Friday, October 31, 2008

Calling for Parents' Responses to Teaching of Maths & Sciences in English

Calling everyone with opinion on the Teaching of Mathematics and Sciences in English, to voice it out to . That is the email for the group called The Parent Action Group for Education (PAGE).

You can read an article on it at here

Hope that all of you who care about the future of Malaysia, especially in terms of education, please send your responses to them!

Kudos to PAGE for this initiative!

The Parent Action Group for Education (PAGE) said it is set on trying to get the Education Ministry to maintain its policy of teaching Mathematics and Science in English.

It, however, does not advocate the abolition of vernacular schools as it respects their positions as provided for in the Federal Constitution.

PAGE chairman and founding member Noor Azimah Abdul Rahim also clarified that the group was not a governmental organisation as had been reported by certain media.

“We are merely a group of parents who want to voice our concerns about education,” she said today in response to an article in a Chinese daily that allegedly reported a representative of the group had called for all vernacular schools to be abolished and replaced with national-type schools.

This remark was supposed to have been made during the fourth round table to discuss the use of English to teach Mathematics and Science.

“The person who made the remark was a participant who was airing his own views and is not related to the group.”

Noor Azimah said the group’s main concern now was the decision that the Education Ministry would be making soon with regard to the policy of teaching Mathematics and Science in English.

“We have almost 1,000 parents supporting us from all over the country, 95 per cent of whom are for continuing the policy.”

This number is in addition to the 120 parent-teacher associations (PTAs) that had responded for, and 20 against the policy being continued.

She said it was a misconception that only urban parents were for the continuation of the policy.

A strong advocator of the policy is Mohamed Saufi Shafie, president of the 13-strong Coalition of Rawang Zone Parent-Teacher Associations, who said the PTAs under the coalition were all for the policy continuing.

Support came recently via an email from parents of a school in Long Lama, Sarawak.

The group is calling for more parents to voice their take — whether for or against the policy — by early next month to be compiled into a comprehensive report.

To contact the group, email

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Would encourage any of my blog readers to share with me any event that you come across. As long as the event/activity/initiative is education/charity/youth oriented and is not-for-profit, I would be more than happy to post it to share!

Thanksgiving Dinner in Malaysia

Calling all Malaysians who studied in U.S. Universities! Am sure you guys miss the days of celebrating Thanksgiving in the states!

To re-create that moment, American Universities Alumni Malaysia would be organizing a Thanksgiving Dinner on the Actual Thanksgiving Day, i.e. 27th November 2008 (Thursday) 7pm at Dorsett Regency Hotel, Jalan Imbi. This would be the 31st Annual Dinner of American Universities Alumni Malaysia too!

It would be a great opportunity to mingle with fellow alumni of U.S. Universities.

To all of you who would be going to U.S. Universities, you are more than welcome to attend the dinner as well.

The ticket for the Pool Side Buffet is on sale at RM60 Nett. If you are interested, do contact me.

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Would encourage any of my blog readers to share with me any event that you come across. As long as the event/activity/initiative is education/charity/youth oriented and is not-for-profit, I would be more than happy to post it to share!

Free Sepang A1 GP Grandstand Ticket

Calling for all of you who want to be at Sepang F1 Circuit and support Malaysia National Team during A1 Grand Prix race on 23rd November 2008.

What you need to do is very simple.

1. Sign up as a member of (if you haven't)
2. And then follow this link here to redeem your tickets.
3. You can get 4 Free Grand Stand Tickets worth RM400 (Courtesy of and A1 Team Malaysia).

It is not a contest. You just need to do the steps and you would get the tickets free of charge!

Go grab first, before all tickets are snapped!

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Would encourage any of my blog readers to share with me any event that you come across. As long as the event/activity/initiative is education/charity/youth oriented and is not-for-profit, I would be more than happy to post it to share!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

AISM Post SPM Scholarships 2009/2010

Thanks to Charis Loke who highlighted this scholarship to me.
Below is her write-up of the scholarship.
Hi Chen Chow,

It would be great if you could highlight this on your blog. This is about the AISM Post SPM Scholarships 2009/2010

for students who are doing their SPM this year (the school term starts next January)  and who, if selected, will do two years (Year 11 and 12) at the school from 2009 to 2010. It's the same one I was awarded this year, but I gave it up after 6 months to accept JPA PILN and go to INTEC. So did Sabrina before me. That's one of the scholarship's shortcomings - it doesn't really help people who want to do a university degree in science, because the only options for continuing the scholarship on to a 3+0 degree at Taylor's is for Business, Hospitality Management or Communication Studies.

As a past scholarship holder, I really would like to see people applying for this, because I felt it was one of the most important opportunities in my life, so much so that even in light of the shortcomings of the school (every school has them), I do not regret studying there. I met so many interesting and opinionated people, had inspiring teachers, discovered a passion for a subject I'd never thought I'd like, and experienced a whole different sort of education. That was probably the best thing about having the chance to be part of an international school community. I'd be more than happy to talk about my time there, as well as the application process (test, interview) to anyone who is genuinely interested and wants to find out more from a Malaysian student from a local secondary school's perspective.


Charis Loke

Talk on Emotional Excellence

Invitation to Attend a Complimentary Talk on
Emotional Excellence: Achieving Emotional Intelligence in Work and in Life
By Prof. Leonard Yong

Greetings from Centre for Extension Education, Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman (UTAR).

In our continuing effort to promote awareness of lifelong learning and reading culture among Malaysians, Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman(UTAR)  through its Centre for Extension Education in collaboration  with MCA  Lifelong Learning Reading Club, organises talks and forums for the academic community and public.  Authors/speakers with relevant expertise are invited to be the Mentors/Speakers to share their thoughts and lead the discussion at the talks.

The University is privileged to have invited Prof. Leonard Yong as the speaker for this talk based on the book "Emotional Excellence in the Workplace" written by him.  Dr. Leonard Yong is an Educational Psychologist who has gained international recognition for his research and consultancy work on creativity and emotional excellence.  The talk will provide an insight into the importance of achieving emotional excellence to get ourselves connected with others and to promote personal growth, gain inner security and psychological significance.

On behalf of the University, I take great pleasure in inviting you to this talk. The talk details are as below:

Title   Emotional Excellence: Achieving Emotional Intelligence in Work and in Life
Speaker Prof. Leonard Yong (Educational Psychologist, International Speaker
and Trainer)

Date:   15 November 2008 (Saturday)

Time:   9.45am – 12.00nn

Venue:  Centre for Extension Education, Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman
       No. 11 Jalan 13/6, 46200 Petaling Jaya, Selangor

Admission: Free

For enquires and registration, please contact Rajes/Odie at 016 2233 563 /
03-79572818 /03-79555181 ext 8211/ 8201/8212/8562.  Fax: 79573818.
Email: by 10 November 2008.

Yours sincerely

Dr Prudence Goh
Centre for Extension Education

Accenture Expereince Malaysia

Accenture will be holding its inaugural Accenture Experience Malaysia on Saturday 13th December 2008 – this exciting event is designed to give students a taste of a Consulting career at Accenture.Successful applicants will have the opportunity to experience a day in the life of an Accenture Consultant while obtaining knowledge about Accenture, our people and our high performance culture.

If you are a high performing student interested in participating in the Accenture Experience workshop, all you need to do is tell us in no more than 500 words sharing your view on "Why should you be a part of the Accenture Experience Program?”. Submit your entry together with a one-page resume and your academic transcript.

To know more about this, do go to here .

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Would encourage any of my blog readers to share with me any event that you come across. As long as the event/activity/initiative is education/charity/youth oriented and is not-for-profit, I would be more than happy to post it to share!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Show Document | Live and Free document sharing session

Thanks to my loyal blog reader for highlighting this.
This is similar to Google Docs too!
---- is an instant, free, and very easy to use live collaborative platform. Show Document | Live and Free document sharing session allows students to upload any document including images and instantly begin a collaborative session with an unlimited number of people who can review and work on the document at the same time.

Talks by MACEE

Thanks to my loyal blog reader for highlighting this.

I have no idea on this. So, maybe one of you want to contact MACEE to find out more details, and update at the comments.

Maybe do try to find out who would be speaking etc.

Students who are interested in attending presentations should register by phone or email to Ms. Doreen (

1. Presentation on Applying to Competitive Colleges and Universities in the USA, including Ivy Leagues from 9:00-11:00 am on Wednesday, October 29.

2. Presentation on Pre-Departure for those going to the USA in December, January or February from 10:00 am -12:00 pm on Wednesday, November 19.

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Would encourage any of my blog readers to share with me any event that you come across. As long as the event/activity/initiative is education/charity/youth oriented and is not-for-profit, I would be more than happy to post it to share!

Transformational Leadership Seminar

To all who would like to develop themselves professionally, this is a great opportunity!

I got to know this via Datuk Seri Idris Jala, who is a fantastic CEO, who has managed to perform a turn-around for Malaysia Airlines. Before that, he has helped to turn around a couple of subsidiaries of Shell too!

This seminar entitled "Transformational Leadership" is going to be held on 20th November at JW Marriott.

