Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Trip to Taiwan: Day 1

Assalamua'laikum wbt & Good Day,

Alhamdulillah, we safely arrived Taoyuan International Airport Terminal 1 as per schedule after 3.5 hours on board from Kota Kinabalu. The weather was fine; just a little turbulence while on board and I believed it happened while we fly across Philippines' air. Thank you Air Asia for the safe flight. We will return back to Kota Kinabalu using Malaysia Airlines.

Fried bird's eggs at Liuhe Night Market.
Delicious, MashaAllah! :)
Taiwanese are good, although they rarely smile at you. In spite of their difficulty in understanding our query in English, we can feel that they are trying their best in assisting us. Whenever my face obviously blur while analyzing their High Speed Rail (HSR) and Multi Ride Train (MRT) route, there will always a Taiwanese asking me where do I want to go.

Ecological District MRT Station, Kaohsiung.
Below are the notes that summarized our first day trip to Taiwan:

1) Arrived at Taoyuan International Airport T1 and went to the Tourism Centre at the arrival floor to activate our Wi-Fi.

2) Take a shuttle bus to HSR station that costs us 30 TWD per person.

3) Take a high speed train to Zuoying from HSR station that costs us 1290 TWD per person.

4) Take MRT from Zuoying to Formosa Boulevard station that costs us 25 TWD per person. We were staying at Centre Hotel; 3 minutes walk from Formosa Boulevard station.

5) Since we arrived  hotel at 4pm and Maghrib prayer is about to commence in 1.25 hours time, we are quite rushing as the room is not yet ready by the time we checked-in. Plus, the communication is very hard as the receptionist can't understand English very well.

6) We planned to visit Liuhe Night Market located less than 10 minutes walk from our hotel after taking few hours nap after we performed Isya' prayer, but it turns out that we only woke up during Fajr prayer on the next day.

Love River Bridge, Kaohsiung.

During this post is drafted, 1 MYR is equivalent to 7.4 TWD.

Have a nice day :)


Trip to Taiwan (Overview)

Assalamua'laikum wbt & Good Day,

Alhamdulillah, my 2015 went well for almost everything in spite of my biggest mistake whereby I am requesting to have an inter-departmental transfer and it was approved by higher management. However, it was turns out to be a hassle as my current superior is the worst boss that I ever have since I entered the working stage. OK, just ignore this.

I managed to complete my 7th trip in Taiwan after my first trip in 2013; Phuket & Krabi, Thailand. It was followed by Manila, Perth, Western Australia, Bukittinggi and Padang in the following year. And this year, I managed to travel to Ho Chi Minh City, Cappadocia, Istanbul, Kaohsiung and Taipei. It is such an indescribable feeling when I managed to have a first hand experience at different countries that definitely have various cultures and lifestyles.

Night view from our hotel in Kaohsiung.
The Dome of Light, Formosa Boulevard MRT.
I spent 7 days 6 nights in Taiwan whereby the first 3 days was spent in the southern part; Kaohsiung. The following 4th day until I departed back to Kota Kinabalu was well spent in Taipei. I took Air Asia flight for Kota Kinabalu to Taoyuan International Airport and Malaysia Airlines for the returns flight. The cost for this returns flight excluding my flight to Kota Kinabalu is approximately 400 MYR.

Below is the summary of my trip to Taiwan:

1) Upon arrival at Taiwan, we straight away headed to Kaohsiung via High Speed Train and return back to Taipei via normal train.

2) Both cities basically have excellent public transport system and the maps at each station is quite easy to be understood although we may not have any basic understanding in Mandarin as it comes with English subtitle as well.

Dragon and Tiger Pagodas, Lotus Lake, Zuoying 

3) Taiwan is a very clean country and it has a lot of parks with such breathtaking views and it is wheelchair friendly as well.

4) It is quite challenging to communicate with people here as they are not very fluent in English but they are very helpful to assist our queries. A simple drawing on plain paper or google translate may help.

