Wednesday, September 30, 2009

BMW @ IAA 2009: Opening.

A drivable platform!? How do you top that?

In a couple of weeks time, we'll be flying to Japan for the Tokyo Motorshow but due to the global economic crisis, there will be no German makes this year. Darn (make that double exclamation!!).

But looking at the IAA this year, it seriously doesn't look like there's a crisis anywhere near Germany. Perhaps will make it for the year after next. If I'm not mistaken, it happens once every two years. Hey hang on, what's that... I hear Paris calling...

Monday, September 28, 2009

Yayoi Kusama - Mirrored Years in City Gallery, Wellington.

Her work has always impressed me, since my first encounter with the spotted pumpkin in Naoshima, Japan. But I never really got to know the real person or her unfailing motivations or haunting visions or the delicate history which shaped her to become who she is today.

Yayoi Kusama - erratically focused, depressingly happy, an irony of all sorts coming together through her hands to become a form of artwork that is so single-minded yet delivers the kapow of freshness Although the art world has a tendency to include her into the different contemporary art period during her high time in the 50s and 60s, she remains an isolation to the different movements. It's almost like a drop of oil in a basin of water. She recognises her contemporaries but remain indignant of her uniqueness in mainstream movements. It's almost like trying to be anti-anti-establishment. Her most famous works include concepts of infinity spelled out in a spellbinding array of repetitive patterns that pronounce so much volume in one visual sitting. Within the canvas itself, she breaks free. Her work is simple but never stagnant with hints of highly sensual activities yet never in your face like how some post-modern American artists tend to represent nor un-tastefully done in her possible counterparts from Viennese Actionism. Her simplicity is almost childlike and if you watched her video 'I Adore Myself', shot by Takako Matsumoto then you'd understand how her creative energy had been mustered and channeled by both her childhood nature and self-forced nurture.

It isn't uncommon for those who have strong artistry in their blood, to turn to creative expressions to find salvation from their dark melancholic (sometimes disturbed) being. As with Van Gogh, Yayoi Kusama also had her own demons, thus channeling all her energy into creating works that are so visually tactile, you could feel your emotions embracing it by just allowing it to engage you. Here's a trailer as your artistic appetizer to the world of Kusama.

The exhibition in Wellington's City Gallery runs from now till 7th February 2010. Catch it if you can. And don't underestimate what the polka dots can do. They will consume you.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Sustainable NZ - love your country.

It's great to know how Kiwis sustain their affection for their homeland. The one thing that really magnifies my curiosity is how they keep everything so... beautiful? We don't even call it landscaping because that just sounds so unnatural. The countryside looks like every shrub had been strategically planted to achieve a totally natural picturesque-beyond-words look. Yet it is untouched and unfazed by Man's influence and development. Trust me. The Lord of The Rings 'look' is no accident. And is no flimsy film set-up. It's God's creation.

I think the trick is to build around nature. Versus, anything other than that. Build solutions around nature to ensure the country stays green. Think BN, think! Think before you build things! Think about what impact you are making to the environment! Think of a win-win scenario when building - for us and for nature! Think about maintenance before you build! Just... freaking THINK!!!

If you need some clue, knock yourself out here.

Auckland, Auckland.

Have been gallivanting for a couple of days now in Auckland. Sorry, no photos at the mo' ;) Check back.

I was telling a friend about Auckland. Of so many cities I've been to, Auckland felt very different. It reminded me of different cities at the different times. Sydney, Dubai, etc. The much mistaken capital of New Zealand (no, it's not), it's an amalgamation of so many different cultures, particularly the Asian ones - Chinese, Japanese, Korean, perhaps even Taiwanese. Half the city feels like mini-cities of all these different Asian ethnic groups. But the great thing is, although so diverse, it just seems so easy for everyone to call this place, home. Which makes the concept of Auckland really different from one person to another, from one local to a foreigner. It reminds me of Dubai (a little) because of the strong Asian presence. The major difference is, Dubai felt like a city being raped of its Arabic essence - everyone wants to reap something out of it but nobody wants to call it home. Auckland on the other hand... I supposed, is lived in and loved by everyone who has got any business there.

And then I came to Windy Wellie, south of North Island. Which is... windy :P Very windy. But nice. Now I understand why the separation and comparison of Sydney and Melbourne and Auckland and Wellington. This place reminded me so much of Melbourne. Partially because there are less Asians here (or at least they feel less dominant) and also because there's this very pretty Victorian charm all around the city which size is really one third of its sister, Auckland. Somehow, it's easier to walk on the streets. More relaxed. More romance to relish. More surprises around the corners which reward can only be victoriously claimed by those who are curious and back-laned savvy. I like it better here. The only complain I have is, the walk between where I'm staying and the city can be breathtaking. Literally. Steep slope yo. Steeeeeep. I bet it's almost like an 80 degrees slope.

