Monday, December 31, 2007

Survey by Singapore Sunday Times on Singaporeans

Singapore Sunday Times did a survey on Singaporeans concern. This would show what are in the mind of Singaporeans in this high inflatiion market.

Q1. What concerns you the most, cost-wise?
23% - Transport
15% - Housing
12% - Health Care
11% - Food
36% - All of the above
3% - None of the above

Q2. How are you coping with the increased cost of living?
30% - Look for cheaper alternatives
19% - Take the bus and MRT more, drive or take taxi less
15% - Eat out less or shop less
14% - Postpone buying big-ticket items
6% - Cut back on holidays
16% - Nothing. Comfortable now.

Q3. Are you planning to buy a new car next year?
14% - Yes
86% - No

Q4. Are you planning to renovate or upgrade your home next year?
20% - Yes
80% - No

Q5. Are you planning to change jobs next year?
31% - Yes
51% - No
18% - Maybe

Q6. Are you planning to increase your holiday expenses next year?
27% - Yes
73% - No

70% expect a pay rise in 2008, with close to half believe that they will get S100 to $300 more, and 23% expect a raise of $300 to $500.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Cornell Undergrad Admission Rate 1980-2007

Found the statistics of Cornell University Undergraduate Admission at a Cornell site . So, decided to tabulate the acceptance rate for the last 28 years for comparison.

1980 - 5456/17007 (32.08%)
1981 - 5375/16992 (31.63%)
1982 - 5588/17923 (31.18%)
1983 - 5837/18207 (32.06%)
1984 - 5856/19486 (30.05%)
1985 - 6034/19848 (30.40%)
1986 - 6112/21025 (29.07%)
1987 - 6193/21075 (29.39%)
1988 - 6012/21765 (27.62%)
1989 - 6033/20088 (30.03%)
1990 - 5979/20210 (29.58%)
1991 - 6240/20328 (30.70%)
1992 - 6428/20324 (31.63%)
1993 - 7171/19227 (37.30%)
1994 - 6668/20076 (33.21%)
1995 - 7050/20603 (34.22%)
1996 - 6878/21004 (32.75%)
1997 - 6715/19854 (33.82%)
1998 - 6837/19860 (34.43%)
1999 - 6561/19949 (32.89%)
2000 - 6172/20199 (30.56%)
2001 - 5861/21519 (27.24%)
2002 - 6133/21502 (28.52%)
2003 - 6334/20441 (30.99%)
2004 - 6130/20822 (29.44%)
2005 - 6621/24452 (27.08%)
2006 - 6935/28098 (24.68%)
2007 - 6503/30383 (21.40%)

Acceptance Rate went down for the first time in 1986 (I don't have data before 1980 to calculate), when it hit 29.07%.

In 1988, acceptance rate dropped further till 27.62%. That's a new low.

Over the years, 1993 seems to be a good year for applicants, when Cornell aceptance rate went up to 37.30%.

This new low was only broken in 2001, a good 13 years later, with a new rate of 27.24%. That's the year I applied. :(

And then for the last 3 years, the acceptance rate has been going down significantly. For 2005, it was 27.08%, and then 24.68% for 2006 and 21.40% for 2007.

Would this year break the barrier of 20%?

So, it seems that getting admission to top universities in U.S., like Cornell is getting tougher and tougher.

You can calculate acceptance rate for each college as well in the link above. It does not have breakdown of Early Decision and Regular Decision though.

Save Money for US Unis Applications

Andrew Loh from Swarthmore wrote about For the Kiamsap: How to Save Money In US College Applications in Tin Kosong.

Do read it up! It could be useful to you too, and help save a few penny.

Jit Sin tops Penang for PMR 2007 Results

A follow up from my earlier post of PMR 2007 Results .

Thanks to Yoke Peng who posted a comment at my earlier post and share with me more detailed results.

Managed to find out from Kwong Wah Jit Poh and Kwong Wah Jit Poh - Jit Sin about the results of Penang State.

My alma mater, Jit Sin (same as Yoke Peng's) managed to score 209 8As for PMR. That's 16.29% of total 8As in Penang State! Total 8As in Penang State is 1283. Total students at Jit Sin is 604, so the total percentage of students who get straight As are 34.6%, well above the national rate of 5.9% or Penang State rate of 9.14%.

Penang State is also the state with the highest percentage of students scoring straight As for PMR. There are 1950 students with straight As (501 7As, 1283 8As and 166 9As). Penang Chinese Girl High School has 207 students getting 8As, Butterworth Chung Ling has 111 students getting 8As. SMJK Krian has 20 students getting 8As. If anyone knows of results from other schools, do feel free to leave the results in the comment!

5 schools from Penang State also scored 100% passes, and again Jit Sin falls under the selection! Congrats! Besides Jit Sin, SMK Tun Syed Shahabuddin, SMK Dato Onn, SMK Bukit Jambul and SMK Sri Nibong. I am doing translation from article in Mandarin, so if there is any error, please kindly point out.

More full results of Jit Sin:-
Total Students - 604
8As - 209
7As - 116
6As - 64
5As - 60
Passing Rate - 100%

% of students getting A in Malay Language - 61.4% (up from 40.5%)
% of students getting A in English Language - 61.4% (down from 76.2%)
% of students getting A in Mandarin Language - 74% (similar to last year)

Syabas Jit Sin!

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Be A Volunteer for World Congress of Information Technology

After Barcelona, San Francisco, Copenhagen, Tokyo, Toronto, Paris, Washington D.C., London, Yokohama, Bilbao, Fairfax, Taipei, Adelaide, Athens and Austin, Kuala Lumpur will be the host of the 16th World Congress of Information & Technology (WCIT) on 18th to 22nd May 2008.

This would be the biggest and most important conferences that Malaysia is hosting, perhaps after the CHOGM and ASEAN + Regional Partners summit that we have hosted. This would be the biggest gathering of world's thought leaders in Malaysia. We are expecting 2,500 world leaders from corporate and government to attend.

Many prominent figures have confirmed their attendance! This would be a great way for us to gauge how far we have gone since our launching of Multimedia Super Corridor.

WCIT also opened its door for volunteers. Those of you who are interested to sign up, go to here . You would get RM80 a day for your volunteer as well. It would be great learning experience.

Great Performance at Copenhagen Masters

Our national badminton team seems like going to be able to close 2007 on a high note.

Mohd Fairuzizuan Mohd Tazari-Mohd Zakry Latif has managed to storm into the final for Copenhagen Masters, after thrashing former world champions Lars Paaske-Jonas Rasmussen 21-19 21-15, and then beat Mathias Boe-Carsten Mogensen 18-21, 21-16, 21-18.

They are expected to play against another Danish pair, Jens Eriksen-Martin Lundgaard Hansen in the final. If they win this, it would be their first international tournament win!

Both our national single player has also been performing well. Roslin Hashim beat Dicky Palyama 21-16 21-16.

Kuan Beng Hong beat Wacha Przemyslaw 18-21, 21-11, 21-16 ,before losing 17-21 16-21 to Peter-Gate Christensen.

Syabas our national shuttlers!

Visit Malaysia Year 2007

Visit Malaysia Year 2007 came to almost a close now, with 2007 almost ends.

What is the outcome of VMY2007? The target set was 20.1 Million visitors for 2007, and with 1 more week to go, Malaysia has attracted a total of 20.7 Million visitors. Looks like we are going to end 2007 with 21 Million visitors.

That is a huge number of tourists. Essentially, for every 1 Malaysian, we attracted 0.8 foreign tourists who came to visit Malaysia, be it on a day trip, or a lengthy month-long vacation.

Coincidentally, as I was watching Channel News Asia here in Singapore, Singapore has just received its 10th Million visitor of the year. So, now, Singapore has also crossed their milestone of 10 Million tourists a year, in a tiny island.

Are we doing better? Would both the countries be able to synergize effort to bring more tourists?

Lets hope we are able to do so!

To all foreign tourists, we welcome you with open arms - Selamat Datang!

Wong Mew Choo

Since I was young, it has always been that when anyone in Malaysia mentioned about our badminton team, we mean our men's team. We are talking about Thomas Cup. Be it Single or double, we have never focused on our women's team.

And in 2003, Mew Choo brought some limelight back to our national women's team, when she won an unexpected Women Single's title for Sea Games. And then in 2007, she won the China Open Super Series. That means she thrashed the Chinese athletes at their homeyard.

The Star did an interview with Mew Choo. You can get it here

Full text reproduction here
Every country needs a heroine

Each time Wong Mew Choo enters a badminton competition, she is fully aware that she represents each and every Malaysian. And she is determined that all of us emerge victorious in the world arena.


MALAYSIAN badminton has a new heroine and her name is Wong Mew Choo. The 25-year-old national shuttler caught the attention of the world this year when, unseeded, she vanquished Chinese female badminton players including World No.1 Xie Xingfang in the final to win the China Open Super Series title in November.

(Mew Choo is the first Malaysian woman and the second non-China player to win a woman’s singles title on Chinese soil since the tournament began in 1986.)

Meeting Mew Choo face-to-face, one is surprised that this dragon slayer is kind of ? small.

After her fantastic performance in China – she is the first Malaysian woman in three decades to have won a major title for the country – an Olympic medal in badminton now looks like a distinct possibility.

“I could not have done any of this without the support of the country and the Government. When you know you have the rakyat behind you, it is very energising,” explains Mew Choo when asked what motivated her.

Nobody, not even her teammates, thought she could win. Of course everyone was over the moon when she did the “impossible”. But Mew Choo is no overnight sensation.

She has been “in service to the country” for the past 10 years.

“I did my Form Four under the umbrella of the Badminton Association of Malaysia at Sri Garden School in Taman Maluri.

“The BAM gave me lots of opportunities – all the training and coaching. They also sent me to a lot of competitions for exposure. I think it was at the SEA Games in 2003 when I won the gold that they took real notice of me.

