Sunday, January 31, 2010

Music: You are my Ice Kacang - True blue Malaysian song :)

I can't believe the song survived for 10 years. Rendered and reproduced differently by students. I wonder who wrote and produced the first version. I think it's a Singaporean group, nevertheless, we're gonna claim it MALAYSIAN! Ha, like we do with everything else. Tell me, whachu gonna do huh, whachu gonna do :)

Music: L'amour Est Bleu by Claudine Longet.

Weekend music ♬ ♪. Love is blue. Love is blind.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Book: What the Dog Saw by Malcolm Gladwell.

Gladwell is arguable one of the best writers with the most prolific minds in this generation. And definitely one of my idol writers. 'What the dog saw' provides a different angle to social phenomenon that we so easily misconstrue on the cause and result. The book is essentially a collection of all his work featured in The New Yorker.

Famed from 'The tipping point', 'Blink' and 'The Outliers', Malcolm Gladwell is an inquisitive writer, investigatively poking into every subject imaginable in the business and social realm to get us to rethink the norm and re-evaluate our judgements. Leaf through the pages and you'll realise more and more questions popping in your mind versus a research that the writer would normally 'report' to you. And these questions don't leave you hanging, if at all, it makes our mind work harder and our moral values stronger because we shouldn't jump into conclusions just because it's a collective result neither should we rely on intelligent people to make intelligent decisions all the time.

I'd highly recommend planners to read all of his books. It certainly helped me to look at things from another perspective. It's not merely about looking in from outside the box. It's about dismantling the box and rebuilding it in a different way altogether. Buy it or rent it. Just read it.

You can borrow it here at Sparks' Open Library Project

Malaysia: Passport renewal process for Malaysians.

Okay what. My country quite canggih.

They should have allowed embedding from their YouTube site. It could have reached more Malaysians. Anyway, click to watch the new and improved efficiency of the Malaysian government. Recently, I've been hearing a lot about MyEG, which is pretty cool. I think that is the first of many steps in changing the work process in this country. I'm optimistic.

And while I was trying to 'ask' around online, I found this comprehensive snapshot of the passport renewal experience from Jessica's Blog, which says:

10:25 am - I found the Immigration Department easily after asking around. I spotted the KIOSK machines easily. A store was available for those who need their passport photos taken and also IC (Identity Card) to be photocopied. Each photocopied IC costs RM0.40.

10:30 am - There were 4 active KIOSK machines available. The instructions to renew the machine is very simple as follow:
1. Get an available envelope. Write down your name and Contact number on the envelope.
2. Get the requirements ready - Old Passport, RM300 for 32 pages, 1 Passport Photo, IC.
3. Proceed to the KIOSK machine.
4. Follow the instructions on the machine: It will require you to place the Old Passport, IC, Enter Contact Number and Insert the RM300. Finally, it will ask you to place the Old Passport, Photocopied IC and 1 Passport Photo into the envelope to be dropped into the KIOSK machine. Do not glue the envelope. Upon completion, you will receive a receipt that asked you to proceed to Level 2 to get a queuing number, 2 hours later.

10:45 am - 12:00 pm - There were many shops nearby to pass the time while waiting for the passport to be processed. I went to the Starbucks (think the air-cond was faulty) for a hot chocolate and read the Star newspaper. I brought the newspaper and a book by Sean Covey in case there is a long wait.

12:00 pm - Headed to the Level 2, Counter 16 for queue number.

12:40 pm - I managed to get the number, exactly 2 hours as mentioned on the receipt. Once I got the number, it took less than 20 minutes before my number was called.

1:00 pm - I received the new passport.

I am glad that the passport renewal process has been improved tremendously. It took me only 3 hours to get my new passport. The old passport was returned to me with a small triangle cut on its cover. I would recommend people to get their passports renewed at Pusat Bandar Damansara, Kuala Lumpur, using the KIOSK machine. Malaysia BOLEH! (CAN). Sparks - I think so too.

But if only it was consistent.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Monday, January 25, 2010

Strategic Planning.

If I can't be the best planner on Earth. I'll be the fastest.

