30 November 2006

Last day

Today is my last day in my present organisation. I started the day by sending out my farewell e-mail which was addressed to 280 recipients consisting of colleagues and friends from Head Office and branches all over Malaysia which read as follows:
Dear colleagues and friends

I wish to announce that today is my last day with Public Bank.

Although it saddens me to leave such a successful and first-rate company
that has treated me exceptionally well for the past 25 years and 9
months, I have made the decision to further my career with another

I would like to sincerely thank you for your support and friendship all
this while and will look back on my years with the Bank with great

Lastly, I would like to wish all of you best of luck and may you all
stay in good health always.

You would be able to contact me via:

1. e-mail at kokkuen@gmail.com
2. handphone: 012-XXXXXXX
3. or visit my Weblog at http://www.kokkuen.blogspot.com

Good bye.

Signing off,

Chan Kok Kuen

A few moments later, calls came in through my hand phone and my desk phone from some of the recipients of the e-mail. Many were shocked of my announcement since they would have not thought that I would tender my resignation. There were also reply mails of good luck wishes.

I felt sad to leave my colleagues and friends because they have been with me for such a long time and have been my close allies and supporters. On the other hand, I have but no choice to go.

At 5.50 p.m. , I started my last journey down the lift of the building and drove off with mixed feelings of sadness and happiness.

Well I am glad that I have overcome this last day with grace and now looking forward to my new job assignment at my new organisation. Tomorrow is a free day for me to roam around to get some chores done before my reporting to the new organisation next Monday.

26 November 2006

Answer to blocked photos

I found out that the reason why my photos were blocked when my blog is access via Internet at the office.

It is because the I-Gear software(by Symantec) which was used to block access to unauthorised or undesired sites from the office has added in "www.blogger.com" as an unauthorised site.

If I type the URL as "www.blogger.com" at the browser, the whole is blocked. Since my photos are upload via blogger.com and the url of the photos indicate that it came from blogger.com, the photos were blocked.

That's the price to pay for being "innovative" and "creative" !!

A1 GP Malaysia

Hah, got a complimentary pass to go the A1 GP at Sepang courtesy of Johan (who? never mind some of you would know who he is).

Off I go to Sepang and reached there at 9.30 a.m., no many cars yet because the feature race only start at 3.00 p.m.. When I reached there, the Integra race was on the way. Took a few shoots of the cars.

The next race of was the A1 Sprint Race. It's a 20 minutes race where all the A1 cars would race based on their pole positions set on Saturday. Positions that are set during the Sprint race will determine the positions of the cars in the 70 minutes Feature race later in the afternoon.

The Sprint race started at 11.oo a.m.. Wow, the sound of the cars when they leave their grid position was so loud that it pierced through my ears. The car from Switzerland who was on pol position lead from start till the end of the race. While the Malaysian team , which started at 7th position improved its position to 4th place at the end of the race.

It was quite difficult to shoot the fast moving cars until the shots I taken during the Asian Festival Of Speed. I felt bored and would want to wait for the Feature race at 3.00 p.m.. I decided to go home instead and watch the race on TV if I wanted to.

Click here to link to my photo blog to see the photos (since my photos are blocked when being access) More picture to come later on.

23 November 2006

Blocked Photos from my Blog

If you logging into my blog using the Internet access in the office, you would have noticed that you will not be able to see the photos in my blog. At first I thought that there was something wrong with my PC or browser, but when my blog was accessed via other PCs, the results were the same.

So I suspect that someone has set up to block all photos from my blog when it is acess at the office. What a shame and lousy thing to do.

If you know who is doing it, please be advise that it is a shameful thing to do such blocking, since I do not post any adult or nude photos on my blog. The photos are merely to make my blog more interesting. As they say, "a picture paints a thousand".


Great news!!

I was happy to to receive the good news that my current management has approved for me to leave the company early. Very much earlier than I expected!!!

I have requested to be released from my current employment with effect 1 January 2007 (last working day on 31 December 2006). To be released early, my request have to me tabled at the Human Resource Committee. The meeting was held yesterday. This morning a staff of the Human Resource Division called my immediate superior to inform him of the result of my request.

My superior called me to inform me that the management has agreed to allow me two choices which are:
1. Last working day on 1 December 2006; or
2. Last working day three (3) months from the date of my resignation letter (16 November 2006)

The results were not what I expected, it was very much better than I expected!

