Klana Beach Resort

Yesterday my family and I went for a weekend getaway in Port Dickson. It feels like we haven't gone for a holiday for ourselves in ages. Of course we do visit our in laws in Manjung or go back home to Tanah Merah from time to time but that definitely doesn't count as a holiday. It's about time too because despite the generous bonus that my wife received from her company, she's almost driven crazy from work.

Why Port Dickson? Because it is near, less than a hundred kilometers from home and the accommodation rate is still affordable. I searched online for a few hotel and many of them were fully booked except a few less-known hotels like Klana Beach Resort. Situated a few meters behind the imposing Ancasa Resort, Klana Beach Resort offers a range affordable rooms from as low as RM226.00 overnight.

Naturally I chose the cheapest room available since on their website, the room looks big enough for all of us. The reality is, the picture that we saw was the Deluxe Double Seaview which is the most expensive room there. The Superior Gardenview that we booked was quite small but still could fit all 5 of us with little room left. Well, you don't pay pennies and expect a 5 star treatment do you?

Check in time was 3:00 PM although we managed to get in about an hour early. We were greeted with continuous nasyid music in the background as we got there, not that I'm complaining or anything. We had to pay for the room well in advance before we get the keys. The room is clean and nice although the were scribble marks on some parts of the wall thanks to some budding young artist who previously stayed there I presume. During our stay, the swimming pool were closed for some reason. The beach is right in front of the hotel but it is filled with rocks and an unfortunate sewer pipe which deposits most of Port Dickson's waste into the sea. Sure there's a stretch of sandy beach next to it but who in their right mind would want to bathe there? Quite a lot actually. Maybe they just pretend not to see the pipes.

In the end we had to drive a few kilometers south to Tanjung Biru beach. This particular beach is not exactly spotless clean but we did managed to find a secluded spot which is not too dirty to hang out at. Next time remind us to just stick to the popular and tested Teluk Kemang beach.

Right opposite the hotel is the Baitul Hilal Observatory. There's not much to see there though and I was too tired to climb up the stairs to the top of the observation tower.

As with all hotels, food was expensive so we head out to town to grab something to eat for dinner. A few friends suggested Cowboy's Place at the 6th mile of Jalan Pantai. They serve some decent barbecue chicken with steam rice and drinks for a low price of 5 ringgit.

The next morning we get complimentary buffet breakfast for 2 at their cafe. Our 5 & 2 years old get to eat for free but we had to fork out an extra 15 ringgit for our 9 year old. Breakfast was generally good although I find their tea to be a little bit cold for my liking. I would suggest this place for everyone. And that's about it. You can learn more about Klana Beach Resort or book your room from their website.

New gig

In January I started my new job as an IT staff at a private school in Kuala Lumpur. About two months earlier, I was called for an interview at the school. They got my info from Jobstreet. To be honest, I applied for that post a few months before and I already forgot all about it and thought I didn't get the job when there was no reply then. So imagine my surprise when I got the call for the interview. The interview was a short one and I think I did pretty well. I answered all their questions and one of the interviewer thought I was overqualified for the job. About 5 days later I received a call from their HR telling me I got the job and I had to do a routine medical check-up at Pantai Hospital. Long story short, I passed the medical and on the 3rd of January 2013, started my new job at this private school.

The school I work for has a long tradition of giving British education for children going back to pre-independence Malaya in 1946. It is among the most esteemed and established private school in the country. On my first day, I report to work at 7:30 AM sharp. They are very particular about attendance and punctuality and frequent violation of that rule will affect your assessment and bonuses. I was joined by another new staff who has the same role as I. We fill up some forms, had our pictures taken and were given a brief tour of the school. The school I worked at now is a primary school. They had another branch about 20 kilometers away which is the secondary school. This particular school started as 3 rows of classrooms and developed over the years to span across several buildings, a gym and a full size swimming pool. In term of amenities, the provide the best I've seen so far. Too bad all the amenities are just for school children only.

My job requires me to handle everything related with IT at the school. From changing printer toners to solving network issues. Most of the time there will always be work to do at the school. I rarely got time to slack around like my previous jobs, which is not always a bad thing. Sometimes I think I slack around too much before, getting a proper job with so much responsibilities and work is a good change. Besides, they do evaluate your performance on how much work you do and how good you are at solving them. On normal school days I work from 7:30 AM to 4:00 PM including one hour of break. On school holidays or term breaks, I begin at 8:00 and go back at 3:30 PM which is pretty cool. Getting to work before 7:30 every morning is a pain in the ass at first. Since the school is located right smack in the city center, I had to leave home before 6:00 AM to avoid the morning rush hour. That means many times, I had to perform my Subuh prayer at the school. If I ever leave home after 6:00, chances are I might only arrive around 8:00 AM. I learnt that the hard way on my second day at work when I left home around 6:30 and got to work after 8:00 AM. That is why on my second month, I bought myself a second hand bike to ride to school. At least with a bike, I could leave home much later and not caught up in the horrible traffic jam every morning. Seriously, spending an hour crawling in traffic is not the way to start your day at work. Apart from the normal gazetted public holidays, the school also have extra holidays for new year's eve, Christmas eve, Easter, good Friday and a few more. So apart from the basic 14 days leave, per year, we got like half a dozen more days off thanks to those special days.

My first impression of the school. I was mighty impressed. The work culture, the staff, the kids. All the staff that I met were pretty warm and friendly. Although most of them were expatriates and make 4 times more money than I do, never once they were a snob or cocky towards me. We would greet each other every morning or whenever we pass each other and every time I helped them solve any of their problems they would thank me profusely. This is a stark contrast to some of my fellow countrymen that I worked with didn't even seem to know I exist whenever I helped them. My new colleagues were all pretty helpful and friendly too. There were four of us in the IT department, 2 of them have worked there for over 2 years. They were all more than willing to show us the ropes and how things work around the school.

The school facilities were pretty impressive too. The use all the latest technologies and innovation in education. Every students get to learn to do stuffs with MacBooks, iMacs and high end Windows notebooks. Kids were thought how to do basic programming from as early as 7 years old. Every class room has no more than 20 students. Kids were thought in British curriculum and they study as much as they play around here. There's break for play time in the morning and they do extra-curricular activities in the afternoon after school finishes at 2:00 PM. Almost every week, one of the classes will do a presentation, a play, choir, dance, drama and all sort of performance at the main hall in front of parents, teachers and their classmates. Aside from having fun, this is a great way to build the kid's character and confidence from an early stage.The kids were divided into four houses not unlike Hogwarts and they were also awarded house points for all the good deeds or something special they achieved in class and for sports activities at school. And at the end of the semester, the house with the most points shall win the house cup. The only thing missing here are quidditch, Hagrid and flying brooms.

After over 3 months of working here, I find the differences between how the teach kids here and at our regular government-funded school are remarkable. Here, kids are taught to think for themselves more and not just being spoon-fed everything by the teachers. I could brag on and on about this matter but then I would sound like a real snob. Of course it would not be fair to compare between the two since one charges you over 12K per year for school fees and the other literally free. Hence it is not surprising that a private school should have better facilities and provide world-class education. Still I hope one day our national school could adopt all the good things that the British education could offer.

After four months, I could only say good things about my new gig/workplace. The pay is good, about the same amount that I got for my last salaried job. The working hours are good although I won't mind coming to work a bit later than 7:30 in the morning. There's panel clinic and hospital, group insurance policy and other standard benefits that you normally get in a multinational company. I could see myself working here for a long time, building my career along the way.