Thursday, 15 June 2017

What Has Changed?

As I flip through the newspaper every day these days, I see a lot of bullying cases happening amongst youth, amongst children and amongst school kids. Why is this the case?

I'm curious. When do they have the time to carry out such violence? Isn't school time so packed with classes? Where do they find time to create gangs and groups that could hate each other?

I'm so baflled, and I fear for the future generation. We seem to live amongst extremist these days, you hate a person you kill. And these are students/youths, they're still young and with a lot of opportunities and bright future ahead of them. Why do they pull the plug on their lives like that?

I used to remember school to be so fun. You go to school, you get to see friends, you plan what to eat during reccess with your classmates and schoolmates from different classes and you look forward to extra curricular activities just so that you get to spend even more time with your friends.

I can't seem to understand how children can be so brave and heartless all at the same time, killing one another. Really? Do they not feel anything when they are causing hurt to others? Such inhumane acts at times.

What has changed from our school days many many years back? It's a huge concern, and assurance needs to be given to parents for sending and leaving their kids in school. Family time needs to be practised at home so that parents know if whether or not their kids are ok. Parents need to know who their kids are out with - it may sound suffocating, but discipline is key. They need to grow up knowing what is right and what is wrong.

Bullying should not be tolerated! Feeling so very sad right now that we are living amongst people who can willingly carry out inhumane acts without guilt. In fact I'm scared :((((

Let's strive to be nicer and kinder.

Thursday, 8 June 2017

CIMB's TCB Programme = The Complete Banker

I’ve had the privilege of talking to a lot of TCB recruits in CIMB and everytime I have that conversation with them, I feel so nostalgic. The other night as I was packing up to leave an event, a friend of mine came up to me to introduce another friend.

“Alia, this is my friend, he’s a TCB. He's been wanting to meet you”
“TCB? As in the TCB TCB?”

He replied: “Yeah, I’m currently going through my support rotation and am in batch 44”

Homaigod, did I not feel old when he said FOURTY-FOUR. I had started my own TCB programme at CIMB back in 2009 and I was batch 13. THIRTEEN guys, that’s like 31 batches away. I’m so old now, 8 years with the firm with a year and a half off pursuing Masters in London and another few months off to chase after my dream to be a part of a broadway show.

Good times!

If you ask me if I would go through TCB programme  again? A million times over!              
What’s a TCB programme? TCB stands for The Complete Banker – a programme specially tailored by CIMB for fresh graduates wanting to experience and learn all about Investment, Commercial, Retail, basically everything about Banking in CIMB.

It’s a 2 years programme – divided into 2 months of classroom training and 10 months of rotating between 4 departments and another final year of confirming a spot in one department of your choice (if the department is hiring).

To me, the best times were all in the classroom. It was so intense and competitive (coz our batch was the first to have had our Singaporean colleagues in it too and they kept on scoring As for all their exams!!!), they even train you to complete an assignment throughout the night! Can you imagine how much you see your batchmates in a day? Between 11 to 24 hours! Haha! Not, I’m not scaring you, it was indeed the best times I’ve had. The adrenaline rush that comes with the deadlines, the bonding you have with your batchmates (we now travel around for each other’s wedding eventhough some had left the firm) and the mountain-load of knowledge you get from industry players. In the span of 2 months, we sit for 5 exams just to test whether you were listening in all those different classes or not.
*Don’t worry, I failed some too :D

Post 2 months of classroom, we get to request for departments we may be interested in and so I had my 10 months stint in Group Corporate Finance, HR, Preferred Banking and Wholesale Banking Islamic. Work was real, in that 10 months I sometimes had this fear of sending out emails if in case I may misrepresent the company, haha! The good thing about real-life work is that it gives you so much satisfaction knowing “OMG, my team and I was working on that deal” when we see a headline in the papers or even the adrenaline rush knowing that your client has chosen the team to carry out a corporate exercise. Sometimes you get P&C deals that you're bound to not speak to anyone about it, and it's very exciting!

