Thursday, August 17, 2017

My life journey from zero to something with zero debts - Part 1

Hi, I am a "kampung" (village) girl who was living in a very decent life. My father was a crane operator at Port Klang, one of the busiest port in Malaysia. He earned around RM2000 per month or maybe more when it plus with his overtime pay. We lived in a very average standard of living where what we have were all the necessity, nothing extraordinary or luxury. We went shopped once a year near to Hari Raya (Aidilfitri) and that was the only time we had a chance to eat or dining out. My father's principle was simple never have a debt, therefore most of the time he only spend on what he has. The only thing that my father bought with loan was his middle cost single storey house which now giving him monthly rental of around RM300 per month. My father bought his cars were all with cash, therefore he only bought used cars. His first car was a mini minor car which was then given for free to a lucky man whom he knew interested so much with he considered as junk. Ermm....even though he was lucky, but my father kept the grant document of that mini minor with him and now it is with me.

This is how the mini minor looks like for those who never saw it before. 

The 2nd car he bought was Toyota KE 20. He bought it for cash and no commitment to pay monthly installment. That car was very nostalgic as that car he used to send me to my college (ITM) in Dungun when I did my Diploma and continued its merit until I finished my BBA (Bachelor Business Administration) in UiTM. I drove that car daily to school and work after graduation. 

The 3rd car he bought also with cash , zero commitment. Our daily expenses were very decent as with that salary he earned, he has to ensure that monthly commitment were fulfilled without failed. My mom was very helpful, as a home manager she understand my father's sacrifice and condition who travelling 30km daily to earn money and feed us. She was selling savory to the school canteen caterer and yearly she sold "rempeyek" and "tumpi (a traditional snacks) for Hari Raya. I myself was selling crackers at school based on order to get some pocket money. So, basically that's decent was our life back then. I was adore my father in his home financial management principal "Never spend more that what you have and avoid loan". At his very average income he managed to open "Tabung Haji" account for all of us and made a monthly deduction into our account. Yes, I used that money to further my study. 

Because of my father was decent, I always keep myself reminded to hold the same principal in managing my self financial. How I grew actually formed my expenditure pattern. Even though, sometimes I have extra, I will always reminding myself and ask myself whether it necessary prior deciding to spend. 

My first job was with a small company supplying audio visual product to language lab. It was owned by a young Singaporean man. My first salary was only RM400 per month, that was after my Diploma before I further my study in UiTM in mid of 1997. After I finished in  my study mid 1999, I was worked at chandelier and ceramic showroom owned by a Datin. I got the job because I did my internship there and was offered to work there. My salary there was only RM800. I remembered , it was hard living with RM800 and living in Kuala Lumpur and sometimes travelling almost 120km daily to work. It was depressing, sometimes I had to get loan from my father to work. I feel ashamed but what can I do for survival back then? Luckily I have father who really understand my situation , and supported me financially even though he had no intellectual advice for me back then. At one point of time I felt so depressed and decided to find job at my hometown. 

I managed to get a job as assistant marketing at a computer shop and part time tutor at the training center owned by the owner of the computer shop, a local Indian entrepreneur. My salary was only RM700 a month but I have no choice since I need to be working and live at my parent's house to cut down my cost of living by avoiding paying monthly rental for room and travelling cost. It was a very depressing life until at one point of time I feel helpless and shameless. I was then resigned due to feeling guilty working with I thought has taken an advantage on others as it was against my principle. I did part time job after that. During the jobless period I prayed hard and seeks Allah's guidance to get a new job and ease my life.

I used to go to the park back then, there I released my depression and it was one day I felt that I really dissapointed with my life and cried deeply in that park. But time taught me about redha and accept whatever given by Allah. All the hardship may have good in returned, that's His promised. 
One day I was asked by my friend  to submit my resume for a ticketing officer position at Sepang International Circuit. I didn't mind about the position, I just grabbed the opportunity. Alhamdulillah I was accepted and started worked with SIC in 2001. 

The first event was F1 2001 and I was asked to in charge for the on-line ticket and the first task was attending a meeting that discussed about the crashed F1 2001 website. It was a very big challenged, as I had zero knowledge about IT. There was when I first met my husband who was an IT consultant for SIC. Nothing was discussed and non of the words came from my husband that I understood. But I tried hard, he he.... . It was the greatest start of my working life. It's my first working experience after my university that has built my confidence as I was exposed to an International world by attending to an international customers from all around the world. I learnt a lot about human behaviour here. How motorsport fan behaved at the track , human passion, people with their attitudes,characters,  people with their ambition, their dreams, their hard work, the struggle, the lost, the success, and all about human. Sepang International Circuit is the first real life university for me, thanks to the management of SIC on that time that practices an open concept management with strong team work spirit.  The knowledge and experience working with SIC that has groomed me to be an independent worker that the my employers after SIC gained that advantage that I had.  After I attended the University of SIC, I can work independently and became multi tasking. That skill I brought along when I attached to the new companies.

