April 30, 2009

Why science fiction is still the best way to advance science

Did you hear about the idea of trying to grow food on the moon and the planet which is nearly the same size as earth? All these have been discovered by scientists around the world for the past 3 to 4 months. I read these news and dismissed them just as fast. However, if I remember correctly, all these have been told endless times in science fictions across all ages. I was a science fiction buff once. Not the Star Trek one which is why I am writing this post but of the reading kind. In 1997, I discovered Isaac Asimov. Not the science fiction writer but the mystery thriller writer. He wrote about a gathering of powerful men in a club called who would solve mysteries for those in need. The settings? 1950s. The funny part (or it may be a social commentary) the problem solver were never these high society men. It was the butler, who was always the same one (I think the name is Henry) although the setting was in a gentlemen's club. The book was not mine, I suspected it was my brother's and I never saw it sold in Malaysia.

What I found in Malaysia was his science fiction. The Foundation saga. I was just 13 that year and I was still in the midst of migrating from reading teen book by Enid Blyton to real books by real authors. As my brother just came back from the US then, I took his love for Robert Ludlum and Jeffrey Archer (I know he is Briton but I didn't know the difference then) for myself before finding my own favourite authors. That was when I discovered Isaac Asimov as one of them before I discovered Tolkien a bit later. Little did I know I was reading books of olde that would not have been discovered by me if not for them reprinting them again. 

I actually was not ready for these books as I still did not understand half of what I was reading. I was just reading them out of curiosity. And guess what? There were some of the stuff there which we called science fictions then, which are now realities. Maybe they were far-fetched then but nowadays, they have all become just another device for the masses. Internet has made us close together by connecting us through lines and even through the air (wifi) but we seem to say these are all primitive as we expect our connection to never be broken or is faster than what we are experiencing. For me, it is just amazing I can see people wearing Star Trek device to talk (bluetooth headset) and driving cars which would have been called futuristic 20 to 30 years ago.

I remembered when my mother and my two brothers came back from USA in 1989 when my eldest had his graduation ceremony (I was left as I had a big important exam that year. The scar of being left is still there) when I asked them what is the most significant things that differentiate Malaysia from USA? They said, everywhere they went, they could see Malaysia being 20 years behind USA. Not anymore. We are just as advance as any other country which had been playing catch-up after the internet boom of 1990s and now globalisation has brought us close together. And what has all this got to do with science fiction? Read those old books, didn't they say something in the similar vein? People living together and connecting with each other effortlessly.

p/s - Tomorrow on May Day, I will be watching my second summer preview Star Trek. Let us see what science fiction that this new movie brings. Just for the record, I am not a Trekkie and the only series I ever followed was Star Trek : Next Generation. Maybe because Picards' head looked like mine

April 29, 2009

First question a criminal lawyer should ask

...is simply "Are you guilty?"

Then we would know how to do our job.

Then we know how to ensure you are protected from certain procedures which will make you incriminate yourself.

Then we would know how to make sure you win the case.

Then we would know whether you can win or not.

Then we would know what question to ask you.

Then we would know how much  chances for you to still be alive after the trial.

Then we would know whether to put you on the witness chair or not.

Then we would know who we are dealing with.

Then we would know what to dress you for the trial.

Then we would know how much to charge you.

Then we would know whether you are really a criminal or a victim of circumstances.

And most importantly, then we would know whether we want to take the case or not.

April 28, 2009

The sound of summer in Malaysia : Wolverine : The Origins

 The free tickets

As Malaysia only has one season which is humid and hot (unless you count rainy season as a season, which is not as we get rain every month of the year) summer is known to us when the summer movies take to our shore like a duck taken to water. It was never like this before until piracy (of the movie kind, not the Somalian or the Carribean kind) is acknowledge to have always started in Asia way before it reaches the American audience. 

Malaysia was once one of Hollywood studios greatest enemy in movie piracy when we can watched movie far earlier than when it reaches our shore. We would have seen nearly 20 of the 30 release that year before we even know they are on our screen. And mind you, these are not just mainstream movies but include Sundance or Cannes festival type of movies. See how affluent we are when it comes to movies.

That is until Hollywood wisen up. They realised to get us on their side, we must be shown first the movie even way before those in United States themselves. We have been having premieres for the past 3 to 4 years of popular movies that would have made all the Hollywood stars coming in droves. Here, you don't need that. We are so advanced in our taste of pop culture that you just need to put a label saying 2 days earlier than worldwide release. I have been to a few of those and this summer, mine started with Wolverine : The Origin. Thanks to a credit card from a bank.

It was supposed to start with the Fast and Furious movie but I didn't win the blogging contest I entered and I watched it like any other normal man on the street. However, this time, I went outside the system (of blogging) and win the tickets by shopping at a shopping complex which allow me to redeem the tickets at the branch of the bank issuing the credit card. I redeemed it at the last minute on the last day it was allowed as I was too busy spring cleaning.

My hope (written before seeing the movie):

It is a bad-ass whoop them up without mercy and no one cried except one instance showing Wolverine turning from a child abused and needing love to what he is. The simple word I would be looking for : NO MERCY. I loved Gambit when I first laid eyes on him with his stick and his overcoat. X-Men wouldn't have won in the Phoenix Saga if not for Remy (Gambit real name) hadn't found the Achilles heel in the bubble that Phoenix built around herself. Gambit power is finding the most vulnerable spot in one's power. The issue about leaked footage and the geekdom lamenting the White Queen is not as powerful as she should be, I couldn't care less as I am more interested in that Wolverine vs. Victor Creed's fight.

So, I have high hope for it though I bet Transformer will still be the highlight of this summer.

My review (written after seeing the movie) :

Ok, just got back from the movie. For real comic fans, it is not really what you have read when you read Wolverine : The Origin. As always, Hollywood took liberty. A lot of it. For movie lovers and those who understand how films work, here is the low-down. What were explained are why Wolverine hates Sabretooth so much, what is the relation between Colonel William Stryker and him (X-Men 2), how he lost his memory, why his name is Wolverine, why Canada and him can never be separated, why the cover of the comic has him looking like a lumberjack and lastly for the ladies, Hugh Jackman was naked for 3 to 4 minutes but of course the kind of nakedness for a kid to understand. There was romance but there was no sex. Just innuendo of it.

My verdict? It is passable as a summer movie but it won't be the greatest one out there with Star Trek, Transformers 2, Terminator 4, Harry Potter (is it 6 or 7?) and John Langdon 2 (better known as Angels & Demons) coming in the next two months. As last year went, Wolverine will be the Hulk as people will be torn whether to like it or not but it did make decent money.

Now for this coming Friday, I was told through an email I will get to see Star Trek earlier than anyone else thanks to a blog directory website. Woohooo.....!!!!!!!!

April 27, 2009

Marketeers nowadays really love clients feedback

As I had posted in earlier, I went for a gathering of customers of a local online advertisement portal which  called a few of us for a meet-up. The website name is mySimplifieds.com. I got to know them when I used their service to post a few advertisements as a local blog advertisement agency was promoting their contest which would have given the winner an F1 tickets. As they really wanted to know their users and being relevant to the youth market, they used Nuffnang which is a supposedly hip blog advertising company to reach out. So, they sent email to a few of us and asked us whether we want to meet them for a meet-up.

As I was interested in knowing who they were and what they had to offer, I replied their email and they invited me to come and as they said to bring something to sell, I scoured my house and found a few old  magazines to sell. I really thought they were going to give each of us a table and we could open stalls and such. How wrong was I...

