Victory Lap Around Ireland

As I was looking though Google Photos to embellish this site, I was taken on a sentimental trip on what happened in the past few years in my career. So taking a break from writing serious posts on my journey of leadership to look at the trip the symbolizes the happiest moment in my career so far.

Before the start of the power on, we had gone on a short trip to Kilkenny.

This trip happened in early September 2019, with the dedicated team members who went to Ireland for the silicon power-on event. After months of preparation, 2 weeks of 16 hour days in the lab (weekends included), the event was a success. This was the weekend before everyone flies home. Everyone agreed to do something big to commemorate this great achievement.

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Dublin, Ireland

Things have turned around lately. Early in the year, I was with the functional safety team getting the a product to comply with a product development lifecycle that enable the product to be compliant to a safety standard for either automotive or industrial use. The software director (which was my previous boss before joining the functional safety team) came down to Penang. I had set up a meeting with him to talk through some of the systematic process that we need the software team to comply. He had let me talked through the list of issues and complains, then he sprung a surprise. We had a program manager in his team who is running 2 programs in parallel and overwhelmed. He asked if I would like to take up program management for one of the project, so happen to be follow up project from the one that I left off before joining functional safety. I didn’t have to wait before he leaves Penang to accept the offer and the transition was pretty quick after that.

This new project is great, it’s the next generation AI/Deep Learning chip that we will collaborate with a new team that came on board as an acquisition based in Ireland. Another great aspect of this assignment is that I get to start from the project execution phase. The planning has been done, I get to execute this from the current program manager who planned for it. It is pretty normal for a project manager to be involved in the whole planning phase and then handing it to another person for execution. Typically the planning phase involved a small team of experienced lead and the execution phase involves the whole army.

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Out for 4 days – in high seas

Whenever I pass by the pier in Georgetown, I have always gawked in awe at the giant cruise ships that docks there during the day. This is especially true for the StarCruise ship which dwarfs all the ships in the pier and even some of the buildings in the vicinity. It always looks as if the ship is a building by itself, larger than life. I have always wondered and wanted to travel on a cruise. I want to enjoy all the trappings of the high seas cruise but the scrooge in me would not want to pay for the fare.

Luckily, I stumbled upon a buy 1 free 1 offer on Superstar Libra and took up that offer.

The ship was everything I had expected, more than just a large vessel, it has a soul in the form of the staff that worked on the ship. Activities start as soon as you board ship with not much time to work out the cabin. There are activities for all walks of life. In fact, most of the passengers are not shy about joining in the activities, as if what happens on the ship, stays on the ship.

Goes without saying, we are well fed.

The only drawback of a large ship is the many colourful characters that boards the ship. A fight almost occur between 2 families during mealtime because of queuing policy. So bad that the familes are asked to sit at separate corners of the restaurant and the ship’s officer has to come down and attend to the problem. I guess in a crowded environment, patience and manners are thrown overboard.

Cabin was reasonable for 2 adults and 1 toddler who has to sleep on the floor because he may roll off the bed. The bathroom is small but sufficient.

We were expecting some rolling when the ship is moving, preparing various methods to counter seasickness. Since our cabin is almost at the water line, we do not feel the movement as much as the higher floors.

My Hong Kong Stereotype

I am in Hong Kong now for a week. I am here alone. I didn’t plan for this trip and it was a rather last minute arrangement. Othere than knowing that temple street is just across the corner and starbucks is around the other corner, I am confined to travelling between the hotel and conference center.

But having arrived at Hong Kong a few hours ago, I began to have this strange feeling. So it is easier to compartmentalize all that is going on and all that is Hong Kong.

1. Calculators. I bought a ticket from a young chap for the airport train to town. He clearly understand English, so do I. But when telling me the price of the ticket, he just has to punch in the number on the calculator and show it to me. It is like they call numbers differently from everwhere else.

2. Hong Kong, looks like the series. Feels like in the mini series.. ooh, those are filmed here!

3. There are a lot of indonesians, filipinos etc. It is like a reverse of UK. The majority of people are Chinese but sprinkled around are indonesians, filipinos and I am sure there are many malaysians here too.