“For me it was a surprise win but my life took a turn from that day.”

Mew Choo is mindful that representing the country is serious business.

“You have to try your best and never give up. I remember how we tried to get me qualified for the Olympics in 2004.

“We did our best but did not have enough time. It was only a few months. My world ranking when I started was in the 100s, but I managed to work my way up to 46. However, that year the Olympic selection closed at 42!”

So it was back to training under Misbun Sidek. “He is a great coach. I owe him a lot ? my fitness and competencies. He knows exactly how far to push me.”

Today, she trains under Wong Tat Meng. That is the other amazing thing about being part of the national team.

Mew Choo says she learnt to interact with all races easily. To her, her teammates very simply are Malaysian – representing the country everywhere they go.

Training and back-to-back competitions have taken a physical toll on her, though.

“There isn’t a part of me which hasn’t been injured; my ankles, heels, knees, elbows, shoulders. But the medical care is good and I’m grateful for that.”

Mew Choo does not mind all the sacrifices she has to make.

“I don’t get to see my family very often. When we are playing in meets, we are away for months at a time. And when we return to Malaysia, sometimes it is only for a few days before we are off again.”

Despite all that, she remains close to her family. They are the ones she calls after every competition – win or lose. “Of course, they are happy when I win but they are equally supportive when I do not.”

When she is back in Kuala Lumpur, she hardly has any time to herself because she trains six hours a day, every day.

Where many young people her age are focusing on making money and advancing their careers, she is quite simply proud to be able to be a national badminton player.

“My parents are very proud that I am representing Malaysia. I’m grateful to them as they have supported me all the way. From the time I expressed interest in the game, they were always there for me – shuttling me from game to game, investing time, effort and money to help me. When I was injured, they were the ones who paid the medical bills.”

In other countries, sports stars get paid a lot of money for endorsements. In Malaysia, most national players do it for a more altruistic reason as they are not allowed to sign on for endorsements.

Mew Choo says it is the backing of the BAM, National Sports Council and the encouragement of the public which has helped her to stay the course. After all, the petite young woman has been playing competitively since the age of 12.

“Badminton is something I am good at and I am grateful for this talent although I know I have to work doubly hard to prove that Malaysian sportswomen have got what it takes to be world champions.”

She believes that whatever progress or success she achieves is only the start for Malaysia. “We can do more. We can be winners.”

Today, Mew Choo has made every Malaysian believe that the impossible – the All-England, the Thomas Cup and the Beijing Olympics – may well be possible again.

UPenn joins Need Blind Universities

After Harvard, Princeton, Yale, MIT, Williams, Middlebury being need-blind universities, University of Pennsylvania joined the chorus. UPenn would initiate with an initial phase of need-blind for admission of Fall 2008 and will become full need blind institution from Fall 2009.

Thanks to Xiang Li for blogging on it, and from there, I manage to google and find Official Info from UPenn on this matter.

This would be great news for everyone who intend to apply to UPenn!

Full write-up copy from the link of UPenn above.

December 17, 2007

Penn Expands Financial Aid Program to Eliminate Loans

PHILADELPHIA -- The University of Pennsylvania today announced a far-reaching new financial aid initiative that will eliminate loans for financially eligible undergraduate students regardless of family income, making it possible for students from a broad range of economic backgrounds to graduate debt-free.

The new program is the latest step in Penn’s effort to widen access for students from all economic backgrounds, expanding its no loan program beyond low and lower-middle income families to include middle and upper-middle income families. Currently, one-half of the approximately 4,000 Penn undergraduates who receive aid have a loan as part of their need-based financial aid package. The new initiative will substitute grants for loans for all Penn undergraduate students who are eligible for financial aid.

“This is a transformative moment for higher education and for Penn,” said Penn President Amy Gutmann. “Making a Penn education accessible to exceptionally talented students from the broadest array of economic backgrounds possible is fundamental to our mission. No longer will students need to think twice about applying to Penn for fear that they will emerge with overwhelming debt. This represents a tremendous commitment—and enormous investment—on Penn’s part to increasing access for thousands of students. Talented, hardworking young people should not be deterred from pursuing their dreams for fear of being a financial burden to their families.”

The new Penn program will be phased in beginning September 2008, and will include all eligible undergraduates, not just entering freshmen. Effective that year, students with calculated family incomes under $100,000 will receive loan-free aid packages, while families above that level will receive a 10 percent reduction in need-based loans.

By fall 2009, all undergraduate students eligible for financial aid will receive loan-free aid packages, regardless of family income level.

“We have previously addressed the needs of low income and lower middle income families, but now must respond to the needs of our middle and upper middle income families, who are facing the highest levels of debt,” Gutmann said. “We want to send a clear message to them that Penn is committed to supporting them as they seek to provide the best educational opportunities for their children.”

Gutmann said the new initiative will be financed in large part from funds raised by Making History, The Campaign for Penn, the University’s five-year, $3.5 billion fundraising campaign, which includes a $350 million goal for undergraduate financial aid endowment.

Penn currently spends more than $90 million per year of its resources for grant aid to undergraduate students. When the new initiative is fully implemented, that figure will increase more than 20 percent, to more than $110 million.

“For many years, the Trustees have made the affordability of a Penn education a high institutional priority. The total elimination of student loans as part of our aid package is a critical next step in that process. We are pleased to join President Gutmann in supporting this important new program,” said James Riepe, chairman of Penn’s Board of Trustees. “The Trustees are committed to the funding of this initiative and are excited about the impact it will have on thousands of our students. This is a proud moment in our institution’s 267-year history.”

Of the handful of other colleges and universities that have adopted no-loan policies in their financial aid packages, Penn has the largest undergraduate enrollment (10,160).

Since 2003, Penn’s undergraduate financial aid endowment has more than doubled. Endowment income, however, can fund only 17 percent of the cost of the current aid program. The balance of financial aid funding comes from the University’s unrestricted operating budget. Both undergraduate and graduate financial aid are priorities for the University’s Making History capital campaign.

The new initiative expands Penn’s long-standing commitment to its need-blind admissions policy, which means students are accepted based on academic achievement, regardless of their ability to pay. Penn guarantees that any accepted student who matriculates with demonstrated financial need will receive a financial-aid package that meets the full extent of the student’s need for a full four years. Fewer than 50 private institutions across the nation have need-blind admissions policies and even fewer have financial aid based exclusively on need. Penn does not offer athletic or merit scholarships. Forty percent of Penn’s undergraduate students receive need-based financial aid from the University.

Penn also has recently launched a new outreach program targeting hundreds of schools and thousands of students from low and middle-income families -- who might never have considered applying to Penn -- to let them know that if they are accepted to Penn, they will receive a financial aid package with no loans. Penn is already seeing success in its efforts to improve access for lower income families, with a doubling of admitted students with family incomes under $60,000 in the last year.


Early Decision/Early Action

With many interests on the statistics of Early Decision/Early Action, let me try my best to compile on this statistic as best I can.

Admission rate:-
Stanford University - 738/4551 (16.22%)
Yale University - 885/4888 (18.11%)
Columbia College - 455/2162 (21.05%)
Brown University - (22.6%)
Columbia School of Engineering & Applied Science - 142/420 (33.81%)
Williams College - 223/600 (37.17%)
Duke University - 472/1247 (37.85%)

Haven't managed to find the admission rate for other universities. If anyone has any stat, do let me know.

Other Stats:-
William College - average critical reading 711 and average math 706. 29 applicants with SAT1 critical reading full score and 14 with SAT1 math full score. 50 with SAT2 Math full score, whereas 19 with SAT2 Writing full score.

Friday, December 28, 2007

PMR 2007 Results are out

PMR 2007 Results are out, and a total of 469,401 students took PMR in 2007. The total number of straight As have improved significantly to 5.9% from 4.5% last year. This essentially means about 27,668 students get straight As in PMR. This is really a very large number of students.

Total As for subjects that I get to know from The Star include Bahasa Malaysia which has 26.7% of students getting A (compared to 22.5% last year) and 14.8% of students getting A in English (compared to 15.5% last year). This is the 3rd year of decline for English and this is a cause of concern.

In terms of students answering their Mathematics and Sciences in English or a mixture of English and Bahasa Malaysia, the % for science went up very marginally from 55.1% to 55.5%. This is definitely a cause of concern. For Mathematics, the statistics are not disclosed and I won't be surprised if it is a drop, as often MOE would disclose this statistic.

SK Assunta showed a high % of students scoring straight As, at a high of 25.1%.

As of now, I haven't managed to find results for my alma mater.

Election Commission (EC) Chairman to continue for another year

Tan Sri Abdul Rashid, the current chairman of Election Commission (EC) has just signed another year of contract to stay as the Chairman of EC, to be the man-in-charge for our General Election, which should happen in 2008.

Tan Sri Abdul Rashid has been the person in charge for 6 past General Elections.

This election has been in the forefront of everyone's attention, as we are going to see the mandate of Pak Lah, since he became Prime Minister in 2003. Barison Nasional won an unprecendented 90% of seats in the last general election and it would be interesting to see whether this alliance would be able to deliver similar results for next year.

Bank Lippo and Bank Niaga to merge

Khazanah Nasional Berhad would be conducting feasibility study to merge its two Indonesian banks to comply with Indonesia's new regulations. Khazanah has a 93% stake in Bank Lippo, the 10th largest bank in Indonesia (with total asset of 33.4 trillion rupiah) and an indirect 64% stake in Bank Niaga (through CIMB bank), the 7th largest bank in Indonesia (with total asset of 46.5 trillion rupiah).

The merged entity would become the 6th largest bank in Indonesia. It is expected to have more mergers as well, as Temasek Holdings & Indonesian Government are facing such issues as well to merge their holdings in Indonesian banks.