There were only a bunch of us, I think the most was 30 people and most of them were corporate people who had something to offer. Some work with other advertising website such as one was from a jobseekers website and another was from a travel agency. They started by introducing themselves after treating us to breakfast. They told us of their connection to one of the telecommunication company in Malaysia (in which they were a side project but became a subsidiary when they were successful). The things that we brought were only for a game of a sale pitch which was won by a guy trying to sell a very light and practical walking stick. My magazines had no buyer and I didn't win that nifty wristwatch. Hmm...I am not a good salesman after all.

What I am impressed of was their sponge-like attitude on what we suggested and their willingness to really take our view into account. We were given some sneak previews of some part which are not up yet and we were invited to become one of their beta tester. We were then brought to see their parent's company impressive headquarters which you can access my report on it here. I sometimes wish the legal fraternity in Malaysia is not so close up as it is now as we couldn't really utilise advertisement website such as this. And leave to me to ask them if they would charge any fee in the long run as now ad postings on their site is still free. Sheepishly they answered, yep, they are a profit making company after all.
Here are some pictures from the event.....

 The event organiser
 The team
A bit of history 
A Facebook-like function
New features not launched yet (kind of a preview)
A Steve Job like presentation

April 26, 2009

A lawyer needs to know everything

One of the thing that I was taught by my parents when I was still young is how important general knowledge is. I mean, I was told to read, watch documentaries, talk to people and always keep on asking even though I think I already know the answer. And yes, I am one of the kid who will be asking "What is that mom?" or "Are we there yet?" or "Can a cat swim? Let me try that... Where's the cat?". Yes, you guessed it. Some of the experiments were not to my mom liking and some of the activities had me carry scars until now. That is why one of my toe's nail is cut in half.

I was sitting at a table of newly found friends two days ago when I had the chance to meet a few people thanks to mySimplified, an online advertisement company in Malaysia. I was one of the few Malays in that group. Within that group was a guy who tried to pitch a sale of a night of wine tasting for free, when there was a sales pitch game before. Nobody wanted to do it and at that table he was discussing about how there is no real wine club in Malaysia. I was asking him why don't he approach this one shop which seems to specialise in selling wines. I also added on how wine are supposed to be tested by smelling and then trying some of it within the mouth, swirling and then spitting it out. This guy was surprised as he thought as a Muslim I wouldn't know such things. I had to tell him that I never touch any alcohol ever but of course that is common knowledge on how wine tasting are done. It seems that it is not such common knowledge after all.

Just to make a point, I believe being legally trained require you to know about everything. I became a business owner immediately I got my license to practice and  as I was still new then, I took any cases that I can find. I was a corporate lawyer during the night trying to close deals with international clients and during the day I had to argue on why my client shouldn't be found guilty for vehicular manslaughter. The occasional civil dispute on lands and family matters kept me busy knowing how I should be well informed on such matters. I remembered being approached by a client who wanted to sell his house and then became a client who wanted to close a million dollar deal when he found out that I can help him to do such matter.

Being knowledgeable is just one of the thing that a lawyer need to have in his or her forte. There are news to know, books to read, people to talk to and then some. There are so many ways for informations to be gained and passed on to. As an entrepeneur, although some of the knowledge is second hand and is not substitiated by real facts, knowing the basic of certain type of knowledge is an advantage to you as sometimes people assess you with what they can see or hear when they talk to you. I am currently learning about Islamic finance and although I am not a banker and do not really understand how bank really work, as I near the completion of my course, I can now talk with confidence on what finance is all about. And though I am no expert in stem cell research, if suddenly a banker ask me about whether is there any future in that industry so that he can assess whether to finance such project or not, wouldn't I seem to be daft if I have to ask him, "What is stem cell research all about?". At least know the basic so that you can go home to read more about it after clinching the deal.

So, in short, READ...(or do whatever to gain whatever knowledge of everything)

April 25, 2009

Open office concept in Malaysia

I was invited to a meet the customers session this morning by a company called mySimplifieds.com, a new advertising company which is trying to do the e-commerce thingy with a difference. Little did I know when I got the invite from them two weeks ago they were a company under this one small telecommunication company which managed to grab attention as they are the only foreign owned mobile phone company and they managed to stay relevant after all this years. This company by the name of Digi is mostly owned by a Norwegian company called Telenor and has managed to capture the students and yound adult market especially when it comes to prepaid handheld service. They have this cute little mascot which took the market by storm due to its cuteness and seemingly cheerful demeanor.

Anyaway, when I was told of the place the community meet-up was to be held, I was ecstatic. I have heard about the concept of their open office since forever. They don't have assigned desk and even their CEO can sit anywhere within the building and set up office there and then. His real office which is on top floor is more for press conference and entertain any foreign delegates or bosses from their headquarters. This is my first time there and I consider them to be innovative in their way of capturing the market and retaining their customers although they always play the bridesmaid to two other telecommunication companies in Malaysia. That two have the government as their partners and thic company is fully private. And there are enough businesses to go around to all actually.

Two weeks ago, I was also at an event which was held at a headquarters of a boradband company. I did not take any pictures there but you can check out the pictures at another blog - Kong Technology. That was when I was given the chance of testing a product by them called the Wiggy and this company have a game room and relaxation lounge for their employees. That lounge has a few pool and foosball tables with another room has 5 massage chairs. Naturally, the first question which I asked was whether Digi offers the same facilities to their employees. And you guessed it, all this concept of having places to play while you work was taken by me from what I heard of Googleplex. It is supposed to have the most game areas with even a basketball court in their compound. And it seems that Digi has the basketball court but not the game room. 

They do have lots of open spaces though which the guy said are used for parties. A lot of parties. Maybe Norwegians really know how to throw them parties or was it influenced by their Malaysian counterparts? As I am supposed to show you how open is their open concept, below are some pictures from their compound. The only question is, would you be able to work as such? Just imagine you are chasing a deadline and then suddenly your CEO decides to use the table across you. Would you be able to work? My office does has an open concept but I do have room more for the benefit of having a barrier between my employees and me as they do need some space of their own. But as a rule, my door is never close, unless I am adjusting my pants or something. The Digi guy said their level of hierachy is 5. Mine is 2 (but mine is a small company. really small. they have 2300 employees)

The yellow man (their mascot)

Their courtyard at the back (lots of open spaces too)

A rest area for the employees within the building

This is the open concept office. Choose a seat. Any seat. And fire up your laptop (which is provided once you are hired)

April 24, 2009

Wealth are to be shared (especially among friends)

Other than a personal jealousy of doctor's capability to make a profit faster in private practice especially when that jealousy is directed more to my elder sibling than anyone else, I don't actually feel any jealousy towards any of my school friends, either from my primary school, secondary school or even those who studied law with me. You can read my rant on that doctor vs. lawyer things in these post here and here. And just for the record, my jealousy is not the type of jealousy of I-hate-you or I-want-to-be-a-doctor-so-that-I-can-get-what-he-got, but more of the feeling sometimes life can be unfair at certain part though it is fair in another part altogether.

I know some of these freinds are more successful or have a more meaningful or even a relaxed career (as in they are so rich that they don't have to work anymore) than me, but I am actually a contented person. I have my own business which has been there for nearly 10 years. I have a home. A few investments scattered here and there. I have made money. I have lost money. I have travelled. I have mingled with rich people, poor people and just plain people. I know a few famous people. I earn enough. Drive decent cars. Can choose not to work but as a workoholic and a worrier, I call my office even if I am thousands of miles away from it. I have new hobbies every other year which is now is blogging.

