Tuesday, September 25

Appearance In Rise: Ini Kalilah

Rise: Ini Kalilah ending credits. Do you see it?

Tomorrow could be your last chance to see my doublechin on the big screen. Check showtimes here.

Until three weeks ago, I never would have expected to be featured on the big screen. Honestly, I didn't know until Cikgu Dilla tagged me on Facebook. On Malaysia Day, I saw the movie for myself &, although it started out very slowly & was a little thin on character development, I appreciated how it depicted the experiences of many Malaysians globally & abroad. It reminded me of what I personally went through to get my postal vote home to Kuching. There were plenty of moments during the movie when I had to suck the tears back into my eyes & hold my breath to keep from making loud sobs. My waterworks went on overdrive during the father & child scene at the end. Did you have a waterworks moment too? When was yours?

I didn't know about being featured, because the producers forgot to inform me about it. LOL. Thankfully, they didn't forget to include me in the credits. In early August, one of the producers messaged me for permission to use my video. She said that it was shortlisted along with a few other videos, all of which were found via Facebook hashtags & YouTube search. When she didn't get back to me, I thought that they had gone with another video. I think they made the right choice with this cikgu, don't you?

When I saw myself on screen, y'alls, I so sangat bangga tau! Macam glow in the dark dalam cinema gelap tu! I watched the movie with my wife & brother in law. When he saw it, he was like "Wait. That's you!" My wife said it best. She just held my hand & beamed. It was my once in a lifetime opportunity! My literally 3 seconds of fame, so glad I didn't blink & miss it. After the scene where a main character broke down in tears after receiving terrible news, 3 seconds of a Youtube video of mine was played as a transition into the scene where a little girl was watching my video while asking her mother why people went home to vote. It was the Youtube video where I spoke about how global Malaysians were moving heaven & earth to get their postal votes home & the miracle of personally finding someone to bring my postal vote back to Kuching. I also encouraged Malaysians in Malaysia to go out & vote; making their votes count, instead of buang undi or tak undi. If you watched the movie, did you realise that it was me? Did my doublechin-chin freak you out?

I'm so glad that I spent Malaysia Day watching a movie that's not about rampas suami orang, cinta segi tiga, kahwin perogol, gangsterisme, lawak bodoh, kontrak berjuta-juta, datuk-datuk, datin-datin, or hantu. I watched & was part of a movie depicting stories of regular Malaysians struggling to care for their loved ones, make hard decisions, & stand up for what is right. The movie reminds me of, not too long ago, how Malaysians all around the world rose up, banded together & self-organised in order to get postal votes back home. Together, we fought to make our votes count.

We saved Malaysia, but the struggle has only just begun. We need to right many wrongs & ensure that new Malaysia is for all Malaysians, regardless of race, religion, or socioeconomic status. Tomorrow is your last chance! Experience & reflect on Rise: Ini Kalilah, a Malaysian production worthy of your support!

Monday, September 24

How To Avoid AirAsia's Payment Processing Fees

You'll need to wait for your BigPay card to arrive before you can use the account.
If you're interested, here's a referral code for both you & me to get RM10: UDCH2X8A8G

Being the frugal teacher I am, I don't really care about which airline I use. I just want the cheapest one. 9 times out of 10, AirAsia has the cheapest fares. Despite getting the cheapest fare with AirAsia, it still pains me to fork out an additional RM4.24 for the "Processing Fee" just because I opted to pay with Online Banking or a Credit/Debit Card. Over time, the RM4.25 can add up to quite a bit. If you travel once a month, that's RM4.25 x 2 flights x 12 months = RM102 / year. It's a tax on the lazy. I've been paying this lazy tax for the past 5 years, so Tony's pocketed at least RM510 of my hard earned cash that I could have put towards a lean mean espresso machine. Since I would be booking flights for both myself & my family members, I decided that enough was enough.

Thus, I looked into BigPay, which is basically AirAsia's prepaid credit card service.
  1. Knowing that I'd get RM10, I sought out a random referral code on Facebook. If you're signing up too, pretty please use my referral code, UDCH2X8A8G, so we can both get RM10.
  2. I downloaded the BigPay app to my phone & signed up via the app. Note that to verify my IC, I had to upload a photograph of my IC & a selfie.
  3. I waited around 7 working days for the BigPay Mastercard to arrive at my address in Kuching.
  4. Activated the card on my BigPay app.
  5. I booked a return flight today & it worked! No processing fee!

If you use BigPay like a prepaid credit card, you're fine, as there are no annual fees (avoid using it in a foreign currency as they do have a Currency Conversion Fee = 1% + network charges).

The main catch for this service is something I call a "Forgetful Fee", or what BigPay calls an Account Service Fee. I.e., if there is no transaction on your account for a month, they'll charge you RM2.50. See... Tony is smart. He won't let you off the hook so easily.

