How-to: Register your business online (SSM)

I will honestly tell you that registering your business online through SSM may be more inconvenient than going to their office at KL Sentral. However, if you can’t take a day off or prefer to do it online, fear not — I have gone through this tedious task myself. There are guidelines posted up on their site (ROC | ROB) but the ROB one is in BM.

Few things before you begin:
1) Use IE. The forms used on their site did not work on my Chrome.
2) Please note that this guideline is for ROB. If you need ROC, I suggest reading their guideline (link above).
3) Prepare your credit card (CC) — although direct debit service is available, I used CC instead.
4) The website where you need to register your business is actually this.
5) If you start submitting your registration early in the day (eg 8.30 AM), there will be a higher chance of receiving your business registration number within the day.
6) Remember to click “Finish” button on all forms instead of “Save”. If you click on “Save”, the “Submit” button will be grayed out and you will have to re-open your form again.

Instructions
A. SSM Subscriber Registration (RM 5 fee incurred)
1) Register for an account here. Follow their instructions & ensure that the details filled up are correct.
2) Once that’s done, login to your portal.
3) There will be a message box on the left which says, “Kindly update your MyKad Number to access MyGov Services. Please click on My User Group >> Edit Button”. “My User Group” is directly below “My Personal Information”. Click on the “Edit” button.
4) Fill in your details and click “Save”. You’ll be able to see a menu of links after this.
5) Under “MyGov Services”, click on “Online Service Directory”. Search for “SSM Subscriber Registration” and click on the link.
6) Proceed until you reach online service page where you can click open the form (remember, you need IE here!).
7) Choose “ROB” under “Step 1” and click on “Open Form”. Complete the form with your details & click “Finish”.
8) Tick “I agree …” box and hit “Submit”.
9) It will lead you to a page where you need to pay a fee of RM 5 for the subscription.
10) After submitting the payment, it will issue you a payment receipt and you’re done for the first part!
11) To view your recent activity, go to “MyPage” and click on “My Transaction” under “MyGov Services”. It will show you the form name that you have filled, reference number, description & creation date.

B. Application for Business Name Approval (ROB)
1) Under “MyGov Services”, click on “Online Service Directory”. Search for “Application for Business Name Approval (ROB)” and click on the link.
2) Proceed until you reach online service page where you can click open the form.
3) Under “Step 1”, click on “Open Form”. Complete the form with your details.
This is where the headache appeared for me. Apparently, they do not allow business name registration without the words “Enterprise”, “Trading”, “Resources” or “Solution”. So you have to put either 1 of those words after your desired business name. Otherwise, they will reject your name application stating the reason that it is too “umum” (general). Refer below:

However, I spoke to 1 of my colleagues who registered her business through the manual form at the SSM counter and she informed me that she did not have that requirement. You can call them up regarding this requirement.

4) After you submitted the form, you’ll have to wait for SSM to process your application. Under “My Transaction”, it will show you that your application is “In Process”. My business name approval took around 2 hours.

And the final step ..

C. Business Registration
1) Under “MyGov Services”, click on “Online Service Directory”. Search for “Online Registration of Business (ROB)” and click on the link.
2) Proceed until you reach online service page where you can click open “Form A”.
3) Fill in your name approval number from the reference number which they provided and click on “*Verify Name Approval No.”. It will auto-fill in your business name in the form.
4) Complete the mandatory details in the form and click “Finish”.
Note: Registration fee for sole proprietorship – RM 60 yearly.
5) If it’s required, fill in Step 2 (branch).
6) Click on the red link – 1 under Step 3 and fill in the details.
7) Proceed to Steps 4 (upload supporting doc) & 5 (notify business partner) if necessary.
8) Once you submit the form, it will lead you to the payment page.
9) And you’re done! The next step is to wait for an SSM officer to contact you via e-mail notifying your successful business registration, together along with a PDF attachment (Perakuan Pendaftaran) that contains your business registration details. I waited about 40 minutes.

Hope this guide is informative enough for you. Good luck!

