Hey kids! Now that a whole bunch of you have been unleashed upon the Malaysian workforce, here are some things to help you not screw up ace your interview. And in order to ace your interview, you need to ensure your interviewer remembers you.
So how do you make someone remember you? In a professional way, I mean. Streaking through someone’s office is not the way into their org chart; you can save that for after you’ve worked there a few hours.
1. Inform Lah
Best not to be late to your interview, but if you operate on Malaysian time, or you have difficulty finding the place, then ring ahead or drop a message before the interviewer moves on.
Hell, even if you’re not late or know exactly where the place is, dropping a courtesy message to confirm your attendance will go a long way in making your potential employer remember you.
2. Do Your Research
The number of times people come in without even glancing at the company’s website or social media pages is baffling!
At the very least, you’ll get an idea if this company is a place where you’ll fit in, especially if the company puts some effort into their social media.
I’m aware you’ve probably applied to a crap-tonne of companies, but the interviewers have probably sat through a crap-tonne of candidates that they couldn’t care to remember either.
If you want to be remembered, show that you’re interested. If you want to show that you give a rat’s ass about the position, show that you’re remotely interested in the company you’re applying for.
Even if the interviewer doesn’t ask you, drop some of that knowledge later on by preparing a question or two. But that’s a later point.
3. Bring Your Resume
If you think the interviewer is going to print out your resume for you, then you haven’t been to enough interviews.
If your resume stands out, then letting them keep a copy increases the chances that they’ll flip back to it.
Oh, pro-tip: even if you’re not a supermodel or have the jawline of Superman, put a professional but friendly photo of yourself in your resume. People remember a face.
3A. Be Friendly
Smile for Allah’s sake!
There’s a saying:
“Your smile is the best accessory you could ever wear.”
Whether you agree with it or not, people remember a genial, friendly person. You can do no wrong by smiling, as long as you’re not creepy about it.
Well…at least they’ll remember you.
But yeah, you’re allowed to make small talk because interviews can get awkward as hell. And if you crack a joke or two, they might hire you as a comedian!
Being friendly naturally makes you come across as more confident as well. Even if you’re nervous as fuck on the inside, if you force yourself to interact politely you’ll help to break the ice and it will make a much better interview experience for both parties.
5. Draw From Real Experience (STAR)
When answering questions about how you conduct yourself or carry out tasks, use the STAR method.
Situation, Task, Action, Result.
Situasi, Tugas, Tindakan, Hasil.
STTH sounds like a hormone.
Basically, when you tell a story, hit these four points. Explain the situation, state what task was involved, tell them what action you took, and what the final result was.
Anyway, even if you don’t use the STAR method, always try to draw on real experiences from your past. Makes you sound more credible, as opposed to getting all hypothetical. You’ll probably embellish a little, but if it makes for a better story then who’s to know?
Be prepared for follow up questions, though. So don’t go too overboard in case they start poking holes in your story.
Tie your stories and examples to real life experiences and accomplishments, and if these fit the job requirements, then there’s a good chance you’ll ace this thing.
6. Ask Questions (Preferably Smart Ones)
Once the interview is over and they ask if you have any questions, now is a great chance to make yourself stick in the interviewer’s mind (if you haven’t already done so in the interview). Try to show some interest or make yourself more intriguing by firing off some thought-provoking questions.
If you’ve done your research and know something unique about the company you’re interviewing for, now is the time to work it into a question.
Even something innocent like: “how long have you guys been making this tasteless chendol for?” will make you stand out from the rest of the slipshod candidates.
Avoid some of the typical ones, because the interviewer may be tired of hearing them and may make you come across as insincere.
Try one of these:
What should I expect next? When can I hear back?
What would a normal day at work here be like?
What are the skills or characteristics needed for someone to succeed in this role?
Do you mind if I reheat my fish curry in your microwave? (Yeah, please don’t actually use this one…)
What are the challenges you’re currently facing in your role?
Better yet, if you can make the interviewer imagine you in the role you’re applying for, you’ve got a good chance of being shortlisted.
Try asking something like:
What is the culture like here? How well do you feel I would fit into the culture here?
If I were to get this position, who would I be reporting to? (Not necessarily the person, but the position of the person.)
If I were in this position, how would my performance be measured?
If a tree falls in the hutan and nobody is around to hear it, does it make a sound? (If your interviewer is zen, you win liao.)
A great idea would be to send a thank you or courtesy message to the interviewer after you’re done. Even if you crashed and burned, this will put you in a positive light and make you a million times more memorable.
Don’t make people have to chase you for references. If you don’t want to put it in your resume, then at least promise to send it to your interviewer. That way you’ll have another opportunity to communicate with them, thereby increasing your chances of being noticed by senpai.
