Thursday, December 30, 2010

Mirai Mechanism Tokyo.

Simple effects can bring so much futurism into an otherwise normal city shot.

Monday, December 27, 2010

How to be alone.

Beautiful and inspiring. Even videos have learned how to multi-task.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

What’s the trouble with love?

The trouble with love is we all get used to it at some point. We get used to having a companion, we get used to having someone doing certain things for us and we reciprocate with other deeds for our partner. There’s nothing wrong with companionship and this act of reciprocation but the trouble happens when we get used to it. We become demanding, we demand time, attention and respect and we stop earning and/or working for it. I guess as with everything, when we get too comfortable, the zone turns grey and becomes uninteresting.

On a really bad day, sometimes we don’t even know how we ended up in that unkind spot in the first place. It would be futile to question anyway since a place like this, isn’t built overnight. Respect and trust can erode very dramatically over a specific incident, and at the same time unnoticeably gnawed away by our ignorance over time – 1 year, 5 years, 10 years. It is difficult to say whether the relationship can be saved (although I would like to believe that everything is possible if you want to) but it is really quite difficult to expect two persons to be as loving, or even as caring as couples of a decade or more ought to be. That’s right, too much fairytales. Reality is like viewing the sun without Raybans and it’s a lot more harsher than we thought.

So before you continue to spiral into oblivion with your partner, take some time out and think if something is amiss. The best judge of whether you both are on the same vector, I supposed, is to see if you’ve been growing close along the years. If you are distant, then suck it up and admit the distance. Don’t figure it out on your own as it will only prove that your relationship is handicapped. Clapping is an act achievable only by both hands, no? Well unless of course, truth is you’re only interested in a relationship with yourself, then why not :)

Well, my advice will be - Life’s too short. So don’t mess it up for other people.

Good luck and have yourself a very merry Christmas.

Picture credit to Behance Network.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Celebrating Dongzhi Festival ;)

It's been a long time since I attempted to create something. I've been producing and producing and producing a lot of stuff at work (both useful and of lesser use) but it's been a long long long time since I've done anything at home. So today, we're making tangyuan ;) We're doing a pre-Winter Solstice Festival since I'll be travelling to Singapore on Wednesday night. And the result? Yums ;)

Everyone tells me to think out of the box, I thought, heck. Why not just make em' boxes then.

*burp*

Honda 'Innovation in Motion' voted as the best booth in KL Motorshow 2010.

I remember my last trip to Tokyo Motorshow and I was very much inspired by the strategy taken by our Japanese counterpart in Dentsu who produced the booth for Honda as well. Although the production is very much different, but the idea of not using an exhibitor's space in a conventional manner really challenged my initial thought.

So we came back and threw a lot of 'what ifs' around. What if we could utilize the 11-day event to send a message out to the public on what Honda is all about? What if we could integrate online and offline, at KLIMS and outside, with an activation that could engage people even without them having to do too much? What if we could make people feel good about themselves when they engage with us? What if we 'host' the visitors instead of just exhibiting? What if we could design structures and mechanisms that would make sense to what would otherwise be very boring static exhibits? What if we present ourselves and our dreams and let transparency judge our worthiness?

So many what ifs, and finally we say, let's just do it. And we did it. We designed the entire space based on the thought of 'Innovation in Motion' within the given budget, to serve as a media vehicle instead. Honda is a company beyond a mere car manufacturer. It was a manufacturer of dreams and power products and the story was told via a 19ft wide LCD screen(s) with an awesome presenter. We produced additional videos to share a vision of forming a new wave of generation that is simple, smart and responsible called The Insight Generation. We connected our visitors with the general public via a simple insight that everyone is happy when they give and receive so we gave out a potted plant outside of KLIMS on behalf of every person who voted to be part of The Insight Generation, who basically supports green mobility. We did not showcase any concept cars, but we shared aspirations of very real, today's models. We brought to the public for the very first time in Malaysia, one of Honda's many innovative endeavors in designing for the next generation of mobile society, the U3-X. We challenged the visitors with race simulators that winners are defined in the most unexpected manner - on how good of an eco-driver they are instead of the usual fast and furious scoring system - in line with KLIMS 2010's theme that focused on green technology and concept cars that encouraged the public to adopt an environment-friendly lifestyle.

When the news was announced, needless to say we were as ecstatic as our clients. And we want to thank them from the bottom of our hearts for this awesome opportunity, since it was our first Motorshow project. The dream of seeing all your blood, sweat and tears coming together at one single consumer touch point was truly satisfying. The award is awesome, but what's more priceless is the various positive feedback we got from fellow exhibitors, media and client associates. That my friend, is truly truly priceless. Till 2013 :)

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Being in love gives you a sense of confidence - fleeting or permanent?

Observe a person in love and you'll notice how each footstep starts with a confident heel touching the ground and then bounces off at the ball of the foot, with the 'springy' energy spread right to the tip of the toe. Notice how his or her head is held higher, the chin is up and that sparkle in the eye. All these are cues of self-confidence. The sense of assurance and self-worth that's free from doubt. Why? Because someone loves you. The power of assurance from that one single source is able to defeat years of doubt brewed internally and solicited externally. It's almost a sense of self renewal. The question is, is this temporary or is this true confidence just needing someone to unleash it?