I do meet my friends occasionally. I call them when I am in their hometown. I asked (and sometimes insisted) on meeting them just for the sake of meeting. Some have married and have kids. There are still a few bachelors. There are spinsters. There are divorcees. Some have remarried. None that I know of has more than one wife. Some married famous people. Some married their college sweetheart (or school sweetheart). Some has passed away. Some drive small cars. Some drive sport cars.Some rent the house they live in. Most have their own home. Some are as big as mine. Some are way bigger. Some have made their millions. Some have lost their millions. Some are just ordinary folks trying to get by.

Jealous of any of them? The problem with me is I am not worried to much of not being able to retire rich or not being able to get what I dream of. For the first part, I do not plan to retire. Ever. I love being a lawyer or more of an entrepreneur and I want to do it forever. Even if I turn my house into an office to manage my real office. One day. The second part about achieving dreams. I have achieved it nearly 5 to 6 years ago and I still am thankful for everyday I can still experience it.

And the last thing that make me feeling contented is that I believe wealth is to be shared and if someone has more then you will get yours sooner or later... As a businessman, no matter how successful you are, I think this is the best attitude towards life you can have.

April 23, 2009

2 + 2 does not necessarily makes 4

Once, I had a discussion with this one CEO of a listed company which was developing a township near my area. Then, he was nearing his mandatory retirement age and was then perusing on who would he want to recommend to the Board of Director of the company as his successor. He was selective in everything that he does and choosing a successor to be recommended to the Board is no small matter for him. 

In all my dealings with him, he is one person who always wants to make a hill out of a mole hill as he always seems to have an idea about everything. My one accomplishment over him is when I managed to stump him this one time when we travelled to London and I introduced him to a Cockney friend who he admitted he couldn't understand what the guy was talking about. Hah!!!

Anyway, his issue on why he just couldn't recommend the most senior executive within his company who was his CFO as she was just too honest. As an accountant, the lady had been working with that particular company since she was 20 years old and had been with that particular CEO as his CFO for the past 11 years. The clincher to his decision is when he said "She is too honest. She just couldn't get around her head that 2 + 2 does not necessarily makes 4. As a CEO, she must understand that sometimes the rules are there to be bent accordingly".

As much as I hate this guy, I just couldn't not agree with him. He was right as a CEO should not decide base on what is in front of him. He must assess it, weight all his options and then through all the information that he has, he must then make sure that he can definitely say what he had decided is the best for the company. Even as a business owner, I sometimes have to make decision without following any management books. There is no definite answer to any issue. Sometimes, by not following the rule, you can make sure your company survives anything.

Oh, and that lady? She is now the CEO of the company after that guy retires. The company? As healthy as ever. Hmmm...Maybe 2 + 2 can still be 4 or she now knows how to make it not 4.

How many was that again? Let me use the calculator

April 22, 2009

In the final analysis, men love being boys

 Big boys toys?
I was eavesdropping on some men at a small neighbourhood mall in Kuala Lumpur which are usually frequented by the powerful and the need to be seen. It was not that I really wanted to know what they were talking about but they were talking in whispers while looking around making it irresistable. I am a good eavesdropper as I have learned long ago that is the best way to know what was going around in campus without people knowing you know anything at all. It also mean when I am with my politician friends, I get to know new things without them knowing that I know.

In one of the table, I can hear the strategies being discuss for that group of men to take over the highest hierachy of an important society in the country. That particular society is known as an extension of this one political party which has been in existence since the existence of Malaysia itself. I heard the word, "Let us let our lawyers do their part in challenging the legitimacy of last election while we get the support of the other members for the next election". One seems to be the leader while the others were more of the followers. One of them keep glancing around each time there was anyone making any movement at all within one meter radius of their table. If the one talking is Barack Obama, this guy would be the secret agent who is willing to throw himself in front of the bullet.

When I saw these men talking, and then calling out to others around the area as if they own the place and then if someone important walk past, they would stand up and went to them to show their appreciation to this person, what I could see are boys playing in the playground. As much as these men are people who can move the nation to kowtow to their needs and even to some extent make people jump at their command, they are just like some kids trying to protect their turf and trying to win new turfs. When someone with enough clout joined their group, their laughter will be heard nearly the whole restaurant. Boisterous is an understatement.

In short, men, no matter how powerful or how high their office are, will always be that boy with their toys running around their house trying to get away from their mother. That toy? Has changed to gadgets such as cars, Vertu phone and even those occasional mistress. The mother? That is where the arm of the law comes in...

...or maybe one of these

April 21, 2009

Even in blogosphere you need friends...

I am always one of those people who think I can live alone without any help and when I started blogging, I extended this belief to it too. I rarely asked around about how to do anything and this past few weeks I was surprised by a few friendly gestures, either made known to me about who was being kind to me or an anonymous tip on something I did. Here is my story of the kindness of strangers :- 

1) A blogger who introduced herself a few times before I really followed her offered to make me a new 125 x 125 widget. Her name is Daisy and she has a few excellent blog. She posted on her blog when my new widget is finished and you can read yourself her announcement of my new widget here. I actually am so IT-blind that I don't know how to do this widget which I have seen around the blogosphere and there was even a tutorial posted once on using GIMP on how to do it. Thanks Daisy!!!

2) Then an anonymous friend saw my posting in my other blog about perfume in which the picture had me in it, with just my .... let just say it was not a flattering picture of me reflected in a mirror albeit it was dark and all, like a horror film (if you managed to see it). That post can be read here but the picture was changed to a better one with two naked girls... Thanks anonymous friend, whoever you are;

3) A blogger by the name of Sandy about an annoying pop-up ads which made her unable to drop entrecard on me (entrecard is a bloggers business card which you can find on my right hand side of this blog). It was a new blog aggregator called YouthMedia for Malaysian blog which I am trying out and please tell me if it is still a bother. Thanks Sandy. She has an excellent blog by the name of The Travelling Suitcase. Read it and travel in the safety of your home...

Anyway, I am thankful for friends that I meet here in this place called the blogosphere and I hope anyone of you, if there is any will always be willing to tell me if I ever make any mistake. As shown, even in a faceless place like this (I only see your picture, not face), the maxim of A friend in Need is A friend INDEED is still alive and true...

April 20, 2009

However good the young have become, wisdom still come with age....

You were a superstar who made millions when you have your own television shows. You have flown to the moon and back and now is touring the country to show off what you have seen up there. You are a musical sensation when you are just fourteen and throughout your teens and your twenties. When all these people are interviewed, the interviewer who are paid to say something nice (or maybe it was the newspaper or the magazine who was paid) will usually say the tagline "He/She was wise beyond his/her years!" or "She/He is a genius!" or something to that effect.

To me, all these are just spin trying to sell whatever the person is trying to sell. Then there are certain businesses who are run or were run by youngsters. They may be of IT background or they learned some technology while they were in college then they managed to build a business out of their knowledge. They will make millions and they believe they are the best in their industry. No one are as good as them. In Malaysia, there was a time when there were nearly 5 to 6 CEOs who were appointed to their posts when they were just in their 30s. Of that number, I think only one of them are still around. They were initially appointed to their posts mostly by the government. There are those who were appointed by private companies.