5) The public Wi-Fi is highly reliable. Make sure we sign up as iTaiwan user in order to allow us to utilize this facility.

6) Tips is not a common here.

7) The train is very efficient, effective and on time. Same thing goes to the taxi driver.

Pier-2 Art Center, Kaohsiung

After all, I would highly recommend people who enjoy beautiful and relax scenery to come to Taiwan.

Have a nice day :)


Positivity: We Decide

Assalamua'laikum wbt & Good Day,

I knew her when I was in Form 3. She was newly graduated when she was assigned to teach us Mathematics. She is soft spoken, beautiful and student friendly. Of course, with these criteria, she is one of the favorite teachers during my high school.

Sometimes, the good thing when we keep the same number for years is we can easily get connected again in future. When I was instructed to undergo a year induction program at Kuala Terengganu, I tried to contact her. Alhamdulillah, we agreed to meet. She fetch me at the training centre with her only daughter, and we went out for lunch together and paid a visit to Masjid Kristal Kuala Terengganu.

View of Kuala Terengganu from Bukit Besar, one of our favourite hiking spots.

She insisted me to call her Kakak. In Malay, kakak means sister. Of course it is quite awkward to change the way you called someone who used to be your own high school teacher as sister. Even there are some of my seniors who are now my colleague who I used to call Abang and Kakak still being called using the same way.

Oh, this post is not to tell a story about her. I just want to share how her passions, sincerity and positivity makes her one of my idols in pursuing this challenging life.

She asked for forgiveness when she met me for the first time after 6 years being apart due to her inexperienced while being assigned to teach us in 2004. Could you gauged how sincere and passionate she is in teaching as she still want to seek for forgiveness due to her inability to serve us at her best when she was assigned to teach us?

Her ability to let go and just simply forgive others also amazed me. I was burst into tears when she told me about her marriage life which ends up with divorce; and the way she still can instill the respect and love that her daughter shall have towards her own father in spite of being abused by his ex husband while they're still together.

It is somehow because of her made me think that having my own children is still necessary. She was once mentioned to me that she is never regret to get married previously and she is open for a new marriage life shall there is opportunity; as there is no word can describe how happy she is with the existence of her daughter.

I learned from her that we actually can always remain positive in any situations. It is totally depends on us to look on which side of life. It is us to decide the ways to fill our heart with happiness and positive energy.

Thank you teacher.

Thank you kakak :')

May Allah bless you with eternal happiness.

Have a nice day :)


Friday, December 18, 2015

Trip to Perth & Western Australia (Overview)

Assalamua'laikum wbt & Good Day,

Australia has been one of my dream places to be visited on top of Johannesburg, South Africa. Upon checking Air Asia promotion whereby a return flight ticket with 20 kg of luggage only cost me 1046 MYR for KUL-PER-KUL, I just bought the ticket without any hesitation. Only after that I started to look for a partner because I still do not have any courage to travel alone. Plus, I just few days return from my first trip to Krabi at the moment I bought the ticket. In fact, I did traveled to Manila prior to travel to Perth.

The Gap and Natural Bridge, Albany
This rock was left behind upon Antartica and Australia parted circa 45 million years ago.
The initial duration for my visit at Perth or Western Australia as a whole shall be 11 days. However, few weeks before departure, we were being informed by Air Asia that KUL-PER route on the date we have booked has been cancelled. Hence, they replaced it with the same route flight on the next day. I believed there should be a hikmah on it so I just take it positively. Plus, I have nothing to loose as well.