Let's face it. Everyone's self-worth to a certain extent is relative to what others perceive them to be. There is no definitive measurement of how much a person is worth. Let only the Divine judge these things. Therefore, every human being is worthy in an absolute way. In an ideal world, there isn't a case where someone is worthier than another. But such is the reality of life, especially when we are so used to measuring our own worthiness via the level of acceptance by other people, especially our partners. Which I guess explains why when we're in love, we feel like we could do extraordinary things. We could take on the world and be the next Brave Heart. Why? Because of Love. The most powerful four letter word in the world. But such confidence sizzles and eventually fizzles out, especially in the modern times where the term 'ever-lasting love' has expired. It is such an amusing observation, not what we will do in the name of love. But what we think we can do, due to the chemistry change in us that boosts the serotonin level in our system. Truth be told, that really is the spark that started the 'temporary high'.

Of course, be in love! Be confident about it! It's an awesome feeling and should not be robbed of anyone. But just be wary that it may not be something that's permanent. Permanent confidence takes a lot more than just feeling airy about a relationship. Permanent confidence is built up through the years via encouragement and love (a verb, not noun) from our partner and also the people around us.

It's funny that we're all born equal with the same absolute measurement of self-worth. Yet, as we grow older, we need others to validate our existence. And the more important that person is to us, the heavier the evaluation will be worth.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

An epiphany.

Something sparked in me tonight. I've forgot what it feels like to not have people telling you what you can and cannot do, what you should or should not do, telling you to compromise. Forgot what it's like to be liberated and at the same time, completely focused on what drives me. Tonight, that spark came back and I am inspired. Fame and glory pale in comparison to originality and passion. Sometimes, we may not need to know where we will end up as long as we continue to believe in that hunch that if we keep doing what we believe will make a difference, we'll end up somewhere that's beyond our expectation.

I believe in that hunch.

And I will move forward.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Creating a new insightful generation that supports green mobility!

If you have voted for a better future, congratulations and thank you. You are now part of The Insight Generation. If you have not and wish to do so, visit www.honda.com.my ;)

For every vote garnered during KL Motorshow (3rd to 12th December - on ground and online), Honda will give a potted plant to the general public on behalf of the voters. A small gesture to paint the town green but big meaning ;)

Thursday, December 9, 2010

BMW's flash projection - is it ethical?

This is cool. But I'm not sure if this is entirely ethical. It's like why 2 seconds commercials flashing only the logo of the advertiser is banned because it's considered to be priming the audience's subconscious, making the brand sticks during recall, unaware by the consumer. Hmmm. What do you think?

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Innovation in Motion at KL Motorshow.

Before the show starts. Some of us have been camping here since the first day. And some of us have been going in and out like zombies. But it's okay! We're counting down till the final finale :) Hang on, team!

Meanwhile, come say hi. Get an awesome magnetic calendar and a trendy tote bag (that is IF you are part of the Insight Generation), and I'll try to sell you some cars ;)

More pics here.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Insight: The hybrid generation that breeds a new way of thinking.

Well, it's a wrap. All the hard work for the past quarter, put into the launch of the new Honda Insight has finally paid off. To be honest, the production timeline was super tight but we finally saw everything come together. And it's the reason why I'm doing this again and again and again ;)

I can't help it. Of all the cars that we have launched for Honda, Insight somehow seems to strike the closest chord in me. I guess it isn't just because it's a hybrid that's in trend right now, but more so due to it being a real challenge to distill the right message for the public since eco is still a superficial concept in Malaysia. Honda almost never does anything trendy just for trend sake. We really believe that Insight was a noble brainchild - the world's most affordable hybrid (at time of blogging). But the problem was it wasn't really true in Malaysia. And then the wind changed when the government announced the latest status for hybrid tax incentives. Having said that, Insight will never be a 'people's car' in this market due to its price tag. But from the way we saw it, it stood for something bigger than just Ringgit and sen. It is an idea that beckons a new kind of thinking that will help change the world, little by little, starting from our everyday choice, starting from the moment we sit inside our car and drive to work every morning.

***

Simplicity really makes our life cleaner and more efficient. And simplicity need not be boring and monotonous. Simplicity as defined by Honda has an element of excitement. And that brought to life in design form is known as the Insight. It's a product that doesn't just represent a new wave of engine technology that's collecting global spotlight. It is a concept that embodies a new way of thinking. Of using only what we need. No more big bulky flashy badge vehicles. But a compact that is simple, light weight and fun to drive at the same time. Insight is a kind of concept that teaches people how to 'un-drive' the way they did before and inspires them to do their part, no matter how small, their effort is always significant in volume. The way we saw it, the Insight represented a new kind of movement that is accessible to all. No more cumbersome technology that makes you pay for super futuristic elements that don't need to be there. Just keeping it simple. Simple to run, simple to care for, simple for everyday driving that is fun.

Welcome to the Insight Generation. Seriously, you should join us and watch the world change ;)


***

Just wanna do some honorary credits by thanking the entire team behind the Insight Generation campaign. Simply because I know how much effort each and everyone of them had put in.

Jacq - For being a super stylist and making the Insight Generation look so awesome in their simplicity
Terence - For being there and providing that sense of assurance that everything will run
KW - For being the 'rock' that grounds everyone and controlling our cost which if left to me and the creative, Dentsu would have gone bankrupt :)
Rizal and V - For the craftsmanship and the 'extra' entertainment ;) as well as for inspiring the creative energy from others (thank you for putting up with MY sh*t!)
Motoki - For ensuring the CI of our client is always treated with utmost care and respect
Carrot Films, especially An, Jefferi and Lani - For putting up with our collective sh*t and being so patient with us and of course, for such a well-made film
2 a.m - For being there and really delivering based on that trust
Pixel Post - For that commitment to deliver and just being awesome
LV - For the roving team who tirelessly gives out the potted plants, always with a smile
e-motion - For living up to that spirit of challenge and putting together another great video over night!

And last but not least, to Honda - For feeding our creative energy with your gracious support.

Seriously, seriously. Thank you.