I know my theory may not be popular among youth or even among those who are already making their first million at the age of 20 but just out of curiosity, except in sports, where the younger you are, the more powerful and faster and stronger you are, and you need to have the mental capacity to harness this skills that you have within you. However, all sportsperson knows, without their trainers or their coach, pushing them to do their best, telling them they are good and making sure they have discipline enough, they wouldn't have won that 100 meter race, that tennis grandslam, that F1 first finish and then retain it year after year.

In short, all those sportsperson, need some wisdom from someone who has aged more than them. In short, wisdom can only comes with age. That thing you think is wisdom in your head are just ideas. Ideas need to be develop, tested and then tried out. Having ideas are easy. Even a toddler has one. Knowing what happen when the idea dies out or what to do after is another thing altogether. Just ask Bill Gates whether there are things he just wish he had known when he first started out. He may have owned a country if he had known...

April 19, 2009

Why the world do not have enough leaders...

Remember when I was ranting about the resident association once in this blog. If you do not remember, read it here. In that posting I was going to rant about how a few capable people declined to be elected as the committee member of our resident association although they are capable as they had held the post elsewhere before they moved to our neighbourhood. I decided to write about how Malaysian resident's association for stratified title were formed instead. I left my rants for today as I believe people who are capable are actually doing mankind a disservice by not accepting the nomination. Yes, disservice to MANKIND. Not just to a small neighbourhood or an area. MANKIND!!

I actually believe, those in politics are not great leaders except for a few. Very few. Most are there due to their power hungry nature. Some say they were asked to. Some say they had contributed for so long to their political party and now is the time they are recognised for their contributions. They had shouted at elections. Went head to head with authorities. Joined street protest and rally. Visited the sick and kissed the baby (a favorite in some country). Now, isn't it time they are appointed to some executive position like a minister or in some country, certain position which will allow them to show that they have the right pedigree or credential to be there. In short, most politicians work backward. Their political clout will make them became leaders which will then allow them to show the people what they are made of.

After some times, I think I know where have all the real leaders of humankind have gone. They are too disillussioned by the government of the day wherever they might reside as there are too many politicking and unneeded complication for these people to really give their all. In the final analysis, they either joined the opposition or they just fade away, living 'normal' life and not giving a hoot. In this day and age, some of them do start blogs for their own self-satisfaction. They do comment on the current situation and the so called leaders will sift through (or not!) their thoughts. If they are lucky, they might be hauled up to court for spreading unconfirmed news or even inciting hatred. If you are really lucky, in Malaysia, there is a Guantanamo-like prison which they put dissenter without having to explain why.

So, leaders today are very much around but they are just ordinary people who think that it is not worth it. Maybe they think leading their own family is enough to contribute to the society.

Choose me and I'll make sure there are enough fish for all...

April 18, 2009

Ivy League weekend

Well, not really Ivy League but it is more of old boys gathering of the Malaysian version. The oldest old boy association in Malaysia, called MCOBA, from a school with historic background either in its existence or the persons who went to school there, seems to have a gathering this weekend. They were so powerful once that they have their own public listed company which was said to monopolise most of the big projects in Malaysia. Now that company is not that strong anymore nor does being an alumni of that school open doors like it used to but from what I see, they still managed to retain the sense of kinship among themselves (they may actually still have other 'benefits' but not as apparent as days of yore)

My own alumni, the law school where I graduated, is also gathering for the first time to finally officially formed the alumni after celebrating it's 25 years of churning out law graduates. It happened around 10 am this  Saturday morning. The road leading to the formation of this alumni is so full of false starts and unattended meetings that I thought it was never meant to be. Alas, I was not there as I was attending my only Islamic finance class before my exams next week. I was told just now through that known social network which seems to connect people like no other, Facebook, that a first batch senior of the law school became its first President. Hope that count for something.

What does kinship has anything to do with business? A lot it seems. The world is said to actually being formed by secret associations and government all over are actually formed by these associations. Even Malaysians were said to join one of these associations and became so powerful that doors open before they even knock. I, for one, is never a member of any assocation except the one which licenses my profession. It is more for the benefit of learning than looking for business that I am active in just being a normal member.

My fraternity was a pact I made with my fellow batchmates whom I know will help me out if there is ever any need. They are known as FRIENDS.

April 17, 2009

It is all fun and games until someone turn it into a business

Just look around, see how many people are actually doing things which as a kid you would just love to do all day and even night long. Playing the guitar. Playing games. Watching television. Playacting. Sketching. Drawing. Doodling. Writing. All those sports and creative things that you never knew can make people rich beyond compare?

I bet that guys who are now known as U2 will never guess them making and playing music when they were in school in Ireland can afford to build a futuristic looking building at their hometown. They sell sold out concert and can even give out millions. Their lead singer is even tauted as a spokeperson against poverty. And all they do is playing songs all day long....

I should have trained more...

Those Facebook guys, who took social networking to a different height? As much as people hate their way of changing the interface every other month, no one can deny their addictive nature and how important Facebook has been in connecting long lost friends. At least although you might not want them to be too involve in your life (like me and my school friends) at least I know who is still alive and what is going on. If not for Facebook, I wouldn't know the guy living at the other street of my neighbourhood is my junior at secondary school.

In sports, Tiger Wood, Ronaldo (either from Brazil or Spain) and Nadal, from different sports are just playing games all day long and I bet their mother will hold their tongue now rather than calling them home as they practice their game all day long.

So, someone did the unthinkable a few years ago as they turn games that kid plays into business. Of course there are pros and cons but at least people now know, all play does make Jack a rich boy...

April 16, 2009

So, this is what a product tester feels like...

A week ago, I was given a chance to test a new product called WIGGY when I was invited with a few other fellow bloggers on how it works. Read about the product launch here. Actually Wiggy is a product which is a step up from the company's original products that was like a speaker. That speaker was intended for household use and was to give an area the size of a house enough wifi coverage. That old modem and wiggy is supposed to be of higher speed than wifi or even landline broadband. 

The highway I tested the car on

This is not the first time I tested a product. Some 7 to 8 years ago, when I was friendly with this one editor who runs a weekend magazine on cars for a local newspaper, I got to test drive with him two cars. One was a Korean car and one was a Japanese car. In both cases we travelled the length of Peninsular Malaysia from Kuala Lumpur to the northern tip. As we need to see how good were the cars handling and all the gadgets both of them and to offer such as the cruise control and the cornering, I, as the driver drove the car like a race car driver and in one instance even got a summons to prove it. The editor foot the bill for the summons.

As the wiggy is actually very new and the targetted market for the older boxy version of P1 Wimax were for certain area, I had trouble to logged in at a few areas. I went around town at my favourite places and just couldn't. However, as new products goes, the company did have the courtesy to check with us on how good was the coverage of their broadband. They even readied a test link on their website for us to go and check the upload, download and the latency (which according to wikipedia is the delay between the time something is initiated to the moment the thing become detectable). I have given their point person the places I have done the test and I emphasised on the places where there was supposed to be coverage according to their map but I just couldn't connect.

Not every place I get a blue LED like this

I believe they have one of the best products in the market as I actually have a few friends who are just waiting for them to extend coverage to their areas. I have also a few sceptical friends who is even more well-versed in IT than me but for me, as long as I am entrusted with a product to be tested, I will just do it for the sake of keeping to my promise. What they do with my data is their problem. Just like that car, I helped my friend wrote a review and after some times, the car manufacturer did manage to rectify the problems that we found. If a company really believe it has a good product, I just hope they are willing to hear criticism, especially constructive one and do something to rectify it...