Malaysia ranked 4th for investor protection

In the latest ranking by World Bank and International Finance Corp on Investor Protection, Malaysia ranked a high of 4th position, just behind New Zealand, Singapore and Hong Kong. Malaysia finished ahead of regional powerhouses like Japan, Taiwan, South Korea and China.

Countries were judged based on three indices of investor protection, comprising the extent of disclosure, extent of director liability and ease of shareholder suits where all indices range from 0-10, with higher values indicating more protection or greater disclosure

Malaysia had scored a perfect 10 for extent of disclosure, an equally impressive nine for director liability and seven for shareholder suits.

The report also suggested that starting a business in Malaysia next year would take a shorter period of 24 days compared with 30 days previously, although dealing with licences would remain the same at 25 days.

Cheah Soon Kit resigns and joins KLRC

Another national player, or rather ex-national player, who is also our National Women Doubles' Coach has left our national team.

Cheah Soon Kit, who was part of the winning 1992 Thomas Cup team, has tendered his resignation to Badminton Association of Malaysia.

He would be joining KLRC under Datuk Seri Andrew Kam.

Start-Up@Singapore - An Insider View of Silicon Valley

Came across this talk from facebook .

This would be a good talk to attend, especially for those who live in Johor or Singapore. I would be attending this talk too!


Start-Up@Singapore’s first event of the New Year brings together individuals that have played a key role in forging ties between Singapore and Silicon Valley. Over the last decade, “technopreneurship” and “creative chaos” have become buzzwords in a country where years of government planning and a conservative social environment have somewhat blunted the risk-taking spirit. Join Tom Kosnik, Eric Tachibana and our invited GLEAN Leaders to learn more about how Singapore-based entrepreneurs can and are contributing to the transformation of this country’s entrepreneurial landscape. Is the Valley’s model suitable and desirable for Singapore? Will venture capitalists here ever be more comfortable investing in high-tech start-up companies rather than prime real estate? More importantly, how do we reinvent the stigma attached to failure as something akin to a badge of honour? All your burning questions and more will be answered in this exciting event brought to you by Start-Up@Singapore.


5 January 2008

3.00pm to 5.00pm
Registration starts at 2.00pm

Engineering Auditorium
9 Engineering Drive 1
National University of Singapore
Singapore 117575



- Tom Kosnik
Tom Kosnik is a Consulting Professor for the Stanford Technology Ventures Program (STVP) at the Stanford School of Engineering. He is also on the Board of Advisors of the Business Association of Stanford Engineering Students (BASES) and the National University of Singapore Entrepreneurs Association (NUSEA). He has provided guidance for the Stanford Entrepreneurs' Challenge since 1996 and numerous other business plan competitions since 2000. Tom has worked with over 100 start-up companies since 1978. He also provides consulting and executive education to global companies in imagination-intensive industries. Some of his past clients include American Management Systems, Apple Computers, Applied Materials, Electronic Arts, Ericsson, Ernst & Young, Genesys, Hewlett Packard, Microsoft and Nuance Communications.

- GLEAN Leaders
The Global Leaders, Entrepreneurs and Altruists Network (GLEAN) aims to create a more peaceful world by helping entrepreneurs, leaders and altruists across cultures and generations find their respective paths, earn each other's trust and join forces for the common good. The network promotes the building of trustworthy networks to create true value in our shared hope to save the planet while sharing the wealth.


- Eric Tachibana
Eric Tachibana has been an entrepreneur for the last 12 years creating, building and eventually exiting successful small companies in Silicon Valley, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and the United Kingdom. Today, Eric continues his entrepreneurial endeavors as an angel investor, strategic adviser and mentor to young, developing entrepreneurs. He has served as a Founding Director in 7 companies ranging from IT and F&B to retail and fashion. As an MBA graduate from NUS and an author of 7 books on technology development and innovation management, Eric continues to focus on blending academic rigor with experience and intuition-driven real-world execution.


CEO Series of Talks for Young Professionals - Tengku Zafrul

Tengku Zafrul, one of the most prolific young CEOs in Malaysia would be having a public sharing session with fellow Malaysians. I would really love to attend and hear Tengku Zafrul, but unfortunately I would be away in Singapore.

Hope that those of you who are in KL or neighboring area would make full use of this event.

The full article is follow:-
There will be a talk/ informal discussion by Tengku Zafrul Tengku Aziz, CEO of,who is one of the youngest upcoming CEO on:

Tuesday 15 January 2007
7.30pm to 9.00pm
Nikko Hotel Kuala Lumpur (TBC)

This will be part of what is to be called the CEO Series of Talks for Young Professionals. Attendance is open to anyone who is interested, and it will be free of charge. The series of talks will give opportunity for participants to meet the best CEO's in this country first hand, and also to network amongst each other.

To confirm your attendance, please send email stating your full name,company or organisation you are from and your contact details (mobile number) to -

Khatijah Rahmat:

Do email her for any queries.

For Tengku Zafrul's profile, go to:-

Click here for Tengku Zafrul's blog

Touching Experience

One of my Senior Managers went to India to contribute to the community, while working with my firm, as part of a special program to strike a balance with corporate social responsibility.

I am very attracted by one part of her experience, which I would quote it as follow:-
"My day ends and I head home with my laptop and water bottle. We stopped at the traffic lights and two 10-year old street girls came on either side of the rickshaw. I waited for the pity and beg routine. The left girl cupped her palms and lifted it to her chin.

It was a profound moment. I’d made a stand not to contribute to street kids as it encourages them to remain at this instead of seeking employment or education. The green-eyed girl said ‘panni’ and pointed forward. Oh, she wanted water. I poured water into her palms which channeled to her mouth. She was dehydrated and clean water tasted good. Both friends smiled in appreciation. A pause, they didn’t ask for money.

Something made me look into their eyes. I saw serenity, sincerity and bliss. They were poor; they wore rags and were barefoot. What are they so happy about? I observed the scene around – same expressions.

I flashed back to friends around the world. I don’t see the same. We move around constantly planning for the future, mental to-dos and worrying if we’ve enough saved. Yet now amidst extreme poverty, I see people who are ‘in the moment’, smiling, just getting through today. We’ve made life so complex that ‘living in the moment’ is hardly experienced.

I’ll remember this forever. Let me live in the ‘now’."

This definitely gives us hope on human beings, on the softer side of people. We shouldn't prejudice when we see people begging around. I myself made the mistake once at Kelana Jaya LRT. I saw two young girls approached me, and I thought it would be like the typical people who beg for money at LRT. I said no to them, and later they approached another guy, and I found the guy bought two tickets for them to ride LRT. Apparently, they needed a ride on LRT, as they ran out of money. I really did badly on that, as I should have come forward to offer to do that.

Ivy League Admission Rate

For those of you who wanted to know more about Ivy League admission rate, at least for those who entered last year, I find that Hernandez College Consulting has a very good database record. You could refer to the stats here .

This would allow you to have a high level understanding on the level of difficulty of entering the universities of your dream. It focuses mainly on the Ivies (Harvard, Princeton, Yale, Cornell, Columbia, Pennsylvania, Dartmouth, Brown), MIT, Stanford etc. So, for those of you who have aspirations for those universities, it would be something for you to read through. They have some statistics on Early Decision too (although I haven't found the statistics for this year).

Interestingly, they also have something called Academic Index Calculator. This would give you a rough understanding on whether your SAT and your high school results are sufficient for applications of these universities. The full score of these are 240, with average Ivy League admits are 211, and average Ivy League applicants are 200. This could be used as rough guide. For international students, I would hope that you would aim to be much higher than the average 211 as well. To access it, go to here

Application to U.S. Universities

Yes, the season is ending. 2007 is almost over, and yes, recently I have been saddled by tons of application essays, from many fellow Malaysians, who are giving their best shot, to earn themselves a ticket to study at their dream universities, be it the ivy-coated institutions or any other top notch institutions in U.S.

I have been reading thousands of application essays over the past 7 years or so, and that has definitely given me a peek into the life of many Malaysians. Many of them have gone through tons of experience and they are just 17,18,19 or 20 years old. I really don't imagine myself having those abilities during those days. It is good to see many of them have a heart for community, have a heart for the unpriviledged ones, have a heart for the environment etc. At least, they state so in their essays and I hope they would keep their words.

Reading those essays, I would say that I have definitely noticed a significant improvement in the quality of essays over the years. Gone were the days, when the essay is more plain, and merely follow a story line. If I were to have a copy of my own application essay, I would say that mine would be no where near many of those which I have read.

Among those students who have approached me to read through their essays, I would say that generally most of them are appreciative of what is a volunteer work on my part, in the middle of night, be it I am healthy, sick, busy or free. It is the joy when many of them got their admission offer and share the news with me, that have kept me going.

I would share their joy, as well as sadness. It is my pleasure to do so. Thanks for allowing me to be empathy with many of you. I wish I have tons more of time to do this, as this is definitely my passion, but I have to say that with so many essays up for me to read through, typically my feedback would be just a paragraph or so of comments for each essay. This is quite a bit of stuff already, since most people give me quite a few essays, and I have read through many drafts of their essays.

Would like to really comment on those who really put in efforts to improve their essays. I know that quite a number of them are upset over their SAT score. I can understand your scenario. Do try your best to improve it in January SAT. I know it is past deadline, but if you never take it, you would not improve it. If you take it and do well, there is chance that you still have time to send it to the universities and bring upon their attention.

All these are subjective ones, so your significant efforts would be reflected in your applications. Your hard work of applying, with your dedication to make your applications complete would be worth it. Even if you do not manage to get into your dream university, I would say that the process of application is a lesson by itself. You struggle through many of the late nights trying to think through on how to improve your essay. It is not easy.

