January 19, 2011

Working trip to Phnom Penh, Cambodia

I was invited for a working trip to Phnom Penh, Cambodia to witness the opening of the Sarpino's Pizzeria, a franchise owned by a company in which I am an independent non-executive director of. Although some may say a working trip is a nice gesture by the company, as an independent director, who get paid to call every judgement (bad or good) that a company makes, the liabilities that come with it is no child-play. An independent non-executive director is like a prefect overlooking any misconduct by the Board of Director in a public listed company.

The working trip was a first for me as I have always ensure an arm-length relationship with the management of the company. So, most of the time while I was in Phnom Penh is to actually look at other food businesses being conducted by other Malaysian companies which among others are KFC and Tutti Frutti. There are also other obvious business interest such as banking like Public Bank, Maybank and CIMB Bank; and not so obvious such as Axiata and maybe a few others which may not use the same brand name as the one in Malaysia. 

Of course, as an independent director, I will have to ask probing question whether the company expect to make money and what is their expansion or the exit strategy for the business. What I like about the food business is that it is a cash business which bottom-line is about cost management against marketing. It may not be a popular work but as the saying goes "It maybe a dirty job but someone has to do it".

Sarpino's Pizzeria is founded in Canada. They seem to be expanding either in Malaysia or in Southeast Asia like countries in Vietnam and Cambodia. In Malaysia, specifically in Klang Valley, they have a branch in Subang Jaya and in Singapore, they are at 20 locations. In Cambodia, they now have 2 locations and there are more to come. All

Sarpino's is more of a gourmet pizza than fast-food. Our company only holds the master franchise in Cambodia for now. With this new venture, I hope it will generate new income for the company. As much as food business is about food, McDonald's founder's quote about franchise business is more about "real estate" than anything else is something we need to remind ourselves.

January 7, 2011

2010 : 2 achievements which made it memorable

I have been posting so many updates on these two events that I seem to be beating it to death by blogging about it again and again. However, when these two achievements are the only events which I take it as another landmark of my still young life, I need to make a marker for them on the only life highway I own.

So, let make it short as you can see through my other postings how much I treasure these milestones.

One was adding a title to my name as a published author. Never mind the fact I was targeting to be a fiction writer but my books (same book, different language, both written by me) are out there being sold and can be found in most of the bookstores in Malaysia like MPH, Popular and even Kinokuniya. 

The English version is '40 Questions You Should Ask Your Lawyer Before Buying a Residential Property in Malaysia' whilst the Bahasa Malaysia version is '40 Soalan Yang Patut Anda Tanya Sebelum Membeli Rumah Kediaman Anda Di Malaysia'. One was out on 1st February 2010 and the other on 1st May 2010.

Through these books, I was invited to be speakers in seminars and talks. Through it I can be found in the web as more than just a lawyer or a blogger (or more of a social media whore). I have a Facebook page for these books and I am constantly checking the availability of these books and even update my search for it. Now both books are in its second print. Seem like people are buying it.

After that achievement, I was told in October, a week before my birthday, I am a graduate of International Center for Education of Islamic Finance (INCEIF) in Certified Islamic Finance Professional. Add another title of CIFP at the back of my name. Building my legal firm into a force to be reckon with on Islamic finance.

These two are just but small achievements as they are selfish indulgence.

This year, I want to be more proactive in contributing to society. Looking for a worthwhile project or maybe even projects.

As I tweeted before : 

My 2011 resolution is 
to be resolute in my resolutions
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