4. Feels like UK here. apprently it DOES get cold here. How come I don’t see people in winter clothes in TVB miniseries.

5. There are people here that looks like hong kong mafia sidekick. My hotel concierge for one. They dress in leather jackets that has many zippered pockets with dark jeans. When they asked me to go level 2, feels like and order.

6. Hong Kong, at least where I stay in Nathan Road.. is a HUGE petaling street.

7. What’s with the bambo scafolding?

Will continue to add on the stereotype as I move along with my stay here.

 

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Lest We Forget

Not going to try and write a travel blog post for my trip to UK. I can name many people who has been there or are staying there. No point sharing the places I visit since UK is very popular and information can be obtained easily on the internet. What I am going to write is about the feelings and the culture that I see in UK, then compare it to what I experience in Malaysia. Since I have not really been outside of the country much, I don’t think there is much I can compare to other than Malaysia, so don’t lynch me for using MY country as a comparison. Also, I need to make comparison to put into perspective the culture that I observe in UK.

Lets start with the very obvious, there are memorials for the fallen EVERYWHERE! There is no escaping a statue here, a memory there, some stone markings everywhere in UK. The fallen may have names, they may not have names. What I feel is that everyone who has sacrificed for the country at one time or another will be remembered through memorials. Granted that the United Kingdom has been through a lot of wars and conquest, the amount of memorials are stunning.

Although some of the memorials are generic, I can sense that the sacrifices of the people are not in vain. The memorials serve to remember people of the sacrifices that has to be made so that the quality of life and freedom can be enjoyed now.

Winston Churchill. Prime Minister during the war. Although he did not die in the war, he has his own memorial.

Montgomery, who chased the Dessert Fox out of Northern Africa. My travel companion asked my wife who is he. Wife, with the best of her knowledge, just answered that he is one of the war hero. Actually along this whole walk path, there are a few statues of war heroes.

This monument is dedicated to the women in WWII. As most men are drafted into war, women took over a lot of the work used to be done by men. The momument depicts the uniforms representing the kind of work women did during the war. I see this momument and think how they will hopefully hung up their war clothes for good.

Nelson’s column.

They did not left out the firemen during WWII who helped to save London from the fires and bombing. More interesting is the fact that the monument is located near St Paul’s Catherdal, the church of the nation.

This is a memorial for the artillery regiment in world war one. Nicely done piece of art that people like love visit. It is not just a plaque with names on it. It has meaning.

A fairly new installment. From the front it looks like metal bars, but the steel is cut to reveal crosses at the top. Nice installation.

And not forgetting the soldiers who faught in far away lands, like ours.

This is what I noticed. The society, the culture, remembers the nameless people who has served the country. All these memorials are not all funded by the government, a lot of them are funded by the people. So don’t just blame the Malaysian government for doing nothing to remember the Malaysian who sacrificed for the coutry. We as the people need to do more for the people who made this nation what it is. Sometimes we have to swallow the truth that bad things happened during WW2, japanese occupation, emergency, confrantation, May13th. We need to confront these issues and remember the people who fought both sides of the conflict. Everyone is after all, Malaysian.

I remember what the coach driver says, “history is boring because of the way it is taught”.

Who has been to Francis Light’s grave and laid flowers for the founder of the state? At least I can say that I have been once, to the grave of Rev Hutchings AFTER I left school.

Scotland – My Story

We heard the Scottish folk song called “Lock Lomond” when the Australian Trinity Boys Choir came to Penang. We thought that it was a very nice song. The song starts like this

By yon bonnie banks and by yon bonnie braes
Where the sun shines bright on Loch Lomond
Where me and my true love will ne-er meet again
On the bonnie, bonnie banks o’ Loch Lomon’.

So here we are in Scotland, standing on the bonnie bank of Lock Lomond. Wonderful place. The feeling was surreal. A song unheard of until some choir from Australia, came to Penang to perform a song about a body of water in Scotland.

And finally, there we are. Surreal.

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Eating in KL

Normally when we head out to KL, we tend to stick to the malls. So we eat in the mall, especially the outlets that we cannot get in KL. Chilis was a usual spot till they have one here in Penang. But in KL, there are constantly new eating outlets opening up that Penang cannot catch up.