Well sometimes, you get scolded too of course if you do a mistake - but I used to think being scolded was a privilege coz at least now the boss knows you! Weird but true :D

I think one of the more exciting parts was when I was based in CIMB London and was assigned to assist HR in assessing potential TCB recruits studying in UK. Boy was it tough coz I felt like hiring everyone of them! They seem to be as eager as I was when I had my first interview with CIMB, back in London too in 2009. Of course it was a little weird when I had to interview my own Masters classmate from Imperial haha.

I've had many questions about TCB in CIMB, so I hope this post helps a little if not much at all. If not, feel free to drop me an email and I'll be more than happy to answer them :))

 TCB 13

#examstruggleisreal 

Sunday, 4 June 2017

You gotta be polite 24 hours

Being in a customer service means you are at customers' service exactly that - 24 hours in a day. You've got to be polite to customers for the entire day, or at least during your shift. Or at least during every minute of face time you have with customers, and especially if customers aren't rude to you.

I totally get it that Sahur is too early a time for some, but it is your amanah towards the job that you've got to do what the job requires you to do - purely because you took up that job, well informed of the nature of the work.

So Aiman and I decided to head to McDonalds for sahur today (something we do every year during Ramadhan, there must be a day when we have those burgers and fries for sahur). There weren't many people at all, and it was about 4.30am. Counter staff was very friendly - explained Sahur menu to us, took our order and completed our transaction.

All these whilst another staff behind here complains non stop and started showing tantrum and knocking appliances loudly etc. LOUDLY. I tend to tell myself that maybe she was tired, she had a bad journey coming to work and 4.30am was a bit too early for her.

But that's it right, you are in customer service. And your shift is at 4.30am. The least you could do is throw tantrum, quietly. I'm sure McDonalds being such a big brand would not subscribe to such behaviours either. A few customers in line were put off by it but thank god for their friendly counter staff.

Saturday, 3 June 2017

Hi, my name is Minty


The one thing I don't fancy is when someone calls my name very loudly, especially in public places when I'm surrounded by unknown people. Aiman on the other hand is the kind who likes to call out for me in public, so when we got married we had to come in between. 

When Aiman wants to call out for me, he calls out "Binti" so that people won't know what my name or my father's name is. It has now evolved to become "Minty" - more girly 😂
#starbucksguybelievedus
#publicknowsmeasMINTY

Sunday, 28 May 2017

Invest in Containers

You know when it's that time of the year and Ramadhan is here, and of all the times in a year this is the time when you crave for soooo many things - melawan pregnant mums! Not only that, the first few days are confusing, you're both hungry and not so hungry, adjusting period.


And then your brother and SIL get you the cutest box of tea that you just had to try during Puasa time you know - like as if all these while you had no better time to try it out. 

Excited, I boiled water quickly. 

Put in a "Belle" in my cup. 

Poured the boiling water in. 

Took one and a half tea spoon of sugar.

Stirred. 

Ahhhhhh. Switched on Fashion Valet's website coz I heard there was Mel & Molly Flash Sale, whilst I waited for the tea to brew for about 2 minutes. 

Sipppppppp

What the fruit is this tea?! Masinnnnnnnn!!

Looked across at my kitchen. Felt a little nervous, rushed over to check. Now tak sempat , need to catch Imsak in about 5 minutes, so cannot drink anymore. 

Seriously guys, just a kitchen tip...never ever put sugar and salt into two same-looking containers ah!! LOL!!

Friday, 26 May 2017

To Transform and not To Change

Time just fly by, doesn't it? Before you know it, it's already Ramadhan tomorow! I always feel like Ramadhan is a magical month. Why? Because somehow, everyone is so much nicer than their usual daily self - probably less angry, kinder, less shouting, more accommodating....haha this sounded better in my head really. My point is, Ramadhan makes us feel a greater sense of wanting to become a better being!

I came across an article this morning on my way to client's office and it made me ask what the article had asked - what are the areas of my life that I would want to lovingly transform? Not change, but transform.

I've always wanted to be able to forgive and forget, but it's only human that you can forgive but you tend to find it difficult to forget. Especially when someone had hurt you for no reason. Don't youuuuu, feel that way too? Sometimes? Maybe? At times? :P

Anyway! That's exactly what I would like to work on, and that is to always forgive whoever had wronged me and ask Allah for forgiveness if I had wronged anyone intentionally or unintentionally, every night before going to sleep. To remove any bad feeling and anger from my heart and fill my heart with positivity before looking forward to starting a fresh new day tomorrow!

