April 16, 2017

Singapore Sundown RUNCATION

25 - 27 MARCH 2017

Has been a year since I wrote in this blog. Hope to share more this year..haha (sounds ambitious)

my second trip to Singapore in 3 years. This time of course it is not for exams but for RUNCATION. A new terminology for those going for a run event + vacation. I was accompanied by my school-time friend, Zhafran who currently resides in KL.

25 MARCH 2017

10 am : flight Tiger Air from Penang to Singapore. Departed about 20mins late from scheduled time.
(took a GrabCar to the airport as I was kind of late. My first time trying out Grab)
11.30 am : arrived at Changi Airport.

Took MRT to Clarke Quay (took us approx. 40 mins to reach station) The City Backpackers Hotel is just a mere 4 minutes walk from this station.
We were welcomed by the receptionist with warm smile & she allowed us to check in 30mins bfr time.
After settling our luggage, we took a walk to find a Masjid, a makan place & iPhone outlet. Manage to find the former two, but the latter was quite a distance from our place & as it was already 6pm, we decided to get ourselves to the Run Village to collect race kit & to get back to hotel to take some rest before the run tonight. We took GrabCar to & fro the Race Village.
After Solat, slept for an hour plus. Woke up lazily to get myself ready to go to the run village. As we had got into GrabCar, I realized that my runner's bib is not with me...haiya!!! Asked the driver to make a return to Hotel to get it & of course he charged extra SGD6 for that!!
Arrived at RunVillage in time. Our start off time is 1am; though they actually let us start only at 1.20am
Feeling nervous & "national pride" at stake, I made my way cautiously. Only my second HM in life, and the first in 5 yrs! My aim was just to complete within 4 hrs. After some struggles with pain over quadriceps & calves, manage to complete in 3 hrs 27 mins..Alhamdulillah! In fact I crossed 10km mark at 84mins - which is a new time for me (though I did ran faster when I was 17..haha)
It was fun but exhausting & painful.
We had no choice but to find a transport back to hotel (though it is only 2.5km from our hotel, the idea of walking back is out of question!) Only now we realized there is an MRT station (Promenade) - 300m from the Run Village. If only knew this earlier, could have saved some money by not going on Grab! Nevertheless we did not take the MRT as we were holding SGD 50 note, the MRT ticket machine does not accept that; yet no counters were upon yet at 6am & no shops either. Hence we resorted to Grab, and manage to get one at 6.30

26 MARCH 2017

6.45am : reached Hotel. Had our Subuh.
Then it was ZZzzzz!
Only woke up at 11am. After shower, made my way to Masjid Omar (the one we went yesterday). Had Zohor-Asar Jama' there. They had some ceramah just before Zohor & were having a luncheon after Zohor, but I did not wait..segan la konon..haha.
2pm : went out for a quick lunch at near by 24hours outlet called Teh Tarik. Then took MRT to Bugis. Strolled around at Bugis Street, Junction & Bugis+. Bought some souveniers. had our early dinner at famed ZamZam Restaurant (the same place I had Briyani in 2014), went to Malay Cultural House (which was already closed), strolled around Arab Street. Then walked to Little India, which is a mere 15-20mins walk from Arab Street.
Mustafa Centre - is the talk of Little India. Had our Maghrib-Isya Jama' at Masjid Abdul Gaffoor before starting shopping at Mustafa. We spent a good 2 hours n this place. At 10 something, wth hands full of shopping bags, we took an MRT to get back to our Hotel.

27 MARCH 2017

Final day in Singapore. Checked out early at about 10 something. Headed to VivoCity Mall (the largest mall here) which is a mere 545m boardwalk to the famed Sentosa Island. So we did set foot on Sentosa Island, just for photography purpose..haha.
Next stop was Orchard Road - famed for multiple shopping malls. It was raining and we could not find an eatery (initially), but manage to spot Masjid Al-Falah. Stopped by for Solat & simple lunch at the Masjid's cafeteria. Then Zhafran & I parted ways, as he wanted to visit Expo ( another shopping mall, which is a station before Changi Airport), where by I was tired of going malls..haha.
We prted at the Sommerset MRT station. I went to an Indonesian Restaurant to try out "Durian Martabak" as was promoted on nets, before heading to Airport.
My flight is at 6.55pm. I reached Airport 2 hours early. Submitted GST refund thing at the Airport (on Zhafran's behalf - as he did the most shopping, my refund claim was less than SGD 2..haha)Checked in with no luggage & just wandered around till the departure time. (Also delayed by 30mins - Tiger Air) Safe home by 9pm.

