Father Sez

From and to parents - parental advice to our children on personal financial management and life.
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Selamat Hari Raya Aidil Fitri

Monday, September 29th, 2008

This Tuesday, the 30th of September corresponds with the last day of the month of Ramadhan of the Islamic calendar. Marking the last day of the fasting month. And on Wednesday dawns the 1st day of Shawal of the Islamic calendar, or Aidil Fitri. 

(In Malaysia, this day (as well as the beginning of Ramdahan) is decided by the sighting of the new moon. The Islamic Department Authorities have about 29 sites at various points all around the country at which the sighting is done. The sighting is then announced over the TV and radio stations by the Keeper of the Royal Seal. Hence the above dates are subject to the confirmation of the sighting.) 


Picture Credit: Google ImagesOn Aidil Fitri, Muslims take extra effort to renew ties with friends and family by visiting them. In fact many Muslims households have a tradition of an “open house” where everyone is free to drop in and visit. This is especially so for the leaders of the country where it is not uncommon to see almost 10,000 people lining up to drop by the house of the Prime Minister. 

Children have a particularly grand time. Food is aplenty and gifts in the form of small sums of money can be expected from almost every household they visit.  

I take this opportunity to wish all Muslims: 


Hey! Spammer, please give me a break

Friday, July 25th, 2008

Last week I wrote about a spam artist who seemed to have dedicated his life to sending me spam comments.  

I have no idea why he chose me. He sends long incoherent comments, with links in every line of his essay. He also seems to have a busload of Gmail ID’s. 

On a whim, I tried looking up IP addresses and their locations. And found an excellent resource for this purpose.  It looks like my friend (who knows, maybe I’ll get to know him and we’ll become the best of pals) is from the city of Marlborough in the United Kingdom. 

Though I am not sure if I am interpreting the results correctly, it looks like my friend has been a pretty good boy in staying away from the more aggressive spam opponents. He seems to have managed to keep himself from being blacklisted. 

My Marlborough friend, I am all for automated ways to make money. In fact, I am trying my level best to find ways and means to earn money automatically myself.  But for the life of me, I cannot see how you can earn any money by sending me these spam comments which I delete. So why don’t you wise up. Find something else to do. Something else that will be more useful to people. (Perhaps we can even do something together.) 

And if by any chance, any of my UK readers know this guy, please tell him to take up another vocation.  

These bums, don’t they have something better to do?

Friday, July 18th, 2008

I am as angry as this guy!. Picture credit: Google 

For the past few weeks I have been bugged by some shady character whose sole purpose in life seems to be sending spam messages to my blog. 

I’ll mark them as spam regularly and equally regularly he’ll send them back to me. It is clear that this is a way one sided battle. This creep being a master at what he does probably automates his mail (always the same IP address with different gmail ID’s), while I have to clear them manually. 

Mrs. Micah once wrote about a variation of these nasty fellows. Except that her guy (are they all guys?) seemed a little more devious. He used real commentators’ names, hoping to slip through Mrs. M’s eagle eyes. He was caught out and now she’s removing such dubious comments manually (I think?). 

Ana, over at Debt Free Revolution gave a mighty military style warning to these creeps. I am not sure if they now leave her alone. (BTW, her last post is dated June 20th. Any idea what happened?) 

A search in Google on how to block specific IP addresses gave me something about Spam Karma to be loaded in as a plug in. Hah! The only plugs I know are 3 pin plugs! 

So for the time being, it seems that all I can do is to curse this guy each time I delete his spam. Hopefully he’ll soon find another job as a telemarketer or a used car salesman.  


Wednesday, July 16th, 2008

No, this is not about Microsoft’s latest offering.  

I have previously written a little about our family’s Mission Statement. 

It’s pretty long for a Mission Statement, with 8 points covering the areas of life such as family, health, religion, money, friends, community etc. 

However we also have a family tag line. And it is just one line.  


This was told to me by someone I lived with more than 4 decades ago (Gosh! Has it been really that long?). I think this line was about the only English he knew. He had learnt this from one of his teachers and had stuck in his mind. I have no idea why this line stuck in my mind. Perhaps it was because I thought it was funny, being quoted by someone who hardly knew English.  

Now we use it often at home. When the two elder girls got their first cell phones (when they signed up for college) this WWYW, PWYP, TITWTBH&G was about the most common message that I would text to them. 

The younger children, too, have heard it enough times to learn it by heart. This is the line I use, when they sleep in during weekends and school holidays. 

To my housemate (I can’t remember his name now. Just the mental image of him appears when I try to think back of the times he had quoted this line to me) and the teacher who taught it to him, I offer a belated thank you. 

