Monday, February 25, 2008

Where Have You Been?

Well, the reason of a dry month is because I have moved out of my old service apartment with internet access to a new place that unfortunately does not have internet access. Damn! I am looking into a few cool offers at the moment and hopefully will get a decent internet connection fitted into my new home shortly. I will try and do a few back posts using the magic of wordpress shortly as I have tons of pictures to share.

If you seen blog posts about my new apartment and my trip to hamburg, this means that I have successfully updated the blogs.

It is just under two weeks before I head home to Malaysia. I can't wait for that!

Cheers,

Benny Ong

Thursday, February 21, 2008

German Sausages For Lunch

I went into the office today to have an experience of how BAT Germany is. They are currently located in a temporary office while their main office is being refurbished.

At lunchtime, we, the Malaysian contingency in BAT Hamburg headed to Haus5, which is a restaurant across the road for their famous sausages. It has tomato sauce on it and sprinkled with curry powder.



I left the office at 3.00 and made my way back to Southampton whereby I arrive at about 9.00p.m. in the evening.

Cheers,

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

My First Trip To Hamburg

Hamburg


GSD’s Europe Zone Meeting was to be held at Hamburg this year. I did not miss my chance to attend it although it is between my project deployment weekends. I flew British Airways which my peers have mentioned to have quite a reputation on delays. The in flight service was very poor and I can understand why people love Malaysia Airlines.



Song Yia + Me


Song Yia picked me up from the airport yesterday and I was damn excited to see her after about a month apart. I took the chance in the morning to do some sight seeing before arriving at the zone meeting location in a hotel.


It was nice to see tons of colleagues from the Europe region and mapping the names to the faces. It was also a very good opportunity for me to expand my network. The meeting was very interesting with a lot of activities such as creating our master piece and also constructing IKEA furniture for a shelter home.



We also lighted up fireworks towards the end of the event and toasted champagne to a wonderful year 2007 was.



Fireworks


We soon had dinner at a restaurant which was walking distance away from the hotel. The food was glorious and very filling. I went for endless rounds and the beer made me full at the end.



There was Salsa dancing whereby the crowd took on the floor.


Cheers,

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Freeview: Free UK Digital TV

I am happy that I have finally moved in to my new place. The only downside is that there is no internet which I live for.


Well, the moment I got home, I headed straight away to ASDA to get a Digital Set Top Box. This will allow me to tune into over 30 free digital channels better than the 5 free channels that airs.


Freeview


I am unsure how these channels earn money but I bet it is from advertising. It was recently highlighted that the sales of Set Top Box have surpass SKY (The equivalent to ASTRO in Malaysia) and other cable providers.


Digital Set Top Box


The setup of this is easy and took less than 5 minutes. The reception is depending on your location as I remembered when I stayed at Queensway, London, I only managed to receive limited channels and it was depending on the weather. Reception here have so far been very good.


The TV Setting


I will be hunting for my internet provider next which I hope will in return give as much value as Freeview.


:)

Monday, February 18, 2008

My New Crib

I finally moved out of my scenic apartment at the edge of Southampton to a one nearer to the city center. I like the new place as it is walking distance to various shops.

It has already got a new phone line fitted in but lacking the internet which I hope will be sorted out soon.

Here are a few pics of my new pad.

My New Kitchen

Dining Area

Living Hall

My Bedroom

Cheers,

Benny Ong

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Horsley Court

Horsley Court

Horsley Court

I spent the night at Horsley Court which is BAT’s International training Center. I have always wanted to come here ever since I heard of its existence. Staffs that are nominated for international trainings will attend them here from all over the globe.

The Front Road

Outside Horsley Court

The Garden

The Garden

I had a chance to be here thanks to my new team. Here are a few of the pictures I took of Horsley Court.

The rooms are very nice and comfortable.

The Room

The Bed

The TV

The TV

iBase for iPod

iBase for iPod owners to play their music

All for now and I promise regular posts and updates... and Happy Valentine's Day everyone!