FLIGHT
1st time on Tiger Air. Decent cabin environment. Crew : average. Experienced delayed departure after already onboard on both flights. Reason : unclear. I would give 2.5/5 for this

HOTEL
- Receptionist : good looks :), but not so informative in terms of directions & public transportation
- Room : decent, clean, good functioning a.cond, 2 twin beds as promised
- Price : decent (SGD 130.68 - for 2 nights , reasonable for Singapore!)
- B/fast : bread & coffee/tea. Free flow coffee/tea all day long (but I dare not take - still in the aftermath of severe indigestion & AGE!)
- Laundry : available.
- Toilet : the only problematic area. Though clean, it is so small. Anyone wth BMI more than 24 will have difficulties!
I would give 4/5 for this

EVENT - SUNDOWN MARATHON (10th EDITION)
Points for:
1. Well advertised. Fees & venue well publicized as early as 6 months prior to event
2. Number of participants kind of limited, avoiding overcrowding at Run Village
3. International runners were allowed to get Race Kit even 1 hour prior to race
4. Race Village in fact reasonably near to MRT station
5. Placards displaying distance ran placed appropriately at almost every 1 KM
6. Hydration stations well prepared

Points against:
1. For SGD 68, organizers could have prepared more for participants (i.e. Finisher T for 21KM, simple cereals or light meals post run)
2. First aid & sprays not adequately available
3. Run start off delayed by 20mins as runners were being released in batches.
4. A narrow passage at least for the first 2 KM, causing "human jam"

Overall : 3/5

TRANSPORTATION
- needless to talk about this in Singapore.
I would give 4/5 for MRT (not giving full as I find the staffs at MRT counters are less helpful & no counters open yet at 6am - unlike in Malaysia)
- Of course GrabCar is an alterntive. But in order to use this you will need data. Data here dose not come cheap. We had experience with 4 different drivers. 2 were friendly, the other 2 quite serious. One of them spoke highly about Singapore policies and bragged about Singapore being "crime-free". A Singaporean malay, an ex-army. Well, not surprised as Singaporeans are nurtured in that manner I guess :)

FOOD
- as we stayed near to Chinatown, was a bit difficult to find Halal food in abundance. The nearest to our Hotel is 24hours Teh Tarik (IM place). But if near Geylang, Bugis or Little India, would be a lot easier.
- eateries at Arab Street. Beware, not all Arab restaurants are halal! Watch where you go
ZamZam Briyani - 4/5. Murtabak : 5/5
My 5/5 Briyani remains for my mom's & Ajmeer's (Sandakan) :)

MASJID
1. Masjid Omar, Kampung Melaka (near Clarke Quay)
2. Masjid Abdul Gaffoor (Little India)
3. Masjid Al-Falah (Orchard Road)
*mentioning only masjids visited by us

BUDGET
Run fee : SGD 68
Flight : RM185
Hotel SGD 130 (shared by two of us)
GrabCar : SGD 15
MRT : SGD 10
Food & Souveniers - not mentioned here :)

PICTORIAL
Inside of Masjid Omar
Starting point
After the RUN!
Finisher Medal
the Junction showing Masjid Sultan which is opposite to the famed ZamZam Restaurant
Masjid Abdul Gaffoor @ Little India
Forever busy - Little India. This is at 10pm!
Another Masjid in the Little India vicinity
Checking out form City Backpackers
Wefie with the Sentosa Island at the background
We set foot on Sentosa Island!
Inside of Masjid Al-Falah, Orchard Road
Martabak Durian : Last meal on Singapore soil - at J Café (opposite walkway to Sommerset MRT station)
This is made using D24 variant, cost me SGD 4.50. Pretty nice but the portion is extremely small & don't be deceived by the word "Martabak". It is just a Durian Pancake :)















              



March 13, 2016

Making of a kitchen

Finally my kitchen cabinet done..after almost 8 weeks of construction. Yeah..I know it is TOO LONG for a standard kitchen cabinet.
Wish to share the build-up to it till its completion...