I am not sure if my children will quote this line to their children and maintain it as their own family tag line, but who knows!       

Progress Update – My goat farm

Sunday, May 11th, 2008


Our first goat shed 

I have not updated all of you on the progress of our goat farm. 

Upon completion of the sheds and other ancillary buildings, we were scheduled to have our “kenduri” in early April. My mother’s untimely demise put paid to this plan and now a new date has been scheduled for the 22 June 08. 

Development Progress 

The first goat shed has been completed and is ready to receive the first goats. We have built a small open shed where the Napier grass would be shred before being fed to the goats.  

We are also growing other fodder trees, namely, Petai Belalang and Geti all around the farm. These trees have just been planted after being incubated in our house in poly bags for the last month. It’ll be about another 6 months or so before they’ll be reasonably well grown. 

The construction of the farm house to accommodate the workers is underway now. This house should be completed by the end of the next two weeks.  A chicken coop for about 100 free range hens is also under construction. This should also be completed at about the same time as the farm house. 

Electricity supply is in.  

Water supply will be from 2 wells. This week the water pump will be fitted and the water reticulation checked out for pressure and leakages. These two wells will be the source for the goats’ drinking water, cleaning of the sheds (another 3 sheds will be built over the next 6 months), watering the garden and for the workers sanitary needs.  

Identifying the Workers  

This has also been completed. The two young men are now back in their hometown in Indonesia and sorting out their travel papers. My wife is coordinating with the Malaysian Immigration Department for the necessary work permit papers. This may be a little convoluted process, but I think this should be sorted out before the end of this month.

Then there is the Indonesian side to sort out.  Hopefully the boys will be in by early July.  

Buying the first batch of goats 

The first batch will be 40 goats, 2 male and the rest female. These goats will be bought locally and only after the workers are in. In the meantime, Zai (my wife’s cousin and our partner in this project is identifying local sources. 

So far the plan seems to be on track. 

The critical path is the arrival of the workers at the farm. There are still a number of   things that have to be sorted out.  The biggest of which would be the waste disposal method. 250 goats can produce almost 10 tonnes of waste and we intend to dry the waste, powder them and then pack them for sale as organic fertiliser.  

I am going to enjoy this!    

Looks like it’s going to be a very busy time ahead – should I give up blogging?

Monday, April 7th, 2008

These thoughts have been running through my mind a lot lately. The goat farm is about to start and the Indonesian project also seems set to take up quite a bit of my time. Should I give up my blog? 

Luckily (for me), good sense prevailed and I reminded myself to revisit the motivation behind the blog. 

Starting this blog has been the single best thing that I have ever done towards self improvement. In fact, I strongly recommend that anyone who seeks to turbo charge their self development in any area of their life to start their own blog  

The blog has also now become a channel of communication between my elder girls and me. Through the blog, I have been able to update and inform my girls on the mistakes I have made in life and what they should do so as not to repeat them.  

The younger children have also started being more responsible now that their activities and (antics) are put up on the blog. 

So am I going to stop? No way!  Perhaps there may be a number of 16 – 18 hour days, maybe some missed posting days, but I am just going to plod on.    

The sun is rising again in my life

Sunday, April 6th, 2008

Last week I took a few days off from work to just laze around at home. To sort of come to terms with the new equation in our family. 

My partners in the telecommunication contracting company asked me to come along for a trip to Jakarta. I gladly accepted, as it would be a good break. And what a trip it turned out to be! 

As I wrote in my guest post in Free Money Finance, an opportunity with great potential (the building and leasing of telecom towers) was badly dashed when the Indonesian Government issuing a decree placing the business in their negative list for foreigners. 

It appears that whilst I was in India for my mother’s funeral, my partners had been having some tentative talks with another Indonesian company who had also been eyeing the same opportunity, but for another part of the country. 

The night we arrived in Jakarta, we had a dinner together. There were 6 people from their team and the three of us. The vibes were great. Both our Chairmen got along well and the rest of us got along like a ball of fire.

We agreed to meet the next morning to go over some specifics. To cut a long story short, on Thursday, we signed an agreement for mutual cooperation in the business.  Now, the business is back to “GO”, and in a form much larger than what we had in the first place.  

 We have agreed on the broad organization structure and the only Malaysian would be the CEO of this operating joint venture company, the rest of the staff would be Indonesians.  

The tax department of a Big 4 is reviewing the proposed corporate structure and should give their final views in the coming week. 

We had earlier received several promising leads for financing from Malaysian Banks with operations in Indonesia. We’ll be revisiting these Banks with the revised corporate formula which should strengthen our standing.  