April 15, 2009

Why every lawyer and law student need to watch football or whatever team sports

There were a flurry of football games for the past 2 days in Europe in which there were 4 teams from England and a few from Spain. There were some great games and finally three of the eight teams which come from England managed to secure berths in the semi-finals. Let us not dwell on which teams are those teams as not all will be interested in football or soccer as I am. But the relevant to this posting is about team sports which football is one of it.

The legal profession is a team sport. There is the opponent and there is a referee who is the judge. Today I was asked to judge a mooting competition at a local university and as the students whom I judged were first year students we saw eloquency at a passable level but not that great. One of the thing that they lack is team spirit. As they are marked according to their own effort, there were a lack of helping out each other unlike if you go to a real court.

Although I have been in a 'team' of lawyers who try to bring down the other member of the team as that is the only way to go, the need for teamwork within a team cannot be deny. You need to have someone to ensure that you can rely on for informations and feed you opinions while you try to make sure the judge see your side of the arguments.

That is where watching football, either soccer or the American one, or crickets, or whatever your poison, can help you understand the building of a team is no easy task. You have to motivate, delegate and spell out each member's role with enough passion and motivation. One team in yesterday's match nearly lost the advantage the had in their first leg match when the other team equalised in aggregate in the first half. However, their coach managed to bring the best in them for the second half and they won.

Losing a match is another matter for a lawyer to accept as not all case will be the best case you ever handle and there is no such thing as what Keanu Reeves character had experience in Devil's Advocates in which he won all his case, unless like him, you are the son of the devil....

April 14, 2009

What other professionals other than lawyer that people keep score of...

"How good is he/she? Did she won all the case?" Most people will want to know this before hiring a lawyer to represent them in court. Of course there are the pro-footballer and all the other sports professionals where people keep the score of how many trophies they have won or if he is a striker in a football team, how many goals have he scored or if she is a swimmer, how many records has she broken. In other profession, other than being a lawyer, where people where suits to work or maybe suits and a hard hat, do people keep scores as such.

This post, if you can guess is an extension of the post two days ago when I post As a lawyer I am jealous of doctors. In that post I have said why I am jealous of doctors as they managed to break even in their business faster than lawyers when they go to private practice. I may not illicit many comments in my blog here but in my Facebook page, the comments from my fellow lawyers were flying of the shelf like nobody business. Of course, my doctor friends tried to say, no, they have to struggle too and all that. They should have come to this blog and read the whole post as I mentioned that I don't deny the hard work and all the things that both profession need to do in order to be successful but this is a general rule but there are always exceptions.

One of the comment in my Facebook page said, people like to keep score on the lawyer that they wanted to hire. How many cases they have won and how many people they have sent to the gallows. If a doctor lost a life, they accept it as fate. Rarely doctors are blamed except in rare cases of negligence where lawyers get to grill doctors. People always asked for discounts when they receive a bill from a lawyer but never a doctor. We are always to be associated as scum of the universe (don't mind the world) but people still think we are a necessary evil. I think, with a ll this ranting, one day, I might just be turn into Harrison Ford in Regarding Henry when the character he played (who was a hotshot lawyer) got shot and had to relearn all the normal things a man has to do.

This week I may be ranting about how lawyers are unfairly treated wherever in the world but I never regret one iota entering this profession. Maybe in the next few days we look at what lawyers have done for humankind, if any...

April 13, 2009

Getting bankers to not think or act like bankers

Before you take off to another blog you are subscribing, let me say that getting bankers to not act like bankers have been the norm in Malaysia since Islamic finance was introduced in 1983 here under the Islamic Finance Act. Islamic finance is about trade, that is it. No two ways about it. Islam believe you can only gain something if you work for it. You get paid for the amount of work that you do and the risk that you took. If the risk is high, you get a higher return. Putting money in an Islamic finance venture is calculable without anything made from thin air at all. In Malaysia even the non-Muslims already accept Islamic finance as just another banking product.

I am learning Islamic finance in my spare time and I am left with 3 subjects more to get my Masters degree. In Islamic finance, the subject matter as well as how a contract is done are just a few of the matters that need to be taken into account before something is considered to be under the Islamic finance banner or not.In most of Islamic finance products, there are needs for the bankers to be entrepeneurs.

The banks need to evaluate ventures that they are putting their money in like they are a part of the venture. Not just a part as in I give you money and I don't care what you do with it, you must promise me a return as such. In Islamic finance, you have to be involved in the venture including having a say whether the venture should be stopped and liquidated. You can even asked to be included as a director or a partner in the company of your client.

This is the part that most bankers just couldn't grasp. Being a part of a business that they have no understanding of. Just imagine putting a banker in the shoes of a trader or a contractor or a developer. They will scream bloody murder. But just imagine the accountability that they have to bear. They will even bear responsibility on any losses. However, just imagine what the economy will be like if such accountability like a sword of Democles hangs on the bankers head. Wouldn't they be more serious in ensuring their investments?

Just a thought....

April 12, 2009

As a lawyer, I am jealous of doctors

I have two other older brothers who are of a different discipline than me. Although all of us were in science stream when we were schooling (in Malaysia the other stream was Art, then), I had chosen a different path when the time came for me to choose my major in the university. I went to pre-law and then law school while my brothers studied and managed to obtain a degree in engineering for the eldest and a degree as a doctor for the second eldest. And yes, you guessed rightly so, I am the youngest. My eldest brother did not became an engineer as he was too engrossed in computers as IT was a new horizon in 1988 and when he came back to Malaysia in 1990 from the States, he became a system analyst. He is still in the field of IT as he loves it more than anything. 

As for second elder brother, he was a medical student who then went on to become a government doctor since 1996 or 1997 (can't really recall the year of his graduation and housemanship) who in 2002 or 2003, make the jump to open up his own private practice. If you have been following this blog, you would have noticed that I start my own practice in 2000 and I had to go through hell to get where I am today. It was a saturated market in the Klang Valley of Malaysia in which there are so many lawyers plying the same route. I am just so lucky to be still be here owning my own practice after all these years. I knew of a few of my friends and even a former partner who are not in practice anymore, or have joined corporations as legal advisers. 

Why I am jealous of doctors? Let us put aside the issue of which is harder to study in order for you to be accepted into the profession. Both have their own way of making students give up after some times. Law require reading and understanding the intricacies of applying it to situations. When you are practising it, what you would be applying  will be so very much different from what you have learned and seen on television. There are no Boston Legal or LA Law for you there. As for doctors, the practical side of it have been taught to you in Year 3 or Year 4 of your degree and you would have already be getting your hands on some innards of humans or some animals. However, I can bet my left arm that when you had to go through housemanship and be on-call, 24/7, it is a far cry from your student days.

As hard as both disciplines to be studied, the hard work for the professions of both discipline can be rewarding. What I am lamenting about is the turnaround time for a doctor and a lawyer to make 'real money' when they decided to have their own private practice. Although I was earlier in trying my hands in business and had the help of the same circle of people (my parents) I had to wait nearly two whole years to reach where my brother managed to do in a year. Doctors are so very much sought after that they have sponsors in the form of medicines and machines. As for lawyers, we are known to be a nuisance to society who only need us when there are something wrong with their rights or they just couldn't get around the idea of living in an orderly world.

Don't get me wrong, I understand the concept of everyone has their own function and everyone has their own share of the pie. What I am saying is that, I am just jealous of them. And don't get me started on the respect they get just by being a doctor. A lawyer has to be something else, either as a politician or a leader of a society or whatever that people think elevate his or her status to something else. Maybe I do need to join that association my friend told me about...