I definitely opt to be released by 1 December 2006. I called up my contact at the new company to seek approval to start work there on 4 December 2006. About an hour later, I was informed that I can start work at my new company on 4 December 2006 but my work cubicle is still not ready since they have expected me to arrive later. I said I do not mind working without a work cubicle. Throw me anywhere where I can be hooked up to a PC or a notebook, I can be working.

So no holidays for me in December. My children will have to bear without any holiday outings but they are not bored at home since they can watch TV or surf the net or play the Playstation. That's the price they have to pay for my movement to a new company. Furthermore, I know that they do not mind since they already have had a trip to China in May this year.

My lunch appointments from today till my last day (30 November) has been fully booked. All my colleague are calling me for a final lunch threat before I leave the company. I was greatly touched by their gesture (There goes my plan to cut down my cholesterol level).

Most of all I am happy that I have received great support from my colleagues from the Human Resource Division (especially the General Manager) who have help me to obtain the approval for my early release from the company.

21 November 2006

Why do talented employees leave companies?

Found this article to be very true and interesting:

Largest studies undertaken by the Gallup Organization.

Early this year, Arun, an old friend who is a senior software designer, got an offer from a prestigious international firm to work in its India operations developing specialized software. He was thrilled by the offer. He had heard a lot about the CEO of this company, a charismatic man often quoted in the business press for his visionary attitude.

The salary was great. The company had all the right systems in place employee-friendly human resources (HR) policies, a spanking new office, the very best technology, even a canteen that served superb food.

Twice Arun was sent abroad for training. “My learning curve is the sharpest it’s ever been,” he said soon after he joined. “It’s a real high working with such cutting edge technology.”

Last week, less than eight months after he joined, Arun walked out of the job. He has no other offer in hand but he said he couldn’t take it anymore. Nor, apparently, could several other people in his department who have also quit recently. The CEO is distressed about the high employee turnover.

He’s distressed about the money he’s spent in training them. He’s distressed because he can’t figure out what happened. Why did this talented employee leave despite a top salary? Arun quit for the same reason that drives many good people away. The answer lies in one of the largest studies undertaken by the Gallup Organization.

The study surveyed over a million employees and 80,000 managers and was published in a book called First Break All The Rules.

It came up with this surprising finding:If you’re losing good people, look to their immediate supervisor. More than any other single reason, he is the reason people stay and thrive in an organization. And he’s the reason why they quit, taking their knowledge, experience and contacts with them. Often, straight to the competition . “People leave managers not companies, ” write the authors Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman. “So much money has been thrown at the challenge of keeping good people - in the form of better pay, better perks and better training - when, in the end, turnover is mostly a manager issue.” If you have a turnover problem, look first to your managers . Are they driving people away?

Beyond a point, an employee’s primary need has less to do with money, and more to do with how he’s treated and how valued he feels. Much of this depends directly on the immediate manager. And yet, bad bosses seem to happen to good people everywhere. A Fortune magazine survey some years ago found that nearly 75 per cent of employees have suffered at the hands of difficult superiors . You can leave one job to find - you guessed it, another wolf in a pin-stripe suit in the next one.Of all the workplace stressors, a bad boss is possibly the worst, directly impacting the emotional health and productivity of employees.

Here are some all-too common tales from the battlefield:

Dev, an engineer, still shudders as he recalls the almost daily firings his boss subjected him to, usually in front of his subordinates. His boss emasculated him with personal, insulting remarks. In the face of such rage, Dev completely lost the courage to speak up. But when he reached home depressed, he poured himself a few drinks, and magically, became as abusive ! as the boss himself. Only, it would come out on his wife and children. Not only was his work life in the doldrums, his marriage begun cracking up too.

Another employee Rajat recalls the Chinese torture his boss put him through after a minor disagreement. He cut him off completely. He bypassed him in any decision that needed to be taken. “He stopped sending me any papers or files,” says Rajat. “It was humiliating sitting at an empty table. I knew nothing and no one told me anything.” Unable to bear this corporate Siberia, he finally quit.

HR experts say that of all the abuses, employees find public humiliation the most intolerable. The first time, an employee may not leave, but a thought has been planted. The second time, that thought gets strengthened. The third time, he starts looking for another job.

When people cannot retort openly in anger, they do so by passive aggression. By digging their heels in and slowing down. By doing only what they are told to do and no more. By omitting to give the boss crucial information. Dev says: “If you work for a jerk, you basically want to get him into trouble. You don’t have your heart and soul in the job.”

