I wrote this entry more than a year ago: "Don’t Go To University For The Sake Of It".
Till today, I still get feedback from students who agree with my piece, show my blog to their parents, and then make me kena abuse from their parents because they think what I wrote was too controversial.
Of course lah, I wasn’t saying don’t go to University and just lepak lepak scratch your balls do nothing.
I was simply saying that if you haven’t found your passion, don’t spend too much time and money on higher education.
Rather than spending 3 years in University doing engineering, another 3 years doing Masters, then after 6 years realizing that wasn’t what you love to do for the rest of your life… why not just spend more time discovering where your passion lies in the first place?
I wanna write this piece as a follow up to that blog entry.
Some students say, after finishing SPM, they still have no idea where their love lies. To that I say, start doing research lah!
Most Gen Y-er are clueless about what they expect out of a job. A good way to learn how to marry your career with your passion is to start reading up on anecdotes written by those who have already done it. The myStarjob.com Career Guide (available both online and in print every Saturday) is a good place to start.
I feel every student, out there gotta be doing this as early as possible. Find out as much and as early as possible about what your future job might entail, because what you imagine your job to be and what it actually is might be very different.
Don’t say you want to study to become an Oil & Gas Engineer because of you "heard" people say the money is good, then later regret when you discover you don’t actually wanna live on an oil rig with seagulls as friends!
But hey, if taking a helicopter to work everyday sounds exciting to you, then by all means – chase your dreams!
Once you got a target career to work towards (even vaguely), start educating yourself. Not just in terms of completing your assignments and University degree, but also by attending seminars, workshops and talks by industry leaders.
From my experience, many industry people are very frank with students about the realities of the working world. I don’t mind walking to a seminar full of fresh college graduates and tell them straight that they can’t go into a job interview, expect to get a senior management position and a fat pay cheque that comes with it!
Next, start applying for your dream job!
I get tons of application from graduates every we advertise for it. One thing I always enjoy doing is reading resumes written by those who put an extra effort onto it.
Nowadays, pretty much the only acceptable way to apply for a job is via the Internet. And please, don’t just send a one-line e-mail with an attachment of your resume. Always write a cover letter.
Here’s how not to write a cover letter:
And this is one of the best, perfectly-blunt and brutally-honest cover letters I have seen:
Gotta love an honest job applicant sometimes.
Nowadays, you can even send in VIDEOS instead of your cover letter. myStarjob.com called it a Visume.
I love it.
It’s so much more enjoyable to watch videos of potential candidates than to read boring resumes that almost all sounds the same!
When you upload your resume to MyStarJob.com, you have the option of uploading a video of yourself too so your potential employer have a chance to see how you’re really like. Perfect for those applying for positions like model, actor or Old Town Kopitiam waiters who like to pretend customers don’t exist.
But there’s more! From now until mid-March, you stand a chance to win a weekly prize worth RM100 if you do the following:
- Register as a myStarjob.com member (registered members can proceed to Step 3).
- Upload your resume (Word or PDF format).
- Answer 1 question correctly.
- Click submit!
If you’re lucky, you might even with the overall grand prize – an awesome car!
Not bad eh?
So once you got your dream job, you too can join the rest of us working crowd and get stuck in a traffic jam every morning to work!
ADV: The Year 2020 According to PEMANDU
Now, let’s get the obvious out of the day.
This blog entry is sponsored and paid for by PEMANDU, the Performance Management And Delivery Unit, an agency under the Prime Minister’s Department of Malaysia. Although sponsored and tagged with an “ADV”, all opinion expressed in this entry is of my own.
I recognize some people who read this blog may be supportive of the government of the day, and some may support the opposition. Let me just say that this blog entry endorses neither. This entry is simply a collection of thoughts of what Malaysia was like before, what direction our country is moving into and what our country will become in the year 2020.
As citizens of Malaysia, we sometimes can be very critical of our own country. Yes, we love the food, the shopping, the culture and the low costs of living in Malaysia. But the biggest gripe in our country by far, is our low income.
I know this first-hand.
7 years ago, when I moved back from Perth to Kuching, I took a HUGE salary pay cut of up to 70%. In fact, my salary was so low, I was earning salary lower than a bus driver from China working in Singapore.
It didn’t used to be like this before.
Between the 1960s and 80s, Malaysia was a strong developing country on par with countries like Singapore and Japan.
My late father often told me the story of Singapore rise to prominence.
30 years ago, Singapore was just a fishing village no richer than Malaysia. Now, they are leaps and bounds ahead of us in income, to the point that Singapore now has the most number of millionaires per capita and the third richest country in the world.