And getting into university is just the first step. I often like to tell those who shared me the good news, that getting in is the first step. What is crucial is how they make full use of the opportunities. Irrespective of the universities one gets in, one would still have tons of opportunities out there, as a lot of those opportunities do not care where one studies.

Good Luck to everyone~! Hope to see more good news this year~!

And for those whose essays have been read through by me, and I gave you my comments, I hope that you would take it positively. It is just a feedback from a fellow Malaysian who has gone through the process. Nothing more than that. Do seek others' feedback too. And I am a very direct person, so if you have been getting negative comments on your essay, I am sincerely doing that, hoping that you could improve and enhance your chance.

Fly Off to Ann Arbor

Would like to wish many of Discover U.S. Education - KL '07 committee members who would be starting their new phase of life in U.S. at University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. This would be a new step in their life.

Would like to wish all of them a safe journey. If I am not wrong, among those who would be going include:-
Bu Chuin Siang
Mok Zi Yi
Ng Kah Loong
Sharon Seh Han Yiau
Sim Lee Yung
Sutha Kanagasingam

Would sincerely apologize if I left out anyone or add anyone's name accidentally.

Thank you very much for your contribution to Discover. Hope that those few months of tough work would be great experience for you, and I am sure those experience would come in handy when you are there and try to get yourself into any organization in campus or outside of campus.

Getting into university is just the first step, and hence, I would like to strongly encourage you all to make full use of your opportunities. All of you have 3 years, and hence 3 summer break to make full use of. Do try your very best and don't waste it! I am sure you would make good use of it.

If you ever need any opinion/feedback, do definitely let me know. Would be more than happy to share with you~!

Good Luck~! Bon Voyage~!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Malaysia ranks 21st among students in US

Malaysia ranks number 21st among countries which send students to U.S. This is not a ranking of the quality of students, but rather the quantity. It points out number of Malaysians who have gone to U.S. to study for tertiary education. Among the Malaysians there, 24% did post-graduate degree.

To read in full, I would strongly recommend that you go to Education Malaysia to read the comments from Kian Ming.

There is also a report by The US based Institute of International Education (IIE) which recently published a report on foreign students in the US. To read it, click here

It highlighted that University of Southern California accepted the most international students at a total of 7,115. Columbia was second at 5,937. This is followed by New York University (5,827), University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (5,685), Purdue University (5,581), University of Michigan - Ann Arbor (5,429), University of Texas at Austin (5,303), UCLA (4,704), Harvard (4,514), Boston University (4,484), and University of Pennsylvania (4,484).

Malaysia and Iran inks a USD16 Billion deal

SKS Ventures, headed by Mokhtar al-Bokhari signed a landmark USD16 billion deal with Iran's Pars Oil and Gas Company (POGC) to develop Golshan and Ferdows gas fields in southern Iran.

This would be the largest energy deal in Iran. Some $6 billion is for development of offshore and $10 billion for development of onshore gas fields for a period of 25 years.

Hopefully, SKS Ventures would be able to deliver well on this project and keep up the good name of Malaysia in Middle East. Hopefully, this would also trigger the ripple effects of even more investment from Malaysia there.

To read the full news, go to Associated Press

theCicak eBook

For those of you who haven't read it, you should really download the eBook from theCicak on a bunch of unsung hero out of theCicak 50 Years 50 Heroes competition.

Congratulations to:-

First place: Debbie Wong who wrote on Sarah Lasung. Read it here
Second place: Gabrielle Chong Yong Wei who wrote on Ping Xuen . Read it here
Third place: Clement Chan who wrote on Brandon Chan . read it here

Gabrielle also won the People's Choice Award.

Heartfelt thanks to Yee Hoong for writing this


Not sure why, but since this evening, I have been saddled with a flu and a little feverish. Not sure how it started, but it seems to make me feel weak. Should be fine. No worry, but it has been quite some time I get hit by general sickness and now this is hitting me...

Hope I would recover soon :)

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Singapore's Inflation

With the feeling that everything has increased price over the recent past and it has been hitting various economies, especially in Asia.

Singapore, for one, has its Consumer Price Index (CPI) increased to 4.2% in November 2007, which is its highest level for the past 25 years.

Food price grew 5.2% over last year in November. Transport and communication grew 5.6%. Housing grew 2.9% and recreation grew 4.1%.

For full article, go to Bloomberg

The increase above hasn't even included the huge increase for the taxi fair since last week.

Nowadays, we see lots of cabs waiting for passengers, instead of the other way around. A lot of cab drivers have been complaining about the challenges to get customers, as customers now would try to avoid taking cab unless necessary.

Was passing by Orchard MRT at midnight on Christmas eve, and it was a surprise that not many people were at the MRT station. Does this signal the tightening of people's spending? Would this problem spiral widely?


Thanks a lot to many of you who have advised me to exercise and particularly to Lin Lee, who spent hours of her precious time advising me.

I have taken the first step out to do some exercise today.

Nothing much to shout about, but for me, that is a good first step. Hopefully, I can shed a few kg out of my hefty weight and make myself living healthier. The excess body weight/fat that I am taking is not healthy and would take its tolls to me in the long run. I might as well start take concrete actions to solve the problems. Thanks Lin Lee for being "strict" and point out that I shouldn't be using the word "try"... Whenever I say "try", it would not happen.

Would post it here, so that I would be able to "force" myself to go through the exercise.

I did about 18 minutes of brisk walking/jogging through the gym machine, with some uphill slope function. That managed to burnt about 180 calorie out of me. Not too much, but hopefully that would cut off about 10% of what I consume each day.

I did a 10-minute cycling at around 30-35km/hr. Did a total of 5.6km. So, I guess that would be another 80 calorie of so.

I did a little exercise in the swimming pool too. So, today, I finally managed to kick out about 250-300 calorie off me! Hurray!

A good website to know how many calories were brunt is here

Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas to everyone who is celebrating Christmas! Hope that everyone would have a nice festive holiday!

Thanks to Jiin Joo for organizing a get-together of fellow Malaysians at Guan Sin's place. Guan Sin, thanks for offering your place too. And manage to catch up more with people like Lin Lee, Chieh Suang, and also make a lot of new friends, including those who were from ReCom.

Among those are Xiang Wen, Ping Gee, Yong Sin, Vui Chieh etc. There are a few more, just that I couldn't manage to get their names right.

Definitely enjoy those moment, especially when we talk about the Malaysia vs Singapore, especially on bringing up children, taking up Singapore citizenship/permanent residence, and one thing interesting is that despite many of them having been in Singapore for many years, Malaysia is still their home sweet home. That's the place they call home.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Booth to highlight JPA Scholarships to Study Abroad

As part of the Youth 08 exhibition fair on 18th to 20th January 2008 at Putra World Trade Center, I would like to look for fellow Malaysian Chinese, who have gotten opportunities to obtain JPA Scholarships to study abroad, to share on your scholarships experience.

It would be a 3-day event from:-
18th January (Friday) 10am to 10pm
19th January (Saturday) 10am to 10pm
20th January (Sunday) 10am to 6pm

During those 3 days, there would be slots for seminar, which I hope would be able to get some of you to come ahead to share your experience, be it in your studies of medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, engineering, biotech, economics, actuarial science etc.

It would be part of MCA's booth at the event.

Please kindly contact me if you could help out. Even 1-2 hours of help during those 3 days would be more than welcome.

Lets try our best to share our experience with fellow Malaysians.

Teaching of Mathematics & Science in English

The Malaysian English language Teaching Association (MELTA) has recently organized the National Colloquium on Teaching of Mathematics and Science in English on 11th December. The Star is the Media Sponsor for this event.

During the event, a long series of discussions were held to discuss on the issues of Teaching of Mathematics and Science in English.

The full article is reproduced below. To get it at the original source, please go to The Star

Concerted effort needed


THE participants at the Malaysian English language Teaching Association (MELTA) National Colloquium on Teaching of Mathematics and Science in English, held on Dec 11 in Kuala Lumpur, drew up the following outcomes and findings:

They unanimously affirmed the role and status of Bahasa Malaysia as the national language, the primary language of administration, social integration, national unity and national identity.

On the necessity and viability of the continued teaching of Mathematics and Science in English, they were of the view that it is necessary to continue to teach Mathematics and Science in English because English is a global language and the language of technology. The knowledge of English in Mathematics and Science gives Malaysians a voice on the international platform. Learning the subjects in English at school assists students in tertiary education.
The practice of teaching of Mathematics and Science in English is viable because we have the resources, materials and expertise. We have a first-class plan but we need more time to effectively implement the plan nationwide. Our current efforts include preparing the manpower, e.g. giving teachers short courses.

As to what is gained or lost by continuing to teach Mathematics and Science in English, it was felt that by teaching the two subjects in English, teachers are providing a tool to access knowledge and continuous learning.
Students are able to access knowledge since 85% of the resources on the Internet are in English. They can become global players, highly educated and internationally comprehensible. They can gradually become more comfortable in using the language.

Schools become a conducive environment for the learning of Mathematics and Science in English. Collaboration among teachers in school is promoted when they work together to make the plan work and the country gains better human capital.

However, in vernacular schools, students’ proficiency in their mother tongues might be compromised.

As to what is gained or lost by reverting to Bahasa Malaysia for the teaching of Mathematics and Science, it was felt that students acquire more in their mother tongue as they are familiar with the language.
However, it was also felt that by reverting to Bahasa Malaysia we may lose in the international economy; we may lose our voices on the international platform; it would be a waste to stop now (a lot of money has been invested); and it will not do students any good, and they will struggle in their tertiary education and in their careers.

It was expressed that it is too soon to decide if continuing to teach Mathematics and Science in English will bring more gains or losses.
At the school level

Participants agreed that we will succeed in our aims and achieve our goals if we continue to teach Mathematics and Science in English, bearing in mind the disparity between urban, semi-urban and rural schools. This is on the following conditions:

Prepare teachers. Plan carefully and bring about changes gradually.

