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Drawing to a Close

Merry Christmas everyone. I'll save the Happy New Year for the next post. I hope you are happy with what you have achieved in 2013. I certainly am. No doubts about that.

For me 2013 is special in the sense that I graduated in this year, returned to Penang and landed myself a first job. Quite a drastic change in lifestyle from the college/university life that I have been accustomed to. Besides that I've started pushing towards my next big milestone. My CPA qualification. Hopefully to be attained smoothly in 3 years' time.

Looking back, I would really love to see the clear blue skies of Perth again. I enjoyed studying there. i guess you could tell from my previous posts. I plan to go back someday on a holiday. Just to re-explore the city and relive some of my best memories. Will definitely be some time before I go back there though. Now's the time to save up. Not spend.

I foresee 2014 will be an interesting year for me. Through my trusty gypsy crystal ball I see myself progressing through my first year as part of the workforce, learning to achieve the ultimate balance between career, family, friends, personal interests, and keeping the galaxy safe from alien invaders.

No, my day job does not include fighting aliens. Although sometimes I wish it does.

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X'mas in KL Malls

I've been travelling up and down between Penang and KL recently. For training and for actual work. Surprisingly during my 3 trips down south I somehow found the time to explore the capital with my colleagues. I took some photos of the different Christmas decorations I encountered in the various malls in and around KL. Thought it was a good idea to post them here.

First we have the Bangsar Mall, which my colleagues tell me is a haunt for the rich. So I guess I was probably the poorest joker there. Lol.


Management went to great heights to decorate the place. I went to great heights to take that photo. Literally. There were shops below the chairs and shoppers were walking below the dining table. The table was about a storey high.

Another angle.

Look at those apples!

We were pretty much dwarfed by the deco.

1 Utama's deco was not as impressive as the previous mall, but boleh tahan. I observed the progress each day as workers built the deco. To get to where I was working I had to walk through the mall every day.

Prezzies!

Hot air balloon themed.

Another mall with nice X'mas deco is Midvalley Megamall. I stayed at Cititel Midvalley when attending training at PwC HQ, so I had ample chances to hang around this mall. In fact I had most of my dinners here.

Castle! With X'mas trees and snowflakes.

I don't know what that white hanging stuff is supposed to be. My guess is snowflakes or something similar.

Another angle.

 This huge tree was also found in Midvalley Megamall.

Finally, The Gardens, which was right beside Megamall. The deco there was relatively simple. I spent less time there because I was not into branded goods.

Simple but nice. The X'mas tree had red paper roses on it.

 They had these hanging rose vines-reindeer antler things. Quite nice.

Okay, I'm done. Hopefully the next time I write won't be a month later, as in this post which only came a month after the previous one.
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What I've Been Up To

This photo aptly sums up my experiences in the past 2 weeks.


PwC, my 1st job, and ASR for Assurance. The fancy name for audit.

My bro pointed out ASR could also mean 'Lee Ewe Juan - All Stupid Rookie'. Hopefully that is not true.

A large part of the previous 2 weeks was spent learning jargon,trying not to look confused and fumbling my way through the company's systems and procedures. Not the first time I've been through that though. It's called the New Joiner Syndrome. And it's common. Fortunately many colleagues and seniors were ready to help me out so I did not cause any disasters.

I also had the chance to visit KL for the first time after a family trip 12 years ago. Went there for the 1st Experience Orientation thingie, which proved to be quite fun, despite the schedule being very hectic. The best part was probably meeting new friends from all over Malaysia and hanging out with my colleagues/batchmates. It's easy to be friends when you know in a few weeks time, you will all share the same worn out looks and have similar dark circles around your eyes.

I will be going to KL soon again for my first engagement. This time for 2 weeks. Let's hope I'm up to the challenge!
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Ewe Juan Levels Up!

Beginning tomorrow our hero Ewe Juan levels up and is given a new rank... 'working adult'. Wish me luck on my first day at work. Strictly speaking it's my 4th first day, considering I've done 3 internships. But then again it is still a first day, and it is only polite to wish someone good luck on his first day.

Like this: Good luck Ewe Juan! Enjoy your first day!

I may be a 'working adult', but if you're hoping that's going to change my writing style here to be more mature, you are sorely mistaken. I may grow old and lose hair, but my writing style possesses everlasting youth (and has no hair to lose, in case you did not notice).

And so let the Brand New Adventure Begin!
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Competence & Confidence

Should we focus on being confident enough to achieve success, or being competent enough to achieve success?

According to an interesting article I read lately, to achieve greatness, we should focus on developing competence to drive confidence, not just blindly building confidence (most self-help books and motivation programs today are guilty of this).

I attach here a link to a Financial Times article for those who are interested to read the full thing. It's a good read and some food for thought. I rarely talk about anything serious on my blog because I believe in being serious only when studying/working/avoiding getting into deep trouble. Other than that being serious be screwed. There's a reason this blog is called an asylum.

