About Me


name: hcpen

age: 23

nationality: Malaysian/Taiwanese

currently residing in: Sydney, Australia

family members: father, mother, younger brother

languages spoken: English, Mandarin, Cantonese, Hokkien, Malay, Japanese

education: International School of Penang (Penang) , Taylors College (Melbourne), University of Melbourne (Melbourne), East China University of Politics and Law/1 month Chinese Law program (Shanghai), Keio University/1 sem exchange (Tokyo), College of Law (Sydney)

Places lived in: Taipei; Penang; Melbourne; Shanghai; Tokyo; Sydney


18 Responses to “About Me”

  1. 1 Tereza

    Hi Hcpen,
    I’d like to apply for permanent residency here in Australia, but still miss a few points (the rules are more strict nowadays, so my Masters Degree and a 6 year-work experience are not enough unfortunatelly 😦
    Therefore I’d like to sit for the NAATI exam to get some etra points. However… I know the test is really tough, it’s almost impossible to pass it, only 20% of students are successsful, blah blah blah. These are just rumors, my friend’ s friend has a friend who’ s sister failed it… you know how it goes. So I don’t want to get scared before I even take the exam… I just want to try it with no expectations and we’ll see if this is the way.
    I was searching on the internet hoping I’d meet some people who had sat for the exam in the past and eventually passed it. And I know you are one of the lucky ones!!! How was it?
    I’m really sorry for disturbing you, but could you PLEASE, write me about your experience? I’d be grateful for ANY information, tip, advice, warning…
    This is the only chance for me to stay in Australia as a normal human being (a life in Sydney on student visa is a struggle).
    If you write back, you can’t even imagine how much it will mean to me!!!
    Thanks a lot, mate.
    Kind regards,

  2. 2 hcpen

    I’ve replied your email. Hope it helps!:)

  3. 3 lpleow


    I stumbled upon your blog by chance and read your entry about passing NAATI.

    I had sat for NAATI twice (Malay-English) for migration purposes, but unfortunately, I wasn’t successful in both sittings. I would really appreciate it if you could give me some pointers on what it takes to achieve the passing mark of 70.

    In addition, can you also provide some details on the short course on translation that you had taken? Do you know of any M’sian institution offering such course? Going for the test without really knowing what examiners’ exact requirements is like threading on thin ice. I’m planning to take some course before going for another attempt.

    Your kind advice is very much appreciated. Many thanks!

    • 4 Nina

      Wow, hcpen, your blog is overwhelmed with NAATI discussions and questions.

      I must say, you are the star and an inspiration for us who dream of passing the NAATI exam. 😀

      I would like to get in touch with lpleow, and perhaps discuss on our ‘predicaments & anxiety’. I’m also planning to sit for the Malay-English NAATI for migration purpose. And were both stuck in Malaysia! ….for now….

      I can be contacted at tks1432@yahoo.com

      • 5 hcpen

        sorry, i don’t have the previous commentator’s details..i hope you succeed..yes, given what you described, it seems easier for you to apply as the main applicant than your husband. Please be aware you are applying for English into Malay right? Cos there are two directions. One is Malay-English, English-Malay. They’re NOT the SAME. So you must pick carefully. Best of Luck!

        PS: Why do u keep saying its for ur children? What’s wrong with growing up in Malaysia?

  4. 6 Nina

    I understand the NAATI exam. I’ve chosen Malay to English. What I’m not sure of is the translation part, since I’m not a translator by profession. I am trying to make various preparation course including taking the NAATI Ethics course to assist me in the exam.

    Well, first, being Chinese we are mostly at the losing end of most situations here in Malaysia. For instance, my sister, she was a top scholar, but she was only given scholarship to pursue her studies in Malaysia, whereas her Bumiputra peers who scored lesser than her were sent abroad.

    Secondly, the Maths & Science were reverted back to Malay. This is not a beneficial move for the Rakyat, but rather a political move to politicize every single thing to mean the non-malays are questioning the Malay language/ rights, etc. I’ve studied Maths & Science in Malay before & I know it was most disadvantageous, knowing all the terms in Malay.

    Many parents are against this move to have Maths & Science in Malay, for obvious reasons… but government refuse to hear anything about it. It’s really not competitive in the international arena.

    Of course, there’s nothing wrong growing up in Malaysia, but given a choice, Australia & it’s education are better compare to Malaysia…..especially for Chinese.

    Thirdly, my elder daughter has mentioned she would like to be a doctor someday. With financial planning in mind, it would be very costly to send them abroad. in Malaysia, if local university were to be…. then it’s competing with the Bumis and there’s a possibility of not gaining a place… like how my sister wanted to study medicine but given an engineering place in a local university instead… here in Malaysia.

    I’m not saying Australia does not have it’s negative side, but comparably, it provides fairer opportunity and better quality of life…. evidently from my cousins, uncles in Australia.