It would cover:-
1. 6 Principles of Successful Business Transformational - Dato' Seri Idris Jala, MD/CEO of Malaysia Airlines
2. Implementing Fundamental Change - Reinier Starink, Managing Director of BPi
3. Lunch with Dato' Seri Idris Jala
4. Colors of Change - Identify the Right Strategy - Dr. Elisabeth Minnemann, Director of BPi
5. Transformational Business Strategy - Mohammad Ashraf Iqbal, Associate, BPi
6. Panel Discussion on "Transformational Leadership" - Datuk Seri Nazir Razak (Group CEO of CIMB), Datuk Seri Che Khalib bin Mohd Noh (President/CEO of Tenaga Nasional Berhad) and Datuk Seri Idris Jala (MD/CEO of Malaysia Airlines)

The conference fee is RM2,900.

For more info, contact:-
Breakthrough Performance Inc.
The Gateway, Lot 2.01, 2nd Floor, The Ampwalk, 218 Jalan Ampang, 50450 KL.
Tel:- 03-2142 7088/03-2161 8536
Fax:- 03-2142 7089/03-2163 8222

If you would like the PDF ads, do let me know.
Click here to read more of Chen Chow's posts

Would encourage any of my blog readers to share with me any event that you come across. As long as the event/activity/initiative is education/charity/youth oriented and is not-for-profit, I would be more than happy to post it to share!

MARA Would Sponsor 200 Students to Romania

Greater opportunities for students interested to study Medical and Oil & Gas study in Romania.

This is quoted from NST

Mara will sponsor 200 students to take up medicine, petroleum and gas studies in Romania starting next year, said Entrepreneur and Cooperatives Development Minister Datuk Noh Omar.

This followed the signing of memorandum of agreements (MOA) between Mara and two prestigious universities in Romania - Carol Davila University of Medicine and Pharmacy, Bucharest, and Petroleum-Gas University, Ploiesti recently.

The agreements were signed during Noh’s visit to Romania from Oct 21-25.

“The 200 Mara students will do medicine at Carol Davila University and petroleum and gas studies at Ploiesti University ,” he told reporters at an Aidilfitri open house of the Temerloh parliamentary constituency here today.

Noh said the government was hopeful that Malaysia and Romania would undertake more cooperation in education and other areas in future. — BERNAMA

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Would encourage any of my blog readers to share with me any event that you come across. As long as the event/activity/initiative is education/charity/youth oriented and is not-for-profit, I would be more than happy to post it to share!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Air Asia to Fly to India

Datuk Tony Fernandes continued to expand Air Asia's empire, and today he declared that his mission as CEO is done!

I am wondering what it indirectly implies? Does it mean that he is leaving Air Asia?

He was saying that after Air Asia secured their last target - India and would commence flight on 1st December. This completed the picture of ASEAN, Hong Kong, China, Australia and now India. He is saying that the rest of expansion beyond that would be for Air Asia-X to do it. Is he implying that he would be focusing more on Air Asia X?

For full article, do go here .

KUALA LUMPUR: AirAsia has finally conquered its “last frontier” with the Indian Government giving the low-cost carrier approval to fly to India.

AirAsia chief executive officer Datuk Tony Fernandes said the airline would start selling tickets to Tiruchi in Tamil Nadu at midnight on Wednesday with the first flight to take off on Dec 1 at 7.40am.

“It will be a daily flight and we are looking at even adding a second flight now as the initial response has been tremendous,” he told reporters Monday during a press conference here.

Special promotional prices for the flight will cost RM49 one-way while the normal ticket price will cost about RM200 one-way.

Fernandes said plans are now in the works for the next one and a half years to fly to many more destinations in India including Madras, Madurai and Kochi with AirAsia.

“AirAsia-X meanwhile will fly to places like New Dehli, Bombay, Hyderabad, Bangalore and Calcutta,” he added.

He said AirAsia would initially invest between RM5mil to RM7mil to set up infrastructure in India and he is confident that it will do well.

“This is an exciting period for us and I’m looking at a high load factor of at least 90% for our first flight,” he said.

Fernandes said it had taken the airline seven years to reach this stage and with India now in its pocket, his mission as CEO is complete.

“I had said then that India would be the last place we need to get to. It is now over to AirAsia-X to grow the business to Japan, South Korea, Europe and the United States.”

Fernandes said he expects a huge growth in Indian tourism in Malaysia and that he is not worried about the global economic slowdown.

“I believe that you have to be innovative. While other airlines are cutting back we are expanding and can take up their slack.

“Maybe some of the population in India cannot afford to fly with us, but there are many more who can and this is the market we are after,” he said.

Fernandes also said, in response to recent Malaysia Airlines (MAS) advertisements, that his battle with MAS is over and that it is time to move on.

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Would encourage any of my blog readers to share with me any event that you come across. As long as the event/activity/initiative is education/charity/youth oriented and is not-for-profit, I would be more than happy to post it to share!

Happy Deepavali

In this festival, would like to wish all my readers Happy Deepavali! Hope that all of you would enjoy during this festive celebration!

Click here to read more of Chen Chow's posts

Would encourage any of my blog readers to share with me any event that you come across. As long as the event/activity/initiative is education/charity/youth oriented and is not-for-profit, I would be more than happy to post it to share!

Public Lecture for US Election

This is a public lecture for US Election

The U.S. Embassy Kuala Lumpur together with Star Publications (Malaysia) Berhad and the Asian Center for Media Studies (ACMS) are pleased to invite you to a public forum on The 2008 U.S. Presidential Election: Religion, Race, and the Economic Crisis.

The panel, headed by Prof John Voll of Georgetown University in the United States and chaired by Star Publications managing editor P. Gunasegaram, will discuss the key issues in the presidential election as well as the impact of the outcome on the United States and world politics.

Members of the panel will discuss whether or not race and religion will be decisive in the contest between Barack Obama and John McCain, and if these issues have since been overshadowed by the recent financial meltdown and growing economic uncertainties.

Prof Voll is professor of Islamic history and associate director of the Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Centre for Muslim-Christian Understanding at Georgetown University.

Prof Lee Poh Ping of the Institute of Malaysian and International Studies, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia will be giving an Asian perspective of the election.

Prof Joan Kosta is with Mercy College, New York and Visiting Professor of UKM.

The forum will be held at Cybertorium, Level 2, Menara Star at 3pm on Oct 30, 2008 (Thursday).

Reservations are on a first come, first served basis as seats are limited. There is no registration fee charged.

To register, e-mail to or call us at (03) 7967 1388 ext. 1335/1237.

Thank you.

The Organisers
Star Publications (Malaysia) Bhd

Sunday, October 26, 2008

More US Applications Resources

Thanks to my loyal blog reader for sharing this resource.

Some of the resources include:-

1. .
2. .
3. Raffles Junior College US Applications Guide
4. Liberal Arts College Review

If you do know of other resources, feel free to share with me too!
Click here to read more of Chen Chow's posts

Would encourage any of my blog readers to share with me any event that you come across. As long as the event/activity/initiative is education/charity/youth oriented and is not-for-profit, I would be more than happy to post it to share!

SEED Initiative Seminar 2008

Thanks to chew0904 in for highlighting this event here .


1. Have you ever dreamed of making the world better?

2. Have you ever wondered how can you make a difference in this world?

3. Have you ever heard of SOCIAL ENTREPRENEURSHIP?

4. Curious to find out how to start a successful social entrepreneurship?

Look no more. Now, there’s SEED…

Social Entrepreneurship Empowerment & Development (SEED) Initiative is a Project Based on Exchange (PBOX) under the administration of AIESEC in Universiti Utara Malaysia. SEED Initiative runs its course on the scope of Social Entrepreneurship.

Interested in how a social entrepreneur benefits our society and the rest of the world? Don’t wait any longer…

Register now for our SEED Initiative Seminar 2008 in Penang!!!

Date: 16th – 17th December 2008

Venue: YMCA Penang

Fees: RM 80 per person (Price includes accommodation & food!)

What you can expect from the seminar:-

· Be aware of what is currently happening in the society.

· Know more about social entrepreneurship.

· Basic skills needed (business & entrepreneur skills) to start up a social entrepreneurship.

· Networks of social entrepreneurs from around the nation.

Start making our world a better and safer place to live in!

For further information, please visit or join our SEED Initiative group in Facebook!

Please feel free to contact any of us if you have any enquiries.

Andy Koay +6017 432 3187 (

Tina Phang +6017 414 8451 (


Best regards,
Advertising & Promotions Department
SEED Initiative 2008

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Would encourage any of my blog readers to share with me any event that you come across. As long as the event/activity/initiative is education/charity/youth oriented and is not-for-profit, I would be more than happy to post it to share!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

[Start-Up@Singapore 2009] - Blend in at the S@S Mixer!

This is for those in Singapore and have entrepreneurial spirit!


Greetings from Start-Up@Singapore 2009!

Blend in at the S@S Mixer

Looking for like-minded people or suitable members for your team? Wondering what are the latest developments and trends in the industry? Or yearning to know more about entrepreneurship? If you answered Yes to these questions, discover the answers at S@S Mixer!