Encourage more proficient and experienced teachers to teach in rural areas by giving incentives, etc.

Increase exposure to the language.

Alter attitudes towards changes.

Achieve a lower teacher-student ratio: fewer students to a teacher so that the teacher can concentrate on the learners.

Increase training programmes to produce more qualified teachers; send in-service teachers for intervention programmes to improve teaching methods; lengthen training duration (stricter rules and regulations in order for teachers to be certified).

Get teachers to take MUET.

Build a love for the language.

Set up a buddy support system.

Monitor the progress of teachers with better mechanisms.

Strict action should be taken – reduce BISP if teacher is not up to level desired.

Encourage teachers to improve themselves. Offer courses continuously.

Make available clear targets for teachers to achieve (to measure their own performance).

Encourage specialisation among teachers.
The following were considered challenges confronted by teachers of Mathematics and Science in English:

Lack of proficiency in English,

Lack of content knowledge in English (terminology, concepts, etc),

Lack of ICT skills,

Need for adequate teaching courseware/handbooks/reference books,

Need to overcome psychological barriers: teachers are threatened by change, and

Need for support from administration.
To overcome these challenges,

Develop user-friendly handbooks to overcome proficiency problems.

Supply adequate teaching courseware/modules/reference books.

Provide well-maintained equipment and technical support.

Engage content specialists as trainers.

Provide motivational incentives: promotions, opportunities for action research, and reduction of clerical work.

Train teachers in language communication and instructional skills.
The following were considered challenges faced by learners:

Varying levels of illiteracy,

Lack of home support,

Parents who do not believe in the importance of English,

Psychological barriers,

Lack of experienced teachers,

Lack of relevant resources, and

Unsupportive environment, including society.
To overcome these challenges,

Inculcate good learning strategies.

Integrate knowledge; don’t pigeon-hole it.

Set up immersion programmes.

Motivate learners to change their mindset; administrators and English teachers should support the system.
Participants proposed the following strategies and methodologies for the continued teaching and learning of Mathematics and Science in English:

Further teacher training,

Teacher aids,

Teaching methods,

Assessment, and

Systemic support.
Training can be improved by

Conducting a needs analysis for teacher training,

Including Science and Mathematics teachers in planning teams,

Focusing on content not language per se, and

Making teaching and learning of Science and Mathematics fun.
Develop the following resources for teachers:

Handbooks on instructional delivery in English,

Templates for strategies (for students and teachers), and

ICT and other resources
Teaching methods that will support the teaching of Science and Mathematics in English include:

Inquiry and discovery,

Constructivism, and

Cooperative learning.
In addition, a buddy system (for both teachers and learners) should be set up. Empirical research needs to be conducted to study the effectiveness of classroom practice.

It was also expressed that we need to reduce exam-oriented teaching and learning, and use alternative forms of assessment instead.

Support has to be systemic; teachers and administrators have to agree and work together to make things work. More administrators with Science and Mathematics backgrounds have to be involved. In addition, the community has to support the plan.

As the community, teachers and learners become more accustomed to the practice of teaching Science and Mathematics in English, we should begin to focus on the "teaching of Science and Mathematics" and avoid highlighting the word "English" in order to take attention away from the language aspect and to concentrate on improving the quality of teaching and learning.

Looking at partnerships

The following outcomes were submitted with regards to what part the private sector and other stakeholders can play in helping to make the teaching and learning of Mathematics and Science in English viable and successful.

The private sector can support government efforts by sponsoring the following programmes:

Teacher Training Programmes – The private sector should play a role in helping the Government fund teachers to be trained locally and overseas. They can sponsor teachers to attend courses on immersion programmes and new teaching methods.

School adoption programmes – Adopt schools and support their learning and teaching programmes, including English language competitions such as song fests, writing and drama activities. Robotics competitions and reality shows are examples of possible activities.

Scholarships and other awards – Support successful students with lucrative rewards such as scholarships to study abroad.

Educational TV programmes – Broadcast media can sponsor programmes in order to offer a subconscious learning environment for the acquisition of English. These programmes must be culturally appropriate.

Teaching aids and modules – The private sector can sponsor materials such as reader-friendly materials (simplified books with less jargon, where the level of difficulty is taken into consideration). It can also sponsor the printing of textbooks and teaching aids for implementing new approaches.
The following were proposed as joint projects between the Education Ministry and organisations in the private sector, with the private sector helping to sponsor the following:

Community service,

Camps and workshops,

Training programmes to improve proficiency of teachers in rural areas,

Outreach to parents (to motivate parents to accept the important role of English in the real world),


Opportunities and places for students to gain practical experience through practicum, and

Other stakeholders, including parents and community members, can help in the following ways:

Parents, particularly those who are proficient in English, can involve themselves in school programmes.

Professionals (e.g., lawyers, engineers, doctors) can make motivational visits to schools to talk about how their knowledge of English has helped them attain academic and professional goals.

The community can set up homestays with the aim of encouraging the use of English.
Participants called for the involvement of stakeholders to support the teaching of Science and Mathematics in English to help ensure that the policy and government efforts reach everyone, thereby serving not just the best of our youth, but the whole nation.

Tax incentives can be offered to participating stakeholders, and a centre to coordinate government and private sectors will be beneficial.

MELTA will send these outcomes from the colloquium to the Education Ministry for its attention.

The Star is the media sponsor for this colloquium.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Life Behind the Scene in Cornell

For those of you who want to know more about life behind the scene in Cornell, do read up on Uncle Ezra

Good Luck on your applications to Cornell!

Congrats to Jia Wen and Ming De!

Congratulations to Jia Wen and Ming De for their wedding. Thanks for the invitation. It was a great experience attending a wedding of 2 fellow Cornellians!

Congratulations to a few weddings of Cornell Singaporeasn too! Alex & Patty, Kevin & Clare, as well as Yiwen & Zhi Yuan! Seems like Cornell is very good at encouraging marriage between Cornellians!

There are also 2 other Cornellians who have gotten married. Ziren and also Liqian.


Thursday, December 20, 2007

Cornell Early Decision for Class of 2012

Congratulations to Fu Ken Hui and Tan Sheng Hong for both being obtained admission for Cornell University College of Engineering Class of 2012.

Welcome to the Big Red! This is a great breakthrough for Malaysians, when we are having 2 fellow Malaysians who are able to successfully get into Cornell University through the Early Decision! Syabas!

To all applicants for Regular Decision, good luck!

Ken Hui and Sheng Hong, hope that both of you would make full use of your Cornell experience! Getting admission is definitely just the first step, and I am sure both of you would be able to make full use of the opportuities there.

To all who fail to get admission, I am sorry about it, but life goes on. Irrespective of which university you get in, do make full use of the opportunities there! It is not just about getting admission, but making full use of the admission!

Good Luck!

Mickey Mouse Land

Disney, the name synonymous with Mickey Mouse, has been a household name around the world.

Hong Kong Disneyland which was opened in 2006, had another bad year for 2007. Total visitors to Disneyland was a total of 5 million for the first year, and it dropped to slightly more than 4 million for the year of 2007.

Would 2008 continue to see a drop in total visits? This is quite a serious issues, especially with Billions being pumped in for the Disneyland in Hong Kong.

Would Disney be viable for the opening at Iskandar Development Region? Would it bring the necessary crowd? Would it be profitable? Would our local government's investment be too much in it, and eventually needed a bail out?

Can Disney even outperform Genting at the very basic? How about Universal at the Genting Integrated Resort? Can they do better?

A lot of questions, and all these investments would have to see whether the market here is ready.

Singapore exports drop in November 2007

Economy is crashing!!!.... "Run! Run! Run!"...

The effect of recession is starting already...

Singapore has also suffered quite a massive drop in their exports.

Exports dropped 6% in November, whereas pharmaceutical exports in particular dropped 21.5%. Semiconductor exports dropped 18.5%, whereas electronic exports dropped 8.2%.

The figure sounds so depressing, and this definitely tells us to get ready for a bad economic level soon.

Malaysia has also experienced export drop for the past few months. Things are definitely not positive. With oil prices continue to go up, things would get bad. Lets hope that things would not turn into horrible stage.

Maybank Lifestyle Branch

Maybank, the incumbent bank in Malaysia is taking a huge step ahead to set up Lifestyle Branch, where the bank branch would incorporate a cafe as well.

This would bring Customer Experience to another level, where customers would have a chance to get a Gloria Jean's coffee, together with doing their banking transaction.

Of course, there are challenges too, on whether the public would be accustomed to get a coffee and then sip, while they wait for the banking transaction.

How has customer experience transformed? Thailand has cafe together with their mobile shop. Would this sparkle a start for Malaysia as well?

Selamat Hari Raya Aidiladha

Would like to wish all my readers, Selamat Hari Raya Aidiladha. Hope that everyone would have a good time during this Hari Raya Qurban.

Lets have our prayers and thoughts on those flood victims in various parts of Malaysia. Lets hope that the flood water would subside soon, and less life would be taken from the flood victims.

Air Asia China's Connection

As a fellow Malaysian, who have full admiration of Air Asia, I would say that Air Asia's expansion has been a fascinating story for all of us. No one gave Tony Fernandes and his gang the chance, but they proved it. Today, they are carrying 16 million passengers a year. That's astonishing. A Malaysian-based start up that is very well-known around the world. People are looking at it, as the next Virgin. Talks have even surfaced about Air Asia purchasing Virgin Blue.

Air Asia has yet made another announcement. It is going to fly direct to Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport from our KLIA LCCT Terminal. This is yet another breakthrough. Malaysians would now have another destination that they can fly to at a cheap rate.

Currently, Air Asia is already flying 45 flights weekly from Malaysia to Macau, with 28 flights weekly from LCCT, 7 more from Johor Bharu, 7 more from Kota Kinabalu and 3 from Kuching. There are also 28 flights weekly from Bangkok to Macau.

