Thursday, 22 July 2021

1st dose of Covid19 vaccine

Around this time last week, I received a notification on my mobile phone that I have been given an appointment for the 1st dose of the Covid19 vaccine to be administered at a vaccination centre set up at Universiti Teknologi Malaysia in Skudai. It was a piece of welcome news after a wait of a few months although I was not duly apprehensive because I was pretty sure my turn would come. I believe the authorities have been working very hard to roll out the vaccination programme nationwide.

Yesterday 21 July 2021, I had my first dose. Pfizer.

The vaccination centre was at the Raja Zarith Sofiah Library of UTM, located about half-an-hour's drive from where I stay. Having been to the venue once before, I was not worried about how to get there. Nonetheless, I do feel for the common folk who do not possess their own means of transport. The university has a huge campus and the library is not serviced by a public bus route. This is where assistance from NGOs or community leaders would come in handy.

Reading the experiences of friends who already had gone through the process, I was expecting a smooth and quick process, around 30 to 45 minutes from arrival to exit. However, it took me significantly longer than that. But I am not complaining because I understand the tough situation the doctors, nurses and volunteers have to go through. The initial checks, screening and the actual jab were quite efficient. What took too long, for me at least, was the final waiting period while setting the appointment date for the 2nd dose. A few elderly gentlemen around where I sat were already complaining to the volunteer in charge that they had been waiting for more than an hour. I can understand their restlessness. I had come prepared with a novel to read.

It has now been about 18 hours since the dose was injected into my left arm. So far, things are looking good healthwise. I am feeling a bit of pain in the upper arm but nothing too serious, Alhamdulillah. The rest of the day shall involve taking things easy like continue reading the novel, updating a blog post and other online stuff.

Thank you to the authorities and all frontliners for doing a great job. I look forward to the 2nd dose.

At the first checking station

The 1,938th recipient for the day at 3.30pm

Tuesday, 22 June 2021

Accessibility to this blog (unsecure site)

I had not realised that this blog's URL is considered unsecured when it is accessed by others. I only knew about it when I tried to visit the site via links that I had placed in my Facebook and Instagram profiles. Clicking on the links would show a warning or simply do nothing.

I have checked my blogspot settings and chose the automatic https redirection option but still, there are errors. A fellow blogger has advised that individual links that I inserted in the blog may also be the cause of errors.

So, for the next few weeks, I'll try tweaking this blog's layout in search of the offending codes or links. I apologise if you see different or simplified layouts that change periodically.

Thank you.

Update 26.06.2021 : This is looking like a labouriously long process. I've run the 'Why No Padlock' online checking tool. The results say my SSL certificate is valid.

I've removed all my sidebar gadgets which are not original Blogger gadgets and may contain unauthorised javascripts. Still no luck.

Another suggested process is to look at each individual post and remove any missing or expired links. Now this is going to take some time... sigh...

Update 23.07.2021 : I have just finished reviewing the 11 blog posts in the month of April 2008 which was when I started blogging. The very first post contained a link to George Carlin's website which no longer exists. I have removed the link. Other posts have photographs that are apparently linked to bp3.blogger pages which are not secure. This is a bit strange because all those pics are my originals (i.e. not copied from others). I have removed the said pics but re-inserted them directly from my PC. Let's see if this resolves the issue. Tough days ahead to review all the other pics in this 12-year old blog. 

Monday, 7 June 2021

Online training course in the new normal

There is no denying that Covid-19 has affected the whole spectrum of society. Some economic sectors have been very badly hit compared to others. The travel and tourism industry is perhaps at the severe end of the scale as are those who make their living on daily wages.

I am not able to personally judge the severity of impact on the construction industry as I retired from active work the year just before Covid-19 was declared a worldwide pandemic. At that time, I had planned to carry out part-time work as trainer or lecturer in civil engineering and construction management. I had prepared some course notes and dug into records of past projects so that I would be able to share some of my knowledge and experience with young engineers and contractors. When Covid-19 struck, the government prohibited face-to-face training classess and seminars. Later on, when there was a slight relaxation in rules, online classes using the various group meeting tools were allowed. Even then, many companies do not place staff training as a priority. Hence, the career training market is also very much affected.

With the slowdown in business and economic activity, many new graduates find it hard to obtain employment. The government, through Khazanah Malaysia, created an initiative to train and place these young graduates into short-term employment at Government-linked Companises (GLCs). This programme is known as MySTEP21. The first part of this program is to have the participants attend a series of training classes that cover various professional and management subjects.

A friend of mine, who owns a management consultancy firm that was contracted by Khazanah to provide some of the training, had offered me a slot to teach the Essentials of Project Management. I initially accepted the offer on the basis that it would be a classroom teaching setup because I wasn't sure of my ability in holding the course virtually. I felt that my teaching skills were more suited to the normal approach because I thrive on student interaction in class. When MCO3.0 came into force, the restriction on physical classes were re-applied and I had no choice but to accept the challenge. Otherwise, I will never have the experience of teaching via online methods.