I was reluctant to build initially; as I know there will a  lot of hassle in it; considering my unpredictable timing to be in Bertam, as well as anticipated interuption by my mom...haha.
Nevertheless I took up the effort to find a suitable contractor with reasonable pricing after constant "nagging" by my mom.
Found this guy on FB. Actually I contacted him, thinking it was the guy from Kulim who renovated a house near by my place. Turned out to be it was some other apek. He was quite desperate (from the way he showed "eagerness" to get this contract) Due to indecisiveness on my mom's part, I decided to give this guy the job.
and he promised to get the job done in ONE WEEK! U can guess it was a big lie :)

And the work started : 1 st week of November 2015.
"menembak" dinding

Mengukur - guna "laser"

tembok terawal

beberapa tembok

"table-top" sudah naik

mosaic sedang naik

defects - kena panggil balik suroh dia betulkan

defect lagi

lagi defect

this is "the best" - how your basin will look like if washed using mixture of HCL acid!!!

Next : the final outcome. Just to mind all readers. He took almost 6 weeks to come to this stage


Finally completed : 1st week of Jan 2016!



THINGS I LEARNED FROM THIS EXPERIENCE. 
AT THE AGE OF 33...THIS IS MY FIRST KITCHEN CABINET ;)

1. Pre-plan your cabinet design

  • have your design illustrated on a piece of paper.Best is to get your contractor to do it & adjust according to what you have in your mind. Make sure both of you understand what has been drawn on paper :)

**Never ever just imagine!!!

  • make up you mind : either you want it on the floor only, or you want a hanging cabinet too, or you want a tall cabinet. Decide before your contractor starts his work. 


2. Materials

  • wash basin : talk to your contractor & tell him straight that you want to choose your own basin. Or else he would buy a cheap one and there goes your money. Go do some surveys and decide on basin of what quality you want. Tell him the price. If he declines, TELL HIM OFF! (of course be reasonable...a standard basin as mine, would cost somewhere around RM250 - 350)
  • mosaic price & type : Again, do your survey & decide what type you want and whether your contractor agrees to the price of the mosaic.
  • table top : same advice
  • door & drawer material : What I understand, there are 2 types, one is chipboard wth melamine wrap externally. The other is "dunno" what wood wth "lamica" layer externally. ("lamica" is the type that appears shiny ... not sure if I spelled it correctly..:) This "lamica" is a bit more pricey as compared to melamine wrap. I chose melamine as the contractor did not offer any other option and I was too lazy to go around to look for other types.
  • Get a quotation : calculate your cabinet as per square foot (includes mosaic, table top, door, drawer). Mine was about RM270/square foot. Hanging cabinet is pricier. DO NEGOTIATE KAWKAW on pricing!!
3. Contractor
  • It is good to get a few quotations before you decide. BUT please do not be indecisive. Make your choice based on people's recommendation (if the contractor has been tested before by your neighbours / friends), pricing and materials he/she gonna use. 
  • Give the job to "single contractor". Make sure your contractor has the means to get the job done. Unlike mine; he did the cabinet and got his friend to do the doors & drawer. The worst part is that, he is not bothered to get his friend to do the job quickly. resulting in waiting for 3 weeks only for the doors & drawers done!
  • Tell him from the beginning, to work at proper hours (i.e. 9am - 3pm) not to come as he likes.
HOW MUCH I SPENT

Total : RM6,300
- 27 square feet
- basin cost me RM280 (included in the price)
**actual payment agreed initially was RM6,500. But due to the apek's unimaginable delay, I told him I'm gonna deduct a mere RM200, for which he agreed
- paid in 3 installments ; though initially he said pay before and upon completion of work only.




March 9, 2016

My Journey to the West - PART 2 (Pictorial)






I know I am well behind date. These pictures were actually taken during end of June 2015 - 2 July 2015. Yet I feel it is worth sharing.

Boarded Lufthansa
EURO Hostel reception area

View out of my room window.
Just to show how bright It was at 2130H!
Inside the room. the loo is Outside

Outside view of EURO Hostel
My typical meal there (bread & nestum not shown here :)





Sheek Kebab - one of the 3 meals I bought. This one cost me 3 pounds
Edinburgh Central Masjid - may Islam prosper further in UK

One of the souvenier shops

the Pied piper - a must see in Scotland. I din know must give some tips to photograph them :) sorry mike!!






