by the corner.

I didn’t need asking, the auto pilot in my brain quickly navigated to the two letter word, ‘no’. My friends didn’t hesitate to ask me to volunteer but I replied, “No, its different, they’re playing Jazz stuff, the feel is different. I don’t play Jazz.” 

So I sat there, waiting for the cook to free himself from kitchen prison and get his behind seated back on the drum throne. It wasn’t happening anytime soon though. Just then, the elderly man playing bass looked me in the eye and kindly signalled for me to come over. The auto pilot quickly switched from ‘no’ to ‘guilt’. How could I say no to an old man? Now that I think about it, my friends or maybe ‘friend’ perhaps probably signalled over to the bassist to get me to go over. I should’ve sat in the back. Hmph.

Well, either way, I trudged over to the drum kit, nervous for a few reasons. One, I’m really telling the truth when I say I don’t play jazz. Two,  I was certain I would not have any idea of whatever song they were going to play, which turned out to be true. Three, this was not going to be practice, but playing for real. Four, I didn’t want to smile.

You didn’t want to smile?

Well, yes, that’s true. To be honest, I was a little out of it that day. It wasn’t because of the company with me, but there were things on my mind that put ‘happy’ on the backburner and ‘depression’ on the front side. Sometimes, when I get into that, I don’t feel like getting out of it for whatever reason, as if staying in that mood makes me feel more mature or something. That’s a lie of course, but believable when you’re faced with it. It was one of those days. I’m sure you know that you always make your best enemy.

Anyway, seated, I awaited instructions from the bassist, who was going to be key to my performance. I think a lot of drummers that play in bands agree that bassists are important to them, just like how scouts rely on their scoutmasters for direction. He gave me the instructions, told me how to play, and I just went for it.

Playing with the band Starting cautiously, tapping the rims instead of hitting the snare.

It started easy enough, but I was being very conscious and careful with my playing. I didn’t want to appear like a hot shot kid that either brought the band down or tried to outshine everybody else. It got better though, and I began to feel a bit more comfortable and tried to vary a bit. I’m not sure what my friends thought of it, but I think I improved as time went on. They kept playing songs that I had no idea about, but I kept telling myself that as long as I kept time well, that’d be good enough. Apparently it was, and it lasted long enough until the chef drummer reappeared to reclaim his place.

When I sat back down, that’s when I felt it, after it was over, after I’d got back to my place at the table. Suddenly, it was as if I came to a realisation everything that happened in that place from the time we walked in until then had been just perfect. The magic was there, I couldn’t hold it any longer. I was spellbound, and my lips decided to put up an inversed frown.

One thing you might want to know, once you’ve come off from performing on a stage and you feel you didn’t do too badly, you’ll want to get at it again. I didn’t say anything though, at least not for a while. I brought myself to say, “I feel like…”

One of my friends just knew it, “Come on, say it…” I didn’t want to admit that I really wanted to play so I just said, “Maybe I’ll perform a little later.”

I did get my chance eventually, although a lot later. Singing is a lot different from playing drums because you become the forefront of things. Like it or not, singers in bands are usually almost automatically placed in that position once they’re up on stage. I was wondering if I’d be accepted because most of the performances that night were rather exceptional and there was this one man dressed in dark blue and khaki shorts that I was worried about. He was rather vocal when he heard something he liked, I wondered if he’d be just as vocal if he heard something he didn’t like.

On the acoustic guitar Slowly getting into it on the acoustic guitar.

Still, I went for it, starting off with ‘Daughters’ by John Mayer and my legs were shaking. I surprised myself, I’d never performed anywhere with that kind of nervousness. I got through that and did a couple more, and guess what, I did have fun, and that man I was talking about, he wasn’t so indifferent about my performance. Even though there were mistakes in my rendition of ‘Nothin on You’ by B.o.B and Bruno Mars, everything still felt good. My friends went up to sing ‘Country Road’ too and that was…. something I didn’t predict would happen, but I’m more than glad that it did. 

I wouldn’t have been able to experience that wonderful night on my own. It was who I was with that made it possible. So to you, thank you very much. I had  a fantastic time.

With love,

doing Right

It isn’t always easy. That’s why varsities like mine have mandatory subjects such as moral studies and the like. In all that we’re doing and what we’re growing up to be, we get increasingly exposed to the way the world works. We don’t have to go far to see it sometimes, there will always be cases where students are faced with difficult scenarios that questions their ethics somewhat.

When we talk corruption, the conversations are usually very simplistic. We say that person took the money, got rich, ripped everyone else off and that meant the end of it. I think we in Malaysia are very used to this sort of talk, regardless if it is warranted or not. Its not wrong to speak that way, after all its only an expression of what we believe is happening when there isn’t much else that points otherwise, although I think people also need to know how to discern and be wise when they speak. There are still moments when silence is best.

Still, not every corrupt person becomes corrupt because they want to. I think the huge amount of stories or rumours about politicians and corporate figures or people that are well to do being being corrupt has led us to forget that. Its not always the powerful that are dealing with bribes, but those who are oppressed too.