S@S Mixer is the first ever networking effort to bring together senior level students, young entrepreneurs, academics, researchers, venture capitalists and anyone interested in exciting, new businesses. Through a special industrial-based networking section, gain fresh perspectives and insight on the trends of key industries such as Alternative Energy, Information Technology, Interactive Digital Media and Biotechnology. Learn about the experiences of past participants through a panel discussion-style sharing session.


Event Details


Day/Date: Saturday, 25 October 2008

Time: 10.00am to 2.00pm (Registration starts at 9.30am)

Venue: University Hall, Level 2 Lee Kong Chian Wing, National University of Singapore [map]
Dress Code: Smart Casual 

Click here to register. Hurry! Seats are limited!

The S@S Team

[To view E-Flyer, Click "Display Image Below" or "Unblock Content". If the E-Flyer cannot be viewed, click here]

Friday, October 24, 2008

SAT Results

I know that most of you just received your SAT results a few hours ago and I have to say that I have been bombarded by tons of messages, emails, SMSes etc.

To all of you who have done satisfactorily or excellently, Congratulations! To all who are not too happy with your SAT results, don't get too sad.

A few things I would like to clarify and I hope you guys can spread this to your friends.

1. There is no such thing as cut-off of SAT score for each university. Some of you ask about 2,000 or 2,100 cut-off. There is no such thing. Higher SAT does help to get higher chances of admission, but it doesn't mean that you would get cut off if you get low SAT score.

Below is SAT score for MIT and its admission rate.

Distribution of SAT Reasoning Test Scores (Critical Reading)
750-800 - 576 Out of 2149 got in - 27%
700-740 - 404 Out of 2234 got in - 18%
650-690 - 258 Out of 2147 got in - 12%
600-640 - 157 Out of 1688 got in - 9%
550-590 - 63 Out of 950 got in - 7%
< 550 - 41 Out of 1097 got in - 4%

SAT Math Scores
750-800 - 1026 Out of 5474 got in - 19%
700-740 - 295 Out of 2150 got in - 14%
650-690 - 142 Out of 1462 got in - 10%
600-640 - 27 Out of 615 got in - 4%
550-590 - 7 Out of 347 got in - 2%
< 550 - 0 Out of 217 got in - 0%

For Cornell, it is:-
SAT Critical Reading Score
700-800 - 3550/9568 = 37.1% (Eg: 37.1% of those who got SAT 700-800 got in Cornell)
650-699 - 1483/7060 = 21.0%
600-649 - 956/6396 = 15.0%
550-599 - 257/3379 = 7.6%
500-549 - 154/1867 = 8.3%
400-499 - 42/1141 = 3.7%
200-399 - 0/134 = 0%

SAT Maths Score
700-800 - 4709/16229 = 29.0%
650-699 - 1033/6422 = 16.1%
600-649 - 481/3416 = 14.1%
550-599 - 228/2017 = 11.3%
500-549 - 73/931 = 7.8%
400-499 - 18/488 = 3.7%
200-399 - 0/61 = 0%

So, as long as you can get at least 500+ for each of the subject, you stand some chance. The higher the SAT score, you have higher chances of getting in, but doesn't mean you can't get in with lower score.

2. If your critical reading or writing is not too strong, then focus on making sure that your application essay is solid and also your SAT 2 Subject Test is strong. Then, they can sort of putting as English problem.

3. If your math is not too strong, then focus on making sure your Math 2C is good. Try to prove that your Math is good.

4. If you are taking SAT Subject Test in December, and you have no chance to resit for SAT Reasoning Test, then do resit them in January if you want. Do make sure you improve by about 50-100 marks though. Even though most say they don't want January test, if you mail to them, they would look at it.

5. If you are taking SAT Subject Test in November, you might want to think of resitting either of the test in December (if you are not too happy with your score). Your October and November score would be used for your Early Decision Applications. And the rest of the score would be used for Regular Decision Applications.

6. Anyway, don't think too much of your SAT Reasoning Test, focus on your SAT Subject Test (and do try to get 800 for all 3 subjects, or at least 750 for all 3 subjects) and then after that, do start your application essays early!

7. Would resit affect your score? If you want to play safe (and you have the time), then let the results be out first and then pay extra to send as Extra Report. You are only writing the names of universities to be sent results after your test. So, you have some indication of it. If you think you are doing well, then can send straight to the universities. If you are not confident, can send to some of the universities and the rest you use extra score report to resend.

8. If you have any question, feel free to contact me or post it here.

If you are applying to Cornell University as Early/Regular Decision, do contact me for the "Interview" session , or what we call Contact Meeting.

Do Provide the following Info and I will assign the timeslot:-

Early/Regular Decision:-
Full Name (As per the name submitted to Cornell):-
College in Cornell University Applied:-
Major (if any):-
Email Address:-
Mobile Phone:-
High School:-
Current College:-
(If you would be away from KL for any period of time between November and February, do list down the dates that you would be out of town and can't attend the session).

Good Luck!

Click here to read more of Chen Chow's posts

Would encourage any of my blog readers to share with me any event that you come across. As long as the event/activity/initiative is education/charity/youth oriented and is not-for-profit, I would be more than happy to post it to share!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Successful Harvard app essays

Thanks to Mark, a MIT alumnus for sharing this.
There is article sharing on a Harvard student's essay. This is for your guidance and not copying, as it would have serious repercussion if you copy, since others are reading it too.

This Harvard undergrad shared the essays he wrote for Harvard.  See here:, and look for "My Harvard Application". 


Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Malaysia Festival of the Mind

I'll be there at TAR College Penang!
We at Mensa Penang would like to invite you to join us for a weekend of creativity at the Festival of the Mind at Kolej TAR, Tanjung Bungah, Penang. (Yes, this weekend!)

Admission is free. 

Come with friends and family to attend the mindmapping and mental literacy talks, mind games, speed reading demonstrations, 3D mind drawing workshop and exhibitions this Saturday and Sunday.

Date: 25 - 26 October 2008
Time:  9:30am - 4:30pm
Venue:  Kolej Tunku Abdul Rahman
(Penang Branch Campus)
77, Lorong Lembah Permai Tiga,
Tanjong Bungah, 11200 Pulau Pinang

Who can attend: Everyone - students, teachers, working adults, senior citizens etc.

This Festival is co-organised by Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman (UTAR), Kolej Tunku Abdul Rahman (KTAR) and Malaysia Mental Literacy Movement (MMLM) to educate Malaysians on the human mind and its unlimited potential; and ways of tapping into and developing one's brainpower to the fullest. For details, visit

Mensa Penang will also be there as an exhibitor and we will be conducting our IQ test too.

Come meet us at our booth and come listen to the amazing talks too.

If you need more details, call Jayaram, our Mensa Penang chairman at 012 420 1364.

Thanks and see you there!



On behalf of  the Mensa Penang Committee

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Feedback on Table of Content on a Guide for Malaysians to Apply for US Unis

A bunch of us are trying to write an Unofficial Guide for US Universities Applications for Malaysians, and we have come out with the following Table of Content. Would appreciate any of you giving us feedback on which aspect that we missed out, which aspect that is redundant, and also if you know of any URL/article/resources that we could refer to in writing this book, please kindly share it here.

Main Content:

(1) Why US?
(2) Types of US Colleges/ Universities
(3) Factors in Determining Which Colleges/Universities to Apply
(4) Timeline (from secondary school to pre-u)
(5) Application Requirements - SAT, TOEFL, CommonApp, letters, etc etc
(6) Funding
(7) Got the offers? Congratulations! What to bring to US?
(8) College Life in US
(9) What's Next After College
(10) Appendix (statistics, etc)

(1) Why US?
a. Why is U.S. education system more flexible/better?
b. Comparison with UK/Australia/NZ maybe?

(2) Types of US Colleges/Universities
a. Introduction: mention the distinction between “university” and “college” since the terms carry different meaning in the Malaysian context
b. Ivy Leagues
c. Ivy Standard Universities
d. Liberal Arts Colleges
e. Public Universities
f. Private Universities
g. Single Sex Colleges
h. Community Colleges

(3) Factors in Determining Which Colleges/Universities to Apply
a. University Prestige/ Ranking/ THES
b. Funding (write a short one here and refer readers to Main Content Bullet Point 6)
c. Size and Type of colleges/universities
d. Major/Field of Studies (mention US is NOT the place to go for medicine/law)
e. Location
i. Northeast/West Coast/Mid-west/ etc
ii. Urban/suburb/rural
iii. How happening the place is
f. Other considerations (referrals, etc)

(4) Timeline
a. Introduction: explain US schooling system and that Form 4 & 5 = Grade 10 & 11, Pre-u = Grade 12
b. Secondary School Grade 10 and 11 Preparation (Form 4-5)
c. Post SPM and before Pre-u (what to do?)
d. High School Grade 12 Preparation (explain the various common pre-u tracks)
ii. A Levels
iii. IB (Malaysian IB colleges, UWC)
iv. Transfer/ Twinning
v. Special Note on Uncommon Pre-U for US: Malaysian Matriculation, ICPU, SAM

(5) Application Requirements
a. Introduction: introduce CommonApp but mention that not all colleges use CommonApp, eg. MIT, UPenn, UChicago, Columbia
b. Form filling up.
c. Resume/CV
d. SAT Reasoning Test
e. SAT Subject Test
g. Application Essays
h. Secondary School Report
i. Mid Year Report
j. Final Year Report
k. Teachers’ Evaluation
l. Interview
m. Special Talent and other stuff.