If at SIC I carried 2 tasks at one point of time, at MRCB I was given a lot more tasks besides my Marketing job as a Marketing Executive. I was the advisor for the event cum the decorator for the event cum van driver to buy a carpet for the event, A coordinator for marketing promotion activities, the leasing person ( until my peers called me a landlord lady), supportive staff for the subsidiary company until being absorbed to the subsidiary without changing the position at the headquarters HR (voluntarily forced) and last but not least internal ISO auditor cum Chief Internal Auditor. Sounds grand but in reality you work just for "job satisfaction" without rewards. Tired but I was Ok as I like the work and I like myself got busy with work. For me without working life is lifeless, nothing, zero.   And now, I am a full time housewife living abroad pursuing my Master in Management and my passion in art and zero liabilities. How did I get rid of all my liabilities? By working hard before I didn't get the chance. So I worked very hard to own my own apartment, my own car, my eveything that I had with my own money without a single cent I asked from my husband before I quit my job in 2014 when I had to follow my husband moved to Saigon, Vietnam. I then sold my apartment that gave a very good profit to me and I've settled all my loan without my husband or any other family members' help. All by myself. But I always believed that rezeki Allah is everywhere for us to find and always there is rezeki for us. We work, we pray and we "tawakkal" and Insha Allah, Allah will always give what He has wrote for us. 

Friday, September 16, 2016

Saigon Before and Now

My first time visited Vietnam was in 2009. During that year I did not see any tall buildings as yet. As I remembered, we just shopped at Ben Tanh Market, Saigon Square, night market  and at small small shops and boutiques at the old shop buildings. We went to Cu Chi Tunnel , Mekong River , and war museums while some of us who a little more adventure they went to water puppet show and massages. It was an authentic company trip as compared to we have in Kuala Lumpur at that time.

In 2013 I went to Ho Chi Minh again , but this time with my small family, my husband and my daughter. It was last minutes arrangement and we went to view Shakira's new school. It was more like an induction session for my husband who was transferred here in Ho Chi Minh for a work assignment. We were there for 3 days 2 nights and it was during the New Year celebration. That time I saw not much differences from the first time I came to Ho Chi Minh. I only saw few new tall buildings but not as tall as buildings in Kuala Lumpur. The traditional concept restaurant with very low chairs (looks like squatting when you sit on it) and very low table were still occupying old buildings to cater working peoples around the city.

2014 we arrived Ho Chi Minh in August while my husband came earlier in February. I was impressed when I saw new high raise building were under construction in the town center. I was wondered why were the expats were residing in District 2 (Quan Hai) instead of District 1 (Quan Mot) where there were not much of shopping mall were built in District 2. There are only Parkson and METRO in District 2 which are located in An Phu area, while most expat are residing at Thao Dien.

Most of International Schools are in Thao Dien and only one International School near to An Phu that is AIS Thu Thiem campus. Shakira is schooling at AIS Thu Thiem campus which is AIS main campus as it housing the kindergarten, the primary and the secondary.  In 2014 the apartment that we currently occupying was just opened and not many people residing in. In front of our apartment there was an empty land where you can see a lot of cows and there were few huts on that empty land. There are only 3 apartments near to our apartment including one apartment that attached to Parkson.

Now in 2016 , there is one giant mall were built in just less than 2 years called Vincom Mega Mall as big as Subang Parade to add varieties and options to expats living surrounding areas withing District 2. I can see a lot more new restaurant  with modern concepts were built along the roadside towards to our apartments. From only 2 traditional coffee shops now more new concepts restaurants were builtto cater the communities surroundings the area. The recent development is the new opening of new mix development of apartments, office and commercial buildings behind our current apartment. I can see now their MRT developments through our windows and as I walked through their exciting city are in progress and completing soon. MRT will mark their economic level are now competitive among the ASEAN countries.

As conclusion,Vietnam is developing rapidly like was Malaysia in 1990's and their people are now struggling developing their country and nation  via the economic activities. This rapid development will push their economic going upwards in fast phase. However, this development shold be monitored closely on its quality in terms of product , services, deliverable and holistically. Otherwise people would have perception Vietnam as the 2nd China ( very good economic growth but well known of their imitations and low quality products).

As Malaysian I'm still proud born as Malaysian. "Happy Malaysia Day" to everyone in Malaysia.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

New Journey

May 2016 - I am now ready to pursue my Master Degree in Management. I have registered with Open University Malaysia to do the course. I'm a bit nervous as the course is full online. I never experience of learning out of class and far from lecturer or tutor but I think it's a new challenge for me to study alone at home with assistance of gadgets. 