Hope these tips help you!
Remember, the interview process is biased towards those who are more socially attuned and better at talking (especially about themselves), so just be genuine and practice a few good lines and don’t forget to breathe.
All our lives we have been brought up to believe in a dream – the great American Dream. To own a house and a car, to have a family, to be financially free. But does that apply to us here in Malaysia? What does that mean to us – what is the Malaysian Dream?
Growing up we are told to dream big, to be ourselves, to discover who we are and what we’re good at. And then shortly thereafter we’re told to throw that away and be a doctor or lawyer or accountant; quickly complete our education and jump straight into a higher level of study for a piece of paper that will guarantee us a slot in a prestigious position that pays good money.
And we save up, and accumulate wealth and assets, and invest in shares and properties and family members. All so we can retire early and enjoy the rest of our lives doing nothing.
Would you be truly happy with that?
Is that the Malaysian Dream?
I have always believed that we should always be happy in the here and now, no matter our situation, no matter how shitty life is. Perhaps content is a better word.
Of course that doesn’t mean accepting crap when it can be changed, or settling for something just because it is the path of least resistance.
Aim to be better – to earn more money, to be a better person, to be happier. But don’t forget to find joy in where you are now.
Every step you take on your journey to finding happiness should be filled with many little moments of happiness, because each step contributes to your big balloon of happiness.
Yes yes, you are what you do.
I know, it’s all super cliched – happiness is in the journey, not the destination. It’s been said to death, what else you got, bro?
How do we interpret this in Malaysia? What is the Malaysian Dream?
Is the Malaysian Dream the 5 C’s (Cash, Car, Condo, Credit card, Career or something along those lines)?
Will that alone bring you happiness?
What makes Malaysians happy?
Certainly there needs to be some social aspect – good friends and family, an upstanding member of society, lavish donations to charitable causes in the community. Malaysians are very charitable people.
Maybe one of the C’s needs to be Charity.
Do Malaysians subscribe to this pathway to happiness? Or are we simply parroting what our colonial subjugators imprinted upon us in their brief stay here?
Of course there is no one single path to happiness. The American or Malaysian Dreams are merely constructs that we use to impart a sense of direction to our future generations of loyal peons, so they will continue to slave away at the system that supports our precarious society instead of leaving for greener pastures (a.k.a. someone else’s system that works much better than ours).
Still, there is power in dreams. There is hope in dreams.
Do Millennials still speak of dreams? Or simply of crippling debt and overwhelming prices?
Port Dickson is a truly idyllic seaside sanctuary from the hectic madness not far to the north. The Avillion Admiral Cove is a meticulously reclaimed semicircular lagoon prodding west along the Straits of Malacca.
With turquoise waters and a gradually receding beach front, it’s a perfect spot for classy resorts…and sport.
For 17 years, this Avillion Admiral Cove has been host to the annual Port Dickson International Triathlon, one of the few this part of the world.
With clean sweeping beaches and protected lagoony marinas, it’s not hard to see why this is such a popular spot for tourists and hardcore triathletes.
And where there is tourism, there is food. Just down the road are a number of popular seafood restaurants. One iconic eatery is based in a multi-tiered Chinese shrine. The rest have your usual assortment of resting flora and fauna.
With the sportspeople come a rainbow variety of vividly coloured equipment and accessories!
Ipoh has always been a unique concoction of culture and art and limestone and soul, a magnificent microcosm of modern Malaysia.
While the adornments may not be entirely original – even largely derivative as a lot of modern art and popular culture tends to be, Ipoh puts its own sublime spin on what it means to be a Malaysian metropolitan landmark city.
With extravagantly large visuals (you’ll notice Ipoh is noticeably larger in print on road signage) and splashes of colours between heritage colonial buildings, Ipoh is evolving out of the umbra of its larger brothers that flank it to the north and south.
Easily compared to Penang and Melaka, Ipoh has always been that hub town on the road down to KL or Cameron Highlands. But I’m afraid that is no longer the case.
While retaining its former identity as a British colony and tin mining town, Ipoh is rapidly blossoming into a tourist city rife with vivid colour and character.
Ipoh has a strange phenomenon where existing narrow terres townhouses have been extended upward. You can still see the remnant of the original roof poking out between crushed concrete.
And like any tropical town, Ipoh is alive with green and vegetation, tying it back to its simple Malaysian roots.
And of course it wouldn’t be a modern city without some swanky street art!
Remnants of the colonial era stand strong against the tropical elements.
Introducing the brand new Spiral Bridge of Hope – right in time to usher in a new era of Malaysian history!