Hey, it's still a differentiating point.

Automotive: Spy video of new ///M 1series.

Even at a long shot, you can appreciate the strong throaty volume of the ///M engineering at work. Rumour has it that it will be on display this year as a concept in the upcoming Geneva Motorshow. If I were the driver. I could do this all night.

Social media: How to hire the perfect expert?

Read from Marketing Vox on what kind of person we should be hiring for social media marketing. Well, I've never met this person in Malaysia before (if you are one of these rare breeds, please CALL me!!). But it's interesting to see if the agency meets this benchmark. So here, I will try to be as neutral and as objective as possible to measure our capability in providing a sound social media marketing plan for our clients.

According to Ballenthin, the person you should be looking for will have:
1. A significant business and communications background - preferably a minimum of 3 to 5 years in marketing, journalism or media. "This forms a foundation for understanding effective communication strategies and implementation." Definitely. Dentsu is one of the pioneers in the communication business.

2. A history of success in their communications background. "You wouldn’t let a mechanic work from a text book or just on their own car before they safety your car." Look for someone who has proven repeatedly he or she can deliver expectations for program results that have real business value. Due to lack of opportunities in the past few years, we may not have a strong history of success. However, what we have implemented so far did not just provide positive results but also a steep learning curve.

3. A series of measureable accomplishments in social media that can be independently validated. "Having ten thousand followers on Twitter means you learned once how to create this achievement but an expert is someone who has achieve above average accomplishments several times." Sorry, we don't have ten thousand followers on Twitter. But we do have twenty thousand followers on Facebook for compensation.

4. A true understanding of your customer’s relationship with social media before proposing a program. Your customers may not want anything to do with Twitter of Facebook or never have used LinkedIn, Ballenthin says. "An expert should build a vibrant profile of your customer’s online behavior and model a program that’s good for them versus the latest gadget and trendy sites to go with." This is an exceptional thought and it hits right at the centre of the Strategic Planning nerve. No consumer understanding, no communication plan. Period. Whether online or offline, the fundamental discipline does not change.

5. Straight answers when you ask about measuring social media campaigns. 'Social media is too new to be effectively measured' is a common and erroneous claim, he says. "In marketing we understanding that we need a baseline on what we want to change in a business before implementing a new program. If you want to improve retention, cross selling, nurture marketing, prospect acquisition, brand loyalty and use social media marketing to try to achieve that, run the program and measure if there was a difference in these areas or not. Guilty as charged. That was a lame excuse we used to make too. But now that social media marketing has become a very serious discipline here, everything must be measureable and measured differently.

6. A focus on getting a return on investment. "This is where mainstream marketing backgrounds are important. An expert should be interested in validating a financial improvement not just giving you cost." This we have to admit, we're 'forced' by the client to be able to justify the investment and to commit a return. Again, depending on the project and many variables, the return obviously varies. The important thing is, it's both discussed, agreed and committed by the agency and the client.

7. Clear methodologies. Social media is not new anymore. There’ve been hundreds of articles and cases studies on what does and does not work and effective processes. An expert should have a clear set of methodologies they work with to get consistently replicable results otherwise you may have a one hit wonder, if that. Likewise for any marketing strategy, actionable plans must always be in place. We may work around it organically, but the plan doesn't change.

8. An emphasis on an integrated marketing. Social media success rarely happens on its own. "Great social media campaigns require databases, emailing, advertising, publicity, industry influencers and more. It’s exceptional that social media marketing can just happen because it’s a good idea in the right place, other media needs to support effective results." Again, Dentsu is one of the pioneers in integrated marketing. No medium ever stands alone. And that includes social media.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Music: Les amants d’un jour by Edith Piaf.

Let's be lovers. Even for a day.

Automotive: BMW X6M and X5M in extreme drifting.

It's a different perspective of drifting all together compared to my recent short experience with D1 in Tokyo. I guess this helps remove qualms people have about the monster truck size of X6 and 5 when it comes to performance. While no one can dispel the truth on how fast the vehicles can go, but when it comes to drifting, it's about YOU being in control and working with the agility of your machine. Awesome.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Music: Nothing's gonna stop us now by Starship.