(6) Funding
a. Scholarships from Malaysia
i. JPA
• Post SPM
• Post Pre-u
ii. BNM
• Post SPM
• Post Pre-U
iii. Petronas
iv. Shell
vi. Khazanah
vii. Not offering for US studies: SC, Sime Darby, Gamuda, UEM (need to recheck list)
b. College/University Financial Aid
i. Explain need-blind/need-based/need-aware
ii. Components of Financial Aid Package
iii. Application for Financial Aid
• College Board International Student Financial Aid Application (include a sample perhaps?)
• International Noncustodial Parent Statement
• Business/Farm Supplement
• Parents’ Income Tax Return Statement (translated to English)
• Approximate Deadline for Financial Aid Submission
c. Others

(7) Got the offers? Congratulations! What to bring to US?
a. Thank you notes to those who help.
b. Choosing universities.
c. Mailing in deposits.
d. Sending turning down offers to other universities.
e. Submit financial affidavit and Final Year Report.
f. Get I-20 and apply for visa.
g. Apply for housing and dining.
h. Pre-enrol in courses.
i. What to bring and what not to bring.

(8) College Life in US
a. Academic - Lecture, Recitation/Tutorial, Research, etc
b. Sports - Intramural, Inter-varsity
c. ECA
d. Greek Life - Fraternities & Sororities
e. Study Abroad
f. Summer – travel, internship
g. Life Online – Facebook, blogs, foruns, etc
h. Others

(9) What’s Next after College
a. Working
i. Wall Street.
ii. Silicon Valley.
iii. US
iv. Europe or other parts of Asia
v. Back home to contribute to our nation.
b. Going to grad school
i. Masters/PhD (course-based and research-based)
ii. MBA
iii. Law school
iv. Medical school

(10) Appendix
a. University Profile (I’m not too sure how this will play out, can decide on this later)
b. Rough Statistics of Malaysians Going to Top US Colleges/Universities
c. Other Resources
ii. TinKosong
iv. We can expand on the list later
d. How to contact us?


Click here to read more of Chen Chow's posts

Would encourage any of my blog readers to share with me any event that you come across. As long as the event/activity/initiative is education/charity/youth oriented and is not-for-profit, I would be more than happy to post it to share!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Khazanah Megatrends Forum 2008

Today, had the chance to attend Khazanah Megatrends Forum 2008, and I would say that it is really an eye-opener.

The list of speakers are definitely fantastic. Kudos to Khazanah Nasional for that success.

Today, it started with Welcoming Remark by Tan Sri Md. Nor Yusof, Board Member of Khazanah Nasional.

And then, it was the opening address by YAB Dato Seri Mohd Najib bin Tun Abdul Razak, Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister.

After which, it is the 1st Session, which focused on Macro and Markets, with the title "Surviving Now: Hitchhiker's Guide to the Financial Universe". The speakers in this session are:-
1. Dato' Ooi Sang Kuang, Deputy Governor of Bank Negara Malaysia
2. Dr. Simon Agus, CEO of DSGAsia, Hong Kong
3. Brad Bourland, Chief Economist, Jadwa Investments, Saudi Arabia
4. Stephen Hagger, Country Manager and Head of Equity Research PASEAN, Credit Suisse, Malaysia.

The chair for that session was Datuk Ranjit Ajit Singh, Managing Director of Securities Commission Malaysia.

For Luncheon Address, it was by Dr. Stephen Roach, Chairman of Morgan Stanley Asia, with a title of "Looking Beyond the Crisis: Pitfalls in a Post-Bubble World". The chair for this session is Tan Sri Dato' Dr. Lin See-Yan, Chairman and CEO of LIN Associates and Member of the Economic Council, Malaysia.

For the afternoon session, it is on the theme of Leadership and Culture and the title is "Stress Test: Managing in Turbulent Times".

The speakers include:-
1. Dr. George Kohlrieser, Professor of Leadership & Organisational Behaviour, IMD and the author of "Hostage at the Table".
2. Tharuma Rajah, Managing Director of Hay Group South East Asia.
3. Dato' Seri Abdul Wahid Omar, President and CEO of Maybank.
4. Dato' Seri Idris Jala, Managing Director and CEO, Malaysia Airlines.

This session was chaired by Dato' Zarinah Anwar, Chairman of Securities Commission, Malaysia.

Tomorrow (or rather later today, since it is past midnight now), would have the session on Competitiveness and Development. The title is "Shifting Sands: The Long View".

The speakers include:-
1. YB Dato' Mustapa Mohamed, Minister of Agriculture & Agro-Based Industry, Malaysia.
2. Dr. Danny Quah, Professor of Economics and Head of Economics Department, LSE.
3. Dr. Nungsari Ahmad Radhi, Executive Director, Khazanah Research and Investment Strategy, Khazanah Nasional.
4. P. Gunasegaram, Managing Editor, The Star publications.
5. Dr. Indermit Gill, Chief Economist of the Europe and Central Asia region and irector of the World Development Report 2009, The World Bank and co-author of East Asian Renaissance.

This session would be chaired by Datuk Dr. Zainal Aznam Yusof, Distinguished ISIS Fellow, member of The Economic Council Working Group, Malaysia.

For Luncheon Address, it would be by Datuk Seri Panglima Andrew Sheng, Board Member of Khazanah Nasional.

It is chaired by Ben Chan, Executive Director and Head of Beijing OFfice, Khazanah Nasional.

For Session 4, it is on Firms & Transformation. The title is "Where the Tire Hits the Road: What It Means for Firms".

The Speakers include:-
1. Jonathan Davidson, Director, McKinsey & Co, London.
2. Iqbal Khan, Founder and CEO of HSBC Amanah and CEO of Fajr Capital, London.
3. Dato' Seri Nazir Razak, Group CEO of CIMB.
4. Koh Boon Hwee, Chairman of DBS Group Holdings, Singapore.

This session is chaired by Tan Sri Dato' Azman Mokhtar, Managing Director of Khazanah Nasional.

Tan Sri Azman Mokhtar would summarize the forum and then it is closing by YB Tan Sri Nor Mohamed Yakcop, 2nd Finance Minister and Board Member of Khazanah Nasional.

It has been an exciting day today and hopefully would be an exciting day tomorrow too! A lot to learn from those experts and it is great to get the opportunities to learn from those who have been there and done that.

Woul try to share some of the learnings here!

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Would encourage any of my blog readers to share with me any event that you come across. As long as the event/activity/initiative is education/charity/youth oriented and is not-for-profit, I would be more than happy to post it to share!

UPenn Students

Thanks to Siang-ee from UPenn/Wharton who emailed me to offer to help prospective UPenn/Wharton students.

If any of you would like to contact them to ask questions, do drop me an email or post it here and I will get back to you with their email addresses.

Good Luck in your applications!

Name: Siang-ee Lim
Major: Life Sciences and Management (LSM) --
Year: Class of 2011
Clubs: Penn Chamber (pianist), Wharton Asia Exchange

Name: Matt Pan
Major: Computer Science and Finance
year: 2011

Name: Irene Lee
Major: Wharton Undeclared
year: 2012
Have taken AP exam.

Click here to read more of Chen Chow's posts

Would encourage any of my blog readers to share with me any event that you come across. As long as the event/activity/initiative is education/charity/youth oriented and is not-for-profit, I would be more than happy to post it to share!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Pinkpau's Guide to US College Applications, Part 2 - The Essay

I blogged about Su Ann's Guide of US Universities Applications here .

And she has just published her 2nd Guide. This one focused on essay. And I fully resonate with her on the stuff she wrote. Do read this thoroughly. Su Ann, really appreciate you spend many hours writing this, despite your busy college life!