Secondly is to be kinder and not emotionally affected - like for example when something does not go my way, I sometimes feel a little frustrated and annoyed with myself. What I failed to remember is Allah is always the Best of Planners! We can plan everything out, but ultimately, Allah determines what is best for us. I deal with a lot of different people and characters during working hours and I came across this in this morning's article "Half the battle of dealing with other people is dealing with ourselves" which is so so true! So I've decided that I need to also work on this and always give myself a 5 minutes breather before putting my plans into action - whether to go out and grab a cuppa tea or make duas. To be more emotionally fulfilled from within :)

Have a blessed Ramadhan everyone!!!

Thursday, 25 May 2017

Have some fun and never miss your prayers!

My heart is bursting with gratefulness right now for having such wonderful people who keep on inspiring and motivating me to chase for greater things in life. All this with a reminder to never miss prayers and to make sure I enjoy life all at the same time, Alhamdulillah!

Yesterday Mama reminded me that no matter how busy you are, you should never miss your prayers because at the end of the day, only Allah is able to determine what happens and what is best for you no matter how hard you work for something, it won't be your friends, nor your colleagues nor your relative or even your boss or any other human being who will guarantee you something in life, but Allah :)) Today, a few of us had lunch together and shared about what's been happening in life, and as we shared all the ups and downs, we all know that nothing is permanent and we should always strive harder! Don't feel comfortable when you've achieved that one thing that you've always wanted, push yourself and create a new starting point and once you've worked hard, you need to have faith that Allah has all the plans for you. 

I'm guilty too for taking work too seriously that sometimes I tend to forget. I'm always filled with so much anxiety when I know I'm going on a long leave, and I won't lie - I'm constantly checking my emails, scared I may miss any important email. I love my job, and I won't lie that I feel at ease when I'm in the office, only because everything is within reach. For example, if client calls to tell me they have a problem, I could assist them immediately whilst in the office. I'm impatient, I hate it when something comes up and it stays in my court for a long time, I like clearing things out of my court as soon as possible so that I can move on and focus on a lot more things!

The other day, I said "I want to work hard and achieve this this this by what age, bla bla bla"... before my FIL reminded me that you should have some fun along the way too, go and travel and see the world. 

Sigh, parents, they just know what to say and when to bring you back to earth kan? They're really heaven sent! 

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

YCM Hosting Tan Sri Wahid


When I think about it, it all began during my stint in CIMB London. Being the only Malaysian on the trading floor, I was allowed to start relationships with Malaysian Sovereign Wealth Fund and onboard them with CIMB when I started reporting to our London office. It was definitely one of the best portfolios to be receiving, although small, the rewards were great!

I came back to Malaysia and was placed at the GLIC desk to continue relationships with them here in KL and that was where I had my first presentation to Tan Sri Wahid and many many industry leaders. One thing I've always admired about TS Wahid was his way of sharing across his messages - always very clear in a very calm manner. So this year, Aiman and I had suggested to YCM to host him as a speaker. Afterall, he had so many experiences in the corporate scene as well as the government and as an UBER driver - there's a lot to learn from him!

Some of my favourite Key Takeaways from his session:
  • A good leader must be visionary, articulate, authentic, engaging and have unquestionable integrity
  • You don't have to be a typical "loud" corporate leader to be effective
  • Gone are the days when CEO just needs to tell people what to do in large organisations. CEO's today are also expected to go down to the ground, roll up your sleeves, be more hands on and provide appropriate guidance on how things can be done
  • Be PROFESSIONAL, HONEST, SINCERE and TRUTHFUL to your Board, Management, Colleagues and all Employees
  • Do not hesitate to say SORRY and admit your mistakes, and learn from them. We are human beings after all
  • Focus on the job at hand, your reputation will precede you
I just love it that the messages given above hit the nail right on the spot. In this competitive world we're in, sometimes organisations and individuals overlook these things in our rush to get to the top. In all these rush to compete in the working world, TS Wahid shared the few motivations that had kept him going which would be so useful for many of us :)
  • Work hard and work smart, go for distinction and pursue professional qualification if you are able to
  • Focus on your task at hand and do it well
  • Don't ever stop learning, and always use technology to your advantage
  • Keep innovating and think outside the box. Come up with solutions!
  • Embrace the 3 KEY ATTRIBUTES: Integrity, Competency and Humility
  • BE GRATEFUL. ESPECIALLY TO YOUR PARENTS
My personal favourite is being grateful, because when you stop comparing what you have with others and believe that Allah has written these rezekis in this world for you, you'd feel at ease, InsyaAllah! :)))