Some songs just stick to you forever. This is one helluva of an optimistic track. You me conquer the world.

Automotive: The BMW 5 series GT development - why it's worth every penny.

This is the kind of advertising that is most believable. Is it even advertising? Well, according to conventional rules, it's not. Because it's not a TVC. It doesn't have a Big Hairy Audacious Creative idea. It doesn't win you awards. It doesn't make all the big creative people smile in the boardroom. It's just a video. It's a launch video with a message. And it says everything it needs to say - the BMW 5 series GT took a hell lot of time, a hell lot of effort, from a hell lot of people, going through a hell lot of tests to show a hell lot of story. But at the end of the video, it's succinct. To all you BMW lovers, it's worth every penny and it's worth every one of your sleepless nights dreaming about the perfect robust 4-seater sports. It's time to own one.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Automotive: New MINI camouflaged - Welcome to Psychedelia.

MINI is becoming Maxi - from two to four - doors, seats, drive and all. The teaser oozes MINI.

Social media: A sure win for brands in Web 2.0?

The 5 most-clicked links in SmartBrief on Social Media these past weeks:

1) 10 steps toward a serious social strategy
2) You’re too fat for us, says social network
3) Users look for ways to cut back on social media
4) The golden rules for social-media successHow to make a mark on your fans
5) How to make a mark on your fans

It's either social media experts are still trying to figure a sure sound game plan in the social media scene or people who are exposed to brands in social media, are clambering to learn ways to protect themselves.

We have some know how and sometimes we learn the hard way through experimentation and try best to disperse risk and at times, even damage control. But if you ask me, is there a sure way to go in social media? Yes, the answer is yes. When in doubt. Always go for the win-win situation. Plans sometimes backfire because brands worked too hard to protect themselves.

Social media: MySpace engages fans in an all new level.

Something a friend produced and shared with me. Took me yonkers to get it loaded but the outcome was awesome. The MySpace Fan Video concept by BBH London takes the participation of fans to a whole new level of engagement utilizing Facebook Connect. It's not just a brilliant idea but what I really think was supremely well done is the crafting. It's almost almost really believable. Create your own video and watch the magic happen.
Can you spot the odd one out?


Wednesday, January 20, 2010

You need to read.

You need to read. Otherwise you won't be able to write well. Otherwise you won't be able to speak well. Otherwise you won't be able to convince at all. And it won't sell.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Movie: 500 days of Summer (the modern day fairy tale).

Managed to watch this while on the flight back from Tokyo. First impression: This is so familiar. On a very literal sense, it's a very real snapshot of life survived by someone at some point. Nice twist at the end but the story bears a lot of resemblance to something you might have caught two years ago which is Jim Carrey's Yes Man. Almost the same complete with Zooey Deschanel's angelic blue-eyed stare and childlike manner. The narrative method is refreshing though - cutting scenes back and forth - each chapter spliced nicely with some really rocking choice of tracks. This just goes to show how much our society has evolved with an innate ability to multitask. It's almost like watching two movies at once, sometimes simultaneously on the same screen.

500 days of Summer talks about a hopeless romantic who believed in THE ONE, the soul mate, the love of everyone's life, the manifestation of his missing rib in the form of his perfect Eve. He falls in love with a girl who doesn't share the same ideals, lifts him up and shatters his sterling idea of what love is. And then there's the evil twist at the end which I wouldn't spoil it for you here. But while Summer is all endearing but if she was a man and he was a lady, you'd label her something else, something faaaaa a a a a a ar from endearing.

The protagonist learns that there is no such thing as destiny and learned it in the most heartbreaking manner possible. Again, we witness how through generations, the definition of 'fairy tale' love has evolved. Long gone are the days of Cinderella and Snow White where lovers are destined to meet each other. Where girls are taught from young to play the role of the damsel in distress and wait patiently for prince charming who would ride swiftly on his Shadowfax to their rescue. Through the years of increasing divorce rates and heresy of someone's friend's friend who went through deception (whether or not they survived), we have officially been infected with cynicism. When our fairy tale ideals fall apart, it's natural for us to want to believe in something else. And love being an all encompassing concept that's relevant to every living thing but few gained the precious wisdom to grasp - we, the common people would refer to the most convenient way of learning - the TV, in this case, aka the movies.