But asylum or not, once in awhile I guess I'm doing everyone a service by sharing something good.

http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/c7d527a6-2ce2-11e3-a0ac-00144feab7de.html?siteedition=intl#axzz2iVYnt7wD

The article also takes a swipe at KPMG for using 'core competencies' to assess its potential employees. This approach focuses too much on vague ideas like 'delivering quality'. Not really something measurable or explicitly related to competency, the article argues. This being the case, people nowadays are trying to appear confident, but do not care so much about being competent, because apparently, confidence is enough for you to ace that job interview. Perhaps true to some extent. I'm sure this 'core competencies' thing extends beyond KPMG to many other companies. I've seen a fair share of 'core competencies' or similar things myself.

You do not have to agree with the article 100%. I certainly don't. But let it serve as a reminder that it's important to get a firm grasp of the technical aspects of our lines of work. Spend time mastering your trade, not blowing your trumpet and ESPECIALLY, not backstabbing to get to the top. There is no honour in success built on a trail of casualties.
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Kamikaze Exam

Tomorrow I shall be taking my first ever CPA exam. Exams have the tendency to make me feel dumb. And at present I am feeling really, really dumb. I hope what people say about luck favouring the fools is true!


Hopefully it wasn't a bad idea taking two subjects. I have decided to never ever repeat another kamikaze act like this. And besides, once I start working, I will probably only have a 0.45% chance to pass both subjects if I take another two at once.

I will blog more after I'm done with my exams (and before I start work). Right now I have to prove I'm not dumb enough to fail my papers. Add oil. Add salt. Add sugar. Add hypertension.
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More Exams

My CPA exams are around the corner and I am starting to really FEEL the load and pressure of studying professional papers. To those who successfully got through their CPA exams and earned the title, I FREAKING SALUTE YOU. Especially if you're the type that works full time and still manages to pass with decent grades.

What do you guys take daily to be this brilliant? Brands Essence of Chicken?

By the way I don't take that stuff. I do not dispute the benefits of taking essence of chicken, but in my opinion that Brands thing tastes like worn-out rubber slippers. Don't fancy taking that daily.

And by the way, no I have never tasted rubber slippers. I just imagined it would taste something like Brands. I tried Brands once. A long time ago. As you might have guessed, I did not like it.

And by the way again, I got myself employed. Yup miracles do happen. I'm being very calm about it. Not too thrilled.

BWAHAHAHA I GOT EMPLOYEDDDD I GOT A FREAKING JOB I WONT DIE OF HUNGER I DID NOT STUDY IN VAIN I CAN EARN $$$ I WONT CONTRIBUTE TO THE UNEMPLOYMENT RATE MY LIFE HAS MEANINGGGGGGGGG OHMYGOSH OHMYGOSH OHMYGOSHHHHHHHHHH

Yes. Steady as ever. Cool as ice. Time to study.
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Graduation!

This post is badly overdue. Why? Cuz once I came back from Perth, there were some favourable results from the job search process. I am still unemployed, but I aim to be employed pretty soon. There was a hold up because I had an interview scheduled and stuff. So yeah, this post is late. So be it.

Not all the following photos will not be accompanied by the usual descriptions because there really is not much to say. Our smiles speak for themselves. It's great to have family and friends celebrate such a memorable event with me. The journey would never have been possible without them.

Thank you Papa and Mummy!

My comrade.
  
Zhong Yang. Eyes shut.

Me. Eyes shut.



Looks like I have my eyes shut again. Cameraman needs better timing.




 
Friend, you were supposed to exit the stage BEHIND the curtain. Heh heh.

Balloons!!!

Eh, damn I'm short...


Thank you Flat 28 for the souvenirs! Wish I could frame the thing.

Glad to say that I finally got my award certificate. But more importantly, I also got myself friends, experiences and memories that money can't buy. That certificate may be crucial for my first job, but friendships last a lifetime. 16 years to achieve this, and I can proudly say the journey was not in vain!
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Hello Perth

I'm typing from the hotel in Perth. Going to get some rest before the big day tomorrow but decided to post a photo. Today we were all in campus to collect our regalias and pose for some pics. So here's one for the record.


Mortarboards in the air people! Mine flew a bit too high so it's not in the picture. Whoopsies. More updates due after I'm done with the ceremony proper. Cheers.
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Off to Graduation!

I'm writing this 4 hours before boarding my flight to Perth. Why? Because I'm freaking graduating of course! And there's a ceremony to attend! Will be going with Papa and Mummy. Glad to have a chance to finally show them Perth. It's a bit hard for them to imagine what the city looks like relying purely on my stories.

My bro stays home as a security guard. He has a firearm license (yeah right) so stay away from my home unless you want your shirt accessorized with bullet holes. He probably uses gummy bears as bullets by the way.