I have an Insight, do you?

Monday, November 29, 2010

BMW 1 Series M Coupe.

The One may not be the one. But the M One is definitely THE One ;)

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Incredible Sparks.

This last quarter of 2010 has been incredibly busy for Sparks. Amidst from flying around and running in and out of meetings, this is by far the busiest period of my attachment with Dentsu Utama to date. Seriously, I kinda miss my life a little. But then again, the satisfaction that's been resulted from such chaotic period is also immensely encouraging. I guess you can't have everything, can you?

But just for awhile, I really need to slow down and take a break. You must be wondering, didn't I just got back from France? Yeah, like a decade ago. I'm not sure if I enjoyed it as much as I should have because I couldn't let go of work and most of the time I was busy checking mails or having conference calls. To be honest with you, that really sucked. I was there, but I wasn't there. It really really sucked. BUT, what can I say. What you've got to do, you've got to do. So no complains, but still. As a statement of fact - that really sucked.

So, now I'm planning for a short break in February. It's gonna be a really short trip but I bet it's gonna be a really awesome, breezy and balmy one. No letting the cat out of the bag. I'll let Cat share the experience with you when the time comes.

So, just one more week and it's the moment we've all been waiting and slogging for. The 2010 KL Motorshow week. I can't wait for the first launch day because I believe it will truly be a spectacular experience - witnessing all the bits and pieces of your blood, sweat and tears coming together in full glory. I'll be there for almost every day from 4 to 10pm. Yes, I'll be giving out brochures, wiping iPads, giving away goodies, etc. Ha! If I ain't value for money, show me another Planner who would be caught dead doing that! But it's okay, this project is as close to me as every other one, what is a couple of days standing stiff for 6 hours right? Right. Everyone else in the team will be doing that too. I so wish I could make my boss stand with me. Cause I know the previous one will. Yes, there's bitterness in there. But that's another chapter altogether.

Haih... oh Sparks Sparks... what for art thou. Why for art thou doing this? Well, what can I say. It comes in a package. Sweet things sometimes come with bitterness, and you've got to swallow them whole. And swallow them whole I will!

Anyway, come look me up if you're there too. Come shake my hands and introduce yourself. Come exchange name cards and see if we could create a worthy partnership. Or just simply come and be a kind companion. Come and give me tips on how to improve my blog, or even my job. Come hire me ;) Well, in any case, I'll see you there!

Friday, November 26, 2010

New Concept M by Honda launched in Malaysia.

Something that was planned very carefully for almost a year, taking into consideration of what a true blue Honda fan would enjoy, balanced by affordability.

Honda new Concept M rolled out yesterday, and it's opened for booking now. Seriously, very limited units available.

Dreams that move me...

We should feel, every time we create... E.V.E.R.Y.T.I.M.E.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

The difference between good and great.

"Talent hits a target no one else can hit; Genius hits a target no one else can see."
- Arthur Schopenhauer

The question is can you take being perceived as delusional until you're proven right?

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Contagious case study: The colour of money.

Read it in ADOI this month's issue on page 65 (funny, I just realised that the pagination stops at 64).

This month's case study feature, titled 'Colour of Money' is about the greening of consumerism and how global consumers are breaking into segments. It's very similar to what we have done to increase sustainable advocacy in mass consumerism in Malaysia. And it's also interesting to note some segments that are covered by GfK Roper Consulting but were not visible when we completed our local study. Hmm, it really gives us an idea on how to improve The Green Chronicles to further distill insights, should we run it again. And I seriously think we should run it again next year. Inspired ;) Now I just need funding. Solutions, solutions, solutions. Hmm.

Dentsu Utama looking for an entrepreneurial copywriter.

Creative zest is a given, but an entrepreneurial mind is of great asset :) Please send an email to sueanne [at] dentsutama [dot] com [dot] my if you're interested or have someone to recommend. Looking forward to working with you ;)

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Sparks' own leaky cauldron.

This type of situation calls for a bit of magic... Hmm...What spell haven't I use yet...

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Book: Totto-Chan: The Little Girl at the Window by Tetsuko Kuroyanagi.

This book is the author's recollection of her childhood - how she received unconventional education from her school, Tomoe Gakuen. How she was taught priceless life values through experience instead of conventional learning by memorizing and spitting out facts. A blessing in disguise since she was expelled from her school due to her 'weird' manner. Very endearing.

I can't remember how I got this book. One of those many boring waiting times in Narita must have prompted me to get this book. Never got to read it until of late, where I found myself reading this to sleep every night. In a good way.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Dentsu Utama wins Honda 2-wheeler new product launch.

Something closer to home :)

Our colleague wrote a really touching email which solicited the most responses from the entire agency when announcing this win. I must admit, it brought back some memories - fond and less-than-fond ones - and it was a tough tough tough journey. But I'm glad we pulled through.

To those who have left us but were part of this journey, here's three toasts to you guys. I promise the real drinks will flow very soon.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Dentsu Sustainability Solutions Unit.

We announced the arrival of a new IP platform 2 weeks ago during our regional meeting. Though this is not new to Dentsu Inc, which of course already has many established divisions with regards to sustainable initiatives and expertise, the announcement of such platform is in line with our vision of providing a sustainable future for all, from a regional perspective.

Striking equilibrium between economic profitability and environment sustainability may seem impossibly idealistic, but important to note that it is not an impossible feat. Looking forward to implementing practical strategic plans as well as inspiring our partners to innovate the world out of its current problems.

Wish us well and wish us luck ;)

Friday, November 12, 2010

The new BMW X3.



You can have it all. You can show utility visually without copy.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

What makes my day?

A lot of laughter with my favourite people!

