Saturday 31 December 2016

Welcoming the New Year

I'm one of those people who felt going into another year is the ultimate reset button.
An opportunity for me to start new.

So for 2017, these are things that I'm planning to achieve. 

  1. Pass all ACCA exams by Dec 2017
  2. Wake up 30 minutes earlier each day
  3. Save more money and gold 
  4. Eat healthier
  5. Read at least 1 book a month
  6. Spend more quality time with my husband
  7. Count my own blessings
  8. Getting fit and lean
  9. Understanding the Quran better; start over with the Bayyinah courses
  10. Start a family 
  11. Take better care of my skin
  12. Re-connect with best friends

May Allah ease.

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Friday 30 December 2016

2016 Summary

2016 has been great so far, Alhamdulillah. Even with all my shortcomings, I'm still blessed with so many things. 

  • Mom is healthy and active
  • Awie is excelling in university
  • Iskandar knows what he wanted to do right after SPM (for me that's quite impressive)
  • Though my favourite aunt was down with cancer, she still made it to my wedding 
  • Got engaged and married the man I specifically prayed for years ago [I literally mentioned his full name in my prayer]
  • Still in touch with my best friends although we seldom meet. 
  • Had the opportunity to visit places I've never been to before ; Lombok, Bali and Jogja
  • Passed my ACCA P2 paper which for me, was the toughest of all.
  • New job offers
  • Promotion is in the line for me (yeay!)
  • Excellent work-life balance
  • Bought a house
  • Didn't have any car loan yet (not planning to)
  • More than expected bonus

All in all, a very great year indeed.

Semoga Tuhan kurniakan umur yang panjang for me to achieve more and to improve myself physically, mentally and spiritually. 
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Interview Yayasan Peneraju , MyPAC and ACCA

Once we have set our mind to pursue ACCA, the next thing that came to mind was the funding aspect. If you're like me, I will try my best to seek sponsorship. With all the initiatives by the government, it would be such a waste not to apply for the sponsorship by Yayasan Peneraju Pendidikan Bumiputera. 

To give you some context, here's the fee structure.
  • Initial Registration - £79
  • Annual Subscription - £95 [as long as you're a student]
  • Exemption Fees - £72 (for F1-F3) and £97 (for F4-F9)
    • If you're an accredited Accounting graduate, you'll have to fork out £738 before you can start with the remaining 5 professional papers
  • Exam Fees for Professional Paper - £121/ £128/ £289 (depending on how early you register)
All of the above are payable to ACCA UK, in British Pound. If it took you 2 years to complete all 5 papers in one attempt, you'll pay £1647. Convert that to RM, it's nearly 10 grand.

Add in the tuition fees and the materials, the amount is a lot!
(I heard the tuition fees in Sunway is RM2,000+ per subject)

If you go to Yayasan Peneraju's website here, you'll see the various sponsorship categories. For ACCA program, it's under Peneraju Profesional.

Part time students like me falls under Peneraju Professional Pensijilan Perakaunan (PPPP).
Be alert of the announcement and the deadline as the application is not open all year through.

In the application form, you can choose whichever tuition provider you want. I chose Unitar for a myriad of reasons. 
  • Unitar is near to my house and public transport (in case of weekday classes)
  • The ACCA lecturers at Unitar are among the best in the industry
  • The class size is pretty small (there were only 4 of us in P3 class)
  • The infrastructure was great, the building is new and compact
  • At the time, my ex Khazanah Scholarship manager was the director of Unitar Professional Accounting Center so I have faith in him though I was among the first batch of students there
I specifically avoided Sunway because I know they have a LOT of students and I don't want to pressure myself. Hahaha

At Unitar, the program is quite special because they collaborated with MyPAC. To learn more about the organization, you can read it here

To quote the website ; 
MyPAC is a collaborative development centre that facilitates and supports Bumiputera professional accountants candidates while Yayasan Peneraju is an initiative under the Bumiputera Economic Transformation Programme launched under the Economic Planning Unit in the Prime Minister’s Department.
At the time, another prominent figure from Khazanah Scholarship team was in MyPAC so that pushes me even more to apply at Unitar. 

So after I submit my application along with the required documentation, I was called for an interview session. FYI, the interview will be held at the university of your choice (as per the application form).

The interview was a full-day event, starting with a Reasoning Ability Test. Surprise, surprise. It was the exact same test I sat for in 2010 - Yayasan Khazanah's Scholarship [First Stage Test]. This test was commissioned by MyPAC. The tests consisted of numerical, abstract logic, spatial reasoning, logical processes and social context components. 

