Saturday, September 13, 2014

Cousins + Tim in Kuching


A picture with Tim when he was in Kuching to visit me and my family to start the blog post today. :)




Flash back to when Leon and family from the UK came back to Malaysia for a holiday last month. :) Every time they were back we here would be showered with loads chocolates of all kinds. Leon also gotten mee a book- The Faults in Our Stars, which was really sweet of him!





This time round though, there was a special addition to their Malaysia trip group- Leon's girlfriend, Monika. :) They stayed at my place for 3 weeks and it was my duty and pleasure to bring them around (mostly for food lol). Pictures were taken at Bing! and Sunny Hill Ice Cream.



During their stay, we scheduled Tim's travel time so that they could meet each other as he's already met most of my cousins. I'm so happy Tim came to Kuching for me again! And that him and I can get along well with each other's families.



With cousin Yun May who's now in Singapore to pursue her career. :) So happy for her and missing her already!






Dinner that evening was at Howdy's. Pictures are Fish & Chips, Steak and their house famous BBQ Pork Ribs Rack. They always serve quality food and I really enjoy the restaurant.

It's really weird how they didn't include their address on their Facebook page, but I will roughly explain. It is located at Titanium, the shop lots area opposite CityOne Shopping Mall and next to Zotel. Contact No. 082-285 887/ Operating from 5-11pm



Group picture after the nice dinner. :) It's a shame that the others couldn't join us that evening!



Besides watching movies at the cinema and watching Breaking Bad together every night before bed, our past time was playing card games haha. :) In the picture we were gathered at my place playing Bang. Them cousins loved Bang, lol.



Vanilla demanding attention doing his cute Please trick haha. 

Speaking of Vanilla, know how he is always aggressive towards strangers in the house? Leon and Tim managed to get close to him from their last visits. While after much effort, he became friends with Monika and Yun May and finally they can walk freely around the house without Vanilla crazy barking and charging at them. :)))) What an achievement!! (Sad to say though, when Monika first arrived at my house, she was bitten and scratched by Vanilla. Still feel guilty)





My cousins are like our own big happy family. :) It is always fun when we hang out together and even more fun now that our partners are getting included into the group. I hope we stay close to each other like this forever! 


Also, shout out to Tic Tac Toe- the first board games cafe in Kuching (one of our fav hang-outs during Leon and Tim's stay!) :) To play, they charge rm2.5 per hour for each person and the rate is reasonable! Plus, the food they serve is gooooooddddd. Even though the game choices there are not as diverse as Meeples in KL, they are new and expanding. Totally recommends it!

It's located at the shop lots opposite The Spring Shopping Mall, turn left when you see RHB Bank and you will see the cafe. :)  Contact: 016 808 0224/ Closed on Sundays




With all the love,
Kxin

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Red - HyunA: Dance Cover by Chillies, Soul Dance



Makeup done and off to shoot a dance cover with Chillies from Soul Dance Kuching. :) We did a cover for Red by HyunA.

Make up was themed black smokey, with minimal colours. I also tried the famous Korean trend, the ombre/gradient lips though it can hardly be seen in the pictures.  Above pictures are so nice (in my opinion lol) and deceiving I cannot.





Group pictures in our red and black outfit. :)





Took a series of group shots using Fion's camera while laying on the floor in the studio. From left: Amanda, Jessika (Soul Dance's Street Jazz instructor), Me, Fion (K-pop group Grandiose's team leader), Ally (Soul Dance's Hip Hop instructor) and Jasylin. :)





We were in awe that Fion's camera can be operated using the Bluetooth on her phone lol. The reactions, some were candid and some were staged haha. Can you tell which is which?






Sincere laughter shots captured by Fion's boyfriend. Thank you for the candids! Feel blissful when looking through these happy pictures.



Selfies behind the scenes.





Our video on Soul Dance's Facebook page. Enjoy!! :) [Link

The full team had only a few days together and so came up with the idea of shooting a video together. The choreography to the song was not difficult but we only had two practice sessions so apologies if the routines were messy! And excuse my twerk fail. Big thanks to Khai who, on such short notice, took time out to help us shoot and produce this video.



We represent Soul Dance. :) Not sure when will the full team be able to gather and dance together again, so I appreciate the experience and I'm already looking forward to the next time! 



A selfie before I go. Bye!




With all the love,
Kxin

Monday, September 8, 2014

Malaysian Student - UK Visa Application


Hello people! I hope you found your way here because you are a Malaysian student going to the UK and want to know more about the Visa application process. I am going to UK next week and I just received my Visa. Looking back, I felt really helpless about Visa because I knew nothing and I was literally clueless. Talking from my own experience, hopefully people who came to read this post will find it beneficial!

If you are a Malaysian student about to embark on your further studies to the UK, you will need a UK Visa specifically a Tier 4 Student (General) Visa. Here's a post of things to take note of for your Visa application. :) 



If you have a UK Visa briefing provided for you in your campus/university, they will prepare for you a checklist of what is required of you for the Visa application. 