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Transit station from Edinburgh to Bishop Auckland



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Breathtaking scenaries along the way (while on the train)
Stewart Suite - Park Head Hotel in Bishop Auckland - din know I booked a suite :(
Park Head Hotel ( Bishop Auckland) - view from a distance
Black & white crows  - a common sight in Durham city; but not Edinburgh ( where Seagulls dominate)

Captured this while on the transit train from one terminal to another at Frankfurt Airport (my Transit Airport)
Surau @ Frankfurt Airport


MY EXPENDITURES:

Flight ticket                               - approx. RM3400 (to & fro)
Cab (Airport to Euro Hostel)                        20 pound
Room & bag keep                                        102
Food bought                                                     6.50
Milk & sweets                                                  3.09
bus                                                                    20
souveniers                                                        17
Miscellaneous                                                  17.40

**Train ticket not included here**

**FOREX :1 pound = RM5.90**

I brought 300pounds; used up 196pounds. Brought back 104 pounds





February 28, 2016

My Journey to the West - PART 1

I am writing this on the auspicious day of Aidilfitri 1436. A journey which I shall call it "A journey of my life" took place a couple of weeks ago.

25 JUNE 2015 / 8 RAMADHAN 1436
Departed to KL via Air Asia flight. Arrived in KLIA2 just before buka puasa time. Made my way to the food court, ordered a cold cham drink to accompany a pack of rice with sambal udang (packed by mom) for buka puasa. Made my way to KLIA (via Train) after prayers. Checked in soon after reaching KLIA. Flight Lufthansa KL to Frankfurt ; Frankfurt to Edinburgh. I am going to Europe..huh..I still cant believe this! I checked in luggage & another hand carriage.
Security checking & boarding was uneventful.

The Long Flight
My total travel time was estimated to be 19 hours 10 minutes (including 4 hours layoff time in Frankfurt) Flight left KLIA at 12.45am (instead of 12.05am) and the caucasian pilot sarcastically attributed the delay to a MAS flight leaving before ours.
Lufthansa in-flight service was mediocre...not as good as MAS (before the dissolution of MAS of course). They provided 2 meals. Juices prn basis. and of course aplenty of the "haram beverages". Meal was prepared by MAS (so ditanggung halal la)
It was a unique experience of doing sahur in the sky :)
Arrived in Frankfurt on 26 JUNE @ 7am (local time). German security was stupid I would say...not sure for what reason they wanted to record down the ophtalmoscope I was carrying. Nevertheless nothing eventful. The next flight to Edinburgh also departed slightly delayed by 20 minutes.

Edinburgh - Here I come
Arrived in Edinburgh Airport at around 12.45 noon (local time). It was drizzling & quite cold (though it is summer). Immigration clearance was not a hassle at all. The guy did not even bother to ask for my examination admission letter. He only asked why am I here & wished me the best when I told him I am here for an examination. 
Took a cab and cost me 20.90 pounds!! (paid 20 only). Took me 30 minutes to reach my hostel.."Euro Hostel" The receptionists were friendly but really I had to squeeze my ears to understand their accent. I can only check in at 3pm & it was only 1.30pm. So I wandered around there, looking for the Edinburgh Central Mosque and finally found the masjid at 2.30 and Jumuah prayers were over by then. Made my way back to to Euro Hostel at about 2.45pm.

Accomodation I : Euro Hostel 
Stayed for 4 nights - made booking via booking.com. Paid an average of 25pounds/night. A clean, cozy place offering private room with shared bathroom, shared kitchen (with toaster, fridge & water boiler). Everything was ok except :
1) there was a mice which will freely run in & out of the room
2) usually in the evening for about 1-2 hours, there will be a group of girls making noise at the outside of hotel while having their drinks (loud enough, can be heard on 4th floor - where I was staying
3) No lift

Weather (in Edinburgh)
It was pretty chill & ya I guess I was the only one walking with gloves on in summer. I can't stand the cold even when I am inside my hostel room

Food
I stayed at "the old town" (as they call it), which is only 10 minutes walk away from the Edinburgh Central Mosque. Aplenty of Muslim food restaurants around this mosque. So food was not really an issue; though my meals were mainly breads/canned sardine/ peanut butter I brought from home (to cut cost) I only bought outside food 3x throughout my stay here. they were all either Arab or Indian food. Restaurant I went to : Mosque Kitchen (there were 2 different shops with the same name but definitely they are not owned by the same person; as each of them acclaims to "the only original Mosque Kitchen" on banners). There were few other eateries as well quite near by to each other, but I did not actually enter all the places