Shallow shallots should be shot (now say it 5 times).

Read in TimeOut KL last month's issue.

What do you think will put an end to abandoned babies?
a) Baby cots where mothers can leave their babies anonymously (MP Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat, The Malaysian Insider, Aug 24 2010)
b) Banning porn (Federal CID director Comm Datuk Seri Bakri Zinin, The Star Online, Aug 17 2010)
c) Abolishing Valentine's Day and New Year's celebrations (PAS Youth chief Nasruddin Hassan, The Star Online, Aug 19 2010)
d) Introducing sex education at a secondary school level

The percentage of vote breaks down as per:
a) 31%
b) 8%
c) 4%
d) 57%

Don't be shock. We, Malaysians have a great sense of humor. We label countries like Japan where pornography is acceptable to its culture, a modern day Sodom. We think countries like the rest of the world which celebrate Valentine's Day and New Year are equivalent to Gomorrah. And on 'parking' baby cots for easy 'dumping', don't even get me started... I wish these 'high ranking' people would consider thinking before they comment to avoid looking shallow and give us another reason to vote for people who have foresight or at least, understand simple root cause analysis.

To create or not to create a 'viral' video?

Creating a video that can potentially be viral is like planning for the unplanned. My question is, how important is it for an online video to feature key elements of what conventional advertising video ads carry? Virgin posted a time-lapse video (not sure if it was commissioned by them) which shows one of their fleets taking on a new design and look. Interesting in a documentary form but doesn't say anything more. But it gets shared. What do you think?

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Dentsu Asia won regional Apple account.

This will be a good springboard for us to further advance our digital innovation capabilities. On a separate but relevant note...

***

Apple & The Dentsu Group Bring iAds to Japan

TOKYO and CUPERTINO, California—November 9, 2010—Apple® and The Dentsu Group today announced a partnership to expand Apple’s iAd℠ mobile advertising network to Japan in early 2011. Dentsu will be responsible for the selling and creative execution of iAds in Japan, and Apple will host, target and deliver the iAds to its iPhone® and iPod touch® users. iAd was launched in the US in July and has emerged as a powerful new way for leading brands to reach the tens of millions of iPhone and iPod touch users, while providing a significant new revenue stream for developers.

“After an incredibly successful launch in the US where we’ve already doubled the number of brands on the network, we’re excited to bring iAd to Japan,” said Andy Miller, Apple’s vice president of iAd. “Dentsu is one of the world’s most prestigious advertising agencies, making them an ideal partner for iAds in Japan.”

“We’re thrilled to be joining with Apple to introduce such a powerful new ad platform in Japan,” said Ryuichi Mori, Senior Executive Vice President, Dentsu Inc. “Mobile advertising is Japan’s fastest-growing platform and iAd’s rich media experience and engaged audience of iPhone and iPod touch users make it uniquely positioned to capture mobile’s full potential for advertisers and developers.”

Dentsu subsidiary cyber communications, inc. (cci) will provide one-stop services for iAd in Japan including creative production and media planning.

iAd, which is built into iOS 4, lets users stay within their current app while engaging with an ad, even while watching a video, playing a game or using in-ad purchase to download an app or buy iTunes® content.

Developers who join the iAd Network can easily incorporate a variety of advertising formats into their apps. Developers will receive an industry-standard 60 percent of the iAd Network revenue, which is paid via iTunes Connect. Developers can visit developer.apple.com/iad to join the iAd Network, or to learn more about the iAd platform.

Founded in 1901, Dentsu Inc. has held the position of world’s top brand agency for almost 40 years. Based in Tokyo, Dentsu offers national, multinational and global clients the most comprehensive range of advertising and marketing services through its unique “Integrated Communication Design” approach. Active worldwide in sports marketing and the production of movies, anime and other entertainment content, the Dentsu Group has more than 6,000 clients and close to 20,000 employees worldwide.

cci, established in 1996 as a subsidiary of Dentsu Inc., has led the growth of Japan’s online advertising market as a total interactive, one-stop marketing service company that provides internet advertising services including media planning, ad serving technology, ad creative service and market analysis.

Apple designs Macs, the best personal computers in the world, along with OS X, iLife, iWork, and professional software. Apple leads the digital music revolution with its iPods and iTunes online store. Apple is reinventing the mobile phone with its revolutionary iPhone and App Store, and has recently introduced its magical iPad which is defining the future of mobile media and computing devices.

Press Contacts:
Tom Neumayr
Apple
tneumayr@apple.com
(408) 974-1972

Shunsaku Kannan
The Dentsu Group
s.kannan@dentsu.co.jp
+81 3 6216 8041

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

WWF (panda, not wrestling) x Dentsu for Coral Triangle.

It's finally confirmed and safe to break the news :) Today our dear new partners will be representing Dentsu to pitch a strategic proposal for Coral Triangle 2011 campaign to their regional Marketing Directors in Shanghai. We send Dentsu power from Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia and all over the world.

***

Dentsu Asia Network has been appointed as WWF’s marketing communications agency network for their Coral Triangle campaign after a two-way pitch against BBDO.

As part of the Dentsu Asia Network, offices in Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Vietnam, Phillipines and Japan will each play a significant role in driving a 360 integrated communications strategy to support the awareness campaign for WWF.

The upcoming campaign aims to raise public awareness on the distressing issues affecting the Coral Triangle, one of the world’s most important and vibrant marine eco-systems. Located in the waters off the coasts of Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Solomon Islands and Timor-leste, the Coral Triangle is home to 76% of the world’s coral species, sustaining the lives of more than 120 million people in that area.