If you don't, I hope you have an agent to help you settle your application because it is very troublesome and you will need detailed guidance. This is all provided that you have made your UCAS Application and gotten to the stage of waiting for the response of your Firm and Insurance Choices of Universities.

(A) Here's a checklist in short of what you need for your Tier 4 Student Visa Application:

1. CAS Letter
2. TB Certificate
3. Supporting documents as specified in the CAS Letter
4. Old/New passports
5. Supportive documents proving you have the sufficient funds to study in the UK
6. Recent passport picture

After acquiring all required documents, you will then need to (B) Make an online application at Visa4Uk and pay online the fees of USD527. The fees are paid to apply for Visa, but they do not guarantee the success of your application so the best you can do is prepare all the documents required so that they don't have a reason to reject your application.

After the online application, you will need to print out the application form, compile the documents and (C) With an appointment made beforehand, submit the documents and your biometric data to the UK Visa Application Centre Kuala Lumpur (VFS office). After that, all you have to do is wait for your application to be approved.

Sounds simple right? But it's not. Haha don't be discouraged, I will now explain each element in more detail. :)


(A) DOCUMENTS

1. CAS Letter

The CAS (Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies) Letter is the most important element in the Visa application process. If you do not have the CAS letter, there's nothing you can do to proceed.

I ended my exams at the beginning of July 2014, and going off to the UK in September 2014. Results were released end of July and we had to wait for Taylor's to send the results to the UK universities so that we can get our UCAS confirmation, and subsequently, our CAS letters to proceed with Visa.

After getting results from my previous exams, my Firm Choice- University of Leeds accepted my UCAS Application. All I could do then was wait for my CAS. The wait was a daunting process. Course mates rushed the school and sent emails to the UK universities to urge the issuance of CAS. I finally got mine on the 22nd of August, 2014- less than a month from my departure to the UK.



2. TB Certificate

This is to prove that you do not suffer from Tuberculosis. You have to go to an approved clinic to get a TB Screening. The list of approved clinics by the Home Office in Malaysia are:

1) Life Care Diagnosis Medical Centre Sdn Bhd, Kuala Lumpur
2) Gleneagles Hospital Sdn Bhd, Kuala Lumpur
3) Sabah Medical Centre, Kota Kinabalu
4) Penang Adventist Hospital, Penang
5) Normah Medical Specialist Centre, Sarawak



A picture of me in hospital robes when I got my screening done haha. I am from Sarawak hence gotten my screening done at Normah Specialist Centre for a fee of RM260. Appointment should be made before hand and the rates may differ in different clinics.

3. Supporting documents as specified in your CAS Letter

This differs university from university because your entry requirements may be different. All you have to do is to compile the original and photocopies of documents as listed in your CAS for submission. If not, the documents are not necessary. In my CAS letter they only needed my Results Transcript from Taylor's University and also my IELTS English Test Results. Prepare the original copies to be submitted along with your Visa Application.

4. Old/new passports (self-explanatory)

5. Supporting documents to show that you have sufficient funds to support yourself in the UK. This included bank statements/ saving passbooks/ bank letters to show you have the financial ability to support yourself in the UK. If the account is under your parent's name, a Consent Letter is required.

***Malaysia is a low risk country for Tier 4 Visa so usually, documentary evidence is not required. I prepared both my educational and financial supporting documents, but ended up not needing them. Still, I advice you to prepare it beforehand just in case.



(B) ONLINE APPLICATION


Go to http://www.visa4uk.fco.gov.uk to make your online visa application and submit the fees of USD 527. Print out and sign the form before submitting it at the VFS Office. A passport picture is required for the application form.



Before payment you will be required to make an appointment with the office. The earliest available date will be shown. Take the earliest possible date to avoid any delay.


(C) SUBMISSION OF DOCUMENTS AND BIOMETRICS AT VFS OFFICE

According to the appointment date and time, go to the VFS Kuala Lumpur Visa Application Centre to submit your application and also biometric data which is your finger prints. Do not have ink or cuts on your fingers when you go to submit your biometric data. The centre operates on weekdays from 8am to 2pm (except on public holidays).

VFS Kuala Lumpur Visa Application Centre
Suite 19.06, 19th Floor,
Wisma MCA,
163 Jalan Ampang,
50450 Kuala Lumpur.

If you are from Sabah and Sarawak, you can opt for the User Pay Services (for more information). For a fee of RM342, you can do your application and biometric data submission from the respective states at respective offices as follows. 

British Council (Sabah)
Gound Floor,
4 Jalan Api-Api,
Off Jalan Gaya,
88000 Kota Kinabalu.

British Council (Sarawak)
Room A15 and A16,
Chung Hua Middle School No.1
Jalan Pending,
93450 Kuching.

As mentioned above, I am from Sarawak. I didn't know there was a User Pay service. At the Visa briefing I asked the officer, what do Sarawak applicants like me do? I have to go back to my hometown after exams then come back again just to submit my application? Yes, I had no choice, the lady told me. I freaked out and dreaded the answer because I thought about the inconvenience and the extra flight money. I hope my readers know now that you in Sarawak and Sabah do not have to travel to KL to submit it.