Since I have 10 days in Western Australia, I do not want to limit my exploration within Perth boundary. Upon google map on everything, we finally agreed on a 360 degree route; Perth - Lancelin - Busselton - Augusta - Albany - Hyden - Perth. Overall, my trip to Western Australia only cost me 4280.83 MYR, including all 4 flight tickets. In fact, I bring back 900 AUD upon return to Malaysia! Can you guess how good I am in budget planning? Hehe~

Penguin Island, Rockingham

The 360 degree journey only commenced on our 5th day in Perth and end on our 8th day. Before and after that days, we just utilized daily rider ticket (can be used on both trains and buses in Perth) that cost us around 11 AUD. But actually, we can use family rider ticket for 3 persons with the same cost. Thanks to one traveler from Kedah who told us about this and after that, we just make full use of family rider ticket. But the disadvantage of this family rider ticket is we cannot be separated with our partner or friends since everybody must present at the same time whenever we are about to show the ticket to security.

Just one tip for anyone who just about to travel for the first time; never put your dream place as the first place to be traveled. Try other cheaper locations first so you dream vacation will be smooth and less distraction :)

Have a nice day :)


Thursday, December 17, 2015

Inventory Management: When & How to Shop Wisely?

Assalamua'laikum wbt & Good Day,

It is not wrong for us to fulfill our material desires as part of self rewards. In spite of being a frugal lady, I still allocate few amount of my money to buy things that I love; handbags, sandals and of course, flight tickets. However, since this post is about inventory management, I'll not touch about flight tickets.

As an active traveler that is not born into a silver spoon family, I strongly believe that I can't get all I want at once. Hence, I need to prioritize my need and desire based on my important resources: time, money and energy. That is why, I rarely have my lunch and dinner out as having it by preparing it by myself is more economical, healthy and indirectly enhance my cooking skills.

King's Park, Perth, Western Australia
In lieu to above factors, I need to plan wisely my groceries shopping. On top of groceries, other stuffs that I need to frequently buy and make it readily available at home are self-care products and dairy products. Sandals and handbags may not fall under this frequently buy items, but in order to keep my motivation alive, I will reward myself with these items at least once a year.

For groceries that I frequently need and use, I usually buy it based on the special offer and the expiry date. For items with early expiry date, I just buy it according to my needs, but for items that still have long time to expire, I will buy it based on my availability in the town where I reside. However, for self-care products that usually expire 3 years after it was manufactured, I will buy it up to the next one year usage during my birthday months as I will get extra 5 time points at my first purchase within my birthday month. 

Oh, becoming a member to any groceries market or any malls that you usually go to buy your stuff is necessary as well! Do understand the terms and conditions in order to allow ourselves to fully utilize the benefits of being a member. In the environment whereby every items seem to be pricy, we have to be really frugal and make use of any benefits or advantages that exist. However, as for myself, I do buy from small market or shop for items like eggs, raw meat, fish, vegetables, spices, onions and garlics as part of my personal social responsibility to help local people. 

Jewel Cave, Augusta, Western Australia
In summary, below is the way I plan my personal inventory in order to fully maximize the benefits upon joining any membership at any malls, supermarket, pharmacy and etc:

1) Daily cooking helps: small local market.

2) Dairy products: buy as much as possible during offer if the expiry date is still long way to go based on my availibility at the town where I reside.

3) Self-care product: one year ahead of stock and buy during my first purchase within my birthday month.

4) Handbangs/ sandals: during my birthday month upon receive an email from the shopping mall on my special birthday gifts. Usually, they give a very good special offer. 

5) Books: fully utilize the RM 1000 entitlement for tax exemption in a year.

6) Clothes: I give myself a condition whereby my clothes cannot be more than three wardrobes in my house. If I wish to buy a new one, I must make sure I have choose any old clothes that is still in good condition to be given to the needy. 

Have a nice day :)


Trip to Taiwan: Pre Departure

Assalamua'laikum wbt & Good Day,

After my trip to Istanbul and Cappadocia last September, I only have the opportunity to visit KL in December. It is such an indescribable feeling to visit KL after such a long time especially after almost all the fare hikes up.