:)

Commando At Surrey

Today was fun to get out of the office for a day to attend a team building event. I was invited to join my new team last week. I woke up at 5.45 a.m. to get the 6.30 train to Horsely whereby a colleague Jim, picked me up with a hired Van. It is also the first time I have ventured out of Southampton ever since I arrived this year.

A heap of documentation was sent to me but I never bothered reading them carefully but in terms of expectations, I knew we were supposed to wear clothes that we no longer want. In my mind, I was saying how dirty could we get and only pack minimal change.

After everyone arrived, we took a drive to Surrey Paintball Center where our ordeal begins. I was told that I did not have proper shoes and luckily they found some for me. We put on an army like camouflage jumper on and proceeded to our first challenge after being split into team yellow and blue.

Team Yellow

Me in Team Yellow

Yellow & Blue Team

Team Yellow & Blue

We had to go through a course in the cold and muddy tracks while carrying a tire each. It looks really easy but I slip several times trying to negotiate the slopes.

Heading Down A Slope

Sliding Off A Slope

After the assault course, we continued the day with tug of war, shooting range and javelin throw. Soon it was lunch and we were told to remove our jeans underneath our jumper as we were going to get wet up to the waist. I thought to myself that they were mad and a bit hesitant because of the cold.

With A Dog

I Made A New Friend

When we were next to the river, something took over and everyone decided to go ahead and do the full course. We started running through the ice cold river and going through obstacles. It was a combination of a commando like training circuit. The muddy surface made it harder. I jump into ice cold freezing water, crawl under barb wires (I was told they were rubber look a likes after the event), squeeze my way through barrels and slide down muddy slopes. Although our team did not win, I walked away with this amazing experience.

The River Assault Course

Tyre Wall in the River

Freezing Ice Cold Water

Ice Cold Water Waist Deep!!

The Team

Everyone At The End of the Course

Second Place

Second Place (Note the Loser Sign by the Marshall)

I was exhausted at the end of the day but spent some time in the chill out room of Horsley Court which is BAT’s International Training Center with lodging facilities.

Cheers.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Personal Growth?

After a few dry days from posting, I would like to reflect on this few days that have been keeping me busy and tied up. Today, I manage to see a few Malaysian peers which was a good relief.

Ever since I landed here in the UK and undertaking a work of this scale, I never thought I would cope. I am thankful of the opportunity given and also the challenge ahead. The pressure of moving and managing a project at the same time never appealed to me but I believe I am prevailing.

I have survived through the first weekend of project deployment and am thankful for the support I have received from the people around me. The project was indeed a success based on the feedbacks I have received.

This experience has teached me to make key decisions and trust my instinct more. I used to get worried about petty things that distract me from my focus or main goals. It is also usual occurrences that I panic on things that can wait. Prioritization will be the right word or the solution I suppose. It is something that I am working towards achieving a balance of which I am sure that I can master with true dedication.

I have good news for tomorrow as I will be joining my new team for an event at the company’s main training hub. I would be waking up at 6.00a.m to get a train from Southampton to get myself there. I haven't packed yet but I am very keen and looking forward to yet more life enriching experiences there. I will bring my camera to snap a few pictures.

Thinking about things, I can’t wait for this weekend’s deployment and also making my way to Hamburg next week for a company meeting.

I promise pictures in the upcoming posts.

Take care everyone!

Friday, February 08, 2008

Strike £95 Million!

The advertisment has been running on the TV countless of times during the week and I have been ignoring it until today. When I was in the office, it was a topic of conversation and everyone asked me whether have I placed my bet on Euro Millions. The team that was in my office was kind enough to buy a ticket on my behalf and pool the sum together for a shared ticket as well.

The odds according to the website is 1 in 76,275,360 to take home the jackpot and it was mentioned during our lunchtime conversation that it was equivalent to President Bush marrying Britney Spears. I know what you think! Very unlikely but not impossible :)

However, the odd of winning is 1:24 which means I can potentially walk away with some prize money.

Well, I have bought my share of tickets on the way home by giving Song Yia and my family a call. Each one of them gave me a set of numbers which I place a bet on. Each entry cost £ 1.50. I have to declare that I don't have a gambling problem but 95 Million is just to good of an offer to refuse.