The recent appointment by WWF leverages on the strength of Dentsu’s network in this region which allows for insights to thrive and local engagements to foster. The campaign came at a favourable time after Dentsu formed a regional action team to address sustainability communication challenges internally and for businesses in the Asian market. For more than two years, the wheels of change have been put into motion through a spectrum of research with Dentsu’s Green Chronicles and injecting sustainable solutions into its diverse marketing initiatives.

Dentsu’s commitment to environmental activities has been recognized by the Ministry of the Environment of Japan when it became the first company in the Japanese advertising industry to receive the “Eco-First” certification. Various group-wide efforts since then have been established to actively promote Dentsu’s environmental agenda to employees, clients and suppliers globally.

***

Hip hip hooray! 2011 - The year of sea - Gear up, you urban sailors! Looking forward to produce some great digital ideas ;)

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

UNIQLO - From Tokyo to Kuala Lumpur campaign.

The new UNIQLO Malaysia campaign site pulls user-generated content from Panoramio which is basically GPS-tagged photos taken by its community. How it works is, you provide your address and the computer will generate a trail from it to Fahrenheit 88. The trail is formed via a collage of the above mentioned user-generated photos where a surprise coupon is mixed into the pile with a series of other UNIQLO products. I thought it was simple and a neat way to get people onto their mailing list. And then I found this:

Notice the guard house that's toppled over the car? What has this got to do with UNIQLO? Hmm...

Which is why… I think it’s still debatable if we should really solely rely on using UGC albeit it's free. It’s just the connection between the content and the brand that raises my eyebrow. Uniqlo design is dynamic through simplicity, clean, user-focused, no unnecessary d├ęcor, and while I think the initial site delivers that, it loses that concept right when the user takes the actual journey through the idea. UGC should be used if it adds value back to the people, not when the intention is to get content for free.

Hmm…

Sunday, October 24, 2010

The days after France.

It's been a wonderful, hellish, crazy, challenging, frustrating, satisfying, mind numbing two weeks after France. Those of you who are wired to me on Facebook, must have witnessed the crazy market share numbers that have been fluctuating and soaring on a daily basis, depicting my stress-o-meter. Well, to be fair, never in my life have I felt so pressured. Pressured for something that you have to deliver and a hell lot more pressured for something that needs to be delivered by others. Now I understand why so many good CEOs are so hands-on and have so many sleepless nights. By the way, I'm not a CEO.

But having said that, it's also been fulfilling because we're growing in accountability towards our client. Pardon my crudeness but the account had been like a bout of bad 'diarrhea'. The amount of things that needed to be churned out - strategies, creative, production, material - waited for no man. And in order to avoid a crisis much later, accuracy and speed are utmost important. Unfortunately, that remains as a very idealistic concept in local agencies. People tell me, this is normal. Agency is like that wan lah. Or is it? Even if it is, we have every opportunity to make it not like this. But I don't even want to go into housekeeping right now. The important thing is great work done on time. So... we're just gonna focus on that till after Christmas. I brace myself to receive some letters from those who couldn't cut the heat. Oh well, life goes on. Only heat and pressure in the furnace will filter the impurities from pure steel. We'll see :) I am optimistic.

Anyway, in the midst of our busy-ness. We've received news that we've won a recent pitch for a regional account. Wowwee. That's really something to uplift the spirit in the agency. As far as I'm concern, money or no... it's a pretty reputable account that ought to provide us a lot of opportunities to showcase Dentsu's capability. Well, will announce when it's made official :)

Right now, I'm gonna crash. Been awake for the past 24 hours, arrived at Tokyo this morning. And darn, I miss this place. And the food... they're so therapeutic. Not to mention the shopping :) If you're here, check out FrancFranc's new store at Aoyama (with Monocle attached). It's aweeesome.

Good night, world. Sleep tight and let your mind repose with the silence that blankets the city with a heavy velvet of darkness.

***I'm gonna leave you with an excerpt (that's profoundly observed in a psychological study) that I read today on flight***

And even when we do check our knowledge, we often mislead ourselves. We focus on those snippets of information that we do possess, or can easily obtain, but ignore all of the elements that are missing, leaving us with the impression that we do understand everything we need to. The illusion (of thinking you know as much as you think you know) is remarkably persistent.

Our tendency to make this error isn't limited to our thoughts and beliefs about physical devices and systems. It happens whenever we have a big project to complete, a problem to solve, or an assignment to do. We must overcome the temptation to dive in and get started rather than examine our understanding of the task and its requirements.

***So. Remember to escape that illusion***

Monday, October 11, 2010

When being in the middle is no fun.

*** Back journaling ***

It's 4am and I have been stranded at the Abu Dhabi airport for the past well, 4 hours. Transit would have been a better word except transit brings feelings of elation as travelers sweep pass corridors, barely brushing each other's shoulders before hurrying off to their departing gates. Some stop for a few luxurious minutes to pick up some candies for the kids or the latest bottle of eau de parfum for the lover, at home or elsewhere. Or the bottle of liquor or that carton of cigarettes that have become important social baggages. But stranded meaning, you're slouched in one of those stiff airport metal seats with bad internet connection.

I meant to while my time away by getting a magazine which was destined to be my bosom buddy for the remaining 10 hours. It was between Vogue or Wired. Nat Geo Traveler or BMW Magazine. Monocle or Lonely Planet. In the end, I picked a copy of this month's Marie Claire UK. I thought I needed some light reading and contrary to popular belief, Vogue ain't any lighter than the Economist. They are different bibles for different sorts. So Marie Claire seems good. Blonde enough in some pages and smart enough in others. A fair combination fit for wee hours reading. It is of utmost importance that I do not jam anymore facts than I need to, yeah, after almost two weeks worth of CNN & BBC, I seriously need to lighten up baby. I didn't pick up anymore travel magazines because I think I should divert my mind's attention and start pepping it for work. No more wandering and wondering aimlessly on Parisian streets and/or in the labyrinth of dreams conjured by my imaginative mind. At least not for another year before we take on... London :)

Two more hours... what am I gonna do, what am I gonna do...