Those in tight situations always make perfect bribe targets.

When we’re put to a corner, its unpredictable what we might do. Some may take the easiest way out because logically speaking, it is. Why do something harder? Others though, believe having it easy isn’t always the most important things and that integrity still counts for more than what other people may think.

One of those others is Zulqarnain Haider, a Pakistan national team cricket player. He’s 24 years old, just 2 years above my age, playing as wicketkeeper for his country. Mind you, cricket is a huge sport in Pakistan, just as football is to England, so for Zulqarnain Haider, representing his country in cricket is a big deal.

Zulqarnain Hadir
Zulqarnain Haider in between Wahab and Smith.

Just a few days ago, after his country had finished a game against South Africa, he mysteriously disappeared from Dubai and fled to England. Why? Only recently did he reveal without much detail that he had been approached by men that wanted him to participate in match fixing and that if he cooperated, he would make a lot of money but if not, much trouble would come to him. He implied that he couldn’t reveal all the threats that had been made for the sake of his family who still resides in Lahore. Thankfully, for the moment, his family is being protected by Pakistani authorities.

Although I’m not sure whether this man made the best decision, since there are debates about the way he went about it, I’m glad he made the effort to stand for what was right and resist the temptation of corruption. People may criticise him for making a rash decision in leaving to London, but his willingness to uphold what was right is something to be admired.

You can read more about this news here and here.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

best Lecturer

The new lecturer came in, to replace the previous one for the rest of the semester as part of the plan. It seems to be recent habit for two lecturers to teach one subject in UTP lately. The first teaching for the first half of the semester and the latter for the latter part. It didn’t take more than two lectures for me to give my personal assessment of him, and it remains until now.

I remember a few months ago, I told my course mates in the same class as I was that because of this new lecturer, this was the first subject that I actually looked forward to attending in more than 2 years in UTP. The other lecturer from two years ago that I liked wasn’t because he was a great educator, but because he was always rather amusing, Mr. Azhan Hassan. Still, Mr. Azhan is fine as far as lecturers go.

The man I want to give credit to here is Mr. Lai Fong Woon:

Lai Fong Woon (UTP Lecturer fro Management and Humanities Faculty) Mr. Lai during my last class in UTP.

Actually, other than Mr. Azhan, I did like another lecturer later on quite a bit, a man by the name of Dr. Azrai Abdullah and he’s featured on one of my blog entries that you can see here. I had a very good conversation with him a while back. There were similarities between Mr. Lai and Dr. Azrai and I think that drew my attention to him a little bit, but of course, there are obvious differences and he has that little bit extra over Dr. Azrai as a teacher I’d say.

I think in UTP, or in many varsities for that matter, a lot of lecturers just don’t seem to get students. Sometimes we just say, “They just don’t get it. They don’t know how to teach.”

Most of the time, when we say that, we refer to lecturers that are primarily good at two things:

1. Reading lecture slides
2. Giving hard tests

There’s nothing particularly wrong with that actually as wrong as it seems when you first read it. Those are actually pre-requisites for anybody to be in authority over a classroom. The problem is, that you and I can do that too. Which university student can’t read and set questions?

However, there are other lecturers that have some other skills than the first two I mentioned:

1. Friendly/pleasant demeanour
2. Able to engage students, keeping their attention and interest
3. Commands the classroom without being a dictator
3. Actually understand what they’re teaching
4. Can answer questions without looking at a textbook/lecture slides
5. Understand students’ actual understanding/point of view
6. Can explain lecture content without looking at presentation slides
7. Don’t make decisions based on emotional moods
8. Being a real person.

Qualities like those is what sets lecturers like Mr. Lai apart from the rest. Being an educator is rather difficult because education is a people business. The products that schools and colleges sell is the success of their students.

Some lecturers or teachers may feel that being well versed in the subject matter of their teachings is enough so much so they think they can ‘wing it’ when they teach. That’s the biggest lie an educator can fall for. Its either they forgot or have no idea that being a person in the classroom is just as important as knowing what they teach. There are instances where the opposite happens though, where educators can be nice people, but still poor teachers. I admit, having that balance is difficult to achieve, but its not impossible and people like Mr. Lai have proven just that.

One of the things that caught my eye was that he was a very real person and had a good understanding of the situation that UTP students might be caught in. He knew without asking that some of us may not have known or forgotten certain basics when teaching a slightly more advanced topic, something many lecturers in UTP overlook because they expect students brains to be hard disks. On top of that, being a person with a pleasant personality certainly made learning more conducive in the classroom.

I have to say it was certainly a pleasure being under him, and it was just nice that my last ever lecture in UTP was in his class. Its certainly a nice way to end things. I don’t know if any UTP lecturer or staff reads my blog or stumbles across it every now and then, but if they do read this, I do hope they will look to people like Mr. Lai as an example. Quite frankly, he has set the mark for being an effective educator in UTP.

To Mr. Lai, thank you.