The moral of this story is, it's all about choices and being responsible for them. If you take someone's heart, don't be reckless. That's all. But we're just human beings. Sometimes to wash us out from guilt, we become cowards when what we really ought to do is the exact opposite of what our feelings tell us. So here's a tip: If you're ever stuck in a sticky situation and you doubt and your mind is telling you something, listen to it. And do the exact opposite. If you meet a person and it didn't work out and your heart tells you to stick to it. Break it, runaway, severe ties, begged someone to kidnap you, go for a sabbatical, hibernate, whatever, just severe it. It'll hurt tremendously but as you can see from this indie-ish version of fairy tales, it works. Remember, 'indie' is about keeping it real. And this, ladies and gentlemen, is the reality of things.

The other thing which I really dig is the playlist:
1) Regina Spektor - “Us”
2) The Smiths - “There Is A Light That Never Goes Out”
3) Belle & Sebastian - “The Boy With The Arab Strap”
4) Black Lips - “Bad Kids”
5) The Smiths - “Please, Please, Please, Let Me Get What I Want.”
6) Patrick Swayze - “She’s Like The Wind.”
7) Jack Penate - “Have I Been a Fool? ”
8) The Doves - “There Goes the Fear”
9) Hall & Oates - “You Make My Dreams”
10) Knight Rider Theme
11) Temper Trap - “Sweet Disposition”
12) Carla Bruni - “Quelquun M’a Dit
13) Black Lips - “Veni, Vidi, Vici
14) Paper Route - “The Music”
15) Feist - “Mushaboom
16) Regina Spektor - “Hero”
17) Spoon - “Infinite Pet”
18) Simon & Garfunkel - “Bookends”
19) Wolfmother - “Vagabond”
20) Mumm-Rah - “She’s Got You High”

Absolutely rocking soundtrack. Am gonna search for it. Well, go watch the movie and let me know what you think.

Automotive: Taxi ride with D1 drifter, Kumakubo in his Evo X.

Another item in the 'to do' list checked. Attended the Tokyo Auto Salon show with a short preview of D1 Formula Drift. Kumakubo is one of the famed drift drivers and getting strapped in his Evo X? Aww...e....s..o...m..e.... ;)

It's crazy yo, it's nuts. Hit me baby one more time.

Monday, January 18, 2010

I didn't know Bob Marley can be such a romantic.

But then again, I don't really know him anyway. But here's something that is still along the lines of the 'imperfection' which we talked about a few posts before.

“You may not be her first, her last, or her only. She loved before she may love again. But if she loves you now, what else matters? She’s not perfect - you aren’t either, and the two of you may never be perfect together but if she can make you laugh, cause you to think twice, and admit to being human and making mistakes, hold onto her and give her the most you can. She may not be thinking about you every second of the day, but she will give you a part of her that she knows you can break - her heart. So don’t hurt her, don’t change her, don’t analyze and don’t expect more than she can give. Smile when she makes you happy, let her know when she makes you mad, and miss her when she’s not there.” — Bob Marley

Nobody is perfect yet we're constantly looking for that perfect someone, of that ideal, believing that him or her can cover our own flaws and short falls. Believing that they can (or should) reinforce our belief system and support our perspectives. Then... it becomes perfect. Or is it? Hmmm.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Book: France by Lonely Planet.

To France, to France. Again LP has one of the most comprehensive directory and travel ideas when it comes to catering to the independent traveller. Between Lonely Planet and Frommer's France 2010, the latter is catered to those with a mid to high range budget. Therefore, if you're looking to travel on a shoestring or at least a combination of budget and luxe then, pick this up instead.