Meanwhile, an IT Manager in Kuching is earning less than a fresh graduate in Australia.
How did we slip so bad? I think you know, I know.
But is it too late to make amends? Is it too late to become a high-income nation? Is it too late for Malaysia achieve developed country status by year 2020 as Mahathir envisioned?
Well, PEMANDU didn’t seem to think so. Which is why the Economic Transformation Programme (ETP) is envisioned.
Yes, we hear about the ETP a lot. But what exactly is ETP?
Simply put, it is a series of projects initiated by PEMANDU that are designed to create jobs, improve quality of life and raise the overall income of Malaysian citizens.
Some projects are well-publicized, and we knew about them already.
The Klang Valley MRT.
The Iskandar Johor region, together with its EduCity, LegoLand and Pinewood Iskandar Studios development.
Building of pedestrian friendly footpaths throughout KL City.
Some other projects, we either don’t know a lot about, or are still work in progress.
Improving the regional distribution network for Malaysia’s electronics industry.
Phasing out the incandescent bulbs in place for LED.
The building of a high speed railway linking Penang and KL to Singapore in 90 minutes.
And of course, there are many, many more such projects being carried out right now as part of the ETP.
Like it or not, our lives will be impacted by these projects. The way we live, work and play will all change.
So, what are we gonna be like in Year 2020?
To answer that question, the team behind PEMANDU created an online personality test, so
we can experience for ourselves what things would be like in the future.
For example, if I own a house in the future.
And I fill it up with an air-conditioning, an energy-efficient fridge and a hybrid car.
I would be scoring some good rebates and be exempted from paying import duty on my hybrid car.
Or, if I need to get around KL.
I can save money and avoid the traffic jams by taking the trains.
Even the heavily polluted Klang River will be transformed into a vibrant waterfront.
At the end of the test, I’m told I’m an "Early Burt".
I find this most amusing. Possible career paths: Famous viral video blogger.
Watch out, PSY.
Wanna know your results? Try out for yourselves at www.etp.pemandu.gov.my/citizen2020
“Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak has called on all Malaysians to support Datuk Lee Chong Wei in his efforts to lift the first Olympics gold medal for the country.
As a show of support, his wife, Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor will be flying to London on Saturday night.”
Sometimes I wish I was Najib’s wife too.
For the first time in Malaysia’s history, the Minister of Women’s Affairs is a man.
Obviously in Malaysia, it’s not okay for a non-Malay to be Prime Minister, but is perfectly fine for a man to become the Women’s Minister.
I am in Vietnam for one week volunteering for Operation Smile.
This is my very first attempt at volunteer travel, and the reason why I ended up here in Vietnam is quite unusual.
A couple of weeks ago, I was fitting up my new Invisalign aligners at mydentist.com.my at Jalan Ipoh, KL when Dr Melissa and Dr Foo asked if I would like to join them in Vietnam for an Operation Smile mission.
Unlike the travels I was used to in the past where I simply spend all my time visiting tourists sights that I forget months later, this trip to Vietnam different. Volunteer travel is all about is more about doing something charitable, while at the same time experiencing a different culture together with the locals.
Before meeting Dr Foo, I have never even heard of Operation Smile. Of course, without knowing much, I didn’t promise them anything right away. After all, I get approached by armchair activists all day long to "spread awareness" and with dubious charity organizations like KONY 2012, one can never be too careful.
If I have to contribute my time, I must choose very carefully who I work with.
Although not very well-known in Malaysia, Operation Smile is a 30-year-old non-religious not-for-profit medical organization that provides cleft lip and cleft palate repair for free to children in underprivileged conditions worldwide.
It started when the founders went to the Philippines for a cleft lip repair mission, but had to turn away many patients because they did not have the resources to take care of everyone.
Operation Smile is a legitimate charity organization, run by medical and non-medical volunteers, with audited financials published for all to see, without a religious or political agenda hiding beneath what they are trying to achieve.
Their only cause is to bring high standards of dental care to patients who cannot afford it.
The thing that impressed me the most about Operation Smile is the high standards that they applied for themselves. Even for dentists who want to volunteer, the screening process is tough.
Dr Melissa explained to me they had to submit their resume to Operation Smile to be screened. Unlike some charity organizations, Operation Smile only let medical professionals with proper credentials come on board, and not just accept any Tom, Dick and Harry.
I had no idea how well-run and organized Operation Smile is until I arrived Hue city in Central Vietnam together with Dr Melissa and Dr Foo.
We are the only ones from Malaysia. The other 30+ people in the team are comprised of practising dentists, retired dentists and dental students from the United States and a group of very passionate local volunteers who took care of our logistics.