DIY: Lightbox

Aside from baking & cooking, my other hobby is to collect miniature diecasts, specifically from Takara Tomy. I recently made a large purchase from TRU & also Changi Airport and wanted to photograph each of my models. I’ve read so many sites with DIY lightbox and honestly, I am lazy to build one out of a box with 3 light bulbs shining through it. If you’re like me and looking for a quick solution for a DIY lightbox, here’s an idea for you.

All you need is a white cardboard, a larger than A4 size white paper and a table lamp, preferably one that provides white lighting. I used a fluorescent table lamp.

1) Fold the longer side of the cardboard into half and cut it.
2) Fold the half-cardboard into 3 equal parts.
3) Cut a base from the remaining half cardboard.
4) Place the folded cardboard onto the the base.
5) Slip in the white paper, ensuring that it’s not folded but “bent”.
6) Shine your lamp into your lightbox from the top and you’re ready to shoot!

The result:

These are unedited photos, shot at ISO 200. It doesn’t give enough lighting but I am satisfied with the result.

The best part about this lightbox is that you can fold it and store it away. It’s a little flimsy but works well if you need a lightbox immediately. I’ll probably build a proper lightbox one day, once I find 3 lamps and some space.

Wedding: Searching the venue

After getting engaged for more than a year, we finally decided to tie the knot in 2014.

The first thing we did was to secure a venue on our desired date. Initially we wanted to have only an ROM ceremony with close friends and relatives so we planned to have it in a cafe that could cater for 100 pax. Out of 8 cafes I wrote to, only 3 replied with a “yes” and 2 didn’t respond after asking me what ROM was. However, those who responded could not fit in 100 pax and required a “rental fee” (frankly, we are intruding their business hours). On top of that, corkage fees are required per bottle and most charged a high price per pax for the buffet. The cost of having our ROM in a cafe was equivalent to having a wedding dinner at a Chinese restaurant.

So, we scrapped the idea and looked for an alternative – rent a bungalow.

Renting a bungalow for your ROM really takes up a lot of your time … and money. Although I found 2 caterers that provided reasonable pricing for the buffet, the furniture rental costed way too much. There are also other hidden costs such as transportation fees, waiter fees and off-peak hours fees. A lot of planning will be involved and working with different vendors can be a hassle.

We ditched the idea and agreed to have our ROM at the JPN office in July 2014, followed by lunch with a small group of friends and immediate family members. We also wanted a private event where we could exchange our wedding vows. How long did we take to decide on the venue? 1 day.

We paid our deposit today in order to confirm our date and we’re relieved! Now to move on to other things such as our preferred colour(s) for the wedding, bridesmaids’ dresses & groomsmen’s attires, wedding favours, photographer, MUA, invitation cards, etc.

Yup, we are really doing this! October 2014 is a year away but as we always say, time flies!

Finding my roots

I rarely cook Chinese dishes even though I live in a home where we have Chinese food everyday. My dad has tried teaching me, but I always fail in getting the flavour right. He remarked that it’s because I suppressed my “inner-cook skill*” due to my dependance on measured ingredients. I think it’s mainly because we have different taste buds :P

(*My dad always assumes that all Hainanese have innate cooking skills)

I will be moving into my new home in a few months time with my soon-to-be husband. My future husband is a typical Chinese who favours Chinese food over everything else and can’t live without chili. I can never understand his preference considering we have a lot of good non-ChineseAsian restaurants all over the Klang Valley but this guy will pick a bowl of fish head meehoon over a plate of spaghetti anytime.

So I figured that I need to learn some Chinese dishes, pronto. The first person I asked for help was of course, my dad.

For the basics, he taught me his own Hainanese Fried Meehoon recipe which was really easy to cook. His secret ingredients: oyster sauce and brown sugar.

He stood next to me giving me directions on what to pour into the wok but never gave me measurements – “just agak-agak (estimate) the sauces, then you need to taste it with a spoon. If it’s a little salty, has a light sweetness with a hint of peppery taste, you are on the right track.”

So after 10 minutes, here’s my Hainanese Fried Meehoon:

I sent the above picture to my fiancĂ© and he asked me, “Singapore Fried Meehoon?”