To read her article and those questions posted by many, go to here

Full article reproduced is as here.
Pinkpau’s Guide to US College Applications, Part 2 - THE ESSAY

here’s Part 2 of my guide to college applications, and it’s all about the essay segment.

at first i was really keen to write on this section, because it’s easily the most important part of the college applications.. but after some thought, i started reconsidering if this was a good idea. the application essay, as we all know, is supposed to be something really personal and heartfelt. it’s all about your individual voice and what defines you. therefore, taking advice from another person over what should go in your essay would result in a work that sounds artificial and contrived, and that’s probably the worst thing that could happen to you.

so i gave this a lot of thought, but in the end i decided i would write a section about the essays, but it’s going to be minimal guidance. i’m just going to help you focus on the important things, as well as give you a nudge in the (general) right direction :) so, again, dont look at this walkthrough as something that you must follow down to the very last word, because what worked for me and my friends may not work for you. even more so because this is the essay section, which is the most personal part of your entire application.


if you havent already looked through the essay topics for your schools, here are some umbrella topics that pop up frequently:

almost all of the schools that i applied to required an additional essay that addressed this question. the idea here is to separate those who would accept the admission offer from those who won’t, and also an alternative way to evaluate what kind of a person you really are. few people really know much about why they want to go to an Ivy League school besides the fact that, well, it’s an Ivy and it’s prestigious. my advice would be firstly, do your research VERY well and after that, reflect and select from your findings what you like best about each school.

how do you research? google and the college’s website are your best friends. asking friends who go to these colleges what they like best about their schools would probably help you narrow down some key points as well, but if you’re going to do this, please read the bottom of my post later :) after the research comes the reflecting. what is it about the school that makes it a good fit for you, and more importantly, why are YOU a good fit for the school? the answers should come naturally to you as you research. some important things to consider; you can mix and match:

- majors offered. half of my ‘Why UPenn’ essay was on the delightful Philosophy-Politics-Economics major that i was really, really interested in.

- student body. if you can place your finger on what you feel a certain school’s student body culture is, and this really attracts you to the school, definitely write about it :)

- renowned faculties of the school. which would tie back to ‘majors offered’. if you’re really interested in political science for instance, research the poli sci faculty of a certain school thoroughly and extract its defining characteristics. do certain professors/authors that you admire lecture there? are the research opportunities in abundance for your field of choice? though i would think it’s also important to balance these hard facts with a softer side of why is it you are so interested in this faculty. dont let your essay be like, “oh i want to do political science in columbia because it’s the most famous faculty you have”. that would be silly :) show that you have done your research and you know what the school is good for, but also show that you have reflected upon it, and that you like a certain faculty in the school because you genuinely want to do pursue it, and not because it’s famous.

- traditions & defining institutions all schools have their traditions, and a quick google search will tell you what they are. these traditions can be really interesting and cute things to write about. defining institutions on the other hand, are a lot more significant and weighty, and it’s always cool to read an applicant’s fresh take on these institutions. examples of defining institutions are Yale’s housing system and Princeton’s eating clubs. if these things intrigue you, write about them, but in a refreshing and witty way, because you can bet everyone else is going to be writing about these things.

- method of learning. the centerpiece of Columbia and UChicago’s undergrad education is a very special thing called The Core. if you’re applying to either school, you must know what it is, and if you think you really like The Core, you should write about it. other schools have their own kinds of curriculum and methods of learning, whether similar or different. UChicago for instance really supports the Socratic method of learning, which is totally awesome and deserves at least one paragraph in your Why Chicago essay.

- diversity. very cliched thing to talk about, but if you can write a beautiful essay out of this, why not.

- clubs, societies, extra curricular activities. a lot of people think that writing about these things are very unnecessary, but i actually think this is the best thing you could write about. my own humble opinion of course :) writing about a very interesting or unique club/activity in the college is so focused and shows that you’ve done your research very well. it also stands out, precisely because it’s focused, as a lot of other applicants will probably make general statements about the student body, faculties, defining institutions etc. be sure to pick a good activity though - either one that’s truly unique to the school, or one that you’re already very established in and would like to contribute to in college.

- sports/music/art opportunities.if you play a certain sport or musical instrument competitively and want to continue playing in school, it’s definitely a good thing to talk about :) Ivy Leagues like their musicians, sportsmen and sportswomen very, very much indeedy.

these are just some things to think about. while researching, keep your mind open and be attentive to both the big things and little things about each school that interests you. another important thing to remember is that it’s not just about how good the school is for you, but how good YOU are for the school. it’s a relationship that should work both ways. i always think it’s crucial for ‘Why This College’ kind of essays that we relate everything back to ourselves. it could potentially sound a little self-absorbed, sure, but not if you write it in the right way. balance praise for the school with a little bit on how you relate to these things you’re writing about, whether it’s through your talents/abilities, aspects of your personality that these niches complement, how you can contribute, etc. it shows that you’ve thought about these things and are not just blindly copying and pasting from the school’s website :)

remember, you’re not supposed to impress the adcom with how much you know about their school, but rather, how well you’ve thought about the potential relationship between you and the school.

the above “Why This College” essay is most of the time kinda supplementary to the more personal essay where you get more freedom to write about yourself, which is either a specified topic or an open one. the specified topics are like: ‘What’s the biggest risk you’ve ever taken?’, ‘Who is your role model?’, ‘What is your most significant hobby and why?’, ‘What does diversity mean to you?’.

if you are given options, it can be quite difficult to choose what to write about. some people take a few months to decide. obviously i cant tell you which would be the best topic for you to write about, because only you would know that, but i think a good rule of thumb is to choose whichever topic gives you the best and most memorable story. more on this later.

another thing i usually recommend is to skip the topics that require you to talk about people other than yourself. these are topics like, ‘Who is your role model?’ or ‘Tell us about a person who has impacted your life the most’ or ‘Tell us about your best friend’. let’s face it, with a limit of 500 words, we dont have enough space to write about ourselves, let alone this whole other new person! also, we sometimes run the risk of talking too much about the other person in our attempt to explain just why s/he is so significant in our lives. the essay then becomes all about this person, and not about us at all. which totally defeats the purpose of a personal statement.

go for this one whenever you can :) just channel what you feel is THE MOST important part of you, and write away.


okay this part is going to be totally subjective, and was the part that i considered omitting from this post. these were the qualities i felt were important for me to display in my essays, but it doesnt have to be the same for yours. my list could be a good guidance or point of departure though, so i thought i’d write about this anyway. and if anyone is unclear, when i say qualities, i mean underlying tones of the essay, and not the entire subject of it.

A) UNIQUENESS- i think it’s safe to say that it’s super important to stand out among the 20,000 or so other applicants. just about everyone else applying will have good grades, leadership skills, ex-co positions in clubs and societies, represented school for this and that activity… so there is no better way to TRULY stand out than in your essay. be introspective for a couple of days and think about what aspect of you or what experience you’ve had is so unique that the adcom will remember you for it when they’re having their discussions.

B) PURPOSE & AMBITION - an essay with purpose and ambition is confident and intelligent, and will show that you are a person with big plans for whom the offer of admission would yield great results. if you are a naturally ambitious person, this quality will always shine through in your essay no matter what you choose to write about. writing about teaching english in orphanages shows purpose, even if you’re talking about volunteering. so does writing about how your passion in life is badminton. as does writing about the experience of being in the BERSIH rally… which is what i wrote about in one of my essays :)

C) MATURITY - for the Ivy League and top schools, you’re going to be competing against some of the smartest, most individualistic and mature teenagers all across the world. some people may disagree with me on this, but i think it’s really important to have a clear, discerning and mature voice in your essays. i would opt not to talk about frilly and frivolous stuff that has little to no significance in the grander scheme of things. an example would be an essay i wrote for the topic of diversity (which you will find is something that american colleges love to talk about). this was the very first essay i’d attempted, and i wrote about how i used to wear my school uniform skirt a lot shorter than it was really supposed to be, and how this was a symbol of individuality and diversity despite the conflicts with my diversity-hatin’ teachers; that just because i chose to wear short skirts didn’t mean i wasn’t smart blablabla. after i started getting into the zone of writing personal statements, i realized that this was such an immature and self-indulgent topic that really did not address the very core values of unity in diversity, and at the end of the day, it was centered around a freaking skirt that was 3 inches too short. it would have stood out, sure, but it was frivolous. so i canned the essay, and whipped up a new one about the rojak from a stall near my house :) infinitely better.

D) AWARENESS - this is a little bit like maturity, but with a slight difference. showing awareness means showing that you THINK, showing that you’re aware of yourself and what goes on in your heart and mind, and that you’re aware of your surroundings. an essay that shows awareness always arrests the subject at hand with clear language and sharp perspective, and manifests itself in a keen sensitivity to emotions, people and events. you’d be able to take one emotion, or one event, and extrapolate it to something bigger, and be able to give meaning to it. in my BERSIH essay for instance, a good portion of my 600-word piece was about the moment before i actually boarded the train to the rally venue. that was the awareness-of-self part. the awareness of the event came in the later half of the essay. while i was writing the essay, i didnt think about it in such technical terms - all i wanted to do was answer the question before the deadline! but now that i look back on it, i think that essay got me into UPenn chiefly because it displayed awareness, among other qualities, because it’s so important to show that one is a thinker and a feeler.


keeping in mind the above (very few) qualities that i talked about up there, you now have to choose a subject to write about. so many things to talk about, so little space. what should we do?

if this is an open topic, i would say, take ONE aspect of you and write about it. dont try to write about three different things in three different paragraphs; it’s going to make your essay cluttered and very diluted. so take the most important part of you and put it on paper. it’s tough figuring out at first what this most important part is, but you’ll figure it out :)

if you’re choosing to expand on a significant ability, talent or hobby that is already obvious from the other parts of your application because you feel that you want the adcom to know more about this part of you, i think it’s very important to tell a story with the soft side of your ability rather than just stating cold hard facts of this and that achievement. it’s all about zooming in on the secret story of this talent / achievement that isn’t apparent in the rest of your application. think isi tersirat, not tersurat !