Hue is where Operation Smile left their first footprint in Vietnam, more than 15 years ago.
Their presence is felt strongly here following the establishment of a 4-storey dental hospital.
The Hue Odonto-Stomatological Hospital is where our team is basing at for the following 5 days. This is where the medical volunteers are offering free dental screening and treatment to hundreds of children in and around Hue.
Although they are just volunteering, both the medical and non-medical volunteers are incredibly passionate about what they do.
Quite often with charity missions, there are bound to be a couple of volunteers who either complain about this and that, or compromise their standards when it comes to safety and documentation.
There is no such behaviour here. Everyone is genuinely working together towards a common cause.
Every morning, the volunteers wake up bright and early at 6am, breakfast at 6:30am, be at the hospital by 7:30am and finish everything by 5pm. In between, we squeeze in team meetings, bonding sessions, education sessions and meals.
Despite the long hours, the spirits are always high and mood is always so positive.
The patients are selected from orphanages, schools and doctor referrals.
These kids form a team of 5.
First, they meet with the dental hygienists. They were given a goodie bag containing a toothpaste, toothbrush and a Potato Head toy sponsored by Hasbro.
Dental Hygienists Lucinda and Madeleine’s job is to keep spirits high and teach those kids how to brush their teeth properly in a fun way.
Some of these kids have never held a toothbrush ever before in their lives!
Next, they are ushered one by one to see a dentist for oral screening.
Here, their teeth are inspected and the form of treatment required are written down on a form. Because of the severity of some cases, sometimes the dentists had to recommend 3-4 teeth to be pulled out at one go.
That experience has gotta be terrifying for some of the 7 year olds!
The main operating room is where all the action is!
This is where 10 pairs of dentists and assistants work concurrently on 10 dental chairs laid side-by-side. One by one, each child is led onto the dental chairs where these team of dentists will carry out the treatment recommended by the initial medical volunteer.
The whole thing worked like a well-oiled machine.
Each day, over 100 children received dental education, oral screening and went through appropriate treatment done by some of the best dentists from Malaysia and USA, using world-class medical equipment generously sponsored by their suppliers.
It wasn’t just the medical volunteers that got all the action. Some of the non-medical volunteers have big heavy roles to play as well.
This is Rachel.
Rachel is the logistics coordinator for Operation Smile from Massachusetts, USA and has been working with Operation Smile for close to a year.
Originally a political science graduate, I asked her what inspired her to get started with Operation Smile. Rachel mentioned that when she graduated, she decided that she wants to work for something meaningful, something fun, something medical and something global.
And you cannot get any more global than Operation Smile.
There’s an incident in Ghana that left a lasting impression on her.
In Ghana, Operation Smile’s base of operation was set up at the capital of Ghana of Accra. Word was spread out all over the country to gather children needing cleft lips surgery.
There was a 9-year-old girl born with a cleft lip who heard about this.
Problem is: she came from a minority tribe and cannot speak a word of the local language. Her father was not around and her mother had to stay back to take care of her siblings.
Without any adults to accompany her, this 9-year-old girl took the leap of faith.
She a long distance bus out from her village down to place she has never been to in her entire life – just to meet with the team from Operation Smile.
It is courage and bravery like this that inspired Rachel to continue her work with Operation Smile.
Today is only the second day I am in Hue with Operation Smile Vietnam. Although all I had was a glimpse, already I am pleasantly surprised with the work Operation Smile Vietnam is doing.
What can be more precious than giving children the ability to smile?
Operation Smile is not in Malaysia yet.
Hopefully, if all goes well, Dr Melissa and Dr Foo too will be able to bring Operation Smile into Malaysia, so that Malaysian children born with cleft lips can also get the help they need.
Wanted to write about this topic for a while, but then I got carried away with work.
Recently I had to interview a round of job applicants for some positions I was hiring.
I was looking for sales consultants and an administrative assistant to join my fitness centre. These are entry-level positions good for fresh graduates, and I was looking forward to resumes from – maybe – business or hospitality grads in my inbox.
Ultimately, I didn’t end up hiring any of the fresh graduates, but that’s another story altogether. *remind self to blog about the atrocity of fresh grads*
But what surprised me was that in amongst the 20 over resumes that I received, a few who applied were actually Bachelor degree holders.
Not only that, they were degree holders in… Engineering.
An engineering graduate applying to a become a sales consultant at a fitness centre. Are you kidding me?
Is he gonna make a robot greeting customers at the front desk?
It sounds almost as ridiculous as a blogger opening a fitness centre.
Not that I have anything against engineering degree holders. In fact, I am one of them. Lim peh right here holds a Bachelors Degree in Electronic & Communication Engineering, with Honours.
