Happy New Year 2018 from Narrow Marrow Penang

What is Penang all about? Pip’s Perspective.

After graduation, I spent about 2 years working in KL. I remember taking the Metro bus from Taman Bahagia LRT on the Kelana Jaya Line, all tired and dejected. My fondest memory of my first full time job was that trip down to Singapore — to take part in an Investment Conference at SUNTEC. I learnt how to shoot video, use a green screen, and learnt how little one can get paid to do a job. I didn’t have any expectation, or career advancement goals. I just wanted to have fun; and this nice lady at a TEDx conference I attended (with the late Yasmin Ahmad presenting) offered me an opportunity. And I took it. It didn’t last long, but after bumming 3-4 months after graduation, it felt good. It felt good to be a contributor. My job title was Content Manager – whoa, managing stuff on my first job.

You know the cartoon Flintstones, where Fred worked in a production line, a quarry? That was what my 2nd job was like – taking the rejected output from a computer, investigating and diffusing the problem, rinse and repeat. I learnt a lot about human interaction within the Far East Settlement team at a major international bank. We worked the UK shift; so going home at 2 or 3 in the morning was an adventure. I lived in the ghetto, the area well known for naughty people doing naughty things. When a man is “doing it” with a woman in the room next to you, it’s okay – it’s “natural”. Over there at Jalan Pudu, it was hot and heavy! URgh!

I survived, but I felt homesick.

(worked a short stint at Storehub with a friend’s friend from Melbourne — but I didn’t last the distance)

I had two jobs at Dell in Penang – one was short lived, but the other one was what lead me into the role I am now – IT Support.

I have no professional IT qualification. No paper to show my skills – but IT has been my passion since young. I had a Macintosh G3 computer pre-iMac and surfed the net on 33.6k modem (screeching sounds and frequent half-way disconnections). I remember downloading the Mac OS X 10.0 beta ISO weighing in at 700MB and the line kept disconnecting. Now, with Digi’s stable 20mbit 4G connection, that file will theoretically just take under 5 minutes – instead of the whole night.

So that was that.

Next up was Thomson Reuters — the longest stint in my career where I learn how to be useful despite not having a proper job description. I was managed from Poland and I helped where I could. We left on good terms.

Next came IHS, a research company similar to TR. The night shift wasn’t really cut out for me. I couldn’t take the 9pm-6am shift, and since the shift timetable is rotating, it wasn’t pleasant.

Now I’m with B. Braun at Bayan Lepas, Penang. Regular hours, regular IT Support work. I travel 45 minutes to work and about 60 minutes on the return trip due to rush hour traffic. The boss is good, flexible and easy going. I think we can improve with the inter-department communication and projects. In this company, the longer you’re here, the more respected you are. So, it’s a challenge sometimes.

I like cultures where learning is constant; and making a mistake should be encouraged not punished. Too bad the good startups are in big cities like Singapore or Hong Kong or Melbourne. Why not start my own? Hahaha…. I sometimes wonder that myself.

Back to the topic of this post: Penang. Most of the happening things are located along the east coast. Georgetown on the top right, Gurney top center, E Gate and the Penang bridge smack center and of course, the airport area of Bayan Lepas down south. I attend shows in Georgetown at Kim Haus, Chinahouse and small cafes like Shinese at Lebuh Melayu. Distance from the bridge to my workplace is only 10 minutes sans traffic.

Shoutout to Narrow Marrow hosting me this evening as we countdown into 2018. Hope to catch a glimpse of KOMTAR fireworks.

I like Penang – it is modern enough so we don’t miss out on tech advancements. There are plenty of entertainment outlets, eateries, good hang out places and it’s not yet overcrowded like Singapore.

I like ranting about our growing world population problem.

 

When dad was born in 1944, it was 2 billion. Philip was born in a world of 5 billion. Today, in 2018 the estimated world population is 7,600,000,000 (seven point six BILLION). Getting stuck in the middle income gap is a serious issue. Competition is tough; and slackers like me might find it harder to survive in a competitive arena where people willingly work 12 or more hours 6 or more days a WEEK. Hungrier people = the need for us to have  Unique Selling Proposition to potential employees.

Alright, that’s all for now. Meet me on the other side, 2018 where I hopefully continue this writing trend. Signing off:

pip@philipkhor.com

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