Archive for the ‘Good To Know’ Category

Università del Caffè della Malesia, the illy School of Coffee Malaysia

April 24th, 2013

How much do you know of coffee?
I do have a cuppa every now and then, ranges from instant packet drinks to some luxury coffee from those popular stores.
However, I have to admit I do not know much about coffee.

When I got a chance to attend a free Coffee Tasting session by illy at UDC (Università del Caffè), I am excited in no time.
As much as I have seen or heard of the brand illy, I have never patronized or bought their products.

I am quite sure most Malaysians are like me too, especially those non coffee aficionado.
This is why I believe illy’s UDC – the School of Coffee role is beneficial.

UDC is a coffee training school, with the aim to increase and promote the coffee culture to Malaysians as well as provides training to everything related to coffee.
You might want to be a barista (a really good one), or open your own coffee store (not kopitiam) or even just to know what good coffee means, UDC might be your choice for such education.

UDC has a dedicated division for the growers (coffee producers), one division dedicated for the consumer or customers and another for the professionals, the baristas, the barmans and F&B managers and whoever wishes to come to learn more about coffee.

There are quite a number of training courses available according to UDC’s schedule.

The coffee tasting session I attended is probably the most basic of the coffee basics, yet I had a lot of takeaways from it, such as:

  • The high number of coffee some people can take. One attendee is able to take 9 cups daily!
  • The good quality beans, and the not so good ones.
  • Can high amount of caffeine kills?
  • Which is better? illy/Starbucks or mamak’s kopi? Why?
  • How good espresso is made.
  • How good coffee should taste, look, and smells.
  • How difficult it is to test your tongue in identifying sweet, salty, sour, bitter and balanced/neutral tastes.

The highlight of the coffee tasting is of course the tasting session itself. Attendees were given score sheets to mark the results of the beverages tasted and a number of beverages in cups to distinguish between different tastes and also the type of good and bad coffee drinks.

A big thanks to Evelyn Lee, Goh and Eric from UDC Malaysia.
If you’re interested with coffee courses, check out their webpage or get some nice illy coffee from these outlets.

Good To Know, Malaysia, Review , ,

Set Yourself Free by Yap Ming Hui

December 17th, 2012

Are you a Malaysian middle class? What is Malaysian middle class?
Does a Malaysian middle class person simply means you are not poor and you are not rich? What is the actual definition?

Of course, middle class Malaysian represents the larger majority of the citizens of Malaysia. This includes most of the working professionals and the mass affluent. They are those with a monthly income between RM5,000 and RM20,000 (source).

This is the group of people that are most likely to get stuck in the rat race of accumulating money, myself included.
Who does not want to be rich and wealthy? Or at the very least, know that you can be financially free and be able to retire comfortably without the worries of being able to survive financially in your remaining years?

Set Yourself Free is a book by a Malaysian, Yap Ming Hui, on how to optimise your money and become wealthy with minimum effort and risk.
This book addresses the reasons why millions of Middle Class Malaysians fail to make that simple leap to achieve financial freedom.

About Author
Yap Ming Hui is an Independent Financial Advisor (IFA).
He is also the author of five other financial books:

  • You Can’t Manage Your Money: Especially When You’re Rich
  • Maximise What You’ve Got: No Matter How Much you Have Now
  • MaxWealth: How To Maximise Your Wealth Beyond Investment Returns
  • Family Office: The Super Rich’s Secret to Wealth Maximisation
  • The Roadmap to Financial Freedom: The Ultimate Guide to Achieve Financial Freedom

Yap is the Founder and Managing Director of Whitman Independent Advisors Sdn Bhd, a leading independent financial advisory firm in Malaysia which specialises in helping clients achieve financial freedom and become wealthy by optimising their money. Whitman is a licensed financial advisory company by the Securities Commission and Bank Negara Malaysia.

He has also appeared in the national television and radio sharing financial tips and views. Besides that, he also has written financial related topics and hosted columns in national prints while being interviewed by broadcast media.

The Book

The book is written in a simple-to-understand manner, as the target readers are middle class Malaysians. No technical jargon but common financial terms that even students can understand.

The books starts from the definition of middle class Malaysians and generalizes the people to six category (can be seen from the book cover).
The categories are Poor, Middle Class, Rich, Self Sufficient, Financially Free and finally the Wealthy.
These categories are also grouped as Money-making and Money-optimisation. Throughout the book, Yap advocates on money optimisation, the path from middle class to wealthy is to be financially free instead of taking the rich route.