Different managers can stress out employees in different ways - by being too controlling, too suspicious, too pushy, too critical, too nit-picky. But they forget that workers are not fixed assets, they are free agents.
When this goes on too long, an employee will quit -often over seemingly trivial issue. It isn’t the 100th blow that knocks a good man down. It’s the 99 that went before. And while it’s true that people leave jobs for all kinds of reasons - for better opportunities or for circumstantial reasons, many who leave would have stayed - had it not been for one man constantly telling them, as Arun’s boss did: “You are dispensable. I can find dozens like you.”

While it seems like there are plenty of other fish especially in today’s waters, consider for a moment the cost of losing a talented employee. There’s the cost of finding a replacement. The cost of training the replacement. The cost of not having someone to do the job in the meantime. The loss of clients and contacts the person had with the industry. The loss of morale in co-workers. The loss of trade secrets this person may now share with others. Plus, of course, the loss of the company’s reputation. Every person who leaves a corporation then becomes its ambassador, for better or for worse.

We all know of large IT companies that people would love to join and large television companies few want to go near. In both cases, former employees have left to tell their tales.

“Any company trying to compete must figure out a way to engage the mind of every employee,” Jack Welch of GE once said. Much of a company’s value lies “between the ears of its employees”. If it’s bleeding talent, it’s bleeding value. Unfortunately, many senior executives busy travelling the world, signing new deals and developing a vision for the company, have little idea of what may be going on at home.

That deep within an organization that otherwise does all the right things, one man could be driving its best people away.

18 November 2006

Back to the Gym

The results from my recent blood test was not so good. The doctor called me in to his office to discuss on the results. Well, the usual, the glucose level and cholesterol level is on the high side i.e. higher than the recommended level.

Well I was not too surprise because my blood glucose level and cholesterol is higher than the recommended levels. Luckily for now I need not resort to medication to lower the levels.

The only way to maintain and lower the levels is t exercise. Exercise which I have stopped for the past 2 years. I was a member of Fitness First 2 years ago. However, due some other financial commitments, I terminated the membership 2 years ago. I have always wanted to go back to the gym but there were no driving forces to push me back.

However, the recent test awoke me to commit myself to regular exercise at the gym. Since it was Friday, I have had the chance to stop by the Fitness First centre at Cheras Leisure Mall to sign myself up to the centre.

I decided to take up a passport membership which cost RM40 more than the residential membership because I can be at the centre at Leisure Mall and there's one centre very near to my new work place (actually it's just the next building where I can easily walk there). Paid my fees and got my bag of goodies and I went back home.

This morning, I woke up early to go to the gym where it open at 7.00 a.m. Started with the trend mill and the bicycle and then work out on some of the weight equipment. Done some stretching before I hit the drink bar for a hot drink. After that I had a hot shower and I really felt fresh and "healthier".

Now I am waiting the body aches to set in since I have not been exercise this vigorously. But I will definitely be back to the gym next morning ignoring the body aches which I think will come in the next morning I wake up.

Reactions to my resignation

Every one was happy for my resignation!!

Most of them were shocked when I announce my resignation to them or when they found out of my resignation from other people. However, all of them were supportive of my move out of the company. Some of them wished me good luck and some of them offered me good advise.

All of them wanted to arrange a lunch session with me before I leave. It looks like my lunch appointments will be full till the last day leave!!

16 November 2006


After much consideration, discussion and waiting, I finally submitted my letter of resignation today. It was like taking off a big sack on my back.

It was not an easy decision to make, after all I have been with the organisation for the past 25 years. Just imagine getting divorced after 25 years of marriage. I am leaving my benefits, my bonus and most of all my friends (not to mention enemies if there are any).

It all started on 31st October when I went for an interview with an organisation (which I do not want to mention at the moment). I was interviewed by 4 persons, 2 guys and 2 gal. The interview lasted about 45 minutes. On 6th November, I was offered the post. The salary offered was hard to resist even though I would to forgo some of my current benefits. I was asked whether I would want to accept the offer but I could not make the decision before consulting my wife and children. At the same time, I would have to find a way to take care of my current liabilities which is my house and car.

I called my wife over the phone (since I got to attend a function and was not able to reach home early) to tell her about the offer and seek her opinion on the offer. She said that since the offer would make me happier she was agreeable for me to take up the offer.

The next morning I called them to accept the job offer. They told me to come over to their HR to sign the job contract.

