Monday, November 16, 2009

Informative Forum 2009

Informative Forum 2009 - another event by MSAJ, held at the Embassy of Malaysia that I attended two days ago. From my point of view, the timing of holding such a high-profile event at this time of the year, when most of the students are busy isn't the best choice. Nevertheless, I would say this is one of the best event from MSAJ after more than two years in Japan. The forum, entitled "Your future is in your hands" was open all MSAJ members but non-members were allowed to join as well.
Among the topics discussed were:
  • What should a JPA scholar do after they graduate?
  • What should a "Look East Policy" graduate expect in Malaysia?
  • How does one register as an engineer in Malaysia?
  • Entrepreneurship in Japan
  • Job prospect with Bank Negara
One interesting thing about this event is that they had a live video conference with the MSAJ branch in Kansai as well.


The students who participated in the forum from Osaka, lead by Michael Tiong.

The first session was conducted by Pn Siti Zaharah Omar, the current Counselor for the Public Service Department's (PSD) Education and Training office in Tokyo. She comes with a wealth of experience having worked at Hitachi in Malaysia before joining the PSD's Training Division as an Assistant Director. She was then promoted to the principal Assistant Director post at PSD's Human Capital Development Division before occupying her current post.

She was born in Pasir Putih, Kelantan and holds a degree in Electronic Information Engineering at Toyama University. During her student years, she was an active member in the Malaysian Student Association of Japan (MSAJ) as well as the Alumni Look East Policy (ALEPS). Being a mother of two, she has done a wonderful job of balancing her time at home as well as advancing her career.
The first two speakers of the day.
Pn Siti Zaharah Omar.
En Redhauddin.
Joining her in this session was En Redhauddin, the Counselor of JPA in Tokyo.
Basically, this session is all about the responsibility of a JPA scholar. For example, reporting to the department once we finished our course, the contracts related stuff and of course the penalty for breaching the contract, in which according to En Redha, we put our signature on the contract while we were "separuh sedar atau tidak sedar" haha.
Pn Siti started her talk by giving us this quiz. Those who managed to answer them correctly would get free lunch haha.
Nothing comes free in this world.
The forum took a break for lunch time, where we had Indian food. Naan, yellow rice, chicken curry, taandori chicken, chickpea (kacang kuda) curry were on the menu. That is why every visit to the embassy is great because we get to eat nice food haha.
The forum commenced at one and this time, the speaker was IR Ashari Mohd Yakub, the Excecutive Director of Board of Engineers Malaysia (BEM). IR Ashari Mohd Yakub is responsible for the first toll system in Malaysia, first colorful stadium lighting in Malaysia, first Electrical Engineer as the Director at JKR and many other firsts in our country.
IR Ashari Mohd Yakub.
The title of his talk.
Born in Kajang, he graduated from Glasgow University of Scotland with a Degree in Electrical Engineering. First he worked with Tenaga Nasional Berhad (TNB) as technical assistance before advancing his career as a competent Electrical Engineer with Jabatan Kerja Raya (JKR). He was also the first Electrical Engineer to be elected as The Director of Turnkey Division at JKR and finally retired from JKR as the Director of Electrical Division. After ten years with Board of Engineers Malaysia (BEM), he now serves as the Executive Director of BEM. His contribution had earned him award from the Fellow ASEAN Federation of Engineers Organization and selected for the Confederation of British Industry award. "Strive to help others, play a part in Malaysia Development" is the motto to drive him to success.
The way the speak certainly was not like what we thought of him in the beginning. He did not need much time before he got himself connected to the students. When he started his talk, he commented on the MC who address him as "I-R", which is incorrect. You do not address Tun Mahathir with "D-R", do you? You call him Doctor Mahathir. Similarly, IR should be read as Engineer, and I bet most of you out there didn't know about this, including myself.
The route from being a fresh graduate to a professional engineer.
Attending to questions from the floor.
What made his talk interesting is his ability to relate the engineering-related projects and news into his talk for us to get a better understanding about what his is talking, and also to crack jokes at the right moment. He stress the importance of not being jaguh kampung, but to strive hard to achieve success that is recognised internationally. He was once told by his friend that that friend of his was a state football player. He didn't believe and after asking that friend again, he found out that that friend was only an estate player haha.
One more thing that you might not take great notice. Whenever a building collapsed, who will the public blame first? "Who is the engineer?" will be the most likely question. On the other hand, when we see a beautiful building, rich in architectural values, we will never ask who is the engineer, but the first question would be, "Who is the architect?". That is the fate for an engineer sigh.
Ir Ashari also shared his experience when he was working in Vietnam when a student asked him about whether language would be a barrier once we go out working in the society. Like he explained, engineering is a field in which no matter what language it is taught, the concept never changes and we should be able to cope with it sooner rather than later. And did I mention that he is able to use some words which is not from his mother tongue like "kao tim" with his clients haha.
Two young CEOs who own their company in Japan.
The next session was conducted by two speakers, Mr Lim Wee Yee and Mr Iqbal Abdullah. Mr Lim Wee Yee is the CEO of MALTech, the first company set up by an international student in Japan. After graduation, working in big company is the norm in Japan and maybe all around the world.
Mr. Lim Wee Yee who was born in 1970 in Sungai Petani, Kedah is different. Without subsidy and special connection or even big venture capitalists behind him, he started his business from scratch. He founded MALTech with his friends while he was still a student. He defied the odds and overcome various obstacles to become the first foreign student in Japan to do so.
The first slide of his presentation.
Self introduction (sorry because it is in Japanese language).
Current staff in his company.