It then highlights the reasons why most people will not achieve financial freedom.
Even though we may think we are doing our finances right, there are many things that will come along in our life and derail our journey to financial freedom.

Yap uses many examples of real-life scenarios and easy to understand graphs, so that the readers could understand the effect of actions taken that would affect their net-worth and the age when they could retire.

The early chapters of the book highlights the problems people face that affects their road to financial freedom.
The remaining chapters (over half of them) educates the reader about the role of Independent Financial Advisor as well as how having an IFA will benefit you to being financially free and ultimately be wealthy.

Marvin’s Take
I actually came across the existence of this book from a news article – Help for the middle class.

However, being my usual self of doubting “marketing” and “sales” articles, I am almost certain that the author will try to sell something with his book.

So eventually, I got hold of the book and found out that I am not wrong but not fully right either. 🙂

Firstly, the book does highlight in general what are the problems that will impede the middle class from heading the road to financial freedom, but this is merely half of the content.
However, I am almost certain, most people would know the basic stuff of saving and investing, but most also will not be having enough information about how to reach the goals and if they are moving to the right direction. The examples especially the graphs with some simulation provided in this book, helps a lot in this area.

Then most of the chapters in this book talks about having the Independent Financial Advisor to help you optimize your finances so that eventually you get to be financially free and ultimately wealthy.

There are many things that I agree and especially that having a IFA is like a coordinator that relieves off your burden to look into all aspects of personal finances. One example given is an insurance agent is actually in conflict with their clients as they actually earns by commissions. The more being sold to the client, the more commission earned, but are they really optimized for the client?
IFA on the other hand, is said to be working together with the client, instead of earning from commissions, that might be for certain parties, they target to increase their client’s net worth, and probably get a certain percentage from that.
However, in my opinion, it is still possible for a IFA to be biased towards certain parties and to help sell products for certain parties.

Although the book is a target for middle class, but the idea that I get from the book is that to engage the services of a IFA, or probably from the author’s company, one would need a current net worth of RM 1 or 2 million at the very least.
I’m not sure how many middle class Malaysians can have that.

All in all, the book is a good read to reflect upon myself and to correct the ways I am taking to be financially free and be able to retire comfortably in the future.
It also introduces the services of IFA in greater detail than being just the “money consultant for the rich”.

Here’s a 15 minutes video of the interview with Yap Ming Hui on this book with Bernama.

I could probably name myself an Independent Book Reviewer, what do you think? 🙂
Read my unbiased book reviews here.

Books, Good To Know, Malaysia, Money Matters, Review , , ,

Average Salaries of ICT Professionals

July 3rd, 2012

What is the average salaries of IT professionals in Malaysia?
With factors like job industry, job scope and level of job aside, data compiled by PIKOM indicates that the average salary of ICT professional is RM 6,280 in 2011.

I would suggest you to take this analysis with a pinch of salt though. Firstly, the data orginates from Jobstreet.
Although Jobstreet is undeniably one of the more popular job recruitment site, the percentage of actual data as compared to the real numbers is not known.
Besides, the data will always be based on user input and this is not something we can safely use for benchmarking.

However, casting those issues aside, having a reference as compared to having nothing is never a bad thing.
This publication is probably the second attempt that I know of, other than the usual statistics from Kelly Services.

Anyway, for those interested to read on, here’s the publication:

Job Market

As I could summarize some of the important analysis:

Average Salaries
It is pertinent to note that the overall average monthly salaries of ICT professionals for 2011 was RM6,280, registering an increase of 11.7% from RM5,626 the previous year.

Top Paying Industries
The report also highlights the oil & gas sector as the highest-paying industry for the ICT workforce, continuing the trend of previous years.

Average Salaries by ICT Job Category

Geographic Locations
ICT professionals working in Klang Valley comprising Kuala Lumpur,
Putrajaya and the industrial zones of Selangor earned an average monthly salary of RM6,671.

Hot ICT Jobs
Published survey reports indicated that certain technical skills and functions appear to be in high demand, such as C#, C++, .Net developers, SAP certification, IT audit and security consultants, data warehousing, business intelligence analysts, senior Oracle and SQL DBAs and Cisco certified engineering disciplines.

Benchmarking with Selected Developed Nations
The respective salary is 4.08 times as high in the United States, 3.18 times in Australia and 3.06 times in New Zealand for a Senior Software Engineer / Developer/ Programmer. Surprisingly, the rate in the United Kingdom is only 2.78 times the average salary in Malaysia.

What’s your outlook on the ICT job market? Bright? Gloom? Obviously it’s greener on the other side.

Good To Know, Malaysia, Software, Technology