Based on advices and tips from few blogs that I've read, it is highly recommended to visit Taiwan Visitors Association (TVA) at Wisma Goldhill to get few tips and special promotion upon arrival at Taiwan. But we have initially misunderstood the place as Taiwan Embassy and hence we have wrongly visited a wrong place located at Menara Yayasan Tun Razak. Can you imagine the feeling of paying the taxi for a wrong place and then you have to walk for another 30 minutes in order to reach the right place despite of the city's hustle bustle? Huh!

The gifts from TVA
There's always a reward in every difficulty. TVA is such a good place for those who intend to visit Taiwan. Our 30 minutes evening walk was paid off! We were given an assurance to have an access to free Wi-Fi for Taiwan's tourist for our overall stay there (7 days 6 nights), free admission to any one of Taiwan's theme park and also one free ride for any route of MRT in Kaohsiung. You may register here shall you wish to have free access to Wi-Fi in Taiwan if you have any plan to visit Taiwan in future. I will definitely choose the most expensive route for the third offer!

But of course, to be entitled for this incredible offer, we must have strong documents support in order to ensure the offer were given to genuine Taiwan's future visitor. We must be able to prove that we will be visiting Taiwan either using our return ticket (if we are to fly using similar airline to and fro) or confirm hotel booking with either departing flight details or return flight details (in case we are to fly using different airlines to and fro).

On top of the offers, TVA also provides us with all the pamphlets and important maps that will definitely assists us during our visit to Taiwan. We were being informed that most train station in Taiwan do not have English sign board and that is why TVA is providing the MRT maps with both Mandarin and English signs. Another bonus gift is the guidelines for Muslim visitors booklet and that booklet is full with helpful tips and info for Muslim who intend to visit Taiwan.

From my initial view, it seems like Taiwan is taking tourism sector seriously and I will definitely share my traveling experience in Taiwan in my future post. This is my 7th oversea trip and the 10th country I've visited since my first trip to Phuket and Krabi in the end of 2013.

May Allah eases everything and I hope the journey that I've traveled so far and will be traveled soon will definitely strengthen my iman, increase my taqwa, soften my heart, beautify my personality and sharpen my intellect.

Have a nice day :)


Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Earning Demarcation

Assalamua'laikum wbt & Good Day,

Time seems to fly so fast nowadays. We are reaching the end of 2015. As far as I concern, the most important target for myself this year is to reach my financial target. Alhamdulillah, it's unlocked :)

I have to say that wealth management is something serious and necessary to be learned as I can see many of my closest acquaintances are being trapped under rat race. Not only acquaintances, my family and relatives are also part of the rat race victims. Why it is so important to really conscious about our own financial?

Hot Air Balloon, Goreme, Cappadocia.
My post won't be too academics to discuss on this matter based on professional research. I just want to bring all the readers to reflect back based on our daily observation on the way we are being raised up and taught. We were advised to be excellent in academics, went to the top universities in the world, secured a good job and finally earned a good salary. And all of this will be equaled to happiness!

Do you think that is the right thing to do?

Well, I leave it for you to think. Being traveled across 9 countries without piggy riding any business or company related purposes have changed my view about things that matter the most in our temporary life in this world. Yes, without securing a good pay job, it is quite impossible for me to do this. Securing a good pay job is kind of important nowadays, but working solely for the sake of money is totally a major mistake.

While performing our job as required by the company that hired us, keep on equipping ourselves on wealth management knowledge is ultimately important. If not, regardless how big our salary is, it will never been enough. I would like to thanks all the book authors that I've read on this matter, and I can simplify that one thing we must strive to achieve financially is that we are always at the position whereby we have nothing to loose; in the event of anything happen to our employer or company.

Evening ATV Ride, Goreme, Cappadocia
As a beginning, I would love to share the simple basic to divide our salary but of course, it is depends on you either to put it into practice or not. I always believe that different people will always have different priorities.