Another 28 flights to Shenzhen, with 14 flights from LCCT and 7 more from each of Bangkok and Kota Kinabalu.

That's really lots of connections. It has definitely brought closer the business and tourism industry between Southern China and Malaysia.

I salute you, Tony!

And in the papers, after we have heard of Air Asia, Air Asia X, Tune Money, Tune Hotel, there have been announcement of Tune Talk and also this week on Tune Stores. Tune Stores are expected to open in Kota Kinabalu with a departmental store. This would again bring forward Tune's brand to everyone within Malaysia, and soon within Asia.

As we are talking now, 20 Tune Hotels are being under development and soon, it would become yet another Air Asia, where it is a huge chain of hotels around Asean. Soon, flying with Air Asia and staying at Tune Hotel would be a reality!

Indian Varsities in Malaysia

There have been 2 announcements this week on Indian varsities opening in Malaysia!

The latest one is the opening of a Dental School called Penang International Dental College (PIDC). This would be opened by Vinayaka Mission's University from India, with an initial investment of RM55 Million.

The campus would be built on a 10-acre land in Kepala Batas with a built-up space of 150,000 square feet and expected to be ready by September 2010.

This would have 250 dental chairs and is going to be one of the largest dental center in South East Asia.

Tuition fee is expected to be in the range of RM175,000, which would be a fraction of the cost of dental elsewhere.

The other announcement on education is for a campus named Premier International University to be built in Gua Tempurung, Perak.

The consortium comprises the Anna University in Chennai, the Tamil Nadu Dr M.G.R. Medical University, KLE University in Belgaum, Karnataka, the International Institute of Information Technology Hyderabad and the University of Hyderabad would be operating a university with courses in Medical, Applied Science, Management, Accounting and Information Technology.

Perak State Government (perhaps with other local partners) would own 51% stake of this university, and the university would be built at a cost of RM450 Million.

The 2 campuses would definitely further liberalize our education section and provide the needy manpowers/talents for our students. However, there is a need to ensure that the quality produced is at a certain high level.

On the name of "Premier International University", I would say that it is a very bad name. Although it is tentatively named so, I don't think that name would be able to really reflect such a campus. I would rather that it creates a branding from its source. A good local name could be what it needs and not those hype words like Premier and International, which brings zero added value to the university. It would just create misperception among the public.

Lets hope that these 2 universities would be successful to help develop our human capital for Malaysia, especially for medical and dentistry field.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Dr. Faiz 6 Months at ISS

Dr. Faiz Khaleed, our 2nd angkasawan is going to spend 6 months in International Space Station (ISS), to fully establish himself as a full-blown astronauts. This was reported by Utusan Malaysia and The Star .

The 6 month staying in ISS would enable him to conduct full-fledged experiments at International Space Station, as well as really be an astronaut or cosmonaut like those from NASA or Roskosmos (Russian National Space Agency). This 2nd trip to space would be held in 2011.

This would be our 2nd mission to the space, after the successful mission by Dr Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor, who was our 1st astronaut.

On the returns from this Space exploration, I would say that the best returns on investment would be on the soft side, where it would hopefully be able to create greater awareness on Space among fellow younger generations of Malaysians and from there encourage them to build up their knowledge of space and build up their nature of trying to find out new stuff or exploration skills.

All these would take time, but our 1st mission has created a lot of effects on Space learing in Malaysia. A lot of articles on space were produced for our newspapers during those days. People have been reading up much more on space. And also people would have learned a lot from those 2 weeks of dedicated space channel in Astro.

Tan Sri Sidek Hassan

I have to say that I am admired by what Tan Sri Sidek Hassan, Chief Secretary of Malaysia has done. He has definitely led by example and he has definitely delivered constantly to perform at a very high level.

Tan Sri Sidek, since being appointed to the top position of Civil Service, has taken to the task to transform our civil service. He has another 18 months to go, and he has been taking very serious steps to stem the problems of civil service. Many of those little napoleons have felt the heat from him, and he has no issue in publicly ticking those civil servants who fail to perform, and he would also provide fast promotions for those civil servants who perform well.

Tan Sri Sidek gave his email address to Malaysian public, to email him with any question/feedback/comment/idea. His email is . I have heard from several people who have emailed him with feedback and sometimes problems to solve, and he has always gotten those problems that often solved in months/years to be solved within a couple of days. He even responded to emails on Sunday.

I have heard him talk recently in a MIT Club of Malaysia Dinner Talk and I would say that it is very impressive.

Below is an article published in MCA website. You can click here to read.

The article reproduced in full is as follow:-

Lifelines cut – declared the headlines of The Sun on 12 Dec 07. Little Napoleans, long the bane of the civil service, now have cause for concern.

Their days as civil masters look coming to a halt as the Chief Secretary to the Government, Tan Sri Mohd Sidek Hassan has taken a firm stand in nipping the Little Napoleans at the bud.

While it has been commonly known that in the civil service, enbassies and even in the private sector, the “bawah kaki” can wield considerable power influence above their superiors, this is the first time that a government officer has openly voiced his displeasure with an earnest conviction, vowing to arrest this problems. “You think I don’t know in MPAJ, the clerks, the directors and the deputy directors are more powerful than the president? You think I won’t be telling them that after this that I will pull them out if they don’t change? I am very firm with this.”

It’s about time someone hammered the nail into the wall. Often time, underlings in government departments especially in state governments and local authorities wield so much power in that before any message or proposal reaches their bosses, or messages or directives from the superiors reaches the recipient, in between such instructions would either delayed, or not relayed for reasons known only to the messenger. In another vein, such Little Napoleans may even introduce slanted guidelines or policies which would serve to benefit a particular community or worse still, monopoly by a specific commercial entity at the expense of free and fair competition, especially where procurement of supplies and services are concerned. Unfortunately, such ugly practices breeds corruption, power abuse or self enrichment with no iota of public accountability or transparency at all.

We wish the highest ranking civil servant all the best in his endeavours. It is a daunting task, which may even shake people’s lucrative rice bowls, but someone has to rock the boat, if one really intends to see improvements, reforms and productive results in the civil service. The highest ranking government servant has also given his email, for contractors who failed to received their payments to lodge complaints with him. Sidek may even encounter subtle rebellion from within, but may he persevere and be resolute in carrying out his tasks to see an enhanced public delivery system.

In seeking to improve the public delivery system, the public ought not to dismiss the entire civil service as wanting owing to the behaviour of a few rotten apples. We should not lose sight of the improvements that have already taken place.

For example, this year, all government departments at the federal and state levels were instructed to ensure that payments to staff and service be reduced from 30 to 14 working days. This is one huge plus point for the civil service. Compared to the private sectors, while many commercial entities give out 30 credit terms, such a problem of poor paymasters or “besok-lusa” (tomorrow-day after) syndrome does lurk, whereupon the creditor would have to write off such debts as “bad debtors” in their accounts ledger, or if they can afford the time and inconvenience, commence legal action against such debtors.

With the initiation of the Special Task Force to Facilitate Business (Pemudah), a noticeable difference for the better in the public delivery system is in place.

The New Straits Times on 28 Nov 07 reported that in October 2007, state level offices were able to close 41,655 invoices amounting to RM 611.9 million within the revised payment time. In the same period, 93.6% of invoices amounting to RM 3.6 billion met the 14-day deadline in all 28 ministries while 62.3% were able to pay invoices within seven days. The Prime Minister’s Department closed 36,453 invoices amounting to RM 483.6 million in the say period, with 75.9% of the amount paid within seven days.

Take a walk to the Immigration office, having to wait one-month when applying or renewing one’s international passport is a thing of the bygone era. It takes only 3 hours at the most to complete apply or renewing one’s international passport at the self-help passport reader machine.

Refunds for overpaid income taxes would now take between 14 to 30 days opposed to one year previously.

Within the Companies Commission of Malaysia, registration of new business can be completed within 1 hour, while renewal of business licensing would take a mere 15 minutes unlike 1 day as before.

Factory owners will be pleased with the Business Licensing Electronic Support Services (BLESS) as approval for a manufacturing license has been trimmed to 23 days, compared to 40~50 days earlier on.

Senior citizens and disabled folks no longer have to wait in long queues to be attended to at government departments as there are special counters specially reserved to assist them.

- MCA Online -

Sunday, December 16, 2007

A1 in Zhuhai

After a poor outing in the first 2 or 3 races, Alex Yoong finally got his acts together, and Team A1 Malaysia is now able to put forth a better fight. He would start at 17th place for Sprint race and 8th place for Feature race.

While this starting grid position is nothing to shout about, this would at least give Alex Yoong a chance to fight competitively.

Does this season of poor performance due to the performance of the car? or Alex Yoong?

Good Luck to Alex and Team A1 Malaysia!

Korat Sea Games

Yes, it is official now. Malaysia ended our campaign at Korat with 68 Golds, 52 Silver and 96 Bronze to finish number 2 on the Medal Tally for the 24th Korat Sea Games. This is definitely our 2nd best achievements for Sea Games, with the exception of 2001 21st Sea Games in Kuala Lumpur, where we won 111 gold medals.

This is the best achieved Sea Games outside of Kuala Lumpur for us.

To the Malaysian contingent, Syabas!

There have been quite a few sports that have been doing very well, like Diving, Karate, Bowling, Equestrian, Rhythemic Gymnastic, Polo, Swimming, Lawn Bowls etc

And of course, some sports have been a letdown. Badminton definitely counts as one, with only 4 Bronze medals to show. Silat did badly as well, so do taekwando, shooting, sailing, weightlifting, bodybuilding, football etc.

We would hopefully be more ready by the 25th Sea Games at Laos in 2009.

Singapore Cab Rate goes up!