The results were shared later in a one-to-one session with the Care Bear team from MyPAC. The tests were aimed to identify your strength and the learning format most helpful for you. 

I scored poorly in the Social Context component but I guess that has the least connection to ACCA? Hahaha

Then, there was the English Assessment at the computer lab where you'll need to answer a series of questions. And there was a section for mini-essays as well. This will determine your English proficiency and to decide whether you'll be in Band 4, Band 5 or you'll be exempted altogether from English classes.

I was exempted, Alhamdulillah. 

After that, there's the interview session with reps from Unitar and Yayasan Peneraju. My advice, just be yourself, be confident and show your passion for ACCA. 

The results were announced a week later. Some of the candidates who failed the interview with Yayasan Peneraju were offered a scholarship by MyPAC. But the terms and condition are different from Peneraju's. 

For example, Peneraju will sponsor you for 2 attempts maximum for each paper but MyPAC will only pay for the first attempt. The subsequent attempts will have to be paid by yourself. 

The terms and condition set by Peneraju were as follows (these are by no means exhaustive);
  • Part-time students with full exemption (Accounting graduates) are given 3 years to complete the papers
  • You are allowed to sit for one paper per semester though it is possible to take more with permission 
  • The normal exam sitting is in June and December. However, you can sit for exams in March and September for special cases (repeat / to complete before 3 years deadline)
  • For the 3 years period, there are 6 main exam sittings which mean there's a buffer of 1 full semester in cases of deferring or repeating papers
  • Peneraju will pay for your second attempt. But the third and subsequent attempts for the same paper will have to be borne by yourself.
  • Once you passed the paper you failed before, Peneraju will continue to pay for the first and second attempt of the next paper
For example, Ali sat for P1. Peneraju paid for the first and second attempts. He failed marginally. So for the third attempt, he would have to pay the exam fees and tuition fees himself. He finally passes P1. The next semester he took P2. Peneraju will continue their sponsorship for P2 and the next papers.
  • If you pass all the papers in one attempt, EVERYTHING will be converted into a scholarship
  • If you failed even once, you'll have to pay 20% of the total cost.

For example, Ana passed her P1, P2, P3 and P4. For the last paper, P5 it took her two attempts to pass. Upon graduation, she would have to pay back to Yayasan Peneraju the 20% of her overall ACCA expenses, even for the papers she passed.

  • Peneraju is quite strict with the attendance and Progress Test marks. They have the power to defer you to the next exam sitting if either your attendance or Progress Test marks is unsatisfactory. 
    I think that's all for now. If you have any further question, feel free to ask. I'll be happy to help. 
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    Thursday 29 December 2016

    Recipe - Tom Yam

    Tom Yum is one of the most well known Thai recipes. Unfortunately, it's also probably the recipe most often butchered by many.

    So here I'm gonna share a Tom Yum recipe I've grown to love. Never had I tasted a tom yam that's delicious in Malaysia [or up to my mom's strict standard]. Maybe I need to try more eateries. But in the meantime, here you go.

    The ingredients;

    Image result for serai
    2 stalk of lemongrass (Serai)
    Press the stem with the flat side of a knife to bruise and release the flavor
    Image result for kaffir lime leaves
    4 Kaffir Lime Leaves (Daun Limau Purut)
    Rip off the stem and slice thinly or just torn into pieces
    Image result for galangal
    1 inches of Galangal (Lengkuas)
    Chopped into slices
    Image result for coriander roots
    2-3 Corriander roots (Akar Daun Ketumbar)
    Clean thorougly

    Boil a half pot of water with all the ingredients above. 

    * you can use chicken stock if you have em or prawn stock [put the prawns heads and shells in boiling water with a bunch of cabbage, coriander and carrot until they are deep orange for 10-15 minutes]

    Put in the chicken meat and leave to simmer.

    Upon boiling, add in the mushroom and chopped tomatoes.

    Image result for straw mushrooms
    Authentic Thai recipe uses straw mushroom. But Oyster Mushroom would be fine

    Add 2 tablespoon of fish sauce and chilies. 
    Leave to boil.

    * you can add in sliced Holland Onion (Bawang Holland) if you want to

    Tiparos Brand Fish Sauce
    Fish Sauce
    In another bowl, add together chopped bird's eye chili (cili padi), one tablespoon of sugar, lime juice, some fish sauce and two tablespoon of Thai chili paste. Stir it all together. 