At times like this, my mind wanders off (yet again) to two places. Before I reached this forsaken place or my next destination. Since I'll be home soon, then obviously I'm missing the place I left which is Paris. And you can expect me to be yakking about it for the next few weeks. If you think it's a bore, come back after that. I should be done by then :)

Ah... Paris, Paris. One most important lesson I've learned from the French is the art of style. Everything and I mean everything is an accessory. You name it. It goes beyond conventional wearables. From salt and pepper grinder (think Peugeot, yup that's right... you've been riding on a pepper grinder for years now) to Chanel No. 5, which I picked up a bottle of Chance by Chanel by chance because unlike number 5, I won't swoon at the slightest whiff. If I had a French grandmother, I would imagine her smelling like Chanel No. 5, all day. So yea, I was also torn between YSL Parisienne, Dior Shine, Lancome Treson EDT, Givenchy Dance with Givenchy or Chanel Chance. And so Chance it is. All French! That pretty much tells you why it's important to start accessorizing yourself with EDTs and EDPs because that's what the French do. The attention to detail, of something that cannot be touched, cannot be seen, cannot be tasted yet evokes powerful emotions and ideas that can only come from a scented whiff of a perfect blend that lingers in our memory lane forever. Aqua di Gio does it for me as with Tommy Girl which reminds me of the folliest of all folly living during college days. And so I've decided to leave that and write a new chapter of biography with the likes of Escada and Givenchy's limited editions.

So how many bottles of fragrance does one really need? Good question as I asked myself the very same thing when I was about to buy another bottle - that's what an idle mind can do to you, therefore thou shalt always keep it occupied. I think I'm gonna start collecting all my favourite scent. Well Christmas is coming and if you need a bit of hint, scroll up. No, I'm kidding. Don't get me perfume, it's too personal unless of course you insist. I remember a conversation I had with a guy friend the other day. He bought a bottle of EDT for his girlfriend. Bold move. It's either his girl isn't so peculiar about scent or he's a very lucky guy. Getting the wrong perfume for someone close to you is like sending the message: I don't really know who you are. Maybe you should consider this personality instead. OR because it's been advertised really heavily therefore, it had to be the right one! OR worse, my ex wore this so I thought you might like it too. Either way, your nonchalance will get you into a lot of unnecessary trouble. But you know what? For you brave souls out there who have steel balls of fire and intend to take up this challenge, I salute you. If prior homework is done, I don't see how you cannot get it right. And the reward thereafter, I promise will be handsome :) It will worth more than striking jackpot and she may really think you are God-sent after all.

Speaking of which, I've been carrying around one of the most famous and at the same time most boring books of all times. Men are from Mars and women are from Venus and trust me, with both their issues combined, they are super heavy to lug around on journey with. Just imagine the weight of the real thing! Anyway, I swore to myself that I'll finish the book no matter how much it tries to send me to ze Z land. Because if I don't, I'll probably never pick it up again. Don't get me wrong, I think the author, John Gray did a fantastic job in counselling couples and I'm sure countless relationships have been saved. It's just that I was looking for some really interesting golden insights on human behavior that explain the differences between these two majority genders. Simply because of the acclamation it received. Instead, all I got was a lot of common sense in sentences which fail to engage and brought a lot of frustration. It's like a text book lesson: Women want to talk, men don't want to talk. Men want to fix, women don't want to be fixed. So the clash of the titans go. So the next time, if your man doesn't want to talk, let him be. He's an adult, he will talk when he wants to talk so stop mothering him. And if your woman wants to talk, just do the 'hmm, ahh, I see' and that should do it. The art of listening is mastered by few, but stop trying to be Mr. Smarty Pants and give stale solutions. She's not stupid, she knows her options and will pick the right one when the time comes so stop fixing her.

Well, even though these knowledge is hidden within all of us from our personal experience or someone else's experience, I guess we still need someone doubly smart with good English to put it in between two covers like John Gray, so that it can be read and we can go aha! I knew that! That kind of massages our ego a little, doesn't it?

Anyway, you wouldn't believe how time flies. As the pages on my notebook grow thinner, I am finally able to board the plane. Who says you can't pass time in your own thoughts? I just did. Au revoir ;)

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Sparks fly to Paris!

Sparks will be closed for the next to weeks. Till then, you've got to create your own ;)

I've done everything I think I need to do and that includes writing a lengthy out-of-office reply from my mailbox. Since I can't take you with me, I hope the message I left will send you a little smile.

Now, here's a video that speaks of every inspiration I want to be experiencing for the next two weeks. It's been exactly a year since I last 'hit the road' and this time, it will be all worth it :)

Watch in full screen.

Paris Vol. 5 from The Seventh Movement on Vimeo.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Music x Video x Cooking show.

This is such an original execution of a 'cooking show'. Beautifully, tastefully done. And so French ;)

Cooking Dinner Vol. I from William Hereford on Vimeo.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Join the Jamie, Food Revolution.

He's only a man. But you know what's the biggest difference is? He's doing something about it. And THAT, makes him one out of a million.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Friday, September 17, 2010

Memory is overrated.

The mind only sees what it is trained to see, which sometimes can even result us to missing the obvious. We thought we remember what we experienced, perfectly. Not knowing that the recollection of memories is sometimes tainted with our personal biasness and expectations.