Anyway, time for dinner. Over and out.

Pray for everything good for tomorrow (back in Malaysia) ;)

Something to really think about: The Psychology of Objects.

How do we consider the same design principles for virtual experience? Will they still apply if it is a non-physical manifestation? Of course it does. One that really captures the idea is this particular slide:

Products are just another manifestation of brands. Well-designed products become strong brands. Bad ones will just get left behind. This is the fundamental truth of any brand, whether it's a product or service and the principle applies ever so strongly in the automotive industry where designing doesn't just serve to invoke emotions but enhance drivability and most important of all, protect during mishaps. A great design can save any flailing brand.

Slideshare is awesome. I'd probably have to sell off my car to get to Parsons.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Does the person create the journey or the journey that creates the person?

Deep, insightful, full of meaning. For once, I saw the other side of LV. And I resonate with that.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Know your GTi #7.

Hate it when your side mirrors fog up on rainy days? No fear, just turn the dial to the heating function on the side mirror control. But remember to 'turn' it off as it does consume a bit of fuel to warm up the mirrors ;)

Drive safe this Raya and see you guys when I get back from Modor.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

The science of menu.

How to sell your menu if you're running a restaurant:

Subliminal message
"The placement is very important," agrees restaurant consultant Isidore Kharasch, president of Chicago-based Hospitality Works, citing the example of a microbrewery that came to him for help with its menu. "They were selling mostly hamburgers and sandwiches, and the chef wanted to sell more of the higher-end items," Kharasch recounts. He recommended that the restaurant place the high-end specialties on the inside right page, toward the middle, and move the burgers and sandwiches from that spot to the back page. "We increased the font in that area [with the specialties]. Then on the back, we reduced the font for the burgers and sandwiches. It was a very subtle thing. In the first week [after the change], the average check went from $16 to $21. It's not that people were looking to order sandwiches and burgers, but people were being forced to order them." (not sure if 'forced' is the right word or even the right thing to do, but design does guide choices and that's the fundamental truth).

Avoid a split-personality design
Menus should be graphically exciting, but first and foremost they should be functional, says Lansing. "We want our menus to be spectacular, but we also want them to be good business tools," he says. "Some people want to create the coolest menu that ever existed." In their quest to be creative, "they forget that people might not be able to read the menu." In other words, forget about winning design awards; concentrate on winning customers. (The contention of doing what's nice and what's right is neverending. While I do not want to undermine the importance of winning awards since those metals and plates are really what some creative people live for but all I'm saying is, please consider the priorities).

Word association
And certain words have more selling power than others. For example, "marinated," "roasted" or "cooked in our wood-fire oven" have more allure than "fried," says Kharasch. What if the item is fried? "Then you can say that it's hand-battered. That way you've told the customers the item is fried, without telling them the item is fried." You'll also want to direct customers to high-profit, high-quality items by making the descriptions of those dishes more appealing than others, says Paul. "You should have a continuum of appeal. Not everything should sound equally delicious. . . . Having everything sound equally attractive doesn't help the guest any more than having everything sound equally bland."

Number neuroses
There's also an art to presenting menu prices. Among the mistakes Kharasch has seen are menus that align prices in a column on the right, leading customers to use the "shop-by-price method." "No matter how nice the descriptions, it forces customers to look at the prices first. The eye tends to go straight to the prices," he says. "And don't put the prices from most expensive to least expensive. People figure that out quickly." Paul agrees that the placement of the price is critical. "I like to position the price at the end of the description, in the same type, the same boldness and without a dollar sign. This approach helps the reader focus on the product — not the price. Even the dollar sign makes the guest a little more aware of the price."

Analyzing your menu's strengths
Customers spend less than two minutes perusing a bill of fare, estimates Main. If a menu is designed correctly, it can have a significant impact during those few critical minutes. "The menu is the purest expression of marketing," he says. "It's your blueprint for profitability."

Italic bold mine and the above is just the best bits, original post here.

More often than not, we always take existing marketing communication tools for granted, looking at just how we want to innovate by doing new things. Society evolves on a natural cycle following the change of nature. Shouldn't our daily mechanisms too? To the most overlooked item, we should really consider putting more emphasis on it and put depth into it. No doubt sliced bread is one of the best inventions of mankind. But true innovation comes from how we slice it.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Test drive - BMW 325i Sports.

