Wednesday, August 10, 2016

10th August

So Singapore turned 51 yesterday. Coming to Singapore may be one of the best decisions I’ve made. It’s really an upgrade in terms of my career, i.e. moving from a 720MW to a 2670MW power station. Also, it was an eye opener to different (yet similar) work cultures, along multi-national colleagues. Some interesting personalities and characters round up my experience.
Singapore is clean, efficient, and well-respected worldwide. Being associated with this country builds confidence and trust.
But, as a Malaysian, my long term future lies in my home country. Though the country isn’t in the best shape, and with the descending international standing and reputation, it’s not easy to find a reason to return home. We must remember, that we grew up as Malaysians. It is so easy to complain and lament about the education standard nowadays, or the crime rate in KL. But once upon a time, our teachers, or seniors made sure that we received good education, and thus we stand a chance to be successful today. Without the Malaysian education, I wouldn’t be where I am today. Now, after we’ve grown up (yes, I’ll be 30 next year), it’s our responsibility to serve and contribute back to society. It’s easy to give up and just abandon the country.
I canceled my leave last Monday in order to improve my leave records. After much considerations, I applied for a Tier 4 Visa Appointment on 10th August (this morning), at 8.45am. Another calculated risk, knowing that I have yet to collect the Final Award Letter.
Yesterday, I left home at 6.30pm for BHC in Ampang Park. Reached the impressive TBS at around 11, and took a cab to Ampang Park. The cab driver was had a stereotype on (young Malaysian) Chinese passengers, as being respectful and rude. Well, I did my best to convince him otherwise, and even apologized on their behalf. I rounded off the taxi fare and gave him a tip. Man, the standard of KL taxis has got really a lot of room to improve. The long awaited FAL was yet to be posted after being signed a week ago.
Had a nice ramen with an old friend at Pavillion. The chemistry was still there, and we could talked and discuss subjects, life and current issues without boundaries.
I was back at TBS to take the 5pm bus to Larkin. It was my first time departing from TBS, and I have to say a big Kudos to TBS for being really efficient and clean. As compared to the days of Pudu Raya, TBS is like a Benz to a Proton. No ticket touts, pleasant, with helpful ground staffs, TBS is really a classy act.
I sat inside the bus and watched the sky turn dark. Hooking up my IPod with songs from yesteryears, looking out of the bus window onto the ongoing zooming car headlamps,  I thought back of my journey thus far. I am fortunate to be where I am today.
I shall be someone useful to society, and make this world a better place.
It seems pretty much certain that I’ll be in Glasgow on the second week on September.
I secretly apply some mild pressure to be the top 5% of the class. It is my duty, as a Chevening Scholar from Malaysia, to show that Malaysia's got the talents and people that could perform and achieve.

PS: Will be meeting the British High Commissioner in KL on 25th, and traveling to Sydney the same night, till 29th. Coogee beach swim during winter anyone? 




Monday, August 1, 2016

1st August

Pulled myself to Choa Chu Kang Park for another 6-round run, this time, achieving the run time of 30 minutes. I am slowly regaining my stamina. Today's traffic was good, and I reached CCK by 6.15pm.

~~~

It’s August, and I could barely believe how fast time slips away.

After having no news after signing the Acceptance Letter 3 weeks back, finally, a courtesy email from London. Now, to wait for the phone call.

I refused to be anxious, or concerned, because I think I’ve got a swift Plan B in hand.

And guess what, TWS has over-consumed his Annual Leave, of 3.5 days. You can't blame me for giving me 16 days per year, and pro-rate it to 8 months? Though a day may potentially cost up to $225, but I have no regrets on all the leaves I took, especially 8.5 days to Europe with the old folks.

A price that I could afford, anytime.

Of course, I am canceling 1 day on the 8th, and I’ve taken 1 on the 26th for Sydney.

~~~

Work has been great, and I finally achieve some recognition for 400kV Switch House Protection Relay tests. 