Which is really just a fancy way of saying "Hey look, I am holding a piece of paper that I spent 5 years in university working on, but acherly I donch really know what it was all about!" 😀
I got a theory with regards to students, in particular MALAYSIAN students, who study engineering at universities.
Kenny Sia’s Theorem On Malaysian Engineering Students: "99% of Malaysian students who do engineering at university do it because their friends/parents/government ask them to, not because they really want to."
I’m serious. If I could have a dollar every time I see an engineering graduate getting a job in something COMPLETELY unrelated to what he studies, I’d be so rich I could buy a fake $5-billion dollar boat made of gold and dinosaur bone.
I know it’s true. I am one of them.
My parents spent hundreds and thousands of dollars sending me to an overseas university, and I end up writing a blog and running a gym.
What a waste of time. What a waste of money.
I’m surprised my parents hadn’t disowned me after I wasted so much of their money on my university education.
It’s quite sad to think that the best thing I did in uni was joining the university gym. If I only knew which career path I’d take, I would never have picked electronic engineering. I would do something more related to what I am doing right now – like a commerce or hospitality degree. Why the hell did I choose to study engineering in the first place?
I blame it all on society pressures.
What to do? I was fresh out of high school when I was forced to make a decision on what course to do at university.
I was 17. How the hell do I know what I want to do for the rest of my life? I never had the chance to see the world nor explore my interests. Yet at 17 I was put in front of a university brochure and forced to make a AUD$100,000 decision.
My parents being parents are more than happy to comply. In Malaysia, there’s no such thing as a "gap year" like in Western countries, where kids after high school take a year off to do travel or volunteer work as a means to discover their interests, before continuing on their university education.
In Malaysia, kids must go STRAIGHT to college or university after they finish high school. Never mind the fact that most universities/colleges are privatised money-guzzling business entities now. In Malaysia, if kids don’t go STRAIGHT to university, they must be delinquents and therefore failure in life.
So what do I do?
I chose the so-called "safest" career option – engineering.
Why? Because back in the 1990s, Mahathir encouraged everybody to study technology.
Why? Because we got MULTIMEDIA SUPER CORRIDOR. And CYBERJAYA. And MULTIMEDIA SUPER TUALAMPA. And apparently everyone who study engineering will make a lot of money.
Tell me which one of Malaysia’s richest men have an electronic engineering degree?
When you think about it, it is so sad. University is so expensive, so important as a pathway in a person’s career development. Yet so many of us rush into deciding on what course to pick when we really have no idea what we want to do straight after we finish high school.
In the end, all we’re really doing is going to university for the sake of going to university.
By the time we find out how much we hate the course we’re doing, it’s too late.
Next time when I have kids, I’m gonna force them to take a gap year travelling or volunteering to find out where their true passion lies before they enrol into University. Aft
er all, if they are gonna be spending my money on their university education, they may as well do it right.
Don’t want them to end up like me – studying so hard for a piece of paper that I never ended up using.
Parents, please don’t rush your kids to go university for the sake of going to university. If they decide wrong course at University, die lah.
Might as well go Uneverstudy.
Someone must have forgotten to update his photo since like… 8,000 years ago.
Another election, another erection.
Everytime an election comes around, a sex video tape pops up. On the day the Sarawak state assembly is dissolved, a "Datuk T" emerged, producing a video alleging "someone who looks like Anwar Ibrahim" getting jiggy with it with "someone who looks like a Chinese prostitute".
To that I say, how do they know it’s a prostitute from China? Maybe it’s his "personal friend" leh?
Suddenly, everyone is pointing fingers to everyone. Fingers are pointed to Anwar, saying he is not fit to be a leader. Fingers are pointed to Datuk T, for broadcasting pornography.
Heck, even Chua Soi Lek pointed his finger to Anwar urging him to admit his wrong.
Then I wondered. How come no fingers are pointed to the China woman for prostitution?
I also dunno. Welcome to Malaysia.
Predictably, Anwar and his supporters got into super defensive mode.
Anwar claimed that the person in the video has a big tummy, and he does not. He also claimed the video was fake, and his face was superimposed on another person.
Well, ladies and gentlemen. The speculation ends here.
Guess what? After a lot of phone calls, texts and e-mails, I managed to get my hands on the controversial Anwar sex tape.
Here it is, revealed finally, on kennysia.com
Datuk Tua Liap Sia
Have anyone ever noticed that when an airplane lands at the airport, someone knocks on the door on the outside before someone on the inside opens it?
Sometimes I wonder how come they are smart enough to make a 50-ton aircraft fly… but not smart enough to put a doorbell on the outside?