95 MillioN!

4 Chances of Winning GBP 95 Million!


Now, let me dream about what I want to do with all that money! GBP 95 Million equals to RM 597.235 Million. (est 6.3 forex rate) I will share my winnings with my loved ones and a generous sum to charity.

Well, I will check the results tomorrow. (Typing it while using the power of attraction)

Cheers!

Benny Ong

Monday, February 04, 2008

The Most Successful Internet Trade

I remember reading about this on Reader's Digest last year and now it has made its way into 2008 Guiness Book of Records as the most successful internet trade. Well, this is really hard to beat and there is a lot of a reason why it is a great achievement.

paperclip fixed up

A guy named Kyle Macdonald started out with a red paper clip and a blog post with the aim of trading it for a house and he eventually achieved it a year later with 14 trades.

Wow, a paper clip for a house! I would really want to do that. There is even more that he is gaining from that venture such as book rights and also movie rights.

This is just amazing because anyone that would propose that idea to me will just leave me laughing but who has got the last laugh now.

Well, enough said and this shows that nothing is impossible. So I would start, anyone want to trade a red pin with a house? (I am willing to negotiate)

Cheers ;)

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Cadbury Double Decker

Here is my fave chocolate bar of all time. I am declaring my love for this chocolate bar!

It is Milk Chocolate with Smooth, Chewy Nougatine and Crisp, Crunchy cereal filling like what its says on the packaging.

Double Decker

The first time I had this was in 2003 when I bought a pack from the Post Office near my University. It was love at first taste with this bar and I occassionaly buy them whenever I come accross it.

When I stumbled upon a pack of 5 in ASDA for roughly the price of 2 bars if I were to buy them individually, I couldn't help it by buying it.

Well, I haven't had a chance to find them in Malaysian stores but will bring back some extra for anyone who is interested when I return in March.

Cheers.

Free Guided Tour Of Southampton

As this is the last free weekend I have before work starts kicking in, I woke up to join the free walking tour in Southampton. It starts from Bar Gate at 10.30 a.m. every Sunday. Apparently, the frequency increases when it is Summer. I stood out from the crowd as I was the only Asian and the youngest. They all thought that I was a student which I happily played along. The weather was so cold that I could not manage to take loads of pictures. Although it looked like it was going to rain, luckily, it did not even a drop. Here is apparently an old market that used to be in front of a church but was later moved because of the smell after Sunday service. This is what remains of it now and is one of those old buildings that is a frequent sight around the city.
Old Fish Market

Old Fish Market
The guided tour brings you around to locked rooms in the towers and certain places in the walls. All this exclusive site for free was an opportunity not to be missed. If you are ever spending a weekend over at Southampton, I recommend that you join this tour!!! Cheers, Benny Ong

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Earth Hour

Be part of the campaign!

Earth Hour

Earth hour started in Sydney in 2007 as a campaign to create awareness on climate change. It attracted 2.2 million participants and numerous businesses. This year, it has grown in size and is a global movement.

All the campaign is asking for is for you to pledge in turning off your electricity for an hour on March 29th at 8.00 p.m. (I do not know who selected that hour and why it is so significant)

Here is a quick video that I extracted from the website:



Click here to join the campaign on turning off your electricity for an hour on March 29th at 8.00 p.m.

There are a list of cities taking part and I am dissapointed that London and Kuala Lumpur is not! I sure hope the list of cities will grow over time.

It is kind of like Al Gore's Inconvenient Truth but I have pledged to participate, so why don't you? Every little helps.

Cheers!

Cheers!

Friday, February 01, 2008

Free Checkboxes Game

Kick start your weekend and the month of February with a free game download. This compiled game can be freely redistributed.

The Checkboxes game is to test how fast you can react to doing a continued task. It gives you 20 seconds to tick the most boxes. My personal record is 47 ticks.

Checkboxes

This game is in one small exe file and you may run it without needing any installations.

Click here to download the file now!

I have not release this to download sites yet at the moment but plan to do so.

Cheers.

I hope you enjoy it.