1. Minimum 10 % from our net salary (after SOCSO/ EPF/ TAX/ ZAKAT deduction) must go to our own saving. It is highly recommended to utilize any methods or facilities given by our company to do the auto-deduction for our saving.

2. Maximum 40% is for our mortgage. If we are to rent the house, make sure it does not reach 10% of our net salary and hence the remaining 30% goes to our saving. The reason why I put 40% for mortgage is to allow us to maintain our daily lifestyle. After we put so much sweat in gaining the money, of course we do want to spend it as part of self-rewards on top of to pay all the bills right?

3. Minimum 5% must go to distribution. Regardless what religion that you believe in, giving and helping those in needs is basically important. It is a huge liability if we just strive for richer life in this world but never invest for the benefits of our hereafter. Of course if we can distribute more than 5% of our earning, it will be much better. But remember, we must sincere in order to please Allah swt or our Lord :)

4. The remaining 45% is for our life sustainability. It includes the bills, foods, groceries, car maintenance, house maintenance, self-care, takaful or insurance and of course, do not forget our parents :)

After all, all the best in achieving our financial target. Remember, we must strive to put ourselves in a situation whereby we have nothing to loose.

Avoid bed debts, spend some times to equip ourselves with wealth management knowledge and do help the needy. We will never go poor by giving. 

Have a nice day :)


Monday, December 7, 2015

The Sycophants

Assalamua'laikum wbt & Good Day,
Sometimes, I do think that the world nowadays is no more safe. I do think that almost everybody can't be trusted. I do think that this world will be ending soon. O Allah, please save us from any harms that may hinder us from entering your Jannah. O Allah, please guide us on every single day.
Everybody seems to be defensive because of no reason. All the big power parties keep on blaming each other. They seem to get afraid not because the other side is already proven guilty, but because they have something that they're afraid to loose.
From my personal perspective, being defensive and telling the truth have one major difference. It is the tones. The way we express it. Our manner when we respond on other's queries. Sometimes, we can easily detect that the person is somehow feel insecure when he or she who supposedly answer on our queries suddenly raise their voice when we just calmly throw our query or question.

War Remnant Museum, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
But, there's one thing to be reflected. Why we must answer in such manner when the other parties calmly ask the questions and just to provide their sincere feedbacks?
When people raise their queries and provide their feedbacks, we must understand that it is for the sake of everyone's goodness. Working in such a big organization, giving sceptical answer like "The boss asked for it, so just do it" by MOST baby boomers and their sycophants is definitely unacceptable. We must understand that our working atmosphere nowadays are mostly occupied by Gen Y and this generation basically need solid justifications.
The culture of easily get offended by many supervisors or superiors in many organizations somehow have contributed to existence of many sycophants or toady or flatterers. These kind of human or so called species know ways to take advantage for the sake of their own benefit by understanding the nature of these denial and defensive superiors or supervisors. Usually, these species of people are those called "Yes Man" type of people but in most of the cases, they are the one who contribute the less in any tasks given. They usually exist during the initial stage and missing in the middle and suddenly come back by the end or when the given tasks are about to complete.

Cho Ben Thanh, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
I understand that we can manage this kind of superiors by learning more on ways in dealing with so called hard people, but at the same time we should try to improve ourselves as a whole. We as the youngsters should learn more on effective communication with different generations, but those older generations should not be complacent enough by thinking that because they are older, they are always right.
After all, by trying to improve on communication skill as a whole, there is no way that these flatterers or toadies or sycophants will exist. And of course as a Muslim, we must try hard to avoid ourselves from becoming one of these "black sheep" kind of people, because getting the things that we want via any incorrect or non-halal ways will definitely affect the blessings or barakah of our life either in a short or a long run.
In the end, upon leaving this temporary world, blessings and barakah are things that matter the most. We will definitely being judged by Allah swt. based on our deeds while we live in this world.
Have a nice day :)

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Who Promise Us Tomorrow?