Thank you Omicron CMC356, or who ever invented you

I understand the protection schemes better now, after many many circuits:
-          Breaker Fail: A timer starts (90ms), and a 2nd timer starts again (170ms), and if the breaker still does not trip, it’ll send a signal to trip the busbar, which is extremely dangerous. Current pick-up relay is used.
-          Stub Protection Main 1 and 2: For 1.5 breaker system. Stub is a high impedance protection, and sets via voltage. It is to protect the line between Breaker A and B
-          Longitudinal Current Differential: Differential protection till the end of the line, with biasing.
-          Distance (ABB REL 316 and 561 for Main 1 and 2): This was a myth to me, but to witness and participate in the tests, the self-satisfaction was indescribable. For example, we tested the transmission line between Tuas and Ayer Rajah. The zones are 1, 2, 3 and reverse zone. The cable length, total impedance of the line, and thus the protection zone curve can be plotted. Each zones have a limit impedance, with a respective trip time. Using the Omicron CMC356, we could inject an impedance to test for the protection zones, tripping time.
-          Shunt reactor Overcurrent, High Impedance Differential, and Biased Differential: Only now, that I understand shunt reactor looks exactly like a transformer, but with 1 winding. It is normally turned out only at night, and absorbs reactive power from the grid.
-          OCEF: The usual suspects for protection
-          Restricted earth fault: For generators.

I also understand that standby protection will not cause Lock-out.

I am fortunate to learn from Mr. TBH and his team.

Meanwhile, Alstom GT26  is really quite a machine. My minimal experience with GT13E2 back at KLPP assisted me adapting on to GT26, but it was really interesting. I am lucky to learn about the SSD and SES system by ABB, and also the Station and Unit Board schemes.

I think I became a better electrical engineer.