Where I went in Edinburgh
I was in Edinburgh for 4 consecutive nights; then in Bishop Auckland for another 2 nights before heading back to Edinburgh on my final night.
My routine in Edinburgh were pretty simple. I'll iftor at 10.30pm; then prayers +/- study and continuous eating until Subuh (2.30am). After Subuh I'll sleep till about 7 or 8. Then wake up & study for a while before I start dreaming in my room. Either noon time or around 5pm I'll get out of my room & walk around. Only on my final day in Edinburgh I met up with Joyce (my PACES training buddy); we took a bus to look around at her exam place (Western General Hosp) & walked around sight seeing, as well as going to the "tourist shopping area" (which is quite near by) Joyce stayed in Tune Hotel (which is a train station away from my place)
Edinburgh Central Mosque - has been my favourite place. I went for night prayers on most of the nights. Tarawih starts at 11.45 and ends at around 1.15am! Imagine 8 rakaat + Witir (3) in 1 1/2 hrs. And guess what, the sof maintaned as how it began! That is something I had never seen in Malaysia. It is so enthralling to see Muslims here! At least 80% will be back to the Mosque 1 hour later for congregatory Subuh prayers.

Off to Bishop Auckland (30 June 2015)
My exam was at a distant town call Bishop Auckland, which is about 2.5 hrs by train (approx 330km) from Edinburgh town. And it is actually in England (which I only knew when I was about to leave the town..hehe). Took "Virgin Train"...that is what the train is called as; from Edinburgh Waverley station (which is 15 minutes walk from my hostel). Left at 6.45am (punctual). Quite a classy train I would say, as the seats were cozy they serve food using the small push cart (just like in flights) err..of course you need to pay for the food. U can buy train tickets online (which offers cheaper price) & print the tickets at the station. Quite convenient. It stopped at several stations (3 I think) and I got off at Darlington, as had to take connecting train heading to Bishop Auckland.
I arrived at Bishop Auckland at 10 past 9. Whew...it was a small quite town with lots of geriartics population (was so apparent the moment I stepped on Bishop Auckland soil) The station was like 5 minutes walk to the hospital (my exam place) Took a bus towards Park Head Country Hotel. Bus driver and senior commuters were very helpful. It is only about 15 minutes to the get to the Hotel
Reached the hotel at 9.45am & the receptionist swiftly checked me in though I was like 4 hours early than the scheduled check-in time. The gave a "suite"...huhu. (No wonder I paid 135pounds for 3 nights!) Weather here was perfect. I can see the sun & no more "Raynauds" for me.

Bishop Auckland is a town in the Durham district (England). A quiet but lively town I would say. I noticed a hypermarket (Morrisons) and the hospital is a district specialist hospital. Nevertheless none of the buildings were more than 2 storeys. Saw a few Chinese and Indian eateries, but did not try any. I "survived" on breads & canned food I brought all the from Malaysia...huhu. No place to cook in this hotel, so I just had to heat up sardines using boiled water.
On my second day I took a bus to the Morrisons and had a peak at the hospital. My stress level has reached max I guess...cant really read anything in peace.