    Mae Pranom Thai Chili Paste - 8 oz x 2 jars
    Thai Chili Paste
    Take the pot off the heat. 

    *Important! If it's still on the stove, the heat will turn the lime juice bitter

    Add in the mixture from the bowl into the pot.

    Adjust the taste accordingly. Remember that a good tom yum must taste sweet, sour, salty and spicy. 
    And you're done!

    *For prawn tom yum, add in the prawn towards the end for 30 seconds to avoid overcooking them. 

    Last sekali, nah. The person who taught me this recipe. My Thai mother. 

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    #MakanReview : Yik Mun [Tanjung Malim]

    Apparently, this shop has a good reputation over the internet. 

    Personally though, I never even heard of this shop before. My husband suggested we stop here for dinner during our 8-hour ride from Kuala Kangsar. He himself never been there albeit their popularity.

    Yik Mun is most famous for their homemade steamed buns but they do offer other menu as well. 

    [I didn't took any pictures because I was sick at the time]

    Yik Mun Tanjung Malim
    Credit : VKeong

    Image result for yik mun tanjung malim
    Credit : VKeong

    Image result for yik mun tanjung malim
    Credit : Ramesh
    They offered 4 variance of the steamed bun ; chicken, beef, kaya and red bean (RM2.50 each).

    We tried the chicken, kaya and red bean buns.
    The verdict?

    I'm truly disappointed.

    Chicken Bun : the chicken meat were lumped together as if it's not steamed well enough
    Kaya Bun : too sweet and the the fragrant smell from pandan is missing
    Red Bean Bun : the steamed bun was not soft and kind of hard to chew

    I've had better steamed buns in Wisma Sime Darby's Cafe, honestly.

    After that disappointing starters, we waited for our main dish. We arrived at 8.30pm. By 9.15pm, our dish had yet to be served. 

    The guests near our table decided to storm out because it was taking too damned long. But their food came at the very moment they're at the counter to cancel.  

    We waited a little more and frankly speaking, I was already in a foul mood since I'm sick, the buns were not up to par and now, I've been waiting for sooo long. 

    Just then, my dish was served. I ordered Kueh Teow Soup.

    The portion was big, the broth was thick but the prawns were not fresh. You'd know when you try to peel of the skin, and the whole thing disintegrates. 

    15 minutes later, Nazli's Kueh Teow Cantonese was finally served. It looked good. But God oh God was it bland. The kueh teow literally tasted like nothing. 

    It was a really bad experience and we doubt we'll ever visit this establishment again. 

    Chicken Steamed Buns : 1.5/5
    Kaya Steamed Buns : 2/5
    Red Beans Steamed Buns : 2.5/5  
    Kueh Teow Cantonese : 1.5/5
    Kueh Teow Soup : 2.5/5

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    #HotelReview - Ambassador Row Hotel Suites by Lanson Place, Jalan Ampang

    The name of the hotel is a mouthful; I know. I called it Lanson Place for short but be careful since there's two Lanson Place. The other is Lanson Place Bukit Ceylon. 

    This particular hotel is at Jalan Ampang, near the embassies vicinity. 

    This is my second time here. The first was back in 2010 I think, with Khazanah. I love it back then, and I still love it now. 

    The short stay was a stress-reliever for us. I had just finished my exam and Nazli was tired managing his emotional wife #eh. Hahahaha

    Here are the promotional pictures from the hotel.
    I can assure you, what you see is what you get.

    Puas hati sangat.
    It's located very near to KLCC. So we just Uber'ed our way there for dinner. 

    The Pros and Cons of the Hotel
    + the location is great, near many shopping complexes
    + the room was very spacious and comfortable
    + there's a big mirror inside the closet
    + the curtains perfectly blocked out the sunlight (a MUST for me-time)
    + the checkout was a breeze
    + there's iron provided in the room
    + couple of plugs near the head stand (important)
    + TVs in both the living room and bedroom

    - the check-in process took a while, maybe due to the volume of customers during public holiday
    - the toilet looked a tad old and there's some weird smell though not too overpowering
    - there was no kitchen utensils provided in the kitchenette (you would have to request)
    - the carpet is stained in one spot
    - not a lot of variety on breakfast spread, but still acceptable
    - the TV is bedroom is very old, some of the buttons are missing.