This circular landmark can be found a few klicks south from the popular Queensbay Mall on the south-east side of Penang Island.
And it’s purposefully made with pedestrians, runners and cyclists in mind!
Although I’m sure motorcyclists will find their way up it, as they do.
With a height of 11 metres, a length of over 250 metres, and a gradual 5 degree slope (compared to some of the more ridiculous slopes we have here in Penang), this bridge was designed to not only be accessible by the physically robust or those with motorised assistance; even the most inexperienced cyclist and pedestrian can easily make their way up this tower bridge.
The new spiral bridge will act as both a safe passageway across the highway as well as a magical lookout point to this side of Penang Island. Although not immediately apparent from below, at its peak there is a large circular platform that provides quite the view!
To the west you can see all the way into Penang’s heart and suburban central, and to the east you gaze upon both of Penang’s massive bridges as well as Pulau Jerejak just 800m across the channel.
Maybe not so sightly at the moment with all the reclamation going on.
It was a clever idea to incorporate a viewing platform into this bridge; in doing so its value has been multiplied tremendously. The bridge is now more than just another overhead bridge – it is a potent tourist hotspot, a gathering point for landscape photographers, a place to relax and look up at the open sky.
So where does it go?
The spiral bridge starts from the south of Queensbay Mall in Bayan Lepas and stretches west across Penang’s busiest highway – the Lim Chong Eu north-south expressway. It bends around the tennis courts of Intel and along Penang’s Free Trade/Industrial Zone.
This bridge will serve to connect the coastal Bayan Bay area with the Sungai Nibong and the Bayan Baru area where Penang’s largest roundabout and Krystal Point are. All in all the project cost a decent 8.9 million, which is perhaps a little more than I would pay, but what do I know about building bridges?
The reason it is unofficially known as the Spiral Bridge of Hope is because the party that overthrew the previous government stronghold is named the Hope Party (Pakatan Harapan).
So here’s to hoping this bridge remains a beacon of our dreams and wishes for Malaysia for many years to come.
There is a place in Malaysia that is said to look like the head of a dog. I can certainly see the resemblance, although I feel a nicer name for it would be the land below the wind. Also known as the state of Sabah.
Now upon this little dog’s head lies two pointy ears, which is home to the Tip of Borneo. The locals call the place Simpang Mengayau, and historically it is the place of battle, where the indigenous tribes of Sabah used to fend off invaders from the sea.
See that little purple point named Kudat? That’s the nearest town to the Tip of Borneo.
It is upon this particular ear that sits a large round ornament to mark the north-most edge of East Malaysia and the land below the wind.
If you don’t have time to scroll through pictures, here’s a TL;DR in video form!
The land below the wind awaits you!
The sunset is also quite impressive, since from this edge of the world one can see from east to west. You know which way to look for sunset, right?
And just a short distance from this gnarly peak is the town of Kudat. It is a few hours drive away (around three if all goes well) from the capital of Sabah, Kota Kinabalu.
Kudat is a tranquil little seaside town, with a population of not-very-many. It is in Kudat that exists a monument that marks the birth and beginning of East Malaysia – when Sabah and Sarawak were formed.
To be honest, I’m still not sure how Malaysia managed to secure a whole stack of land that it wasn’t even connected to. Indonesia didn’t want it, I suppose.
To get to Kudat, you’ll first need to hit up the main hub and fly in to Kota Kinabalu. So let’s backtrack to the lively coastal city of KK!
It’s got all the views!
And boats. Lot of boats.
KK has some impressive markets – from local produce to handicrafts to cheap electronics.
I think you can see a theme here.
A place just south-west of the city centre that I would definitely recommend for a quick visit is Tanjung Aru. It’s a little suburb sandwiched between Kota Kinabalu city centre and the airport, approximately five klicks from that budget hotel you’re staying at.
In Tanjung Aru is the popular Aru Beach.
Did I mention it was popular?
There’s tourists from all over the world crawling all over it.
And if you’re lucky you’ll spot some other things along the way.
And just a brisk walk from the Aru Beach is Perdana Park, which has a daily light show in their water fountain from 7pm onwards at every half hour interval.
Now I’m not sure how culturally relevant water light shows are, but it’s a pretty well coordinated one with some classic tunes. Definitely worth a visit.
There’s also plenty of eateries in the area.
Once you’re back in the KK city centre, you can wander around to grab some seafood.
Or you could hire a bike!
There are rental bikes at the town hall.
There’s also a pretty neat pedestrian and bicycle path that runs along the coast of KK.
It’s a good five kilometres or so, and it’s actually relatively uninterrupted (unlike some other paths).
Apart from that, here are some snapshots from the pretty places around Sabah: