May 25, 2010

Property Investment For a New Decade seminar

I was a guest speaker (more to answer questions which revolve around legal matter than anything else) by a prominent speaker, Azizi Ali last Saturday, the 22nd of May. Let me tell you a bit about Azizi Ali. He is a writer who is also a pilot. I never knew he is a pilot until I attended his seminar. I have written about him a few time in this blog and basically you can say that I consider him as a mentor. For the past 3 years, he mentored me through his book and for the last 6 months, I have private sessions with him (actually more of a teh tarik session where we eat together while talking) which some people will have to pay to get as close as I got to him.

After knowing him, his wife and his staff, the enigma which you always get when you first a man of distinction is not there anymore. That enigma becomes a kind of respect you reserve for those who is unrelenting in trying to accumulate knowledge through every pores of his being. He reads and it can be seen that he is very knowledgeable. Rarely can you catch him not knowing a piece of news. This is amazing for a man who does not watch television (which is something I can't live without). He told me at the seminar in where I first met him and his wife corroborate it when she says she does not watch TV too.

At the launch of my book at KL International Book Fair
So, it was exhilarating when he asked me to be in one of his seminar as a guest speaker. I was told by his team that he does not ask anyone lightly to be a guest speaker. I was told I will be getting a token payment (which is a surprise for me). The seminar sale went very well and the target that he set for his team of selling 40 seats was exceed by another 20 participants. 

I managed to answer all the questions that was thrown to me, except for one question on auction, which was helped along by a lawyer who was there for his client. I don't claim to be an expert on auction although I know the basic of it but on all other questions, I aced it and even that particular lawyer keep nodding his head every time I answered correctly. Felt a bit like a schoolboy managing to answer the teacher's questions but it did boost my confidence. And another surprise for me was the fact I was only needed for 30 minutes. My slot was stretched for 10 minutes but Azizi is very particular about time and he cut short a guy who was pestering me to give me a short course on Islamic finance. 

Afterward, I did asked Azizi how does he rate my performance. He was satisfied and he even told me that he is going to have the same seminar later in the year and wants me to be there again. I can only say yes. Who doesn't want to be a speaker with a guy whom you know through books and magazines and now ask you to be a part of his team. As I do that, I get to pick his brain? That is a no-brainer....

The only thing is, should I start to hold my own seminar or should I wait first...(thinking more of the latter)

May 17, 2010

It was great talking to you, Francis...

I was invited to an event called the RojakSong on Friday, 14.5.2010, by Alpha Lim, a twitter buddy which I have never really interact much except when I met him a few times at a few social media events. The problem with social media event in real life, you meet too many people at any one time that you are overwhelmed by the sheer amount of names and faces that you have to put together. So, unless you get in touch with each other later through a smaller intimate gathering or through chance meeting where there is a smaller number of people, you will forget the people you have just got to know. That is why I love to have what most Twitterer called a tweetup where you meet up through a twitter invitations.

However, let me go to explaining who is Francis. It was none other than Tan Sri (Dr.) Francis Yeoh, who is the Managing Director of YTL Corporation, a conglomerate, which is well-known the world over with interest in a so many businesses at so many countries. I am so enthralled to meet him at the RojakSong event as I have been following his company progress through its newsletters and as a member of its special privilege card. And that does not include the news that they always make through media. So, those at the events have known him by reputation way before meeting him in person that day. Some of the bloggers had met him before as he was presence at the opening of the National Geographic store at Lot 10, a mall within the shopping district of Bukit Bintang. He even talked to these bloggers by calling them over as he remembers them from that event.

What I can say about Francis is that he is so easy to be approached that night as he started his speech by asking people to call him by his name, without his title and treat him like a friend. He also talked about what Rojak Song is all about. For those who don't know, rojak is a Malaysian dish which everything goes into a plate but topped by a delicious groundnut gravy. As the word "everything goes" are used, it is also used to described how Malaysia is made out of so many cultures and people. His vision is to say that we have so many amazing things happening all around us and we should record them to show to the world what we have. He then showed us 3 clips of Malaysians at restaurant preparing dishes in amazing ways. You can understand more about them at their website here : Rojak Song. You can also read Becky's post on the event here : And join Rojak Song on Twitter and Facebook and see the pictures from the events.

This event is a part of a series in which YTL under their YTL Communication banner is trying to engage social media advocates like us who cannot live without our constant updates or conversation through our blogs, twitter, Facebook, Youtube and other thing which depends on internet connections. They are promising a 4G network and we are holding them to their promise. This Rojak Song is my 3rd event with them as I have seen them at another 2 events in which I managed to talk to the CEO of YTL Communication. Francis also has his son in the company and he seems to make YTL Communication as one of the company he wants to succeed in their project. For what they promise, I want them to succeed too.

We actually asked him all sort of questions and when it came to my turn, I told him I love the resorts which are own by YTL and is hoping to go to more of them. I managed to talk about the advantage of social media as a way to bypass traditional advertising as lawyers in Malaysia is not allow to advertise in them. As for social media, the lawyers who head the Bar Council seem to close one eye on its existence. 

So, for my own selfish reason, I hope they succeed in catching a segment of the competitive internet market in Malaysia with my legal firm and I getting its benefits.

Francis with the host for the night, Phat Fabes

Francis with the winners for one of the contest

May 10, 2010

New way to promote your business

As most of Malaysians know, there was a big flashmob at the Gardens Mall on Saturday, 8th of May 2010, which was initiated by Random Alphabets for the benefit of a few sponsors which went all out to promote the second part of first season of the new television sensation Glee. It was called the Glee Kuala Lumpur flashmob and from my point of view, they have managed to create quite a buzz for the television series. 

You can view the flashmob as recorded by me using my Blackberry which is inferior in recording quality but enough for you to get the idea of what happened on Saturday. This is one of the recording :

I am not privy to the management or the advertisement deal of Random Alphabets and its other partners. Or to the advertisement dollars being spent by Star World, the cable television which is currently showing Glee. However, it seems that the buzz created by this event was strong that I bet it will attract at least a few hundreds or maybe even thousands of viewer for the new episodes which will be shown starting this Wednesday, 12th of May 2010.

It seems that this new 'subliminal' type of marketing is gaining popularity in which social media advocates like me will hope to use to our full advantage. As you know and as you can see at this page, you can 'LIKE' my Facebook page and get information on any legal issues which you need advice on. I am also well-known to hold events which I invited people I get to know through Twitter and Facebook to meet up either to just meet and eat or talk about business.

I know that social media is still not gaining that much advertisement dollar yet but if the world continue to evolve where attention span is short and to raise awareness of products and services need new avenue, this may be just one of the way. So, is these flashmobs and social media campaigns are just a fad or is it the future of advertising?

Here is my second youtube video on the event :

May 4, 2010

Car as tax deductible

I am not and accountant or even a tax lawyer. So, please lay off the comment on my understanding of tax which is skewed more towards how I can save from paying the government than how I can plan my tax. Basically, I think the term 'tax planning' is the same as 'I am not going to pay the government money and all I want is for the money I earn to be enjoyed by me (and maybe those close to me)'. So, that is why this year, for the past few blogposts, you can see how much money I have spent in keeping my staff entertained. You do know that any money spent on your staff can be deducted from your tax right? All of it, except for transportation (I wonder why?)

Anyway, talking about transportation, we have decided to finally buy a car for our company. Not just any car. It can even be described as one of the few dream cars a few in the world would love to have. And no, I am not buying it for myself but as one of the partner in this two-person show of a legal firm, we have unanimously decided for my beautiful partner to have one of her dream car as our first company car.

In Malaysia, any company, even a partnership like us, can get a tax deduction of RM150,000-00 for any car which purchase price is below RM150,000-00 but that amount will be cut to RM100,000-00 if the car is priced at more than  RM150,000-00. I wonder where do they get the RM150,000-00 from but I suspect it have to do with the price of the most expensive Malaysian car which is just around RM110,000-00. Then the car must also be brand new as any second-hand or reconditioned car, the deduction may be cut into half of the amount spent by the company. And if there is a car loan involved then the amount which can be deducted from that year tax is the amount spent in paying the deposit and the car loan. Not the total purchase price of the car. Clear?

Some will question the choice of the car as too flashy or too impracticable for a company car but it must be pointed out that we are still below the age of 40 and we are not the type who are driven around but we are those who love to drive. So, a sport car for my partner is just perfect.

And it does not mean that we are so cash rich that we can just buy the car with one eye close (like a few of our politicians) but there is this invention called a car loan where you only have to pay a certain amount of cash and get a loan for the balance of the purchase price. Of course, we do have to watch out on our cash flow in which we have to maintain a certain collection momentum in order for us to be able to maintain the monthly payment. Maybe one day when a few of our corporate clients really appreciate our contribution to their bottom line, we can buy it in cash....

By the way, here is the look of the new car with my partner beside it which hopefully will be out in a few week. And mind you, it is NOT a brand new car but as is usual in Malaysia, it is a reconditioned car which has a warranty of 3 years from the car dealership.

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