Although the 325i Sports had been launched quite sometime ago, nevertheless you don't see many on the road. Priced at a hefty RM300,000 over, I guess it's not something you'd just consider off the rack.

Got a chance to try my hands on this muscle wheels (again, 'muscle' here is relative...) and surprise, surprise, what a comfortable drive. A little too comfortable perhaps for a 2.5 branded M sports? The car felt surprisingly light with no second consideration to the load of 5 adults on top of a kerb weight of 1,460kg. It's a four-door, with a backside yet it was a feathery compared to say, a Golf GTI. During pickup, you could hear the unbelievably light 6-cylinder Double VANOS engine purr as you floor the pedal. The usage of magnesium lead to significant weight reduction to the engine but somehow, the grunt delivered was less than satisfactory, well at least for me. Instead of reciprocating with a low willful growl when you provoke the 325 from zero to hundred, a higher pitch of what sounds like an electronic hum was produced. Nevertheless, the acceleration was responsive clocking in a 7.7s (manufacturer's claim) producing a maximum output of 218bhp at a high rpm of 6,500 but a fairly low rpm torque of 250Nm at 2,750. A GTI for example, will achieve maximum speed quicker but will still be outran by one of these gentlemen sports.

Corner handling was nice, almost expected from the B badge who pride themselves on 50:50 equal weight distribution build. But I was pretty sure bends can be handled at a much higher pace than the usual BMW test drive 80km/h ;) I thought pushing this well-groomed sedan through corners is the only way to see if its feathery weight is friend or foe. Well, I didn't. It's not my car.

The interior is driver oriented with minimal trimming. What needs to be there is there. What doesn't, doesn't. The 325i Sports came with the innovative iDrive with BMW Navigation System Professional, first in its class when launched in 2007. The new screen come with finer resolutions providing crisp clear visibility. Wanna get lost? Not a chance ;) The one I test drove, had a bluish grey leather interior which adds on to the 'executive' feel that masqueraded its aggressiveness well. The steering wheel is no good for those who prefer pizza-pan-sized ones such as the Volvos and Camrys. In fact, it is smaller and fuller in grip compared even to the Golf GTI, which I thought felt pretty substantial already. The steering is responsive with great maneuverability but lacks the driver's punch. I think the word they use is called 'refinement'. Uh.

The stability of the vehicle was well-tested when strong emergency braking is enforced - well-behaved and glided to a complete stop without throwing up all the passengers thanks to the Dynamic Stability Control system with additional functions of ABS, DTC and CBC to stabilize the vehicle when it detects swerving risks in miliseconds. Not something which you'd try on a daily basis but a close call recently on a rainy highway really made me thank God for safety engineers and technologies such as these.

All in all, a very well-mannered and handsome sedan in every angle with no excess fat, though I feel it could have been a little more athletic for a 2.5. Personally, I think it's nice to ride something you respect and gain its esteem in return. It's almost like you exchange polite greetings, get to know one another before taking it out on the road - get dirty, fist fight and then obtain that victorious and exhilarating satisfaction of having conquered one another. This 325, I'm afraid, is a little tame. Maybe a 335 with twin turbo is a more convincing Jekyll hiding in Hyde?

My photos don't justify its good looks. Here's something for you to revel in ;)

Tuesday, September 15, 2009


Sparks supports 1Malaysia but not (yet) the government.

Monday, September 14, 2009

A challenging spirit :)

I usually don't post stuff like this here. But gosh, this is damn cute. Challenging spirit eh ;)

Friday, September 11, 2009

What really goes on in Dentsu Utama.

An email conversation on any day...

Jeremy> As many of you know, thanks to Sue Yin’s “Turn off your main switches” and “Polystyrene-Free Office Starting Tomorrow” e-mails, Dentsu Utama is now eco-friendly! And to add to the list of “Green things to do”, we’re also conducting a “No lights lunch time” initiative. Don’t worry, it’ll be only done once a week, on Fridays. So, from this week onwards, the office will be in the dark during Friday’s lunch time. If you must work, and REALLY, REALLY, REALLY (You get the idea) need a light, then you may switch on a light. Only one. First ‘No lights lunch time’: Friday, 11th September 2009. 1pm – 2pm. Thanks!

Sue-Anne> I supply candles la!

Amirrul> Open BURNING!!!....

Jonn> Hmm candles huh? Used previously for what ah?

Jeremy> Dear all, “No lights lunch time” will commence in 10 minutes… Get ready to sit in the dark….

Sue-Anne> Should have taken a photo of darkness…

Photo of darkness....sue anne...we can still take picture one..i'll switch off the lights for you..want or not? it still looks the same...