With Toshiba 400kV GIS
Anyway, Internal Combustion Engine will still remain part of me
~~~

Meanwhile, the Causeway nowadays is just untenable. 

Walking between 2 countries

Friday, July 1, 2016

1st of July

So, it's the first day of the 2nd half of the year.
Peaceful Friday?

I think I’ve not done something as daring and ferocious as this. 

For the last 29 years, I’ve got things planned out pretty well for me.

Had a scholarship to study my degree, which meant I spent most of my uni days financially independent and free to do whatever I like (and to also join the IET, paying GBP membership, while others fray from doing so).
As a GSP scholar, we were pretty much pampered and looked after. GSP even gave me a plaque and RM 1000.00 for being Best Graduate (Leadership and Extra-curricular activities), 2 years after I started working. 5 years of uni life transformed me from a village school boy to a fresh graduate engineer, where I duly served my 5 year scholarship bond with GSP/KLPP (who will always be an organization that gave me my break-through). 

When I started studying engineering, I never thought of working in a power station. And that was what I eventually did, and the power industry turned out to be quite lucrative and comfortable. Once my 5-year bond was up, I was itching for more adventure, and took up an opportunity in another power station in Singapore. 

This meant I finally had a chance to spend some quality time back home with my parents (which I never did for the past decade). It was a luxury to work across the Causeway, with the superiority of the currency, and being able to spend most of my weekends at home.

Last week, I was in London for the YPCVC and Global CVC, which was a success.

Was in town for IET Global CVC and YPCVC
Barry Brooks, IET Past President
It was great meeting up with old friends, and IET is the home for engineers.

President Naomi Climer was an inspiration - She was also the emcee and time-keeper. Superb speaker

Seizing the opportunity, I became tour guide for my parents, for a 12 day free-and-easy styled holiday to London, Copenhagen and Paris. Mom had retired in April, and both of them deserved a good holiday faraway from home for, a first in Europe.

My parents spent about 4 days wondering around London, while I was in the conference. We'd planned the itinerary, and being able to stay in Westminster, which is the most strategic of locations, they had an enjoyable stroll. Bought the 1+1 Day Hop-on and Hop-off tour bus.

Big Ben
We then went to Copenhagen, Denmark. I've been to Oslo and Stockholm, but Copenhagen seems to be a class above the rest of Scandinavia. The Danish society is truly a welfare state.

Copenhagen was nice
The last stop was Paris, home of Euro 2016 and railway unions/worker strikes. Fortunately, there were no floods, no strikes, and no football competition in Paris during the 3 days. But the tourist in the City of Light was uncountable. We were lucky to get up Eiffel Tower.

Lucky to be at the right place, at the right time
And Paris was more beautiful and charming than I expected
The trip was a success, and I am a proud son.

The AirBnb stays were also positive. It's amazing how much we could save, and how convenient it is to book a place to stay. Overall, 3 of us used SGD 6000.00. Never again.

~~

I always sound adventurous and enterprising, but no, today’s attempt wasn’t easy. But people around me have gave me brilliant support and blessings, which made me stronger and more determined.
Life’s really unpredictable.

And I am prepare to risk it

Friday, May 27, 2016

出头天

Just finished 2-day course on SF6 Handling, at Institute of Power and Gas, Woodleigh. The instructor Mr. Kastern from Siemens Power Academy was brilliant. Met up with K, one of my earliest friends in UNITEN for dinner and some bean curd dessert.
Was clearing my mailbox, and it was then, an email creeped up.
From Chevening. I am almost there. Still calm and composed as of now. A huge thank you to everyone who supported, trained and guided me. My family deserves the utmost credit. Hopefully, I bring pride to you all back home. Will continue the due process, and hopefully in 3 months’ time, I’ll be in Glasgow.
I’ve never imagined this could happen to me. But I never stopped trying. (Or rather, I always tried my luck)
My life may not be the same anymore.
~~~
During yesterday’s course, bumped into Mr. Tan TL, who was coincidentally the organizer for last night’s IET Talk. He was really friendly, kind and helpful. Not only did he give me a lift from SPTI to Orchard, he dropped me back at CCK. His children was at Orchard helping out with the PA and media system. It was nice to see a father training his girls on basic engineering knowledge, like flicker and voltage imbalance.
It is because of people like Mr. Tan, that the world is a better place.
And, he’s also an alumni of Glasgow!
Fate has a prelude?
~~~
In a few days, it’ll be 1st of June, which means, that it’s my 6th complete year working. Way back in 1st June 2010, I started my career as an Operation Engineer at GSP, primarily looking after GT 11 and 12. The GE Frame 6b and 5 will always be special. My training at KLPP made me sufficiently good in electrical and mechanical engineering. I can still remember the happy and carefree days the most of us spend at Plant A office. Nowadays, I could repair electrical switchboards at home.
Then, GSP was sold to you-know-who. Things were identical, but we all knew that it was no longer attainable. And the rest was history.
From my humble beginnings in Tun Aminah, where I normally look upon the dark black sky after dinner, in the garden, with occasional airplanes flying past, to the outcome I got today, there is not much I could complain about in life.
I am grateful and thankful for everything in life. Good or bad for that matter.
I shall continue to be someone useful, and kind.
~~~
During the IET Talk on AC-DC last night, Prof. Tseng correctly pointed out that electricity was the biggest invention in the last century. I didn’t understand the magnitude of what electricity brought to our lives. Thank you Thomas Edison and Nikola Tesla.
I am a proud electrical engineer.


Saturday, May 21, 2016

A Rebel?

Completed IELTS today. Besides the writing test, which I particularly spent some considered effort kick-starting my rusty essay skills, I should be on course to pass it.
6.5 is the target.
And I could start my long weekend.
Was thinking of actually backpacking the streets of Johor Bahru town.

~~~~

Malaysia lost to Denmark in the Thomas Cup Semi. I heard it was a tough match. China and Korea were also out. Indonesia plays Denmark in the final.