The course module that I taught was completed over 2 days last Friday and Saturday. The class contained 44 participants from various disciplines and educational background. Overwhelmingly female, which somewhat reflect the gender composition of most public universities in Malaysia. Even the two Civil Engineering graduates in the group were ladies.

Overall I think I did a reasonable job in covering the subject matter I chose to lecture about. Some of the course content prepared by the organizers were a bit heavy and too in-depth for young graduates with no job experience to digest. I tried to lighten the subject load by giving as much real-life examples as I could to illustrate the project management concepts and terminology. But whether I really did deliver a successful course can only be gauged by the feedback from the participants. It was much a learning experience for me as it was for them.

Thank you to Dr Zulkifli Hassan of ZOHL Group for giving me the opportunity to share my knowledge and experience.

Screen capture taken at the closing of class on 2nd day. Class held using Google Meet

Friday, 30 April 2021

Khairuddin Mohd Amin dalam kenangan

Khairuddin Bin Mohd Amin
Lahir : 1 Mac 1964
Kembali ke rahmatullah : 14 April 2021 (Rabu) bersamaan 3 Ramadhan 1442

Khairuddin adalah adik ipar saya (adik kepada orang rumah saya) yang menetap di Puncak Alam, Selangor. Telah dijemput ilahi ketika menunaikan solat Maghrib selepas selesai berbuka puasa. Selamat dikebumikan pada awal pagi Khamis sebelum solat subuh.

Kami terima berita yang agak mengejut ini ketika di hujung solat tarawih di masjid. Dengan keadaan negara masih terkawal di bawah PKP yang tidak nampak penghujungnya, saya memang menjangka tiada rezeki untuk kami melihat jenazah sebelum dikebumikan. Namun begitu, keesokan harinya kami berusaha mendapatkan permit polis untuk rentas negeri dan bertolak dari Johor Bahru ke Puncak Alam dengan membuat sedikit lencongan ke Kota Tinggi untuk singgah ambil seorang kakak ipar untuk turut sama.

Menurut pandangan anak kedua saya yang juga seorang doktor, punca kematian yang secara tiba-tiba sebegini hampir pastinya berkaitan komplikasi jantung. Hampir serupa keadaannya dengan pemergian adik lelaki saya (Azhar B. Isma Yatim) beberapa tahun yang lalu yang saya catit di sini -> And then there were three...

Allahyarham meninggalkan seorang isteri dan dua orang anak.

Innalillahi wainna ilaihi roji'un. Semuga Allah swt ampunkan dosa Khairuddin Mohd Amin dan tempatkan roh beliau bersama kalangan para soliheen.

Allahyarham Khairuddin (kiri) selaku pengacara majlis
ketika perkahwinan anak saudara kami 5 tahun yang lalu

Thursday, 1 April 2021

April blooms

In the past week, there had been heavy rain here in Johor Bahru interspersed with days of hot and humid weather. This cycle of wet and dry days have been good for the plants growing in our garden. A number of the potted plants have started to flower simutaneously. It is the first time in my memory that our yard has this variety of colour.

My largest collection of flowering plants are bougainvillaea shrubs. At last count, I have fifteen pots of various species. Almost all of them are blooming now although some of the flowers are not as dense as I have seen in other people's gardens. I'm still learning about the optimum techniques in fertilization but I'm slowly getting there. I now have bunga kertas flowers in different colours - pink, white, dark red, orange and purple.

I am not, however, sharing photos of the bougainvillaea flowers in this post. I thought I'd like to show pictures of other flowering plants that were taken using the camera on my mobile phone. I took the opportunity to test the macro function when shooting one of the tinier flowers.

I had not known the name of some of the plants. In researching about them using Google's image search feature, I learned many new things. Gardening is such a wonderful relaxing hobby.

1. Oxalis corniculata

Common name : Creeping woodsorrel
Malay name : unknown

Macro shot. Flower about 10mm in size. Actually a weed

2. Clitoria ternatea

Common name : Asian pigeonwings 
Malay name : Bunga telang

See earlier post -> A flower as vivid as its name

3. Stachytarpheta urticifolia

Common name : Nettle leaf velvetberry
Malay name : Selasih dandi

Scavenged from the wild and planted using stem cutting

4. Ixora coccinea

Common name : West Indian jasmine
Malay name : Siantan / Jejarum

White flowers. Large leaf variety

5. Ixora chinensis

Common name : Chinese ixora
Malay name : Siantan / Jejarum

Red flowers. Small leaf variety

6. Wrightia religiosa

Common name : Water jasmine
Malay name : Jeliti / Anting Putri

Very fragrant bloom. A favourite among local bonsai hobbyists

7. Lantana camara

Common name : Big sage
Malay name : Bunga tahi ayam

Scavenged from the wild and grown via stem cutting

8. Begonia convolvulacea

Common name : Shield leaf begonia
Malay name : Asam batu

Local name asam batu covers so many species

9. Gasminum sambac

Common name : Arabic jasmine
Malay name : Melur

Fragrant flower popularly used in garlands

There are a few other plants that are about to flower and whose names I do not know. I would carry out a similar exercise once I am able to photograph the bloom.