This time around, we could not make it to the mall in time. Well, we prefer to hit the mall before 11.00 am when the crowd is still bearable. So we decided to stay away from the malls, for once.

Wife found out about Betty’s Midwest Kitchen from some blog and she said there are ribs and juicy lucy. We had just watched man vs food at that time and the thought of a juicy lucy is just salivating.

This place is strictly non halal and it is so rare to find a non halal western food these days. Go to the malls and it is always halal. I have nothing against halal food, just that I want to know how pork ribs taste like when they are cooked the right way.

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My baby back rib sauce was good, the ribs were so fall-off-the bone tender that I think my grandma can eat it. Just that it has a lot of the soft bone parts that may not be appetizing. But I sucked t he bones clean.

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Wife’s juicy lucy was good as advertised. Stingy on the cheese but the meat was really thick. If you hate cilantro, like the wife… well you may want to eat something else. The cilantro was a bit overpowering the meat.

We had something called “dog food”, fries baked with cheese and gravy. It was good by itself but it killed the appetite.

We were expecting the place to be full and we were worried not to get a place to sit or having to wait hours outside. We were surprised for a weekend, it was just nice. We got a table and while the restaurant was full, no one had to wait. The customers came in and out quickly.

Finding the place was a challenge as it was a new unexplored area for us and the map on the internet was good till the turning from LDP. We just followed our guts and kept driving. The shop is actually facing the ELITE highway.

As with out luck, we found the place in the first try. Will get the wife to update the location of the place and link to some blogs here.

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We also went for kolok mee. The sarawak favourite. People keep telling us there is this kolok mee place in Puchong that taste JUST LIKE Kuching. Then I have to go.

As with out luck, we found it the first try. Wife to update the location 😀

As for the noodles, the taste is JUST LIKE Kuching. But somehow the texture of the noodles was a bit off. It is a but crunchy, I might say. Maybe overcooked or under cooked or maybe the noodles were stored too long. Wife says she read somewhere that the noodles were imported from Sarawak.

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Think yong tau foo and you think Ampang. I wanted to meet up with some old classmates and they recommended me to Puchong Yong tai foo which they swear is better than the Ampang one. That is a tall order but I thought it was a good place to start, since it is near where we were staying. Less time traveling, more time chatting.

My friend was trying to tell me how to get there and his directions made no sense to me so wife decided to google the place and found it. Apparently the place is so famous, it is on the top of the google list. Try it. It is in Batu 14.

Again, found it in the first try. Wife can really read maps.

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Wife loves this place and so do I. They put pucuk manis in the soup. What you call the vege in pan mee. Wife loves those stuff. The fried yong tau foo, very crispy and light. Not hard like the ones we normally get. Fluffy is another word I would use. The place is PACKED. Six of us wallop 80 bucks worth of yong tau foo, sat there and chat from 7 till almost 10.. when they are closing.

When you arrive there, take a seat and know the table number. Head down to the counter and pick the vege or things you want stuff. They will stuff the vege / tofu AFTER you pick them. Also, knowing cantonese would be good as I have no idea what they were asking. Apparently they were asking how many tou foo or how many wan tans I want. Not sure what I ratted but who cares. Food came and we stayed on.

Queen Victoria Market – Melbourne

Know a place by visiting the market. That is what I did. QV market is HUGE. They sell everything there and they are more known for selling souveniers there than your produce. They do have a relatively small wet market which sells seafood and meat. I could have mistaken the wet market for supermarket and wet and anything but.

here are some of the stuff they sell in the wet market.

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Nuts of all kind. 3 packets for 12 dollars.

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fresh pasta. Like wimpy and fresh pasta. none of those hardened dried thing. This is the real thing!

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Kangaroo salami anyone?

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dips of all kinds. I believe this is one of the quirky Australian thing. you buy these dips and you eat them with crackers.

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cheeses of all kinds. Some shops sells 3 for 10 dollars. We got some.

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chocolate. Like fresh, if you can call it that, chocolate.

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Ham and deli of all kinds.

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this is a typical meat shop.Every cuts of meat there.

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sausages of all kinds. the fresh one. Not frozen.