The trick is to see what you're trained to see. Then see it from a view that you've absolutely no experience of. Now that may require some kind of rewiring and reprogramming. Because the latter requires a bit of wrestle with the ego.

A moving collaboration between Dentsu London and Wallpaper.

Relook at print. And relook. And relook. And relook. And never stop looking ;)

Dentsu London ‘Moving Wallpaper’ from Dentsu London on Vimeo.

And learn about the technique:

Junichi Harima "The Technique" from Dentsu London on Vimeo.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

My name is Khan. And I'm not a terrorist.

I'm not a huge fan of Bollywood or Shahrukh Khan but this movie is definitely one of the best I've seen so far from that side of the world. It has a strong and powerful message that is seldom prevalent in Bollywood films. At some point, it stopped being a movie but an idea, of what it's like to see from different eyes post 9/11 in America. Totally, totally refreshing.

I thought the movie was very well made with an awesome soundtrack but of course, Bollywood being Bollywood, you can expect certain twists of events that kind of erode its 'realness', reminding us at the end, that this is after all, a movie. Nevertheless, it's a mind opener...

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Join the Jamie, Food Revolution.

He's only a man. But you know what's the biggest difference is? He's doing something about it. And THAT, makes him one out of a million.

We're sorry, Thailand.

Such a beautiful simple powerful message sent out to everyone who loves their country. We can learn something from the mistake of others. Everyone can.

It's not just about Thailand. It's about everyone who loves their country. Happy Malaysia Day, Malaysia :)

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The story of two little pets :)

These guys, whomever these guys are, really know how to 'treat' cars. Awesome light, space, story line, all centered around these motion wonders and their DNA. The epitome of technology, sheer performance joy showcased with no human interference. There is no need of Man when his hand is so apparent in the emotion which he had so delicately crafted. There is no need of Man when the story is told so completely.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

There's a distinctive difference.

"That's a dream, not our business plan" - Tyler Brule

Thuan Chye Responds to “Orang Cina Malaysia, apa lagi yang anda mahu?” (Utusan Malaysia article)

I came across this article this morning. There have been many well written responses to irresponsible articles by national paper journalists who obviously lack integrity in their job for failing to carry out proper researches before producing such careless articles, and this one responded by Thuan Chye is no exception. Please share with as many Malaysians as possible and Utusan Malaysia, stop writing utter rubbish.

Thuan Chye Responds to “Orang Cina Malaysia, apa lagi yang anda mahu?”(Utusan Malaysia article)

By Kee Thuan Chye


Every time the Barisan National gets less than the expected support from Chinese voters at an election, the question invariably pops up among the petty-minded: Why are the Chinese ungrateful?


So now, after the Hulu Selangor by-election, it’s not surprising to read in Utusan Malaysia a piece that asks: “Orang Cina Malaysia, apa lagi yang anda mahu?” (Trans. Chinese of Malaysia, what more do you want?) Normally, something intentionally provocative and propagandistic as this doesn’t deserve to be honored with a reply. But even though I’m fed up with such disruptive and ethnocentric polemics, this time I feel obliged to reply – partly because the article has also been published, in an English translation, in the Straits Times of Singapore. I wish to emphasize here that I am replying not as a Chinese Malaysian but, simply, as a Malaysian. Let me say at the outset that the Chinese have got nothing more than what any citizen should get. So to ask “what more” it is they want, is misguided. A correct question would be, “What do the Chinese want?”


All our lives, we Chinese have held to the belief that no one owes us a living. We have to work for it. Most of us have got where we are by the sweat of our brow, not by handouts or the policies of the government. We have come to expect nothing – not awards, not accolades, not gifts from official sources. (Let’s not lump in Datukships, that’s a different ball game.) We know that no Chinese who writes in the Chinese language will ever be bestowed the title of Sasterawan Negara, unlike in Singapore where the literatures of all the main language streams are recognized and honored with the Cultural Medallion, etc.


We have learned we can’t expect the government to grant us scholarships. Some will get those, but countless others won’t. We’ve learned to live with that and to work extra hard in order to support our children to attain higher education – because education is very important to us. We experience a lot of daily pressure to achieve that. Unfortunately, not many non-Chinese realise or understand that. In fact, many Chinese had no choice but to emigrate for the sake of their children’s further education. Or to accept scholarships from abroad, many from Singapore, which has inevitably led to a brain drain.


The writer of the Utusan article says the Chinese “account for most of the students” enrolled in “the best private colleges in Malaysia”. Even so, the Chinese still have to pay a lot of money to have their children study in these colleges. And to earn that money, the parents have to work very hard. The money does not fall from the sky.


The writer goes on to add: “The Malays can gain admission into only government-owned colleges of ordinary reputation.” That is utter nonsense. Some of these colleges are meant for the cream of the Malay crop of students and are endowed with the best facilities. They are given elite treatment.


The writer also fails to acknowledge that the Chinese are barred from being admitted to some of these colleges. As a result, the Chinese are forced to pay more money to go to private colleges. Furthermore, the Malays are also welcome to enroll in the private colleges, and many of them do. It’s, after all, a free enterprise.


Plain and simple reason


The writer claims that the Chinese live “in the lap of luxury” and lead lives that are “more than ordinary” whereas the Malays in Singapore , their minority-race counterparts there, lead “ordinary lives”. Such sweeping statements sound inane especially when they are not backed up by definitions of “lap of luxury” and “ordinary lives”. They sound hysterical, if not hilarious as well, when they are not backed up by evidence. It’s surprising that a national daily like Utusan Malaysia would publish something as idiosyncratic as that. And the Straits Times too.

The writer quotes from a survey that said eight of the 10 richest people in Malaysia are Chinese. Well, if these people are where they are, it must have also come from hard work and prudent business sense. Is that something to be faulted?