April 11, 2009

We have been expecting this recession, but...

In 2005, the business of legal firm such as mine was booming in Malaysia with property prices shooting upward due to so many people coming to Malaysia to invest in various industries. We were on the panel of so many developers that we kept on thinking it is absurd that anything is going to happen to the business. Our business was closely related to properties that our other department which was banking and finance was tailored to market the properties department more.

In 2006, there was already rumors about impending economic slowdown which will hit Asia or more specifically South East Asia. The rationale behind the fear was the 10 years cycle which economist like to say which will come around in 2007. We were in the Asia Economic Crisis in 1997 which was brought around by speculators (said our then Prime Minister) and 2007 is the 10 years anniversary of the crisis. We do take the news seriously as all the partners in my partnership had never experience firsthand recession before. We were still students when the 1997 crisis happened. By the time we were working adult, in 1999, the economy had somewhat recovered.

As I was in charge of the accounts at the office which among one of my job is making sure the business has enough money to survive, I always warned my partners of the need to look for investments which can be easily liquidated if the need arise. We decided to put what eggs we have into several baskets. Some were in Malaysian style unit trusts, some were in fixed deposits and some were in properties.

The properties that we bought were mostly were from developers whom we are a panel of. The idea is to show them that we believed in their products and bought the properties. We came clean and said that we were buying for investments and not for us to occupy them. That was 3 years ago. In these few months of 2009, we are currently awaiting the handover of two of the properties after having received one last month. We believe two of them are worth more than what we had paid for them but one of them still has a long way to go before it can be said to be a worthwhile investment.

As I had said earlier, we had foreseen the economic crisis to happen since 2007 and we did try to ensure our survivality by investing in a few investments. What we are worried is that Asia, especially Malaysia, seems to be like a boxer in a ring which is still waiting to get punch. We can see the punch coming but we can't be really sure from where it is going to come. Is it from the left? The right? Under the chin? And when it landed, will we feel it like a jab? Like a full force blow? Or just a tap?

While we wait for the blow, we hope someone knows how to shuffle the feet and move the body to ensure the blow will be minimal or even if the punch do land, we are ready to punch back or at least take the blow gracefully.

April 10, 2009

Advice from a Sheryl Crow song

I think most of you know this song and it was a time when Sheryl Crow is still Lance Armstrong girlfriend (correct me if I am wrong). By the way, this post is not really about the song as it was what was said in the song. One part of the lyric said simply -

It's not having what you want,
It's wanting what you got

As I was hearing this on my iPod while I was jogging, it jogged my memory of how true this saying is. It is not about trying to get more than what you already have but it is about appreciating what you already have in your life. In short, count your blessing. Be thankful and then this simple saying can help you appreciate what you have and make you realised there is more to life than killing yourself trying to be rich.

As a business owner and someone who must look after the well being of more than 15 employees, it is something which I hope to keep at the back of my mind. As much as I would love to work and stay working forever, I must understand the need for breaks and even holidays to recharge myself. I know that was not the intention of the lyrics but I can't say I will ever be that contented though I am getting there in a few years time.

I have actually nearly 80% of what I have ever wanted in life. I am easily fulfilled and contented. I have my dream car. I have houses. I have a wonderful wife. I have a good business. I have everything but if I put myself in someone else's shoes, I can always use with a bigger car, more houses, more wives (I am a Muslim after all) or maybe a few girlfriends. Private plane. Yacht. All those things that people dream about when they read some luxury magazine or watched how other people live their life.

As of now, when I hear that song, I want to change that percentage from 80% to 100% as if I ever manage to supersede what I have now, then can I consider that as a bonus?

April 9, 2009

Getting 'wiggy' with it...

I was asked by my blogger friend, Eddie Law, whether I would be interested to be one of the tester in a new product launched by a local Malaysian company. Well, I was not really asked, it was more like I asked to be included. It was exciting as the product was to be released much later on Thursday but we already being called to take back our tester on Tuesday. Well, I actually have no idea what we were getting as I am not the customer of their earlier products which is basically a box which can generate wifi for a certain area. I bet they may have not picked me if they have known that or they may still picked me as I can give a more clearheaded and unbiased comment.

My initial tester Wiggy... (didn't work)

So, as I went to their headquarters which is just 5 km from my office, I have no real idea what the product or the company is all about. What I know about them was they were given a license for something called the Wimax technology which is much faster than the wifi. That was it. I never tested any of their products although I have seen and passed (and tried to ignore) their booths in malls as I only saw this bulky thing like a speaker which is too heavy to carry around. Then I understood why when I was sitting there on Tuesday hearing their explanation.

A new Wiggy with a cooler package

The presentation was by a technogeek named Billy who briefed us on what we were about to see then. He was saying this with a tongue in cheek as he said everyone in the hall was supposed to have seen it on their website. I hate to say to him I didn't even know their web address. What a bad reporter I would have made. Anyway, he introduced us to the CEO, Michael Lai, who seems to be the Bill Gates of Malaysia (all CEOs of IT companies are always being compared to him) who tell us the brief history of their company. Their first product, the box I was tellinmg you, was just 8 months old. They did not launch a smaller version of the product as they were not satisfied with the initial design. So, they went back to the drawing board, and walla!!! Wiggy was born...

The company name is Packet One Network a subsidiary of a company called Green Packet. It seems they managed to acquire license to access tp30Mhz of spectrum in the 2.3GHz band (this are all Greek to me). Today, 09.4.09 was the real launch of the WIGGY and I went to see how a hardware was launched. There were some models, some local celebrities and then some toys for us to play with. There were some IT superstars whom I don't really recognised and of course, the Wiggy was the main attraction.

Michael Lai, the rockstar CEO

As for its performance, I was let down when I couldn't use it when I first got it on Tuesday as something was wrong with it. Just now, I exchanged it and it seems to be working. It is supposed to be a device which can download at 10Mbps and it seems it did manage to reach between 5 to 6 Mbps in the middle of town just now. I may try to bring it around town as we were told they only have 25% coverage of the whole of Malaysia and not even fully in the middle of the Klang Valley (considered like the Greater Kuala Lumpur).

The local celebrities who got the Wiggy AND the netbook, FOR FREE!!!

I am still playing with it and hope to give further report as I have until July to test it out for free. Oh, if anyone in Malaysia is interested, starting tomorrow, the Wiggy is for sale (the modem) with a subscription of RM149 at the PC Fair at KL Convention Centre. You have to pay RM299 (for the modem) + RM60 (for registration) as initial amount and you will get a free Acer Aspire One Netbook with Intel Atom processor. 

I am actually thinking of taking up on the offer though I have a free Wiggy already...

One of the models giving us a chance to play with the Wiggy

My Wiggy at work, finally...

April 8, 2009

Banks can't survive without customers

How many times have you go into a bank and being treated like you are begging money from them? I'm not talking about the feeling that you have when you are asking them for a loan but this is when you want to take out your own money either some money for your everyday use or cashing out the fixed deposit that you kept with them. I read in one of the blog I follow, the writer thinks she was given second class treatment when she wanted to withdraw her fixed deposit in contrast to if she wants to deposit money into her account there. In short, if you give them money, the bank will roll out the red carpets and if you want to get back the money, they will try to resist that as long as possible. A minute more of that money in their hands, they can compound a few more dollar of interest.

