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Monday, April 25, 2011

malaccan Living

 
As of today, I’ve been living in Malacca for about just over a week. I started work at PETRONAS Penapisan (Melaka) Sdn. Bhd. last week. With my office located in Sungai Udang, its nowhere near town but that’s been a blessing in disguise because traffic’s never been a problem on my way to work.

I’ve been quite blessed from a logistical point of view. Everywhere that I need to go isn’t further than a 20 minute drive, and that includes where I work, which one could say is out of bounds if Malacca were a golf course. On top of that, I’ve managed to rent a very decent place, a fully furnished two room apartment unit that’s not far from the seaside and has a swimming pool too. 

 
Although its been less than a month, I guess I know Malacca as much as I need to know it for now. I’ve had my tour of Jonker Walk, both in the daytime and at night so that’s been checked off my to do list. To be honest, I do wonder sometimes what’s the special attraction about Jonker Street. I haven’t really been able to note a very special attraction, maybe other than the fact its a combination of a ‘pasar malam’ and colonial civilian architecture. Still, its a popular destination for locals, but there’s an issue with parking: 

 
No matter how you look at it, I still say it’d be impossible to fit cars belonging to 1/30 of the Malaccan population there. I won’t even start about the traffic jams that mar the surrounding roads during weekends. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
What’s interesting is that, Malacca draws quite a bit of similarity with Penang when it comes to ‘urban’ geography. It’s got its places which have been developed as much as local budgets can, then there are the places with small roads that host plenty of colonial style buildings, mostly shop lots.Then there’re the outskirts that may feel a little like Ipoh town, buzzing with local activity albeit with tiny roads.

Bukit Cina (or somewhere thereabouts)

Other than that, finding places to eat hasn’t been difficult. I hear people talking about great Malaccan food, but I have yet to taste something that’s uniquely better than things I can find in KL. Nonetheless, eating as an ordinary person, you’ll find food in Malacca more reasonably priced when eating at food courts and hawker stalls.

Dry Mee Sua

Prawn Chee Cheong Fan

Baked Fish

However, one thing I do notice about Malacca, is that there’re plenty of shops, particularly at Jonker Street that serve as bakeries making a variety biscuits and a lot of them pineapple jam tarts. 

Pineapple Tarts

Over at Sungai Udang, my office is quite literally in a warehouse where plenty of spare parts and materials are stored. It doesn’t seem the most pleasant place to work in, but actually its quite decent, with one section walled off properly and fitted just as well as any ordinary office space. Thinking a little deeper, I guess the place suits my job that’s off an inventorial nature. If you haven’t guessed yet, I’m working under the supply chain management department. 



One of the tiny challenges I have at the moment is internet access. I don’t have any broadband installed at my residence at the moment, so I’ve had to rely on a particular eatery nearby for free internet although I still pay for an ice-cream as a courtesy. Its just as well, since I also go there for some fried chicken: 



Just about all my online activity for the past week has been made possible by KFC, except for today, where I’m at OldTown White Coffee. Incidentally, just 500 metres away from my apartment is something that’s insanely popular, a lot more than Colonel Sanders and co. Its even listed among on PAPAGO GPS points of interest,which is: 

 



There isn’t much to tell about the drink other than what the signboard already says about it. The place is nothing more than a stall by the side of the road with a few tents and chairs set up around it. However, this is one of the few places where people just park their cars at the side of the road and get down just for this drink. Actually, the place is sometimes jammed just because of this stall. They open in the afternoon and its no surprise that with their popularity, they’re sold out by evening.

Some people may not be so fascinated by this admittedly not so creative but definitely innovative drink. However, it has a very fine drawing point, it only costs RM 2.00. All around Malaysia, you’ll be challenged very hard to find such a drink at such a price. Its surely in contention for Malaysia’s fair price award.

There are some things I’m not so used to in Malacca, practical things like parking: 



Then there’s also the issue about where to park in certain places, because whoever planned out Malacca didn’t really take into account that a growing and more affluent population would surely take more cars onto its streets. Traffic there’s similar to Penang you could say.