And here's a happy graduation to myself. Happy Graduation Ewe Juan. Further updates will be available when I'm back in a few days.
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This Year's Durians

As promised, here are some pictures of this year's durians. I can think of no reason why the bulk of you will be interested in them, but I'll post them for my personal enjoyment. Yes I enjoy looking at durians, but I enjoy eating them more of course.

These were taken during a durian party at my aunt's place. We have several of these every year.

Oh yeah HEAVEN!

 Another of my favourite fruits.

Da boss.

Table filled with awesomeness.

My favourite Hor Lor. Dry with an extremely strong taste and scent.

I used the word 'scent' to describe the durian. My American cousins would probably prefer the word 'stench'. I suspect we are both correct in our own way.

My dad's favourite Ang Heh.

There were other durians available. You can probably tell from the whole bunch of white labels in the photos. However the 2 I showed close-ups of were the stars of the day. The rest were good, but lightyears away from the awesomeness of the Hor Lors and Ang Hehs. Satisfaction!
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Update

I apologise for the lazy title above. One does run out of creative juices once in a while. A common sign of ageing, nothing to worry about. I'm ageing with grace. A lot of it hopefully.

The past few days have been hogged with studying complex accounting issues, many of which I have no interest in. I notice I have neglected the blog for awhile, so I decided to exercise my fingers on the keyboard a little.

In terms of the job hunt, no luck so far, but hopefully the wise men were right about how you have to wait for the good things in life. On the brighter side though this has given me ample time to study for my non-so-simple professional papers.

Very soon I will be returning to Perth for my graduation! Something to look forward to definitely. After this one I believe I will not be returning to Australia for some time. It's a nice place. I definitely will go on holiday there again. Some unknown day in the future.

And DURIANS!!! My life is not complete without them. I had several durian parties lately and I will throw the photos here soon. You'll have to wait to see those pics. As stated previously, for the good things in life, you have to wait. :)
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Studying Again

So university life in Perth draws to an end for our hero. He has officially graduated into what the human population refers to as "working life". He expects a round of applause as you read this sentence.

Back in Penang, although still jobless, I embark on a new adventure to attain my next level of holy enlightenment qualification. It's called CPA Australia. It's a 6-paper and 3-year long journey concluding in me qualifying as a professional accountant. This, provided nothing goes wrong along the way... *prays hard*.

Two thick files of study material.

After reading several pages I came to the realisation that taking professional papers REALLY wasn't a cushy job. It was no wonder those CPA people back in Perth warned me against taking 2 subjects at once. Fortunately though the unemployed man has much time to poke and ponder. I'll have to complete most of my study before I begin work. The exams are at the end of October. Not very far away considering by that time I'll be studying while working. Ang Kong Po Pi. 
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Up North, Episode 11 - Jurien Bay

Jurien Bay Marine Park is a 2++ hours' drive from Perth. It was our last stop before returning to Perth. We did not spend much time there although there was quite a lot to do. There's hear-say that if you're lucky, you may spot seals along the stretch of beach. We did not see any. All we did was some quick sightseeing and fishing.

Like I said, Jurien Bay has a nice stretch of beach.

Another shot of the beach.

We were fishing on this jetty. Yeah there were lots of seagulls. 

And so we fished...

...and fished...

Unfortunately our catch wasn't even half as good compared to the previous night in Denham. We reeled up all sorts of fish in Shark Bay. All were edible. Unfortunately this time all we got was...

Puffer fish a.k.a. blowies.

They were tiny puffers and were only fist-size when errr... inflated?

Don't worry guys, little blowie here survived. We removed the hook and off it swam.

So no luck with the fishing. We did not fancy eating blowfish, so the 3 or 4 we reeled up were allowed to swim off to their next great adventure.

 Saw this hawk(raven?) perched on a solar-powered light.

Close-up.

And the journey ends with a photo of sunset in Jurien Bay. We packed our gear and drove back to good ol' Perth, exhausted but happy. A wonderful 4 days and 3 nights!

 The end.

And this ends my 11-episode narration of our road trip up north. A once-in-a-lifetime experience I'm sure I'll never forget. Until I am 80 that is. I'm not even sure I'll remember my phone number by that time.
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Up North, Episode 10 - Pink Lake

A few months ago I wrote a post about Lake Thetis, which was slightly pink because of bacterial action at the bottom of the lake. This Pink Lake that I'm now writing about is several times more pinkish than Lake Thetis. It is found in the middle of Kalbarri. I guess the locals ran out of ideas and promptly named the lake after the colour of its water.

No kidding. Seriously.

That's the colour of the entire lake.

Certain parts are pinker, but generally the pink is concentrated in the center.

I love how the lake complements the sky.

Even the shrubs by the lakeside are pinkish.

And here's the group of fascinated tourists!

The Pink Lake marked our last stop in Kalbarri. After this we drove about 2 hours Perth-wards to Jurien Bay. Jurien Bay had some pretty nice beaches. More on that later.