Last week, I was at a talk somewhere regarding how much banks needed customers. I have been dealing with bankers since the day I become a lawyer. Some of them I kept at arm's length and some become fast friends. Some are my age or younger which can be considered the younger set with different ideals than those who has been in the banking system for years. I can talk 'finance' with them as if I am one of them. My Masters degree on Islamic finance also help. So, in short, I always know when they really want to be friends or just meeting me for the money I might have in my hands (not as if I have that much, but some of the clients on my stable do have the cash). Make no mistake, there are those who becomes fast friends of my partner or me or both of us but some are just 'friends' when they think they can get something out of the relationship.

That saying of banks not being able to survive without customers were said by a banker. He was lecturing in one of my Islamic finance class, and there were a lot of bankers in the class. Some were too jaded and believe customers are there just another numbered account which they had to take care of. Some do understand the concept but I believe most of them who believe are still new in the banking system. Give them a few years, then all will change their tune. That is the problem with the financial industry. They really believe in the SYSTEM. Try to change it, then you will be considered as an outsider who do not understand the concept of economy. If the system was really good, why did banks fail? I don't think I need to delve into that facts as there are a lot of websites and blogs dedicated to that specific subject.

So, people's savings are dwindling and people's confidence are fragile. They actually do not know who to trust anymore. If these people do not keep their money in banks will bank be able to lend anymore? Will there even be an economy? Too many people are predicting the doom and too little are solving it? The problem that I see is the economy that you see is the only one everyone knows since after the World Wars. So, the banks keep on surviving and the benchmark that we have is the one that we are comfortable with. So, for now, as the banks are surviving on your money, maybe they should think about you too other than themselves.

April 7, 2009

Succession plan

When you incorporate a company or a partnership like mine, or even a small enterprise, where you control everything, you will want it to exist even if you are no more in this world. I frequented a few food stalls and restaurants which are the easiest example where one would like to keep the name of the former owner just so that the current clients will still be familiar with them although there might be a change of the cook at the back which sometimes cannot save the restaurant from going under as the taste became different, the restaurant may receive visitors just because of familiarity of the name. That is why people keep on comparing successful business with McDonald's where the same food is serve wherever you are and people keep on looking for the same taste everywhere they see the golden arches.

But, without a succession plan, a business may collapse overnight. If there is no one to take over, whatever business that company is selling might not sell unless a dynamic leader can steer the ship properly. Succession has been evidence in the news for a few month now. In United States, the President has changed from George W. Bush to Barack Obama. This is not a succession plan per se, but it is more of a change of leadership which is forced on by the system of governance there. Then in Malaysia, the succession plan which seems to be approved by the people has just been shown to have flaws when in two of the three by-elections under the new Prime Minister were lost by the ruling coalition. There must be something wrong there.

Remember that Ferrari gig that I went? You can check the post here in which I watched the unveiling of the largest showroom outside of Italy by a company in which the founder died a few months back and the stable of company under his control passed to his sons. That company is thriving in its business and is growing from strenght to strength. It seems the father did manage to train his children well before he passed away.

I wish for such succession too one day. I may not pass on my business to my own child but it maybe to one of the lawyer who is working under me. When I do, I hope he will carry the legacy of the name perpetually...

April 6, 2009

We are all in the same boat

In business, what I think is of utmost importance is the mutual understanding that you have among your partners. This is what this post is all about. How I can share every single thought in my head with my partner. How each can play a role in developing, marketing and keeping up the persona of a successful business. How we can even exchange looks and understand how we are going to approach a matter being negotiated. As I have known my partner since 1992 when we registered for our pre-university course, I know what her like and dislike. Going back that long sometimes makes people misunderstand our relationship and even thought we are husband and wife. 

Currently, we are in the middle of a very trying time at the office. Clients such as banks keep on putting the burden of their 'free legal fee' offer on our legal firm in which we had to bear cost of doing legal work for them. The legal work can be for agreements in which we help them to ensure they have collaterals to go after if ever their customers do not pay the loans given to them. They can also be the claims that we do on their behalf for such collaterals. Due to too many of these work, these institutions owe us a lot but due to competitions among lawyers, we still are civil with them when claiming the money they owe us.

So, in short, currently we are all in the same boat. Again, I would like to say, having a good business partner is as important as having a business at all. Knowing a few businesses where partners can't see eye to eye and even make the staff having to tip toe among squabbling bosses, I can say I am lucky to have a good partner.

Politics in my country can be said to be the same as we currently have two coalitions which consist of a few political parties. Whoever is going to rule us better get the formula right or like a boat nearing a waterfall we may just be too near the edge to turn back...

April 5, 2009

If only I can tell the world what I know

As a lawyer to certain type of people in the few years I have become one, I have been privy to certain things which made me sometimes want to scream as loudly as I could, "No! That is not how it happen, here is the real story" or "If only you knew who the real people you should be worried about". Alas, I am a lawyer through and through. What the Godfather has taught me way before I was a lawyer, I still kept in mind. Mario Puzo captured perfedctly the essence of how powerful a lawyer with a briefcase compared against a hundred men with machine guns.

Certain things I did or I knew are still not known to anyone in my life including my business partner or my spouse. Certain things are academic to be kept to myself and I did tell others but I warn them of the dire consequences if those matter became public and people found out it came from them. There were incidents which involve men in power (then) and their secret love which made things a bit uncomfortable for me to service them but it resolved itself in a way. Some are still safely kept in my mind.

A few times, it became too close for comfort when certain news came out and people speculate on certain matters and certain theory came out in which they touched briefly on what they suspect is the truth. Most of them became yesterday's news as no one really answer or investigate on the matter. Sometimes certain things are so well hidden that the person the newspaper mentioned did not even get it right. I can only smile knowing another secret is buried.

As a lawyer keeping secret actually becomes second nature. Whether you like it or not. Whether you are threaten to reveal it or not. In Malaysia, surprisingly, in plain daylight and known to all, lawyers had been known to be call up by authorities to reveal certain matters which had transpired in courtroom. Luckily, I am well below the radar making me being seen around but no one really know who I am.

Just the way I like it...

April 4, 2009

My writings made people see things

Someone told me a few days ago that what I wrote in the short time I start blogging made them 'see' what I was trying to convey. They say my description is vivid enough for them to visualise what I am trying to say. Okay, there is no 'they', it was just one person but as she is a friend who I rarely talk to, I can consider that to be a good thing. She said when she read those intimate things that I wrote in my other blog, she just knew what I meant and she thinks I gave her too much information.

For me, as a writer, she just told me I am successful in conveying what I want to be conveyed. Don't all writers want that? For people who reads, usually when you are reading something, you will try to 'see' what the writer is trying to convey.

That is why you will always be keen to go to a movie adaptation of your favourite book like The Shopoholic adventures, Harry Potter books and the Lord of the Rings. When what you have been visualising in your mind becomes a reality (in a way) on the silver screen, you will say that the adaptation is as you have imagine. If it is not, then you will say that the movie has failed. My favourite escapism author for me is still Stephen King with his Americana theme which make me see how a person goes through the American life although he weaves horror into his stories. Read between the lines!

It is always have been accepted that books or writings are just another form of escapism. Escapism is when you use your mind to 'escape' the real life. You usually use your mind to think of normal everyday problems but the mind is a powerful tool which can imagine a lot of things. That is why superheroes have more power than the average man.

For me, writing something until someone can imagine what I am trying to say is proof enough that writing might just be more than a hobby for me...

Picture like this is taken for visual aid in my stories

April 3, 2009

Too many things happening at once...