Our local partners, too, had made their own approaches to their bankers. So now we have a larger pool of banks to talk to. Things look pretty good at the moment.

God willing, by end of April, the JV Company will have set up its own office and the business will start.    

Still feeling listless

Tuesday, April 1st, 2008

It was with a vastly different feeling that I left for India last week.  

The trip was at very short notice, but my planning mechanism served me well. A quick scan of my weekly calendar showed only 2 “must do” things. These did not take long to settle.  

I informed my family, office, the agent who is handling the sale of my house and my partners in the Indonesian project. A little time was spent with my youngest daughter whose birthday fell on the 26th March, in case I did not make it back in time. Ain takes her birthdays a little more seriously than her elder brother and sisters and she had been dropping hints ever since her brother’s birthday on the 4th January. 

I talked to my second girl, Azah, with whom I was due to have discussions on her career choices. I gave her the research sources I had and asked her to go through them.  

With my wife’s consent, the opening of the farm which had been planned for the 5th April was postponed to a date to be set later.  

And I was all set to go. 

Now that I am back, the fire seems a little lower. Life seems to be a drag and I think it will be a little while before my life gets back into its normal routine.  

We went out for a small family dinner on Saturday to a Japanese restaurant. The place was the birthday girl, Ain’s choice.  Azah has gone through the resources I left her and now seems to have a good idea of the career options available to her. 

My eldest brother held a small prayer in his house on Sunday night in memory of my late mother. This was well attended by the many relatives we have in Malaysia.  

I went back to the office on Monday. I have yet to get back to the daily routine and am still feeling very listless. I am taking a few more days off to sort myself out.  

On blogging, I am trying to clear the reader that seems to be overflowing. Writing any sensible post seems too much of a task. I am just going to go with the flow and see where the rest of the week takes me. 

A family emergency has cropped up

Tuesday, March 18th, 2008

I have just received news that my mother is gravely ill. 

She lives in India with 2 of my brothers and sister. Late last year, my other brothers who are with me in Malaysia visited her. I have not seen by mother since January 2006, when I left India after my working stint there.

The doctors have now told my brothers that the outlook is not very good.

Malaysians need a visa to visit India. I am getting one first thing in the morning and take the next flight out. Luckily its a short 3.5 hour flight followed by a 6 hour or so bus ride. God Willing, I hope to be with her by early Thursday morning, Indian time.

I doubt I’ll be able to do much in the way of this blog for the next week or so.

I hope you will bear with me.

Thank you 

The Digerati Life has included me amongst people she classifies as “great minds”

Thursday, March 13th, 2008

Oh, boy, looks like my carefully nurtured bluff has just been called.  

Ms. SVB got tagged in a book meme, where she had to pick up the nearest book, open page 123, find the 5th sentence and then post the next three. And as per tagging tradition, she had to pick another 5 people for this meme. And she included me as one of the 5 great minds as she calls them.   

I have serious doubts that anyone who knows me would classify me as a great mind. Well, except for my youngest daughter, perhaps.  

I remember, many years ago, when the so called critics listed the best movies of the year, I had seen none of them. They also listed the worst movies of the year and I had seen the movie right at the bottom of the list. And twice! And I had thoroughly enjoyed the movie both times.  

So I am grateful that Ms. SVB has seen some good in me, and included me amongst illustrious company. Thank you, Ma’am.   

Coming back to the book meme, the nearest book is Robin Sieger’s “You can change your life any time you want.” This book is being used by my 4th daughter, Nana to improve her English. I have previously written a little about the system we use.  

Page 123 is the beginning of Chapter 8, titled Honesty. (At least, I was honest upfront.) 

Sentences 6 – 8 read:- 

We should not be blind to aspects of ourselves that we are not comfortable with, or imagine things to other than they truly are. In all aspects of our goals, our beliefs, our attitudes and our expectations, we should be completely honest with ourselves.         

NO LEGACY IS SO RICH AS HONESTY                                                           

                                                             William Shakespeare 

This is so apt. For years I have been spending less than wisely. I was completely blind to the fact that I was living basically beyond my means. Though I did not dig myself into a bottomless pit, I really “messed up big time” opportunities to have built up a sizeable nest egg.  

Now I am a lot more honest with myself. My wife and I are a lot more careful with our spending and it looks like I may actually have a fighting chance to “quit the rat race”, just like Ms. SVB has done. 

Well, I have fulfilled most of the terms of my being tagged. I have to beg off on the tagging of another 5 people. I am still new and I do think the few people I know have all been tagged. 

But, please feel free to jump in if you wish.  


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