2 July 2015 - 'D' Day

I cant really put into words of how I felt the night before the exam & the morning of the exam. Only Allah knows how I felt. Called home while I waited for the bus to go hospital.
Reached the exam place at about 8am. Exam scheduled to start at 9am. I was the second candidate to reach. There was one Hindustani girl (working in Edinburgh) there even before me. After me came the other 3 (all were Asians except for one girl). There was even a guy from Kelantan who has been working in Glasgow for the past 9 years. The exam co-ordinators were friendly. Approximately 9.30 : the game started!
1) Hx taking : 35 y.o /lady with Cluster Headache. Given hx was quite straight forward & discussion was not too difficult but somehow my mind blanked out when asked about treatment.
2) CNS & CVS. CNS was a 40 something aged chap with LL weakness for many years. Paraparesis with sensory level (likely spastic, but I did not dare to say)as the reflexes...were not hyper, in fact hypo! Gave some differentials. Examiner asked about investigations.
CVS : a middle-aged lady with dual valve replacement.
3) Comm.skill. A total failure. Was given the task of breaking the news to a patient with mesothelioma. Instruction given on paper was that pt attending his appt to know his biopsy result etc. However pt said he has come today as he felt chest pain. His actual appt (to see the consultant) is next week. Did not do enough to satisfy the examiner (who was clearly unhappy); I did not tell the pt that he got this because he used to work in shipyard & he is eligible for Industrial Claim Benefit (though I voluntarily mentioned this during the discussion) Examiner was also unhappy as I said I will arrange an appt to see the oncologist. He wanted me to say that this will be discussed with my consultant.
4) STATION 5 : Partial disaster
1st case : 60 y.o lady wth violaceoes macularpapular confluent rashes on nose, face, forearms, buttocks, knees. (Mind you, it is not Heliotrope or butterfly or DLE rashes. Not psoriatic neither!
Stem was : She has got these rashes for 4/12 - on treatment under skin. Now has come with worsening dyspnoea for 2/12. SPO2 on air : 94%.
O/E : not in failure, Lungs : clear, Not clubbed. SHE HAS ORAL THRUSH. I suspected she is on some immunosuppressant drugs, but she said she can't reveal that to me! I was clueless.
I simply said could pulmonary-vasculitic syndrome, opportunistic infection, Pulmonary HPT. The lady examiner did not appear that happy. (RETROSPECTIVELY : I think she has sarcoidosis with lupus pernio & lung involvement)
2nd case : 60 y.o / lady wth Lt sided headache & partial ptosis of Lt eye for 3/52.
O/E : CN IV, VI intact. only partial ptosis. Pupil : normal size
My dy/dx : Temporal arteritis. The examiner accepted, but asked what else I would think of? I said need TRO CN III lesion (.e.g. compression/ mononeuritis) Do MRI/MRA.
5) Respi & Abdo :
Respi : a lady wth Lt mastectomy scar. Findings: consistent with B/L bronchiectasis. Questions asked: what are your differentials. CXR finding in bronchiectasis. Spirometry findings.
Abdo : a guy wth mid-sternotomy scar, LIF & RIF scar, a weird looking semi-horizontal abdominal scar & B/L BKA! Actually he has got a tranplanted kidney (which I missed out initially: but thank Allah I had 1 minute remaining for examination, thus the examiner offered me to use up the one minute and it was during this 1 minute I found out he has got a transplanted kidney on LIF!)
And he final bell rang... Was a tensed 2 hours of my life.

Honestly I was not happy with my performance. Went back to ParkHead Hotel and just slept till 5pm (though cant really sleep) No mood to explore Durham town (as planned earlier). Checked out at 5 something. Ran down to catch a bus to Durham Railway station (30 minutes away) Reached the station in time. Btw I think I boarded the wrong train (mine was Cross-Country, but I boarded Virgin Train..thinking both are the same)
Reached Edinburgh Waverley Station about an hour before Iftor. Quickly walked to Mosque Kitchen & packed up Kebab for 3 pounds. (Left my luggages at Euro Hostel on the way to Mosque Kitchen)
Iftor at the Masjid. Then had my Kebab after maghrib (It was too much, I had to eat at 3 separate times) Stayed on at the Masjid till the end of tarawih. Then walked back to Euro Hostel, slept for a while at the reception, before going back to Masjid for Subuh. I spent the whole night walking and catching a nap intermittently at the Euro Hostel until about 7am.

3 July 2015 (FINAL day)
My last day in Edinburgh. Walked in & out of gift shos & "kedai 1 pound". Bought some souveniers & some biscuits (sold at 1 pound per box) I was like a zombie as of course literally I did not have  a place to sleep last night. (I paid to stay in ParkHead but decided to leave earlier as I might miss the flight if were to stay there another night)
At about 10am, took airport coach (4.50 pound). Checked-in uneventfully (except that the guard did not allow me to carry a litre of juice in hand carry).
Flight to Frankfurt departed at 1.30pm (ontime)
Lay-off in Frankfurt supposedly only 1 hour, but delayed to two hours. Tried to spend my remaining 4 pounds,but none of the merchants wanted to accept "coin form"
Endured another long-flight & reached Bangkok on time. (My return flight was EDIN to Frankfurt; Frankfurt to Bangkok ; then Bangkok to KL (by MAS) Lufthansa personnel was waiting for me at the arrival gate & swiftly took me to boarding gate.