I’m famous! I’m on a blog….Congrats people. I know this mail is a little late, but….. good one on the “No lights lunch time”!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Re-post: Tolerance my ass!

Hey! YOO HOO MR. PRIME MINISTER! Wanna check this out?


Re-post from Lim Kit Siang for Malaysia:

I have received the following very angry email from MS, with a very ferocious heading which I am using – breaking a rule of this blog:

Couldn't help feeling this angry today. I know at my age, I am supposed to be mellowing out, looking forward to a nice chilled day and now what? I find myself with the same amount of righteous anger as I had when I was 16 – going through puberty and finding the world most unfair that my mum wouldn't allow me to have my first pair of cargo pants!

I was sitting in the banana leaf shop this morning having a roti and a coffee when a group of JAWI officers entered the premises. 10 officers to be exact, into this little shop. They spent a good 20 minutes going through the place (and it is a small place!) and finally one officer writes out a writ and gives it to the cashier. They then left. Curious, I asked the cashier what that was all about and he replied that they were not allowed to have their little altars and pictures of their deities in their shop “because otherwise, Muslims cannot come into their shops” . What utter nonsense! Are we still living in the Malaysia that is so “famed” for its “religious tolerance”?? The shop is not a mamak shop. It is an Indian Banana leaf shop. Why would it be surprising that they should have signs of their religious beliefs in their own space? I didn't think that sort of thing was illegal (please correct me if I am wrong). What is wrong with this picture? Will it come down to the point when my Muslim friends should not visit my home just because I have a cross or a Chinese altar there? PLEASE!

Better yet, I discovered as I was leaving , that the JAWI personnel had targeted the other 3 banana leaf shops along that row of old shops (near the vets office – off Jalan Maarof). There were at least 4 nos of vans for the officers , ALL double parked on the main road and causing an inconvenience to the other road users. Is there a separate set of laws that govern these people? Notwithstanding the fact that they are trampling all over the definition of religious tolerance in this country , they also flaunt the general laws of the land. This makes me really angry and sad about the state of our country.

I now find it difficult to speak up for Malaysia when there are arguments comparing Malaysia to other countries. It is sad that we can have the once world tallest building and still think like we came out of the jungle yesterday.

My Personal Big Sad Day today


Honestly, I don't think these stuff is new. But after the Shah Alam's cow head incident, I guess the fire's stoked. Therefore, getting a lot more sensitive than usual. However, having said that. Seriously, every Friday if you've ever been near a mosque, you have cars from Sagas to 5-series parked double, triple, quadruple by the road side. We didn't say anything. Although I would like to say it's because we're Malaysians and we practise tolerance, but really. It's because we, non-Mosque goers, have gotten used to it. Well, I guess that is some form of tolerance. I think the question is not about the people because it's REALLY OKAY to go to your house of worship (humankind still needs to be reminded of the fundamental values that only a greater-than-we-can-imagine being called 'God' can teach). But I think the issue here is the Malaysian government is practising double standards. I mean, how bout building mosques with basement parkings from now on? Or WITH a parking facility? :/

Come on. Do we need Malaysian Insider to cover the cow head story on YOUTUBE to get every Tom, Dick and Harry to comment before the police finally move in for the arrest? Er. Shouldn't that be something tackled on the spot, DURING the incident? So, for some strange reason, I did suspect it was all a show - part of their campaign. Get it highlighted to the public, few 'good' men say something, police take action, *tada* 1Malaysia. I would have bought that if it happened 10 years ago. Before social media took over the world. Honestly honestly honestly, Mr. Government. You've got to give us netizens a lot more credit that you had. Sigh.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Stuff you're dying to find out about the Honda Civic Hybrid.

Here. All the answers to your little inquisitive minds on the Honda Civic Hybrid ;) We've got it uploaded because I think albeit concerns abound, sometimes what we all need, is just a little bit of convincing ;)

On YouTube - How to have soft baby lips.

Hmm. The age of self-advertising via self-media. What can this person sell? Obviously she's selling something (a product, an idea, a concept, etc) to women. Yet look at the response she gets. Men. If we break the semantics, what underlying message can we get? How will this from now on, affect the communication industry? For one video you see, there are millions targeted at other millions that you don't.

Mazda2 Demio soon to arrive?

Mazda2 Demio soon to arrive in Malaysia? Looks like the competition between the two current Japanese giants is gonna get fun ;) Bring it awnnn yo!

Available in 1.3 and 1.5cc (also comes with or without backside). If it's a serious contender in the B-segment category, then I'd assume it's a 1.5 AT sedan that can put out a decent 103PS at 6,000rpm (very competitive with Vios though not as torquish), with a max torque of 137Nm at 4,000rpm.