Malaysia could definitely do with a lot more leaders like him, thank you for inspiring all of us at Young Corporate Malaysians! 

Sunday, 21 May 2017

Story of the two hardworking friends

I have these two close friends who are to me, the most hardworking people I know who love their jobs and they are amazing at what they do! It's both inspiring and motivating just watching most of the time.

But the amazing thing about them both is that one is a Mrs Problem-Solver -There's-No-Problem-In-This-World and the other is Mrs Planner-Things-Will-Go-As-Plan-Because-I-Have-Laid-Down-All-Options A, B, C.

Mrs Problem-Solver:
A driven individual who is just so so soooo amazing, she probably sleeps one-tenth of the amount of hours I sleep, never ever complains, always cheerful whenever we see her, never worry about petty things in life and she is always very rationale, grateful and an amazing person who still made time for all her families and friends. She can go on for hours without eating to make sure her goal is achieved whilst at the same time not neglect any family time.

Mrs Planner:
A driven individual who is just so so soooo amazing, she plans so far ahead that by the time the day comes for anything that she planned for, there is hardly any stress left for your adrenaline rush to feed on. A problem comes and she probably has Options B, C, D, E...Z for you and logistics for each alternative planned.

The one thing that amazes me is that there is no problem in this world that could bring them down. NOTHING! Give them a challenge and they'll solve it without any complains. Driven to accept challenges and always at the top of their games.

I'm probably in between this because I like to plan things ahead of time but my alternative options may not be sufficient enough that I would need to be a problem solver on the spot. I love my job so much, but I still complain when things don't go my way sometimes, or find it frustrating that as you've planned for certain events to take place, other factors don't allow you to execute it. But when I remember these two, I'm always reminded that no problem should be the end of the world!

For that I'm always grateful I'm always surrounded by amazing people, driven and motivated all inspiring at the same time. I wished though that sometimes I could be much much much kinder (I'm so unforgiving when I discover that people are untruthful about what they do) and move on no matter how huge the obstacle may be. Sometimes I tend to waste time trying to piece the problems together and find out what happened hahaha!

So what are you? A Problem-Solver kinda person or a Planner?

Friday, 19 May 2017

Bangkok



Heaven-sent people who had helped me through my Masters days in London. Indeed they had created a home away from home :')


Bangkok was nothing short of amazing - from the people to their amazing cafe scene! But most importantly it was a trip to remember having been a part of this gorgeous bride's big day! Thank you for making me a part of your beautiful Thai ceremony P' Pak, so very very happy for you!
-
Truly a gem, she was always up for adventures in London and Europe, I dare say she's one of my main reason I'd go through Masters all over again and I'm forever grateful I met her at Imperial College! :))

Fluff KL's Final Pop Up

Our famous best seller: The Red Velvet Nutella 

Yup, you heard that right! We're planning to have one final pop up before Ramadhan and this time around, we're bringing in those awesome Maldon Sea Salt Cookies and something new

.

.

.

Nutella Marshmallows!!

Tomorrow, from 2-4pm, we will be partnering up with Common Man Coffee Roasters KL in Taman Tun! So be sure to block out your calendar and come on over to grab your share . See you guys there! 
:))

Friday, 24 March 2017

Choose to be happy

Today, we live in a society where we tend to read too much into something.

A person of a certain race/religion commits a crime and people would think he/she represents everyone who are of the same race/religion. 

You carry a new handbag and people would assume you come from a really rich family. When in fact it's probably a cheap new bag that you had paid using your hard-earned salary. 