                                                                          Location : 5/5

    Comfort : 4/5

    Breakfast : 3/5
    Price Worthiness: 4.5/5 [book early to get more discount]


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    Thursday 15 December 2016

    Travel Wish List

    How to make your dreams come true?

    Make a mental plan → turn it into burning desire → turn the desire into goals → plan → take action

    I always knew of the places I wanted to go; I bet Nazli is getting nauseous every time I mentioned it. Hahaha

    Have a mental plan. CHECKED!

    Turn it into a burning desire. CHECKED!

    Now, turning the desire into goals. 

    I believe in the power of visualizing and documenting your goals. So here it is; My Travel Wish List.

    At the very very top of my list is ..........................


    Tokyo, Japan

    My number 1 reason is for the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. I'm a nerd, I know. 

    Image result for the wizarding world of harry potter tokyo

    Authentic sushi experience
    Image result for bullet train tokyo
    Bullet train
    Related image
    Cherry blossom
    Image result for kobe beef
    Wagyu beef

    These are the two places that I'm willing to share for now. I'll share more later!

    *PS - tak nak lah visit Japan on a budget, macam mana nak makan Wagyu, naik bullet train, makan kat Michelin restaurant? *kumpul duit*
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    Wednesday 14 December 2016

    Langkawi Mini Honeymoon

    The typical I got-a-husband-now kinda post. 

    Nasi Dagang Pak Malau for breakfast.
    Well, technically you are paying for the view because there's nothing to shout out about the food.  When we were there, the bendang tengah kering kontang .. So, not even a nice view. LOL
    But the set up is nice, I gotta say!
    [Oppo took really nice photos!]
    Those #nofilter kind of picture

    Back when I was 6 kilos lighter  💖
    Was just leaning on my husband and fell asleep smiling.
    Oh well ....

    The phase where your-henna-is-too-nice-you-want-to-show-everybody

    Can I just say the Shell Out here is better than the pioneer in KL?
    This particular one is at Dataran Lang.
    The sauces tasted better and the portion was just perfect for 2.

    For an acrophobia such as Nazli, it's a HUGE achievement; being on the cable car ride. And no, I did not force him. I was never that mean. I am worst. Hahahahaha
    Beria sangat cari ice cream nie!

    Last minute pergi airport tambah luggage.
    #platehaul #husbandmarahbelibanyakpinggan #sebenarnyacukupje20kg #husbandgelabah #kejaplagimintamaaf #iloveyou

    Dinner at Laman Padi.
    4 stars for the environment , 2 stars for the food. 

    Image result for laman padi dinner
    Ehsan Google. Nice gile kan Laman Padi?

    Laksa Ikan Sekoq. Kejadian kuah laksa menderu membasahi tudung takkan dilupakan. Awat lah berangin nau. In the end, I gave up on that bowl of freaking laksa. 

    At Artisan Pizza, before heading home. Worth a try, definitely. 

    Kesimpulannya, seronok trip ke Langkawi kali nie. Sebab asyik makan, seronok ke sana sini, and sebab ada husband. Muahahahaha

    Doakan yang baik-baik untuk Siti Eva dan Mohd Nazli.
    Semoga bahagia hingga ke syurga. 

    *Amin Ramai-Ramai*

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    ACCA - December Sitting

    I sat for my third ACCA paper last week and my oh my. 

    It felt different this time around. 
    Maybe due to the fact that I'm married now? LOL

    First things first, the exam centre.
    For P3, I took the exam at KDU.
    P2; Sunway.

    I reaaaaally prefer Sunway because it is nearer, more convenient, though it could take a while for you to get into the parking bay but still, there's parking.

    KDU was really small and packed, in my opinion. It's almost impossible for you to get a parking spot inside the minuscule building. Last time, I had to park by the roadside far away and walk THROUGH the residential area to get to the exam hall. By then, I was already panting and huffing, sweating and nervous to sit for my exam. 

    Due to some technical glitches, I'm stuck with KDU again for this sitting. This time around, my husband sends me to KDU *thankssss*

    KDU, it would also be great if the Head Invigilator announced how many minutes we have left.
    Which she should have done.

    But she did not. Urghhhhh.

    It's a small thing but that could have a huge impact. I felt like I don't have time to even looked up while I was answering the paper. 

    Everyone had such high hopes in me as I've completed my P2 and P3 beforehand. 

    P1 is the quintessential introduction paper to ACCA Professional level and it had the connotation of 'LESS DIFFICULT' attached to it.