Finally I am back
Took a bus to Penang & reached late night (almost midnight)

WHAT I LEARNED
1. Sitting for an exam (moreover practical/viva exam) in a foreign land IS NOT EASY. Especially when you are never exposed to their culture/practice. Believe me..i was there and take my words. Be there early (at least a good 4 days earlier than exam date to acclimatize yourself with the weather, environment and to calm your nerves..to certain extent)
2. Plan your trip well (especially accomodation and how are you gonna travel from one city to another (if needed)
3. Survey food places and prices. Bring along some canned food which you could heat up. Saved me a lot. I bought only 3 meals during my 1 week stay. The rest, I relied on food I brought from home (including mom-made nasi with mutton; which stayed afresh even after 26 hours!
4. Experienced Ramadhan in a far away land. I observed fasting for a total of 8 days in Edinburgh. Each day approx. 19 hours of fasting (except the first day; 23 hours as I took safe side by not eating after 4hours into plane) Subhanallah...the 19 hours of fasting was not bad at all. Perhaps fasting in Malaysia could be a little tiring at times; but never in Edinburgh! Perhaps the weather, but I really dont know why.
5. Accomodation - try to go for hostels with separate rooms (shared bathroom is fine); as they provide place to cook and relatively affordable as compared to hotels/apartments.
6. The InterCiy Trains were extraordinary. Frequent travel times. Basically can go anywhere in UK by just boarding the train. Reasonably punctual. Something our KTM must emulate if there is any hope in improving public transportation in Malaysia.

PACES tips:
1. It is still better to sit for PACES in our own place or at leasdt near by places i.e. Brunei. Going UK can be "intimidating", scarry (unless you did undergraduate in UK)
2. Having said that, if the inevitable happens, you still have to go UK; or else you may end up waiting for a place in Malaysia, where as your juniors have started doing sub-speciality training... 9as what happened to me :) I have a colleague (same HO batch; who is a Nephrologist now ;)
3. If you are going UK, do learn how they approach patients. THIS IS EXTREMELY IMPORTANT. It is a bit different than how we do it the Malaysian style. If you have plenty of money, attend a course or two in UK. If not much money (like me), just prescribe the PasTest videos. Learn from the videos. The video is not much of a use if you are attending exam in Malaysia.
4. Books :
- Pacing the PaCES (by PGMES Penang) : for Neurology
- Oxford by Iqbal Mehta : for Clinical topics (read selectively)
- Ryder : for Comm.Skill/ Hx taking and Volume 3 for Station 5
INI CUKUP. Dont read too much

5. Practise daily 1-2 cases. Or else EOD, but make full use of your weekends. Get good training buddies.

6. Attend at least one proper course before you go for the exam (Mock is not really important - but good if u get an opportunity) In my case, I managed to go Batu Pahat as an observer  ( for a short course & Mock exam) and another in Hydrebad (which was quite disappointing!) If you want to go for courses in India, go to a course held at teaching HOSPITALS not at some private clinics...mind you! Nevertheless, the Hydrebad course was good for Comm.skill & History taking (at least something :)

Finally I would like to say that I am grateful to have Joyce (whom I met during my preparatory Course in Hydrebad in May 2015), Chin (my junior in UNIMAS) and Yew YX. These 3 were extremely helpful and I shall help them too when their turn to sit for exams. I go Skype to practise comm.skill, Hx and station 5 - with Joyce. Besides I am also thankful to have some words of wisdom from my sifu, Kantha Rao; whom I emulated by finishing MRCP in 1.5yrs; as well as my colleague, Arvind who took me for a few History sessions.
Last but not least, my training buddies during Masters Part 1 exam - Suba,Rabeah, Salina & Gan. These are the people with whom I " held hand-in-hand" as we polished our clinical skills bit by bit from basics (as it was all rusted back in April 2014; when we were preparing for Part 1 exams)

ALHAMDULILLAH - all praises to ALLAH. I got my results 3 nights before Aidilfitri. I PASSED!

Mohamed Azlam bin Mohamed Micdhadhu
MD (UNIMAS), MRCP (UK)

April 9, 2015

Terrible Experiences with Bertam Properties

Would like to share a series of bad experiences with this developer called Bertam Properties.
Saya membeli sebuah DSSD house dengan depa ini dan telah mendapat kunci pada minggu kedua Dec 2014 - well ahead of the scheduled completion in Feb 2015. Was impressed initially.
Jadi macam biasa, dah dapat kunci, pi lah tgk rumah...dan catatkan segala defect yang ada. Tgk punya tgk, adalah dlm 25-30 defect...ada yang major (sliding door tak leh kunci), ada gak la yang minor. OK la..xpa...biasa la defect2 ni bila beli rumah baru.