Saturday, November 06, 2010

utp Freebie

I came across something that I think I should share with all students that fall under the jurisdiction of the CIS department UTP. Apparently UTP has a membership of the Microsoft Developer Network (msdn) academic alliance. The benefit of this membership is that students of the university under the ICT and BIS programmes can download certain developer software for free. Check out the details in the picture below (click to enlarge):
 msdn membership benefits to UTP students This notice has been up since February 2010, and UTPs msdn membership has apparently been effective since the July 2009 semester.

Among the software they offer includes the Windows 7 Professional OS, the full Visual Studio 2008 (not the Express version), Microsoft Project 2007 and so forth. I’m not sure if they’ll offer the 2010 versions of Visual Studio but you can contact Dr. Schneider to find out more.

Either way, you’ll have to contact him via e-mail (dr_schneider@petronas.com.my) to get access to the download. You need to provide the following details:

First name
Family name
E-mail address
Student ID
Program (either ICT/BIS)

Also, you’ll need to send the email to him with the following subject title: [msdnaa_January2010]

Although the notice is addressed to BIS and ICT students, if you’re an engineering student and may need one of the development tools for programming of whatever sort, I think it wouldn’t hurt to send an email to Dr. Schneider if you have a good reason. However, I wouldn’t suggest you to if you only want the Windows 7 Professional OS, haha!

If you’re a BIS/ICT student reading this, I hope you can forward this entry to your juniors or whoever so that they know about it. UTP’s been pretty poor about disseminating this message I believe. You won’t see it on the e-learning portal.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

weekend Dinners

Going back for the weekend was rather nice I’ll say. I arrived on Thursday night and we went to a Chinese restaurant, the food was definitely different from what I’ve been accustomed to in UTP for the past couple of months. The tofu, steamed fish, I think I almost finished the whole plate of roasted chicken with crispy skin that was served with prawn crackers and salt. I really loved my dessert though, mango pudding. The Chinese restaurant at the Bukit Kiara club is rather decent, not to mention halal so not just Chinese can enjoy the food there.

Mango Pudding A nice glass bowl of some lovely, chilled round mango pudding.

The next day I went over to Suria KLCC, rather early in the morning too so I got to have some nice kaya toast over at the top floor food court. I remember having it many times in the morning when I was undergoing my industrial training over in the PETRONAS Twin Towers.

I got my spending arm on over there, all on my collection of Star Wars action figures. In fact, I think I felt what it genuinely meant to experience shopping therapy! The feeling’s so good when you can get more stuff in your hands and you’re smiling as you head to the cashier’s counter because you know you’ve got what you really wanted, and not just one or two items, but a lot of them. 

After CoUZ on Friday, I went for supper with some of the guys in Taman Tun. My plate of ‘indo mi double’ was pretty huge but tasteless for the most part and that with my iced tea cost me about six ringgit. Still, it was nice to see Andrew again, talked with Elisha a fair bit about acoustic guitars too.

My parents and I went for church on Saturday, and that gave me a chance to meet Chris and Sam Wee for a while, Andy as well. Apparently Andy, a huge Windows fan has been converted to the technology gospel of Mac thanks to Keynote in iWork. Anyway, I probably haven’t been in a solid conversation with these people for more than five minutes in a long time. I left church with my parents at about 8.00 p.m. not knowing where dinner would be. It wasn’t at home for sure because my mother hadn’t cooked.

Questions went around the car asking where we should go, I thought I’d be a little cheeky and try my luck. “Buffet?” The idea caught on thankfully, and I wanted a Western food buffet so we made our way to Crown Plaza. When we got there though, parking was full, so we went across to the UOA building instead for a Japanese buffet, at Saisaki to be precise.

Sasaki Entrance Board 
Sushi corner at Sasaki 
Sasaki interior 
It wasn’t the first time I’d been to Saisaki and I was happy to return. I went many rounds getting my hands on the prawn tempura, and those mini handmade beef patties with the gravy. Had a go at some of the sushi, raw salmon, dory tempura, scallops, even the lamb shank, which is something you don’t typically see at Japanese eateries.

As we paid for the meal, I noticed the business cards at the counter. Apparently, Saisaki belongs to the same family as Shogun, the two other Japanese buffet outlets that reside in Sunway Pyramid and One Utama shopping complexes.

Saisaki business cards 
The thing is though, my mother and I have been to Shogun at One Utama before and its not as good as Saisaki. Maybe there’s a reason why Saisaki still retains its name for the UOA building branch.

In case you’re interested in paying Saisaki a visit, you might want to take a look at their ongoing pricing offer. They’ve been having it for a while now, but there’s no telling when they will halt the promotion:

Saisaki promotional offer 
Just to let you know, Saisaki is located at the following address:

Unit No. 1-9, 1st Floor, Wisma UOA II,
No. 21, Jalan Pinang,
50450 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

They can also be reached at:
Tel: +603 2166 3728/4728
Fax: +603 2166 6728

Still, I miss home cooked food the most I suppose. That’s why it was very nice to see pork ribs at home during lunch on Saturday. The ribs and the sauce matched perfectly. Mum knows best I guess. =)