    • 7 hcpen

      Yes, I have heard alot about this..but i thought maybe it had changed since my time, prob by the time your daughters come of age, malaysian policies will become fairer…but definitely its waaay cheaper to do medicine here as govt has loans although u need extremely good results. I guess it’s a better environment here altho i always suggest for children to grow up until at least secondary 1 before moving over, just to get a good grounding in their mother tongue/culture overseas. Do practice alot and do alot of practice papers and sample exams, making sure u pass way over 70, so you have space to lose a couple of marks in the real exam and still pass. Ethics part of exam is really the easy bit so don’t worry about that. It used to be that if you failed ethics part (as marked separately) you can resit it again without having to do the entire translation bit again, so i rem vaguely i had not had enough time to complete ethics and but (thankfully) despite personally not thinking i did well, i managed to pass the translation part quite well and was called in to re-do the ethics part ( i think i hardly wrote anything for ethics part as i concentrated on translation part (which is key, if lack of time, always finish translation part, never leave translation part incomplete). But check regarding policy now, i’m not sure whether they still allow ppl to re-sit ethics part.

      Make sure spelling and grammar is not an issue for you as you cannot afford to make simple mistakes and lose marks cos of grammatical errors made under pressure. Concentrate on how to translate common terms and also, i found personally, in chinese-eng, the sentence structure was by far the hardest bit. Cos my grammar/spelling was not really an issue but translating from chi into eng and making sure the sentence structure made sense and was accurate was definitely the hardest bit for me. I’m not sure whether malay and english have similar sentence structures. If not, definitely practice ‘rearranging words’. An example is: Bapa saya ialah seorang engineer. In English if you didn’t rearrange, it’d be: Father of mine is an engineer which is word-by-word correct but unnatural and not correct. Natural way is My father is an engineer.

      Lots of practice is the key to succeeding cos its well worth it. After doing 50-60 trial papers and achieving 70 everytime at least, once u’re familiar with the ‘theme passages’ you can speed ahead. I am keeping my fingers crossed for you:-)
      PS: If u were to migrate over, which city or town are you thinking of living? The costs of living here is extremely expensive, unlike in Malaysia, but there’s alot more multiculturalism…and policies are fairer, less racism..can get asian stuff very very easy nowadays in the big cities..

  5. 8 Nina

    Hcpen, thank you so much. In fact, I can’t thank you enough for the invaluable tips.

    We love Sydney. Job is aplenty as well. Since me & hubby are graduates, finding work should not be a problem…if we’re not picky, that is! For lower starting cost, Perth would be the next choice, especially when my uncle is there. Anyway…that’s not the main concern yet. First thing first! which is to get through. 🙂

    Actually, I’m not too much older than you…I’m only 5 yrs your senior. Reading your blog, there were some similarities of the things we like… like all things chinese & qi pao. I’m very chinese at heart & it’s a must for my girls to know Chinese. I myself do not know written chinese and i feel it’s a handicap!

    by the way…your profile age is still 23, that’s not true any longer isn’t it?

    • 9 hcpen

      yes, i haven’t updated my age as truth be told, i don’t update this blog much anymore, but somehow, all my NAATI questions still come to this blog (for some reason), my updated blog is at: http://www.chinesechic.blogspot.com..hope u succeed in ur pursuits!

  6. 10 Nina

    Thanks, girl!!
    If I succeed & live in Sydney, I’ll cook you your favourite Malaysian food! Serious!

  7. 11 Nina

    hcpen, Translator is taken off the list as at 17 May.

    This means I cannot opt for this route… sigh…

  8. You better check as i think it comes into effect june. Also, the skilled occupations list is getting stricter and so you should apply as soon as possible as the trend is definitely a narrower and narrower possibility of migration i’ve seen in these past 3-4 years. I was actually surprised occupations such as cooks and hairdressers could still apply PR as i thought they deleted those last yr but i guess i was wrong..these occupations have also been deleted…so my advice, submit your pr application asap before it changes again. Also, i’m a guy, not a girl! I always get mistaken for a girl cos i am interested in women’s issues and cheongsam..haha..

  9. 13 Nina

    ooopppss….sorry hcpen. Ya, from the blog it does make you seem like a girl. To know that you are actually a guy, shows that you have a refine and exquisite taste to appreciate what most men don’t.

    The list will come in effect on 1 July. Luckily my hubby’s qualification & experience is still viable to apply. Not the same as previous… but viable 🙂

    Do you happen to know Prof Peter Yu? He’s from Taiwan, majoring in Political Science with some Malaysian background as well.

  10. Well, submit it in asap…it’s always better that way from my experience. Then you can amend and supply further documentation if needed. Also, i wouldn’t know any professors from Taiwan,why??

  11. 15 malaysian lee

    Hi Hcpen.

    Was searching online and stumbled on your posts. It’s good to see that you are getting in touch with people interested in sitting for the NAATI exam. I’ve sat for the examination once, but failed. I’m planning to re-sit the examination, but I’m unsure where I can get additional help and resources.

    Do you know of anyone / institution that I could practice my English-Malay translation tests? You mentioned in your posts that you tried practicing 60-70 times until you got the passing mark of 70, and I’m hoping to practice well enough before sitting for the exam.

    I have also tried to look for resources online, but there are very little available for the Malay language. I suspect if may be a result of low-demand. But if you have any recommendation, that’ll be helpful.

    Thanks. And congratulations on passing your Chinese-English test. It’s an achievement. Looking forward to your answer.

  12. 16 Nina

    Hi!! Remember me? That was 2 years ago….. now I’ve got my visa!!

    • 17 hcpen

      Wow, time flies, so have you and your family received Permanent Residency?? Are you in Oz now? Congrats!!:-)

  13. 18 Yokas

    Hi, I was wondering if you could translate my Taiwanese driving license for me? Thank you

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