so let’s say that you really want to write about ballet, because you spent your whole life doing it and you feel that is the most important part of you. i urge you not to write about how you go for ballet lessons 5 times a week and all the different recitals you performed for, all the high distinctions you’ve won, your journey through the development of your art etc etc. rather, think about how ballet has shaped you into the very person that you are. let ballet be the point of departure for a poetic essay about YOU, not the other way around. so if you were a ballerina - and i’m extracting these examples from real-life stories - you could write about how ballet has caused a lifelong battle with an eating disorder. or how ballet and the exhilaration of dancing onstage gives you purpose and helps you deal with a hardship in your life. or maybe even a witty anecdote on the fierce competition between ballerinas, a culture that has shaped and driven you over the years. this way, you address both your talent and many, many other individual qualities all at once.

and please use real anecdotes ya :) i know it’s very obvious but i’ve actually met some people who thought that they could write fictional accounts for their personal statements.

again, this may seem very obvious, but it can be quite hard to decide what exactly defines you and what is important to you. i know lots of people who have an extremely developed hobby or talent but find that it doesnt define them or that they have no attachment to this talent. so, reflect. ponder. think. some questions that you should ask yourself: when people think about you, what do they immediately associate you to? what do you feel most alive doing? what do you love? what do you hate? what is one aspect of your background / history that would surprise people? what do you aspire to be? what is the most difficult thing that you ever had to go through?

with awareness and introspection, even a small thing about yourself can be extrapolated to become an amazing essay :)

i think these essays, if written rightly, can sometimes be the best. i decided to do this when i wrote my essay for UChicago - i basically wrote about all of my flaws instead of my strengths. this was SUCH A HUGE RISK and i agonized about it all the way up till the day of admissions results, but i guess the agony was worth it in the end because i was admitted :) though i really wouldnt recommend writing about flaws to anyone else (to this day i still think that it was a waste of space and that i was very, very lucky to have been accepted by Chicago), the point i’m trying to make is that an unconventional essay is what speaks of an unconventional individual. dont confine yourself to what’s ’safe’, because safe isnt always the most exciting thing. as for writing about politics and religion, if that’s what you feel strongly about, why not? i wrote about politics for half of the schools i applied to, and i got into all of them. plus when you get here, you’ll find that political and religious diversity and outspokenness are very much celebrated.. so no, i dont actually think it would work against you to write about politics and religion if you really wanted to!

being an international applicant, your culture and your background can be one of the most interesting things to write about. but of course, you have to write about it in a captivating way that shows you really think about what goes on in your culture. i’ve read a few essays where people purposely talk about their culture and exoticize it because they know that’s what adcoms like to read from international students, but the international applicant pool is WAY more competitive than you think. there are applicants, particularly the ones from Africa, who live and breathe their culture and have so many exciting, inspiring and REAL things to write about. there is no way a fake-sounding essay on muhibbah can compete with that. personally, i hate the idea of exoticization (not a real word, but you know what i mean) because i feel that it misrepresents the country you come from, as well as your own background.. but if you can come up with something genuine, something real, something powerful about your relationship with Malaysia.. then yes. write about it. 100 percent. :)

this speaks for itself :) let your personality jump off the page, and your individuality shine through in your words. if you’re emo, write emo. if you’re funny, write funny. you will find that the best essays are written when you write them as yourself and no one else :) so.. when you first sit down to write an essay, forget about what ‘US College Application Tips’ you’ve heard or read. forget about what people say you should be. just channel yourself, think about what’s most important to you, and write about it, in your own voice and no one else’s.


when you’re done writing your essay, believe me, you’re not quite done :P be prepared to rewrite all of your essays at least twice, and if you’re anything like me, be prepared to can some essays on the deadline itself and submit a spanking new one only minutes before midnight, simply because a new idea hit you or you got some excellent critique on one of your essays.

seriously though, letting my essays be proofread was the best thing i did for myself during my applications to college. i’m the sort of person who never lets anyone read my personal writing (yes, weird i know, coming from someone who blogs publicly), even if it’s for important things like essay writing competitions or college admissions. but when i wrote my first essay (the skirt one) and sent it to some of my very closest friends, i got such amazing critique that made my essay SO much better after i applied them. then i thought, hmm, maybe there’s something to this proofreading thing after all! so i started sending out my essays to people to read. and i’m not exaggerating when i said that this is the best thing i did for myself. other people can contribute fresh perspectives that you’ve never even thought of, and also give you good suggestions on how to make your piece better. reading/proofreading someone else’s work and doing the same to your own are two very different things :)

there are four kinds of people you should send your work to:

show your essay to your best friends, your friends and your family. their views are always valuable because they know you best, and sometimes they can remind you about a part of yourself that would fit in perfectly with your essay and enrich it even further. if your essay isnt doing you any justice, these are the people who would tell you so. also there are things about us that some of our best friends or siblings see and envy, and oftentimes these are the life accomplishments or characteristics that we should be writing about :)

i gave my essays to my best friends and asked them if they would show it to their parents or their other friends. this yielded some of the BEST CRITIQUE EVER. remember that the people on the adcom who will be reading your essays are people who are complete strangers to you, and your essays are the first impression of you that they will get. therefore, having your essay proofread by people who dont know you will give you an accurate idea of what a complete stranger thinks of you after reading your essay. ask your friends what kind of a person their friends thought you were after reading your essay. ask them to hazard a guess on what kind of person you are beyond what is obvious from the essay. is this the right impression you are trying to portray? if it’s not, then you got some work to do :)

simply cos they have mature and refreshing views :) you know the saying about more salt than you’ve eaten rice. good candidates are english teachers!

good writers know how to structure ideas well and also where emphasis should be placed, among other technical abilities like grammar and vocabulary, so it’s always good to get them to read your essays and give you critique. Martian is actually a really good writer (but dont tell him i said that), so i always sent my essays to him for advice on structure and flow. he would tell me that i needed to shift my ideas around, or that the sequence of certain paragraphs made him feel uncomfortable, and then i would realize that what he said is true.

i also found that sending my essays to bitchy (but good) writers helped a lot :P okay lah maybe the word to use is ‘discerning’. you know.. sometimes people can be a bit lazy to proofread your essays.. but the ‘discerning’ writers are always the ones who thrive on tearing apart other people’s work :P they give you critique down to the very last full stop, and although demoralizing, it really pushes you to think about what makes a good essay and just how you can improve it.

however, remember that critique should only be heeded so much. dont accept and apply critique to the point where your original voice is lost.

and with that, i end Part 2 of my guide to the essay section of US college applications :)

The author of this walkthrough was accepted for the class of 2012 at Columbia University, University of Pennsylvania, Swarthmore College, University of Chicago, New York University and University of Michigan. She is now a freshman at Columbia University in New York, and doesn’t know yet what she wants to major in, but she’s pretty sure it’s not going to be math. Su Ann is also known as Pinkpau and likes ice cream.

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Would encourage any of my blog readers to share with me any event that you come across. As long as the event/activity/initiative is education/charity/youth oriented and is not-for-profit, I would be more than happy to post it to share!

CIMB raised Target Price from 2.31 to 2.38

CIMB raised target price of from 2.31 to 2.38. This is done on 17th October 2008, despite the great uncertainty in the market. When lots of stock prices crashed,'s stock price was not affected much. It dropped by just a few % over the past couple of months, when the index dropped quite heavily.

Quoting it from a CIMB Report.

Jobstreet’s presentation at the Investor Expo drew an audience of 13. Speaking on
behalf of the company, CFO Mr. Greg Poarch gave a comprehensive overview of the
company, its structure, business model, outlook and the recent spate of corporate

Focused on building the brand in SE Asia. The company is well on its way to being
the top online recruitment site in Southeast Asia and has now shifted gears to
penetrate countries that are less mature and where Internet penetration is fairly low.

Opportunities are still plentiful given SE Asia’s fairly large population, its developing economies which present more job opportunities and the ongoing print to online migration.

Recession providing an opportunity as well as a threat. As weaker players are
flushed out by the recessionary environment or are gobbled up by larger players,
Jobstreet should be well positioned to benefit from this trend. In many of the markets it operates in, it is one of the top two operators. This bodes well for the company as the top two usually reap handsome profits in any market and competition would peter out in what is already a fairly benign environment in their core markets. That said, recession could slow down Jobstreet’s growth as businesses cut back on hiring, thus reducing the volumes of job postings. This, however, could be mitigated by the ongoing migration from print to online, which is the cheapest form of recruitment.

Seeking a stake. The entry of Seek (SEK AU, NR), the dominant Australian online
recruitment firm, as a 10% shareholder is positive as it validates Jobstreet’s branding and success in executing its business model. To recap, Seek purchased a 10% stake at an average cost of RM1.78/share or a total cost of RM55.1m. We gather that the investment will be more of a passive one where Seek will provide input and insights and will not be seeking board representation. Synergies could be derived from a partnership where new products/services could be offered, new market segments
could be penetrated or even some form of infrastructure sharing could occur.