Although, I have to admit I'm getting a little bored with the LP series. Although, yea they do seem like the most comprehensive travel guide available now. And once you're accustomed it its content structure, it does make navigation and planning a whole lot easier so that you can relax on your journey. I've been researching and planning 5 days a week, so I actually would appreciate less work and planning when it comes to holidays. Maybe I'm speaking of an untapped market here? For executives who unlike the globe trotters on Travel and Living who don't want to think for themselves for a change (or at least for 2 weeks), it will be great to have someone else do the planning. Oh well, Lonely Planet is a good start ;)

You can borrow it here at Sparks' Open Library Project after October 2010.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

To Tokyo, To Tokyo.

Will be missing for a couple of days (I think). If you miss us, drop us a line ;)

Otherwise, check back for some coverage on Tokyo Auto Salon show.

Automotive: Proton and its 'creative' family day.

There was a recent post on Proton's Family Day in Paul Tan which sparked a heated argument between those who are for the National brand and those who are obviously not.

I understand the intention of this 'Family Day' and personally, I'm rooting for Proton's current leader, Managing Director Datuk Syed Zainal Abidin. He's been making some changes (slow, nevertheless with proven results) and it looks like it's improving the brand and most importantly, the marketing of it. But having said that, when I went through the photos posted on Proton employees' concept cars, I held my breath. And then when I went through the 197 comments supporting and bashing these amateur attempts, I almost died.

I wanted to put my two cents worth (being Malaysian, I have to live up to my Kiasu-ism you know), but before an online riot breaks out in Paul Tan's blog, I think he disabled the comment function. Smart move.

So I'm gonna put my two cents worth here. Well... it's MY blog ;)

As I mentioned above, I am rooting for the MD, and I'm rooting for this brand. We're the FIRST in this part of the world to have manufactured a car. Albeit the model took 20 years for FMC. We've had a lot of teething problems especially on R&D, product design, marketing and sales, customer service - basically the whole works. But like it or not, it's been around for over 20 years. That's an achievement. Some of the previous governance was lacklustre (sometimes bordering stupidity), but I'm optimistic about the new change (even if it takes another 20 years). This Family Day thing... well, it's a start.

BUT. I have to admit. The creative concepts while it's an applauded attempt, really looked too amateurish with almost zero practicality in usage, sad to say. I know I know, these people put a lot of effort in building the concepts, but hey, the truth hurts. While I think the attempt is applauded, it tells us one thing. We, Malaysians, really really really need to focus on functional design - aesthetic combined with practicality. It's really about time for us to jump out of our 'tempurung' and get bashed up nicely. We need to wake up, face these harsh judgement, grit our teeth and challenge ourselves to improve. We need funds. We need to send our people to the best practical education they can ever receive. We need a sound talent management strategy. We need to protect our investments so that these people do not jump ship to other countries and forget their peanut shells. We need to motivate them into being leaders so that while they are creating innovative designs here, they in turn will nurture and multiply the cause.

The ROOT of all those bashing comments in Paul Tan's blog is because of the limited eye sight and exposure given and received by the locals. When we increase our view towards the horizon, we increase the possibility of achieving more. So this is the first step, let see the second.

While the write-up was neutral, it's funny to see the post categorized under 'Laughs'. Ha ha, that's a good one Paul, almost missed that.

Advertising: Good food deserves Lurpak.

Created by W+K. Something about a perfectly shot commercial about imperfection that makes perfect sense. Reality does it for me. Cause as much as I love kitchen experimentation, truth is, my stuff never turns out the way it looks on Jamie Oliver's book. Even though he whipped it up in the wild with nothing but a Swiss Army knife and I had all the first class amenities in the world. But the story here isn't about the result. It's about the process. Get it? ;)

Consume: Hojo premium tea from Japan.

I suppose living in these fast moving times, it's hard to spare some moments to relish in life's little enjoyment. That was precisely the reason that held me back from splurging on a hand made glazed clay mug and some fine tea to go with it. Uh, hang on, tea? I'm a coffee-on-the-go person! Who has time for clay infused tea these days!? Which I guess, that's exactly my point for the need to splurge. Not because of the OTT shopaholic syndrome of Sophie Kinsella but simply because sometimes, we do need to slow down a little and imbue ourselves with a little extra knowledge of whatever that we have oh so taken for granted. Like drinking tea.