Featured in NHK programme - Asia Crossroads. The TV crews spent six days at his company and home to shoot a show which lasted just twenty minutes haha.
His company was featured on first page of a national newspaper, by national magazine for entrepreneurs, and on various articles by west Japan newspapers as well as numerous programs by local dan nationwide TV stations. The latest recognition by Japanese government to MALTech was given in December 2007 as "Researcher of the Year 2007" by Japan’s Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (Monbukagakusho) through its "National Institute of Science and Technology Policy". Among past receivers for this award were the creator of Sony's AIBO.
He was a Public Service Department Scholarships receiver and completed his tertiary studies in Nara National College of Technology and School of Computer Science and Systems Engineering in Kyushu Institute of Technology. When he was in the stage of starting his company, he would finish up his study-related work by midnight, and have a meeting with his fellow friends until two in the morning.
"寝る時間を削れば誰だって会社作れる" ("Anybody can build his own company if you cut down your sleeping time"), was his advice.
His message to all: There is nothing hard, the only thing which is difficult is you make your mind to be lost. Have a vision, believe that when you do something with all your hard, the outcome will be on your favour.
His future dream: To build a company which put family as the first priority.
The second speaker was Mr Iqbal Abdullah.
Born in Kuala Lumpur, Mr Iqbal Abdullah received his basic education at SM(L) Bukit Bintang Petaling Jaya and Sekolah Tuanku Abdul Rahman (STAR) Ipoh. He then furthered his studies in Saga University, Japan majoring in information system engineering. During his university days, he was a member of the music club and rugby club. From 2001 till 2006 he was an engineer at VSN and Yahoo cooperation and he advanced his career at Japan Amazon as Marketing Manager.
A brief introduction of MARIMORE.
Tip #2 is rarely mentioned by most speakers in other forums.

Exploiting his experience as the director of marketing, he successfully founded MARIMORE LLC in February 2007. MARIMORE LLC is a young, fast growing company which specializes in mobile solutions for Japan-centric application needs. Being a great student and successful entrepreneur, we had learned a lot from him.

The forth and the final session was a talk by the representatives from Bank Negara.


The session was done by the Human Resource Department staffs.


One of the slides shown.

This session was led by the Director of the Human Resource Department of Bank Negara, Mr Mohd Adhari Belal Din. These four representatives were actually on a working trip to various companies in Japan like Shiseido and Toyota and we were lucky to ba able to have them to give come talk regarding the job prospect with Bank Negara.

The guy who controlled the slides.
The lady who jotted down short notes during the session.
The main man who gave an energetic talk throughout the whole session.

One point which Mr Adhari mention about decision making was that we need a balance between confidence and maturity. Making a decision with too much confident but lack maturity will make us look arrogant. If it is the opposite, we might be labeled as a weak decision maker. In other words, we need to find the perfect balance when we make decisions.

He also shared with us the criteria they look for whenever they are selecting students for scholarships and also when they look for people who are looking for jobs in Bank Negara. They have hundreds of thousands of applications every year and it is impossible for them to open every applications. One of the first stage where they do the filtering is as simple as by looking at the applicants' handwriting and how the applicants stick the stamps on the envelopes. Only by that, they could roughly judge what kind of person the applicant is.


Question and answer session.

The session ended at half past five and we were given a goodies bag each from Bank Negara., which came to everybody's surprise. Later afterwards, everyone were treated to a dinner sponsored by Bank Negara.

Closing address by Mr Redha.
Souvenir by Bank Negara to the representative of the Embasador of Malaysia who could not attend the function.
Makan time. The pucuk rebung masak lemak was especially superb.

My personal request is for MSAJ to organise more of similar events in the future.


=chuan guan= said...

u actually been concentrating all da way..salute!!
more of this event..means more of naan and tanduri..haha

Kae Vin said...

go establish your own company! I support you!

calvin said...

@ =chuan guan=:
the speakers conducted the forum very professionally and i guess everyone enjoyed it. that is why i didn't see anyone dozed off haha xD

yea, more nice food in the future when i visit the embassy =P

calvin said...

@ kae vin:
support as in financial support? xD

CLF said...

such a good function, would be great if more people could know about it.

calvin said...

@ clf:
get yourself involved in msaj and i am sure there would be more exciting events that you can attend in the future :)