You write a congratulatory message to someone. People think you're sucking up. 

You're friends with founder of a company and people would think that you never pay for merchandises you get from that company. Or rather you must've gotten a huge discount just coz it's your friend's.

You get the drift. Why are we not trained to see the good in everything? So much so that we tend to have to take extra precaution in everything that we do, no matter how pure the intention. It doesn't mean that someone who doesn't complain have the most perfect life, and doesn't mean someone who is vocal and points out real mistakes hate their lives.

I personally am quite content with what life has to offer, the ups and downs. Secretly I think the stray cats I feed are part of the beings that made doa for me, hahaha! You may now think that's  hillarious, but realllllllllly. Those cats can secretly talk to God too I'm sure, in their own cat ways of course (I bet you're imagining the cats putting out their hands to make prayers) :D

I've always loved the verse from Surah Ibrahim:
"If you are grateful, I will surely increase you (in favour); but if you deny, indeed, My punishment is severe"

So choose to be happy coz none in this world is permanent, and never think bad about someone or something if you don't know the real story behind it :))


Monday, 13 February 2017

Honesty is the best policy

What ever happened to speaking to people nicely, rationally and without insulting anybody these days? It doesn't cost anything to be nice and speak kindly. 

So last weekend was our first pop up which we opened to the public. My oh my, the respond was overwhelming and we definitely did not expect such a great turn out from all of you, thank you thank you thank you thank you for the support guys, we really really appreciate it!! Apologies for all the shortcomings, and to all those who did not manage to get any and inconveniences that may have arised on that day. We will be sure to have more bakes and limit it for our next pop up! :)

Reason for this post was to share my first ever experience with personal shoppers (of course this does not apply to all personal shoppers). I believe that in anything that you do, there need to be honesty in your act - totally can relate when one is put in a difficult position when trying to impress specific parties. So prior to the pop up, we had not mentioned any limitations on cupcakes that could be purchased only because this is our first and we were not sure as to how demand would be like. 

As early as 1pm, the queue started building up and by the time we opened at 2pm the line was starting to creep around the block, MasyaAllah you guys are truly amazing! We were definitely overwhelmed and we thought it would not have been fair to allow people to wait as we had expected that it would be sold out halfway through the line - so we calculated the potential purchase of customers from the front of the queue and told the rest about our next pop up. Of course we had visits from personal shoppers ("PS") who had a list of what to buy for their customers. Some of the PS were so very pleasant and civil, we totally loved serving them and going through their list with them whilst some were rather rude. So rude that they could stand at the counter and take in more orders on the phone whilst we had packed their existing list. 

Fair enough we had not limit the number of cupcakes this time around, but this PS had gone a step further to tell us off that he was in fact "creating business for us by buying a lot and yet we couldn't let him know before we opened whether or not we could cater for his request" in which we thought was unnecessary. I would have clearly read that as "I have taken orders for my customers and guaranteed them that I would deliver, so you'd better pack it for me"  haha!

I mean, all the other customers were ethically queueing, it makes them no special. If they really wanted a guarantee then they should have at least been the first 2 in the line ey? They weren't and yet they wanted a guarantee which I thought was not very professional. Without any shame, when they got to the counter, they wanted some flavours that were already sold out and we had mentioned that it cannot be replaced with other flavours to be fair to all the other customers queueing behind them to which they replied "This is MY JOB ok!"...."If you don't want to give then you can keep all your cakes!". 

Personally, I always always think nobody's job is easier than anybody else and NO, the baker packing the cupcakes does not have an easier job than the PS either. So I had politely told him that this is also our job to pack for you only what was on your list and nothing extra and if they did not want (to pay for it) then by all means, the rest in the queue were more than happy to purchase them. At the end of the day, we need to understand our job scope and how best we can deliver it. If I'm personal shopper myself, I would always let customers know that I am not able to guarantee you, but I will try my very best to get it for you. We need to be civil in order for this world to stay kind :))

Be nice always guys, and if you're angry and have nothing nice to say just don't say anything at all! :)) And pssst....don't be a keyboard warrior ok :D 

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

A week early

So apparently Aiman has been planning for my birthday since end of December - he got help from my friends and colleagues so early in the year on gathering the people to attend and got on it with the invitations. 