Pi lah hantaq defect form ni kat office Bertam, pada keesokkan hari. Jumpa la sorang staf dia ni nama H***a*...muka nampak cool & beriman. Katanya dalam 4 minggu boleh siap lah segala defect. Minggu ke-3, pi balik rumah, tgk apa depa dah buat...takat pasanag kepala paip kat bahagian dapoq saja (kepala paip asai tu depa dah ilangkan). Defect2 lain...tetap status quo. Call la balik mamat muka"beriman" ini...katanya bagi masa lagi...kontraktor x sempat2 buat lagi (dasar pemaju Ali Baba...kerja pembaikan bagi kontraktor lain...tp xdak penyeliaan pun) Siap suro aku lak kontek Kontraktor tu...nama Salizan ka apa ntah....kol2 bukan jawab pun..

Minggu ke-5, pi lah tgk lagi....satu haram x buat. Kol balik mamat muka "beriman" kata nak ambik balik kunci, pasai nak pasang grille & habaq dah kecewa dengan Bertam Prop sebab daripada 20+ defect tu, baru buat dalam 10....selepas 5 MINGGU!!! Dia pn kata, xpa..en boleh buat aduan kat CEO,Dato Roslan.

Aku malas nak panjangkan cerita, carry on la dengan kerja2 pemasangan grille (NI satu lagi cakap putar alam oleh Bumi so-called-muslim contractor)...I wont go into details of this :(

Sementara tu, 2/3/15 aku dah mula attachment kat IJN...jadi x leh la kerap nak ke Bertam ni.. Al-kisahnya, 29.3.15...pi lah tgk rumah kat Bertam (masa tu dok balik cuti seminggu). Nak tgk la apa macam finishing Bumi so-called Muslim contractors ni.. Macam hampeh gak...pasang grille, payah nak bukak..tempat kunci & tebing grille tu letak cukup punya rapat. Sampah satu haram x clear. Tapi duit dah minta awai lagi...masa keja x siap lagi pun.. haih..kata "ana Muslim" tapi mutu kerja & cakap x serupa bikin...macam.....(malas nak sambung) Buat malu saja..

OK back to topik asai...climax kekecewaan aku dengan Bertam Properties ni... P naik tingkat atas..tgk siling ruang tamu atas..abih lencun. Ayaq dok mencurah ntah brapa hari dah...abis lantai terrazo terkopek skali pasai ayaq dok bertakung. Pi la call PIC bahagian defect ni. Kol sorang..."saya cuti hari ini". Sorang lagi...7x x jawab fon. LAst kali jawab la sorang "ana Muslim" gak..nama A***..."hari ini Ahad, x leh mai tengok, sok baru bole" Aku pn,,,OK la jumpa sok.

Soknya pi lah Bertam skali lagi...depa pn mai la dalam 9.30am. Kontraktor nama Khairul pun mai skali. Tgk2 punya tgk...rupanya tangki atas bocor. Janjinya petang tu gak plumber akan mai..repair tangki & pastu akan tukar siling & lantai terrazo tu dalam tempoh 1-2 minggu.

Seminggu berlalu. Mak & kak aku pi tengok, siling & tangki dah ok la...tapi lantai tak terusik lagi. Kol la mamat nam A*** ni...dia kata, "saya pun x pasti apa dah buat setakat ini" Tu supervisor bahagian defect untuk Bertam Properties, claims to be a Muslim..tapi langsung xdak rasa tanggungjawab. Gaji bulan2 on time...apa yang masuk dalam perut...pikiaq la sendiri!
Aku pun...OK...fine...mintak la tolong percepatkan sebab nak move in dah ni.. Bole2 dia jawab, "en x bole kata dah 4 bulan, sebab tangki bocor & siling runtuh & lantai terkopek ni baru jadi" Mmg macam HA-RO-MEEM!
Terus aku kol PA CEO, mtk appt nak jmpa CEO. PA dia nama Norlela lak kata, dia akan mtk customer service contact balik dan ni dah hari kedua..aku masih menunggu panggilan balas daripada Customer Service.

Bad quality of work, bad service & terrible people working here. The worst part is they call themselves Muslims. Hope ALLAH puts some insight into them and hope they will be responsible in their jobs and work towards making their "hard-earned" money truly halal.

Wallhu 'Alam

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