I went over to the HR department on 9th November. I met up with the Assistant Manager of the HR where I went through the offer contract. The content was a routine one and without hesitation I signed the contract. I was then given a starter kit which spell out all the requirements procedures and documents that are required on the first of work. I was also told to attend a pre-employment medical check-up.

The next day I was at the clinic where the usual urine, blood and x-ray tests were conducted. I could not hand my letter of resignation pending the outcome of the medical results. So I waited and waited until today where the medical results were out which indicated that I am medically employable.

I am required to give a three month notice for my resignation but the new organisation said that I can join them earlier if I can get the opportunity. With the letter of resignation, I also requested my current organisation to release me earlier from my current employment. I requested them to release me by 31 December 2006 so I can start my work at the new organisation on a new spanning year of 2007 (new year for a new job assignment).

So, my request for early release will be table to the HR Committee next week before they can give me an answer.

So, folks just wait out for some more good news.

11 November 2006

KL Fashion Week - What a let down!!

I was all geared up to shoot models on the runway for the launch of the KL Fashion Week which starts today at Berjaya Times Square (BTS). It has been much published in The Star on the launch and the schedules of events were circularised in many photography sites.

I got my camera and flash batteries all charged up since shooting models required much flash shoots. I also got my tripod ready to be used a monopod to enable me to get clear and steady shoots. My notebook was all packed in my haversacks where I can use it to download the shoots that taken just in case my CFs run out of storage. I also intended to shoot in RAW format.

I arrived by 6th Floor of BTS where I already saw a few guys with camera bag. I proceeded to the exhibition hall where I was told that I need to register myself. With the ID tag given to me I proceeded to the exhibition area. Let down No: 1 - Many booths were empty. Booths that were occupied were merely featuring some dump looking cloths dressed in mannequins. There was no runway where the fashion show was suppose to be held.

I only found out that the runway was located next the exhibition area. I went in and found that last minute preparation the fashion runway was still underway. There were still people cleaning up the top and side of the runway. There was a mini stage at the end of the runway where I saw a few photographers there with the long zoom lens sitting and chatting. I took my humble camera out (my camera looks like an amateur compared to theirs) and started to making final adjustments to prep myself for the photo shoot. Suddenly, there was a guy who said that I cannot be at the stage because I do not have "Photographer" tag. I was just having a visitor tag. OK, I asked some of the "professional camera man" how they obtain their tags. They said that they have got it a few days ago. Fine, I will try whether I can get it from the organiser. I found out that stock of "Photographer" tags were out of stock!!

Let down No 2 - When I return to the runway area, I was stopped by the security at the entrance because those with "Visitor" tag are not allowed inside the runway hall. What the f**k is this!! I was not the only victim, there were many of us with camera bags and visitor tag were not allowed into the hall. Only people with authorised tags or with tickets were allowed into the hall. I was very disappointed with such an arrangement.

The only photo I managed to take was the Aston Martin DB9 which was parked at the entrance of BTS to promote the new James Bond movie.

To the promoters of KL Fashion Week, what a let down and discrimination towards hobby photographers like us. I give you my "middle finger" to express by disappointment!!

07 November 2006

More Putrajaya Shots

As requested by Mr Soo HK , here are more pictures taken during my trip to Putrajaya. Do visit his blog, he has just came back with many photos from his trip to Melbourne using his new Canon 400D.


05 November 2006

Meeting session with Mr Midnight

There's a craze in town where the children love to read the horror "Mr Midnight" series. The series of 32 books were written by James Lee (Aitchinson) of Singapore. He is also the author of The Seriously Funny Anti Stress Book and Sarong Party Girl.
Mr James Lee was at the Popular Book Store at Leisure Mall and my son has informed me that he wanted to meet up with the author. He already has 5 of the Mr Midnight books. As usual he will pester me to bring him early to the mall citing the reason that I would not be able to get a parking space if I reach there late (well he was right). We reached Cheras Leisure Mall at about 12.30 p.m. but the appearance of Mr James Lee was scheduled at 2.00 to 4.00 p.m., so off we go on a window shopping spree.

By the time we reached back to Popular Book Store at 1.45 p.m., there was already a long queue at the desk designated for Mr James Lee. He has arrived early and had started to autograph the books that were presented to him. His books were selling at a 20% discount from the normal price of RM9.90 and Darren bought another 2 books of the series. He then waited in queue for his turn to meet up with the author. While waiting in the queue, there were many freebies being given to children who had waited patiently for their turn. Darren had asked me to bring along my camera for a few photos of him with the author and had instructed me post the meeting of him with the author in my blog. Well, here are the photos of the session with the author.