~~~

Liverpool lost the Europa League Final to Seville last Wednesday. I heard that it was a well defeated game. Jurgen Klopp style of man-management appeals to me. He is someone compassionate, communicates well, holds accountability of his team, and not to mention shoulders responsibility bravely. But how many leaders and managers in this part of the world do that. You can expect neither Rafa, Van Gaal or Roy to do what Jurgen does. Overall, Liverpool is still fortunate to have him. Hope Jurgen could pick the team up, and build the team from strength to strength.
The airplane takes off against the wind, not with it. What’s life without ups and downs, or awkward moments. I have personally being scolded, ridiculed by people, e.g. by seniors, superiors, road users and etc. But everytime, I make sure I get my takeaway, or learn something new.
If you need to make a mistake, make it, and don’t repeat it again.
Last weekend when I was driving in Singapore with my family, I made a U-turn in a small alley, as it was a dead end, unintentionally blocking a van driver’s path (for maybe about 10 seconds). He subsequently overtook me, cruise beside me, cursed and swear for like 5 seconds (in his enclosed van, which of course I can’t hear anything) before speeding off. Amateur road rage in the island city? Or more of stress-relieving yells? Was a bit hilarious in my opinion. I actually thought of holding my camera phone to simulate recording, and see his reaction. Once I was sweared and cursed by a Benz’s driver.
Makes me quite impressed with myself at being able to hold my breath and stay calm to provocations. I find this being a trait I picked up after traveling and meeting people around the world. You should always manage your emotions, let alone your temper. Never lose it in public! Besides, safeguard the moral high ground, and it is key that we maintain a good name in society. I hold on to the belief that for what I've achieved in life, I shall not stoop as low as these baskets.
A worthy question is, “what is left in you, discounting your profession and career?” You may by a CEO of a MNC, but behind that, you could be a motivator, maybe a volunteer, or a mentor, or an ***hole…
I think there’s part of me that go against the norm, or the establishment. Yet, I am always portrayed as someone who toes the line. Maybe the line nowadays is with extremely high standards?
I suppose I live at the margin, often pushing prerogative to the limits. Maybe it’s how I get things done the most efficient and effective way. I mean, I’ve been a multi-tasking for most of my time on earth, and this is not something to do with the conventional way of life. Why do I want to follow what the crowd does, where the mass goes? If I could deliver outcomes and results, there should be different ways that things can be done isn’t it? There’s a rebel in me that seeks to discard conformity.
Yet conformity is actually what that makes this island a first world country.
Whilst across the Causeway back in the Federation, where anything is possible, where social disintegration is getting more eminent, the country is moving in to self-destruct mode.
Another extreme is the GOP election in the States. Mr. Trp is clearly a successful business mogul. But the way he defeated all his Republican rivals, shows how much has changed.  
I think this society is sometimes overly rigid, making people confining themselves to only one thought. I suppose if you are in the same company and same job for maybe one fifth of a century, and if you as dynamic as you could, you rest on your laurels and stop progressing. Worst still, you may think that you know everything, and no one dares to question you.
A fine example was my PI interviewer from YuLi. Man, I’ve not seen someone so senior, probably successful, but so egoistic.
Or, not everyone is privileged enough to see the world, like I have so fortunately been able to?
Picked up some parcel for a friend yesterday, away from where I lived after work. Been told that being kind will be bullied. It was a frank advice from another kind friend, which I appreciate. I know where the limits are, and when to say NO. Besides, I have been a recipient of assistance and help from a lot of great people. What goes a round, comes a round. I think we should try to make the world a better place, and charity begins at home, and the people around us.
I suppose the real world is cruel and heartless. Been reading Dalai Lama’s book on cross-religion understanding between the major religions of the world. It’s quite a fantastic and insightful book. It aids in making the world a better place.
Human Governance tells us to ‘Listen’, with our eyes, ears, heart and soul.
Only time will tell.

PS: It's Wesak Day, a day to remember what the Enlighten One taught, and maybe to remind ourselves that karma exists in life.