As an encouragement my husband bought a new macbook pro for me. It's really boost my spirit to pursue my dream now. It's quite interesting after many years never attend lectures and now I start the routine as a student. Now I feel better and fair for all of us. I said it's fair because now I have things to do that can benefits me even though I just staying at home the whole day every day. My husband go to work everyday to earn money for us, my daughter go to school to learn and gain knowledge and go online study to gain knowledge . Now our time are fulfilled with benefitted activities.

Thanks Allah for all His plan for us. 

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

K-Pop Controvesial Concert

I am not a K-Pop fans but I was attracted to response on the controversial that happened on their concert. I didn't realize that there are many of Malay (mostly Muslims) K-pop fans as I thought most of the time that their fans are Chinese or non-Muslims. First I wish to bring the fact that :
1. Most of  Korean they don't understand other culture and other religion especially the Islamic culture
2. The singer was invited to perform and at his best he wants to satisfy their fans' wants. He will do whatever possible to satisfy their fans wants and dream. to be close possible to the fans as that what the fan expected when they watch a concert of their idol singer, they want to be closed to the singer as it will be memoir for their lifetime.
3. The organizer is just organizing the event and will not responsible to the singer's performance and also "adab" by the fan or spectators. Who are they to control over individual's "adab"
4. The spectators came to the concert to have fun, to see her favorite singer perform and as possible to get close to their favorite singer.
5. As a  Muslim we are discourage to seek entertainment  especially when without mahram for girls /ladies. But again weak Muslim will choose to go for the sake of entertainment as long as it does not get us "alpa".

Therefore, I believed those Malay ladies in hijab (which I believed they are all Muslims) went there for the sake of entertainment, however they were "alpa" as they were too excited. At the stage of too excited people tend to loosetheir mind  control over their action. They were too excited when they managed to get closed to their idol / favorite singer and because of they were too weak and not perfect they have loose control over their mind and act beyond the boundaries of Islamic practices. We can't blame them as a human we are all imperfect and always weak in all aspects but it was not an excuse for us  to use our brain to make a choice. They have choice of not allowing the singer to touch them but because they did not use their brain to control their action, therefore they have gone beyond the boundaries of Islamic practice. However, there are no specific punishment over the "alpa" people like them. The only purest judgment over their action is only Allah. There are no such punishment mentioned in the Quran over the "Alpa" or "Lalai" people. The best that we can do is to give advice and give guidance on "adab" when seek for entertainment. The most that I don't understand about the authority action is why there is a double standard of judging people's action. How do they justify their judgment over action that purposely did for the sake of entertainment which is against the Islamic practice and under the controlled mind, not in the condition of "ALPA" or "LALAI" but it may drive people to become "ALPA" and "LALAI"?. And wondering why the authority has to blame the other unit / people who were not responsible to control over others?. If the authority thinks that what has been organized is not good for the people , why don't they stop it or develop a rules to avoid the things to recurrence?

A part of all had happened I wonder what the non-Muslims will think about Islam. Don't you think it will give a bad impression on Islam ?

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Halloween Party at AIS Vietnam , Friday Assembly and Supprise Award for My Daughter

This week was a very busy week for me since Parents Friends Group of AIS Thu Thiem (PFGTT) was organizing the Halloween activities for the primary kids at AIS. The event was held on 31 October 2014 at Block F of AIS Thu Thiem campus. on the 31 October 2014, The Halloween event started as early as 8.15 a.m and the event was so full with primary kids and activities. I can say it was a successful event for us ( PFGTT) as the group was just formed in a less than a month old which has been initiated by one of the parent, Ms Shiela and has organized such an amazing activity for the kids of the school.
Besides The Halloween activities in the morning, there was a mass assembly for the primary student in the afternoon. All parents were invited to event as kids were performing as well as few other activities such as announcement by the teacher and student award. Today was such a lucky day for me and my daughter as this was the first time I attended an assembly and  my daughter was performing her karate recorder and the more surprise was she had received a student awards due to the improvement in class as well as her contribution to her class. I was so proud with her.

Such a great day for me.....

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

New Mode of Transport & New Friends

On the 7th day we were here my husband bought a folding bicycle for both, me and my daughter with an intention to explore Ho Chi Minh with bicycle or for a light shopping from a nearby supermarket called BigC at Parkson. It was fun. We took a taxi to the shop which was located at the opposite of our area. It is located at the expats area which full of American and Europen. The owner of the shop I believed is American from the English accent he has.

Only him attended to all customers who came to the shop. I saw 2 local ladies but hardly speaks to customers but one of them maybe the partner as the 'Mat Salleh' man was keep talking to her. After minutes of surveying the bicycle we then decided to get folding bicycle for ourselves. White for me and Black for Shakira.