In Malaysia since last week until for the next few days, there are too many events happening all at once. It is like a shot to the head where you need to think and choose the events that you wanted to know or if you are lucky enough or are those socialites who wait for such things, get invited to them. As I had posted a few days ago, I actually crashed a party where people who own Ferraris had a gathering. Not really crashed but I had no real reason to be there except for the food and the visual gastronomic experience (and not just referring to the cars).

What are the events which made people go around town like headless chickens trying to chase one after the other? I bet all the reporters are having their hands full in trying to go from one to the other.

There is the F1 race on Sunday which had moved from the usual slot of 3pm to 5pm so that it will be cooler and 'cooler' as they had labelled this year race as Showdown at Sundown. As I am not a fan, in which I even gave my free tickets once to another couple way back in 2002 as I can't imagine being there under the hot sun in which I can catch the action better on the television. Even though the F1 track is just 5 miles from my hometown. The only time I was ever near the track was when I went there last year to negotiate a special arrangement between a developer I am a panel of and the staff of Sepang International Circuit.

There are fashion and clubbing events all around town as Kuala Lumpur try to sell itself as the F1 city with a fashion show called Stylo. Stylo is entering it's second year and from the support it is getting from the fashion industry locally and internationally, it may be a staple for F1 in Malaysia for years to come. It also incorporates a gala dinner which before this was an event by itself. This year, both have become one. 

Other than the pinnacle of motorsport event in Malaysia, there is a change of leadership at the top echelon of Malaysian politic when Tun Abdullah passed the baton to his Deputy, Datuk Seri Najib who also took over at the political party which controls the government of the day in Malaysia. The way the former leave and the way the latter took office can be found in many blogs and news portals. Most congratulate but they all do it with a pinch of salt. As you can read, even if you type the name of our new Prime Minister into Wikipedia, there is a lot of information which if he know is there, he might ask Wikipedia to change the facts there.

In a few days, there are also 3 by-elections within Malaysia for different reasons. In two of the constituencies, the consituencies Member of Parliaments died and the is one where there is a resignation by the assemblyman due to a scandal. So, as the new Prime Minister takes office, he must ensure the political party he just led manage to win the heart of the people which they seem to have lost in March 2008 when in that general election, they were thumped like newbies by a new rising force called Pakatan Rakyat (People's Force?). However, after one year, there seems, keyword, SEEMS, to be cracks in the so-called understanding between the political parties which make up the Pakatan Rakyat.

In blogging world, there is an event supposedly waited for by a lot of blogger associated with a portal called Nuffnang which provide advertisings for bloggers and they have partnered with one of the telecommunication companies in Malaysia to throw a blogging event. Another one is Bloggers United which has a meet-up tomorrow among it's bloggers.There is also a flashmob pillow fights by the person who has promote two impromptu flashmob events before, whose portal is Random Alphabets and as I met him last year, and found out he is a law graduate, I was intrigued to join in this time around, but alas...

With all these events, you might think I am spoiled for choice to go to either one of them. I am not. I have to be at the only class I go for my Islamic finance Masters which happen on Saturday and Sunday. Just nice. So, to all those who are participating either as spectators or even if you are the names mentioned, have fun...

April 2, 2009

A new dawn for Malaysia?

Today marks a new day for Malaysia again after just a few years. Being a democratic country where the leader is a Prime Minister without any other equal in it's capacity unlike certain countries where there is a Prime Minister AND a President, we only have one leader to lead us at any one time. Today, 3.4.09 marks, the  accession (is that the right concept?) of a new Prime Minister. This is our sixth Prime Minister after we gained independence in 1957. 

Malaysians knew of an urban legend where the Prime Minister of Malaysia will follow the name of our first Prime Minister - RAHMAN. The word in bracket is the honour they receive from our various monarchies. We have (Tunku) Abdul Rahman as our first, hence the R. (Tun) Abdul Razak as our second, hence the A. (Tun) Hussein Onn as our third, hence the H. (Tun) Mahathir was our illustrious fourth PM, which brings us to M. Then we have the person who was said to leave his seat unwillingly, (Datuk Seri) Abdullah Ahmad Badawi., we we got the other A Now we are going to have a Prime Minister by the name of (Datuk Seri) Najib Tun Razak (the son of our second PM), which brings us finally to N. So, we got the full R.A.H.M.A.N. After this? We may have to look for a new legend.

He is a politician through and through. By 23 he was a Member of Parliament. By 29, he was a Chief Minister of the state he was born. He held many cabinet post and was a 'youngest' in  many of the post. He never tried to get where he is through force or political maneuvering. He is supposed to be ready for this post long ago. He waited and now he is now rewarded with the highest office in Malaysia. Some may like him, some may critisised certain aspect of him, some says that he has his Achilles heels and a few people even tried to stop his swearing-in tomorrow. The thing is, in Malaysia, political party is the one who determines the Prime Minister in Malaysia as he (or she) is chosen by his political party and that is where the people don't have a say. There is no election to the high office, there is only one general election then whoever control the Parliament, can choose whoever they choose to represent them in high office.

For the ruling government, it maybe the best thing that could happen to them. Having a party loyalist with a credential as politician a mile long. Having served in any imaginable position a politician can hold. If there is ever a political royalty, here is one. He is going to take office at an undesirable time with promises to keep (he just unveiled a mini-budget about 3 weeks ago to help Malaysia in the economic crisis) and 3 by-elections to win. He will unveil his new cabinet next week. I expect him to go in with his guns blazing which will even affect how Malaysian blogs. Mark my word, as I expect him to be as unforgiving as his 'mentor'. Just wait and see.

As I said good bye to his old boss two posts ago, I welcome him, with a pinch of salt...

p/s - in case anyone ever wonders, I am not affiliate nor incline to ANY political party, however down the drain my country is...though it looks okay from where I am.

April 1, 2009

When Felipe Massa is the surprise

Yesterday, it seems that I had not just one event, which I had the chance to say farewell to the current Prime Minister of Malaysia on his final few days (supposedly) but I also attended the opening of the biggest showroom of one of the most desirable brand (as was said by the MC) outside of Italy. It was the opening of a marquee space for the sale of Ferrari cars in Malaysia. It was an important event for the dealership of Naza Italia which had seen the passing of it's founder a few months ago. The son had taken over this part of the company and interestingly a famous car manufacturer still kept it's promise though I bet the late father was the one who closed the deal. Maybe the father knew how to impart the knowledge of his business to his children.

This week is the Malaysian Grand Prix weekend in Malaysia. 5th of April will see Malaysia hosting the event for the 11th time and hoping to host it still for years to come. That was why most heavyweights in the industry of motorsport, either locally or internationally, were there at the dinner yesterday. Just imagine that the surprise appearance of Felipe Massa when guests were having their second course. The dinner was short with some awards exchanging hands. Some awards were due to the opening of the showroom. As it was the biggest, Malaysian's World of Record gave their acknowledgement which include the largest gathering of Ferrari car owners in Malaysia ever. And it seems that Malaysians own nearly 350 units of Ferrari. Impressive.

The guests were all VIPs in their own right and as they milled in those who do not own a Ferrari camwhore themselves among the cars. As the event also honoured Maseratti, which is my favourite car after watching Entourage for a few seasons, I just couldn't resist looking at the show unit. Then at the end, I did went around with my business partner to snap a few pictures although we had to wait those who couldn't just snap one but was hogging each car one after another pictures. It was fun nonetheless and seeing a Ferrari up close makes me understand why people think they are THE car to own.

Someone's Masserati

Just some cars....

Felipe Massa came in this
My partner with her dream car
 A guy with his weekend car
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