Our weekends are generally quite relaxed unless we have a pile of events to attend.
Usually this means anything that is outside of work.
Seafood Dinner That’s So NOT Worth It
Friday, we headed off for a seafood buffet dinner at Cititel downtown but let me tell you, it’s not worth it (RM60 nett per person). Yes, they had an array of seafood but the taste and quality was average. I would be really mad to go back to Cititel again for their buffet. (Note, I am not talking about the Japanese restaurant. This buffet is offered by the Main Street Cafe of the hotel.) Still, we managed to eat some fresh oysters, raw tuna and salmon and then some.
Saturday was a long day for both of us.
We had a Malay wedding lunch to attend at the nearby school hall before we rushed off to help organise a public talk on getting scholarships. I wished I had my camera because it’s been a long time since I attended a Malay wedding kenduri.
Scholarship Talk by Chen Chow
Nic’s a committee member of Malaysia Mensa (Penang chapter) and one of those responsibilities he takes on is organising talks which benefit the community. Other committee members take on tasks like organising durian feasts when the durian season rolls around, organising bowling tournaments, getting together to have a party, things like that. It’s a small committee but one that’s close-knit.
The speaker this time was Chen Chow who volunteered to speak for the Penang chapter as he is the head interviewer for Cornell University (one of the Ivy League universities in the USA) in Malaysia. He is also a former recipient of the JPA scholarship and a former Cornell student. He’s also incredibly humble and patient!
Right now, Chen Chow is working for Jobstreet where he deals with campus students as he does quite a bit of roadshows on the college circuit. As he still works closely with campus students and has a soft spot for helping others, he was the right person to talk about scholarships (both local and overseas), what to do in an interview, what not to write in application essays, what TOEFL and SAT are all about, tips on filling up scholarship applications and more.
I’m not even interested in getting scholarships (I’ve past the school-going age already anyway) and I’ve listened to Chen Chow twice now but even I found his talk highly engaging, funny and full of amazing tips and pointers. The 40 or so parents and their teenagers were glued to Chen Chow and some even refused to leave when the talk was over, preferring to have some private chat with Chen Chow. (As an aside, what is it with freeloaders? Attendees to the talk paid RM10 per person to cover the costs of renting the hall and refreshments but one old guy refused to pay even though he happily munched on curry puffs and took his tea!)
I didn’t take any photos of the talk as my camera battery died on me! I will have to wait for Fintan’s photos once he downloads them from his camera.
Penang Government – One Year in Governance
Nic and I had debated if we should continue going for the Pakatan Rakyat’s one-year anniversary celebration that evening at the Esplanade. It was already 6.30pm and we were already tired after a day of ‘work’.
I’m glad in a way that we went because I heard a number of them speak – Jeff Ooi, Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng and of course, fearless lawyer Karpal Singh. 8 March last year was the day the Pakatan Rakyat wrestled Penang state from Barisan Nasional so it has been a year of being in power. 8 March is also International Women’s Day.
I believe that Penang is much better with the Pakatan Rakyat. Sure they have disagreements among themselves but better disagreements than fake camaraderie. And they do work, and they work damn hard too.
Of course I felt that some of the state exco could be improved; for instance, the guy who holds the state exco for tourism… his English definitely needs brushing up! Some of them have not grown out of their mindset as the former opposition and still keep talking about non-issues. Come on, let’s look ahead and see what needs to be done. One Malay chap kept talking about 100 days in power. Excuse me, sir, but it’s been a whole year, not 100 days in power. Did you recycle your speech?
Brickbats aside, I would call it an interesting day indeed! I was so tired out when we got home.
Next weekend’s another packed one, beginning with my WomenBizSense meeting on Friday, then my MNS Get Together (dinner and night walk at Botanical Garden) and then the Mensa Penang Annual General Meeting on Sunday (lunch, ice-breaker and AGM). It’ll be so much fun!