    I'm not saying it's easy but many would agree that P1 is significantly easier than all the other papers in ACCA Professional level. But I would say it's different depending on your interest and understanding.

    For me, P2 was a TOUGH cookie to crack and P3 was very very enjoyable that I was not really anxious throughout the semester. 

    But I do know some people who took longer to pass P1 (more than 3 attempts) which really made me doubt my confidence level.

    I know I already did my best, semoga lulus dengan cemerlang.

    I would be happy with a mere pass, honestly. 

    Isn't that how things are in ACCA?

    *already excited for the next paper. Is that even possible?
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    Tuesday 13 December 2016

    Sime Darby Management Trainee Program

    Quite a number of my juniors had been asking me about this program. And upon a quick search on the internet, I couldn't find any blogs sharing MTP's experience.

    Bear in mind that my batch (Batch 7 is the last batch with old structure); I'll explain more about the new structure at the end of this post.

    Here's the requirement for the program;

    Basically the program runs for 12 months. The MTs (Management Trainees) are rotated across 4 divisions / business units while simultaneously conduct CSR projects, attend in-class training and at the end of the session attend NUS Singapore for an executive module.  

    I applied through Jobstreet somewhere in May 2014. 
    Sat for the online assessment in June. 
    Went to the assessment center in August. 

    For the assessment center, the activities were essay writing, presentation and also a one-to-two interview.

    In September, we MTs started our Induction at Sime Darby Leadership Centre. 

    For my batch [MTP7], we had 14 MTs. 
    9 guys and 5 girls.
    Half of the MTs are Sime Darby's scholars. 

    Half of us graduated from local universities. 

    We came from all sorts of background; Biochem from Cambridge, Mechanical Engineering from Nottingham, Accounting from Uniten, Civil Engineering from Carnegie Mellon, Econs from ANU, Management from USM, Commerce from Melbourne, Biotech from INTI, you got the gist. 

    Our training are held from time to time throughout the 12 months period. 

    We ALWAYS look forward to the training because of the great food over at SDLC, the chance to catch up [since we are rotated to difference Business Units across the Group] and for the awesome training modules. 

    My first rotation was at Group Services Centre : Service Management at the Head Office, KL. 

    Then I'm off to Sime Darby Property International under the Strategy and Project Management's Office unit.

    Next, I got a little bit of Internal Audit exposure at Corporate Assurance : Industrial.

    And my last rotation was at Risk Management where I subsequently got absorbed as permanent executives. 

    Throughout the first three rotation, we were assessed and only if we passed the requirement, were we able to go to Singapore for the last executive module.

    We were treated very very nicely in Singapore, mind you. 

    Secret Santa with the MTs
    To answer some of the commonly asked questions;

    What's the difference between MTs, SL1M, Management Apprenticeship and Executives?
    All four of them are entry level positions in Sime Darby. 

    SL1M and Management Apprenticeship are basically the same. The contract is for 12 months and the pay is RM1500, with one day annual leave entitlement every month. The aim is to help bridge the gap between education and the professional world. Requirement - 27 years old and below, minimum GPA 2.5, had been unemployed for not more than 2 years. The placement after 12 months is subjected to vacancy and performance. 

    Based on my experience in Sime Darby so far, Executive role has not been advertised externally that much except for  Finance and Sales [generally speaking]. The reason being, Sime Darby has their own pool of talents; their scholarship holder that join the company upon their graduation to serve their bond. These scholars are generally the first choice in terms of filling in the vacancies. The minimum requirement for an Executive is a university degree and the starting pay is RM3000. 

    Management Trainee went through stringent series of interview. And they got paid a little bit more than Executive. You'll get the chance to be rotated across multiple business units.

    Can the MTs choose their rotational placement?
    No. During my time, we are purposely placed in fields outside of our expertise, outside our comfort zone. That's why you don't see me doing my rotation in Finance. 

    Can the MTs choose their permanent placement?
    Yes. However, it is subjected to vacancy. Before I went ahead with the Risk Management unit, I went for an interview with the Group Finance unit. Upon deliberation, I decided I treasure my work-life balance sooooo so much that I wouldn't want to be in Finance department. 

    Recently, Sime Darby has revamped their MT program. The latest structure can be seen here;

    Anyone who is considering Sime Darby upon graduation, I highly recommend the company. The benefits and perks are good. The bonus, too. 

    Feel free to ask any question!
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