I know it's never easy for him to do surprises for me, since we're always together and we tend to use his phone to take pictures I'm always taking his phone unlocking it and sending myself pictures. So imagine if someone he had invited replied at that exact time that I unlocked his phone, hahahaha! I've to say though, his effort was amazing! He went to the extend of renaming the people he invited to his imaginary colleagues' names - coz I don't open his messages from work. 

Funnily though, a week before the surprise party a friend of mine had messaged and said "Hey Als, sorry I couldn't make it to your party last night! Hope it was wild!!". Erm... what party Intan? Before she said she had actually wrote in the wrong group chat! hahahaha! And then on the day of the party itself (which was not my real birthday day), another friend what sapped at midnight to wish me happy birthday and even did a Birthday post for me on her social media and insisted that it was my birthday day! And then suddenly out of the blue, earlier in the week Mama suddenly suggested a cafe place which her friend said was nice.

...I just knew it, something was coming! :D So what did I do? Made a conscious effort NOT to play with Aiman's phone too much in January in case the surprise was spoilt by me, myself and I. All in all, turning another year older this year was perfect :))
Of course at the end of the party I stressed him out a little and asked "Eh you tai ajar xxx ke? How about xxx? and xxx?"

..."Your friends are sooooo difficult to gather did you know?! You guys are like socilalite forever busy!"

My advice is if you have crazy friends like mine, get a friend of mine to plan and you just direct :P

Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Personal Statements

Recently someone had asked me how I had done my personal statement when I applied to do my Masters in London. I vaguely remembered I started one of it with something about numbers.

Like..."why is anything divided by zero undefined?". Think about it, you have 10 apples, but you divided it by no one - still got 10 la. No one touched it what. LOL!!!

I totally loved numbers can't for the life of me read long sentences or ever do Law when I was younger so my personal statements to universities were always about numbers. I applied for Masters twice in my life - first one was right after my Undergraduate days and another time was after I had started working.

First-time application: I had applied to a few universities in London (as I was studying in London at that time so it all felt very familiar) whilst at the same time looking out for jobs. At that time, market was rather bleak and the financial industry had just crashed which meant that it was more difficult to get a job in the UK. But heck, I applied nonetheless for jobs in the UK (what was I thinking, so many OxBridge students I had to compete with!), KL and Singapore. After a few months of late-night applications I received my first acceptance letter from King's College London to do Financial Mathematics and was so thrilled!!! And right after that job interviews came in and I received a few offers from a few companies. What do you do at that age right? I wanted to take that KCL offer but at the same time the idea of working sounded pretty cool!

Requested for a deferment from KCL and took one of the job offers in KL (Yup! I'm still here at the first job I had chosen to pick). King's College was nice enough to defer it for 1 year but at the end of the 1 year I had to decide - to continue with the management trainee programme or to take that KCL offer. I stayed back in KL to finish up my training and had to let go of KCL's offer for good.

Second-time application: another year later upon completing my training, I decided to give it another go. Applied to a few universities in London and Melbourne (Only cause Shura's there!). Got rejected by some, got accepted into some but my favourite was Imperial College London! Was shocked and excited at the same time, but I was loving my job at that time (and I have a huge fear of failing which means going back to being a student I would have exams!) which was a difficult decision to make. Spoke to a few people and I decided that I wanted to graduate from Imperial College and get a Masters degree from there - priorities in life haha! Had this unnecessary fear that I might not be as lucky third time round if I don't take this offer now! So much fear ah in my life? :P

But the funniest part was when it came to personal statements. During my first time application I had passionately written about numbers in my personal statement and wrote in there that "...my dream is to be able to work in a financial institution in the future" and I totally ended up in a financial institution. In my second-time application I had again passionately written about numbers and a little bit about my experience in the financial institution but again I had used that line..."my dream is to be able to work in Corporate Finance when I graduate"....and I did get into Corporate Finance during a restructuring in the firm.

DREAMS DO COME TRUE GUYS WHEN YOU WRITE THEM IN YOUR PERSONAL STATEMENT!!! Mannnn good times :)))