Hojo is a premium Japanese tea shop that sells tea and everything that goes with it. I've had a go at the Gyokuro which was coronated as the royal blend of Japanese Green Tea. And I've been enlightened by the very hospitable 'maitre tea' on the significant difference between infusing tea in glass teapot versus a clay one. The latter truly does bring more volume to the taste. The flavour is wrapped by the clay hence mellowing the sharp tones that may attack your taste buds rather harshly at first sip from a glass teapot. This explains why tea afficinados would invest in various types of clay to experiment with the different types of smoothness in flavour to create an unlimited combination of aroma.

In Hojo, every tea and every clay product comes with a fascinating story. How it's produced, by who, when, at which part of the world and why. It makes you care more about what you are purchasing and more importantly consuming. Hojo takes the name of its Japanese founder who also spends a lot of time in the shop and I must say, the staff must have gone through superb product knowledge training. They know what they are selling and most importantly are glad to impart knowledge with no obligations. It makes the entire consumer experience so... enlightening and enjoyable. At the end of my visit, I was burping with green tea, black tea, tea from glass, tea from clay and decided to take more time to decide if I should purchase something which I'd hardly use. But still, she was remarkably amicable, now that's a product of Japan - craft knowledge and customer service.

So, if you ever need to slow down a little in life. Take time off and pick up a new hobby, or learn to enjoy a different perspective of your day-to-day coffee tea experience. Hojo is next to the escalator, near Borders in Gardens. For entree, surf site.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Malaysia: Bizarre soups!

I'm loving this book called 'Malaysia at Random'. Have you ever heard of these two soups before?

1) Gearbox soup - essentially a mixture of either cow or sheep bones boiled till almost disintegrated, so that you can suck the marrow out with a straw.

2) Torpedo soup - ahem, no prize for guessing which part of the bull is used as a vital ingredient in this spicy soup to increase your manhood's performance. It costs a whopping RM15 for a bowl yo!

Okay, I think I just lost my appetite. Photos from Simon Seow's blog. Stuff like that, you simply need another person to take up the challenge instead. According to his blog, it tastes... fine. After he downed a coupla beer that is. Take a look at his challenge - yea, you're supposed to gobble everything. As in,

Monday, January 11, 2010

Know your GTi: F.A. Wagen soon-to-be a 4s dealer.

For those of you who own a VW car, you can soon send your beloved for its periodical service at F.A. Wagen Sdn Bhd (owned by Federal Auto). You can google the map via this address:

Lot 7, Jalan 222, Section 51A,
46100 Petaling Jaya,
Selangor Darul Ehsan
Phone: +603-7960 0801
Fax: +603-7960 0802

I haven't been there before, so I won't know if the dealer/service centre is any good. But when I do, I'll share my experience here. Or if you've been there, do share your experience with me. Thanks in advance.

Dentsu: The other pitch result.

You know sometimes you worry if luck would run out. To compensate for the lack of many things we should have, our team and partners really went all out to put up a good fight with the competition. And today, the result prevailed. Thank you dear Client once again. We really wanted this business, not because it's dollars and cents to us, but because managing after-sales service in this industry is pertinent to sustaining the values which can never be fully experienced if the customer journey stops at purchase.

Soichiro Honda once said there are three Joys in Honda. The Joy of Creating, the Joy of Selling and the Joy of Buying. Today, we would like to think there's an addition of the 4th Joy. Which is the Joy of Ownership. (There's a 5th one actually. Taken by BMW. Ha ha). Anyway. Thank you team, thank you dear partners (for all the sh!t I gave you and you took it nevertheless just to tie loose ends and make this happen). Thank you.

Advertising: Adland by James P. Othmer.

All you ad people. This is your conscience speaking. Listen to it. Read it. Spread it.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Know your GTi: Comes with its own bottle opener?