Talking about driving in Malacca, it was such an inconvenience and quite a danger as well when my right signal light got busted in midweek. I had to be extra conscious about my driving, particularly turnings. Even so, I’d still get a few honks until I got it fixed on the weekend. After a lot of trouble trying to find the place, with the help of some technology and a very nice person over at Edaran NHL, I finally arrived at: 



Out of the entire Malacca, this is the only place that’s got spare parts for my car. Even after calling certain people to check my car, I still got routed to Chevrolet’s only service centre around finally.

 

I had to wait a whole day for the light to be fixed. A spoiled component that had to be replaced and checking on the electrical wires cost me a good RM 105.00.

Oh, I didn’t mention the beach that’s near my place did I? As my apartment is by the sea, its only natural that its right by the beach (even if it is reclaimed land, and a lot of it too). I took a short walk there on Sunday evening, its not the prettiest or most exciting beach you’ll find, but not a bad place for a relaxed atmosphere. 



 

 

 

 

 

 
I can’t write anymore, because frankly  I’m rather tired and I have no idea how long it’ll take to upload this blog entry with all these pictures from a public wireless internet connection at an eatery. Well, maybe just one last paragraph.

Anyhow, I’m very thankful because God’s been really good to me. My laptop was acting up a few days ago but its fine now, which was really really important because I needed it for work. When my signal light spoiled, thankfully I didn’t get into any accidents of any sort and got everything resolved. I also thank God I’ve been able to find a good church with good people. I thank God that in my workplace, that I’ve found favour among those around me, that there’s no form of prejudice but a friendly atmosphere. God’s been really good, even living in the place I am is a real blessing. Thank you Jesus for being so caring and faithful, full of mercy and grace, loving me in spite of who I am.

Monday, April 11, 2011

pre Employment

What can I say, I’ve been blessed with an opportunity to work for quite an established company and I’ve decided to go for it. A call came last Friday from the talent sourcing department to collect an offer letter at their head office. Actually, it wasn’t just a letter, it was a whole bunch of documents including the offer letter that I needed to fill and submit before a due date.

PETRONAS as with many other companies, require you to provide a whole lot of information before you join their organisation. There’re many things to do that fresh graduates may not be aware of. That’s why I wrote this blog entry, specifically to help PETRONAS sponsored students that have been offered a job by Malaysia’s national oil & gas corporation. Here’s my guide of what you need to do if you accept the offer from PETRONAS.


*GENERAL GUIDE TO PETRONAS PRE-EMPLOYMENT FOR FRESH GRADUATES
1. THE OFFER IS FINAL: For PETRONAS sponsored students, the offer letter entails the final job offer. Rejecting it is equivalent to a breach of contract. Talent sourcing serves the many operating units (OPU) on a first come, first serve basis. Whichever OPU chooses you first will serve the final offer, regardless if you had contact with another OPU first.

2. COLLECT: The offer letter is held by talent sourcing, you should know where to collect it from the phone call you received, probably at PETRONAS Twin Towers (PETT). At their office, ask for the person that called you and he/she will hand you an envelope that contains the offer letter along with many other forms you’ll need to fill up. 

 
Among the contents of this thick envelope besides your offer letter is a check list of everything you need to complete and submit, so use it as a strict reference. The check list also contains a few documents you must submit other than the forms provided so go through it thoroughly.
3. ASK: The person in charge will explain what you need to do and how you should fill up the forms. 

 
You can take your time seated at their general meeting area to go through the forms and ask questions to the person in charge. Do it while you’re still at the talent sourcing office, it would be annoying for them to receive calls every other day because you forgot to ask questions earlier. You will also meet him/her here when you return later on to submit the forms and have your fingerprints stamped on the KWSP application.

4. MEDICAL APPOINTMENT: After taking the offer letter home, the first thing you need to do is to make an appointment for your medical check up at Prince Court Medical Centre (PCMC), which is near KLCC. The talent sourcing department WILL NOT accept your forms until they receive the results of your medical check up, so that needs to be completed first. I will explain the medical check up and how to get to PCMC in a later section.  