Non-renewal of pioneer status? Jobstreet is actively working on securing the
renewal of its pioneer status which expires in May 09. While early indications appear
to be positive given the expanding and growing profile of the group, the investments in R&D and the fairly tech heavy business it is involved in, there is no guarantee of the renewal, especially given the uncertain political climate. We leave our forecasts untouched pending more visibility into this issue.

Upping its stake in 104 Corp. Jobstreet has accumulated a 5.2% stake in 104 Corp
(3130 TT, NR), the leading Taiwanese online job portal, at a cost of RM20.6m. It was
reluctant to shed any more light on its strategy there although we cannot rule out
further accumulation. Any subsequent purchases, however, would need the consent
of shareholders as this investment now accounts for 25% of its net assets. At this
point in time, there is little clarity on whether Jobstreet will incur any mark-to-market losses from its investment given the falling share price of 104 Corp.


No surprises. There were no surprises revealed during the briefing. We continue to
like Jobstreet for its success in building up an impressive local and regional franchise, and for the increasing operating leverage that is taking root. While the outlook does cause some consternation, we believe that Jobstreet should be able to ride out the storm.

Valuation and recommendation

Maintain earnings forecasts and OUTPERFORM call. The information revealed
during the Investor Expo came as no surprise and does not alter our positive stance
on the company. Even in trying circumstances, Jobstreet continues to execute well
and defy the tougher operating environment. The regional operations provide a buffer
to the local anchor. We now roll over our target price but downgrade our multiple from 15x to 12.7x as we switch our valuation methodology from peer comparison to
benchmarking it to our target market P/E. We attach a 10% premium to our target
market P/E on account of Jobstreet’s superior ROEs and strong 3-year EPS CAGR.
Hence, our target price rises from RM2.31 to RM2.38. The re-rating catalysts include
a) continued growth in core markets, b) diversification into new ones and c) operating leverage gaining traction.

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Would encourage any of my blog readers to share with me any event that you come across. As long as the event/activity/initiative is education/charity/youth oriented and is not-for-profit, I would be more than happy to post it to share!

MCA Election Results

Thanks to Romen from AFP and Hooi San from Lifelong Learning for sharing the latest results for me. Hooi San, really appreciate your call, as you must be tired after many hours counting the votes!

Would quote Malaysiakini for the Official Results of MCA Election.

Congrats to all who got elected and hope to see all the leaders would close rank and work together for the future!

The official announcement confirms the new president as Ong Tee Keat (1,429 votes), defeating Chua Jui Meng (917 votes).

The new deputy president is Dr Chua Soi Lek (1,115 votes), defeating Ong Ka Chuan (1,001 votes), Donald Lim Siang Chai (209 votes) and Lee Hack Teik (10 votes).

The four new vice-presidents are Kong Cho Ha (1,798 votes), Liow Tiong Lai (1,725 votes), Dr Ng Yen Yen (1,659 votes) and Tan Kok Hong (1,329 votes).

The 25 newly-elected central committee members are - Lee Wei Kiat, Wong Foon Meng, Tan Chai Ho, Tan Cheng Liang, Dr Hou Kok Chung, Lee Chee Leong, Gan Ping Sieu, Yu Chok Tow, Wong Nai Chee, Lee Sing Chooi, Wee Jeck Seng, Gan Tian Loo, Dr Yeow Chai Thiam, Chong Itt Chew, Hoh Khai Mun, Ti Lian Ker, Liew Yuen Keong, Wong Mook Leong, Paul Kong Sing Chu, Edward Khoo Keong Hai, Teh Siew Kiong, Loh Seng Kok, Wong Siong Hwee, Dr Por Choo Chor and Loke Yuen Yow.

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Saturday, October 18, 2008

Dato' Seri Ong Ka Ting's Address at MCA General Assembly

Today is MCA 55th General Assembly and also its Election!

This morning, was at Wisma MCA, helping to sell the book "Heartfelt Expressions - Embracing Ong Ka Ting and His Actions". And being there, I got some opportunity to take a look at how the General Assembly is.

When I reach there around 9am, tons of people were there already. Those candidates were busy going around, to speak, shake hand and convince the delegates to support them. For others, it is the time to catch up and discuss on national issues.

By 9:45am, Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister, led by Dato' Seri Ong Ka Ting arrived at the venue, with leaders of other component parties too.

The ceremony ended just before noon, and then it was the election time. Voting was from around 1pm to 2ish pm. During that time, Dato' Seri Ong Ka Ting even dropped by the booth selling the books, and started to autograph for many who were there. It is just amazing, seeing Dato' Seri being so humble to walk over and share with many there, including many journalists. Many asked to take photographs with Dato' Seri too. Thanks to Siad Huey from TV2 who helped to take photo for me, I got the chance to take a photo with Dato' Seri on this historical day.

Dato' Seri is definitely a selfless leader, who care a lot about the community, and not about himself. He made the sacrifice to quit being minister and now quit being MCA President, for the sake of party and nation, and also to inculcate a healthy political culture within MCA. This MCA election was done transparently, where anyone can view what happens inside the hall through the many screens that were placed outside the hall.

Over the years, Dato' Seri has fought on many issues for those under-priviledged and also fought for the education and future of many. His humility to just approach anyone, including many students and younger generation touched the heart of many. It is not easy to find someone like Dato' Seri who would go down to the ground. He shared on his many occasion driving on his own, directing the way for his driver, lining up to buy things etc.

It is amazing to see Dato' Seri grew from his humble background in a small village in Perak to today, MCA President and now retired, while still dedicating his life to contribute to community.

Below is his speech this morning (which he wrote himself) to cap his blazing career for the community.

This is quoted from The Star .

The full text of MCA president Datuk Seri Ong Ka Ting’s speech at the 55th MCA Convention at Dewan San Choon, Kuala Lumpur

ON behalf of the MCA party, I convey my deepest appreciation to Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, the Prime Minister and Barisan Nasional chairman, for being here with us once again and for officiating MCA’s 55th annual general assembly on this auspicious morning. I also welcome and extend my gratitude to Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, the Deputy Prime Minister and Barisan Nasional deputy chairman as well as to all leaders and representatives from Barisan Nasional component parties for attending MCA’s annual general assembly this morning.

Honoured ladies and gentlemen,

It is a historic moment to have Barisan Nasional chairman Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi as our honoured guest who will officiate the MCA general assembly. This is because this is the last time he will officiate MCA’s general assembly and this is also my last MCA general assembly as president of the party.

On behalf of MCA, I wish to take this opportunity to convey my highest appreciation to Datuk Seri Abdullah for all the help and support he has given to the MCA thus far as Prime Minister in tackling the various challenges faced by the Chinese community specifically and also the Malaysian community on the whole. The MCA appreciates the Prime Minister’s sincerity and determination in his commitment to continue several important efforts before he retires.

Among them are the judicial reform, the reform and enhancement of anti-corruption efforts and reforming the police force.

The MCA welcomes the Prime Minister’s commitment to these important efforts and hopes that component parties will be truly involved in an effective manner to fix all current weaknesses in these three fields so that we can restore public confidence in Barisan. I previously represented MCA in raising several suggestions in Parliament on April 30, this year, on these three issues:

* MCA suggested that the Government enhance the judiciary system including setting up a Judicial Commission that is truly independent so that issues regarding the appointment and promotion of judges can be done in a transparent manner without taking into account race or religion. The Barisan government should enhance the judiciary system to restore the people’s confidence.

* The MCA hopes that efforts to curb corruption especially the restructuring of the Anti-Corruption Agency via the setting up of the Malaysia Anti-Corruption Commission will be truly effective in preventing and combating corruption. It is high time for us to act firmly without taking into account which side is involved in the corruption, be it political leaders, influential people or those in high positions. The performance and achievements of organisations such as the ICAC in Hong Kong should be used as a reference in our efforts to improve ways to combat corruption.

* Security problems and the effectiveness in combating crime is closely related with the efficiency of the police force and public awareness. The Government should have a more open attitude towards the 125 suggestions by the Royal Police Commission to create a royal police force that is more efficient, transparent, not bribeable, professional and fair. One reform that will convince the people is to reconsider the suggestion to set up the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC). Y.A.B. Datuk Seri Prime Minister and Y.A.B. Deputy Prime Minister, please act firmly in bringing changes and reforms to these three important issues that was just mentioned. The rakyat are really anticipating it. MCA will continue to be with our two leaders in making these reform efforts a success.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Malaysians of various races have sent us a strong signal through the voting trends in the results of the 12th general election on March 8. From the feedback received by the MCA, the rakyat have a negative perception towards the Barisan Nasional government in various aspects during the last general election.