ComfortDelGro, one of the main cab companies in Singapore would be increasing its cab rate from 17th December 2007. Yes, it would hit me a lot, since I would be taking cab a lot!

The starting price would go up from S$2.50 to S$2.80 (that's a 12% increase)

For the follow on charges, currently it is S$0.10 per 210 meters till 10km, and then S$0.10 per 175 meters. In the new pricing, it would be S$0.20 per 385 meters till 10km and then S$0.20 per 330 meters. This would be also 7-8% increase.

For picking up from the CBD during peak hours, it increased from S$1 to S$3.

For peak hours charges, instead of the usual S$2, it would be 35% of the metered fare.

For midnight rate, it would become a flat 50% increase from midnight onwards to 6am, which is also another increase from previously. Currently, I think it is 10% surcharge from 11:30pm, 25% surcharge or something like that by 11:45pm, and then 40% surcharge by midnight and 50% surcharge by 12:30am or so.

Booking rate for peak hours drop S$0.50 to S$3.50.

So, lets see how much it is going to impact me, if I am going to take cab from Banyan Condo to Raffles City Tower.

Currently, it is around S$13 (including S$2 for ERP and S$2 for Peak Hours Surcharge).

So, guess the new rate would be S$10 (about 10% increase from previously S$9), plus S$3.50 for 35% peak hours surcharge and S$2 for ERP. This means about S$15.50 now, instead of S$13 or so. A 20% increase.

Yes. Inflation does happen across causeway as well.

MobileMonday Global Summit goes to KL in 2008

With Kuala Lumpur going to be the World's focal point during May 2008, with the organizing of the World Congress on Information Technology (WCIT). KL is the host of this Olympics of ICT, where the best brains in ICT will be gathered here in KL.

And besides ICT, MobileMonday, the global community of over 70,000 mobile industry visionaries and developers, will be organizing its 4th Global Summit in KL on 18th to 22nd May 2008, in conjunction with WCIT.

This would likely to bring the movers and shakers of all mobile companies, vendors etc to KL.

Check out the full news at

MCA goes into Youtube!

Malaysian Chinese Association (MCA) has been trying its best to reach out to fellow MCA members, as well as fellow Malaysians, especially the Chinese Community.

With the advent of internet and new media, MCA has also utilized YouTube to spread out to the people, including fellow Malaysians abroad.

Some of the YouTube have been added to include the speeches by many MCA Leaders. Among those YouTube include the ones by YB Dato' Seri Ong Ka Ting (MCA President), Datuk Ong Ka Chuan (Secretary General of MCA) etc.

Do go and watch these video and understand more on stuff that MCA has been working hard on.

The link to the video

From there, you can reach out to many other links to other videos.

Through these video, it would allow you to really judge for yourself the sincerity that MCA Leaders, especially YB Dato' Seri Ong Ka Ting, Datuk Ong Ka Chuan, YB Ir. Dr. Wee Ka Siong etc, in sharing their perspectives with the public.

I have heard them speaking in various events, and I would definitely say that I am very impressed by their sincerity to bring about positive changes for the Chinese Community in specific and Malaysians in general.

YB Dato' Seri Ong Ka Ting has put a limit of 9 years for his leadership and he has set forth a 9-point Party Platform which lists the 9 main priorities of MCA over these years. He has put in lots of efforts into Lifelong Learning as well.

For those students, YB Dato' Seri Ong Ka Ting has been the main person instrumental in obtaining JPA Scholarships for Malaysian Chinese. Since 1999, more than 2,000 Malaysian Chinese have successfully obtained JPA Scholarships and have managed to further studies abroad. These are all many of the contributions that YB Dato' Seri Ong Ka Ting have done behind the scene. I can definitely sense his genuine sincerity in bringing about chances in the society. He has since get JPA and Cabinet to agree to provide JPA Scholarships automatically to poor Malaysians, irrespective of race. For last year, all those who got 10A1s and above, as well as with family income below RM1,500, all of them get JPA Scholarships to study abroad.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Korat Sea Games Report

I just have a few minutes to blog, so going to have it quick.

First of all, Syabas to our national athletes to help Malaysia to finish Number 2 for the 24th Sea Games in Korat and also to achieve our best achievements outside of Kuala Lumpur for Sea Games.

As of now, we have gotten 67 Gold medals (although I haven't found where our 3 gold medals are yet for today, maybe they have counted the polo gold medal). As of end of yesterday, we got 64 Golds, 49 Silvers and 89 Bronze, making us tie with Vietnam on gold medals.

Today, Rhythemic Gymnastic has delivered 2 Golds 1 Silver and 3 Bronzes, with Ribbon event still running.

And another event is we are playing in Polo Final.

For Beach volleyball, we added a bronze and also we added a silver for team eventing for Equestrian.

The 67 Golds would mean we are tie with our achievements in 1989 the 15th KL Sea Games, and just behind the 111 Gold Medals in 2001 Sea Games.

Early Decision for U.S. Universities

Following my earlier blog on Early Decision Increase in Number of Applicants .

The D-Day of 15th December has arrived, and we have heard responses from students of various universities on admission.

For my alma mater, Cornell, it would only release the Early Decision Admission Decision on 19th December 2007 5pm Eastern Time.

Columbia is one of those early ones which has reports on their Early Decision. It is here at Columbia Spectator . A summary of it, shows that Early Decision admit rate drops from 24% to 23%, due to the 5% increase in number of applicants. That shows the number of Class of 2012 that Columbia takes in is stable and hence increase in number of applicants means decrease in admit rate.

Columbia College takes in 455 out of 2,162 applicants (6% increase applicants from last year) to make it an admit rate of 21%, whereas School of Engineering and Applied Science takes in 142 out of 420 applicants (1% increase applicants from last year) to make the admit rate of 33%.

US Visa Price goes up!

Inflation has been happening everywhere, and the latest spate.

US Visa for tourist, business and students visa has been increased from USD100 to USD131, to accommodate for the increased processing costs.

For immigrant visa, the price has increased by 6% from USD335 to USD355 as well.

All these increase would take effect from 1st January 2008.

Plea for Bangladesh Cyclone Victim

As many knew, tropical cyclone "Sidr" hit 14 districts of the southern coastal belt of Bangladesh on 15th November 2007. Sidr was one of the 10 fiercest cyclones that had hit the geographical area of present Bangladesh in the 131 years between 1876 and 2007. Devastation caused by Sidr is still unfolding. According to the latest info, death toll has reached 3,600. More than 1.5 Million houses have been fully or partially damaged and washed away by the tidal surge and the fiercest wind (250 kmph) of Sidr. The number of livestock destroyed are more than 1.6 Million.

70-90% of the standing crops in the area have been damaged. One-fourth(more than 4 million hectre) of the Surdanbans (the UNESCO heritage site and the world largest mangrove forest) has been damaged. Government of Bangladesh is making all-out efforts to tackle the aftermath of the devastation. Bangladesh Government institutions including Army, Navy and Air Force and International agencies are working round the clock to rehabililtate the cyclone victims.

Bangladesh High Commission, KL has opened an account under the name "Chief Advisor's Relief and Welfare Fund" at Maybank Account (514422206320) at Maybank Menara Perkeso Branch.

This is just the typing of the whole ads in Page 42 of The Star 15th December 2007.

There is also a Bangladesh Charity Bazaar for Cyclone Victims at Dataran Merdeka, today 15th December 2007 at 4pm to 9pm.

Do go ahead and help out the needy ones.

Friday, December 14, 2007

WHO Global Services Center

It's confirmed. After a tight bidding between Malaysia, Phillipines and India, World Health Organization (WHO) has selected Malaysia to be the center for WHO Global Services Center.

This center would be the center that would handle all WHO back room operations and would hire about 200 people, of which more than 90% would be Malaysians. This is a testament to the strong confidence of WHO on the ability of Malaysia, especially Cyberjaya, our own "Silicon Valley".

Since Datuk Badlisham takes over MDeC, we have seen significant transformation of our Multimedia Super Corridor and also our Cyberjaya. So, great job! Keep up the good work!

To all Malaysians, lets strive for our best and lets try to deliver!

Korat Sea Games Updates

With Sea Games left with 2 days before ending, our National contingent have been performing very well in the last few days.

As of now, Malaysia has a total of 54 gold medals, with another 12 more to hit the target. Of the remaining golds, 7 of them are in diving, which Malaysia would hopefully be able to be a strong contender. Today, we took home both the gold medals offered. There will be 5 more gold medals in Rhythemic Gymnastic as well. We should already have 1 gold in polo in back, and our 9-ball snooker, we have 2 Malaysians in the semi-final. For sailing, we should expect another 1-2 golds as well.

The same goes for karate, we have been winning at least 7-8 golds in karate. There are 2 more golds offered for Team Kumite Men and Women and we should be the strongest to win both these gold medals.

There are also 1 more gold medal for Bowling in Mixed Double. I believe there should be 2 more gold medals for All Events as well. So, we should expect another golden galore there.

So, lets keep our fingers' crossed on our Sea Games contingent.

Congrats to our athletes for their strong performance. Especially, our women's basketball won a very tight 61-60 today to get the gold medal! Syabas!

Tzuo Hann's Cycling Home

As blogged earlier, Tzuo Hann, a fellow Malaysian from Duke who is cycling back from U.S. to Malaysia is now on his journey to cycle back home. Today, is his exact 200 days anniversary of his cycling and I would like to strongly urge every reader of my blog to fully support Tzuo Hann. He intends to raise RM1 Million for St.Georges' Institution, National Cancer Society and MAA-Medicare Kidney Charity Fund.

For more info of his fund raising, go to , and for his journal go to here .

Tzuo Hann has written an article on his reasons behind fund raising a couple of weeks back. It is at here

His spirits are definitely very high and definitely a role model for many of us, as Malaysians.

