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Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication…                                                                                                                                          

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The Question about United States Dollar

Woke up a bit late (near 7, oops!). Had a session with DeVere. And they suggested me to invest in USD $?

***

First of all, can somebody explain to me what is United States Dollar backed by? Is it gold? Oil? American economy? I took 3 Economics courses with flying colors and I would really like to know. But don’t tell me to ask Ben Bernanke or Alan Greenspan about it. Heheh.

The Chinese are going, “Yeah, we have plenty of those… and we’re very much secure. Look at what they’re doing to Iran, North Korea, Afghanistan… etc.

Simpler question: what brought the largest firm of independent financial advisors here to Asia in the first place? Is Asia a booming market?

But come to think about it, US Dollar IS indeed the international reserve currency, isn’t it? In fact, majority of US notes are held outside the United States, what an interesting fact that is. And yet America is the one acting like the world police. Ironic? Maybe…

* Hey, maybe that’s what’s driving them to police around the world… taking care of the assets.

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Rubbing Salt on the Wound

Maybe it’s just me but that paragraph is way over the line. Whoever came up with that has not gone through some real thinking.

Employees: “Heck, I didn’t know we were going to produce in order to buy seven 60-inch Sony screens for everybody… otherwise I would’ve worked a little harder… to get me some.”

Talk about sensitivity training.

***

P/S: Remember one of the Chief Ministers who gave away brooms to not-so-clean schools? Yeap, he got the boot out.

Extraordinary discussions?

Tight schedule. Everything happened back to back. I returned home a bit later than planned – there was a few extraordinary meetings about some non-base business issues at work. I have to be honest – non technical issues are much harder to solve than technical issues. But that doesn’t mean we appreciate the technical expert much less.

I finally concluded that the 190 TAE could really guzzle some gas. It almost doubled the Nissan’s consumption so I am estimating it to be at 15 to 16mpg.

Ibu needed to buy something so KNgah drove Ibu, Intan & I to Alamanda, Putrajaya. We were just in time before everybody started to wrap things up and leave. But hey, some mission accomplished.

Nissan Sentra knee curve

The best way to drive is to minimize the change in speed and keep the engine to rev at the right “curve”. And this turns out to be at the “knee” of the engine performance curve (DIN).

In the case of my Nissan‘s QG18DE, I should get the engine to rev at 2800RPM as much as possible.

Is Malaysia a developed country?

I had lunch with a German colleague of mine. I laughed when he mentioned, “OK laa.” I immediately responded with, “So you’re speaking like a Malaysian already.”

Then the following conversation started. Disclaimer: these are not the actual words exchanged but inspired by true conversations in recalling a true event.

TG: Zidni, let me tell you a story. Last week the two cops pulled me over because I crossed over a solid line. But everybody was doing it.
AZ: Whoa, how did that go?
TG: Well, I wanted to step out of the car but they asked me to stay inside and just roll the windows down, and so I did.
AZ: OK, then what happened?
TG: They asked for my driver license. I said I left it at home. The cops thought that was quite an offence. I told them, there’s higher risk of losing it if I brought it with me, so that’s why I left it at home.
AZ: Then, was there any other documents you have with you at that time?
TG: I showed them my foreign assignment and passport, but the cops were still mulling over what to do with me. There were going, “so… how do we this. What should we do about you…”
AZ: Well, that sounded like they were waiting for…
TG: Then I handed them MYR50 to settle it. After that, the cops went *shooop* (real sound effect), their expressions bloomed in happiness! They even held other traffic to make way for me to back off a bit before joining back the main road.
AZ: Omg!!! So the guys want to make quick bucks of a Mat salleh? (TG understands this local term for expat/foreigners)
TG: Well, it’s not everyday they see an expat driving myvi.
AZ: LOL. Omg. I am so not proud of that at all. Malaysian cops shouldn’t behave like that.
TG: I told you that story, because you mentioned blending in Malaysia. That was a classic example, of really, really tuning into it. [pause] So the cops here are underpaid, I guess? (At this point, I sense that a German friend of mine is diagnosing the economics issue in Malaysia.)
AZ: Cops, teachers, doctors… (in my mind: enforcement, education, health care) I am so against those who claim that we’re a developed nation. In reality, we’re way behind other developing nations!

After that, he bought me a cup of Haagen Dazs and asked, “Zidni, did you know that this ice-cream has no German origin whatsoever? It was named to sound European…”

Visit Glassdoor.com

As suggested by one of my colleagues during the training about doing a search on a string of words, I found this amazing website called the Glassdoor. It is a basically a forum that gathers the employees point of view with regards to salaries, interviews and the overall reviews of companies around the world. Neat.