(But honestly, it's hard to find the difference between Mazda3's exterior and the 2)

Monday, September 7, 2009

Airtel commercial.

Nothing beats the simple truth about how and why human need to connect. Brilliant. And the soundtrack, especially the last bit gives me goosebumps. So really, details guys... D E T A I L S.

New ABT version of Scirocco and Golf GTI Mk 6 launched.

The much awaited and talked about VW Scirocco. Finally, finally, finally on our shores. I think I prefer the original design, although the ABT spec gives it an additional 40 horses pushing a max torque up to 340Nm, somehow the design seems a bit much. Can't wait to go for a spin in it ;)

Just in case if you're interested in getting the full kit, the tuning package includes:

ABT Wheels Package
*19inch (sweet) BR styling Black edition wheels + Continental tires + ABT sport springs + spacers
The damage: RM21,500

Aerodynamic ABT Package
*Full ABT Bodykits + quad pipe stainless steel muffler (super sweet)
The damage: RM18,500

ABT ECU Performance Tuning
*ECU upgrades to 240hp and 340Nm
The damage: RM6,000

Current special ABT VSR Scirocco full package will cost about RM45,000 (which is RM1,000 off from the above total)

Also saw the Golf GTI Mk 6 in ABT kit. The one currently in the Cartrade's showroom is not the GTI which you'll be getting because that's a 2-door. The GTIs which will be sold here, all come with 4 doors. I didn't manage to snap any photos but I've decided to rip off from zerotohundred ;) Just to let you have a look at what the GTI's 'wild side' is like, since the new version is much more refined and seem to have a rather 'executive' look to it.
So if you prefer the Golf, then this is what you can get from ABT VSR GTI package:

ABT Wheels Package
*19inch (like the Scirocco but I prefer more spokes) BR styling Black edition wheels + Continental tires + ABT sport springs + spacers
The damage: RM23,500 (why is this more expensive than the Scirocco? No idea...)

Aerodynamic ABT Package
*Full ABT Bodykits + quad pipe stainless steel muffler (give me two years and I'm so gonna get the quad pipes)
The damage: RM18,500

ABT ECU Performance Tuning
*ECU upgrades to 260hp and 360Nm (whoa! Some really good steroids!)
The damage: RM6,000

Current special ABT VSR GTI full package will cost about RM47,000 (which is RM1,000 off from the above total)

Note: Don't worry if your car is still under warranty and you crave for some of those candies. ABT's warranty itself is 1-year and it does not void your manufacturer's original one. So... Wanna go shopping?

Sunday, September 6, 2009

15 Malaysia.

239,241 videos downloaded so far. 76,446 fans in Facebook. All 4 languages - and the fact that the 'Tamil' version actually works. I think this is by far, the most Malaysian site I've ever came across. If BN talks about 1Malaysia, maybe they should learn from people who are passionate about it.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Funny Facebook moments.

I'm sorry but this really tickles me. The moment of unadulterated sincerity clashing with innocent bluntness. Context people, context...

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Learning to be a (great) planner 101 #4.

How to overcome butterflies in your stomach when presenting?

Present only what you know and present it with passion :)

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Free advertising for Honda?

Wrapping up our Honda Advanced Technology campaign, we found interesting 'free advertising'. Doesn't the humanoid remind you of 'someone'?

Spotted in Bangsar Shopping Centre - Asimo(s) helping himself to electrical goods.

Look for the perfect equilibrium at the perfect place.

Who knew there was such a precious gem, a quiet escapade situated right in the back lane of the city. I'm hardpressed to use the word 'rejuvenation'. It's another one of those words that doesn't mean anything anymore because it's been overused and over-representing too many brands. But this place certainly gets you refreshed. Not the spa-land kind of refreshed (although you could get an excellent treatment in-house) but the serious, grown-up, quieting your mind down, and noticing the subtle movements around you, once again kind of refreshed. Welcome to The Club, Saujana.

Rain shower washes tiredness away.

Free flow of gin, vodka, whiskey, cookies, Smarties and Nespresso. The stuff you need to knock yourself down and lift yourself back up ;)

The perfect breakfast overlooking the greens with light rain. If everyday is today.

It's interesting to note that more and more hotels are advertising to capture the urban market. You need to retreat but your car doesn't. So, you go to the nearest resort or boutique hotel and just burrow yourself into the King size bed and call it a day. The Club is amazingly well thought-out and well designed. One thing I really hope to see is establishments like this to spearhead environmental friendly initiatives. Not as a by-the-way project, but as part and parcel of their business, produce and service.