(-___- “)

Looking forward to recreate familiar dishes at home with my parents before I move out. Otherwise, there’s always Google ;)

Mid-Autumn Festival

The mid-autumn festival in KL isn’t a grand celebration like in China but we do love our mooncakes (and lanterns!) and exchange them as gifts during this festival.

I love red bean paste mooncakes more than anyone in my family while they prefer lotus paste mooncakes with salted egg yolks — so it works out fine for all of us! However, no one in the family were keen in buying mooncakes this year so I took the effort to google recipes in order to bake my own batch of traditional mooncakes.

My first batch was from Christine’s recipe but they turned out hard, cracked and burnt. I may have baked them for too long in the oven.

I didn’t give up hope so I made further research & decided to test on this recipe. The verdict?

Yummy browned mooncakes!

I did not alter the recipe so you can refer to hers for instructions. I made lotus paste & red bean paste (both pre-packaged) mooncakes with melon seeds.

I do have a few tips which I gathered from other blogs that helped me in baking mooncakes:

1. Preferably, let the dough rest, wrapped in cling wrap, in room temperature, for at least a day before making them.
I have tested using it after 3 hours but the skin was tough. I had to wait 3 days after baking for the skin to soften. I made another batch after 1 day, and the skin was softer and tastier but had to wait for the next 2 days after baking for the right texture to set in. I also made a third batch on the third day of ‘resting’ and the skin softened a day after baking.

2. Spray water onto mooncakes before placing them into the oven to prevent cracks.
This extra step worked well for me. If you noticed in the picture, I do have rough-textured mooncakes that look like cracks but it’s actually my method of covering the paste with the dough. That brings to my third tip.

3. Once the paste is covered with dough, smoothen out any breaks that formed on the skin.
I’m not patient when it comes to smoothening the dough, but if you want nice looking skin, go for this step! I also recommend placing the smoothly formed texture onto the mould’s imprint and the folding (where the outer edges of the dough meet) as the base of the mooncake. I’ve tried vice versa & found too many imperfections on the imprints.

4. Watch carefully over your mooncakes as they bake in the oven.
Depending on your oven, the skin might bake faster than the suggested time. My first baking period was 10 minutes, and after which I let them cool down for another 10 minutes before brushing with egg wash. I baked them for another 8 minutes to obtain the glossy texture. Both baking periods were done in 200 degrees C. Just watch them very closely and you won’t get burnt mooncakes.

There are many precautions to take but mooncakes are really not difficult to make.

If you’re planning to make a batch, have fun!

Rice Cooker Mac & Cheese

Oh, I love mac & cheese.

While living in Brisbane, I was so addicted to Kraft’s Easy Mac and never grew out of it. I found a box in one of the higher end supermarkets in KL but since the inflated price does not do justice for microwavable food, I stopped having my favourite snack.

Not until I thought of my rice cooker!

This recipe is made in rice cooker where the elbows (or macaroni) are added into the pot with the chicken stock and water. Instead of milk, I used cream and poured over the pasta while it was still cooking, approx. 15 minutes from the beginning of the cooking stage, and added in shredded cheese.

I used Monterey Jack & Cheddar, both costed RM 14 each from Cold Storage. The shredded ones are slightly more expensive so I purchased cheese blocks and shredded them myself to save cost. I am frugal, that way.

Recipe from Weelicious, modified by me
Serves 2

1 cup pasta (I used macaroni)
1/2 chicken stock cube added into 1 cup of water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup cream
1 cup cheese (I used 1/2 cup cheddar and 1/2 cup Monterey Jack)
Sliced ham (Optional)
1/2 cup white button mushrooms (Optional)
Black pepper, or your preferred seasoning to serve (Optional – I used garlic pepper)

Instructions
1. Place the first 3 ingredients in the rice cooker and cook for 15 minutes.

2. Open the lid, add the cream, cheese, ham & mushrooms, stir to combine, close the lid and cook for an additional 15 minutes.

3. Once cooked, open the lid and stir thoroughly. While the rice cooker is still in “warm” mode, wait for about 5-8 minutes for the sauce to dry up.

4. Serve with your favourite seasoning.