Among them are:

i) They are not satisfied with the problem of corruption and misuse of power by politicians and government officers. Those entrusted to hold this trust seemed to have broken the trust of the people. There are also very negative perception towards the non-transparent manner in the awarding of government contracts and there were also leakages in the usage of government allocations when implementing development projects, acquisition or services.

ii) They feel disgusted and angry that a handful of politicians in Barisan Nasional had been arrogant and passionate in making statements or speeches that were racially-motivated or had threatened other races. There were also some politicians who became very wealthy not long after holding a party position or being made local councillors.

iii) Many people are also worried about their safety and the safety of their loved ones especially when they kept reading crime-related news like cases of snatch theft, robbery, break-ins, assault and brutal murder.

iv) The increase in the price of goods and higher cost of living following the higher fuel prices even before March 8 has inconvenienced the people especially the low and medium income earners, a group which represents the majority of our population.

v) The handling of religious issues by the authorities often portray a picture that the freedom of religion is not practised as stated by government leaders including Y.A.B. Prime Minister.

vi) Many non-bumiputra traders, entrepreneurs, developers or investors constantly feel frustrated because they feel constrained and not being treated fairly by certain ministries, departments or government agencies in the issuance of licences, permits, loans or tender opportunities.

The relevant authorities seem to enjoy using excuses of government economic policies based on prejudicial interpretation and narrow-minded thinking.

In this event, the MCA has corrected several issues at the Cabinet level or through discussions with the Y.A.B. Prime Minister or Y.A.B. Deputy Prime Minister. Among the examples are the relaxing of government procurement and services policy to enable non-bumiputras to participate in the activities for limits below RM50,000 per item and to prevent the authorities from attempting to impose guidelines to curb foreign investment in the distributive trade.

If we want to ensure that our country’s economy grows at a satisfactory rate, we must ensure that all traders, entrepreneurs and investors, small or big, are able to participate in all sectors in the economic development of our country. The implementation of an affirmative economic policy should be based on a principle that does not sideline others and it should be done by making the economic cake bigger and by encouraging joint ventures between races.

The implementation of this policy should not limit any trader or investor who tries to expand their business or investment based on success achieved by their own efforts.

The Barisan Nasional government should re-look and re-evaluate the various weaknesses or misappropriation in the implementation of the economic policy which is different than what was promised to our multi-racial community. It is time the Government liberalised the economic policy to make Malaysia truly competitive.

vii) The issue of building new SJK (C) and the lack of development allocation for SJK (C), SJK (T) and mission schools have also been raised by the Chinese and Indian communities all this while. Before the general election on March 8, 2008, the Government had approved the building of six new SJK (C) and the relocation of 13 SJK (C).

Recently, the MCA suggested that the Government fund the construction costs and rebuild these SJK(C) as soon as possible. Besides that, the MCA also suggested that the Government institutionalise the building of new SJK (C) where needed and to always provide sufficient allocation.

There are other matters that I do not have the time to raise one by one. Actually, all the issues I have raised above are issues that had caused the loss of votes for Barisan Nasional in the last general election.

What is worrying the MCA party is that although we have raised these issues many times to be addressed by the Government, the solution has not reached a satisfactory level. The situation is worsened when the public have the perception that the power sharing within Barisan Nasional is actually not effective or fair.

Umno is seen as a party that is far more dominant than other component parties. The Barisan Nasional leadership needs to fix this situation through a practice that includes the involvement of component parties when making all important decisions and not for it to be seen as if Umno is the only party that decides on important policies and other parties are only asked to defend it later in the spirit of Barisan Nasional.

The power sharing slogan that is often spoken of is still seen as a mouthed slogan only. I have led MCA for almost five years and five months. The MCA central committee members and I have worked tirelessly and have discussed these important issues for at least five to six hours during each of our meetings.

Many MCA presidential council meetings have also been held to focus attention on issues that are not only related to the important rights of the Chinese community but also related to many universal issues that the non-Chinese are paying attention to. We have tried our best to tackle various issues but as long as there is no solution that convinces the people, then we will not get their support.

Y.A.B. Prime Minister, I still remember two days after I made the announcement not to defend my position as MCA president, I went to see Y.A.B. Datuk Seri to inform you of my decision as a sign of respect. In that meeting, Y.A.B. said that when I no longer hold the position as MCA president, I will be able to hear more feedback from the common people and I was asked by Y.A.B. to keep him informed of the people’s voice. I wish to state here that what I have touched on just now is really the feedback that I heard from the people. I did not even have to wait until I have stopped being the MCA president.

Actually, in the last seven months or so, my daily life is like an ordinary person, that is without any protocol or being escorted by bodyguards or security guards. I am always eating and drinking in the same table and breathing together with ordinary people so much so that they are not shy to express their feelings to me. All of us in Barisan Nasional must seriously consider the people’s grouses and act effectively to bring about changes.

Barisan Nasional must change before we are changed or replaced. After the March 8 general election until now, the people’s perception has yet to recover and Barisan Nasional reforms have yet to show evident results. Half-truth political criticisms have confused the rakyat and have raised many questions. The recent use of the ISA on those who did not jeopardise the country’s safety has also brought a very negative effect towards the Government. MCA suggests that the Government re-look the ISA in a comprehensive manner.

Meanwhile, the use of the ISA that does not follow the objective of the original drafting of the Act should be stopped. This Act is long behind time. It should be replaced by an Act that is not easily misused or causes the people to feel unsafe. The United States’ financial crisis and its economic effect has not only greatly impacted the world economy but can also bring about side effects to us.

Barisan Nasional cannot wait or act slowly. We need to reduce political squabbling in Barisan Nasional or within the country. The people are tired and fed up with the tricks and politicking that they read and watch in the media every day.

The Barisan Nasional leadership must join forces in providing a more focused leadership and clear direction as well as to be seen as firm and effective in tackling economic challenges and all of its side effects.

Barisan Nasional must also involve experts or professionals and experienced industry representatives to meet and brainstorm ideas so that an action plan can be formulated in a quick and accurate manner. We need to immediately stop giving any government contract or projects through direct negotiations to companies with no solid track record, we need to stop all form of leakages and wastage of government funds and to be thrifty when the Government uses taxpayers money.

The economic policy has to be further liberalised and the equity condition that limits expansion should be scrapped to enable companies in Malaysia to become more competitive especially given the very challenging economic situation at present. The Government must re-study the policy on the giving of APs, subsidy and price control.

In this context, open market competition should be allowed and at the same time, the Government must channel the appropriate source to the lower income group to ensure they benefit from the expanding economy and are not left out of the country’s economic wealth.

A healthy political culture

Malaysians of all races now want to see a ruling party that is truly clean and trustworthy. The Federal Government formed by Barisan Nasional parties must not only be seen as corrupt-free and trustworthy but it must also be really clean and sincere in its practices and actions.

To successfully restore the image and to give new hope to the people of Malaysia, we need to start by changing and reforming within the component parties of Barisan Nasional, especially parties that are the pillars of Barisan Nasional - that is Umno, MCA and other influential parties.

MCA’s leadership in the last several years have tried to practice a healthy political culture within the party. A healthy political culture is a culture that is free from corruption and one of integrity.

Therefore, I place high hopes that this spirit of a clean and healthy political culture will be strongly supported by all MCA delegates. I am confident that the delegates will realise that any form of unhealthy campaigning such as money politics, twisting of facts and the use of dirty tactics by defaming or hitting below the belt are methods that can damage the party and should be strongly rejected without a doubt.

Today, all MCA members are placing hope on the delegates to choose a leadership team that is of calibre, integrity, trustworthy, dedicated, honest, effective and one that constantly holds on to pure values.

The leadership team that will be chosen has to shoulder a huge responsibility in bringing changes to face the current political challenges that is so complex and not easy.

Thus, the central committee that will be formed must always be united and be able to work well with one another. MCA no longer has the time or space for internal conflicts and bickering within the party given that we are in a political situation that is most challenging.

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Would encourage any of my blog readers to share with me any event that you come across. As long as the event/activity/initiative is education/charity/youth oriented and is not-for-profit, I would be more than happy to post it to share!

Friday, October 17, 2008

H-Factor 1-Day Creative Workshop

Yesterday, got a MSN message from Jessica, who is the Personal Assistant of Hannah Tan. She asked me to help publicize on the following event, which Hannah Tan is participating.

It is the H-Factor.

They are doing a 1-day Creative Workshop, for all those between age 16-25, with interest and positive attitude. It requires you to have talent in one of the creative content fields, be it dance, music, drama, motion graphics or public speaking.

12th October 2008 - g Hotel, Penang
19th October 2008 - Menara MSC Cyberport, Johor Bahru
26th October 2008 - Sutera Harbour Resort, Kota Kinabalu
2nd November 2008 - Best Western Premier Seri Pacific Hotel, Kuala Lumpur

Do go to here for more details.

The speakers involved are:-
1. Hannah Tan - TV Host
2. Hans Isaac - Film & Acting
3. Reymee - Music
4. David Lai - Magic
5. Fellest Yan - Dance
6. Joey Khor - Motion Graphic
7. Harith Iskandar - Comedy and Theatre
8. Serena C - Radio

Do check it out!
Click here to read more of Chen Chow's posts

Would encourage any of my blog readers to share with me any event that you come across. As long as the event/activity/initiative is education/charity/youth oriented and is not-for-profit, I would be more than happy to post it to share!