Click here for some information on the author and his series of books.

One night at Putrajaya

I saw a few night scenes of Putrajaya posted on the net. Since I got my new tripod, I decided to make a night trip there for a photo shoot. With the new tripod I can set the exposure time higher with the risk of the photos being shaken.
All shoots were in RAW and reprocessed again to JPEG. I like the result of using RAW since it provide more flexibility to change the settings. The only draw back is that I require a bigger capacity CF (1 GB Cf can only give me 179 shoots) and the time needed to process the RAW files to JPEG.
I started my journey yesterday at 8.30 p.m. and reached home at 11.30 p.m.
Here are some of the nice shoots I got yesterday.

The bridge looks beautiful with coloured spot light shooting from the base.

The red steaks were due to a bus passing through. It looks some kind of light effect.

The park which was located in front of the Ministry of Finance.

The new Palace of Justice where there many court rooms to clear the backlog of court cases in the country.

A very beautiful building which I do not know what is called located just in front of the Palace of Justice.

Another bridge spanning across the lakes in Putrajaya.

02 November 2006

Trip to Kuala Selangor, Continued

Kuala Selangor is quite a historical place. It was an old capital of Selangor and was invaded by the Dutch in 1784 (sourced from Wikipedia). Bukit Melawati is the hill overlooking Kuala Selangor and the Straits of Malacca. On top of the hill is the lighthouse (the photo that was posted earlier), a museum and a observatory tower which is used to sight the moon for the start and end of the fasting month.
Along the hill also were planted with many large tress. The trees were full with long tail monkeys. These monkeys were not shy at all and would enjoy the offering of food by the visitors there. Can you see the monkeys on the tree? There are so many of them, male ones, female ones, baby ones and some monkeys are also in the "pak tor" stage. I wonder what can I see at night? The monkey making it out!! Maybe I can manage to gather some condoms under the tree the next morning!!

Cannons used to defend the hill during the Dutch invasion was still around. This is one still very well preserved but it can never fire any cannon balls now.

The museum has good range of exhibits covering the time the Bugis came over to Selangor till the Japanese occupacy during World War 2. I managed to sneak in my camera and took some photos of the exhibits in the museum.

Overall I enjoyed my trip to Kuala Selangor and having being able to see a historical site.

My new tripod

After waiting for a month, the tripod that I ordered from Shashinki finally arrived today. After taking many photos, I realised that I need a tripod especially when taking photos in low light or for night scenary. For the moment I cannot afford a VR (vibration reduction) lens, the one I am aiming for is the AFS Nikkor 18-200mm f3,5-5.6 lens which would cost me about RM3,000-00 which is almost the same price as my camera. For the moment, the tripod which cost about 10% of the price of the lens will be able to quench "my thirst".

I am pleased with the tripod which has everything a tripod can offer"
  • Mounting plates (2 pieces) instead of the old screw on type mounting
  • Long extend able legs (solid too)
  • A weight hook in the middle of the tripod to make the tripod steadier
  • The tripod legs can be screwed up to make available metals studs
  • A very mobile ball joint that links the mounting plates to the tripod to enable easily tilting of the camera.

After mounting the camera on the tripod, I managed to snap a sequence of photos using my new ML-L3 Wireless (Infra Red) Remote Control. Well, you will soon see some night scene photos after this.

01 November 2006

Visitors to my blog

I have installed a Statcounter to my blog to monitor the number of visitors to my blog. since a year pass, the counter has shown that there were a total of 7,800 page loads at my blog. This means that I have roughly the same number of visitors to my blog since it was "opened" for business. Discounting the page loads that were done by me through viewing my blog when I publish a posting, the number of page load should be slightly more than 6,000 over the year. Here's a graph on the daily number of visits to my blog for the past one week. (Click on the image to enlarge it:)Apart from telling me the number of visitors to my blog, I get to know other statistics like:
  • which countries were my readers from. (I have visitors mostly from Malaysia, USA, UK and Australia)
  • popular pages of my blog

do want to mention all this? It's because I was told to keep on putting up my posting because it has become their routine to visit my blog everyday and they felt not happy when they do not see new things in my blog.

So I am being pressured to keep up writing and posting my rubbish to my blog because these people love to read my rubbish.

Okay, thanks for the support, I will try to dump as much rubbish as often as I can to win you all over.

Thanks for the support.