I've got the car for 6 months now and I've been reading the manual from cover to cover. And, to my surprise I realized that the Mk 5 should come with a bottle opener. I'm only guessing that it looks like the above. Why am I guessing, you say? Because it's not in my car (!!!).

Itulah akibatnya membeli kereta dari dealer-dealer yang bogus (that's the consequences of purchasing from bogus dealers). Which in my case is VW Cars, which at that point was still one of the authorized dealers of VW Group Malaysia (not anymore now). Well, I'm definitely writing a love letter to VGM cause... the bottle opener looks kinda nice and I want it back. As with many other manufacturers, these kind of complains usually get sweep under the carpet and they push the blame to one another. Well, let see what happens this time. Cause I really want my bottle opener (!!!).

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Malaysia: Interesting conversation between two leaders.

On Saturday, 9th January 2010, both Malaysia and the United States released statements by their respective leaders with regards to bombings that threatened to disrupt peace and security. Can you spot the difference?

Obama – I am less interested in passing out blame than I am in learning from and correcting these mistakes to make us safer (on major intelligence flaws in al-Qaeda’s bid to bomb airlines on Christmas Day).

O-Najib – I condemn the attacks as they will destroy the harmony in this country (on the three churches bombed on Friday speculated as a result of the law’s approval for Christians using the word ‘Allah’ in reference to God).

Obama – Ultimately the buck stops with me. As president, I have a solemn responsibility to protect our nation and our people, and when the system fails, it is my responsibility (of which Obama’s top anti-terror official John Brennan delivered a personal note, “I told the president today, I let him down… I told him that I will do better”).

O-Najib – I hope people will not take the law into their hands. The IGP will report to me on the incident once there is evidence and new developments (…krek krek... krek krek).

Source: The above statements are taken from The Star papers dated today.

Soooo interesting, aye? Sigh.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Malaysia: The true story of three churches burnt.

Headlines are crawling all over the web with regards to the minor bombing of the three churches in Malaysia, speculated to be a result of various groups' contention on using the word 'Allah' by non-Islamic religions.

This is a snippet of the news in the Star Online:

KUALA LUMPUR: Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein said the Government would not hesitate to use any means necessary, including the Internal Security Act, on anyone who threatens the security of the country. He also ensured the safety of everyone in Malaysia, including the minorities. Hishammuddin also said that the Inspector-General of Police has confirmed that three churches have been attacked. “We have also received a report that a church has been threatened. The police will monitor all churches in the country,” he said.
Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Musa Hassan earlier said police were investigating three cases of arson at churches in the Klang Valley early Friday morning. The three churches were the Metro Tabernacle Church in Desa Melawati, the Assumption Church in Jalan Templer, Petaling Jaya, and the Life Chapel Church in Section 17, also in Petaling Jaya. "Police personnel would also patrol churches throughout the country, especially in the Klang Valley, to prevent any untoward incidents," he added on Friday.

*** end of snippet ***

Dear peoples, online friends and families of this world, if you are reading this,

There is nothing to be alarmed about in the above situation. Not that we don't care neither is it because we're cynical. It's because we have to understand that for Good (and God) to be amongst us, there have to be something called Evil or Harm. The arsonists who did the unspeakable will be sought by the police and Justice will take them into her hands. And should they slip through the imminent cracks when Justice blinks, then God (whether you call him Allah or not) will make the final judgement. Yes, we have to protect the churches because these are holy grounds where one searches for God to ease his troubling soul. Why then, trouble this already troubled soul? Why pick on the weak who amidst the havoc of today's society, searches for sanctuary in churches, mosques and temples? Shame on you, arsonists whose hands are now charred worse than the church's wall due to your own irresponsible actions.