If the writer had said that some of them achieved greater wealth through being given crony privileges and lucrative contracts by the government, there might be a point, but even then, it would still take hard work and business acumen to secure success. Certainly, Syed Mokhtar Al-Bukhary, who is one of the 10, would take exception if it were said that he has not worked hard and lacks business savvy. Most important, it should be noted that the eight Chinese tycoons mentioned in the survey represent but a minuscule percentage of the wider Chinese Malaysian population. To extrapolate that because eight Chinese are filthy rich, the rest of the Chinese must therefore live in the lap of luxury and lead more than ordinary lives would be a mockery of the truth. The writer has obviously not met the vast numbers of very poor Chinese.


The crux of the writer’s article is that the Chinese are not grateful to the government by not voting for Barisan National at the Hulu Selangor by-election. But this demonstrates the thinking of either a simple mind or a closed one.


Why did the Chinese by and large not vote for BN? Because it’s corrupt. Plain and simple. Let’s call a spade a spade. And BN showed how corrupt it was during the campaign by throwing bribes to the electorate, including baiting a Chinese school in Rasa by promising RM3 million should it wins the by-election.


The Chinese were not alone in seeing this corruption. The figures are unofficial but one could assume that at least 40 per cent of Malays and 45 per cent of Indians who voted against BN in that by-election also had their eyes open. So, what’s wrong with not supporting a government that is corrupt? If the government is corrupt, do we continue to support it?


To answer the question then, what do the Chinese want?

They want a government…

a. that is not corrupt;

b. that can govern well and proves to have done so;

c. that tells the truth rather than lies;

d. that follows the rule of law;

e. that upholds rather than abuses the country’s sacred institutions.


Because BN does not fit that description, the Chinese have learned not to vote for it. This is not what only the Chinese want. It is something every sensible Malaysian, regardless of race, wants. Is that something that is too difficult to understand?

Some people think that the government is to be equated with the country, and therefore if someone does not support the government, they are being disloyal to the country. This is a complete fallacy. BN is not Malaysia . It is merely a political coalition that is the government of the day. Rejecting BN is not rejecting the country.


A sense of belonging


Let’s be clear about this important distinction. In America, the people sometimes vote for the Democrats and sometimes for the Republicans. Voting against the one that is in government at the time is not considered disloyalty to the country.

By the same token, voting against UMNO is also voting against a party, not against a race. And if the Chinese or whoever criticize UMNO, they are criticizing the party; they are not criticizing Malays. It just happens that UMNO’s leaders are Malay.


It is time all Malaysians realized this so that we can once and for all dispel the confusion. Let us no longer confuse country with government. We can love our country and at the same time hate the government. It is perfectly all right.

I should add here what the Chinese don’t want:

a. We don’t want to be insulted,

b. We don’t want to be called pendatang

c. We don’t want to be told to be grateful for our citizenship.


We have been loyal citizens; we duly and dutifully pay taxes; we respect the country’s constitution and its institutions. Our forefathers came to this country many generations ago and helped it to prosper. We are continuing to contribute to the country’s growth and development.

Would anyone like to be disparaged, made to feel unwelcome or unwanted? For the benefit of the writer of the Utusan article, what MCA president Chua Soi Lek means when he says the MCA needs to be more vocal is that it needs to speak up whenever the Chinese community is disparaged? For too long, the MCA has not spoken up strongly enough when UMNO politicians and associates like Ahmad Ismail, Nasir Safar, Ahmad Noh and others before them insulted the Chinese and made them feel like they don’t belong. That’s why the Chinese have largely rejected the MCA. You see, the Chinese, like all human beings, want self-respect. And a sense of belonging in this country they call home. That is all the Chinese want, and has always wanted. Nothing more.


The Utusan Malaysia article: Orang Cina Malaysia , apa lagi yang anda mahu?

Dramatist and journalist Kee Thuan Chye is the author of ‘March 8: The Day Malaysia Woke Up’. He is a contributor to Free Malaysia Today.

"To sin by silence when we should protest makes cowards of people” - Emily Cox

"All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them" - Walt Disney

Monday, September 6, 2010

Consumption barrier to eco products: The myth unveiled?

People are not buying into eco products as much as corporations would like them to is not because they do not support sustainability (I mean, who the hell doesn't!?). It's so easy for anyone to blame it on apathy or the fact that Malaysians just aren't interested in being green. Or is it?

Maybe, just maybe. Like all else, they don't want to be tied to a brand not of their choice just to do their 'little' bit in saving Earth. What did we learn from modern history? Human nature tends to focus on their interests inwards even though there's a big pressing picture that says otherwise (only a few legendary ones are exempted).

Maybe the experience itself unlike the consumption of other things, is simply not fulfilling enough? We need a healthy dose of eco choices. We don't want to choose between a Civic Hybrid and a Toyota Prius. What if I don't like both? What we need is just more choices.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Yes, you are right. I am predictable.

When unhappy, crawl into bed, hide under the comforter, soak the pillow and let snooze takeover.

If still unhappy, buy kicks.

If still unhappy, buy rims.

If still unhappy, buy ECU chip.

If still unhappy, have ice cream.

If still unhappy, have Ochazuke.

If still unhappy, have some home brewed Mom's special soup (any soup).

If still unhappy, watch fast cars in action.

If still unhappy, get into one.

If still unhappy, go to Singapore and tickle Shion.

If still unhappy, leave the country (coming back is an option).

If still unhappy, work it team.

If still unhappy, work it Sparks.

If still unhappy, seek friends.

If still unhappy, seek meow.

If still unhappy, seek God.

And normally, that does it :)