Assalamua'laikum wbt & Good Day,

Al-Fatihah to Tunku Laksamana Johor, Tunku Abdul Jalil Iskandar Sultan Ibrahim who have passed away peacefully on 5th December 2015 at 1911 hours. May Allah blessed him with His rahmah and rewards his kindness with Jannah. Ameen.

Any death news should be a good reminder to all of us. A reminder for us to do self-introspection, to do a self-check on how well are we in performing our obligations as Allah's servant in this temporary world. A good reminder for us to reflect back on our journey in this temporary world. Are we always doing the right things or the opposite ones?

Allah never promised us that there is no possibility of die young. Only He knows how long each of us will walk across this temporary destination prior to meet Him at the final point. But He do remind us via His Holy Book, Qur'an that we have no other choice rather than to equipped ourselves with good deeds and try to avoid any means of doing bad things that may bring us to hell in the hereafter. 

Danau Maninjau, Padang, Indonesia
If this kind of view make us feel like in Heaven, how about the Real Heaven?

Allah is justice indeed. He didn't let us to walk without any right direction in this temporary world. He provides us with the DO's and DON'Ts. He warned us since 1400 years ago on the consequences for not performing our obligations as His servant. It is totally depends on us either to walk along with His guidance or just being an ignorant. It is our choice. All of us have been given the materials, the guidance, the direction; you name it. 

It is so true that death is the best reminder for all of us. This world is definitely not a final destination. Whenever there is an evil whisper inside us to do something bad, pause a moment, ask ourselves, do we want to be one of the heaven occupants, or hell is our preferred final destination?

Everybody will be leaving. It is just sooner or later. Always strive to be the best person we ever been in every single day; as we do not know when is our final day in this temporary world.

After all, who promise us tomorrow?

Have a nice day :)


Intuitions: How Reliable It Is?

Assalamua'laikum wbt & Good Day,

Whenever I do any online personality test online, the results always portrayed that I am intuitive kind of person. There are few times I did follow my intuitions and thanks Allah, it is for the sake of goodness.

It's happened when I just scrolling down Mudah apps just to search for any good sub-sale prospect when I finally become a friend to one of housing agents. I just told him to notify me whenever there's sub-sale house that meet my budget requirements and yes, he did!

When I first come to check that house, it is such an overwhelming feeling seeing how tidy the house is although in the eyes of others, that kind of house should not be bought by someone like me. And again, I would like to thanks Allah for giving me such awareness to be a totally frugal lady, on top of the hunger to gain more knowledge regarding wealth management and creation for the betterment of ummah.

Deal accepted and agreed. Then I started to calculate my DSR if I didn't let go the house that I've bought as early as during my 11th month of working. It is more than 50%, and it indirectly means that I have to choose either one. After thinking in the pros and cons, I chose to let go my first house as it is quite big as well for someone who haven't think of having her own family yet (at that moment).

Oh, I have came across different story! Forgive me. Back to intuitions thingy, I chose that sub-sale house because my neighbor will be housewives as well! And on top if that, one of my closest neighbors is Mirian too :)

I just figured out that thing after I agreed to buy that house. Alhamdulillah, although both of my neighbors are not yet Muslims, they are as kind and as good as practicing Muslims.

I am one of AirBnb hosts! Feel free to stay with me :)
Open to ladies only. 
I have a worst herpetophobia. I remember there is one night I helplessly called her and she was too worry when hear my voice. But upon knowing that the issue was due to existence of lizard at my wet kitchen, she laughed. But one touching thing about her is she offered me to install a lizard trapper at my house and she will help me to throw the trapped lizards! But, I somehow rejected the offer. Seeing a lizard is total nightmare. I preferred to use preventive spray to solve the issue.

The lesson learnt here is never deny the power of intuitions. Most of the times, our heart didn't lie. Just follow our heart whenever we are in great doubt, but never skip Istikharah prayer. Do make Istikharah Prayer as part of our daily routine.

Have a nice day :)