Thursday, September 8, 2011


Malaysian University English Proficiency Test  or widely known is MUET is a kind of English for Academic purposes test. It started in early 2001 under the directive of then Datuk Najib Razak . One of the objectives of the test is to serve as mechanism to check the slide of the standard of English among pre university students in Malaysia. The Malaysian Examinations Council is given the task to manage the test. The test is now offered three times a year for students to take. The fees charge  is around 60 ringgit Malaysia.

The test is actually designed and developed by a steering committee formed by the Examinations Council. The members of the committe are mainly university lecturers who have years of teaching experience. There are approximate 10 people in the committee. It was headed by a person who lacked the knowledge of language testing.Now I believe the committee  is headed by someone who is very knowledgeable in language testing and is  very good in the English language. When it was first formed the members were invited from universities in Malaysia and the first test that they designed lacked proper construct and undermined purpose. But I believe now the test is a reasonably good test with a clear sense of purpose.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Hari Raya Aidil Fitri

This year Hari Raya was a mixed kind of celebrations for me. I would describe this year's raya as being cheerful and at times somber. The happy part is that I got to "Balik kampung" to my hometown in Sungai Petani a fast developing town that has become crowded because of the penangites who are coming in droves to make it their new homes.

The journey back home was tiring because of the traffic crawls all the way from KL to my hometown. The traffic would ease a little but then would return to a crawl once as it hits a major town. I reached my kampung half an hour before midnight after starting my journey at 3 pm after the Friday prayers. The happiness is in the travelling. What makes the raya is the traffic crawl. Once in my dad's home, all the so called modern amenities are not there anymore. I talking about the air cond, the flat screen tv, the wifi, the hot water shower and the toilet bowl. Mind you at a veteran age you find it difficult to use the squat toilet. I don't know how my dad does it. He's already 80 plus years old.

A fiend of mine who is a very successful lawyer would tell me that his children refused to balik kampung because of the lack of these modern amenities. A a result he and his family  would stay at a hotel in his hometown and would visit his parents only during the days . They would return to the hotel for the night. I think we are changing. The society is changing. I think it is much more acceptable now to stay at the hotel when you "balik kampung".

I really ope that the notion of balik kampung would continue in perpetuity. It is part an parcel of the Raya. I heard that the Indonesians would in drove would return to their kampung halaman in droves during the Raya holidays. Jakarta is a dead town during the Raya.

Selamat Hari Raya to all.

Perodua Myvi 2011

Today I will discuss  slightly different topic. I want to talk about cars specifically about a new car that I just bought for my son who is still studying at IIUM. I'm referring to the Myvi 1.3 Mystique purple which was just recently launched. I bought it in Kajang for approximately Rm 50,000 The car itself  is quite nippy and very economical. It looks  small from the outside but once you are inside the car you will be surprised by how spacious the car is. You can really stretch your legs to the fullest.

One thing that I like about the car is how responsive the engine is. A slight tap on the accelerator will move the car instantly. This is unlike the car that I drive which is a Honda Accord 2000 CC. You really need to depress the accelerator to the floor to get enough power to motivate the car. Despite flooring to the floor it only lazily moves forward. .Despite being overly eager to rev the engine is slightly noisy. Of course I'm comparing it to the Honda Accord. The engine in the Myvi would growl when it is pushed but make a claty sound on the lower rev. Overall I I find the Myvi as reasonably refined for a small car

Another feature that is sorely lacking in the Myvi is the lack of he arm rest for the front passenger and the driver. It makes long journey very tiring to the driver. Your need to relax your arm after a long journey. Dont expect that the driver to put his arms on the wheel all the time. I suppose Perodua would listen to this and start to consider placing an armrest in the Myvi.

Although the Myv has many pluses, one negative feature that I notice is the sponginess of the brake. It is so spongy. You really need to press harder and deeper to get the car stopped. This kind of braking is unsatisfactory especially for male drivers. In a hard dive you really need a quite sensitive brake to stop the car. I believe many people who bought the latest Myvi would complain about the brake.

Overall I find the car reasonably good with good plastics used in the car. The colour scheme is also quite good a good departure from the grey anf dark dashboard in the earlier models. I think it is a reasonably good buy. However I'm not surprised of the good quality of the car because of the Toyota heritage in it. Anyway the Perodua is just an assembler not like the proton which is  a full fledged manufacturer