In response to the Forgetful Fee, here are my pro tips:
  • Get only 1 BigPay account per family. I'm the only person in my family who has an account since I also make flight bookings for my parents & siblings.
  • Set your BigPay Mastercard up to autopay your monthly telco bills. Just like you, I have a cellphone & have to pay my telco every month. To avoid having to remember to use my BigPay card every month, I went to my telco & set my BigPay Mastercard up for monthly automatic payments to my telco. Ah... The joy of automation. Now I can forget the Forgetful Fee!
Have you been using BigPay? How has your experience been? Do you have any tips?
Also, let me know if you have any questions!


Appendix: Fees & Charges

  1. Joining Fee = RM10.00 refundable upon a minimum top-up of RM20.00
  2. Annual Fee = Waived unconditionally
  3. Account Service Fee = RM2.50 per month for inactive account where there is no card transaction in a particular month
  4. ATM Withdrawal Fee = Local: RM6.00 per transaction; Overseas: RM10.00 per transaction or 2% of withdrawal amount, whichever is higher (NOTE: For overseas, only RM10.00 will be charged until further notice)
  5. Currency Conversion Fee (Applied when the purchase is effected in currencies other than Malaysian Ringgit) = 1% + network charges
  6. Cross-Border Transaction Fee (Applied when the purchase is through merchant acquired outside of Malaysia but charged in Ringgit Malaysia) = Waived until further notice
  7. Replacement Card Fee (Only applicable for Card replacement request made by Cardmember. Not applicable if due to defect of Chip or Card) = RM20.00 per Card
  8. Card Cancellation Fee = Free
  9. Card to Card transfer fees = No Card to Card transfer fees
  10. Sales Draft Retrieval Fee = RM15.00
  11. Reload/Top-up Charges (Reload charges are levied by our respective partners)

BigPay FAQ: https://www.bigpayme.com/faq

Sunday, September 2

Plenary At SELES 2018 (Sarawak English Language Educators Symposium)

Giving attendees "the eye".

After 2 sleepless nights doing 3 overhauls of my slides & loads of prickly constructive feedback from my better half, I was able to deliver a decent plenary at the Sarawak English Language Educators Symposium, or #SELES2018. This symposium was funded & run by the Ministry of Education, Science, & Technology Research (MESTR) Sarawak in collaboration with JPN Sarawak.

I have to salute the team at MESTR & especially Hazelynn Rimbar for their tireless efforts. From what I've observed at the symposium, they've really made a difference in the lives of the teachers in attendance. Honestly, you can't expect teachers to make a difference in the lives of their students if those above them do not do the same & invest significantly in their professional development (PD) & well-being.

Realizing that there's a lot of creativity already taking place in Sarawak, but no platform for sharing/discovering it, I started an FB Group called Sarawak English Educators. Sorry folks in Semenanjung & Sabah, it's only for national school English language teachers in Sarawak. God willing, it'll be a place where talents are discovered, ideas are shared, teachers find mentors, & collaboration takes place!
Sarawak English Educators
Facebook Group · 330 members
Join Group
===Welcome to Sarawak English Educators=== Created for teachers of national primary & secondary schools in Sarawak to #ASK questions, #SHARE expertise...

Tuesday, August 14

Chart of Prepaid & Postpaid Plans In Malaysia (2018)

Ever wondered which telco in Malaysia provides you the best bang for your buck?

Naturally, when I returned to Malaysia, I needed to get a mobile plan that provided the best value for my needs. I want to be as prudent with my money as possible. If I'm not careful, mobile plans could burn a painful hole in my pocket.

I remember a time many years ago when mobile plans were simple & direct comparisons were very easy. No longer. Every telco has got its own way of packaging their services & they also use unique terminologies that can cause confusion. It's very much like trying to compare apples with oranges. Very frustrating.

Therefore, I decided to embark on the painful task of breaking down the bullsheet & make a spreadsheet. The easy comparisons that I was able to make with the spreadsheet has helped me make an informed decision on the best telco plan for my long-term needs & I hope that it'll help you do the same too!

With that extra money you saved, you could channel it to your PTPTN debts & take a nice chunk out of the 39 billion owed. Just sayin'! Share it if it's useful!

Telco Plans In Malaysia

*The contents of this chart are current as of 11 August 2018. Let me know if you'd like to update it! I can give you editing permission & credit too!

Thursday, August 9

Times Square | Walk With Me In NYC | SK Minden Height, Penang

Take a walk with me in Times Square, New York City!

Dedicated to the students of SK Minden Height in Penang, who voted for the landmark, here's the final video in the Walk With Me In NYC series!

In this video, I take you on a walking tour of Times Square & share with you its roller-coaster history! I'll talk about avoiding costumed panhandlers, how Times Square got its name, One Times Square, New Year's Eve Ball Drop, jumbotrons, the Kissing Sailor, NYPD, & Disney Store.
You'll also see Bryant Park, Times Square subway station, giant billboards, H&M, yellow cab, Big Bus Tours, Theater District, Forever 21, Statues of George M. Cohan & Father Duffy, McD, & TKTS Grandstand.

This video was produced in collaboration with Cikgu Ashikin Zainull of SK Minden Height, Penang.

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