But still. Again, we would like to emphasize that there is nothing to be alarmed. Nothing so much for you to panic and strike your enemy (perceived) and perish in a downward spiral that benefits no one. Not you, not him, not her, not they, not us, not your neighbours, and not your children. In the midst of such chaos, only clarity becomes our weapon. Please. Do come for your holiday, we're not the maniacs running amok on headlines. We're who you used to know and read about. We'll try our best to protect you like how we would with our friends and with our own true blood. We're the Malaysians you read about in Truly Asia campaigns (the oversized coconut might be a fake but we're not). We're the Malaysians who laugh ourselves silly at our stupid governmental mistakes. We're the ones who take the government controlled papers with a pinch of salt. We're the ones who wish for the release of our innocent politicians who got caught over the sillest matters to avoid traffic jams. We're the Malaysians who're still learning and coping with sustainability issues but kinda figure that our country is beautiful. We're the Malaysians who speak multiple languages and don't think it's wrong to jumble them up. We're the Malaysians who don't just mix our blood sometimes, we mix our tea with coffee with Milo with milk as well. Well, we're just Malaysians.

And to those of you who are Malaysians. Stay united in the face of adversity. Those who try to break us are not one of us. That's all you need to know. And don't pass the alarm to someone else. Tell them very calmly, it's okay. And then turn the other cheek.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Video: Motion graphics redefined.

Awesome awesome thinking. When I watch something like that, it always make me wonder how did that 'Eureka!' moment appear and when and what prompted it. It looks simple but it's not. It looks like everyone could have thought of it but they didn't. Awesome.

Original post here.

Another truth about consumerism.

Don't know how accurate is this graph and am not very sure how trustworthy is the source taken from The Consumerist. But really makes you rethink about priorities.

Music: Fireflies by Owl City.

Reminds me of 'Electric Dreams' if you have ever watched that movie before in the 80s. I remember freaking out when I was a kid because the computer turned nasty. But Owl City's got an eccentric way with imagination ;) Enjoy.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Reblog from Tumblr - Truth in illustration.

Actually, Tumblr is a pretty good tool to 'retweet blogs' but it doesn't sync with other blogging platforms. I came across this here and seriously, it tickles. But more importantly, it does have a hint of truth. (Sorry guys, for pissing on you. Ha ha ha.)

This inspires me too.

Can't find the source of this jpg. But I think it's damn funny. And makes you laugh and reminds you not to take things so seriously when the sh!t hits the fan. It's passion, it's fun, it's hard work. But at the end of the day, it is really... just work.

Publishing: Sh!t stirrer magazine.

Honestly, I'd rather see more provocative magazine covers like that. Straight to the point, crystal clear positioning.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Book: The Incredible Book Eating Boy by Oliver Jeffers.

Another wonderful and heart warming tale about a boy who has an insatiable appetite for books but in a rather peculiar manner. Soon, he learned that he needs to (as the title suggests) stop eating em' books!

Needless to say the artwork which comes with the story is simply adorable. Even if you're not a fan of children books, it's worth collecting as an illustrator's inspiration.

You can borrow it here at Sparks' Open Library Project.

Automotive: Honda's Challenging Spirit takes on Skytrex.

So have you got what it takes this new year? Fear of heights? Bugs? Be there or be square. Details and sign-ups here.

Automotive: Honda Malaysia is officially on Twitter.

For corporate, product and promotion information on Honda (Malaysia and sometimes global), you can now get first hand news right out from the oven @

Monday, January 4, 2010

Consume: Astro Boy - Osamu Tezuka's Original.

All you fans out there, I thought you should know that Astro Boy original series by Osamu Tezuka is now available at Borders in Gardens. Strangely, they don't have the first and second installment. It starts with 3 and ends with 23 at the moment. While stocks last!

Book: Lost and Found by Oliver Jeffers.

Simply adorable illustration with an admirable story of love. Lost and Found is like one of those 'Little Prince' type of children books - masquerading itself as child's bedtime story but in reality, the adult probably get more out of it. Sometimes, we forget. We forget who we are, we forget about our friends and we forget even, about the simplicity of love, companionship and innocence while growing up. And Oliver Jeffers managed to bring them all back to mind in these few but wonderfully illustrated pages.

Just remember, sometimes we're not lost. We're just lonely.

You can borrow it here at Sparks' Open Library Project.

Media: Sex and The City 2 - The movie.

When will this ever end? Looks like this is one of the most influential series-movies of the decade. Why? Because it's targeted to women. With money. And power. And that seems like an ever going trend.