5. INFO ITEMS: Typically, you would have more than a day before the scheduled medical check up so fill in all the forms. A few items you will need information from are your passport, birth certificate and bank book (of the bank account you want your salary to go into).
6. EXTRA INFO: Related to item (5), you also need the address of the bank where you opened your account, which is typically not in your bank book, so find out. You also need to list down the addresses where you lived over the past 10 years, so if its more than one, make sure you know those as well. Make sure you have numerous passport photos, you’ll need them for various reasons.

7. PERSONAL DOCS: Additionally, you need to submit a number of certified true copy (CTC) documents along with all the forms. These include copies of your I.C, birth certificate, academic transcript, letter of completion of studies (high school & university). Refer to your check list for the full set of copied personal documents you need certified. 

 
Photo stated copies of your personal documents can be certified or ‘disahkan benar’ at police stations or government schools.

8. DUTY STAMP: You have to visit your nearest Lembaga Hasil Dalam Negeri (LHDN) office to obtain a duty stamp for the document/form entitled ‘Perjanjian Perkhidmatan Kakitangan’. 

 
Before taking a number and waiting for your turn (just like the post office), fill up the PDS 1 form. If you’re unsure how to fill out the PDS 1 form, ask the reception counter, they should be able to help you. It will be available at the forms shelves or you can print it out yourself from: 

http://www.hasil.gov.my/pdf/pdfborang/PDS1_Pin2011.pdf 

Once your turn at the counter, submit the PDS 1 form along with the ‘Perjanjian Perkhidmatan Kakitangan’ document and later you should have to pay a RM 10.00 fee at the cashier.

9. ATTEND MEDICAL: Once your medical check up date has been confirmed, make sure you fast starting 10.00 p.m. the night before your medical appointment. Remember to bring the medical form attached with your offer letter. You need to submit it to the medical staff. Fill it up before you go so that you won’t waste time.

Anyway, If you don’t know how to get to PCMC, click here for its location on Google Maps. The easiest way to get there is to go past the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre and drive all the way straight on Jalan Kia Peng until you see Prince Court on your right and turn in.

From the main entrance, just turn right and walk all the way straight through every door until you see this one, which you’ll need to enter: 



If you’re really not sure how to get there, just ask the receptionist, but honestly its really easy, after going through the main entrance, turn right and walk all the way straight until you see the door above. Incidentally, you’ll pass by Coffee Bean on the way. 


If you brought a bag with you, you can store it in one of these lockers at Occupational Health Services (OHS) and keep the key until you leave.

Tell the attending nurse that you’re there for a pre-employment medical check up. You’ll need to fill up two simple forms (exclusive of the one attached with your offer letter) and then you’ll go through a few checks:

1) Produce urine sample (you may not eat as long as this isn’t done)
2) Height & weight measurement
3) Eye test
4) Hearing test
5) Lung test
6) X-ray
7) Consultation (face-to-face with attending doctor)

The seven things you need to complete don’t take long individually but there’s a bit of waiting to do, so bringing something to read wouldn’t hurt, although there are reading materials available in the OHS waiting room.

Parking at PCMC is a bit expensive. I was there from around eight o’clock until about eleven thirty and I paid RM 8.00 at the auto pay station. 


Prince Court Medical Centre Front Entrance

10. SUBMIT FORMS: After completing steps one through nine, talent sourcing should call you once the medical results clear you for duty (which they should have very quickly), or call them after a couple of days if they don’t. After confirming your positive medical results, you may submit your forms as soonest possible to the person you collected them from.

You’ll have to do one last thing in the presence of the talent sourcing staff, which is to stamp your thumbprints on a photo stated copy of your I.C (without CTC stamping) for KWSP registration. Again, take the opportunity to clarify whatever you don’t understand, especially the forms if you’ve left some spaces blank.

There, they may inform you if your posting has been delayed, hastened or on any other relevant matters. After that, you’ll be all set for your PIPE training programme (14 days) or to report for duty (whichever comes first) as per the dates specified in your offer letter.




*Please note this guide is most relevant to prospective employees residing within Kuala Lumpur. Those from other parts of Malaysia may be subjected to a different procedure.