Here are Shakira with the "Mat Saleh" who sell the bicycle.

On the 11th day we were here, Shakira has started her school. The first time she took a school bus to school. On her first day to school I made a friend to a Korean family who send their daughters to the same school with Shakira. The 2nd day Shakira went to school I made a friend to a Philippine lady, a fulltime housewife like me. Her husband is working with INTEL and has been in Vietnam for 5 years. I invited her to our house and had a chat with her. She has 2 daughters and a son and her kids also going to the same school with Shakira. The 3rd day Shakira went to school I made another new friend, A Singaporean lady who married to a Norweigian and she has 2 sons a 2 years old daughter. She is currently has a business and only Tuesday she spend her day with her kids. She gave me  lot of useful information.

Well, life is getting interesting here. Hope I will make more friends here.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Today 6 August 2014 : Boycotting Israeli's Product Vs Consuming Local Product

Today 6 August 2014. As usual I woke as early as 5.30 a.m to perform solat subuh.Then I prepared breakfast for my husband. Like yesterday I prepared tuna sandwiches for his breakfast and for him to bring to office and not to forget a mug of coffee.

My husband will usually go down to the lobby 5 minutes before 7a.m as his company's car will pick him up at around 7.00 a.m. Once he went to the lobby, I will started sweeping and moping the floor and prepare breakfast for myself and my daughter. Today I prepared fried noodle for our breakfast. Normally I will get my daughter to have her breakfast before she start anything else such watching tv or doing her homework.

After finished our breakfast, I get ready to go to the residential management office to check the shuttle service schedule to town. We welcome pleasantly by the receptionist at the counter. The lady who attended me was hardly speaks English, so she wrote down what she understood to get my confirmation. However, she was very pleasant and helpful.

After I've done at the residential management office, I decided to drop by at the groceries shop. There, I looked for flour and some others little groceries shopping. It is very hard to find HALAL products. Now I becoming more concerned and detailed in choosing goods. I will take sometimes to read the ingredient before I place it into my shopping basket. Today I managed to get HALAL flour and sauces. Why is it hard to find HALAL Malaysian product or product from other countries here in Ho Chi Minh? I think here people in Vietnam is so Nationalist and they consume only their product.

Sometimes I was thinking that boycotting Israeli's products is not an issue if we are into local products and if we practicing purely Malaysian lifestyle. Here, in Vietnam I noticed we can hardly found imported products. We foreigners in this country having difficulties to find our local products here in Vietnam or imported products from other "Mat Saleh's" countries that we used to consume in our country. Most Vietnamese I noticed, they like to consume their local product rather than imported one. Only 20% of imported product can be found at Parkson (1 in district One and another one in District 2, which I have shopped there), and most of imported products are to cater the need of foreigners who lives in the surrounding area.

We Malaysian I noticed easily following trend of other countries especially Western countries. Eating fast food was one time become the city lifestyle, then followed by dining at the branded cafĂ© like starbuck and Gloria Jeans Coffee. At one time most Malaysian favor to eat at the concept restaurants like Plan B and etc which still offering Western cuisines with the reason behind it, eating healthy food. Hey eating healthy doesn't mean we have to eat western menu, Malays menu also has varieties of healthy food. Its us to choose and not food to be blamed offering unhealthy food.

If we don't choose western menu as our lifestyle, we still can eat and not getting hungry right?. Some people choose to only eat Burger and they choose McDonald or Burger King for their main meal. But without burger you still can eat meat and bread. You still can eat meat by eating satay or rending. If you are talking about healthy food, Jamie Olivers , the young and famous celebrity chefs has worked so hard to work on his campaign to banned fast food and he won case over McDonald years ago, and yet some of Malaysian still consume what he classified as rubbish. Only recently due to the GAZA conflicts, Malaysian realized that they should boycotting the products that has relations with Israeli's move to destroy Palestenians which Malaysian should have realize years ago by not consuming or discouraging the consumption of any imported products from other country. Besides we should promote and do campaign on consuming local products.

In my opinion, I would prefer to launch local product campaign rather than loudly campaigning on boycotting Israeli's products. It is a reverse and silent technique of boycotting Israeli's product. A silent economic action to kill Israeli's economic. If we can consume 90% of local products, what  another10% can give to the Israeli's economy?. I believed by spearing the boycotting campaign out loud will only give  negative impression and threatens to us and to the country. Yes we have to support GAZA and Palestinians, but we have to take a smart move to oppose Israel.

Maybe a drop of my opinion is wrong and it just my own opinion that I wish to share with all.

Just imagine "Orang Kampung" who lives in the village that doesn't has fast food chain? what they can boycott? pepsi?, coca cola? Do you think "Orang Kampung" really drinks those type of drinks? I believed they prefer kopi O or Teh Tarik.