Do read it in full here
At the point of writing this, I've met up with the old man in Turpan and have talked to him face to face about how the charity is progressing. I figure, its time to write something about its progress from my perspective.

This will be long. There are a lot thoughts worth entertaining and too many people to thank.

>>>>>>Some background, personal motivation.

A friend from Duke once related to me a philosophical viewpoint that basically says that the physical consequence of action when given the oppurtunity to act is the same regardless of the moral cost of the situation.

A little twisty for the head to wrap about. Take the following example.

The moral cost of not feeding a child about to die of malnourishment is much lower than that of ignoring an organization collecting the funds to feed the same starving kid. The physical consequence is the same. The kid dies.

Philantrophy, charity and community service is addictive and is a trait that needs nurturing. I read this from somewhere respectable, not BS.

Ignorance is bliss. With awareness however, it would be a moral crime to not do anything about it. It would be minimally acceptable to engage in some form of charity but as the saying goes, "Better do it with a bang."

>>>>>>The idea is formed and we write down some goals.

The fundraising website has material that was hastily put together by a group of people, myself included who have absolutely no experience with fundraising, have little time and have minimal support from the powers that be. A lot of it is under construction and being developed as time goes by. What I write here and the contents of the fundraising website might be mutually exclusive tho not contradictory.

After cycling across America and knowing damn well that I can complete the journey home, the old man with the generous assistance of many friends and wellwishers, some of which I have never met before joined me in this ambitious project to

- fundraise for 3 worthy organizations

- develop an awareness among Malaysians, particularly the younger generation, that ventures like these are possible and well worth the effort.

- to damn well have a good time and to have some fun and excitement of our own doing something for our beloved country and its people.

Also, I owe the Malaysian people a big one for funding my tertiary education. Although I am 'giving' it back by reaching into as many pockets as possible, I still think this counts towards the neverending debt.

>>>>>>The old man steps in, and few more folks hop on.

My initial idea was a simple website interface to collect funds but I talked to the old man about it and he seemed to think it wasn't too bad an idea. He even offered to 'run' the effort from Malaysia so that I could concentrate on the cycling. Personally, I think he just wants something to do for the law firm is ever so quiet. :0

We have a few conversations (and arguments) over the phone. We argued over who the beneficiaries should be, how non-political, non-racial and non-religious the effort should be and so on and so forth. I personally wanted the effort to be one of the 'rakyat''s (people) and the rakyat's alone without any influence from anyone with any political affiliation. It is true by and large in the real world that invariably, such efforts do require some political big shot presense to be a success but I am young, stupid and still think one completed without such influed is purer, truer to its ideals and one worth pursuing. But the old man slaps some sense into me and we have proceeded smoothly so far with some deviations from my Utopian fundraiser.

Dad also makes a few phone calls and talks to a few other folks around. Again, I think its just an excuse to order a few more rounds of beers most of the time, but hey, its for charity. The Old Georgians Association (OGA) steps in. Well, I am an Old Georgian too by virtue of graduating from a LaSallian school in hometown Taiping by the name of St George's Institution. Having the OGA on board is great for it not only means a more eager (I hope) hands but it also eliminates the need for the effort to form a new organization or society just to fundraise.

A few calls also go out to friends in Malaysia and in the States. More people hop on the party bus. We are good to go.

No one besides those from Malaysian Cancer Society and MAA-Medicare (Not US Medicare) has any experience fundraising on such a scale. We are shooting for a figure in the region of 1.5million ringgit and to for the message to reach the entire country. In many ways, the whole project is a dive into cold, unknown water for everyone invested in it at this moment. I have no experience cycling and those at home working on the fundraising have no experience with such work. 4 months down, I hope they are enjoying the challenge as much as I am enjoying the ride.

Even more, I hope they continue thinking that I am doing the hard work. Actually, I am out for a holiday, having a good time being jobless while they are running about government offices, in and out of companies, trying to coordinate efforts, so on and so forth. There is no way this project would have developed without the efforts of many of the folks who raised their hands to help. A few individuals, some of whom I don't even know have contributed blood, sweat and tears literally to move things along and I cannot wait to personally thank them back home.


A project of this size, especially when run by an inexperienced bunch naturally has growing pains. Although I personally do not experience first hand any of it, I can almost feel how difficult it is to coordinate an effort that involves many profesionals with little time, government offices, printers, the media, donors, etc etc etc. The frustrations come from both within the organization and from external sources. They range from waiting too long for a phone call to be returned to pulling hair out waiting for an official approval from the government to proceed on matters. Lots and lots to endure and work through.

Another thing that really makes me want to massacre many Malaysians en masse (I'm sorry) is how often the race and language issue is brought up. I bloody know that given our complicated race based political fabric, such issues are unavoidable but it is high time we (learn to) flush it down the toilet and focus on whats important. In this case, what is important is that a bunch of folks who have nothing to gain financially are sticking in time, effort and money for a noble effort that they hold dear. In this case, we are fundraising for a school and two national organizations fighting major killers in Malaysia. Yet, issues such as the racial buildup of the organizing comittee, the language that we use to go about our work are brought up again and again. BAH!

What really hurts me and I will mention it since I am Chinese is that some Chinese who don't speak English even cite the lack of Chinese language as the reason for not chipping in. My poor father took great pains to translate parts of the donation form and also parts of my journal and yet, some say, not enough. Goddamit, it just so happens that I sucked at being Chinese enough to not learn the language, thats why so much is in English.

The list of tough stuff goes on and on and I just want to sound it out to the masses that a whole bunch of dedicated people are working on this project with nothing to gain and trying to please as many people as possible. Not easy at all.

>>>>>>Bike for Malaysia

We are also trying to organize a bike ride from the Thailand-Malaysia border back to Taiping when I get home. Its got a whole load of rules and such attached to it at the moment, but when things get finalized, it will be as simple as show up, bike for 3 days, have a good time on and off the road and having a heckuva meal at the end.

I really hope the event, if it happens, encourages people to ride bikes and also generates enough media coverage to inspire others to give and to believe that such projects can be run with minimal support from the government. Malaysia is getting in a lousy habit, I fear of using the rakyat's hard earned cash for projects like this one. I'll write more on this closer to home.

>>>>>>Lack of youth involvement

I keep reiterating that young Malaysians are the group that really should wake up to the fact that being in a rat race for cash and career advancement is not the only thing important. Its not the only way to expend the energy and vibrance of youth. I've brought this up with friends and on the Internet. Despite receiving many pats on the back and many 'Sweet thing you are doing there', there has been way too few hands shooting up and asking 'What can I do?'

Its funny advocating a message and being supported by a whole bunch of people (I'm sorry) who well qualify as my parents. They too are agreeing with my conviction and wondering where in the hell the younger folks are.

Cummon guys, you can make cash and find time to give as well. You can't take cash to your grave but others can take flowers and memories to it. Thats the truth.

>>>>>>Final thoughts and thanks for now

A huge, huge thank you to the folks who have so generously offered to help and have jumped into mighty unknown waters for a young punk cycling home. Unknown waters because those helping are inexperienced and are learning from many frustrating mistakes. Generous because they are not gaining anything from it.

As the project grows and more and more people get involved, I am gradually learning what it is like to work in Malaysia's complex political climate. I have much to say about how this relates to it, but those thoughts will have to wait for a while as events unfold.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Am In Singapore

Guess after writing a lot about all those issues happening...Let me write on myself..

I am now based in Singapore, on a 2-month project here. Would be based mainly on Raffles City Tower, Accenture HeadQuarter (on top of City Hall MRT Station), and also at Ayer Rajah Crescent, where the client is.

For accommodation, I am staying at a cozy condo, called Banyan Condo at Chwee Chian Road (off Pasir Panjang Road). It is very hard to get taxi to come here, as literally, I have to flag down 3-4 taxis before one know how to get here.

Overall, life in Singapore is not too bad...It has been interesting project, although I guess it is going to be challenging. It is going to be great learning experience for me.

Early Decision Number Grows Significantly

Highlighted to me by some of the Early Decision Applicants, I decide to google around and see whether it is true that total applicants for Early Decision for most universities have increased.

Harvard, Princeton and Virginia have decided to stop their Early Decision/Early Actioin/Early Admission practice. Guess, I am going to call all these ED, to make things simple.

From various articles, I have gotten such stats:-
Chicago, up by 42% from 3,031 to 4,329
Yale, up by 36% to 4,820
Georgetown, up by 31% from 4,562 to 5,980
Notre Dame, up by 18%, to 4,290
Northwestern, up by 17% to 1,520
MIT, up by ~10% from 3,493 to ~3,800
Brown, up by 6%
Dartmouth, Columbia --> modest increase
Stanford, about unchanged at ~4,570

My stats above are from:-
b) New York Times
c) Chicago Tribune

Other articles on U.S. Universities:-
a) Harvard News
b) Wall Street Journal
c) Cornell Daily Sun on Transfer Students vs Regular Students

Some excerpts of statistics for Cornell Regular vs Transfer Students:-
Agriculture and Life Sciences
Regular Admit Rate: 22.52%
Transfer Admit Rate: 51.47%

Architecture, Art and Planning
Regular Admit Rate: 17.05%
Transfer Admit Rate: 18.89%

Arts and Sciences
Regular Admit Rate: 17.96%
Transfer Admit Rate: 13.78%

Regular Admit Rate: 30.89%
Transfer Admit Rate: 18.51%

School of Hotel Administration
Regular Admit Rate: 20.66%
Transfer Admit Rate: 52.27%

Human Ecology
Regular Admit Rate: 35.31%
Transfer Admit Rate: 29.02%

Industrial and Labor Relations
Regular Admit Rate: 27.85%
Transfer Admit Rate: 59.64%

Total University
Regular Admit Rate: 21.40%
Transfer Admit Rate: 29.36%

Good Luck for those who are applying!