But instead of paying for the User Pay services, in the end I chose use the fees to fly to KL and submit the application myself at the VFS Office. I did so so I can get another week in KL to see my boyfriend and my friends. It was worth it. :) I flew to KL on the 23rd August and submitted my Application on the 28th, then flew back on the 30th.



MISSED THE APPOINTMENT?

Like I did? Haha let me tell you about my deadly experience. My appointment was on 28th August 2014, 9.30am. I set my alarm at 6 because we needed time to travel from Subang Jaya to KL city centre + traffic jam. I woke up that morning at 11am, and straight away burst into tears. On the website it was stated clearly, if you are late for your appointment, you may be refused entry. I was freaking out and Tim was worried sick for me. We immediately went onto the website and wanted to make a new appointment but then, the nearest appointment date was 5th September and I would be back in Kuching Sarawak by then.

Then I remembered reading about a VIP Premium Lounge Service. If you pay a fee of Rm190, you can email the VFS office and make another appointment. As quoted from the website:

"A VIP premium lounge service is available at the visa application centre. The service includes:
  • No queuing
  • Comfort and privacy
  • Personalised attention and service during the submission and biometric process
  • Free refreshments and snacks
  • Free courier pass-back"



Going back to Kuching without Visa done and having to pay another Rm342 for User Pay from Sarawak was not an option! I immediately paid for the premium lounge service and emailed them for another appointment on 29th September, as my flight back to Kuching was on the 30th.  On the subject of my email I even wrote, URGENT! No one replied and I doubted anyone would so soon.

Tim suggested us to go straight ahead to the office. It was around 1pm when we left Subang Jaya and the office is said to close at 2pm. We rushed from Subang Jaya to the city centre and arrived at 130pm. I talked to the officer and to my surprise, he nicely let me in. I thought to myself, Shit I paid RM190 for the VIP for nothing! But still, I was so relieved! After having my document verified, I was sent upstairs to the waiting room to wait for my turn to submit my documents. After seeing the many many applicants waiting along with me, I felt like a heavy rock was lifted from my shoulders.

Then I remembered my paid-for VIP Premiun Lounge Service. I showed my receipt to the counter girl outside the waiting hall and then was sent to the Premium Lounge. Rather than the metal waiting chairs, I waited sitting on the sofas. The counter girl asked me whether or not I wanted coffee or tea. Lol. After waiting awhile, I was sent into the office, submitted my documents and finger prints and was allowed to leave.

In the end, I was thankful I have ended up paying for the VIP Premium Lounge Service. I didn't have to wait long for my turn and Tim didn't have to wait outside for too long for me. ♡ Also, the VIP Premium Services included free courier service, which required a fee of RM40 and of which I didn't know I had to purchase. If you didn't get the courier service, you'll have to come back to the office to collect the document. I had my Visa sent to Sarawak for me. So it was all good!

All that story just to tell you lol, it is not the end of the world if you accidentally missed the appointment date and time. :) 

Go ahead to the office and see if the officers would be nice to still let you in despite the missed appointment. If you can't, you can also, like me, purchase the VIP Premium Lounge Services.



URGENT APPLICATION?

You can opt for the Priority Visa Service which will have your application processed within 10 days time for a fee of RM500+. In my opinion, you didn't have to purchase this service unless it is an emergency, or that you want extra security. Within one month of departure, I submitted my application on 28th August and received my approved Visa on the 8th of September.


I think that thoroughly wraps up everything you need to know when applying for a UK student visa. And that's all from me today. If you have any questions do not hesitate to ask! I will try my best to help. :)




With all the love,
Kxin

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Famine 30 Dance Performance w/ Kueendom


Another performance with Kueendom! We were asked to perform on two occasions for the 30 Hour Famine event. Selfie shot with the girls taking pictures in the background. :D












Selfies with the Kueendom darlings. :) Sue, Yi Wei, Vida, Yy, Iylia, Siau Chian and Silvia + a super photobombed one.




Outfit/ group shots. A nice one and one, not so very lol. Our outfit theme was black/ white + denim.




Behind the scene of our selfie sessions.








Performance shots credits to the talented twins from our uni's Photography Club. 

Location of the performance was the new Lecture Hall 21 & 22 on campus of Taylor's Lakeside. Nice right? It is a 360 Lecture Hall which can be split down the middle to form 2 separate lecture halls.



And lastly, as usual, here's the performance video. :) 

Link: [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ny2eW7jwPcc&feature=youtu.be] We did 4 songs in this performance line-up: Good Night Kiss- Hyo Song, Short Hair- AOA, Mr Chu - APink and MTBD- 2NE1. Love all the routines I've learnt for this performance. And I'm glad to say that we'll be having dance covers released on 2 of the 4 songs we did, both of which we have revised in detail and made the steps more sync, so please keep a look out for Kueendom's upcoming videos! 




With all the love,
Kxin