But take this with a pinch of salt, it could be just the place for people venting frustrations. But then again, the wisdom of the crowd is just as believable. It’s been proven that the average of all guess on the number of beans in a jar at markets is very close to actual.

I thought of this portal already but somebody across the world beat me to it. Ideas alone are not good enough. You need the implementation/execution prowess to achieve something.

Kuala Selangor visit

After sending dad to Cheras for a carpool with Dr Abdullah back to Terengganu, wife & I traveled to Kuala Selangor. The traffic was more congested than usual. Perhaps there are plenty of receptions and events during school holiday.

After Asr, we shopped at Tesco for a while. Couldn’t find pastry though.

Fancy cookies. I’ve never seen Mr Men Little Miss before.

What makes a blog post successful part II

Riding on the success of what makes a blog successful post the other day, I am attempting at another improvement post. Why? Not only that I see a significant downward trend in the traffic, I should’ve benefited from the writing course I took earlier, right?

Something is still not quite right. 2 things came to mind.

1. Creative writer vs technical writer

I am definitely not a creative writer. You will definitely not find Seuss like twists or dramatic story-telling with clever and funny ending posts here. I prefer a straight-forward mention of the things that I’d like to share with everybody. Done deal. Isn’t life already full of drama? Let’s make it short, sweet and simple. Is that too simple?

2. Suiting the readers vs sticking to a style

I notice that I tend to do the latter than the former. From the course I learned… “write to suit readers’ knowledge… if the readers don’t understand you, it’s not their fault. It’s your fault!” It’s my fault, I know! It’s definitely my fault. But the challenge now is to take that into action. So, what’s next? What are the changes that need to happen?

I get this a lot – just be yourself, bro. Right. If I’m being myself in meetings, I would’ve uttered strongly across the room, “that’s irrelevant!” As far as I’m concerned, Be yourself is the advice that comes with the highest level of discretion. Similar to “Just Do It“. Do what, crime? Break records? Break up?

Nevertheless, there are still lurkers around, I know this for sure. The hits-to-comment ratio is still way to high. Maybe this is it. I’m very intimidating.

Toyota Camry and Mazda 6 showdown

Toyota Camry

Mazda 6

The intent of this showdown is not to choose a winner, but to highlight some of the key specifications that might change your mind in deciding between the two executive sedans. However, I will not highlight common features like rack & pinion steering wheel type, leather seat, electronically adjusted side lamps and so on.

In the end, an informed decision is always the better decision, isn’t it?

Results

Parameters Toyota Camry Mazda 6
1. Price MYR174,990.00 MYR173,877.00
2. Displacement 2362 cc 2488 cc
3. Length 4825 mm 4735 mm
4. Engine 2AZ-FE
4-Cylinder, In-line, 16-Valve, DOHC with VVT-i
MZR 2.5
4-cylinder, In-line, 16 Valve, DOHC with VVT and S-VT
5. Engine rating (max) Power: 164.8HP at 6000 RPM
Torque: 224Nm at 4000 RPM
Power: 172.0HP at 6000 RPM
Torque: 228Nm at 4000 RPM
6. Transmission 5-AT sequential with Super ECT & gated shifter 5-AT Activematic & gated shifter
7. Suspension (front) McPherson strut with stabilizer High mount double wishbone
8. Suspension (rear) Dual link independent strut with stabilizer E-type multilink
9. Tyres 215/55R17, Alloy 225, 45R18, Aluminium

sources: toyota.com.my & mazda.com.my

Discussion
Despite being 100mm shorter, which is normally insignificant to huge sedans, everything else shows that Mazda 6 is better than Toyota Camry by a small margin. Mazda’s price is lower for a higher displacement. It comes with slightly more powerful engine and somewhat better suspension. Toyota’s McPherson strut is less performing but simpler to work with, whereas Mazda’s double wishbone is better performing but a bit more complex so watch out for longer service time.

Mazda’s Aluminium rims are supposedly lighter, but depending on your preference, Camry’s heavier Allow rims give you the advantage on durability and stability. Certainly, somebody with more knowledge and experience can share and add to the above.

Conclusion
Just by looking at the main specs, Mazda 6 is a clear contender and Toyota Camry is certainly not far behind.

However, there are also other important considerations than just plain specs. I can further improve the comparison with the research on:

  • average resale value
  • weight (to get power-to-weight ratio and predict fuel efficiency)
  • carbon-emission rating
  • average service duration and cost
  • and safety features

I will post an update later if this happens. Nevertheless, my final recommendation is similar to my formal advice to newer engineers – there is nothing better than a site visit. Arrange for your test drive today. See and drive the cars for yourselves. Perhaps you could drive and feel difference with the above comparison in mind.

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